Greenway Blog – Boston Duck ToursImage from Wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons)
As a nanny and a babysitter I am always looking for fun and free activities to do with kids – one summer when I was nannying full time I discovered the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway for the first time: After an afternoon at the New England Aquarium I had an infant in a stroller and a 3 year old girl – it was hot out and I wasn’t sure what we were going to do next so we started walking away from the aquarium and we spotted The Rings Fountain – rings of water jets spouting up sporadically as children ran around in the water screaming and laughing – I parked the stroller under a table with a chair and an umbrella and as I fed the baby, the 3 year old ran around in the water giggling and playing with the other kids. I looked up where we were and saw that the Greenway stretched a mile and a half through some of the classic Boston neighborhoods and that there was a lot more to discover in this 15-acre linear park!
The history of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is as compelling as its attractions – it first opened in October of 2008 on land created after the demolition of the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway as part of the “Big Dig” – a massive project that removed the highway and instead created a tunnel system below the city. Named after the matriarch of the Kennedy family who was born in the North End of Boston – The Greenway was created as part of a movement to beautify the city and was a joint effort between the Massachusetts Transportation Authority, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The City of Boston, and various civic groups. Since 2009 the park has been operated by the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy – an organization established in 2004 as an independently incorporated non-profit organization to guide the emerging park system and raise funds for the project.
Each park within the Greenway is different and has its own unique features: As part of the Wharf District Park in addition to the rings fountain we went through the “Harbor Fog” sculpture by Boston artist Ross Miller – a set of structures that release a cool water mist and sounds of the Harbor in response to your movement – a unique art piece and a cool escape from the heat for a very sweaty nanny! The Wharf District Park is also home to the “Mother’s Walk” – a pathway in the Greenway’s Wharf District Parks that consists of 2,500 pavers inscribed with names and personal messages honoring caregivers and loved ones. The “Light Blades” provide quite a show at night with twelve vertical glass and steel sculptures with LED lights that can show up to 16.7 million different colors, along with an array of patterns, speed, and intensity. There is also the Greenway Carousel – a truly one of a kind carousel which offers you the chance to ride on animals native to Boston such as lobsters, a sea turtle, a cod, a peregrine falcon, a grasshopper, a harbor seal, a fox, a skunk, a whale, three types of butterflies, a barn owl, and a sea serpent.
One of the best parts about the Greenway is the beautiful flowers and landscaping designs throughout the park: From three types of Bamboo in the Chinatown Park, to all kinds of trees and flowers throughout Dewey Square Park, Fort Point Channel Park, The Armenian Heritage Park as well as The North End Park – you can find some beautifully designed green spaces in the middle of our bustling city. The Armenian Heritage Park is dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and acknowledges the history of Boston as a port of entry for immigrants worldwide – celebrating those who have migrated to Massachusetts shores and contributed to American life and culture. The park included The Abstract Sculpture, a split dodecahedron mounted on a Reflecting Pool and represents the immigrant experience. Then there is The Labyrinth – a circular winding path paved in granite and set in lawn that celebrates life’s journey and can be used for meditation. Finally, the North End Park has a covered area for seating overlooking a big grassy area with perennials as well as a long shallow “canal” fountain that again offers a great place for kids to run around and play in the grass or splash through the water jets.
Throughout The Greenway you can find public art exhibitions, food trucks, exercise classes, musical performances, movie screenings and artisanal & farmer’s markets. There is always something going on down at The Greenway whether you are looking for a nice place to run through, a place for a picnic, or a nice walk with the kids where they can run through the fountains on a hot day. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a beautiful use of our space providing an aesthetically pleasing place that people young and old can walk through and enjoy.