Riverside’s Opening Race is this Sunday, April 19th

16 Apr

The Crusher Casey Regatta, Riverside’s opening day race to celebrate the start of the rowing season, will be held this Sunday, April 19th beginning at 9:45 am. The race, named after named after world champion wrestler and Riverside oarsman Steve “Crusher” Casey,  will be a “stake turn race” where crews race from Riverside up to Newell Boathouse (upstream of the Anderson Bridge), row around a buoy and race back to Riverside. The first crews racing will be mixed 8’s comprised of men and women, and following the 8’s will be a singles race where single sculls race the same course.

The race can be watched from the River Street, Western Ave, Weeks or Anderson Bridges (especially fun to watch from Anderson, as you will see the stake turn!). Here’s to a great rowing season!

Amanda Milad, Riverside Boat Club

Photos from last year’s event courtesy of Igor Belakovskiy.

Mark Your Calendars: Earth Day Cleanup, Sat., April 25!

15 Apr

Spring is springing at Magazine Beach. Join us on Earth Day, Saturday, April 25, rain or shine, for our annual cleanup. Meet at the parking crescent for trash bags, gloves, t-shirts!, assignments and brownies and water. There is plenty of trash to pick up as we prepare for our 2015 season of baseball, soccer, quidditch, swimming, running, dog walking and just plain enjoying this green, open space along the river. See you there!

To sign up, contact the Charles River Conservancy’s Volunteer Coordinator Sasha Vallieres at svallieres@thecharles.org. Or just come!

Spring is in the Air

12 Apr

Take a walk along the river. Magazine Beach is bursting with signs of spring. The long winter is over. Come join us for our Earth Day cleanup: Saturday, April 25, 9-12noon. The park needs it!

Why We Should Invest in Our Cambridge River Parklands

13 Mar
Cambridge and the Charles River Basin. The river parklands are our Central Park; our connection with nature.

Cambridge and the Charles River Basin. The river parklands are our Central Park; our connection with nature.

Deputy Director of the Solomon Foundation (and former Cambridge resident) Herb Nolan’s case for investing Cambridge’s Community Benefit dollars into our riverfront parks:

The city is full of tiny neighborhood parks as you can see in attached diagram and many of them are lovely.  However, I would argue that Kendall Square needs better urbanism in the form of well framed streets and squares – not more mini parks. Why build small spaces at the base of office towers that will benefit few people when major well-used parks a few blocks away languish for lack of funds?

What Cambridge, as a whole, desperately needs is a sustained investment in its one citywide park – the Charles River Basin.  If properly funded and reclaimed, places like Magazine Beach on the Charles River would regain the crowds of people that once thronged to its shores in the early 20th century.  It would become a center of community life once again. This will not happen without serious investment in its infrastructure and an ongoing commitment to park managment.  The role of parks has changed since Charles Eliot’s day. Magazine Beach is no longer a place for factory workers to recuperate after a long day of assembling model T Fords across the street.  It is a place for creative people to relax, have fun together, and connect with each other. These are the folks in Cambridgeport and nearby neighborhoods who help power the Kendall Square economy. Sophisticated developers and CEOs will understand this important role of parks and will want to support them.

Fifteen years ago I helped produce the Charles River Master with input from hundreds of Cambridge residents.  We are seeing key parts of that plan move ahead today which signals something of a river renaissance in my view.  The work of the DCR with the Magazine Beach Committee (CNA), the Charles River Conservancy, and the Esplanade Association has made a tremendous difference.  Now is the time to gather this momentum together and keep this river renaissance going.    

Note: For information about other Cambridge river parkland projects in the works, see: Greenough Boulevard improvements: /www.solomonfoundation.org/pages/projects/her.html; skate park: www.thecharles.org/projects-and-programs/skate-park/ and DCR’s parkway project: http://blog.livablestreets.info/?p=1060

Found: One of the Disappointed Charles River Swimmers

3 Mar
Magazine Beach and all Charles River swimming beaches were closed for good in 1949 due to pollution. The Boston Globe reported that the biggest crowd of disappointed swimmers would be at Magazine Beach, which still attracted 4,000 bathers each summer.

Magazine Beach and all Charles River swimming beaches were closed for good in 1949 due to pollution. The Boston Globe reported that the biggest crowd of disappointed swimmers would be at Magazine Beach, which still attracted 4,000 bathers each summer. Photo courtesy of the Boston Globe Library.

