The Boston Sun Rewind: Looking Back at ’23 in the Hub

• On Jan. 13, “The Embrace” – the long-awaited memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. – was unveiled during a ceremony on the Boston Common. The memorial was initiated via a partnership between the City of Boston and Embrace Boston.

• On Jan. 19, the Boston Planning & Development Agency and the Boston Transportation Department announced the findings of the 2022 Copley Connect pilot program via the launch of a storymap that details the data collected over 10 days the previous June.

During the pilot, Dartmouth Street between the Boston Public Library and Copley Square Park was opened to pedestrians and closed to non-emergency vehicular traffic in an effort to formally unify Copley Square. This new public space allowed for café seating, food trucks, performances, dance lessons, and library programming over the course of the pilot.

• In February, Rep. Jay Livingstone was named the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities.

• In February, the Charles River Esplanade finished in eighth place in the category of Best Riverwalk in USA Today’s latest 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. Over the course of four weeks, votes were tallied for the 20 nominees in the Best Riverwalk category, which were chosen by an expert panel from the newspaper.

• On Feb. 17, former 9th Suffolk District State Rep. Jon Santiago  was named as Massachusetts’ first ever Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services.

• On March 1, the public got its first look at the proposed 1033-1055 Washington St. development in the South End during the city’s initial Impact Advisory Group (IAG) meeting for the project, which took place virtually. The Druker Co. is proposing a project comprising two life science/office buildings, with an above-grade connection between them. The project would also include ground-floor retail and restaurant space in both buildings, as well as 8,000-9,000 square feet of community/non-profit space.

• On March 22, the Fenway Civic Association held its 61st annual meting at 1325 Boylston St.

• On April 11, the Gibson House Museum honored the French Library at “À la Belle Époque,” the museum’s 26th annual benefit at the St. Botolph Club.

• On April 16 – one day ahead of the 127th Boston Marathon -Old South Church in Boston offered its Marathon Sunday services, which included the traditional Blessing of the Athletes.

• On April 27, the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation) held its 50th annual meeting at St. Cecilia’s Church.

• On April 28, Kenzie Bok stepped down as District 8 City Councilor to assume her new role as administrator of the Boston Housing Authority.

• On May 2, South End resident John Moran was victorious in the State Special Election for the 9th Suffolk District state rep seat.

• On May 14, the Friends of the Public Garden again partnered with the Boston Parks Department to host Duckling Day – an annual Mother’s Day tradition that pays tribute to Robert McCloskey’s classic children’s book, “Make Way for Ducklings” – in the Public Garden.

• On May 23, the city’s Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Fenway Corners met virtually on Tuesday, May 23, for the first time in about a year to discuss the latest iteration of and changes to the project.

WS-Fenway-Twins Realty Venture LLC – a partnership made up of the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox; the D’Angelo family, who own the 47 sports apparel and memorabilia company; and Newton-based WS Development, which led the redevelopment effort in the Seaport – intend to redevelop 13 parcels located south of the Massachusetts Turnpike near Fenway Park on four major blocks along Jersey Street, Brookline Avenue, Van Ness Street, and Lansdowne Street, respectively, which collectively total around 5.32 acres.

• On June 22, the public got its first look at details of the proposed Charlesbank Landing on the Esplanade, including a timeline for the project, as well as several alternatives for its multi-purpose recreational space, during a public meeting held at the West End Branch Library, as well as virtually.

• On July 2, a new season of the city’s Open Newbury Street program returned and for 16 consecutive Sundays, temporally transformed the stretch of Newbury Street between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue into a pedestrian-friendly and vehicle-free walkway.

• On June 10, the fourth annual Fenway Porchfest again transformed outdoor spaces throughout the neighborhood into impromptu concert stages that hosted a variety of free music performances across a range of genres. This year’s event was jointly sponsored by the Fenway Alliance, the Fenway CDC (Community Development Corporation), and the Fenway Community Center, and featured around 80 acts performing on around 30 improvised stages.

• On July 25, Sharon Durkan, who had chaired the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee since 2019, was victorious in the Special Election to succeed Kenzie Bok as the District 8 City Councilor.

• On Sept. 12, Tania Fernandes Anderson cruised to an easy victory in the Preliminary Municipal Election on to secure her reelection as District 7 city councilor in a five-way race.

• On Sept. 17, the Mass. Ave. Coalition’s second annual festival returned to Chester Square. The free, self-described “festival like no other,” was again made possible by a collaborative effort among the four neighborhood associations comprising the coalition – Chester Square Neighbors (CSN), the Claremont Neighborhood Association, the St. Botolph Neighborhood Association, and the Worcester Square Neighborhood Association.

• On Sept. 18, the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay’s annual meeting returned to Fisher College. Elliott Laffer, who had served as chair of NABB’s board of directors for the past three years, then relinquished the role to Martyn Roetter. Roetter previously chaired NABB from 2017 until 2020, at which time Laffer assumed the reins from him.

• On Sept. 21, Rev. John Edgerton officially assumed the reins of Old South Church as its 21st Senior Minister during the “Welcome Back Sunday” services. Rev. Edgerton had previously served as their Associate Minister of Old South Church from 2012 to 2019, before  going on to serve as the Senior Minister for First United Church of Oak Park, Ill.

• On Nov. 7, District 8 City Councilor Sharon Durkan cruised to an easy reelection victory in the city’s municipal election.

• On Nov. 9, more than 100 revelers celebrated at the third annual Harvest Festival and Auction, sponsored by the Homelessness Task Force (HTF) of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay (NABB)  and hosted at Women’s Lunch Place (WLP) at 67 Newbury St.

The party raised almost $50,000 to further Back Bay’s efforts to prevent and reduce homelessness. The HTF’s mission is to produce public education programs about homelessness and promote effective prevention and stabilization services.

• On Nov. 30, Mayor Michelle Wu joined Liz Vizza, president of the Friends of the Public Garden, and the Boston Parks Department to flip the switch on the holiday lights on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall from Arlington Street to Kenmore Square.

 • On Nov. 30, Mayor Michelle Wu joined Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston and representatives from the Boston Parks Department for the 82nd annual lighting of the Boston Common holiday tree – this year, a 45-foot white spruce.

Each year, a tree is delivered to the city from Nova Scotia as a token of appreciation for Boston’s help after two military ships collided in Halifax Harbor in 1917, resulting in an explosion that killed approximately 2,000.

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