CBS News

Cambridge choir boys sing for Pope Francis, ride in Popemobile

CAMBRIDGE – A group of choir boys who go to school in Cambridge had the experience of a lifetime recently that included a ride on the Popemobile with Pope Francis. 

The Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s Choir School, Harvard Square, were on a 12-day choir tour of Italy. They were personally invited to sing for Francis during his general audience at the Vatican on April 26.

“Six of the boys rode through the crowds of St. Peter’s Square with Pope Francis on the famous “Popemobile,” the school said.

WBZ News Radio

Harvard Square Welcomes 38th Annual MayFair Festival

Photo: Suzanne Sausville/ (WBZ NewsRadio)

CAMBRIDGE (WBZNewsRadio) — It was a beautiful sunny day for the 38th annual MayFair Festival in Harvard Square on Sunday.

Streets were closed to traffic, opening the location up for festivalgoers to enjoy all the activities including street performers, live music, dance, and sidewalk sales.

There were three beer gardens and a wide variety of international food vendors serving everything from cannoli to Mexican street corn, to jumbo turkey legs


Our newsroom team’s favorite patios for outdoor dining in Boston

The city’s expanded patio program is back — and this time, it’s permanent.

Dining alfresco is one of my favorite ways to enjoy lunch or brunch on a sunny weekend. There’s a sort of European vibe to it (though I wouldn’t suggest using the term alfresco in Italy) that makes me feel like I’m on vacation… even when I’m right at home in Boston.

WBUR is a nonprofit news organization. Our coverage relies on your financial support. If you value articles like the one you’re reading right now, give today.

You might notice some changes to the outdoor dining scene this year: Most notably, the lack of on-street parking spot “patios” in the North End. City officials say the shift is due to the neighborhood’s unique set up (fun fact: the North End has the densest per capita number of restaurants in the entire state, with 95 restaurants in just over a third of a square mile) that led to traffic and sanitation concerns from some its residents. Read Monday’s edition of WBUR Today for more details on the change.

Still, there’s no lack of outdoor dining options across the Boston area. With this weekend’s favorable forecast in mind, I asked the WBUR Newsroom about their favorite patios, rooftops and alfresco dining spots in the city. Here are the ‘BUR-approved recs:

Orinoco in Harvard Square has a great patio! (And good food.)” — Dianna Bell, arts and culture editor

The Speedway in Brighton is my favorite outdoor patio, a perfect stop after a stroll along the Charles. The tables are big and great for large groups. There are umbrellas for super sunny days so you don’t have to roast in the sun. Notch Brewing beers are delightful and there are multiple food options to grab a bite (Super Bien empanadas — chicken bacon cool ranch or mac and cheese, come on! — are my go-to choices).” — Meagan McGinnes, assistant managing editor for newsletters

Petit Robert Bistro + oysters + rosé = heaven.” — Candice Springer, assistant director at CitySpace

Owl’s Nest on the Esplanade is my vote. Bonus: the dog (shhhh) can come and sit outside of the ropes. We [also] spend a lot of summer afternoons/evenings at Time Out Market’s patio.” — Steven Davy, senior producer for CitySpace [Editor’s note: Boston announced a new policy this week to soon begin allowing people to bring dogs to approved patios and beer gardens.]

Felipe’s Taqueria rooftop!” — Jacob Garcianewsroom fellow

“The Naco Taco patio is fun!” — Amy Sokolow, associate producer

Boston Globe

Woman struck by falling support brace at Harvard MBTA station 2 months after ceiling panel fell

CAMBRIDGE — A woman was injured after she was struck by falling equipment at the Harvard MBTA station on Monday afternoon, two months after an insulation panel fell from the station’s ceiling, narrowly missing a commuter on the same platform.

The woman was standing near a column shortly after 4:30 p.m. when a supporting brace hit her as a utility box attached to the column slid to the bottom, according to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo and the Cambridge Fire Department.

