Connecting Cambridge & Somerville to create a vibrant community.

Around the Block: Union Square

Union Sq _2014In honor of our first edition of Scavenge the Square, this month we feature Somerville’s Union Square. One of the oldest commercial areas of the city, Union Square is host to number of community institutions, including Somerville Community Access Television, the Police Department, and of course, the iconic Prospect Hill Monument.

You may not know, but Union Square is deep-rooted in American history. The name of the district comes from the square having been used as a recruitment and mustering site for the Union Army during the Civil War. Prospect Hill and the neighborhood was of great strategic importance in the Revolutionary War. It is said that George Washington first raised an early version of the U.S. Flag, called the Grand Union Flag, on Prospect Hill, on January 1, 1776. That’s why every new year, Somerville celebrates the raising of the American flag right in the Square.

Prospect Hill memorial

Today, Union Square is a diverse community with businesses representing its history and its future. The Square is home to new innovations  and collaborative spaces like Fringe, the Design Annex, and Uniun Warehouse and just a bit outside of the square,  Artisan’s Asylum and Brooklyn Boulders Somerville. Union Square sticks to its roots with immigrant businesses like Internacional Foods and Reliable Market. It’s also become its own foodie hot spot with Journeyman, Bronwyn and Casa B, all located in the same building. Walk just up Somerville Avenue and you’ll find Machu Picchu, Bull McCabe’s and A4 Pizza Bar.  Union Square is also home to breakfast favorites Bloc 11, and Sherman Cafe. And of course, Union is home to the annual Fluff Festival (What the Fluff?! Yes. We said it.) and the ArtsUnion series.

In addition to the dining and creative spaces, the Square also has a variety of sustainable transportation services.  Hubway has a station in there, and Metro Pedal Power is located right next to Fringe Union, offering “eco-friendly solutions for last mile delivery in urban areas.”

Finally, funky retail abounds with Hub ComicsSomerville Grooves and Capone Foods. So come and visit the square on January 25 for the first hunt of our Scavenge the Square series, and then come back. You will always have something to explore in the neighborhood. Check out photos from our Union Square album. 

Food Spotlight: Union Square Donuts 
16 Bow Street, Somerville

We first came across Union Square Donuts when they were solely working the market circuits around town. That first bite of Maple Bacon Donut at the Somerville Local First Local is for Lovers market in December 2012 was so good we rushed for more – but they were already sold out! Now they have a brick and mortar shop right in the heart of Union Square. Stop in for a quick bite and some coffee, or visit them at one of many area markets or pop-ups on the go.

Spotlight: Creative Spaces! The Green Room 
62 Bow Street, Somerville

Non-food additions to the neighborhood have created an ever more exciting atmosphere, and creative spaces are popping up all over. The Green Room is one of the newest spaces to the Square. Two Somervillians wanted a space for Somerville’s creative community to sing, play and make art. So they made one.  The Green Room is a great space for private and group lessons, meetings, and small recitals.  Included is a ceiling-mounted projector, a baby grand, and a PA system with five channels.  Need internet for your event? No problem – they’ve got wireless.


Spotlight: Fitness! Be in Union Yoga 
440 Somerville Ave, Somerville

Sometimes we all just need to relax a little. Be in Union Yoga believes that yoga is for everyone. A great philosophy, we think! Bringing together mind, body and soul, the studio hosts about half a dozen classes a day for all abilities and ages. Check out Be in Union’s website for regular specials and stretch away.

Spotlight: Union Square Non-Profit Community

The Square is home to the Somerville Community Corporation, The Family Center, and the Community Access Agency of Somerville. Right next to Brooklyn Boulders is Groundwork Somerville, creating sustainable communities, youth jobs, and community planning opportunities. If you are looking for a new volunteering opportunity, check out these great organizations!

Union Square Main Streets (USMS), is a group that works to “create a vibrant neighborhood by enhancing the Union Square business district and surrounding neighborhoods through active community collaboration.” USMS hosts a variety of events, including the  Fluff Festival, the square’s farmers market, and walk-in movies in the parking lot. The Board of Directors of USMS is an impressive group of residents, business owners and community activists. Included in this A-Team is the owner of The Independent and Precinct Bar, Kenneth Kelly; Anja Bresler of Prospect Hill Academy; and Kat Rutkin of Somerville Local First.

