Cambridge Commits $1.8m to Park Improvements

25 Jun
Rendering of Phase II-2 by landscape architects Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge

The City of Cambridge has committed $1.8m of American Rescue Act (ARPA) funds to remove the last big eyesore at the park—replacing the sunken parking lot between the pool and the river with a grassy beach, and adding a dock and outlook. This $2.2m project (Phase II-2), will happen this winter when the Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR), the guardians of the park, redo the pool and its decks. Over two years, DCR is investing $2.7m to update the pool bathhouse and the pool. (The newly restored bathhouse opened for the summer, with the pool, this morning at 11:15am.)

We, Magazine Beach Partners (MBP), the friends group for the park, have been championing Phase II-2 since 2019, and advocating for park improvements since 2010 (until 2017, as the Magazine Beach Committee of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association; MBP spun off in 2017). 

DCR has shovel ready plans for Phase II-2, partially funded by Cambridge Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. Additional funds for the project will come from $300k CPA funds, a $50k State earmark, and $80k donated by the community! DCR will oversee the project.

Thank you, Cambridge! Thank you, DCR! Thank you, community! YOU have inspired the park’s revitalization. Below, see photos of the park today. How lucky we are to have this green open space refuge! It’s a cool spot on a hot day.

The Pool Opens Saturday @ 11:15am!

21 Jun

And the newly renovated bathhouse opens then as well. Both will be open daily from June 25-until late August, 11:15am-6:45pm.  Admire the new native plantings on your way in. Among the plants are:  Black Tupelo (3 trees), Sedge, White Wood Aster, Virginia Bluebells, Sensitive Fern, Solomon’s Seal, Switchgrass, Foamflower and Trout Lily.

Programs coming up soon:

Thursday, June 23, 7:30-8:30pmA Synesthete’s Atlas. Real time cartographic improvisations using projected, manipulated digital maps by Eric Theise, accompanied by Ken Field’s ethereal and cinematic improvisations on saxophone with looping electronics. An evening of street grids, rivers, islands, and curiosities from the built environment. Saturated colors. Glitches in crowdsourced data. Orphaned information and free-floating symbology. Register at Mass Audubon website.

Saturday, June 25, 11am-3pmRiver Open House. Four boat clubs open: Riverside Boat Club (at Magazine Beach), Cambridge Boat Club, Community Rowing, & the Union Boat Club. Stop by, experience the deck, and feel what it’s like to row. Tour the workout rooms and the porches. Courtesy of the boat clubs!

Sunday, June 26, 10am-1pmPaddle for Pride. Register at Mass Audubon website.

Summer is Almost Here

15 Jun

Very nice festival last night, Mass Audubon, and what a gorgeous evening…

The park looks spectacular! DCR has mowed the lawn and put trash cans out. Pendants from the Plastic Tapestry Project (PTP) are up, as is our Magazine Beach exhibit. And The Charles River Conservancy has overseen two park cleanups over the past weeks.

Mass Audubon and the PTP have all sorts of fantastic events planned for the coming week:

Sunday, June 19: Birdwatch and add to the plastic tapestry!

Tuesday, June 21: add to the plastic tapestry!

Thursday, June 23: A Synesthetes Atlas: music by neighbor Ken Fields and projected maps/visuals

Sunday June 26: Kayaking

Learn more about these programs here. Some require registration!

The pool and the newly renovated bathhouse open Saturday, June 25 at 11:15am!!!! AND NEW: FREE Thursday Evening Yoga with Carol Faulkner starts June 30-July 28, except for July 7, 5:30-6:30pm. Courtesy of Magazine Beach Partners. 

Nature in the City Festival TONIGHT!

14 Jun
  • AND MORE GREAT EVENTS RELATED TO THE PLASTIC TAPESTRY PROJECT!
  • Today, June 14 — it’s a full moon! The Plastic Tapestry artists will be at the Powder Magazine 4 to 8 pm, and Mass Audubon’s party is 5-8 pm, with art/nature/science activities and LIVE MUSIC at 7 pm.  Plus maybe some fresh produce from Drumlin Farms…
  • Sunday, June 19, 1 to 4 pm
  • Tuesday, June 21, 4 to 6 pm

BONUS:  Thursday, June 23, 7:30 pm a free experimental concert with layered, looped, improvised saxophone by Ken Field and projected manipulated digital maps by visiting artist Eric Thiese in the Magazine!  We’ll set up a Tapestry Workshop from 4 to 7 pm and then watch the show!

July 13: Celebration

And save the date of Wednesday, July 13 6 to 8 pm for an unveiling celebration for the finished tapestry installed in the Mass Audubon Nature Center in the Powder Magazine, plus live jazz by the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble!  It’s another Mass. Audubon Full Moon celebration, with art/nature/science activities and more!

June Programs—Forage, Learn about Pollinators, Make a Plastic Tapestry & Celebrate the Full Moon

1 Jun

The pool will also open later in the month and we may have yoga!!!!!!

