The city’s sixth and final Open Newbury Street event of the ’22 season took place on Sunday, Sept. 25, again transforming a stretch of that street into a car-free, pedestrian-only walkway.
For these events, Newbury Street was open to pedestrians and closed to motor vehicles between Berkeley Street and Massachusetts Avenue from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 and 28, and on Sept. 4, 11, 18, and 25.
Aicha Kaba, the founder and owner of Really Just Shae, a Boston-based, woman-owned manufacturer of all-natural skin-care products, was on hand for the final four Open Newbury events this year via a partnership between her company and Athleta at 92 Newbury St., a retail chain specializing in women’s active wear.
“There were a lot of new faces, and it’s been a lot of fun,” said Kaba. “I definitely would do it again next year.”
Denise Sullivan, manager of Fitness Hub Activewear Boutique who worked all of the Open Newbury events both this year and last year, said, “I love it. It’s truly the best. It introduces us to many people, and our sales have like quadrupled on these days.”
Ava and Katie White, sisters from Lakeville, Mass., had attended one prior Open Newbury Street event this year before returning Sunday for the season finale.
“It’s really cool…and there are a lot of different types of people interacting and having a good time,” said Ava.
Susanne Greelish, co-founder and creator of GingerGems, a manufacturer of small-batch candied ginger that operates under the auspices of the nonprofit Commonwealth Kitchen in Dorchester, worked Open Newbury for the first time on Sunday, although she had attended the event in the past as a spectator.
Business was slightly sluggish, she said, which Greelish speculated was due to her booth’s placement near the less-trodden area of the event site near the corner of Mass Ave.
Still, Greelish was encouraged by her experience at Open Newbury Street enough that she said she would consider returning again as a vendor next year, if the events continue.
“I’d do it again,” she said.
The City was pleased with the results this time as well, and said Open Newbury Street would likely return again next year.
“The City saw great success bringing back Open Newbury again this year, and was excited to be able to expand the number of Open Newbury days to six weekends, continuing into September,” a city official wrote in an email. “Opening up Newbury Street creates a more vibrant experience for residents and visitors to build community, shop and dine at local businesses, and have fun on a car-free street. We hope to bring back this summer tradition again next year for all of our residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Open Newbury Street was first piloted by the Boston Transportation Department (BTD) in 2016, with thousands of people enjoying shopping and dining on a stretch of the street on one Sunday in August of that year. Building on the success of that first event, it was expanded to three Sundays a year in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and then returned for three more Sundays in 2021, after taking a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.