So now download Favecast, sign up for Scavenge the Square and enjoy Union Square with us!

historic union


Scavenge the Square: Union


Join Cambriville Connects on Saturday, January 25th for a day of exploring the fun spaces of Somerville’s Union Square. We will taste some locally made treats, explore favorite haunts, and end the at the Independent. Participants are welcome to participate in teams, or on their own. All scavenger hunt participants will be entered to win fun prizes from local businesses.

Start Time: 11:00 A.M.

Start Location: Union Square Donuts, 16 Bow Street, Somerville

End Time: 2:00 P.M.

End Location: The Independent, 75 Union Square, Somerville, MA

People/teams are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to RSVP!

Register with:

Questions? Contact us at We look forward to seeing you then!

Movers and Shakers: Jimmy Tingle

In this cold month of December, we here at Cambriville Connects were lucky enough to sit down with Jimmy Tingle in the warmth of 1369 Coffeehouse in Central Square and have a nice conversation about his successful career in comedy.  Tingle is currently on the show circuit, where he recently helped to raise $500,000 for the Mount Auburn Hospital, and in a couple of weeks will be hosting his annual holiday show at the Regent Theatre on December 28, 8pm. (

Tingle was raised in Cambridge, and owned/managed a comedy venue in Davis Square for years.  He is Cambriville personally and professionally.  In fact, in 2010 Jimmy Tingle was chosen to give the Commencement address at Harvard University. He’d just received his Masters Degree in Public Administration. Being that he was in the midst of many great academic minds, Tingle felt he should explain himself. “I’m a comedian by profession and have traveled all over the world performing stand-up comedy,” he said. “I don’t want to brag, but two years ago I performed in Europe. I’d just like to say ‘excellent country!’” Tingle went on to explain, “People asked me all year why would a comedian want to go to The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. I told them: ‘The same reason all of you wanted to go to Harvard… We got in!’”

We asked Mr. Tingle how growing up in Cambridge formed his political and comedic personalities.  “My mother’s family was involved in Cambridge politics going way back as my uncle Joe DeGuglielmo was the first Italian American ever elected to Cambridge City Council. He was also a personal friend and supporter of JFK and the first elected official to publicly endorse Kennedy on his first run for Congress. Apparently politics was in my blood before I was even born.”

Tingle worked as a contributor and satirist for MSNBC and has appeared on The Tonight Show, CNN, “Larry King’s Weekend,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The American Comedy Awards,” as well as his own HBO half-hour comedy special. He has also been a guest on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” and appeared regularly on “Heat” with John Hockenberry.

Tingle grew up working class. That perspective – coupled with his Catholic background, particularly the social justice side of the faith – continues to be a major influence in Tingle’s life, politics and worldview. Tingle’s father owned and drove a taxicab in his hometown. “As kids,” Tingle says, “the cab was our family car and we went everywhere in it. One time my father took us hunting in the cab. We looked pretty funny pulling up to the forest in a big yellow cab. Bears were looking out of the forest completely dumfounded: ‘Somebody call a cab?’”

Tingle has produced several comedic and theatrical productions including Jimmy Tingle’s Uncommon Sense at the storied Hasty Pudding Theater at Harvard, which became the longest running one person show in that theater’s history. He also wrote, produced and starred in his first documentary film“Jimmy Tingle’s American Dream” which aired on over 60 PBS affiliates. Other film credits include small roles in Larry David’s “Clear History,” Chris Rock’s “Head of State,” “Next Stop, Wonderland” and “Boondock Saints.” He played himself in the International Emmy Award-winning documentary on arts censorship “Dammed in the USA”.

Theatrical credits include writing and starring and producing four one-person shows, all of which were directed by Larry Arrick: Jimmy Tingle’s Uncommon SenseThe Promised LandJimmyTingle’s American Dream and Jimmy Tingle for President: The Funniest Campaign in History. (The latter two shows are available DVD.)

Don’t miss out on Jimmy’s next show, right up Mass Ave in Arlington.

