2016 was another banner year on The Greenway, as we hosted over 400 free events, and attracted numerous artists and designers to create thoughtful installations throughout the park.
All of this is done through the work of the non-profit Greenway Conservancy. As the year winds down, we asked Conservancy staff to offer their picks for ‘Top Moments’ of 2016. At the bottom of this page you can vote on YOUR top event of the year! And take a look back at our first ‘Top Moments’ post last year for the Best of 2015!
- Block Parties – 2016 was another very successful year for our Boston Calling Block Parties in Dewey Square as we had our first-ever year with no rainouts! Plus, just this year we launched the very popular Private Space Rental option where companies and groups could reserve a VIP area adjacent to the Block Parties to cater food & drink while enjoying lawn games and Boston Calling’s amazing line-up of live bands! (Reach out to us at [email protected] to get info about the private rental option in 2017!)
- David Ortiz Mosaic – We were thrilled to play host to one of the best – and certainly one of the biggest – retirement celebrations enjoyed by Red Sox slugger David Ortiz during his farewell season this year. Our friends at Dunkin’ Donuts used The Greenway as their canvass to construct a 10,000-donut mosaic of Ortiz in time for his final home games in a Red Sox uniform! Additionally, we worked with DD to offer a donation to the Greater Boston Food Bank for each donut used in the display!
- Rangers on Patrol – Our Park Rangers, Trina & Jared, had another terrific season crisscrossing The Greenway’s 17 acres each day to ensure a safe and welcoming park while providing directions and a smile at every turn. These important members of our team also connect park visitors with social services needs to the appropriate government programs and agencies. Our park ranger program is grant-funded program and our rangers could not do what they do without the support of Citizens Bank and the Mabel Louise Riley Foundation.
- Relaunched Membership Program – If you love The Greenway as much as we do, you’ll be thrilled to hear we’ve relaunched our membership program with a number of amazing benefits. Along with your tax-deductible donation to support the non-profit Greenway Conservancy, your membership card earns you Greenway Food Truck & Carousel discounts, and deals at a host of select local businesses! Check out the new program in time to make your donation count in 2016!
- Runway on The Greenway – On a beautiful August summer night The Greenway as you know it was transformed into a glamorous runway for a fashion show! Our Fort Point Channel Park was the site of Runway on The Greenway, a free fashion show accentuating the park’s natural beauty with music, dancing, and the best in local fashion!
- Outdoor Movie Series – It was another big year of outdoor movies on The Greenway! Our partners at the Asian Community Development Corporation celebrated their 11th annual Films at the Gate in our Chinatown Park, while the Conservancy partnered with the Coolidge Corner Theatre on ‘Coolidge at The Greenway‘ for three nights of films. 2016 also saw the Arlington International Film Festival’s Opening Night occur on The Greenway.
- Art Through Words – 2016 was a year where spoken word and text-based art was prevalent throughout the year, beginning with the Lawrence Weiner A TRANSLATION FROM ONE LANGUAGE TO ANOTHER‘ mural in our Dewey Square Park. Additionally, the Conservancy hosted our first extended sound-based public art project, From the Mouths of Monkeys, by Halsey Burgund, which was broadcast in our Wharf District Parks. Early in the year the Conservancy installed Matthew Hoffman’s MAY THIS NEVER END (see #7 below) and hosted the traveling In Search of the Truth (Truth Booth) by the Cause Collective, which gave visitors an opportunity to share their ‘truths’ to later be featured in a Boston-specific compilation video. And in both July and September The Greenway’s Dewey Square Park – in front of the Weiner mural – played host to poetry events. The first event, the Ipswich Poetry Stand, involved students from Ipswich High School writing personalized poems to park visitors. The latter event, Living in Many Languages: Poetry & Music to Celebrate the Act of Translation, was held in partnership with the Boston Poet Laureate Program and offered a Friday lunch hour opportunity to hear poetry and music right in front of the Greenway Wall mural that got so many people thinking about its meaning!
- Street Pianos – In a repeat of a very popular installation from 2013, our friends at the Celebrity Series of Boston returned Street Pianos to The Greenway in 2016 with five terrific designs painted onto pianos throughout the Greenway corridor. The pianos were open each day for park visitors to sit and enjoy playing a tune or two.
- Greenway Goes to the Dogs – The second annual Carnival of Dogs was a big hit in our North End Parks and hundreds of two- and four- legged friends joined the Conservancy for a Pooch Smooch Booth, dog treats, dog caricatures, obstacle course, and some human treats too! This hair-raising event was supported by our friends at TD Bank!
- 150,000th Bulb – The Greenway Conservancy took over stewardship of the 1.5-mile Greenway in 2009, and this year the Conservancy celebrated having planted over 150,000 bulbs lifetime in the park! The event brought together community stakeholders, State Senator Joe Boncore, Greenway Board members, and Greenway staff to plant the ceremonial 150,000th bulb!
- Greenway Gala & Glow in the Park – The Greenway’s largest two fundraising events of the year were again extraordinarily successful, as the Greenway Gala and Glow in the Park once again took place in June on The Greenway. The important support raised for the Conservancy at the Gala was led by honoree Eaton Vance and ‘Dragon Level’ sponsorship by Citizens Bank. The Greenway’s second annual young professional event, Glow in the Park, got bigger and better in 2017 with over 500 attendees enjoying live music, Greenway food truck food, lawn games, beer/wine, and more. The event raises important funds to support the non-profit Greenway Conservancy and gives young professionals from around Boston an opportunity to meet each other while supporting the park loved by so many!