Joanne Wyckoff was sitting nearby when the piece fell.

“We all heard this very loud rumble and then the metal apparatus fell from the ceiling with a huge bang,” she said in an e-mail.

The victim, believed to be in her early 30s, was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, according to the fire department.

The area surrounding the column was blocked off while MBTA officials worked “to determine what caused the equipment to detach from its mounting,” Pesaturo said in an e-mail.

A piece of equipment fell from the top of a column at the Harvard MBTA station on Monday, striking a woman who was then taken to the hospital, officials said.
A piece of equipment fell from the top of a column at the Harvard MBTA station on Monday, striking a woman who was then taken to the hospital, officials said.JOANNE WYCKOFF

MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng, who took over as head of the agency less than a month ago, went to Harvard station Monday evening to examine the damage.

“We will take all necessary measures to protect our riders and employees and secure our infrastructure for safer service,” Pesaturo said.

Red Line train service was not affected, he said.

The walkway between the column and the wall was roped off with yellow caution tape Monday evening, and small bits of debris remained on the tiled floor after the fallen structure was removed. Water dripped from the ceiling a few feet away.

MBTA workers in yellow reflective vests were seen leaving the station around 8 p.m.

The incident happened a short distance from the spot where a ceiling panel weighing more than 20 pounds suddenly dropped to the ground March 1, narrowly missing a patron. About 100 ceiling panels were removed by the following week, and MBTA crews inspected ceilings at several other stations on the Red Line corridor.

The agency has come under scrutiny in the last year following a series of safety incidents.

Last summer, federal transportation officials issued a scathing report that found the agency’s workforce was too small and had too little training. Last month, the Federal Transit Administration sounded the alarm again, warning that T workers face a “substantial risk” of death or injury while working on train tracks and ordering the agency to make immediate changes to its protocols and training.

Riders passing through Harvard station Monday night expressed little surprise about the latest incident.

“If you look up, it’s all rust,” said Dave, a passenger who declined to share his last name.

Damien Vladimiroff said he was thinking about the incident while entering Harvard station.

”The MBTA needs updates,” said Vladimiroff, a Boston University student. Victoria Hagen, who was waiting with him on the platform, chimed in, “The MBTA is way behind.”

“I’ve been deeply disappointed by public transit in the city,” said Nika, another passenger. “I haven’t felt unsafe … but it’s always unpredictable, unreliable.”

Wyckoff stepped onto a Braintree-bound train shortly after the incident.

“It’s a horribly broken system that we workers have to endure to get to work,” she said.


Antoinette Antonio Set to Emcee the 38th Annual Asian Street Food & Music Festival on May 7

Join Antoinette Antonio at the 38th Annual Asian Street Food & Music Festival on Sunday, May 7 at Harvard Square!

The Asian Street Food and Music Festival is one of the annual events of the Harvard Square Philippine American Alliance and it is intended to bring the Asian American community together by showcasing a panorama of our rich heritage and traditions through music, dance, and food to the local community. In partnership with the Harvard Square Business Association’s Annual Mayfair, this event will feature live music on multiple stages from different eras catering to a multi-generational crowd, international vendors of crafts and items including those uniquely from Asia, and festive beer gardens from both local and international businesses. Come spend your weekend learning more about our rich Asian culture with your family and friends, while enjoying good food and music at the heart of Cambridge.

Boston Globe

Pizza Project serves Sicilian slices at the Speedway; Harvard Square’s Bar Enza gets a notable new chef

Coming soonBánh Mì Oi will open in Waltham in the next two to three months (1097 Lexington St.), owner Yeanie Bach tells me. The restaurant, with other locations in West Roxbury and Foxborough, is worth waiting for. You’ll find plenty of bánh mì varieties: cold cuts, fried fish or shrimp, barbecue pork, lemongrass steak, and more. There’s also pho, vermicelli or rice bowls, and Vietnamese iced coffee. Bach also runs Phinista Café in the Fenway.

