Gardner Terrace, Allston, MA Block Party History!

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R.B.: This block party site shows the "3rd Annual" This Ain't the Summer of Love Bash. It was held on Gardner Terrace in Allston, Massachusetts, a student ghetto area of Boston, back in June 1981. This picture is the only one I have of the first annual block party. Even though I think I was there, I don't have any pictures of the second annual block party, but stick around because Bob has some. This Ain't the Summer of  Love is a great song by Blue Oyster Cult. I think Joe Brahler came up with the name and banners for the party, and John O'Toole and I are also major BOC fans, and everyone liked it so the name stuck.

My only picture from the very first block party!!!!!!!!!!!

J.U.:The 1981 "This Ain't The Summer of Love" block party was memorable in that a savvy Gardner Terrace urban-guerrillla operative, Jack Mulvehill, somehow convinced city authorities that we were a responsible, civic-minded organization, worthy of whatever permits were required to entertain ourselves (and the surrounding community) fully and properly, and in the style to which we hoped to grow forever accustomed.

Gardner Terrace was a block-long street in Allston, just off Brigthon Ave. It dead-ended directly behind the evil Foreign Motors auto dealership, near the intersection of Brighton and Comm. Aves. One other noteworthy feature of the Terrace was the existence of a lovely, private swimming pool at the end of the street, situated behind a protective, and rather ineffective, chainlink fence. Many a night's restful Terrace slumber would be interrupted by the pleasant sound of bodies engaged in splashing plunges, accompanied by squeals of watery delight, inevitably followed by the wail of approaching police sirens, and the tell-tale, fence-jangling, exit-scrambles of the intrepid intruders.

Anyway, it was Jack, I believe, who came up with the brilliant idea that we should present ourselves as the "Gardner Terrace Swim Club" when we approached city officials to request the oh-so-essential block party permits. In previous years, we hadn't bothered to obtain all the permits required to really throw an official "block party." But early in our planning for the 1981 event, we decided to be more thorough in this area of preparation. First, we needed a permit to close off Gardner Terrace for all of Saturday. Since it was a dead end street to begin with, this was really no big deal, but the permit we obtained also empowered us to insist that all parked cars be moved off the street for the entire day.

Of course, we also had to have permission to make some noise and blast loud recorded rock music through the summer air, or become the laughingstock of all block parties, forever. But we thought even bigger. We also wanted permission to have real bands plug-in and perform live on a makeshift stage we planned to set up between neighboring triple-deckers. Permission also granted. Things were really beginning to shape up for a block party now.

The other key permit pieces to the block party puzzle soon fell into place, as if pre-ordained by some higher power. As the official "Gardner Terrace Swim Club," we petitioned the City for permission to not only serve beer throughout the day, but to SELL IT to whoever happened to wander by and had a quarter to spare! I don't know how Jack convinced anyone that this was a reasonable request, but sure enough, a permit to sell beer was awarded to our "swimming organization." Times were a little bit different back then, I guess. What mattered most at the time was that we'd now be able to sell beer to anyone in attendance, and use the ongoing proceeds to help pay for subsequent kegs, throughout the day!

I can still recall the looks on the faces of those first cops, the ones who arrived around noon the day of the bash, ready to shut us down, just as things were getting underway -- and soon to veer out of anyone's control. They were so ready to shut things down, but we simply pointed to our various permits, all neatly tacked up on the side of the house, behind our makeshift beer bar (a flat board supported by untapped kegs of beer:-). They inspected our permits, grunted and harrumphed, then got back in their squad cars and drove off. None of the familiar threats to have the paddy wagons come for us, and the 1981 "This Ain't The Summer of Love" block party was officially underway!

R.B.:During the early part of the day, some of the local musicians participated in good jam sessions. Later Quinny's lineup included several name bands, including the Paramounts, Marshalls, and Prime Movers. These were great bands with demo records and recording contracts! It was phenomenal! We drank 12 kegs of beer that day and everyone who tended the bar worked hard. One of the guy's father owned a beer distributor and sent the kegs over to Blanchards. With our license to sell beer and everybody's 25 cents a cup, we were able buy all of those kegs! The kegs were empty, and as with all parties in Allston, once the beer is gone the party is over. The next morning, Joe U. got up before anyone and found a keg with beer in it! I can remember that to this day, man it was just soooooooooo thirst-quenching and delicious.