🚇 It’s (still) shutdown season

Plus: 🍸 Cocktails to-go to stay

It’s Thursday, Boston.

☁️ Is it just us, or were the clouds over Boston yesterday giving Van Gogh? Turns out, the wavy looking sky was caused by a rare type of cloud called asperitas that we haven’t seen here since 2017. Sick!

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • Encampments and graduation

  • Cocktails to-go to stay

  • A pickle innovation

Up first…


Do you get (shutdown) déja-vû?

Image: Lane Turner/Globe Staff. Illustration: Gia Orsino.

Red Liners, you’re back in the MBTA’s crosshairs. Service between Park Street and JFK/UMass stations will be replaced by shuttle buses today through May 10. And it’s looking like a doozy.

Here’s what to know: 

🚇 The impacts depend on when you ride. From the beginning of service to 8:30 p.m., riders can expect shuttle buses to replace the T between Park Street and JFK/UMass. But through May 9, from 8:30 p.m. until the end of service, the shutdown (and shuttle service) will extend all the way to Ashmont on the Mattapan trolley. You can find all the exact shuttle locations here

📝 BTW: If you’re heading outbound, i.e. toward JFK/UMass, don’t try to hop on a shuttle from Downtown Crossing since they won’t be stopping there. Instead, you can take the three-ish minute walk to Park Street via the underground concourse and start your ride there. But if you’re heading inbound, don’t worry about it. 

⏲️ Red Line trains will run less frequently than usual. According to the MBTA, trains will run from Alewife to Park Street every 11 to 12 minutes, and to Braintree and Ashmont every 13 to 15 minutes. So make sure to budget some extra extra time for your trips (as if you don’t already). 

🚂 Thankfully, the Commuter Rail will be free in shutdown zones. Between Braintree, Quincy Center, JFK/UMass, and South Station, the Commuter Rail will be free of charge (it’s likely a worthwhile switch if you can swing it). The Fairmount Line was a huge hit with riders during last year’s Ashmont/Mattapan shutdown. 

🚲 And so will Bluebikes. During the shutdown, Blue Cross Blue Shield is offering five free unlocks for everyone (even if you’re not impacted by the shutdown) with code MBTAREDMAY. 

⚠️ While you’re stuck in shuttle bus traffic, just remember: This shutdown is yet another step toward getting the MBTA entirely slow-zone free by the end of 2024. This is the Red Line’s second of seven major shutdowns to fix the current 53 slow zones covering 17% of the track. During this shutdown, the T will be tackling eight of them, plus doing some other station repair work. 

😭 If all of this just makes you want to walk … maybe you should! We tried and rated our favorite ways to commute during an MBTA shutdown here.


🚇 If your commute has been impacted by MBTA shutdowns, what have you done?

Let us know below!

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Quick & dirty headlines

Image: Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

⛺ How will pro-Palestinian encampments affect graduation? Right now, the answer is a giant question mark. Although some Boston-area universities have been quick to assure the public that their ceremonies will go on as usual, students tell another story. For those involved in the encampments, the question of whether they’ll be able to attend the ceremony, or even graduate at all (due to their commitment to protest or disciplinary action by their school) is still up in the air. Other students have expressed worry that the protests will disrupt the event itself.

🏠 The clock on shelter says is officially ticking. Starting June 1, families staying in the state’s emergency shelter system will have a nine-month limit imposed on their stays. The new legislation comes from the supplemental budget (a.k.a. the sup) that Gov. Maura Healey signed on Tuesday. The limit, which will include options for two 90-day extensions and exceptions for extenuating circumstances, is meant to slow state spending on the extremely pricey system. May 1 also marks the start of monthly mandatory reapplications to stay in the state’s overflow shelters.

🍸 To-go cocktails are here to stay. Also in the sup? A law securing the future of a pandemic-era program allowing restaurants to sell cocktails to-go. There’s one important caveat: Unlike the earlier program, now beer and wine will not be allowed on to-go menus. That change has been seen as a compromise for the Mass. Packing Store Association (a.k.a. packies), which was pretty peeved thinking the new law would undermine their liquor sales. Mass. is now the 27th state to have this kind of law.

👗 These Boomerangs are leaving — and they’re not coming back. Boomerangs, Greater Boston’s beloved chain of thrift stores whose proceeds have supported HIV/AIDS programs since the ‘90s, is officially closing their doors in June. According to Fenway Health, which runs the chain, the decision comes after six years of financial hardships that have simply become too big to shoulder. The stores have stopped taking donations and will announce closing dates soon, so start planning your thrift days.


A pickle innovation

Image: Macie Parker

Grillo’s Pickles has officially changed their lid, and the internet can’t handle it. 

At first glance, this news might not seem so big. But if you’ve ever cracked open a jar of local pickle brand Grillo’s Pickles, you know that every time there’s about a 70/30 chance that about a quart of pickle juice will end up on your floor slash outfit slash bed (no judgment!) due to their infamous pop-off lids. One might call it a pickle pickle.

So maybe that’s why the video announcing the new lids has not only amassed over 2 million views on TikTok, but spurred such comments as: “This must be what it felt like when people first saw sliced bread,” or “I was just getting used to my entire grocery haul smelling like garlic and vinegar.”

— Written by Gia Orsino

🥒 Thanks for reading! I would’ve kept buying them anyway. They’re so good. 

🐀 The results are in: 40% of B-Siders feel mostly neutral about rats, but many readers who wrote in decidedly do not. Some of you love the rats, some of you feel oddly reassured by the rats’ presence … but only one of you said this: “I catch them ‘bathing’ in a bucket that fills with gutter water next door — maybe accepting them isn’t the worst thing.”

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