If you’re a Boston College student, you’ve most likely been to Coolidge Corner. If you haven’t, you’re probably a freshman who hasn’t yet been able to experience one of the most unique and lively parts of Boston. It’s relatively close to campus via the T, so after reading this, you no longer have any excuse not to go the first chance you get, especially because the neighborhood only continues to grow, improve, and thrive. This was particularly evident during the Brookline Day event on September 18 in Coolidge Corner, an annual celebration of all the businesses and organizations that make the area so charming.
Walking down Harvard Street, which was closed off for Brookline Day, the mood was exuberant. The road was lined with dozens of booths and vendors, with local people of all ages out and about. It was absolutely bustling, and everyone seemed happy to be there, which isn’t hard with great weather, good food, live entertainment, and a chance to connect with the community. The atmosphere was extremely fun, with different local music groups performing in multiple areas, including a stage set up at the end of the block that had some of the crowd dancing. Unfortunately, I had to leave as one of the cover bands announced they were playing Bonnie Raitt next, but everyone else was excited for more ‘80s hits. There were also plenty of activities for kids, with the Brookline Fire Department bringing a truck for them to explore.
Brookline organizations and businesses of all kinds were represented this weekend. One group I came across was Brookline for Everyone, a grassroots organization that is fighting for more affordable and sustainable housing in the neighborhood. They had a poster board on display where community members could share their suggestions for improvement in housing (someone wrote "a faster green line," which is something all of Boston would probably enjoy).
One of Brookline for Everyone’s representatives, Amanda, expressed excitement about how many people were interested in the cause and her ability “to make town government more representative of the public view.”
The event also featured opportunities for political involvement, and I was able to talk to members of the Brookline Democratic Town Committee, who were all extremely pleased to spread the word on the candidates and legislation they support.
One member, Cindy Rowe, said there were a “lot of people signing up wanting to know how to get involved.” She also highlighted the Fair Share Amendment, which would raise taxes on people whose income is over one million dollars and use the extra revenue to fund education and infrastructure.
For many who work in Coolidge Corner, the high turnout was especially great to see since this is the first Brookline Day since the pandemic. Plenty of the restaurants and stores that are the reason the neighborhood is so well-loved in the first place were out on the street promoting their businesses. Hamilton was selling burgers and hot dogs almost faster than they could cook them, and Dumpling Daughter was giving out free samples (which were delicious).
By the booth for Eureka! Puzzles and Games, I got to watch one of their employees make mini, customizable puzzles right there. For anyone who enjoys puzzles, it’s a very cool process. Eureka is the perfect place to go if you’re stumped while gift shopping. They can even make a puzzle out of your last Gasson Gram.
One of my favorite places in Boston, the Coolidge Corner Theater, had a booth set up on the street, giving away stickers and popcorn. I was lucky enough to talk to Billy Thegenus, the theater’s new Outreach Coordinator, and Sam Nelson, who both enthusiastically spoke about upcoming events and gave some exciting news.
Thegenus’s biggest goal stepping into the position was to increase student engagement with the theater, which is why they just started a student discount on tickets five days a week. They are also holding a student membership drive where you can get a year-long membership for $20 if you register in the month of October as opposed to $40, which is the new student price if you join any other time throughout the year. These new programs are something all students can appreciate and should definitely take advantage of, especially with the eclectic mix of old movies and new releases that Coolidge shows. For those interested in making use of the student discount, they’re playing Spielberg’s sci-fi classic Minority Report next week.
Speaking about a partnership with Far Out Ice Cream down the block, Thegenus stated “I want as many people to know of the theater, especially as many students, and know that we have a lot of awesome programs and community partnerships that we want to build.”
Brookline Day was a great celebration of all the best parts of Coolidge Corner. Everyone involved was heartened to see how many people showed up to support the community. The occasion felt especially joyful as the neighborhood reconnected after years of necessary but isolating pandemic safety measures.