Free Family Films In Dorchester

Today’s post is fifth in a series about free events in Dorchester.

First, Mayor Walsh’s Movie Nights will show “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” on Thursday August 17 in Savin Hill Park. To see the complete schedule of free events and activities around Boston, download the 2017 Summer In The City Guide (Adobe PDF) by the Boston Parks & Recreation Department.

Second, WBZ-TV and the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) provide free family films throughout the summer. The following films will be shown in Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester:
August 10: Moana
August 17: Lego Batman
August 24: Doctor Strange
August 31: Star Wars Rogue 1
See the Massachusetts DCR site for the complete schedule (Adobe PDF) for films in other locations.

National Parks: Buy Your Senior Pass Before The Price Increase

National Park Service logoPopular summertime activities include visiting and camping in national parks. The U.S. National Park Service (NPS) operates the nation’s 417 sites. The sites include 129 historical parks or sites, 87 national monuments, 59 national parks, 25 battlefields or military parks, 19 preserves, 18 recreation areas, 10 seashores, four parkways, four lake shores, and two reserves.

The NPS sells lifetime passes for seniors (age 62 or older) which provide access to more than 2,000 parks and recreation sites nationwide.  Six agencies participate in the Interagency Pass Program: National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. So, a senior pass provides reduced-cost access to lots of places.

The senior pass is also a bargain since the pass holder can use it plus accompanying passengers is a single, private, non-commercial vehicle. However, the price of a senior pass will rise on August 28 from $10.00 to $80.00 (plus a $10.00 processing fee). Yes, that is a 700 percent price increase!

U.S. citizens or permanent residents can buy passes. There are three ways to buy senior passes:

Applicants must provide documentation proving citizenship and age. See the Frequently Asked Questions: Recreational Passes page (USGS site) for additional information, including forms of acceptable documentation. Within the parks and recreational sites, there may be additional fees for special services (e.g., camping, swimming, boat launch, specialized interpretive services). The senior pass may provide a 50 percent discount on these fees, but does not cover fees charged by concession stands.

Not a senior? Besides standard annual passes ($80.00 each), the NPS offers a variety of annual passes: free passes for military members and their dependents, passes for 4th grade students, free passes for persons with disabilities, and free passes for volunteers.

For Dorchester residents, there are several nearby parks and recreation sites:

  • Boston National Historical Park, including the 2.5 mile (4 km) Freedom Trail®
  • Boston African American National Historic Site is located in historic Beacon Hill in downtown Boston
  • Boston Harbor Islands includes 34 islands (e.g., Georges, Spectacle, Thompson, Lovells, Peddocks, Bumpkin, etc.) and peninsulas covering more than 50 square miles. Visit historic lighthouses, explore tide pools, hike lush trails, camp under the stars, or enjoy some of the fishing, picnicking, or swimming spots.

To find more sites, use the park search finder. Another nearby site is the Adams National Historic Park in Quincy, Massachusetts. The park includes the birthplaces of two presidents, the “summer White House,” Stone Library, the Adams Carriage House, and 13 acres of a historic landscapes. Guided tours (April 19 – November 10) start at the visitor center (1250 Hancock Street, Quincy, MA), where senior, military, and 4th grade recreational passes can also be purchased in person.

I bought my senior pass at the Adams park in Quincy. It was fast, easy, and convenient — and I avoided the $10.00 processing fee. If you need a pass quickly, buying in person seems best. The visitor center is directly across the street from the Quincy Center station on the Braintree branch of the MBTA Red Line. There is plenty of free parking nearby.

Free Events For Bicycle Riders In Dorchester

Today’s post is 4th in a series about free events.

The Boston Neighborhood Bike Ride Series has two free events coming soon. The Neighborhood Ride Series (#IBikeBoston) welcomes riders (ages 16+, under 16 with parent present) of all abilities for a group ride exploring Dorchester streets and paths. During the rider you will see and learn about cultural and historical sights, plus parks and other favorite destinations.

The next group ride in Dorchester:
When: Saturday, August 5
Where: Starts in front of Ashmont Cycles in Peabody Square (Directions)
When: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Prizes are available for riders who complete 5 or more group rides. For more information, see the Dorchester event page, join the Boston Neighborhood Bike Ride Series group on Facebook, or follow the group on Twitter.