- Free Fitness Classes – We had another remarkable year of offering fitness classes to park visitors, with over 125 classes offered FREE OF CHARGE. Classes offered included yoga, pilates, bootcamp, spin, weight-lifting, and more! Highlights of the year included the ever-popular MSL Fitness Classes in our North End Park as well as the Pilates with Purpose event which packed our Wharf District Park. A big note of thanks goes out to our amazing collaborators and instructors, and especially to program sponsor Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts!
- Cultural Performances – This was an active year to be on The Greenway enjoying performances aimed at transporting you to another time or place! We had demonstrations of Kung Fu, Bhangra, Jinta la Mvta (a Japanese Klezmer concert!), Tai Chi, and Argentinian Tango while our Play Program provided a guide to dancing like no one was watching in our North End Parks!
- Ai Weiwei & the 2016 Public Art Program – 2016 was another stellar year for public art on The Greenway, including a visit from Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, which were a big hit at our Rings Fountain! We also enjoyed Matthew Hoffman’s MAY THIS NEVER END, Don Kennell’s Monkey See, Gianna Stewart’s Midden, Carolina Aragon’s High Tide, and Kiwandeep Virdee’s Pink Lines as Concentric Arches on Yellow (Boston Bloom)! Stay tuned as we announce a terrific slate of public artworks planned for 2017! The Greenway 2016 public art installations were commemorated on May 19, 2016 with a Greenway-wide celebration that included several of the artists themselves joining together on The Greenway to interact with park visitors over food, live music, and special activities. Missed the festivities? Check out some of the best images from the event. Considerable thanks are owed to the sponsors of our public art program in 2016, including the Barr Foundation, Berkeley Investments, the H. Kirsch Family Foundation, the Marr Companies, Boston Cultural Council, BSA Foundation, The Boston Foundation, Presenting Media Sponsor WBZ-TV, and Media Sponsors – the Boston Globe, Improper Bostonian, WBUR, and Art New England!
- Volunteer Program – The Greenway’s award-winning horticulture program was again given a big boost by the amazing work of hundreds of talented volunteers offering thousands of hours of time to the mission of the Greenway Conservancy. Highlights of the year included several planting days throughout the year, participation in our Art & Play Ambassador programs, tending to our edible garden in Dewey Square, numerous office-based volunteers lending behind-the-scenes support, and our first volunteer maintenance projects! Thanks to all of our wonderful volunteers on another successful year!
- The Greenway as Innovation Incubator – 2016 saw the continued rise of outside organizations seeking out The Greenway as their preferred forum for sharing innovative ideas with Boston residents, workers and visitors. Over the course of the year, exhibits on housing policy, food development, urban planning, multi-modal transportation, millennial-focused financial preparedness, and pop-up parks were shown on The Greenway in order to share ideas and experiences with Greenway visitors.
- Play – Launched in 2016, our Greenway Play Program brought thousands of parents and children to the park all year long for a series of free, open play opportunities with a mix of educational and recreational components. In addition to our regular play programming, our Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove again served as the host site for a very successful Free Fun Friday event (providing free rides to over 1600 riders), which was joined this year by The Greenway ever-popular Truck & Tractor Day! The Play Program continues in the winter of 2016 into 2017 with Snow Day play opportunities so stay tuned for much more from this new offering in 2017!
- Spaces Of Hope – Our fifth Greenway Wall at Dewey Square Park quickly became one of our most popular as Mehdi Ghadyanloo of Tehran, Iran made his American debut by painting a masterful 76′ x 70′ trompe l’oeil mural on The Greenway that has been hailed by art critics and art lovers the world over!
- PlayCubes. In 2016, the Greenway Conservancy partnered with the Design Museum of Boston and Playworld to bring the latest in children’s playground equipment to The Greenway’s Chinatown Park. At the conclusion of Design Museum’s Extraordinary Playscapes exhibit, the Conservancy worked with local stakeholders in Boston’s Chinatown and Leather District neighborhoods to solicit feedback from the public on whether and how the Conservancy should maintain the PlayCubes in Chinatown Park longer-term. The result was a new configuration of the two largest pieces of the original exhibit and an opportunity for the equipment to remain in Chinatown for the enjoyment of children and families for some time to come!
- Festivals. 2016 was a HUGE year on The Greenway for Festivals! Over the past year we welcomed the African Festival, Brazil on The Greenway Festival, Caribbean Festival, FIGMENT participatory art festival, Chinatown Lantern Festival, Bostoberfest beer festival, August Moon Festival, Greenway Food Truck Festival (Sponsored by Stop & Shop and Peapod,) Race Amity Day Festival, Boston Local Food Festival, Brooklyn Boulders Festival, and more!
Onorable Mention: #GreenwayHunt Scavenger Hunt, ‘Caroling at the Carousel‘; Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh volunteer at Greenway 9/11 event; Another successful season of free concerts from Berklee College students; Record-breaking Greenway Carousel Attendance; Newly Expanded Greenway Open Market Season; Record Greenway Mobile Eats Food Truck Program offerings
Written by Alan Auger in General Greenway News, Maintenance and Horticulture, Programs and Events, Public Art, Volunteering