Jimmy Tingle’s “Making Comic Sense of 2013: The Year in 90 Minutes”

An Evening of Comedy, Commentary, and Conversation with Comedian Jimmy Tingle

 From the new pope to the Tea party, from the NSA to the NRA, Tingle’s hilarious take on 2013 will make you laugh, make you think and make you grateful you made it through. Tingle’s year-end performances are a tradition for Bostonians who enjoy some “comic sense” with their news and politics. “Making Comic Sense of 2013” will lift your spirits, raise your awareness and sharpen your sense of humor for 2014 and beyond.

Jimmy Tingle, 2013

December 28th, 8:00




$25 in advance

$30 day of show

$35 includes a post-show meet & greet with Jimmy at the Tango Argentinian Restaurant, including complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.

Tickets available online at

In person sales available at the Regent Theatre Box Office

7 Medford Street Arlington, MA


For more information visit

Follow Jimmy on Twitter

Like Jimmy on Facebook

Somerville-based 3 Graces Productions is managing this event for Mr. Tingle.

This article is based off of in-person conversations with Jimmy Tingle and his official biography.

Some of Our Favorite Things – Holiday Edition

Happy Holidays everyone! In the spirit of the season, we decided to highlight some made in Cambridge and Somerville items you can buy for gifts this holiday season. Items are either made here in Cambriville or you can buy them here in the area.


Somerville Soap Works – because getting dirty is only half the fun!
We just bought special holiday treats for our mothers! Made in Somerville, and smelling delicious, you can’t miss with Somerville Soap Works.


Magpie – A brick and mortar highlighting the best in indie crafts!
Trying to find local artists and crafters in Cambridge and Somerville?  Magpie is a great place to start! AND they have beautiful necklaces highlighting the New England states – great gift item.

Davis Squared – fun, modern gifts for him, her, baby and home.
Right across the street you can find more local artisans highlighted. Buy local, love local.

Oh that’s right – all you Mason jar users, that beautiful tool to make your Mason jar a to-go cup was created in Somerville! Order online now and you can still get gifts before December 25th.


I am Joolienn – making catastrophes stylish since ’84.
From feathers to flowers, treat your stylish family members to beautiful, handcrafted goodness!


Q’s Nuts – fine, artisanal nuts made in Somerville
Need some treats this holiday season? Don’t miss out on these deliciously spicy snacks!


Taza Chocolate – stone ground chocolates
For the sweet tooth in the family, Taza has the right stuff.  Stocking stuffers, baking needs, and delicious all on their own, chocolates are the way to go.


Spindler Confections – satisfying every sugar fan
Oh delectable, bite-sized treats, how we love you so.  Be careful when you buy these for people – they won’t ever be able to go back to other candies.

The Grommet – Unique gifts
Looking for something Made in the USA? Check out the newest addition to Somerville’s maker space – the Grommet. They feature free shipping for orders $25 or more!


Threla – Locally made beauty products for the people you love – including yourself!
Did you know that in East Cambridge you can find handcrafted body and skin care products combining the goodness of nature and science including lotions, soaps, lip balms, and more. Stop by to make a gift pack or grab a little stocking stuffer!


Follow the Honey – give the gift of honey!
Enjoy honey from near by farms or all the way across the world at the Follow the Honey Store in Harvard Square. They can make a great gift pack for your bee-loved! – Make someone’s favorite book into a poster, t-shirt, bag and more!
Litographs creates art from the books you’ve read and loved. The co-owners of this Cambridge company produce posters, t-shirts, and tote bags are all created entirely from the text of classic books and designed by artists around the world.


Xylem – fun, modern gifts for the geeks in our lives.
Looking for something fun for the Star Wars fan? Or perhaps a “locally made” onesie for your favorite niece? Xylem has a variety of locally made jewelry, cards and more.

Boston Coasters – frame a map of your friend’s favorite neighborhood…or T stop!
Make sure to get your holiday order in soon for a personalized laptop cover or messenger bag at this great shop near Porter Square!

Boutique Fabulous – find something fabulous for everyone on your list
Did you know that the store offers free hot chocolate every Friday during December? Grab a coco a find some locally made chocolates, Cambridge/Somerville cards and signs and other fun local items.


MMMMaven Project – Give the gift of music
Know someone who has always wanted to dabble in the world of DJing? Perhaps there is DJ system collecting dust in your brother’s attic? MMMMaven has an array of classes for those interested in learning how to DJ to those interested in music production. Not sure which class is the best fit? Not to worry, gift certificates are available.