Changes: Harvard Square’s Bar Enza (1 Bennett St.) has new culinary leadership. The restaurant inside the Charles Hotel made a splash for many reasons when it opened in 2021: It was taking over the hallowed Rialto space, for one thing. Also, it was run by Mark Ladner, the award-winning Mario Batali protégé who earned acclaim at New York City’s Del Posto.

But now chef Tony Susi is in charge. The executive chef has remade the menu: Find squid ink pasta with crabmeat, sirloin carpaccio, and poached monkfish. Ladner’s ballyhooed 100-layer lasagna is no more.

Susi got his start at Todd English’s Olives. He’s best known for Sage, which opened in the North End in 1994 and moved to the South End in the mid-2000s, where Susi was hailed for his “exceptional appetizer menu,” per a 2007 Globe review. Visit for dinner Monday through Saturday.

OpeningsPizza Project celebrates its grand opening at the Charles River Speedway (525 Western Ave.) on Saturday, April 29, new from Dan and Alexandra Spinale. Visit Wednesday from 4 p.m. and Thursday through Sunday from noon for naturally leavened Sicilian slices of cheese, pepperoni and hot honey, plus Italian subs and rotating specials. Pizza Project launched as a mobile pizzeria during the pandemic; this is its first shop.

Reopenings: In Burlington, Chopps (1 Burlington Mall Road) has reopened after two years, now with an Italian steakhouse twist. Once an American bar and grill, Chopps serves eggplant parmesan, arancini, and negronis. There’s live music Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It’s open daily.


MayFair sets the stage for 38th annual edition in Harvard Square

The weather has been eight shades of stubborn, but spring is slowly starting to make its presence felt around the region. A sure sign that warmer times are ahead is the return of MayFair, the annual Cambridge music and arts festival that fills Harvard Square with good vibes across multiple stages and roadways. The Harvard Square Business Association has revealed the lineup for MayFair’s 38th edition, set for Sunday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it’s another stellar and eclectic collection of bands, artists, and performers.

Leading the way at the Main Stage at the “Super Crosswalk” are Zola Simone (pictured), Jake Swamp and the Pine, Other Brother Darryl, Koliba, Albino Mbie, Vibe Check, and Rumboat Chili. Drummer and percussionist extraordinaire Jonathan Ulman will be joining Simone and Swamp for their sets, as well.

Over on the Irving House Passim Stage at the intersection of Brattle and Church streets are Sweet Petunia, The Talking Hearts, Andrew Sue Wing, Almira Ara, Maurizio Fiore Salas & Sofia Chiarandini, Mark Erelli, and Roman Barten-Sherman.

The nearby Dance Stage welcomes Fourth Dimension, Rebecca McGowan, Rising Step, Neena Gulati, and more than a dozen others. There’s a lot more on the overall program, including participating restaurants and food vendors, more than 30 artisan booths, and a new entry for this year, the the Asian Street Food and Music Festival, organized by the Harvard Square Philippine American Alliance. Hit the link for all the details.

The Crimson

The Aftertaste: A Look Back on Harvard Square’s Beloved Tasty Diner

In “Good Will Hunting,” Matt Damon ’92 shares a late-night pickle with his love interest. Behind them, a red sign spelling out “Tasty” glows neon in the window.

Although it is unfamiliar to students now, the Tasty Diner, a 24/7 hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop, was once an all-hours gathering place for Cambridge residents and Harvard students.

“You know, we’re old, we were all around before social media. You needed spots where you could find each other. And if you were out late at night, the Tasty was a good option,” Chris W. Moore ’89 recalls.

Now, CVS stands in the Tasty’s place, and El Jefe’s Taqueria has overtaken the small diner as the de facto late-night Harvard haunt. Students today associate “Tasty” with Tasty Burger, the Boston burger chain located down the street. Yet alumni and Cambridge residents have found ways to preserve their memories of the Harvard Square watering hole.

