One Gorgeous Day on the River: 2013 Celebration of Magazine Beach Park

17 Jun
Young girl swinging with her dad, Ron Phelan.

Young girl swings with her dad, Ron Phelan.

Bluegrass by Best Ever Chicken!
Bluegrass by Best Ever Chicken!
The CRC's Renata von Tscharner and nature and history lovers at the park.

Community at the park.

Enjoying the day. White figures cleansing the magazine in background.

Enjoying the day. White figures cleansing the magazine in background.

A gentleman from 1812 with Kit Rawlins of the Cambridge Historic Commission.

A gentleman from 1812 with Kit Rawlins of the Cambridge Historical Commission.

Researchers and writers Marilyn Wellons and Nina Cohen debuted their History on the Charles.

Researchers and writers Marilyn Wellons and Nina Cohen debuted their “History on the Charles.”

Learn-to-row at the Riverside Boat Club!

Learn-to-row at the Riverside Boat Club!

One of several If this park could talk... signs. This one tells how popular Magazine Beach was as a swimming destination.

One of several If this park could talk… signs. This one tells how popular Magazine Beach was as a swimming destination.

Food trucks AND our soon-to-be State Rep. Jay Livingstone, both at Magazine Beach for the first time ever. History!

Food trucks AND our soon-to-be State Rep. Jay Livingstone, both at Magazine Beach for the first time ever. History!

Daniel Suave's Light, No light

Danielle Suave’s “Light, No Light”

Looking through the magazine and installation to the river.

Looking through the magazine and installation to the river.

Community performance orchestrated by Nancy Adams

Community performance orchestrated by Nancy Adams. (See video below.)

Children's procession

Children’s procession

Painted face!

Happy to be outside and painted!

Festive procession of children

Festive procession of children

What could be more fun than riding through puddles!

What could be more fun than riding through puddles!

A gorgeous day at the Beach. The flags mark the shoreline of Captain's Island.

A gorgeous day at the Beach. The flags mark the shoreline of Captain’s Island.

Artforming installation in 1818 magazine

Artforming installation in 1818 magazine

Over 200 turned out for the 2013 Celebration of Magazine Beach on Saturday, June 15, many of whom had never spent a day in the park. Highlights were:

  • A procession of children, with two big bouquets of balloons, across the fields;
  • Food trucks for the first time ever! And Ice cream and drinks courtesy of Toscanini’s and Trader Joe’s;
  • Bluegrass by Best Ever Chicken;
  • Thirty women and girls dressed in white assembled over time around the facade of of the magazine to gently brush away loose dirt, dust, and dried vines. The event was a practical and symbolic gesture of care for the nearly two hundred year-old structure destined for restoration and a future of peaceful and joyous gatherings (organized by Nancy Adams; see Ron’s Wyman’s film below: http://vimeo.com/69414298);
  • The powder magazine opened up, with an amazing view of the river and art installations using fabric, sound and light inside evoking memories and meditation by Artforming and Danielle Sauvé;
  • Blue flags marking the shoreline of Captain’s Island (Ross Miller, Lars Anderas and David Craft)
  • White lines marking Magazine Street as it extended once to the magazine—hence its name! (Thank you DPW!);
  • Dozens learning-to-row at the Riverside Boat Club;
  • A new publication about the site and powder magazine there: History on the Charles, by Nina S. Cohen and Marilyn Wellons (contact cathzusy@gmail.com for a copy: $5);
  • A table with maps, information about the site and information about our efforts to stabilize the powder magazine and revitalize the park (Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Cambridge Historical Commisison and Cambridge Historical Society);
  • Kite flying and races and games for children organized by CR&L students;
  • If this park could talk signs… sharing stories about swimming at Magazine Beach, recent efforts to improve the water quality there, and that it could have been an Olmsted Brothers park, etc.;
  • And who would have known it would be such a big hit: a huge puddle in the sunken parking lot for children to bicycle through (thank you, Mother Nature!);
  • Neighbors talking to neighbors, enjoying themselves, the vistas and the breeze and imagining the possibilities of the park. The space was activated. Who would have known such a resources and refuge existed just across Memorial Drive, along the banks of the Charles River?

Thanks to the many who made this event happen, including out partners: the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation, Charles River Conservancy, Riverside Boat Club, the Cambridge Historical Commission, the Cambridge Historical Society, Gallery 263, UMass Boston and Artforming, and to our funders: the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund, Charles River Conservancy, Forest City and Anonymous.

Cathie Zusy, Chair Magazine Beach Committee, Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Inc.

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