Porcelain and Stone – beautiful handcrafted jewelry
Porcelain and Stone is a ceramic jewelry business started by Cambridge resident Kimberly Huestis. All porcelain and stoneware ceramic pieces are handmade by in Cambridge, MA.


First Annual Inman Square Hoe Down

Hi Cambriville! We hope you have been having a great fall, with Fluff Fest, East Cambridge Rib Fest and other great activities in the area.

This week we wanted to let you know about next Sunday’s first annual Inman Square Hoe Down event. The Inman Square Business Association is hosting a variety of local restaurants, live music, beer garden and kids games. If you dress up in your best hoe down costume, you may even win the best dressed prize!


We will be there giving away some fun raffle prizes so stop by our table! We’ll even tell you about our upcoming Union Square Scavenger Hunt!

Tickets are only $15 ($20 at the door) and you can buy tickets here:

Tickets get you a Chef’s Tasting sample from each participating restaurant and admittance (21+) into our beer garden where you’ll get two free 8oz pours.

See ya’ll there!

Participating Restaurants And Brewers:

All Star Sandwich Bar
Bukowski Tavern
City Girl Cafe
Hit Wicket
Ole Mexican Grill
Puritan & Co.
Rosie’s Bakery
1369 Coffee House
Bantam Cider
and more to come!


Inman Square Business Association
KW Insurance
Prellwitz Chilinski Associates
Rival Marketing
East Cambridge Business Association
Bantam Cider
Harpoon Brewery
Whole Foods Somerville
Taza Chocolate
Stellabella Toys
Cambridge Auto Center
CPCU Credit Union
Inman Square Hardware
Cambridge Arts Council
City of Cambridge Office of Economic Development


Around the Block: Kendall Square

Kendall Square may now be known as the headquaters of Twitter Boston, Amazon, and Google, but it once was the home to a huge variety of industrial companies. Kendall Square is part of the East Cambridge neighborhood and was originally a salt marsh on the Charles River.  In 1793, the West Boston Bridge (now known was the Longfellow Bridge) was constructed and provided the first wagon route from Cambridge to Boston. In 1810, the Broad Canal was dug, providing a little seaport, and the Kendall Square subway stop was opened in 1911.

As a result, in the 19th and early 20th century, Kendall became home to distilleries, electric power plants, soap and hosiery factories, and the Kendall Boiler and Tank Company (the square was named after the company). In 1915, MIT moved from Boston to its new Cambridge campus, where is has been ever since.

Besides the startups, venture capitalists, biotech and high tech companies, Kendall Square is home to variety of residents and smaller businesses. There are long standing restaurants such as Blue Room, Friendly Toast and Cambridge Brewing Company, and newer spots like Abigail’s, Firebrand SaintsWestbridgeMeadhall and the upcoming Commonwealth Restaurant. In addition to the restaurant scene, Kendall boasts an ice rink and kayak landing. There is something for the outdoor adventurer, techie, and the food lover here in Kendall Square. View our Kendall Square photo gallery. 

Cambridge Center Roof Top Garden
4 Cambridge Center Garage, top floor

Cut through the new Google Arcade, tRoof Top Gardenake the elevator and enjoy one of Kendall Square’s hidden gems – the Roof Top Garden. The garden is a great place to eat lunch, enjoy a view, and get away from the hussle of the Square. The garden has benches and tables and has a variety of views of the neighborhood.

Kendall Square Canoe & Kayak and Ice Rink
Broad Canal (kayak) & West Kendall Street (ice rink)

Did you know that Kendall has a Canoe and Kayak rental area? Walk down Broad Canal past EVOO and ZaBroad Canal and you will see the canal filled with kayaks and canoes. Charles River opened the Kendall spot a few years ago and provides rentals from early spring to late fall. The group also provides skyline and harbor tours as well as catering options for large groups.

Right down the road from the canal, a summer patio becomes a winter ice rink. Kendall Square Community Ice Skating offers ice skating on a refrigerated and Zamboni-maintained surface, skate rentals, lessons, and a snack bar to warm any cold feet at the end of your skate. Learn more about the rink here.

