The Boston Greenway — now and then
Mile-long city centerpiece nearly finished, already drawing tourists
Bob Dunn, story and photos
Leaving Chinatown, heading for the Greenway.
Although the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy “Greenway” in Boston is not yet entirely finished, it already makes for a great one-mile-plus walk (or run) from Chinatown along Atlantic Avenue to the North End and the Zakim Bridge. The Greenway is finished except for a few hundred trees and small parks that will be added when the funds become available.
Beginning of Greenway at Chinatown Gate.
Leaving Chinatown Gate and heading for South Station area.
Having a great lunch with chopsticks at the Chinatown end of the Greenway.
The view from South Station area back towards Chinatown Gate.
The Greenway has been in the news during the past month because of a developer, Don Chiofaro, owner of the 80-foot-high Harbor Parking Garage near the Aquarium, which abuts the Greenway. Chiofaro wants to build twin buildings on the site that would be 59 and 40 stories each, with a mixture of parking, offices and condominiums. Boston Mayor Tom Menino is against the development, since the original Greenway plan was to have open space along the mile-plus area, and not to have tall buildings that would create large shaded areas. Others advocate creating a number of small neighborhoods that would enjoy the openness of the Greenway. Building a few small neighborhoods along the Greenway would result, in my opinion, in expensive condos or apartments in commercial areas.
Looking to the north from the South Station area.
View back towards the South Station area.
The area on the Greenway near Seaport Blvd.
Along the Greenway are four parks: the North End, Wharf District, Dewey Square (South Station area) and Chinatown Park (at the foot of Chinatown). The original plan was to replace the old elevated Central Artery with an open area to be enjoyed not only by the local workers and residents, but by the many thousands of visitors Boston attracts from abroad and throughout the United States. The Greenway is already being enjoyed by many foreign and distant visitors, as I discovered on a recent walk – I offered to take photos (their camera) of different visitors from Ireland, Great Britain, Japan and China.
Rowes Wharf area and the place to catch the water taxis to Logan Airport and other harbor locations.
The Wharf Park area is a great place to rest and read the paper.
Or maybe to take a short nap after lunch.
There is room for improvement that would entice even more visitors to the Greenway, such as including a few food sales areas within the space. The Greenway Conservancy group does have many scheduled concerts and other entertainment to attract visitors as well.
Enjoy a piece of pizza for lunch.
The entrance to Christopher Columbus Park just off the Greenway. Great spot when the trellis is all covered with leaves.
View of the harbor and Logan Tower from the entrance to Columbus Park.
View of Faneuil Hall from the Greenway.
As I walked the Greenway I could not help but reminisce on the Atlantic Avenue and Boston waterfront that I have experienced in my lifetime. I remember as a young boy growing up in Malden taking the streetcar from Malden to Everett Station and getting on the Boston Elevated Railroad. It was always best to get on the first car as the front door was open in the summer, protected by a steel screen, and stand with the wind blowing cool air over you. We would then get off the train at North Station and descend the stairs to walk along commercial Atlantic Ave. (sometimes we would hop on the ladders of a freight train that was moving slowly along), heading for the “Penny Ferry” which would take us over to East Boston. Sometimes we would transfer to the Elevated line that ran from North Station to South Station along Atlantic Avenue. The narrow gauge railroad ran from the docks near Maverick Square to Lynn. We would get off at Revere Beach and enjoy the ocean waves before heading back to Malden. The return home was usually on the direct bus that ran from the beach to Malden.
School group enjoying the Greenway.
A great spot to read your book at Christopher Columbus Park.
The Custom House Tower viewed from the Greenway North End Park.
Blossoming trees at the entrance to the Christopher Columbus Park.
Lunch time at the Greenway North End Park.
The North End of the Greenway with the Zakim Bridge in sight.
The walk along the Greenway is bright and open as compared to many years of Atlantic Avenue being covered by the “El” and the elevated Central Artery that was built along that route. It makes a great place to sit and read a book, take a nap, eat one’s lunch or sit and enjoy the passing parade. The side trip off the Greenway into the North End Park (Christopher Columbus Park) is a definite must. The view of the harbor and the passing boats and the Logan Airport tower and arriving and departing planes is great. In summer when the trellis is covered with vines, the shade - with maybe a breeze off the harbor - makes it a great place to sit, relax, and read.
Copyright © Rye Reflections 2010. All rights reserved.