The next group ride scheduled is September 23 in Mattapan. Group riders in other areas of Boston are also planned.

Through its Boston Bikes program, the City of Boston seeks to “make bicycling fun, safe, and accessible.”

Next Meeting: 54 Pleasant Street Development Project

The next neighborhood meeting about the proposed 17-unit condo development project at 54 Pleasant Street will be:

Date: Tuesday, August 1
Time: 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Location: McLaughlin Center / Boys & Girls Club, 1135 Dorchester Ave

A prior neighborhood meeting was held on July 22. To learn more about this project, attend this upcoming meeting. Spread the word or join the 54 Pleasant Street Abutters group on Facebook.

Morrissey Blvd Redesign: Deadline For Feedback Is Tomorrow

Scope. Morrissey Blvd Redesign Plans. DCR. June 27.

Morrissey Boulevard Design Project Scope

Reminder: Wednesday, July 18, is the deadline to submit feedback about the redesign plans for the Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction project. According to the Dorchester Reporter on June 29:

“What we’re trying to do throughout the project is maintain capacity where it’s needed, at the intersections… which are typically the most constrained and challenging locations,” said Gary McNaughton, a traffic engineer with McMahon Associates. “And then in the areas where we can repurpose some of that pavement over to provide better accommodations for bikes and [pedestrians] and better landscaping features, we’re making sure we’re able to do that.”

Two of the project’s main design goals are to elevate the roadway to minimize coastal flooding, and to better connect neighborhoods to the park and shore.

The last public meeting was held June 27, when an updated 25-percent design plan was presented. According to the timeline presented in June, the DCR expects to present 75-percent design plans at an upcoming meeting in October. The DCR expects to present final design plans at a public meeting in January 2018, followed by a pre-construction final meeting in the fall of 2018.

The June 27 redesign presentation is available online (Adobe PDF). Residents can submit feedback online at the DCR website.

Neighborhood Meeting About Proposed Development At 54 Pleasant Street

There will be a neighborhood meeting about the proposed 17-unit condo development project at 54 Pleasant Street:

Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 am
Location: Christ The Rock Church, 48 Pleasant Street

A group of concerned neighbors met on February 4, 2017 to discuss this project, which would replace the existing Scally-Trayers Funeral Home. The group consensus was that the 17-unit project was, “too large and excessive for this property, and poses a significant impact upon density (a/k/a “cramming”)… Sentiments were shared with the developer Joey Arcari and with the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association at multiple Planning Committee Meetings, whose board members agree there is a definite validity to all of these concerns…”

To learn more about the project, please attend this neighborhood meeting. According to the flyer, Councilor Baker will attend this meeting:

“The Planning Board, Mayor’s Office, and Councilor Frank Baker have explicitly said they are looking to hear from the neighborhood before deciding upon their final position, either for or against this project”

Spread the word or join the 54 Pleasant Street Abutters group on Facebook. If you are unable to attend the meeting and support a reduced scale development project, then sign the online petition.

More Free Things To Do In Boston This Summer

Today’s post is the third in a series listing free activities this summer in Dorchester or in nearby parts of Boston. Below are activities sponsored by the Franklin Park Coalition:

Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park
Tuesday, June 18th:
11:00 am: OrigiNation – interactive dance
6:00 pm: E-Water Band
The playhouse stage is located between the zoo and White Stadium on Pierpont Road. Park rules: no alcohol, no smoking, and no BBQ.

Saturday Mornings
8:00 am: walking group. Meet at the Golf Clubhouse
9:15 am: Yoga with Linda the Wellness Warrior. Meet on Schoolmaster Hill, midway along the park road. Look for signs.

Mondays & Wednesdays
6:30 pm: Line dancing with Mz. Rhythm. Meet at Refectory Hill across from the clubhouse overlooking Blue Hill Ave.

