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  • 💖 The best way to our heart? Free stuff.

💖 The best way to our heart? Free stuff.

Plus: 🚗 Uber’s new competition

Happy Friday, Boston!

🏆 It’s a big weekend for hometown heroes. Dorchester native Ayo Edebiri and Watertown resident Noah Kahan are hitting the big leagues this weekend, with Edebiri hosting SNL and Kahan up for Best New Artist at the Grammys! Plus, several Berklee alumni and faculty are also up for Grammy Awards. We are so proud.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Teacher strike tensions

  • Move over, Uber!

  • A new MBTA map

Up first…


Will you free my Valentine?

Image: Jim Davis/Globe Staff. Illustration: Gia Orsino

We love February because we love love. But the one thing we love more than love is free stuff. 

So here’s this month list of freebies you’ll hopefully love, too.

🧨 Bust out your best red and gold for the year of the dragon. Boston’s annual Chinese New Year Parade is back in action on Feb. 18. Chinatown’s streets will be filled with colorful lion dancers, drums, cymbals, food, and firecrackers. And it’s not lost on us that it’s still February, so if things get cold, you can warm up inside the Lunar New Year Cultural Village at the China Trade Center where there will be even more food and performances.

✊🏿 Celebrate Black history without spending a dime. Shout out to the Red Sox, who are providing free admission to the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket to all visitors from Feb. 20 through 25. Plus, as part of their Black History Month celebrations, Rev’d Indoor Cycling in Copley is hosting two free spin classes on Feb. 8. You can sign up for them here.

💗 Give rom-coms the respect they deserve. Night Shift Brewing in Everett is hosting a free screening of “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” on Feb. 8; Garage B at the Speedway is hosting a free rom-com movie night on Feb. 13, equipped with a Valentine’s making station and free popcorn and candy; and then you can test your knowledge of all the cheesy classics at Short Path Distillery’s rom-com trivia on Valentine’s Day proper. 

⛸️ Finally hit the Frog Pond for free skating. Feb. 11 is the rescheduled date for the Frog Pond’s free skating with friends event. It’s anticipated to be pretty popular, so remember: Free skating sessions begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 4 p.m., and 6 p.m., and space is limited to 225 skaters per 90-minute session. You can get free tickets starting 30 minutes before each session. Bonus: There will be free skate rentals (while supplies last) and free hot chocolate.

🏈 Indulge in all the Super Bowl snacks for free … maybe. We’re not ones to endorse gambling, but this opportunity sounds like a win-win. Civility Social House in Assembly Row is offering a Super Bowl Sunday deal where if you tell your server which team you think will win, and they do, 100% of your food ordered on that day (dine-in only) will be FREE. And even if your team loses, you’ll still get a free entrée at your next visit. Reservations are mandatory, so grab one here


Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Erin Clark/Globe Staff

🍎 The Newton Teacher Strike is only getting tenser. Now on day 11 without school, the strike has reached a boiling point. Newton’s School Committee voted to cancel February break in order to start making up for lost school days, the union owes the state $575,000 and counting, and Gov. Healey called for a third-party to force the union and School Committee to agree to a new contract. But alas, both remain in a deadlock over raises for educators, despite having reached a consensus on several other issues. A recent motion called for a judge to double fines against the striking teachers.

🚘 Uber just got some stiff competition. Enter: DrivHer, a rideshare-style service by women and minorities, for women and minorities. The service, launched by a former Lyft driver who wanted to create a safer, friendlier option for its target audience, serves all of Mass. 24/7, with a female-only team of drivers, offers price-matching, a drinks and snacks menu, and free “puppy rides” with Luigi, the owner’s dog. You can check out the website here.

🍣 There’s a new restaurant powerhouse in town. BCB3, a new restaurant group led by Jamie Bissonnette (of Coppa and Little Donkey), Andy Cartin, and Babak Bina (The Wig Shop and JM Curley), are bringing three new concepts to Downtown Crossing in March: A Korean restaurant called Somaek, a eclectic listening bar called Temple Records, and beneath it, a subterranean sushi counter, aptly named Sushi @ Temple Records. And they’re not stopping there: The group plans to open even more spots later in the year.

🍮 We have our Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year. After postponing the initial announcement and festivities due to “unforeseen circumstances,” Annette Bening was officially announced as the 2024 Hasty Pudding’s Woman of the Year. Bening, a 2024 Oscar-nominee, will be coming to Cambridge on Feb. 6 to accept the award, be the subject of a roast, and watch Hasty Pudding Theatricals’ annual production, but it’s unclear if the annual parade will be taking place. Meanwhile, festivities for their man of the year, Barry Keoghan, are happening tonight.


🍏 What do you think about the Newton teacher strike?

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Weekend plans

Image: Reuters/DreamWorks Pictures

🕺 Get your Lord Farquaard on. Oh yeah, we’re talking about a Shrek rave. Head on ogre to Big Night Live tonight for a night of dancing, singing, and a whole lot of green. 

🧠 Answer Swift-ly! Everybody thinks they know the most about Taylor Swift — find out if you actually do at Trident Booksellers on Saturday.

🍷 Get to know natural wine. Natural wine is all the rage right now. Just ask Lauren Friel, the brains behind natural wine spots Dear Annie, Rebel Rebel, and Wild Child. She’ll teach you all about it this Sunday at Dear Annie.

🍊 Head west for brunch. Boston may not have bottomless brunch (boo!), but Ward 8 in West End hosts brunch every Saturday and Sunday with $5 mimosas. Book a res here.

🎤 Put something fun on the calendar. Get going on your March plans by booking tickets to B.J. Novak’s Art and Pranks lecture at the MFA, where “The Office” star explores the creative and artistic stakes of his high school prank on the MFA.

— Written by Claire Nicholas

🎉 Want more things to do recommendations? Refer five friends to unlock three bonus items. For those who already have, enjoy below.

👑 Have the best night of your life. Need redemption from high school prom? Relatable. Roadrunner is throwing their take on the nostalgic affair Saturday with Roadrunner Prom, featuring Glitter Boys and Booty Vortex.

🏃 Brave the cold for a worth-it workout. Fresh air-seekers are invited to The Esplanade for the kickoff event of Frost Fit with a group run on Saturday.

❤️ Catch Bieber fever all over again. Head to Big Night Live on Saturday for Club 90s’ Justin Bieber Night, featuring a lineup of Bieber’s hits that made us swoon and scream all those years ago. He’s still got it. 


A new MBTA map

Image: Boston Public Library. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

This is a Green Line train to: “Bow Market,” the next stop is “Screech from the heavens.” If that sentence somehow makes sense to you, you are a true Bostonian.

In November, the BPL put on a fundraiser that allowed their donors to bid on the “rights” to rename stations on the MBTA map, and then put together a new map with the results. And, in our opinion, it’s a masterpiece.

The new station names include common-sense swaps, like renaming Kenmore “Fenway Park”; totally deserved burns, like calling Porter “Escalator to Hell”; and adorable (if a little impractical) changes, like calling Aquarium “The Fish Store.” And it goes on

The whole map will be available to view in the Copley BPL in April, but for now, you can check out more of the map here.

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

🚇 Thanks for reading! Excuse me, how long would it take for me to get from “Tulane of the North” to “Burying ground?” I’m in a hurry.

💰 The results are in: 44% of B-Siders use some kind of tax software to help them with their tax returns, as opposed to doing it on their own or phoning a friend. One reader said: “But I use the software all on my own.” 10 points to Gryffindor!

💃 Keep up with us @BostonBSide on IG, TikTok, and Twitter. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected] or [email protected].