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Where Collaboration Can Lead You…

24 Nov
Photo by Tyler Motes, courtesy of Cambridge Day

Excellent energy at the Powder Magazine yesterday as DCR, Magazine Beach Partners and the City welcomed Mass Audubon as the new tenant. 

So many were there, almost all who had contributed in one way or another:

*Robb Johnson, who led Friends of Magazine Beach, which advocated for Phase I at the park—the improved playing fields and exercise equipment+

*Bill August, the CNA prez. who got us started at the Powder Magazine, along with 

*Carol O’Hare & Walter McDonald, who, with Bill, were part of the first CNA 11.14.2010 cleanup

*Charles Sullivan, who helped us get the CPA funding for the historic structure report, restoration and landscape plan, too

*Nina Cohen and Marilyn Wellons who wrote the history of the structure and site

*David Craft, who collected wildflowers for the site for our 2014 exhibit at Cambridge Arts

*Marian Miller who first brought Mass Audubon to the park with her magical Nature Detectives

*Peter Seweryn, who oversaw the restoration of the Magazine/bathhouse

*Carol Copeland, who helped develop the first park survey

*Rep. Jay Livingstone who has been a fierce and effective park advocate 

*Werner Grundl & Julie O’Neil who have documented park events for years (who provided most of these photos and the video, too)

*Richard Garver, Fred Yalouris, Magazine Beach Partner board members, and Peter Klinefelter who served for many years

and so many more.

Mass Audubon’s Senior Regional Director Renata Pomponi and President David O’Neill shared their vision for the Magazine as an urban nature center. DCR’s new acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper shared DCR’s commitment to the preservation and protection of over 500,000 acres, and to partnerships. Cambridge’s Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and Finance Director David Kale shared the long history of the City’s engagement at the park. I spoke about how the restoration of the park came about. See Werner’s 30-minute video about it here.

We are all excited about Mass Audubon’s breathing new life into the old Powder Magazine. It was built to store gun powder in 1818; became a bathhouse for Charles River swimmers in 1899; and served as a utility garage for the MDC in the 1950ies.

What better use could it have today than to celebrate the wonders and joys of nature, while partnering with the community, embracing the arts and providing a food concession, too?

Celebrate Mass Audubon’s Tenancy of the Powder Magazine Tuesday @ 1pm

22 Nov

Come celebrate Mass Audubon’s 5-year lease to the Powder Magazine. It will become an urban nature center+. Speakers will include DCR’s new acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper, Mass Audubon’s President David O’Neill, Cambridge’s City Manager Louis DePasquale, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui, Rep. Jay Livingstone and others who have helped to make this happen. 

Mass Audubon will be bringing a variety of environmental education programming to the park, including drop-in nature activities, guided bird and nature walks, occasional kayak river eco tours, and live animal demonstrations. They will also be working with local partners like Flagg Street Studio and others to bring arts, cultural, and science events on evenings and weekends. Seasonal operations will begin in April 2022, so look for a full schedule then!

See Mass Audubon’s 3-minute video about this here.

Fall Cleanup in Prep for 11.23 PM Ribbon Cutting

14 Nov
The kids said that picking up trash was as exciting as Halloween trick-or-treating. So satisfying! Thanks to Rep. Connolly for all of his help.

Many thanks to the 20 volunteers who picked up trash, gathered sticks, raked leaves off the pedestrian footbridge, and dug up some of the bulbs that will be lost during bathhouse renovations. All of this was to get the park looking fabulous for the big DCR/Mass Audubon Ribbon Cutting at the Powder Magazine Tuesday, November 23 at 1pm! Please join us.

Yes, it’s happening. After years of our advocating for the Magazine to become a nature/community/arts center (with a food concession or food offerings, too), based on community input, DCR has granted Mass Audubon a 5-year lease.

Mass Audubon will be bringing a variety of environmental education programming to the Powder Magazine, including drop-in nature activities, guided bird and nature walks, occasional kayak river eco tours, and live animal demonstrations. They will also be working with local partners like Flagg Street Studio and others to bring arts, cultural, and science events to the park on evenings and weekends. We are excited about all the fresh ideas and new energy at the park. Seasonal operations will begin in April 2022, so look for a full schedule then. See Mass Audubon’s 3-minute video about this here.

So, see you the 23rd at 1pm and enjoy the park in the meantime. Thanks to those who turned out today, it looks spectacular!


31 Oct

Saturday Mass Audubon brought Halloween to the Powder Magazine, complete with pumpkins, spiders, an owl, live crow and corn snake and animal-costumed staff. The Charles River Conservancy brought art activities and Flagg Street Studios, an envisioning exercise and yummy cookies and cider, courtesy of Flour. Magazine Beach Partners brought history, of course.

About 120 came and went on a rainy day, including a giraffe ballerina, a bird and a dragon. It was Mass Audubon’s first event in the Magazine and it felt great–an infusion of new life and energy in this old structure, built in 1818 to store gunpowder.

Rep. Mike Connolly stopped by. With redistricting, he will one day (no one yet knows quite when) represent Cambridgeport. May he be as successful and committed an advocate for the park as Rep. Jay Livingstone. So grateful to you for all of your work on behalf of the park, Jay! Welcome, in time, Mike!