In 1997, renovations conducted by the Cambridge Savings Bank forced the Tasty to close after 81 years in business. When he heard it was shutting down, Moore, a producer of “Good Will Hunting,” pushed for the Tasty to be immortalized as a backdrop in the movie.

“It literally was the worst place ever to shoot because it’s tiny,” Moore explains, describing the diner’s cramped 12-seat arrangement. The scene was shot during the daytime, when it was less hectic. “I’m glad it’s on film somewhere,” Moore says.

But “Good Will Hunting” was not the only film to portray the Tasty. Cambridge local Federico Muchnik preserved snapshots of the diner’s night-to-night life in his documentary “Touching History: Harvard Square, The Bank, and The Tasty Diner.”

Muchnik captured the space in unfiltered vitality in a documentary that Tasty-goers could hold on to even as the neighborhood morphed. In the weeks before the shop’s closing, Muchnik would order a couple of hot dogs, sit in the corner of the room, and begin to film. He trained his camera on the Tasty’s liveliness: the cooks jovially teasing customers, the never-ending conversation, the constant patter of clattering silverware.

Cambridge residents and Harvard students alike were loath to lose the gathering spot.

“I documented the taking apart of the Tasty, and that was a pretty emotional day for many people,” Muchnik says. Cambridge activists railed against the diner’s removal, protesting at City Hall, all of which Muchnik captures in his film. The Tasty, he says, was a “crossroads place because it was open and it was accessible and nobody judged you.”

Muchnik remembers the Tasty was a place of spontaneous togetherness, where unhoused people, Harvard students and professors, and working-class Cambridge locals convened on equal footing. A map of pins on the wall traced customers’ origins and travels. Hearing the stories of other customers’ travels, Muchnik says, felt like traveling with them. There was something transporting about the Tasty.

“If you were there, you were part of the Tasty community,” Nick P. D’Arienzo Jr. ’83 says. “You were in Harvard Square. You were in Cambridge. You weren’t really at Harvard anymore.” He “fell in love” with the establishment, he says. “I found I didn’t want to dress as preppy the more I went. It’s like we cared more about fitting in at the Tasty than about fitting in at Harvard.”

Harvard alumni who frequented the burger joint carry a sort of oral history of Tasty stories. Almost every person we interviewed sent us the names of more friends, promising fresh fables.

Many tell stories of Charles Coney, the diner’s central figure and cook, who…


Dennis Lehane on his new novel ‘Small Mercies’

NPR Scott Simon talks with author Dennis Lehane about his new novel, “Small Mercies.” It’s set in 1974 Boston, during the protests over court-mandated desegregation of public schools there.


There’s a memory from his childhood that Dennis Lehane has never managed to shake. The bestselling novelist of “Mystic River,” “Gone, Baby, Gone” and other books recalls the summer of 1974. The city of Boston had erupted in protests over court-mandated busing to desegregate public schools. Driving home, his father took a wrong turn straight into a protest, and from the back seat, young Dennis Lehane saw what looked like life-sized dolls hanging from street lamps.

DENNIS LEHANE: People lit them on fire. And it was medieval, and it was a very strange thing to be trapped in when you were 9 years old.

SIMON: Dennis Lehane’s new novel, “Small Mercies,” is set during that summer of 1974. A Black student dies in a baffling subway accident. A white teenage girl goes missing. And a note to our listeners – our discussion will refer to the use of racial epithets. The novel follows the girl’s mother, Mary Pat Fennessy, on the hunt for her missing daughter. She is loving, hardworking, ferocious and a very specific protagonist for Dennis Lehane.

LEHANE: I’ve known a lot of Mary Pats, and I’d never seen them represented in literature before or on film. There is a certain type of woman – usually a woman who came out of the projects that I remember from being a kid, but also some who just lived in – you know, they lived in what we called three-deckers, women who came from poverty. And they were capable of going toe to toe with a man in a fistfight. That wasn’t saying they’d win, but they were capable of doing it, and they were reasonably fearless. So I got this image in my head of a woman getting back-talked by somebody – a man, a male – and beating the hell out of him in a bar. That’s kind of where I started.