On Friday, during the last hours of Magazine Beach—A Place Apart, who should walk into the gallery but Bobbie Halliday, the daughter of Barbara Costa Halliday, pictured on the right above. Bobbie had come hoping to find the photo, taken by a Boston Globe photographer in 1948, for an article about the closing of the Charles River swimming beaches due to sewer overflow. In 1949 all seven of the river’s beaches were closed for good.

Barbara Costa Halliday, now 78, spoke with her daughter about the photograph and Magazine Beach:

I have been going there since I can remember. I lived at 28 Elm St. with 9 brothers and sisters and my father (Joseph Costa) would pile us in his station wagon and drive us down there. Once in a while he would take a couple of neighborhood kids if they asked. On the weekends, he would pack us lunches, and if was really hot out, he would take us when he got home from work.  

The day the picture was taken, a photographer asked if I would pose in front of the picture with another girl I used to play with. That’s how the picture came about. Everyone was so upset. They actually let us swim for that day, but no more after that. 

When the pools opened [in 1951], they called my father and asked us if we would come down to take another picture for the paper and we did. I guess I went there on and off until I was a young teenager. 

When I had you kids I would take you almost everyday in the summer (we lived at 101 Magazine St.) and you would play in the kiddie pool until you were old enough to go into the big pool. A lot of my friends had kids too, and we would have cookouts on the weekends in the summer. 

Bobbie remembers going there until third grade, the year they moved to Somerville. “It was a blast, and I am still friends with people I met there.”

Thank you Bobbie and Barbara, for sharing your memories and the photos below of the Halliday and Famara families enjoying the park in the late 1960s. That’s Barbara to the left of the nun, her sister Phyliss, in the photo at the bottom.

Do you have stories and photographs of the park? Please share them by contacting Cathie at cathzusy@gmail.com. Many thanks to Kit Rawlins of the Cambridge Historical Commission for scanning the photos!

A Cure for the Winter Blues: Magazine Beach–A Place Apart & Best Ever Chicken!

24 Feb

Hot off the press and wonderful: Celeste LeCompte, a Neiman Fellow at Harvard, created this piece, Who Cares About Magazine Beach?, which includes many short interviews recorded at the party. Check it out.

About 80 came out last night in the freezing cold to partake in our Community Potluck/Dessert Cafe at Cambridge Arts. Best Ever Chicken serenaded us with Cambridge’s best bluegrass and neighbors and partnering organizations brought favorite dishes and desserts to share.

Thank you to all who attended and who made the event happen: the Magazine Beach Committee of the CNA, Cambridge Arts, the Charles River Conservancy, Riverside Boat Club, Cambridge Historical Commission, Cambridge Historical Society and Best Ever Chicken.

Magazine Beach–A Place Apart is in its final week at the City Hall Annex (344 Broadway). See it while you can, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30am-5pm and Friday from 8:30am to 12noon. It’s a short walk from Central Square at the corner of Inman and Broadway.

Community Potluck & Dessert Café Mon., Feb. 23

19 Feb
David Torrey with CAC Director of Public Art, Lillian Hsu

David Torrey with CAC Director of Public Art, Lillian Hsu at Magazine Beach–A Place Apart

Got a case of the Winter Blues? How about a cozy evening with neighbors, great food and bluegrass, too, at Cambridge Arts, Monday, Feb. 23, 6-8pm. The Cambridgeport Neighborhood Assn. is co-hosting a Community Potluck & Dessert Café that night with bluegrass by Cambridge’s Best Ever Chicken.

The event will celebrate the exhibition Magazine Beach—A Place Apart—open through Februrary 27th. And Charles Sullivan of the Cambridge Historical Commission, Renata von Tscharner of the Charles River Conservancy, and Tom Reece of DCR will share remarks. All are welcome. Bring a dish to share.

The Potluck is being co-sponsored by Cambridge Arts, the CNA, Cambridge Historical Society, Cambridge Historical Commission, Charles River Conservancy, Riverside Boat Club and Riverside Neighborhood Assn. Music will be provided by Cambridge’s own Best Ever Chicken.

This event is free and at City Hall Annex at 344 Broadway. Due to all the snow, parking will be very difficult, so please walk or take the T to Central Square and walk up Inman Street to Broadway–the City Hall Annex is at the corner of Inman & Broadway. The exhibit is open Monday, 8:30am-8pm; Tuesday-Thursday, 8:30am-5pm; and Friday, 8:30-12noon.

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