2020 Year in Review

What a year it has been.  2020 has become the year we wish to forget, but, will undoubtedly be forever remembered as the year of drastic changes.  Schools, businesses, socializing all have been effected by COVID.

Here are some of the highlights of 2020:

*On Jan. 10, the Friends of the Public Garden, which celebrated its Golden Anniversary in 2010, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Boston Parks Department that strengthened their partnership and shared commitment to caring for the Public Garden, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and the Boston Common together over the next 50 years.

*On Jan. 27, the State Administration held a hearing regarding the future of the John B. Hynes Convention Center, which the state intends to sell.

*On March 13, Gov. Charlie Baker’s order that banned all gatherings of over 250 people in the Commonwealth in response to the pandemic.

*On March 28, Blackstone’s of Beacon Hill and its sister establishment, KitchenWares by Blackstones, consolidated under one roof at 46 Charles St. *In late March, the Vilna Shul launched “Virtual Vilna,” which brought its programming online to reach more than 1,200 visitors in its first two weeks. *In late March, longtime neighborhood resident Diana Coldren joined Ali Ringenburg, co-president of the Beacon Hill Business Association, to launch a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover the electric bills for the month of March for small businesses that operate within the Historic Beacon Hill District.

*On April 16, the Beacon Hill Civic Association sponsored a virtual hearing regarding the state’s plans to launch a redevelopment process for the Charles F. Hurley Building.

*On May 10, the Friends of the Public Garden hosted a “virtual” Duckling Day in lieu of the traditional yearly event at the Public Garden.

*On May 20, work commenced on the $2.8 million restoration of the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Regiment Memorial on the Boston Common via a unique partnership that includes the City of Boston, National Park Service, Friends of the Public Garden, the Museum of African American History and the Friends of the Public Garden, *In June, Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jay Livingstone filed a bill authorizing the long-term lease of the former Lee Pool Complex on the Charles River Esplanade. *From June 1 to 7, the Esplanade Association held its first Virtual 5K that slowed around 300 participants to make the trek at their own pace and on any route they choose, instead of the usual footrace, which typically draws around 1,000 runners to the Charles River Esplanade.

*On July 21 and 22, the city installed temporary bike lanes around the Public Garden and the Boston Common as part of its Healthy Streets initiative, which reconfigures streets to allow more space between vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. *In August, Everett’s Night Shift Brewing partnered with the Esplanade Association to open the Owl’s Nest beer garden for its third season in the park.

*On Aug. 6, the Friends of the Public Garden held its 50th annual meeting virtually, at which time Liz Vizza was promoted to president of the nonprofit organization. *On Aug. 25, Beacon Hill resident Miguel Rosales was recognized in Mayor Martin Walsh’s annual Garden Contest for the third consecutive year during a virtual ceremony. Rosales received second place in the Shade Garden category this year, and had previously received first and second place awards in the same category in 2019 and 2018, respectively.

*In September, the Blessing Barn, a thrift and antique shop, and self-described “sharing center,” opened at 144 Charles St. 

*On Sept. 15, the city announced that it would transform the temporary bike lanes around the Boston Common and the Pubic Garden into permanent infrastructure.

*On Sept. 25 and 26, the Beacon Hill Business Association’s long-running and eagerly awaited Sidewalk Sale returned to the neighborhood, albeit with social distancing and other new public safety protocol in place.

*On Sept. 27, the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s Fall HillFest took place virtually. *On Oct. 22, the city held the first of several planned meetings to plan for the future of the West End Branch Library, including the possibility of creating new affordable housing as a component of the project.

*On Nov. 2, Thieves Next Door – the sister establishment to next-door neighbor December Thieves – opened at 53 Charles St.

*On Nov. 5, voters on Beacon Hill, and throughout the country, supported Democrat Joe Biden in his victory over the incumbent, President Donald Trump, in the race for the White house.

*On Dec. 6, the Nichols House Museum held its first-ever Holiday Wreath Tour.

*On Dec. 12, the Beacon Hill Business Association held its Safe Holiday Stroll.

*On Dec. 14, Joel Pierce, who stepped down earlier this year after serving on the Beacon Hill Architectural Commission for nearly three decades, was awarded the Beacon Hill Civic Association’s 24th annual Beacon Award for his “significant and sustained contribution” to the community.

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