Pandemic Portraits of the Neighborhood

Irving Street neighbor Pete Johannsen has been interviewing and photographing High Street Hill residents managing the pandemic since May. His collection is here:

In all, he’s talked with 28 households — and is determined to keep going, so please reach out to him if you’re interested in sharing your story. He’ll also be featuring many of the portraits on Instagram; you can follow at @vanaikenphoto.

Father’s Day Dessert Drive

In lieu of the annual Father’s Day Picnic, the High Street Hill Association has decided to do something a little different this year — a Father’s Day First Responders Dessert Drive!

We have arranged for special items to be made available to the HSHA community from now until Father’s Day at three neighborhood businesses known for their desserts. For every dessert purchased through this sale, HSHA will donate and deliver a second dessert to Fire House #1.  This effectively doubles your impact on Serenade Chocolatier, Rifrullo Cafe and Drive By Pies! Please don’t miss this great opportunity to support a local business and our first responders by celebrating a dad in your life. Dads, Desserts, and Donations…now if that doesn’t scream Father’s Day, what does?

Please read below for the details. Important: Please write HSHA in the order “notes” section of your online order to ensure that a matching dessert goes to our firefighters! Questions about this initiative and ordering details can be directed to HSHA Board Member Lena Berc at All other questions regarding allergy/ingredient information or pick up should be directed to the individual businesses. 

Serenade Chocolatier
Create Dad’s dream chocolate bar! Choose from rich milk, white chocolate or 72% dark chocolate (vegan/dairy free). Add nuts, fruit, cereal, ..anything edible that you can dream of. Add as much or as little as you would like to create a one pound bar. Indicate which add ins you would like in the order notes section. 
Price $20
Purchase here:
Special instructions: 
Orders must be placed by 10am on Thursday June 18th. Email Nur at Serenade with Questions or to order:

Rifrullo Cafe
Box of Brownie Truffles (8 pack), Price $8 
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches (4 Pack), Price: $12
Purchase here:
Special instructions: 
Pre-order available- must indicate in the notes section after you press check out when you will be picking up. Rifrullo is closed on Father’s Day.  They will take orders now through Saturday June 20th. Call Rifrullo with questions or to order: 1-617-505-6727

Drive By Pies
Any Pie, Price: $20-$24
Dozen Assorted Cookies, Price: $22
Purchase here:
Pre-order only.  Ordering is backed up and is a few days out. Check website for available pick up times. Call Drive By Pies with questions or to order: 1-617-879- 6210.  

Please join us for your neighborhood association’s Annual Meeting!

HSHA Annual Meeting & Potluck Dinner
Monday, May 6th 6-8 pm
Latvian Lutheran Church, 58 Irving Street

  • 6pm Family Potluck Dinner*
  • 7pm Program:  Climate Change – What Each of Us Can Do
    • Nika Elugardo; Mothers Out Front; Brookline Youth
  • HSHA Annual Business Meeting and Board Election

* Those with last names beginning with A-L please bring a main dish, M-Z a side dish.  HSHA will provide dessert and beverages.  Please feel free to bring a beverage to share.

Welcome: Wendy Machmuller, HSHA President

Introduction of Town Candidates:       

  • Select Board
  • School Committee
  • Town Meeting (Precinct 5)

Recognition: Arlene and Hugh Mattison, for their efforts on Brookline’s Green Space

Presentation: Climate change is the existential threat of our time, leaving many of us to wonder what we as individuals and families can do – and in turn, what activities and initiatives are emerging at the local and state level.

Rep. Nika Elugardo will start us off by speaking briefly about state-level policy to combat climate change and build resilience to the coming impacts of global warming, including sea level rise, flooding, and volatile weather.

Next, Deane Coady, one of the organizers of Mothers Out Front Brookline] will provide information on key actions we all can take, such as opting in for 100% green electricity on our utility bills; walking, biking, and driving electric vehicles; saving money and fuel by making homes more energy-efficient; and composting.

