Have you ever wanted to try your hand at parkour, juggling, imaginary map-making, investing, or bee keeping? Get ready to try all that and more at no cost this Sunday afternoon at the Center for Arts at the Armory.
Somerville Skillshare invites the community to partake in a day of free classes led by area artists and entrepreneurs for their inaugural “skill sharing” event. The organization, run by a team of volunteers, seeks to connect talented residents across the city by providing a platform for free collaboration and education.
John Massie, the founder and director of Somerville Skillshare, said this is the first event of its kind in Somerville. He said that Somerville is one of the most talented artist communities in the country, and that he is excited to offer residents the opportunity to learn and connect in a way that encourages individuals to branch out and join the artist conversation.
“If you can make [education] free and open it up to as many people as possible, it’s an exciting thing," Massie said. "By definition, you’re hopefully attracting a very wide group and helping contribute to building community.”
Massie said that he and some of the other volunteers for Somerville Skillshare got the idea from similar events hosted in other cities, such as skillshares in Brooklyn and Boston. While these events have been going on for a few years, Massie said it has been exciting to see the overwhelming response to Somerville inaugurating its own event. More than 800 people have already registered for this free event, proving the city’s interest and demand for an educational platform.
“[You are learning] in a space that’s very informal, a fun setting, free, and you’re doing it with friends and other people in the same boat,” Massie said. “It’s making it as easy and accessible as possible to try new stuff.”
Class spaces will be set up throughout the Armory, Massie said, with about seven classes running simultaneously for 50-minute blocks. A small break will occur between each block, giving attendees time to continue their conversations and find their way to another class of interest. Massie said there will also be space available in the Armory’s café—and later in the performance hall—for individuals to continue discussions they may have started in the classes.
“In the spirit of trying to build and support community around education, we are giving people the space and time regimented during the day to help keep those conversations going,” Massie said.
MaMassie said that he hopes many people will take advantage of this opportunity, whether it is only for one class or for the entire afternoon. He said it’s the perfect invitation to try something new with talented teachers who can answer questions and share their own experiences.
“It is a chance to get a dose or small glimpse into the interesting and diverse things that Somerville residents are doing,” Massie said. “[We want people to walk] away feeling inspired by a class they took or a conversation they had, and to maybe jumpstart a brand new hobby.”
The first Somerville Skillshare will take place on Sunday, March 2, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information on classes that will be offered, the organization, or to RSVP, visit the event’s website.
The MBTA plans to open the rebuilt Yawkey commuter rail station in Boston next month, clearing the way for the transit agency to boost service across the entire Framingham-Worcester line, officials announced Wednesday.
The station is set to open and a new schedule for the commuter rail line is set be implemented on March 10, T general manager Beverly Scott announced.
“I would like to thank everyone for their patience,” she said in a statement. “We’re very excited about launching this new era in the continuing process of improving the Worcester-Framingham commuter rail line.”
Completion of the $14.9-million Yawkey Station overhaul was delayed by about two months while the contractor worked to address accessibility-related issues, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
That delay forced the T to hold back on implementing increased service across the Framingham-Worcester line. The Yawkey project includes constructing a second track allowing more trains to move through.
The new schedule will bring the total number of weekday round trips on the Framingham-Worcester line to 24, up from 22 roundtrips currently. The revised schedule also allows trains to stop at more stations while making those trips.
The line only offered 10 weekday roundtrips just before the state struck a deal in 2009 to buy a 21-mile stretch of the line’s tracks for $50 million from railroad company CSX Corp.
Since then, the T has incrementally increased train trips and stops, while improving other aspects of passenger service on the line that was once among the least reliable in the agency’s commuter rail network.
The rebuilt Yawkey Station, located steps from Fenway Park, features a pair of 700-foot-long train platforms that are fully accessible to people with disabilities, four new elevators and stairs, track realignments, an open mezzanine and a new main station lobby, or head house, at Yawkey Way.
Those future improvements include building new entrance shelters on Brookline Avenue and Beacon Street and extending Yawkey Way so MASCO shuttle buses, which serve the Longwood Medical Area, can pull up to the station.
When a parking garage for the Fenway Center development is built, solar panels installed atop the garage will power Yawkey Station, which will make it the first “net-zero energy” rail station in Massachusetts, officials have said.
