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Back Bay

Boston's Back Bay

[gallery ids="441,31,30,34,33,32,51"] Initially created by filling 450 acres of the Charles River basin, construction of the Back Bay began in 1858, and after 30 years of around the clock activity, the city grew from 783 acres to 1,233 acres. The neighborhood was originally designed to be solely a residential district, and deed restrictions were imposed requiring uniform setbacks from the street, brick and stone construction, and maximum building heights. By about 1890 however, the public demand brought a commercial element to the area and this is now one of the citys most vibrant areas for shopping and dining. The central anchor of the neighborhood is the tree-lined mall down the center of Commonwealth Avenue. Running perpendicular to Commonwealth Ave. are Beacon and Marlborough Streets to the North, and Newbury and Boylston Street to the South. Because the area was designed, it is a bit of an anomaly in Boston as the streets are in a grid pattern, and the intersecting streets (Arlington, Berkeley, Clarenden, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Glocester, Hereford, Ipswich and Jersey) run in alphabetical order. This is a sharp contrast to adjacent areas such as Beacon Hill with its one way street, dead ends and curves. The Back Bay runs along the Charles River and Storrow Drive and is bordered by the Fenway/Kenmore neighborhood at Charles Gate East, the South End to the South and Boston Common at Arlington Street. The Back Bay features some of the most beautiful and varied buildings in the city. In Copley Square alone there is the sleek, glass facade of the John Hancock Tower, across from the nations first publicly supported municipal library, The Boston Public Library, and standing next to the magnificent Trinity Church. Just blocks away are the Mansard roofs of the Second Empire inspired townhouses along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue, as well as examples of many other architecture styles which came in and out of favor in the 19th century. Today the Back Bay continues to be home to many of the most highly sought after addresses in the city. Some of the signature luxury residential buildings in the Back Bay include The Mandarin Oriental, The Four Seasons and The Clarendon.

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Frozen Frog Pond


With winter in full swing, there are loads of great activities in Downtown Boston. Now that the holidays are over maybe exercise was one of your New Years resolutions? Exercise doesnt need to be exercise for exercise sake. Have some fun while you are at it, and get yourself limbered up just in time for the Olympics. A great opportunity to get some fresh air and get the muscles moving is going for a skate at the Frog Pond on Boston Common. A wading pool in the warmer months, The Frog Pond is transformed from mid-November to mid-March each year into a skating rink. Youll find every level of skater here, so dont feel self- conscious if you are a beginner. You may even like it so much that youll sign up for skating lessons from the Skating Club of Boston which runs the rink in co-operation with the Boston Parks Department. Located right between Beacon Hill and the Back Bay, the open air rink is open from 10am daily (closing times vary). If you are coming by car, parking in the Boston Common Garage right under the Common is a good option. By T, take the Green Line to Park Street Station and by the Red Line exit at either Park Street or Boylston Street. Adult admission is only $5, and kids under age 13 skate for free. Locker and skate rentals are available, and if you come with your own skates, sharpening is available for $8. The Frog Pond Caf is right on site and offers a heated area for you to relax post-skate and enjoy a hot chocolate or one of their other treats including Belgian waffles. Admittedly you may be keeping one resolution (exercise), while breaking another (diet), but least youll be getting some fresh air! For more information, daily hours and inclement weather notices please see or call (617)635-2120.


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Back Bay Fire


As most people have heard by now, there was terrible fire yesterday in Bostons Back Bay. The fire spread quickly to nine alarms, and 150 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze, made even more difficult by yesterdays 45 mile per hour winds. Two heroic firefighters died saving the lives of others, and keeping the fire from spreading to the surrounding buildings. Both men worked out of the Engine 33, Ladder 15 firehouse located at the corner of Boylston and Hereford Streets, located right in the heart of the Back Bay. As with all Bostonians, our thoughts and prayers go out to the Walsh and Kennedy families, as well as to the thirteen other firefighters injured battling the blaze.

The Governor, Mayor and Cardinal Sean OMalley have all posted condolence messages today:

Gov. Deval Patrick: My heart and my condolences go out to the families of the firefighters lost in the line of duty today, as well as to the entire Boston Fire Department. This terrible tragedy reinforces how we must be grateful every single day for the brave men and women who put themselves in danger day in and day out to keep us safe.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh: "Tonight the City of Boston mourns the loss of two of our own. Lt. Ed Walsh and Firefighter Michael Kennedy lost their lives battling the nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street today. Words cannot do justice to the grief that we feel tonight. Our hearts are heavy with the knowledge that these brave men gave their lives to protect the safety of our city and its people.

