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The best freebies in May

The B-side

Plus: 🐀 If you can’t beat them…

The B-side

Welcome to The B-Side, the daily dose of news you actually want to hear. Katie Cole

It’s Wednesday, Boston.

🥯 Everyone knows that good bagels are not only found in New York anymore… and if you’re wondering what the best bagels are here, readers have a few suggestions.

👀What’s on tap today:

  • Mass.’ first climate bank
  • The year of shutdowns continues
  • A very sexy tennis court

First up…


Ring in spring, freebie style

Image: John Tlumacki/Globe Staff. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

The sun is shining, the trees are blooming, my nose is running: The real spring has arrived in the chat. And in doing so, it has spawned countless free events to help us remember why we tolerated winter in the first place.

Here’s what you can add to your May social calendar without spending a dime:

🏋️ Squat, kick and burp your worries away. Seaport Sweat, Boston’s largest free workout series, is back for its ninth season. You’ll be taught by award-winning instructors and do everything from Pilates to Zumba, to strength and conditioning, even kickboxing, all on the Seaport Common. The free, public classes are open to all fitness levels. View the class schedule here and register.

🌸 Stop and smell the lilacs. You can soak up all 400+ during the Arnold Arboretum’s iconic Lilac Sunday on May 12 (also Mother’s Day, if you’re looking for plans). It’s the perfect day to take a guided lilac tour, take some photos and pack lunch; it is the only day of the year that the Arboretum allows picnics. Just a warning: thousands of people are expected, so try to take public transport to avoid parking problems.

🎸 See Boston Calling artists without the Boston Calling price tag. High Street Place will host a Boston Calling Night on May 3, perhaps the second best of the festival. You’ll hear live sets from several 2024 artists like Bad Rabbits and ToriTori!, and enter to win a pair Real Boston Calling Tickets. Just because these tickets aren’t in your budget doesn’t mean they can’t be in the future.

🖼️ Spend Memorial Day in K-Pop heaven at the MFA. Friendly reminder that residents of Mass. can gain free admission to the MFA as part of the museum’s annual Memorial Day Open House on May 27, which will also include admission to the special exhibit “Hallyu! The Korean Wave.” You can create your own neon art and channel your favorite K-pop idol in the “Hallyu!” photo booth and learn how to make kimchi. Please note: Tickets are first come, first served.

❤️ Remind yourself why you love where you live. Part of Dorchester Ave. between Ashmont and Linden Street will be closed to cars this Sunday from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm due to Open Streets Dorchester; Somerville Porchfest, where locals share their love of playing and listening to music on their sidewalks, is back May 11; and you can go to the Esplanade on May 19 for a community day full of exercise (think a 5 km run/walk), music, food and games.


Boston bites that do well

📲🍔 Hungry for a hassle-free dining experience? Find your new favorite spots with Toast. From the irresistible bagels at Black Sheep Bagel Cafe in Cambridge to the delectable Italian fare at La Morra in Brookline, restaurants using Toast make dining (or takeout) easy. Download the app today (or if you’re a restaurant owner, book a demo) and taste the difference for yourself!


Quick and dirty headlines

Image: Michael Conroy/AP

♻️Mass. gives people money to make their homes greener. The state’s new Community Climate Bank has officially launched, aiming to give local homeowners low-interest loans to make their homes more climate-friendly through upgrades like solar panels, EV charging stations and even electric heaters. The goal is to distribute about 1,000 of these loans over the next two years, and to qualify you only need to earn less than 135% of the area median income.

🛒 Food relief nonprofits are feeling the pressure. The truly wild increases in food prices in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis have put a strain on just about anyone with a stomach, leaving local food relief nonprofits scrambling. As food prices have risen nearly 25% since 2019 (and 6% here in Massachusetts in the past year), programs like the Greater Boston Food Bank and the Mass. YMCA has seen a huge increase in need. The food bank now serves about 600,000 people, double the number before the pandemic.

🚃 Next stop: MBTA’s May service changes. Shuttle bus season continues this month on the Red, Green, Orange and several commuter rail lines. Two major weekday closures will end the month on the Red and Orange lines respectively, plus a few smaller weekend closures on each line. You’ll also find these weekend closures on several commuter rail lines. Meanwhile, Green Liners only have to worry about one diversion from the station on May 4. Click here for more information, and may the MBTA gods be on your side.

🐀 If you can’t beat them… then join us? There’s a new way of thinking about tackling Boston’s rat problem. Enter: Living together. Some pest experts suggest accepting that rats are part of an urban ecosystem. This means we need to shift our focus from pest control to setting boundaries as a city for how we can live happily of the rats, rather than focusing on total eradication. And if it all seems a bit wacky, consider how ineffective our current “brute force” strategy for dealing with pests has been to date (not to mention pricey and time-consuming).


A very sexy (local) tennis court

Image: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Images

If you know one thing about the movie “Challengers,” you know it’s sexy. But what if we told you that the tennis courts in Bedford, Massachusetts where the movie was shot might be… just as sexy?

Well, that’s something Globe At least that’s what writer Meredith Goldstein thinks.

Goldstein recently visited the courts where the film was shot, and she says the film’s sex appeal left its mark on them. “The essence of the match between two athletic and determined men, with Zendaya between them, was still up in the air,” she wrote nearly two years later.

But since the Wedgewood Club’s waiting list is currently about three to five years long (not to mention the membership fees)…maybe we should just take her word for it.

– Written by Gia Orsino

🎾 Thank you for reading! Goudstein Also visited another filming location for the film at Wheaton College (Gia’s alma mater), which, to our collective dismay, turned out to be decidedly less sexy.

💜 Special shoutout to today’s sponsorToast, for supporting local journalism and making it easy to enjoy Boston’s food scene.

🐱 The results are in: 43% of B-Siders have one pet, and another 23% have more than one. Thank you all so much for all the lovely articles about all your furry friends, including one from a reader who said, “My cat is the bane of my existence and the light of my life.”

💃 Stay tuned @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to (email protected) or (email protected).