SIMON: At one point, following up in one of her own leads, Mary Pat goes to Harvard Yard. She feels that students and hippies and, to use her terminology, snot noses are all staring at her. Why?

LEHANE: Because she’s poor. She doesn’t fit in this world. If you were to take the subway from – I think it was seven stops – from Broadway to Harvard on the red line in Boston, you know, that’s changing worlds. It’s changing cultures. It’s changing – it’s vast economic difference. It’s a route that I took when I was a kid. My mother insisted that I take piano lessons, which I did not want to do, but she made me take piano lessons with this nun over in Harvard Square. And so I would every Wednesday take the subway from Columbia Station, which is where I grew up in Dorchester, to Harvard Square, get out, and I don’t know if my mother intended it – I know my mother wanted to give me some type of culture – but what happened to me was I didn’t take to music but 20 bookstores within a square mile in Harvard Square when I was a kid, and that’s what I took to. If I got there early, I just wandered bookstores. And it opened up my eyes to the world. So when Mary Pat goes there, she says at one point she would feel more comfortable in another country – Ireland, perhaps – than she would feel in Harvard Square.

SIMON: Mary Pat doesn’t like the idea of school busing – Black kids from Roxbury bused to South Boston, white kids from South Boston to Roxbury. And at one point, she muses that the politicians who support it, like Teddy Kennedy, are, quote – profanity alert are, quote, “just another case of the rich [expletive] in their suburban castles in their all-white towns telling the poor people stuck in the city how things are going to go.” Pretty compelling argument, isn’t it, for both Blacks and whites?

LEHANE: Yes. And that was something I really wanted to examine, that desegregation of the Boston public schools had to happen. So on one hand, you have what needed to happen, which is desegregation. Then you had the method by which it happened, which was selective forced busing, which was not necessarily a good idea. And it was a case of the neighborhoods, the working-class neighborhoods, once again being told without a vote what they were going to do. And the people who constructed that social experiment could sit back without it affecting their lives one bit.

SIMON: Let me ask you about the language.

LEHANE: Of course.

SIMON: Yeah, a lot of it’s raw.


SIMON: A lot of racial epithets.


SIMON: Those are hard to use these days, aren’t they?

LEHANE: They should be. But they were very easy to use back then, at least where I grew up. There’s a photograph on the front of the book that was taken by Eugene Richards.

SIMON: This is a little boy looking up at it looks like mounted policemen, and it says Southie, God’s country on the back of his T-shirt.

LEHANE: Yes. And that was a Eugene Richards shot taken during a busing protest right out in front of South Boston High School. And to see it now and to see the graffiti that he captures and graffiti that was written all over the city – not just South Boston, but all over the city – including KKK, including the worst racial epithets you can think of and kill all the – fill in the blank. It’s shocking, and it’s sobering because you realize you can’t hide from those photographs.

SIMON: There’s a line that’s been ringing in my head of yours. Hate takes years to build, but hope can come sliding around the corner when you’re not even looking.

LEHANE: Oh, that’s my favorite line in the book. I’m glad. I’m glad that got you. The book is very much about the price of hate. Mary Pat will acknowledge that she has some racism, but she doesn’t understand the depths of it at all. She thinks, well, compared to all these other rabid racists around me, I’m not really that racist. And this becomes a journey for her to understand the terrible legacy of her racism, the way it was passed down to her, the way she passed it down to her children and how it’s all ultimately connected to everything that goes on in this book. And that’s the great tragedy. And at one point she comes to a realization that it’s something that was sold to her and that then she sold it to her own children.