We will then hear perspectives from three Brookline youth who are taking action. BHS students Anjali Mitra, Konah Brownell, and Saya Ameli each have a compelling story to share with us – a personal connection to climate change, a Liberian refugee forced to flee due to the palm-oil industry, an Iranian child seeing the sun for the first time in Tehran – all experiences which have led them to become champions of the environment in their own right. We will conclude with time for Q & A.

HSHA Business Meeting:

Treasurer’s Report ~ Matt Hyatt, Treasurer

Thank you to Retiring Board Members ~ Chris Gates, Kim Ozaki, and Margaret Talcott

Election of HSHA Board & Officers ~ Proposed Nominees for 2019-2020

Wendy Machmuller                 President
Anthony Flint                           Vice President
Liz Craig Olins                        Secretary
Matt Hyatt                               Treasurer
Diana Post
Erik Wurster
Peggy Campion
Yana Piralkova
Lena Berc
Helen McDonald



Celebrating Friends of Leverett Pond

Next time you pass by the pastoral splendor of the banks of Leverett Pond at the foot of Allerton Street, remember we have the Friends of Leverett Pond to thank for decades of earnest restoration work.  Leverett Pond – the link in the celebrated Emerald Necklace at Olmsted Park, named for its designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture – is at the eastern end of the High Street Hill neighborhood along Pond Avenue.

Another fun geographical fact: the Boston-Brookline line travels through two ponds within Olmsted Park: Leverett Pond and Willow Pond.

Formed in 1978 as a subcommittee of the High Street Hill Association, the Friends of Leverett Pond has worked to increase park stewardship; and originally, to help restore a largely ignored, dilapidated park on the edge of the neighborhood which always should have been — and currently is — a significant asset.

The Friends of Leverett Pond advocates for proper maintenance and the historic restoration of Olmsted Park and the entire Emerald Necklace, and has held neighborhood celebrations, clean-ups, and pruning workshops in the park, and provided leadership to remove an oil spill into Willow Pond. All improvements show respect for Olmsted’s original design, and reflect intensive neighborhood participation in restoring Brookline’s piece of a national treasure.

Major work following the guidelines of an Emerald Necklace Parks Master Plan has included removing automobile traffic from a dual road system and creating increased parkland and bicycle and pedestrian paths in its place, and restoration of the Babbling Brook and park footbridges.






Under a $100,000 Mass. Historic Landscape Preservation Program grant through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management, the area below Allerton Street, known as the Allerton Overlook, was re-created into a welcoming park entrance following Olmsted’s original plan.  Throughout the Park to deal with previous neglect and dead and dying growth, major horticulture restoration effort has resulted in a healthier tree canopy.  There are currently over 20 species of trees in the Park and walking tours are frequently held highlighting this diversity.





After major flooding resulting from two hundred-year storms in 1996 and 1998, Boston, Brookline, and the Commonwealth, with citizen participation including the Friends, developed the Emerald Necklace Environmental Improvements Master Plan.  Phase 1 of the Muddy River Restoration Project implemented by the Army Corps of Engineers was completed in 2016. Phase 2 will excavate the sandbar and island at Leverett Pond opposite 33 Pond Ave. (Brook House) to allow for increased water flow and reduce flood damage. The Brookline Parks and Open Space Division is developing a plan for dredging Willow Pond.

Friends of Leverett Pond has a seat on the Emerald Necklace Conservancy’s Overseers Committee and is a member organization of Brookline GreenSpace Alliance and remains a strong advocate for our historic neighborhood park.

Your participation and membership in the Friends strengthens the community that cares for our local Olmsted park.  As a subcommittee of HSHA, the Friends is supported by your dues and designated individual contributions which can be made to the HSHA treasurer at Matt Hyatt, 87 Walnut Street, Brookline, Ma 02445 or, attn: Friends of Leverett Pond.

