Strolling Through Boston’s
Back Bay

by Liz Dowling

There is a lot going on in our life right now, so I have been neglectful in posting. My daughter moved to LA yesterday… That was a tough one. Tim and I are moving to Boston next month, so we are doing the full Marie Kondo, packing what “we love” and what can realistically fit in an apartment! This is a post on Boston’s Back Bay that I wrote three years ago. Our new apartment is in Back Bay, so here we come!

I moved to Boston right after college.  First real job, first apartment.  I lived there for four years during a time when Boston was not quite as gentrified as it is now.  A little rough around the edges, in a good way. I love going back to visit.  Especially to walk my old neighborhood in Back Bay.  I was just there for a quick trip and carved out some time to wander around my old stomping grounds.

I found myself searching for the places I used to go.  Newbury Street is spiffed up and glistening with gorgeous new stores now.  Designers sit where a small florist or local cafe used to be.  But I longed for the little gems I loved way back when.

I found a few tucked away, including some landmarks that have new names, but the lovely old building stands.

Alan Bilzerian, 34 Newbury

Alan Bilzerian, 34 Newbury

Alan Bilzerian was the “cool” store on Newbury Street.  Here since the 1970’s, artists such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Johnny Depp have shopped here.  One of the first stores to collect and display young designers.

Brooks Brothers, 46 Newbury

Brooks Brothers, 46 Newbury

This Brooks Brothers location opened in 1932 and was the first Brooks store built outside of New York after 114 years of being in business.  Still a landmark on Newbury Street.

Ralph Lauren, 93 Newbury

Ralph Lauren, 93 Newbury

Another landmark building.  Look at the top.  Kakas & Sons Furs was still here when I lived in Back Bay.  Opened in Boston in 1907 and on Newbury Street in 1925.  A gorgeous building and a little scandal to boot!  Google it.

130 Newbury Street, my old apartment

130 Newbury, my old apartment

See the windows right above the street lamp?  My old apartment.  Our friends lived upstairs, so we all had the two floors above the Judi Rotenberg gallery to ourselves.  The Rotenberg gallery was on Newbury from 1971-2011 and is now gone…  Always an amazing collection of contemporary art.

239 Newbury, Deluca's Market

Deluca’s Market, 239 Newbury

The neighborhood market that had everything.  It opened in 1919 and is the oldest grocery store in Boston.

290 Newbury, Emack & Bolio's

Emack & Bolio’s, 290 Newbury

The hippy ice cream store that opened three years BEFORE Ben & Jerry’s.

Newbury Comics, 332 Newbury

Newbury Comics, 332 Newbury

In my opinion, the greatest record store in the world.  Opened in 1978 by two MIT students as a comic book store.  The focus switched to music and the rest is history.  They recently converted a huge CD section back to vinyl.  Love them.


Junior League, 117 Newbury

Junior League, 117 Newbury

The Junior League opened on Newbury Street in 1907 and is where I met some of my closest friends in Boston.

“Cheers” bar, had to put it in.

End of my walk down memory land.  Come see this fabulous city for yourself!

P1080550  P1080530  P1080536

The last thing I will wax poetic about is the Exeter Street Theatre.  An old-fashioned theatre with double features and the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight every weekend.  It was opened for 70 years and closed in 1984.  Boo Hoo.

the wry home

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