Magic at the Park

24 Jul

A gift–Albino Mbie & Band performing at Magazine Beach 7.23.2016

Lots of fun Saturday at the park, despite the hot and ominous weather. Thanks to those who dared to venture out in the heat, to the Cambridge Fire Department, Knucklebones, the Blue Hill Observatory, Prof. T, the Riverside Boat Club and to  Albino Mbie, and his amazing band.

Donations from the Sanofi Foundation of North America, MIT and the Charles River Conservancy made this event possible, along with the help of volunteers Dr. Laura Brightman, Amy Lee Jarvis, Sam Kendall and Peter Klinefelter.

A great week for children continues:

  • Monday: Swimming lessons begin at the pool; story hour, too!
  • Tuesday: Nature Detectives @ 10am.
  • Wednesday: Rolie Polie Guacamole (children’s music) @ 10am.
  • And the pool is open daily 11am-7pm.  ALL FREE! Click here for details.

Kids’ Fun & Great Jazz This Saturday!

19 Jul

THIS EVENT IS ON, Saturday. There’s a cool breeze along the river and old shade trees and a swimming pool to keep us cool as well. May it rain LATER tonight. See you at the park! Remember, bring a picnic and money for ice cream and kites.

See you at the park Saturday. For further info, click here. Bring a picnic! Bring your swim suit, too! The FREE pool is open from 11am-7pm. (Note: No foodtrucks. But, yes, an ice cream truck!)

Magazine Beach Poster PNG Low-01

Cooling Off on a Hot Summer Day…

16 Jul

Update: FREE swimming lessons at Magazine Beach Pool! Classes start July 25. Click here for details. Still need to register? Contact: DCR’s Learn to Swim Coordinator, Renee Stearns,  at 617 945 6528 or

Remember, there’s a cool breeze along the river and the Veterans Memorial  Pool is open daily, 11am-7pm through August 21. IMG_5440This week at the park: Stories & Song on Monday at 10am; Nature Detectives on Tuesday at 10am; Yoga on Saturday at 9am; and Kids’ Fun & Great Jazz on Saturday, 3-7pm. Click on Events for details. See you at the Beach–Magazine Beach!

Pokemon “Gym” Beside the Powder Magazine

10 Jul

I realized yesterday that there were some young men walking through the park focused completely on their smartphones. Curious, I thought.

And then my teenage son mentioned that Pokemon Go had just been released. The action in the game is tied to locations in the real world. (This is possible, of course, because smartphones have GPSes—they know where they are.) The locations where the important virtual battles occur are called “gyms,” though, I should point out that the game is pretty cute, with imaginary creatures, and not violent.


The Powder Magazine is a “gym” for Pokemon Go.

At this time the Blue Mystic Team controls the “gym” beside the Powder Magazine. Gregg, an MIT student, was out fighting for his team’s domination at 7:45am today). Just a few days after the game’s debut, he was at an impressive level 15. (He had caught a LOT of Pokemon.) I met Dan (at level 17) and Danielle (at level 5) at the terrace today. Dan couldn’t sleep last night and had been catching Pokemon all over town. Watch out for these “Pokemon trainers,” their eyes glued to their screen, on your next walk in the park.

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Life, It’s All Around Us

9 Jul

IMG_5291What we saw at Explore Nature this morning at the park…

In the Charles: fresh water mussels, tiny crustaceans and aquatic worms…

On the path and in the swales:

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In the sky: red-winged blackbirds, gray catbirds, downy woodpeckers, and cedar waxwings.

Mass Audubon’s naturalists will be back the next 4 Tuesdays at 10am for Nature Detectives. Come discover the park! FREE.

Take note: Bird walk at the park, tomorrow, Sunday, July 10 at 7am. Meet at the park entrance at the BU Rotary. FREE.

And, Sunday, July 10th is the Riverside Boat Club’s Cromwell Cup Regatta, the largest summer regatta on the river with over 600 competitors! 7am-6:15pm. View if from the beach!

July 4th

5 Jul

Updates: Saturday’s Bird Walk has been postponed until tomorrow, Sunday, July 10th at 7am. Meet at the entrance to the park at the BU rotary. Enjoy the day!

Yesterday, dozens of families basked in the sun and admired the fitting red and blue sunset at the park, before heading to watch the fireworks just up the river. The smell of sizzling burgers and dogs wafted through the air. It’s summer at Magazine Beach! Photos courtesy of Silas Weiner.

