🎓 The best life advice you can get

Plus: 🛵 DoorDash “Wild West”

It’s Wednesday, Boston.

🛒 What’s the best item at Trader Joe’s? In celebration of its new Back Back location, the Globe’s Kara Baskin put together a (subjective) list of her top 10 favorite TJ’s items. And if you’re a real one, her No. 1 pick won’t surprise you.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • The DoorDash “Wild West”

  • The ultimate NBA watch party

  • A surprise show

Up first…

COMMENCEMENT 2024

A degree, with a side of advice

Image: Charles Krupa AP. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

What do a Nobel Prize-winning journalist, half of Simon & Garfunkel, and the author of “The Soul of an Octopus” have in common? They were all speakers at local graduation ceremonies this year. And they all delivered some solid pearls of wisdom to the class of 2024.

Here’s a sampling of the best life advice from their commencement addresses we could all probably be reminded of:

👐 “Be vulnerable,” Nobel Prize-winning journalist Maria Ressa said at Harvard’s commencement. Ressa’s speech was chock full of cutting insights on today’s messy world. But her message ended with a pretty special takeaway: “In every relationship, in every negotiation, in order to move forward, in order to accomplish anything meaningful, someone lowers their shield first, brings down their ego, their defense mechanism, and others follow. Let that person be you,” she said.

🎶 “Tune out the haters,” said Latoyia Edwards, Emmy Award-winning local news anchor, to Roxbury Community College grads. Edwards reflected on her aspirations of becoming a news anchor, and how memories of repeatedly being told “no” can sometimes wear on her self-esteem. Her advice to find confidence in those moments? “Create a soundtrack for success.” Literally. When Edwards starts doubting herself, or catches herself thinking “maybe I’m not good enough, can I do it?” she turns on some Alicia Keys and “something changes in [her] confidence.” 

👂 “The ear goes to the irritant.” Those words from music icon Paul Simon to graduates of the New England Conservatory for Music apply equally to life and song. When you hear an “irritant” or a piece of a song that just feels … wrong, “get rid of it,” he said. “Deciding what to do to improve it will be the next piece of the puzzle. Maybe the empty space alone is the right solution, maybe the verse for those bars need to be rewritten, there are too many notes or too few, or something else. But now with the bad stuff gone, you can hear what is needed more clearly.”

🌳 “Get in position to receive blessings” was the central message of Sy Montgomery’s address to Lesley University’s graduating class. The local naturalist and author shared stories of times when things “went horribly wrong” in her life and work — during solo treks to India, the Peruvian Amazon, and Thailand — and the unexpected goodness that ultimately came from those moments. “Don’t buy the lie that the so-called real world is all about being safe and secure and accumulating money,” she said. “Go out in the world where your heart calls you and don’t be afraid.” And even if things go wrong, “the blessings will come, I promise you that.”

QUICK QUESTION

🛒 What’s the most iconic Trader Joe’s item?

Let us know below!

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TOGETHER WITH THE GREENWAY BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

Summer hangout spot unlocked 

🎨🌳 Looking for an urban escape (that doubles as an Insta-worthy art gallery)? Kicking off this summer and continuing through the end of the year, The Greenway ARTbeat series is taking over 1.5 miles of park with five stunning public art pieces and over 50 free cultural events. Check out epic art installations like Ponnapa Prakkamakul's “Year of the Dragon” — a 20-foot long dragon head meant to protect and bring joy to Boston’s downtown communities — along with live music, dance performances, block parties, food trucks, and more. Whether you’re in the city for work or just for the vibes, make The Greenway your go-to spot for art and culture all summer long. 

CITY

Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe

🛵 Officials are cracking down on the food delivery “Wild West.” On Monday, Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox and Chief of Streets Jascha Franklin-Hodge sent a letter to execs at Uber, GrubHub, and DoorDash detailing an “alarming” increase of “dangerous and unlawful” behavior by delivery drivers. That behavior, which has been a longtime source of concern, includes double parking, operating unregistered vehicles, and running red lights. If you’ve seen the outside of the Boylston Street Chick-fil-A, you know. The city asked for a response this week, but in the meantime, Cox has asked police to increase enforcement of the rules.

💸 Boston’s post-pandemic economy is on the up. According to a new report from the BPDA, the city’s economic future looks pretty bright in terms of pandemic recovery. Numbers for added jobs, consumer spending, tourism, and foot traffic are nearing 2019 levels, and even the report’s main dark spot — declining commercial real estate value thanks to empty office buildings — has an upside: Boston still has one of the lower office vacancy rates of the U.S.’ major cities (around 16%), with programs like SPACE grants in place to help.

🌷 It’s a cloud, it’s fog, it’s … pollen? If you’ve been feeling especially sneezy this week, it’s not just you. Boston’s pollen count has hit a major high recently as evidenced by this eerie yellow haze in the sky on Monday. Apparently, our stretch of gorgeous weather is partially to thank, since dry, warm air accelerates pollen movement, while the haze can be attributed to a temperature inversion that traps things like smoke, pollution, and pollen in the sky. And although the pollen count has been dropping since, we won’t see total relief until it rains tomorrow.

🏀 The ultimate NBA Finals watch party. The city will host watch parties at TD Garden for Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals. The $18 tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday, and will get you access to the party, which will mirror classic NBA game vibes with concessions, merch, and entertainment, plus discounted food (a $5 value menu) and parking (also $18). Bonus: Mayor Wu also announced that Canal Street will once again be closed to vehicles during Games 1 to 4 of the Finals, for all your eating, drinking, and gathering needs. Go C’s!

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a free set of two ($400!) tickets to the VIP Viewing section of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series!

We’re giving away two sets of two tickets to the VIP Viewing of the Red Bull Cliff Diving Series aboard the Spirit of Boston cruise ship (a $400 value per ticket!). To be eligible, refer a friend and have them accept your invite by end of day on June 5. If you have already referred a friend to B-Side (and they’ve accepted), you're eligible! Full details below**


21+. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Limit one entry per person. See Official Rules & an additional entry option here.

ONE LAST THING

A surprise show

Image: Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

When you think of a Dropkick Murphys concert, a K-12 Catholic school gymnasium might not be the first venue that comes to mind … or the second, or third, or 10th, for that matter.

But last Thursday, that’s exactly where they performed, giving students and faculty of Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy Columbia Campus in Dorchester a totally random — and awesome — midday surprise of a two-song set of “Rose Tattoo” and “Shipping Up to Boston.”

And while most of the students admittedly had no idea who they are, that didn’t stop everyone, including the band, from having a great time.

But before you get your hopes up that you, too, might be able to get a private performance, the show was thanks to a friendship between lead singer Ken Casey and the wife of Vice Principal Timothy Ruggere.

— Written by Gia Orsino and Emily Schario

☘️ Thanks for reading! Gotta start training them young!

💜 Special shoutout to today’s sponsor, The Greenway Business Improvement District, for supporting local journalism and making downtown Boston even more vibrant. 

🍝 The results are in: It looks like B-Side Certified is heading to the North End to review The Red Fox, with the new restaurant receiving 33% of the vote. One reader said: “Red Fox is what dreams are made of — coming from a Sopranos superfan.”

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