More Free Summertime Events In Boston

A prior post listed several free events this summer both in Dorchester and around Boston. Today’s post provides more:

Girls’ Night At Franklin Park Zoo
Free admission for girls ages 6 to 18
July 15 – 11:00 am
Advance registration required

Pilgrimage to Huế
Fields Corner Branch, Boston Public Library
Daily from July 13 to 31
Description: Of Spirits, Rituals, and Trances showcases an annual festival called Điện Hòn Chén in Huế, Việt Nam. The festival is considered one of the largest gatherings to celebrate Đạo Mẫu, a religion indigenous to Việt Nam that centers around the worship of a Mother Goddess. The photographs featured in this exhibition helps connect us with a world beyond the grave as spirits converge in central Việt Nam. And: a tale of escape, loss, and the afterlife.
Artist Bio: Ngoc-Tran Vu is a Vietnamese American transnational and multimedia artist, organizer, and healer. She was born in Sài Gòn, Việt Nam and raised in the Dorchester and South Boston,

2017 Free Shakespeare on the Common
“Romeo & Juliet” By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allegra Libonati
July 19 to August 6
At the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common
Performances start promptly at 8:00 pm. There will also be a 3:00 pm matinee performance on Saturday, August 5. To learn more, visit the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company website.

Author Talk: Matt Tavares
Codman Square Branch of the Boston Public Library
July 20 at 1:00 pm
Children’s author and illustrator Matt Tavares, creator of “Growing up Pedro,” “Zachary’s Ball,” “Becoming Babe Ruth,” and more visits the Codman Square Branch. Recommended for ages 5 to 17. Note: this event is limited to 25 children. Each child will receive one copy of “Growing Up Pedro.” Advance registration required. Call the branch to register: 617-436-8214.

Girls Night At Boston Bowl
Boston Bowl, 820 Morrissey Blvd.
July 25 from 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Free bowling for girls ages 6 – 18
Advance registration required

Historic New England: Summer In The City
Fields Corner Branch of the Boston Public Library
August 7 at 10:30 am
Description: Historic New England invites students to explore the diverse architecture of Boston this summer from a modern glass skyscraper to a seventeenth century wooden house. Join us as we explore all the unique shapes, styles, and materials that create a city. Using Historic New England properties and city buildings, students will identify geometric shapes, discuss design and building techniques, and use a paper shape to make a cityscape to take with them. This program also encourages students to think about what a city needs in relationship to the environment and growing population.

Mayor Walsh’s Movie Night
Town Field, 1545 Dorchester Ave
August 10 at 7:30 pm
Film: “Shaun The Sheep”
Description: This event is presented by the Boston Parks & Recreation Department and Northeastern University, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment. Learn more.

Why Is There A Supersized Bronze Pear In Dorchester?

Image of bronze pear in Edward Everett Square.

Bronze Pear in Edward Everett Square. Credit: Edgar B. Herwick III/WGBH News

Yes, there is a supersized bronze pear in Dorchester. Why is it there? When was it created? Who designed it? How tall is the pear? What is the history of the site?

Many of your neighbors have memorial bricks at the site. For answers to these questions and more, read this WGBH report.

Free Summer Activities Available Locally

Looking for free activities to do this summer? There are several within Boston:

Summer concerts in Franklin Park
The nonprofit Franklin Park Coalition produces free concerts at the Elma Lewis Playhouse from July 11 to August 15. See the website for location, parking, and related information; or to sign up for e-mail updates.

WBZ Free Family Movies
WBZ-TV and the Department of Conservation & Recreation provide free family films throughout the summer at various locations in and near Boston, including Pope John Paul II Park in Dorchester:
August 10: Moana
August 17: Lego Batman
August 24: Doctor Strange
August 31: Star Wars Rogue 1
See the Massachusetts DCR site for the complete schedule (Adobe PDF) for all locations.

Summer In The City events at Rowes Wharf
The Boston Harbor Hotel produces free concerts and films downtown on the waterfront. Events start at 6:00 pm. The lineup includes R&B on Tuesdays, big band/swing on Wednesdays, Blues on Thursdays, and classic movies on Fridays. See the website for additional information and the list of musicians (Adobe PDF). The best transportation option is the MBTA: take any Red Line train to South Station and walk 3 blocks to the hotel. See map.