Spooky Halloween Programs at Magazine Saturday

27 Oct

Join us, rain or shine, at the Powder Magazine, this Saturday, October 30, 11am-2pm, for spooky drop-in activities hosted by Mass Audubon, Flagg Street Studios, the Charles River Conservancy and Magazine Beach Partners. FREE! Wear a mask!

Absolutely Gorgeous Weekend & So Many Prizes for RBC

25 Oct

What a difference a day makes… It was a spectacular weekend with hundreds of people, from all over the world, coming to view the regatta at Magazine Beach. I met folks from Italy, Pittsburgh, Oregon and Western Mass. And much to Magazine Beach Partners’ delight, spectators were enjoying the lowered stonewalls just as we’d hoped they might. 

Great news for our Riverside Boat Club, too; they brought in 5 golds, 3 silver and 4 bronze medals (medals for 42 rowers). Here are the gold medalists. Pretty fantastic…

1. Women’s Grand Master Single:   Tricia Carney

2 Men’s Master Doubles:  Pete Morelli, Sean Wolf

3. Women’s  Lightweight Single:   Elizabeth Martin

4. Women’s Club Eights:  

8: Janice Hagerman – 25 (RBC)

7: Elizabeth Christmas – 30 (RBC)

6: Holly Stevens – 29 (RBC)

5: Annalise Routenberg – 26 (RBC)

4: Tal Gilad – 24 (RBC)

3: Siobhan Bauer – 27 (RBC)

2: Sarah Kate Rogers – 24 (RBC)

1: Arianna Lee – 24 (RBC)

c: Daniel Snook – 28 (RBC)

5. Men’s Club Eights:   

8: Liam Rex – 25 (RBC)

7: Brendon Stoner – 29 (RBC)

6: Armando Chavez – 32 (RBC)

5: Anthony Delgreco – 25 (RBC)

4: Matthew Miklasevich – 27 (RBC)

3: Aidan Lee – 22 (RBC)

2: Charles Wu – 30 (RBC)

1: Peter Rex – 25 (RBC)

c: Allison Sullivan – 24 (RBC)

The Head of the Charles is Back!

22 Oct

Single and double sculls of visiting rowers will once again launch from Magazine Beach Park. The HOC is the world’s largest two-day rowing event—this year, because of COVID, the 56th HOC Regatta will happen over 3 days and it will feature many rowers who participated in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. It began this morning. It continues tomorrow, Saturday, 8am-3:41pm and Sunday, 7:45am-3:59pm. The start line is at Boston University’s DeWolfe Boathouse, and rowers finish the 3-mile upstream course at Herter Park along Soldiers Field Road.

There is great viewing of the start from the BU Bridge and of the “powerhouse stretch” from Magazine Beach and River Street Bridge. For more information, see this Boston Globe article or the HOC website. 

Over 150 athletes from Magazine Beach’s Riverside Boat Club will compete this year! Founded in 1869 by printers from the Riverside Press, many of them Irish immigrants, the boat club has been at the park since 1912. It is the last “working man’s” boat club on the river and today boasts over 300 male and female rowers of all levels,  including members who have represented the United States in recent international competition and many Head of the Charles event winners.

Mass Audubon Will Be the Tenant at the Powder Magazine!

19 Oct

Hurray! It’s official! Mass Audubon will be the tenant at the Powder Magazine. It will be an urban nature center, but with music, the arts, community engagement and some sort of food vendor, too. Stay tuned for further information and a BIG celebration to welcome them. In the meantime, enjoy their FREE top quality drop-in programs: Wildlife in the Park TODAY, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2:30-5:30pm.

They will also do another wildlife program Tuesday, November 9, 2:30-5:30pm and Halloween in the Park, Saturday, October 30, 11am-2pm. Programs are for all ages.

Staff from the Charles River Conservancy will also be at the pedestrian footbridge from 3 to 4pm today to guide you on their MathTalk Trail. Join in the fun.

Mass Audubon Hosts Fall Nature Programs

4 Oct

Join Mass Audubon naturalists for FREE drop-in programs for ALL AGES THIS month and next:

10/5- Science in the Park 3-6pm

10/10- Art in the Park 1-4pm

10/19- Wildlife in the Park 2:30-5:30pm

10/30- Halloween in the Park 11am-2pm

11/9- Wildlife in the Park- 2:30-5:30pm

Programs will happen in drizzle, but not heavy rain.

Cambridge Commits Another $150k to Magazine Beach!

21 Sep

Thank you, Cambridge, for another $150k for park improvements—this time, to turn the sunken parking lot between the pool and the river into a useable grassy beach.

Over the past decade the City has inspired the State to invest at the park again and again and that is why we now have a restored Powder Magazine (built in 1818, the oldest building on the Charles River Basin), a canoe/kayak launch, and, most recently, the improved shoreline path and expanded patio and terraces around the Magazine.

We still have more to raise, but this pledge builds on $150k of CPA funds from last year, a $50k State earmark that Rep. Livingstone negotiated, and some community contributions, too. We are hoping that the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) will fix up this area behind the pool—reactivating this area—when they redo the pool and its decks next fall.

We are so lucky to have this 17-acre urban oasis!