During the recent construction project, the station remained in use. Riders would use one side of the platform while work would take place on the opposite side, officials said.
State officials held a formal groundbreaking ceremony for the project in the fall of 2010, but the actual work did not start until June 2012, about when officials had originally hoped to finish construction.
The project’s start was delayed because the state needed to wait until the track purchase deal with CSX was complete.
The project was paid for by the state, including through the use of federal stimulus funding, officials.
The developer of Fenway Center, Meredith Management Corp., has agreed to maintain the station’s entrances and elevators after the project is complete.
The MBTA today announced the start date for its planned two-year closure of Government Center Station -- Saturday, March 22.
The 24-month closure is part of a $90 million project to renovate and rebuild the busy station at City Hall Plaza.
MBTA personnel began posting signs today at Government Center and other stations, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said.
The T has also created a webpage with additional details, including recommendations for how passengers should navigate the system during the closure.
A transfer point for the Green and Blue lines, the station is the 13th busiest in the MBTA system and the third oldest, according to the T. On average, 11,315 people enter Government Center Station on weekdays.
Work on the Government Center Station project began in the fall while the station remained opened.
During the closure, trains will still run through, but will not stop at the station.
The T has said it will take steps to try to reduce impacts from the closure, including running: special bus route that will stop at Government Center, Haymarket, and State stations. And, Bowdoin Station, normally closed on weekends and after 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, will be kept open seven days a week and until the same time other stations close.
The overhaul, the first significant modernization to the Government Center Station in 50 years, will bring it into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and make myriad other improvements. The most dramatic change will be a tall, glass-lined station entrance, or headhouse, emerging from City Hall Plaza.
Other work will include: renovating Green Line and Blue Line platforms; overhauling the electrical system; installing new elevators, escalators, LED signs, improved lighting, and an expanded fare collection area, and reconstructing some of the surrounding parts of Cambridge Street and City Hall Plaza, officials said.
The station is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2016. After it reopens, some work will continue before the project's scheduled completion at the end of 2016. The T has said it expects federal funding to cover about 80 percent of the project cost.
Two New England Aquarium Harbor Seals seemed to be recovering well from cataract surgery on Friday, February 7, 2014.
Harbor seals in aquarium settings often live far beyond their natural life expediencies in the wild, but like aging people, they can suffer from similar chronic medical conditions like cataracts.
Reggae and Chacoda (also known as Chuck) are two adult male harbor seals whose vision has deteriorated in recent years as the milky cloudiness in their lenses. Both 200 pounders remain very active and know dozens of behaviors, but they've become more dependent on hearing the verbal commands of their marine mammal trainers rather than seeing their hand signals.
(David L Ryan/Globe Staff)
(David L Ryan/Globe Staff)
(David L Ryan/Globe Staff)
What better way to ward off the winter blues and get into the Valentine’s Day spirit than attending an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet?
In honor of their 25th Chocolate Bar Season, Café Fleuri, located at The Langham, Boston, is celebrating this milestone with “Decades of Decadence,” a chocolate buffet featuring a vast variety of chocolate lover’s favorite items from the bar’s beginning.
Pastry chef Ryan Pike, who has been at Café Fleuri for about six years, said the bar has put the café on the map. Offering a buffet of all-you-can-eat chocolate desserts every Saturday from September to June, the bar is every chocolate lover’s dream.
“We do about 100 different items, ranging from really rich bitter dark chocolate all the way to white chocolate,” Pike said.
Executive chef Mark Sapienza, who has been at Café Fleuri for about 15 years, said that the idea for the bar came in the 80s from chef Raymond Ost. Originally, the idea of a chocolate bar on Saturdays was a spinoff of French tradition that was quickly embraced by the city.
“There’s something in France that they do on Saturday afternoons, where normally parents would feed their children bread and chocolate after school on Saturdays. That was [Ost’s] idea, that on Saturday afternoons the café would have bread and chocolate. It was an idea that filled the void in the financial district.”
Sapienza said that since the bar’s inauguration in the 80s, every year the team of chefs and managers would develop a theme to keep the desserts new and fresh. He said that themes have ranged from chocolate dishes around the world to incorporating the five elements of wood, metal, water, fire, and wind to putting on a “Chocolate Trail” that offered treats inspired by each of Boston’s neighborhoods.