State Park
One Kendall Square, Lower Floor

State Park is the newest concept coming from the folks behind Kendall Square’s Hungry Mother Restaurant. This new bar, across the street from HM, will offer pinball, pool, shuffleboard, and a jukebox. The menu will be filled with fun items like pulled pork sandwiches, fried chicken, and an all-magnum wine list.  State Park is slated to open in November. 

One Kendall Square, lower level, near Blue Room

Belly is one of newer additions to the One Kendall Complex. Developed by the folks behind neighborhood faves like Central Bottle and Blue Room, Belly celebrates great wine and charcuterie. Belly offers a wide array of delicious salumi and spreads and a few main courses, including an “arm and a leg” of lamb. Belly likes to play games, too – on Sunday nights, Belly offers game night and Monday nights are “3 Blinds Night” where you must guess the wine. And if you like what you taste, all wine offered by the glass or bottle at Belly can be found at Central Bottle.

Xylem287 Third Street
Xylem is a modern gift shop, located on the Third Street corridor of Kendall Square. Xylem provides an assortment of wonderful gift items.  Want a fun Pi pizza cutter or a Star Wars mug? Perhaps a fun kids toy, new earrings or birthday card? All can be found at Xylem. Stop by – you never know what you will find!

Tatte Bakery
318 Third Street and 205 Broadway

It just seems like yesterday when the first Tatte opened up along Third Street, and now we have another one on the other side of the Square, near the Garment District. Tatte Bakery offers an array of baked goods from croissants to specialty tarts. In addition to traditional pastries, Tatte offers cakes and pies, gift packages and a diverse lunch and dinner menu. Visit a location today!

Squeaky Beaker Cafe
675 West Kendall Street

Squeaky Beaker Cafe comes from the operator of the local East Cambridge Spot 2nd Street Cafe. Anthony Miller, the owner, opened Squeaky Beaker to offer fresh, non-prepared food at a reasonable price. The Cafe offers a great variety of specialty sandwiches, as well as the ability to make your own. In addition to breakfast and lunch options, Squeaky Beaker also offers Christina’s Ice Cream and daily dinner-to-go specials. Next time you are in Kendall for lunch, check this place out.

Cambridge Spiritscambridgespirits
9 Broad Canal Way

Cambridge Spirits is the newest addition to Kendall Square. Located along Broad Canal, the store provides a variety of craft beers, wines and local spirits like Bully Boy and more. Cambridge Spirits also offers a free weekly wine tastings on Thursdays from 5pm-7pm.

Red Line Ride – Sunday, September 15th

Hi everyone-

As some of our Facebook friends know, we have been collaborating with the City of Boston, City of Cambridge & Somerville to organize the Red Line Ride.


What is the Red Line Ride? It’s an opportunity for both sides of the river to connect, make friends, eat, dance and explore neighborhoods surrounding the Red Line, a major transportation node for all three cities. Most importantly, we want you to connect beyond the river – after all, its not a barrier but a great asset  to all the municipalities.

So here is the schedule. Like the event’s facebook page. Use the #RedLineRide hashtag when you tweet.  Most of course, participate in the day’s activities!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

12:00 P.M. Dewey Square (South Station)  *Meet Here*

  • Music from AMP 103.3 Street Tean
  • Treats from Hubway, LUNA bars, RUNA tea, & Unjunked Candy
  • Lawn games on Rose Kennedy Greenway

1:00 P.M. Downtown Crossing

  • Live Music
  • Cupcake Decorating at Cakeology
  • College Fest
  • Barry’s Boot Camp
  • Discounts at: Boston Brewin’, Frozen Yo, Sidebar, Sweet Cupcakes & more

2:00 P.M. Kendall Square

  • Learn some moves & participate in a Flash Mob with MIT Dance Troupe
  • Grab a snack at Clover Food Lab’s Food Truck
  • Discounts at: Charles River Canoe & Kayak, Abigail’s Restaurant & Xylem

3:00 P.M. Central Square

  • Live Music & outdoor activities
  • $1 Dumplings at the annual Dumpling Festival

4:00 P.M. David Square

  • Bowl at Flatbread
  • Win Harvest Fest tickets, and gift certificates to local businesses
  • Grab some fun Somerville giveaways!