"The men and women of the Boston Fire Department are the brave heroes who run towards the danger when others run away. A day like today makes us all too aware of what they are risking in the course of doing their jobs. They are heroes simply by virtue of accepting this duty. They put themselves in harms way so that others might be safe. Thank you to the Boston Fire Department, Boston Police Department, EMS and all other first responders and volunteers for your heroic work today.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families tonight as they face this terrible loss. We also hold close their fellow firefighters, who have lost friends as dear as brothers."

Cardinal Sean OMalley: These brave men gave their lives in the line of duty, putting the public safety ahead of their own interests. As a community we come together in this time of loss, offering our support and our prayers to the Walsh and Kennedy families and their fellow firefighters.

With so many advances in building codes and fire prevention technology, it is sometimes easy to forget these catastrophic fires can, and do still happen. We are truly fortunate to have the brave men and woman of all the emergency services who are willing to sacrifice their own well-being, for the well-being of all of us.


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Boston Celebrates National Historic Preservation Month


May is a month where our weather really starts to warm up and our thoughts turn toward summer. In the spirit of looking forward, while at the same time looking back, May is also National Historic Preservation Month. In order to celebrate and promote Bostons rich history, architecture and historic neighborhoods, Mayor Walsh recently released a schedule of events taking place in May, across the city. Some of the highlights for the coming month include the following:

14 | WED | 6:00 PM | GALA AND SILENT AUCTION Boston Preservation Alliance Gala and Silent Auction The Alliance's annual Spring Auction is being held at the Liberty Hotel. The hotel is one of Boston's most unique historic spaces previous being the Charles Street Jail. Bid on our silent auction items and support the ongoing work of Boston's leading advocate for historic preservation. The Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles St. $150 per ticket, $75 for young professionals under 40. Presented by: Boston Preservation Alliance | Contact: Alison Frazee | | (617) 367-2458

15 | THURS | 6:00 PM | FUNDRAISER Taste of West Roxbury Annual fundraiser for West Roxbury Main Streets featuring tasty treats from local businesses. The Irish Social Club, 119 Park Street, West Roxbury. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Presented by: West Roxbury Main Streets | Contact: Michael Iceland | | (617) 325-6400

If you are looking for some exercise, consider a walking tour. Whether you have lived in Boston for all of your life, or you are new to the area, a walking tour is a great way to appreciate some of the great history all around us.

Affordably priced, there many tours offered all over the city. On Thursday, May 15 at 4:00pm the Boston Landmarks Commission presents a walking tour entitled, The Christian Science Church Complex: In and Out of the City. Designated a City of Boston Landmark in 2010, the Christian Science Church campus in Bostons Back Bay features an amazingly sprawling group of plazas and buildings. According to the Commission, this walking tour will look at the development of the campus, its buildings and open spaces as they relate to each other and to the city at large. The tour will be led by Boston Landmarks Commission staff architect, Elizabeth Stifel.

Meeting place confirmed at time of reservation. Free and open to the public. As space is limited, pre-registration is required. Presented by: Boston Landmarks Commission |

Also offering several different walking tours is the non-profit, Boston By Foot. Tour titles include The Heart of the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, The North End: Gateway to Boston, Road to Revolution Walking Tour, and the Victorian Back Bay. One of this weeks tours is of the Flat of Beacon Hill. Offered Thursday, May 15 from 5:00-6:30pm, the description states:

The Flat of Beacon Hill is built on 19th century made-land along the Charles River. This intimate patch of real estate soon acquired carriage houses and horse stables owned by the wealthy families living on Beacon Hill. Today, many of these edifices have been converted into charming residences and seamlessly blend among the notable landmarks such as the Charles Street Meeting House, the Church of the Advent, and the Sunflower Castle. Meet your guide outside the entrance to the Charles/MGH MBTA station on the Red Line. $15 per person, $5 for Boston By Foot members.

For information about this or any of their other walking tours, contact Boston By Foot at, (617) 367-2345 or at

For the full calendar of events celebrating National Historic Preservation Month please see


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Get the Most Out of Your Trip to Bostons Farmer's Markets


This time of year is about warm weather, vacations and relaxing afternoons. It also heralds the return of farmers markets. A trip to the market is a great opportunity to indulge in fresh, healthy produce and to expand your horizons by trying new items or preparing them in different ways. Fortunately, Boston has a number of farmers markets spread across the city in virtually all of its neighborhoods. Downtown, the Boston Public Market on the Greenway (previously on City Hall Plaza), is located in the plaza in front of 136 Blackstone Street. The Boston Public Market at Dewey Square is located at 600 Atlantic Avenue on the Greenway across from South Station, and the Copley Square Farmers Market is located in Copley Square at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Street.