And she has this heartbreaking line for me ’cause I didn’t even plan the line. It just popped out of me, which is, you know, they know. They always know. Even at 5, they know that what you’re telling them is a lie, but you wear them down. And then ultimately they embrace it. Nobody’s born racist – just not. Doesn’t happen. I mean, it sounds ridiculous to say that this late in the world’s becoming, if you will, but you don’t see two 4-year-old kids show up at a playground and not play with each other because one’s Black and one’s white. But by 8, that may be very likely. So I really wanted to look at it as this virus that is handed down generationally. And that’s – that became the impetus to write the book that became what in some ways was an expulsion for me, I think, of things I’ve been carrying around inside of me since I was 9.

SIMON: Is “Small Mercies” your last novel?

LEHANE: I don’t know. I really don’t know. So I’m out of contract for the first time in 25 years. I’ve been swept up into this wonderful world of premium television that I love. I’m a social being. It was never natural for me to sit in a room pecking away all the time alone. So this book, though, was written while I was actually running a television show, and it came out of me because it needed to come out of me, which is how you become a writer in the first place. So is it my last book? I don’t know. If it is, I’m OK with that. That’s great. It seems like a good mic drop to me. But if it’s not, it’ll be that another book needs to come out of me. Not because I owe the publisher a book, not because of my deadline, not because, you know, I’m worried about my agent’s bottom line – none of that. I just will need to tell a story. And if that happens, I would love to write another book.

SIMON: Dennis Lehane – his new novel, “Small Mercies.” Thank you so much for being with us.

LEHANE: Thank you, Scott.

Copyright © 2023 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

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Where to find outdoor artisan markets in Boston this summer

Support local artists and small businesses this summer at one of the city’s many artisan markets.

When the warm weather finally descends upon Boston, there’s no shortage of ways to get out of the house. Visiting one of the many outdoor artisan markets that’ll soon pop up in Boston neighborhoods and beyond is one of the most affordable ways to experience the city this season. Some markets, like the Somerville Flea or SoWa have years-long legacies of assembling vendors who purvey artisan goods — others, like the Harvard Square Open Market or the Greenway Artisan Market, are in their first few years.

Head to a market on weekends this summer to meet your neighbors, grab bites from a food truck, and support local makers and small businesses. Here are a few worth checking out.

SoWa Open Market

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays from May 7 through October 29, head to 500 Harrison Ave. in the South End to find dozens of vendors along with food trucks, beer gardens, and a farmers’ market at the SoWa Open Markets. You’ll find over a hundred purveyors of art, jewelry, specialty food items, housewares, and locally grown produce. The detailed food truck schedule is here. Head next door to Thayer Street to visit more art galleries and shops. 

Greenway Artisan Market

On both Saturdays and Sundays, visit the Rose Kennedy Greenway for the outdoor Greenway Artisan Market powered by Somerville Flea. Dozens of vendors sell art, jewelry, and other handmade goods on Saturdays from May 6 through October 31 and on Sundays from May 28 through October 8. Food trucks will line the Greenway this summer, too.

Harvard Square Open Market

The Harvard Square Open Market returns to Church Street for the second year this summer, taking place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays from June 4 through October 29. The outdoor market will host a mix of artisans, vintage dealers, makers, artists, and small business owners right in the heart of bustling Harvard Square.

Somerville Flea

While the Somerville Flea has collaborated with the Greenway for the Greenway Artisan Market, they also have their own outdoor artisan/flea market each summer. Now in its 12th year, the market will bring around 50 vendors to Davis Square on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. from August 6 through October 29 for a total of 13 markets. Visitors can expect vintage dealers and designers alongside artisans and artists, along with a live DJ and fresh produce from Kimball Fruit Farm.

Downtown Boston BID Arts Market

The Downtown Boston BID Arts Market returns on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. starting May 4 and wrapping October 11. The market brings a rotating lineup of artisan vendors, craftspeople, and makers to pedestrian Summer Street in the heart of Downtown Crossing, so visitors have plenty of shopping and restaurants nearby after visiting the market.