Nesting Season in Full Swing

28 Jun

Nature wastes nothing. When I enter Magazine Beach from Brookline Street I like to check for woodpecker holes in trees with broken limbs. The woodpeckers used them and moved on, leaving them to this year’s nesters, the house sparrows. I look for holes with signs of habitation- clusters of protruding dead grasses, step back to give the birds a little space and wait. A female lands safely out of view in the tree’s leaf cover as a male emerges from the tree hole and flies off. She then disappears into the hole with whatever seed or insect she has found for her young.

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Next, I scan the lawn for robins and starlings, whose young are out and about foraging for insects.  I find young robins to be particularly handsome-vivid white rings around the eyes with spotted throats and upper chests that give way to a rusty red belly. If I am lucky a couple of Baltimore orioles will cross the field and head into the tall shade trees along Memorial Drive.

By this time, the redwing blackbirds announce my arrival by dive bombing me and making their check- check call. Red wings are polygamous and the 30 or so males I record on a busy day suggest the presence of more females, not to mention the young in the nest. The birds heed the redwing’s warning, rise out of the swale and head for the safety of the tall trees lining the river.  I follow them with my eyes: female redwings, starlings, eastern kingbirds, a cat bird, gold finches, and today’s special treat, a handsome tree swallow. He glistens a rich, metallic blue with a contrasting white throat and underparts, his pointed tail deeply split.

Birds all over the park are predators and prey, competitors and collaborators. The trees, grasses, shrubs, insects, berries, birds, microbes, animals and fish weave a web of life that renews itself each spring and makes human life possible. It is vividly on display right now.

Jean Strahan

Eager to see this for yourself? Walk the park with Jean on Saturday, July 9 at 7am. Meet at the park entrance at the BU rotary. FREE! (Rain date: July 10–Check here at 6:30am Sat. to see if this event is on. The birds will only be out if it’s NOT raining.) POSTPONED TO SUNDAY, JULY 10.

For a list of the birds Jean has sighted at the park since October 15, 2015, click here: Cumulative Species List Spring2016.

The Pool Opens Saturday, June 25 @ 11am!!!!

24 Jun

The weather is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 70ies/lower 80ies this weekend. The pool will be open from 11am-7pm, daily, through August 21. FREE! Re swimming lessons, check Events in the next weeks to see whether DCR will offer them OR ask the lifeguards. UPDATE: Just heard. The pool will probably NOT offer swimming lessons this year…IMG_4889

Yoga Begins Saturday at 9am

Come to the park for Yoga Saturday mornings: June 25, July 2, 9, 16, 23 & 30 & August 6, 13 & 20. Cancelled in case of rain. Bring your yoga matt and strap and block if you’ve got them. Meet on the MB side of the pedestrian footbridge. Led by Carol Faulkner and Vered Levy. Donations welcome. Shop at the Farmer’s Market in the parking lot at the Morse School afterwards!


Yogis at the  Beach in 2014

Stories & Song Starts Monday at 10am

Meet at the MB side of the pedestrian footbridge. Click here for the complete list of Summer Programs. Also, click here to learn about the Charles River Conservancy’s Parkland Games, beginning this Sunday the 26th.

Make Music Boston @ Magazine Beach

22 Jun

About 200 turned out at the park Tuesday night for a gorgeous evening of fun, fresh air, community, and, of course, music. Great full moon, too. Photos mostly by Bimal Nepal.

Make Music Boston is an international celebration of music. 800 cities, including Cambridge, participated yesterday!

Attention, all: Saturday Morning Yoga, with legendary Carol Faulkner, begins this Saturday, June 25th at 9am. Bring your yoga matt, and strap and block, if you’ve got them. Meet under the trees, near the pedestrian footbridge. Donations are welcome. AND, the pool opens this Saturday at 11am!

3 Bands & 2 Mass Jams: June 21, 5-8pm

14 Jun

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See you at the park tonight–Tuesday, 5-8pm. Bring a hat and some water and relax into the longest day of the year at Magazine Beach!

Our 2016 Summer Program series kicks off next Tuesday night! Make Music Boston, a city-wide music festival, comes to Magazine Beach June 21, 5-8pm. (Raindate: Thursday, June 23). Best Ever Chicken will play bluegrass; Slainte, Irish music; and Porch-i-oke, groovy sing-a-long pop tunes from Lady Gaga to Johnny Cash.

Bring your harmonica and ukulele and play in mass jams with other musicians. Bring your instrument and a chair! Don’t have a harmonica? Come anyway and we’ll provide them. Noteflight will also share their composition software. It’s all FREE, FREE, FREE.

Foodtrucks! Port-o-potties. What more could you ask for? For more information, go to our Events page.

Saturday Morning Yoga starts June 25 @ 9am. The pool opens that day @ 11am. And Stories & Song begins  June 27 @ 10am. See you at the Beach!



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