Join Mass Audubon and the Plastic Tapestry Project weekends at the park. Mass Audubon has drop-in programs Sundays from 10am-4pm. There will be broader programming once the pool opens: JUNE 25! Click here for more info. 

Evan Roberts, Paul Kelley and Scott McCue of Mass Audubon in front of the 1818 Powder Magazine

Welcome Evan Roberts!

Evan is the new Mass Audubon Powder Magazine Site Manager. From Stowe, VT, Evan studied political science at Vassar. What excites him about a summer at Magazine Beach is “getting the opportunity to work with and learn from the surrounding community. The park is an amazing pocket of nature, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the conservation efforts and work to fulfill the peoples’ vision for the shared space.” Please stop by the Powder Magazines Sundays, for now, to say hello. Note: Paul Kelley will still be the contact for organizing events at the Powder Magazine. His contact: pkelley@massaudubon.org.

1818 Powder Magazine Granted Preservation Award!

Thank you, the Cambridge Historical Commission, for the recognition and for all your help in making this happen. The City contributed historic preservation Community Preservation Act funds to study the structure, and then to fix its roof, exterior and interior. DCR provided matching funds and more and the community chipped in, too. Together, we did it!

Hello, Little Plants!

Thank you, girl scouts, for planting flowers in the spraydeck planters on Monday. It wil be beautiful as the summer progresses. We left two buckets at the splash pad for YOU to water the plants. The flowers are counting on it!

Welcome Back, Greene and Dedmon families!

We know that it’s summer when the Greenes and Dedmons start picnicking at the park. They’ve been enjoying Magazine Beach for generations….

The Spray Deck is Open!

22 May

Yes, cool yourself at the park–which is ten degrees cooler than the rest of Cambridge with its shade trees and river breeze. There are even port-o-potties out and a basin to wash your hands. No trash cans still, though, so picnickers, bring bags for trash and carry in and carry out.

It’s particularly cool at the Powder Magazine where Mass Audubon has drop in activities from 10am-4pm today and every Sunday. Also, from 1-4pm, the Plastic Tapestry Project will be at work–with your help–preparing artwork made from hard plastics found at the park and in the community. For more info, click here.

And the park is so clean, thanks to CRLS freshmen and women who did a cleanup this morning. Thank you, CRLS students!

Quidditch, soccer, picnicking, splashing and swinging were all happening at the park this morning and the fish are jumping… It’s herring run time. Hundreds and thousands of little fish are swimming up the river. Watch them from the river’s edge.

Cool Off at the Park

15 May

Updates: The spray deck is open!!!!! Also, the Plastic Tapestry workshop today, Sunday, May 22, 1-4pm, will now be at the Powder Magazine (NOT at Gallery 263).

So many were at the park this first hot weekend. They were picnicking, swinging, enjoying ice cream and playing soccer, volleyball and tug of war.

Remember, Mass Audubon has the Powder Magazine open every Sunday now, 10am-4pm, and today, from 4-6pm, they have an orienteering program with Navigation Games and Cambridge Sports Union. See https://magazinebeach.org/events/.

We are awaiting word from DCR about when the spray deck and pool will open and the water fountains be turned on. More on this soon. Usually the pool opens in late June.

Enjoy our green urban oasis!

The Chairs Are Out…

14 May

Take a seat under the big old trees this weekend and enjoy the river breeze! Picnickers, remember there are no trash cans at the park yet, so bring a bag to carry in and carry out.

A Possible $50k Earmark for Magazine Beach…

27 Apr

Just Tweeted by Rep. Mike Connolly:

Pleased to report the House just voted to include my amendment #517 in our FY23 state budget! This will deliver $50,000 to @Magazine_Beach for continued improvements. Thank you to Rep. @JayLivingstone, @MassDCR and @CambMA for your longtime commitment to this treasured resource.

Thanks as well to Speaker @RonMariano, @RepMichlewitz and all of my colleagues for supporting this amendment. With incredible stewardship from Magazine Beach Partners, Inc. over the past decade, our city’s second-largest park has come a very long way! Excited for what comes next!

Now this earmark moves onto the Senate and then to the Governor for review. 

Cross your fingers!

Thank you, Rep. Connolly!

The Park Is Sparkling

25 Apr

Thanks to the 70 volunteers who cleaned up the park on Saturday and for the Charles River Conservancy’s leadership. We focused on picking up microtrash–the bottle caps and cigarette butts left behind, that go nowhere unless someone deliberately removes them. Some of these hard plastics will be incorporated into the Plastic Tapestry Project: art that reminds us that these plastics will be with us for the next 20-500 years… Special thanks to Pack 56, My Stryde, the Cambridge Running Club and the Riverside Boat Club.

Art, Nature, History & Community at the Park!

Mass Audubon kicked off their year of programming at the park and their 5-year tenancy of the Powder Magazine with an event with community partners. To a spring and summer of fun at Magazine Beach!