This year, in honor of the 25th anniversary, a variety of dishes are offered in honor of each decade. Pike said that they chose favorites from the past, which he feels resonate with customers and adds a unique touch to the experience.
“I try to hit on the things that everyone can relate to,” Pike said. “Like things people grew up with. For example, the cupcakes with swirls on them: I decorate them so it brings them back to their childhood. People can relate to it and they really love it.”
Pike said participants can expect to see a wide variety of both traditional and classic treats, such as Mississippi Mud Pie, Boston Cream Pie, chocolate crème brulee, cheesecakes, cupcakes, and tarts. He said they are also dedicating a table to “future” chocolate, exploring new textures and flavors with a smoked chocolate cake, flexible lemon curd tart, and a chocolate caviar.
Regardless of people’s preferences, Sapienza said everyone is bound to find something they love. In addition to the featured desserts, there will also be a crepe station, homemade ice cream station, a cotton candy machine, and an oven constantly pumping out fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. Sapienza said there will also be a variety of savory snacks to cut the sweetness.
“We put fresh potato chips, popcorn, salted almonds, pecans, and nuts. People can take a break from the chocolate, have some salt, and get ready to go back for more sweets,” Sapienza said. “We try to make sure there are things for everybody out there.”
Pike said that he loves having the opportunity to offer so many chocolate masterpieces to the public. He said that they continuously pour over the menu to keep it fresh, and that customers never know what they’ll get when they walk in the door.
“Come spend an afternoon indulging in chocolate from all around the world,” Pike said. “Take a weekend to come in and enjoy yourself.”
The bufett costs $42 for adults, $29 for children age 5-12 and children under age 4 are free.
“Decades of Decadence” will be taking place every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until June 28. Special decorations and items will be featured for Valentine’s Day. For more information or to book reservations, visit the café’s website.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
The MBTA announced today that a number of its bus lines will receive a countdown clock system to alert riders to when the next bus on each route will arrive. Last week, the transit system completed its 18-month installation of 314 of these countdown clocks at 53 stations along the Red, Orange, and Blue lines. While by all means good news for the T, the announcement left me and the nearly 220,000 daily riders of the Green Line wondering: What about us?
The Green Line gets a pretty bad--and in my opinion, undeserved --rap.
What other line serves more than 60 stations, covering 12 Boston neighborhoods and parts of Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, and soon Somerville?
What other line touches Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, the Colleges of the Fenway, the Downtown universities, and even (with a 15-minute walk) MIT?
What other line drops you off steps away from Boston's biggest landmarks--Fenway Park, Newbury Street, the Science Museum, to name a few?
Why will it be one of the last lines to get the countdown clocks? The MBTA said it will introduce the technology on the Green Line by the end of this year.
It's time to reclaim the Green Line, Boston's and America's first subway line. Sure, the rides may be bumpy and the trains may be delayed (though that problem's not exclusive to Green Line,) but it excels at taking you where you need to go. What else can we ask of it?
I am a proud Green Line commuter. It's the line that ferried me around the city as a college student. It's the line that still does that today. The Green Line and I may not always get along, but day after day, it keeps showing up, and I keep riding.
Today, we asked you what you love about the Green Line. Here are some of the responses:
@BostonDotCom Growing up next to the E Line, I hated the loud noises! But now I'm in the suburbs, hearing the screeching reminds me of home.— Henry Wu (@ByHenryWu) February 6, 2014
@BostonDotCom I love when it remains stationery under ground for extended periods of time.— KerryJ (@KerryJSay) February 6, 2014
@BostonDotCom I love the mystery and suspense of wondering if a Lechmere train is ever actually going to come. I'm an adventure junkie.— Sean Marsters (@swmarsters) February 6, 2014
Sarcasm aside, the Green Line touches a lot of this city's population. Let's embrace Boston's only streetcar, subway line.
Lastly, as promised on Twitter, a Green Line poem:
O fairest of T lines, you take me away
From Park Street to Lechmere, Riverside to Fenway
In rain, sleet and snow
You still manage to go
Though often you run on substantial delays.
The MBTA plans to soon install countdown clocks at a number of bus stations throughout its system to notify riders when the next bus on each route will leave that station, the agency announced today.
The bus way at Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain will be the first bus location to get the electronic message boards, according to T spokeswoman Kelly Smith.