We look forward to continuing the association with the Friends of Leverett Pond and all the great work that is being done into the future.

HSHA Annual Meeting Monday May 7

Come one, come all to the High Street Hill Association Annual Meeting, Monday, May 7th 2018 at the Latvian Lutheran Church, 58 Irving Street starting at 6 pm. As per tradition, it’s a  Family Potluck Dinner — those with last names beginning with A-F please bring a salad, G-M a main dish, and N-Z a dessert — followed by an interesting program and Annual Business Meeting and Board Election to follow.

Rob Daves, an Upland Road resident and Town Meeting Member, will give an illustrated talk on John Wilson (1922-2015), a nationally celebrated African-American artist who lived in Brookline with his family for 50 years. His art, widely admired for its emotional resonance and examination of injustice, is featured in museums and graces public spaces around the country, including the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Wilson was “One of Boston’s most esteemed and accomplished artists,” said Sebastian Smee, former Boston Globe art critic. Rob has helped organize a group of Brookline residents from diverse backgrounds to raise money for the purchase of John Wilson’s inspirational bronze sculpture of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The sculpture will be installed at Town Hall where it will serve to remind us all of King’s fight for justice and equality. For more information, please visit:

We’ll also hear updates from local organizations including the Brookline Community Foundation and the Brookline GreenSpace Alliance, and vote on the 2018 HSHA Board Candidate Slate:

Wendy Machmuller, President
Anthony Flint, Vice President
Kim Ozaki Erik, Secretary
Matt Hyatt, Treasurer
Christopher Gates
Margaret Talcott
Liz Craig-Olins
Eric Wurster
Diana Post
Peggy Campion (new)
Yana Piralkova (new)

Many thanks to outgoing board members John Carpenter, who has served for six years as secretary, and Elizabeth Childs for their service to the neighborhood.

The High Street Hill Association is proud to organize many activities over the past year, including the Feb. 12 Neighborhood Author Talk with Walnut Street resident Anthony Flint on Modern Man: the Life of Le Corbusier, Architect of Tomorrow; the Candidates Night with the Greater Point Neighborhood Association at Lincoln School; last year’s Annual Meeting and Conversation with Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary; a performance of I Spy Butterfly for members and their children at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline Village; the annual Father’s Day Picnic on Philbrick Green with pony rides, food, and beverages; a performance of Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys on Philbrick Green; Neighborhood Author Talk with Walnut Place resident Jessica Shattuck on The Women in the Castle; the traditional Christmas Eve Caroling on Philbrick Green; and the new tradition of a winter Soup Stroll. Among many other activities, we worked with neighbors on Allerton St., Cumberland Ave., Hawthorn Rd. and Glen Summer Rd. to submit a request for a town traffic study of these four streets; and have been engaged in the many development projects along Boylston Street.

The HSHA board welcomes your input and involvement in neighborhood issues and programs ahead – please be in touch! For contact info, go to and Follow us on Facebook @HighStreetHillAssociation.

Second Annual Soup Stroll this Sunday

Soup Stroll this Sunday!
Sunday, January 28
HSHA Neighborhood (Meet at 24 Walnut Place)

Join us this Sunday afternoon for the 2nd Annual High Street Hill Association Soup Stroll.  Enjoy six delicious soups in three neighborhood locations:

4:00 pm – meet at the home of Dorothy and Blake Cady @ 24 Walnut Place. Please use front entrance.
  • Soups created by Kim Ozaki and Dorothy Cady

4:35 pm – stroll to the home of Jennifer Jackson and Rob Daves @ 9 Upland Road.

  • Soups created by Fati Hajebi and Francis Fisher

5:15 pm – stroll to the home of Michele Sommer and Chet Geschickter @ 203 Pond Avenue.