Here are seven tips to make the most of your visit to the local farmers market:

Note the hours and dates of your local market on your calendar. Set reminders on your smartphone that will alert you when favorite items such as tomatoes, peas, beans and strawberries come into season.

Prepare your refrigerator and kitchen for the season's harvest. Clean out your fridge's produce drawer, and stock up on items that complement fresh produce, such as salad dressings and seasonings that can be used to turn basic veggies into delicious meals.

While farmers market vendors will almost certainly have plastic bags on hand, take your own reusable bags or baskets to carry your purchase - they're better for Mother Nature. If you'll be buying perishable items, consider packing a cooler as well. Remember to place heavier items (like melons) on the bottom of the bag and lighter ones (such as berries) on top.

You'll find the freshest produce and best selection early in the day. Setting your alarm to wake you a bit early could ensure you get the pick of the day's produce.

Leave the $20 and $50 bills at home. Smaller bills will provide you with greater buying flexibility, and vendors will appreciate the change.

Scope out the entire market before you begin making purchases. Certain popular items, such as tomatoes, cantaloupe, melons, peas and potatoes will be available from multiple vendors. Strolling through the market first will allow you to compare prices and taste samples to ensure you're picking the best and most delicious buys for your family.

Unpack bags as soon as you're home and store each item appropriately. Create a menu plan for the week that incorporates everything you've purchased to help ensure nothing goes to waste. Don't forget to incorporate snacks into your meal plan.

Last but not least, the seasons for fresh produce in New England are short, so enjoy it while you can!

For more information about farmers markets across Boston including lists of vendors, times and locations, please visit the Boston Collaborative for Food and Fitness Boston Farmers Market website at


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40 Trinity Place


For the last few years, developers have been working with the city to construct a midsized high-rise building in Back Bay near Copley Square. After several delays, construction is finally scheduled to start on 40 Trinity Place in 2017.

40 Trinity Place will be a 31-story building with a four-star hotel on the lower floors and luxury condo units on the upper floors. The building will be replacing the 11-story Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center, which is adjacent to the Hancock Tower. The Hotel will have over 150 rooms while the upper floors will consist of 146 luxury condo units. Amenities for those who live in the future units are said to include concierge service, valet parking, a movie theater and a spa.

The look of the building has been designed to minimize visual impact on the Boston skyline. Many architects have praised the buildings sculpture-like design. According to the architectural team that designed the building, it was explicitly designed to distinguish itself from adjacent buildings nearby. They also pointed out that shadow and wind impacts on the surrounding area were carefully considered.

The highlight of the building will be a two-story sky lobby and bar, which will be set on the 15th floor. Developers are planning on having a celebrity chef operate the restaurant and people from all over Boston will be able to come and view the city below from 150 feet in the sky. The restaurant will also feature an outdoor patio, which when completed, will become the highest rooftop bar in the city.

The ground floor of the building will open up retail space allowing for more business in the neighborhood.

For More Information, Please See:

Nick Lattarulo for Bostonia Properties


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Since 2014, a massive development project has been in the works near the Hynes Convention Center in Bostons Back Bay neighborhood. The mixed-use development is one of several projects around Boston to be constructed above a portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike that runs through the city.

In recent years, developers have been purchasing the air rights over different portions of the turnpike from the State of Massachusetts. Because of the way that the Pike was built, it runs directly through the middle of the city, leaving a large sunken gap. State officials have divided these gaps into parcels that they have been selling in order completely build over the Mass Pike gap that runs through Boston.

This project is slated for parcel 13, an open gap on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street. Right on the corner of this busy intersection, an unsightly chain-link fence divides the sidewalks from the large gap overlooking the rumbling pike below. The sound of the traffic below mixed with the traffic of the intersection makes this one of the loudest and most unpleasant spots in all of Boston.

That will all change if the developers of this new project are able to win approval from city officials. Known as the Viola, this mixed-use project calls for a new building to completely cover over the parcel 13 gap. The building would feature and 156-key boutique hotel, 88 condos and 85 apartments for rent. In addition, the ground level would open up 20,000 square-feet of new retail space and would create two large pedestrian plazas.

In addition, developers have agreed to completely renovate the Hynes Convention Center T Station, which has been is a state of disrepair for several years. They would add two brand new entrances in concert with the pedestrian plazas to help accommodate all of the pedestrian traffic in the area.

Many have also commented on the unique design of the building. Images released by the architects show an S-shaped building with a modern exterior and curvy look. This would certainly stand out from much of the more traditional architecture in the Back Bay neighborhood. While some worry that the design could draw resistance from those who live near by, few can argue the benefits of covering up that large gap, expanding sidewalk space and building a new T station.

For more information please see:

Nick Lattarulo for Bostonia Properties


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