Signs are also planned in bus ways at Dudley Square and Ruggles stations, she said. Eight other stations have been "tentatively" chosen to receive the signs: Harvard Square; Haymarket, Ashmont; Kenmore; Maverick, Wonderland, Jackson Square, and Central Square.
The signs should be operational by summer, Smith said.
The signs, using real-time bus tracking data, will provide information about when each route serving that station is next expected to depart. The signs will feature both visual and audio messages.
The project is funded through federal stimulus money, and each sign costs about $50,000, a price tag that includes the display, hardware, software, installation, maintenance and a push-button activated sound system so that people with visual impairments can access the information on the sign, she said.
Most stations will have one sign each. Dudley, because of its size, will have two, she said.
"I've often said our buses are the work horses of our system, serving more than 375,000 people on a typical weekday," T general manager Beverly Scott said in a statement. "The countdown signs at our busiest bus stops will provide customers with information that will make their public transit experience easier and more convenient."
Last week, the T completed an 18-month-long project to activate a total of 314 countdown clocks at all 53 subway stations on the Red, Orange and Blue lines, which officials said made the T one of the first transit agencies in the country to equip all heavy rail stations with train-arrival information.
Officials said the signs have been popular and well-received by riders, and since they were introduced in the summer of 2012 the agency said it has made regular improvements based on rider feedback, including making the signs more accurate and easier to see.
The T said it expects to introduce the countdown clock system to the Green Line by the end of this year. The light rail line is undergoing work to upgrade its less-sophisticated train tracking system with GPS and sensor technology to allow for countdown clock capability.
The agency has also said technology upgrades on the Green Line will allow smartphone-carrying riders to be able to track in real-time the whereabouts and expected arrival of the line's trains by 2015.
Trains on the Red, Orange and Blue have been tracked by mobile applications since the fall of 2010, when the agency made real-time train location data on those lines available to private software developers, who have created numerous smartphone applications. The T made real-time data on bus locations available to software developers in fall of 2009.
Apparently Charlie cards expire? As in I cannot add any money to the car? No indication on card to tell me that going to work. #MBTA— Anthony Tulliani (@Tulliani) February 3, 2014
Dealing with an expired @MBTA Charlie card is not how I wanted to spend Monday.— Mark DiGiammarino (@DiGi44) February 3, 2014
Am I the only one to have a Charlie Card expire recently with $ still on it? Or the only one who didn't know this happens? @universalhub— Dana (@dgobs23) January 31, 2014
What better way to spend a Somervillian Sunday afternoon than admiring some wacky mustaches?
This Sunday, the Somerville Art Council will be hosting BeardFest 2014 in honor of facial hair artistry. Competitors will gather at the Center for Arts at the Armory to compete in different categories to see which beard brings home the gold.
Bert Mayer, the founder of the Boston Beard Bureau, said this is the fourth year Somerville has hosted the event. He’s noticed that people in the Greater Boston area have grown quite fond of letting beards roam wild and free.
“I think the Red Sox have a lot to do with [beard approval] this year,” Mayer said. “Plus, I think the popularity of beard competitions in general has picked up a lot.”
The Somerville Art Council has once again divided the competition into five categories: natural full beard, free-style full beard, free-style mustache, free-style partial beard, (which includes goatees, sideburns and any other creative combination of the above), and best fake beard.
Mayer said that even though the actual beard growing may be predominantly left to men, women make up just as much of the beard growing community. He said that it’s not about whether or not someone can actually grow a beard, but rather supporting everyone in the community who chooses to do so.
“A lot of women are involved, too,” Mayer said. “They get behind guys who do it, and they also compete in the fake beard competitions. It’s about camaraderie and about having a good time.”
In addition to the competition, there will be food and drink, as well as music proved by DJ Pace. There will also be a make-your-own beard table, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in beard culture.
Mayer said that it’s a great day of family fun and that everyone should check it out. He said it’s a unique experience that will put everyone in good spirits before the big game.
“It’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else. It’s a lot of people coming together for a really weird reason,” Mayer said. “It’s during the day, you can bring your kids, and it’s a good way to warm up for Super Bowl that night.”
BeardFest 2014 will take place on Sunday, February 3 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Center for Arts at the Armory. General admission and/or registration is $5. For more information, visit the event’s website.