  • Soups created by Michele Sommer and Yana Piralkova
Join to meet friends old and new, and appreciate different parts of the neighborhood while tasting culinary wonders.
A few more spots remain. RSVP to

Announcing another Neighborhood Author’s Talk Sunday December 10

HSHA Author’s Talk
Sunday, December 10
4:30-6:30 PM
254 Walnut St.

High Street Hill is loaded with artists, musicians, and authors. To celebrate and continue a new tradition, the High Street Hill Association is proud to present a neighborhood author’s talk, featuring Jessica Shattuck. She will reflect on her New York Times Bestselling novel, The Women in the Castle  — the story of three German widows living together in a crumbling castle in Bavaria in the immediate aftermath of World War II. Their husbands were executed for their participation in the 20th of July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler, but the women’s own beliefs and experiences span the gamut of the German political spectrum. A novel as much about complicity as it is about resistance, The Women in the Castle offers a new and different look at WWII from the German point of view. Shattuck, who is herself of German descent, will share with us how she came to write the book and what she learned in her research about this time.

Hosted by Anthony Flint & Tina Cassidy

254 Walnut Street, Brookline

Wine & cheese will be served


Jessica’s The Hazards of Good Breeding was a New York Times Notable Book and Boston Globe Best Book of the Year. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Wired and The New Yorker. Her book is for sale at Brookline Booksmith, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and

The HSHA Annual Picnic is this Sunday!

The HSHA Annual Picnic is this Sunday!
Father’s Day, June 18th
4:00-8:00 PM
Philbrick Green

Pony rides 4:15-5:15
Grills fired up at 4:30

Grills and condiments will be provided
Bring your own grill-ables, BYOB, and a side dish to share
Water/drinks and hot dogs will be provided for the children
An ice cream truck will take care of dessert
BYO yard games welcome!

The weather forecast looks cooperative so no need for a rain date.
Hope to see you all on the green!

Sign of the times


Street signs are such an important part of the visual environment, and many neighbors have noticed how some Pill Hill street signs are made of thick cast aluminum with projecting black letters on round poles, while others are flat computer-generated versions on perforated square towers. The distinctive black and silver cast signs were crafted by local workers at a town foundry from 1937 through the 1960s. In recent years, however, their numbers have been diminished by natural attrition — car accidents, tree limbs, and theft; High Street, for whatever reason, seems to be a frequent target. The old signs have generally been replaced with mass-produced modern ones. The federal government also played a role in the demise of Brookline’s homemade signs, which appear to be unique in the United States.

A 2003 federal guideline stipulated that by 2012 all street signs were required to have six-inch letters, be retro-reflective, and on breakaway poles. In spite of this new regulation, a town warrant article in 2005 sought to maintain in place the existing cast aluminum street signs and restore missing ones. This well-intended article, however, wasn’t always respected when replacing the missing historic signs. A significant breakthrough came in 2012 when the High Street Hill Association, the Brookline Preservation Commission, Senator John Kerry and several other Northeast communities successfully lobbied for historic districts to be exempt from federal street sign requirements.

The High Street Hill Association received good news this spring after campaigning for over fifteen years to preserve and replace Pill Hill’s historic street signs. We were notified by the town that the specifications and documents required to restore all of the neighborhood’s missing historic signs and poles were nearly complete. This is not a small project. A 2015 High Street Hill Association inventory found that over half of them were missing. A date has not been set when the new historic signs and poles will begin appearing in our neighborhood. In the meantime, visit the HSHA website’s Neighborhood History for photos and a history of Brookline’s classic black and silver cast aluminum street signs.

High Street Hill Association Highlight — offline version

HSHA Paper Highlight Flyer

Once per year the HSHA distributes a paper version of The Highlight to every home in our neighborhood.  This is both as an opportunity to reach additional neighbors who are not yet subscribed to the e-Highlight and as part of our membership drive.  Thank you for your continued membership in the HSHA!  A copy of the paper flyer, with membership donation information, can be found here: