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Be Connected: City employees' ultimate walking playlist


Published by:

Human Resources

You know that feeling you get when you have the perfect tunes in your ears while you walk down the street, pretending like you're starring in your own movie? It’s a great feeling, and it can help motivate you to stay moving.

Between social distancing, limited access to gyms and fitness centers, and the colder weather, staying active may be harder than ever these days. But you shouldn’t count out the health benefits of walking. Walking is easy, free, and fun to do, especially if you're going for a nice, long walk in your own beautiful neighborhood or a nearby park. And as long as you maintain social distancing guidelines and stay 6 feet away from others on a walk, it’s a great physical activity to pick up during the pandemic.

We asked our employees to tell us what they listen to while walking their favorite neighborhood paths, routes, and parks, so we can create the ultimate City of Boston walking playlist. You can find, follow, and listen to the City of Boston Employees’ Ultimate Walking Playlist on Spotify

Email us at BeConnected@Boston.Gov to add your selections to the list!

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Mayor Walsh: “Getting fresh air is an important part of my day, no matter how busy I get. I especially like to take walks around my beautiful neighborhood of Lower Mills. My go-to music is my favorite band, U2 — especially 'Beautiful Day' or anything off my favorite album, 'War'.”

Chris Cook, Chief of Energy, Environment and Open Space:'Waiting for My Real Life to Begin' by Colin Hay while walking in West Roxbury’s Billings Field and woods.”

Tania Del Rio, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement: “Songs I love walking around East Boston to include, 'Glory' by John Legend and Common, 'Soy Yo' by Bomba Stereo, 'Hasta la Raíz' by Natalia Lafourcade, 'Tu M’As Promis' by Monsieur Perine, and finally, 'Midnight Sky' by Miley Cyrus (Sorry, not sorry!)”

Jenny Donnelly, Head Clerk, Office of Human Resources: “A good one that I use for walking is 'Confident' by Demi Lovato.” 

Drew Smith, Senior Deputy Treasurer, 1st Assistant Collector-Treasurer: “ 'Astral Weeks' by Van Morrison and 'I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)' by Meatloaf… but only only so I can scream the Lorraine Crosby part into the night at least once per week.”

Nancy Kwan, Speechwriter, Mayor’s Office: “Instead of regular walks, I have been doing a lot of home workouts, and created a playlist to keep me going! Some of my favorites are 'Higher Love' (Kygo/Whitney Houston version), 'Dancing On My Own' by Robyn, and '911' by Lady Gaga!”

Marianna Gil, Director, Health Benefits and Insurance: “I like to run along Castle Island right before the sunset hits, and the song would be 'Goliath' by Smith and Thell. It just came out this year right before the pandemic hit, and has so many fitting themes to everything 2020 has become.” 

Kris Carter, Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics: “ 'Seasons' by Future Island is on my playlist when going through the Allendale Woods — where I assume nobody can hear me or see me trying to dance-run like the lead singer.”

Brian McLaughlin, Director of Public Facilities, Boston Public Schools: “I made this Spotify playlist over the summer, it’s all songs about unity, peace, and justice. It’s good for reflecting on the gains we’ve made and how far we’ve yet to go.”

Alyssa Ring, State Government Liaison, Intergovernmental Relations: “ 'You Can Call Me Al' by Paul Simon and 'Escape (The Pina Colada Song)' by Rupert Holmes. Dad rock is kind of my thing... Oh, and 'Some Kind of Wonderful' by Grand Funk Railroad, baby!”

Alex Valdez, Director of Engagement, Economic Mobility Lab: “These days, I’m walking to 'Un Dia (One Day)' by J. Balvin and Dua Lipa and Bad Bunny and Tainy and 'Hawái (Remix)' by Maluma and the Weeknd.”

Danny Green, Deputy Chief of Policy: “Turns out the number one song I listen to when walking is 'Love Will Never Do (Without You)' by Janet Jackson... I would be embarrassed about that but that is one of the most perfect songs ever written.”

Jordan Smith, Senior Advisor to the Mayor: "Hard to choose! 'Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)' by Arcade Fire, 'Atlantic City' by the Band, and 'Say You Love Me' by Fleetwood Mac. And my favorite place to walk is the East Boston waterfront; it features Australian meat pies, cider, and some really beautiful murals with an important message!"

Erin Santhouse, Transformation Project Manager, Office of Human Resources: “ 'Call It What You Want' by Taylor Swift, 'Indian Summer' by Jai Wolf, and 'On Melancholy Hill' by Gorillaz are up there. If I’m not going far, I’ll go down to McConnell Park and walk around Malibu Beach. For more steps, I love the Harborwalk around UMass Boston and the JFK Library.”

Gabriella Germanos, Management Analyst, Office of Budget Management: “I spend a ton of time walking around the Riverway and the Fens, Jamaica Pond, and the Neponset Trail. Some of my favorite upbeat walking songs are 'I Am The City' by Abba (this is perfect for walking around downtown!), 'Stayin’ Alive' by the Bee Gees (so I can pretend I’m in Saturday Night Fever, of course), and 'It’s Anybody’s Spring' by Seth MacFarlane (so we can be aspirational and pretend winter is already over...).”

Sarah Ryan, Clinician, Employee Assistance Program: “I love walking the Lower Neponset River Trail, listening to 'Good Life' or 'I Lived' by OneRepublic!”

Dave Pina, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Office of Human Resources: “The first song that came to mind for me, and I realize I’m dating myself here, is 'A Lovely Day' by Bill Withers.”

Teresia Flemming, HR Representative, Office of Human Resources: “Definitely 'Tightrope' by Janelle Monae!” 

Dianne Belfast, Director, Human Resources and Payroll, Parks and Recreation: “My favorite mixed selection is DJ Private Ryan's Presents: 'Soca Baby (The Groovy Edition)'. It provides me with up to one hour of continuous music, and helps get me around either Castle Island or Franklin Park.”

Ellen Ferry, Compliance and Talent Development Specialist, Office of Human Resources: 'Lady (Hear Me Tonight)' by Modjo. I actually have a number of playlists for this, but lately I've been floating between various 90s house genres, synth/retrowave (a.k.a., 80s inspired genres, which if you like to take your walks at night, are GREAT!), and lo-fi beats, which are also great to have on during work/school. Favorite walking spot is the East Boston Greenway from Piers Park to Constitution Beach.”

Wendy Cook, Director, Employee Assistance Program: “ 'Walking on Sunshine' by Eddy Grant is the first song that came to mind.”

Kathy Ortiz, Employee Self Service Representative, Office of Human Resources: “Definitely my happy song, which is 'One Love' by Bob Marley!” 

T.J. Flaherty, Scheduler, Mayor’s Office: “ 'More Than a Woman' by Bee Gees, from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack... it’s my guilty pleasure, but it keeps the serotonin flowing.”

Natalie Held, Director of Communications, Office of Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia: “I’m a big pop enthusiast, so some of my favorite songs that give major main character vibes are 'Golden' by Harry Styles, 'Take A Walk' by Passion Pit, 'Electric Love' by Børns, and 'Everybody Wants To Rule The World' by Tears for Fears.”

Joyce Linehan, Chief of Policy:Here’s my playlist. I am lucky to live in Lower Mills, which boasts beautiful Dorchester Park and the multi-neighborhood Neponset River trail, but the best kept secret for walkers here is the stunning Cedar Grove Cemetery. It’s nice to visit with the neighbors (who are very quiet) and see the adorable orange trolley pass through every 20 minutes. Bonus: they don’t salt the roads in the winter, so there is nothing to hurt the dog’s paws!”

Carla Payne, Personnel Assistant, Office of Human Resources: “I would always walk down to the Charles River during my lunch hour. One of my favorite songs is 'Keep on Walkin’ ' by CC Peniston. It is a good upbeat song, to keep a good pace.” 

Kara Elliot-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture: “A few songs in my walking rotation (that are all Boston musicians) include: 'Maker' by Anjimile, 'Toughie' by Ed Balloon, 'Contact' by Eph See, and 'I Should Know Better' by Aubrey Haddard.”

Carolyn MacNeil, Ombudsman, Office of BPS Superintendent: “I do not like to listen to music but rather like listening to the sounds of nature and the peace and quiet of very early morning. It's always a nice thought that I am up and out when most of the city is still asleep or just getting up. I walk at 5:30 or 6 a.m., and my favorite places are Millennium Park in West Roxbury and the magnificent Stony Brook reservation in Hyde Park.”

Keith Henderson, Senior Administrative Assistant, Health Benefits and Insurance Division: “My two feel good songs whenever I'm walking down Washington Street, under what used to be the old elevated Orange Line, is 'Shut ‘Em Down' by Public Enemy or 'All I Need' by Method Man and Mary J Blige.” 

Lori Jones, Clinician, Employee Assistance Program: “When I think of this question, Stevie Wonder came to mind. In particular 'Master Blaster' and 'Sir Duke'.”

Michael Dieffenbach, Clinician, Employee Assistance Program: A newer song I like for walks is 'Kyoto' by Phoebe Bridgers.  I'm a big fan of the Jamaica Plain Arboretum for walking, as well as the Boston Common!”

Kate Davis, Director, Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment: “The East Boston Greenway is one of the most beautiful places to walk. The latest songs to play on my walking mix are 'Thinking About You' by Radiohead, 'Seventeen' by Sharon Van Etten, and 'Better' by Regina Spektor.”

Melissa Hector, Director of Capacity Building, Health and Human Services“ 'Chase Me' by Con Funk Shun, 'Savannah Grass' by Kes (Soca music) and 'Bai' by Soraia Ramos (pasada Cape Verdean music). I love walking around the Franklin Park golf course and Carson Beach”

Renee Barouxis, Senior Communications Manager, Tourism, Sports and Entertainment: “I enjoy a walk along the Boston Harborwalk, especially the Piers Park and the Massport Harborwalk Park parts because there are such great views of the city skyline! As for my go-to playlist, in my opinion, Taylor Swift's imaginative and melancholic album 'folklore' is the soundtrack to 2020.” 

Diana LoSchiavo, Operations Manager, Employee Assistance Program: “Favorite walking spots are Pope John Paul II Park, Castle Island, and the Lower Neponset River Trail. I would say any song by Prince, but I've been going without music as of late. I like to listen to what's going on around me!”

Eoin Cannon, Speech Writer, Mayor’s Office: “Recently, as I run along Carson Beach, I’ve been listening to old live performances by Blondie ('Sunday Girl' is a fave) and The Who ('You Better You Bet' and the 'The Kids are Alright'). My standard fallbacks are Irish band the Saw Doctors ('Clare Island' and 'Never Mind the Strangers') and the Pogues ('Live Concert in Paris').”

Jackie Jackson, Senior Administrative Assistant, Office of Human Resources: “I pretty much love anything that plays on Pandora Dance Cardio Radio. My favorite is 'Show Me Love' by Robin S. when walking around Franklin Park Golf Course. It gets the energy flowing, makes me move a little bit faster.”

Charlotte Fleetwood, Senior Planner, Boston Transportation Department: “ 'The Dog Song' by Nellie McKay pops into my head sometimes while walking in the Arnold Arboretum.”

Ellen Rooney, Republican Commissioner, Elections Department: “Though I am a music-lover, I prefer to listen to the sounds of nature, rather than listening to music while I walk. I like to know what's going on around me. And I walk all over the city, through cityscapes as well as parks, including the Common, the Public Garden, the Fens and the Esplanade.  Walking is my favorite mode of transport.”

Susanna Ronalds-Hannon, Director of Innovation and Technology, Department of Neighborhood Development: “ 'Work That' by Mary J.'s Kamala’s walk on song so I've rediscovered it. 'Revolutionize' by Mia Gladstone or 'Les Fleurs' by Minnie Riperton are beautiful songs for a relaxing stroll though.” 

Alicia Rivera, Senior Data Processing Systems Analyst, DoIT: “Every time I hear 'Love Theory' by Kirk Franklin, I have to dance to it!  All the rooms in my house are my stomping/dancing ground! Also, I walk around the neighborhood with the dog singing and humming my favorite songs.”

Rachel Goldstein, Strategic Partnerships Program Coordinator, Mayor’s Office: “You HAVE to make sure Harry Styles is represented on this list!!! 'Treat People With Kindness' is a good one.”

Lisa Timberlake, Director of Publicity, Inspectional Services: “I enjoy walking the trail at Franklin Park while listening to 'Jesus Walks' by Kanye West, 'My Prerogative' by Bobby Brown, 'Father Figure' by George Michael, and 'Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough' by Michael Jackson.”

Ryan Keogh, Attorney, Office of Workers' Compensation: “ 'Higher by Creed' always uplifts my spirits!”

Jillian Eweka, Regional Planner, Office of Emergency Management: “I love walking with my dog in Millennium Park in West Roxbury. There is another trail down where the canoes/kayaks can dock! It's hidden, and so nice. I listen to Apple music playlists (sorry, Spotify!), Feeling Happy, Pure Workout, Feeling Good, and Pure Ambient.”

Indira Alvarez, Commissioner, Property Management: “I don't necessarily have a particular walking routine, but when I do, I like to walk up to Franklin Park. Especially night, because of the light show. My favorite music to start my day is 'I Smile' by Kirk Franklin.”

Mattie Deed, Financial Coach/Career Specialist, Roxbury Center for Financial Empowerment: “I enjoy early brisk, early morning Walks around JP Pond and the Franklin Park golf course. Love the joy of movement with music! I like to listen to 'Step By Step' by Whitney Houston, 'Let’s Move Your Body' by Beyonce, and 'The Cha Cha Slide' by Mr. John C.”

Kharlita Chambers Walker, Deputy Director of Scheduling and Advance, Mayor’s Office: “My picks are 'If I Ruled the World' by Nas, 'I’m Every Woman' by Whitney Houston, and 'Dozen Roses' by Monica.”

Looking for more ways to empower your employee experience? Visit the Be Connected page for additional employee resources, tools, and tips.

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