Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Boston, MA | CruiseBe
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Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway

Natural sights
park, nature, landmark

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a linear urban park located in several downtown neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts. It consists of landscaped gardens, promenades, plazas, fountains, art, and specialty lighting systems that stretch over one mile through Chinatown, the North End, the Financial District, and Harbor communities. Officially opened in October 2008, the 15-acre Greenway sits on land created from demolition of the John F. Fitzgerald Expressway under the Big Dig.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is named after Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy Family who was born in the neighboring North End neighborhood. Her son, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, played an important role in establishing the Greenway.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy was established as an independently incorporated non-profit organization in 2004 to guide the emerging park system and raise funds for an endowment and operations. In 2008, the State Legislature confirmed the Conservancy as the designated steward of the Rose Kennedy Greenway; the Conservancy operates with a lease from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (now Massachusetts Department of Transportation). Since February 2009, the Conservancy has operated the park, leading the maturation of this new civic space, strengthening its physical beauty, and encouraging a sense of a shared community in Boston.

The 2008 legislation established a 50%-50% public/private funding model. Today, each dollar from the state is leveraged by more than one dollar of private support.



In the 1940s, planning began for a "Highway in the Skies" that would alleviate traffic congestion and provide a direct route for moving goods in and out of Boston. Construction of the elevated Central Artery began in 1951 and was completed in 1959, displacing more than 10,000 residents and demolishing some 1,000 buildings. The limitations of the Central Artery soon became painfully clear, however. In 1991, after almost a decade of planning, construction began on the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, more widely known as the "Big Dig", which was recognized as one of the largest, most complex, and technologically challenging highway projects in the history of the United States.

With the elevated highway to be relocated underground, Boston would be rich in prime urban land. Community and political leaders seized the opportunity to enhance Boston's city life by providing additional parks and gardens to connect some of its oldest, most diverse, and vibrant neighborhoods. The creation of the Greenway – a joint effort of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Boston, and various civic groups.

On October 4, 2008, tens of thousands of visitors came together for the parks’ Inaugural Celebration with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. The following year, on February 23, 2009 the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy assumed operational responsibility for the parks. Today, the Greenway encompasses gardens, plazas, and tree-lined promenades. The Greenway is a key feature of the modern reinvention of Boston, Boston Harbor, the South Boston Waterfront, and the Harbor Islands.


Chinatown Park

Located at the southern end of the Greenway, this one-acre linear park contains design elements drawn from Asian traditions and art work. Designed by Carol R. Johnson and Associates, Chinatown Park has a serpentine walkway edged by bamboo within bright red sculptural elements and a fountain that suggests a waterfall and shallow riverbed.

In 2011, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy partnered with local community groups, residents, and abutters to add the plaza tables, chairs and shade umbrellas, while the City of Boston renovated neighboring Mary Soo Hoo Park to the south.

Dewey Square Park

Located between Congress and Summer Streets along Atlantic Avenue, Dewey Square Park joins the major transportation hub of South Station to the Financial District. The park has gardens, lawn areas, and the adjacent plaza, which was designed to draw in commuters and nearby workers and residents. The tables, chairs, and food vendors have made Dewey Square Park a popular lunch destination, especially in the warm seasons when the plaza features the twice-weekly Boston Public Market Association’s farmers market

In 2011, Dewey Square was the site of the Occupy Boston movement.

Fort Point Channel Parks

The Fort Point Channel Parks are located between Oliver and Congress Streets along Atlantic Avenue, they are often referred to as the "New American Gardens" for their wide variety of trees and flowers that are often found in gardens of typical New England homes.

The Fort Point Channel Parks, designed by Halvorson Design Associates, were planted in 2008 by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, with help from many volunteers including the Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. Additional planting and ongoing care are the responsibility of the Greenway Conservancy.

Wharf District Parks

The Wharf District Parks connect Faneuil Hall and the Financial District with Boston Harbor. Designed by EDAW and Copley Wolff Design Group, the parks contain areas of paved surfaces for active public use and a gathering space for public events known as the Great Room. Three open lawn areas, surrounded with plantings, provide informal space for gatherings. During the warmer months, the Wharf District Parks host the Greenway Open Market, food vendors, concerts and fitness classes. The Wharf District Parks are home to the Mothers’ Walk, a curving pathway that consists of pavers engraved with names and personal messages.

The Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove, inspired by the imaginations of Boston’s school children, opened on August 31, 2013. Instead of horses, the hand-carved creatures of this carousel are the wildlife found in and around Boston and its harbor. NY Carousels, a subsidiary of Ride Entertainment Group handles the day-to-day operation of the ride.

Harbor Islands Pavilion
One of the new additions to the Wharf District Parks, the Harbor Islands Pavilion is an open-air structure staffed by National Park Service rangers to welcome visitors and provide information about the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Ferry tickets and Boston Harbor Islands park merchandise are available for purchase at the pavilion. The Pavilion was designed by Utile and opened on June 2, 2011

Armenian Heritage Park

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, and celebrates those who have migrated to Massachusetts shores and contributed to American life and culture. The Park consists of two key features surrounded by seating, brick paving and landscaping. The Abstract Sculpture, a split dodecahedron, is mounted on a Reflecting Pool, represents the immigrant experience. The Labyrinth, a circular winding path paved in granite and set in lawn, celebrates life's journey. The Park and its endowed programs are a key initiative of the Armenian Heritage Foundation. The park opened in May 2012

North End Parks

The North End Parks reflect the scale of the adjacent North End neighborhood. Designed by Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge LLC and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., lawns surrounded by densely planted perimeter beds are designed to evoke a formal feel of past European style gardens with boxwood hedges enclosing an array of perennials. Along the eastern edge, a pergola covers a long "front porch" that provides both a place for sitting and an overlook for the lawn and the historic architecture beyond. A shallow water "canal" runs the length with vertical water jets adding a fountain like scene. This fountain reflects a period approximately a century ago when a canal connected the harbor to now defunct industrial operations.

Public art

The Conservancy has a program to install permanent and temporary public art on the Greenway.

A series of temporary installations have been placed on the wall of the the Air Intake Structure overlooking the Dewey Square Park lawn. In 2012, Brazilian twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo (Os Gêmeos) painted a 70' x 70' mural on the wall, in conjunction with their first solo exhibition in the United States at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art. In fall 2013, a new mural, Remanence: Salt and Light (Part II) by Matthew Ritchie replaced the Os Gemeos mural.

The third installation on the wall was "Seven Moon Junction" by Shinique Smith, installed in 2014. "A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER" by Lawrence Weiner was installed on the wall in 2015 and will remain through August 2016.

An exhibit of sculptures called "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads," by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, was installed in April 2016 at the Rings Fountain in the Wharf District Parks, and will remain on exhibit until October 21st.

In 2015, the Conservancy commissioned the installation of a work called "As If It Were Already Here" by Janet Echelman. The installation was attached to several high-rise buildings, so that it was suspended above the Fort Point Channel parks.

A permanent installation, Harbor Fog, by Boston artist Ross Miller, is located in the Wharf District Parks.

Public programs

Public programs and events on the Greenway are designed to attract residents, workers and visitors to interact and enjoy the parks. The Conservancy partners with cultural institutions and non-profit organizations to create events geared toward multi-generational and multi-cultural audiences. Events have included the FIGMENT participatory art festival, Boston Local Food Fest, Boston-NY Food Truck Throwdown, Summer on the Waterfront, and Berklee College of Music Concert Series. The Greenway has been noted for drawing over 800,000 visitors in 2013 with its 300 free annual events, Mobile Eats Program, free Wi-Fi, concerts, markets, and more.

Sustainable Horticulture - The Conservancy uses organic and sustainable landscape management programs to maintain the parks and features of the Greenway. The Greenway is Boston’s only organically maintained Public Park and one of a handful of organically maintained urban parks in the United States. Organic maintenance means no expenditures for toxic chemicals, and lower expenditures for watering. Plants are healthier, more resilient, and better able to withstand the wear of public use. The Conservancy’s practice of using composting and compost tea instead of herbicides and toxins also ensures that run-off from the parks will not pollute Boston Harbor or harm the delicate marine life. Children and pets can freely and safely play on the park lawns without the worry of pesticides.


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