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Shoreline and Patio Improvements Begin

17 Jun

Last week a construction trailer and fencing were delivered to the park and today work began—dismantling the cobblestone patio. An expanded, ADA-accessible bluestone one will be put in its place.IMG_7242

Over the next weeks and months, look for construction around the Magazine and erosion control work along the shoreline. Contractors R. Bates & Sons of Sterling, MA will be removing invasive plants and replacing them with native ones. They will also be taking down 2 declining trees, the sick little cherry near the patio (see above) and one along the water—not the willow. They will be planting 10 trees this fall in an effort to begin replenishing the tree canopy at the park. And they will be elevating the shoreline path. May it be not so muddy.

IMG_7246Sorry for any inconvenience. DCR believes this will be a six-month project. Work will take place from 6am to 2:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Know that the park is still open for your pleasure. Summer programs kick off this Friday at 6pm with Andrea Gaudette’s Strum Along, Sing Along. See the complete list of programs here. And the pool opens THIS Saturday at 11:15am.

See a plan of the overall Phase II-1 project below. Our goal is to preserve Magazine Beach as a “natural” landscape. (Of course, it’s not so natural. In the 1890s the Olmsted Brothers filled in the marshes to the East and West of Captain’s Island to create the park.) Also, see a photo of local luminaries at last week’s 2018 Charles River Water Quality Grade Announcement way below. It was at Magazine Beach!

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6.12.19. Announcing the Charles River’s 2018 Water Quality Grade: a B, due to the heavy rains. Pictured (left to right) are: MA Water Resources Authority (MWRA) Executive Director Fred Laskey, Charles River Watershed Association Executive Director Emily Norton, U.S. EPA Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro, MA DEP Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Water Resources Robert Brown, and MA DCR Deputy Commissioner for Conservation and Resource Stewardship Priscilla Geigis.

Our 2019 Summer Programs

6 Jun

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Thanks to our lead sponsor, MIT, and to sponsors BioMed Realty, Kimco, Brookfield Properties and the Charles River Conservancy. See you at the park. The spray deck is OPEN and the pool opens June 22.





Take a Seat…

20 May


Magazine Beach Partners has just put 15 new Adirondack chairs at the park. Savor this warmer weather and sit down, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature in the City.


Also, more great birding at the park Sunday morning. Mari Badger reported:

While it was much less birdy than it has been in the past few weeks, we still managed to eek out 32 species, 9 warbler species, observed goldfinches fighting like dragons and even got a decent look at a Peregrine. Black-crowned night herons were numerous. We did not get to see the Osprey that has been a frequent visitor around the BU bridge.  

Wilson’s warbler loves this spot and they are quiet bold here. For a list of birds sighted, click here here.


It’s Baseball Season at Magazine Beach

16 May

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Through June, some of Cport’s best little baseball players will be hitting, running and catching each Wed. and Thursday night at the park. They are part of the Cambridge’s long established Central Cambridge Youth Baseball League.

Baseball leagues like to boast of their most famous alumni.  Leagues are proud of the players that more on to play high school, college or even professional baseball.  What is different about the most famous alumni of Central Cambridge Youth Baseball league, is that they are not known for their athletic ability.  Instead, they are movie stars.

Little League baseball started in Cambridge in 1952 on Granite Street on Lindstrom field next to the Morse School.  In the late 1970’s two brothers named Ben and Casey and their friend Matt joined the league.  They were fine ball players.  However, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon became famous for starring in the film Good Will Hunting.  And for winning the Academy Award for writing the screenplay.  Ben’s younger brother, Casey Affleck, also went on to appear in many Hollywood films.

Through the years, thousands of kids have played baseball at Central.  The league provides baseball programs for boys and girls ages 5 through 12 in the spring and summer.  Games are played on the Magazine Beach baseball field and on the same field on Granite Street where Little League started in Cambridge almost seventy years ago.

-Doug Feinburg

Birding at Magazine Beach

13 May

IMG_E6503If you’re a bird watcher or just bird-curious, head over to Magazine Beach Park. Surprising numbers of birds use the park as a pit-stop on their long journey north, while others settle down and raise a family or two. 

This spring has been especially birdy at the park. Regulars include Canada Geese, Mallards, Double-crested Cormorants, Downy Woodpecker, American Robin, Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown-headed Cowbird, American Goldfinch, and House Finch. You can also find favorites like Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Kingbird, noisy Warbling Vireo, Eastern Phoebe, and Baltimore Orioles. Tree Swallows skim the water feeding on mosquitoes. A killdeer, snipe or sandpiper might pop in along the shore or explore a muddy spot. And Red-Wing Blackbirds will puff out their scarlet epaulets, if you get too close to a nest.


American Redstart in the swale

This spring’s visiting warblers have included American Redstart, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, Black-and-White, Nashville, Northern Parula, and the Common Yellowthroat. The wet swale near the soccer field is home to a couple of foraging Wilson’s Warblers (as well as Blue Gray gnat-catchers). Black-throated Green Warblers, can sometimes be found at the top of the cottonwoods. Most of the warblers will be gone after Memorial Day, although we might get a few nesting Yellow Warblers hanging around for the summer.

Along the river, Black-Crowned Night Heron and Great Blue Herron patrol for frogs and fish. An osprey has become a frequent flier, hunting near the BU Bridge, and there’s a Peregrine Falcon family growing up fast on top of the tall buildings across the river. They’ll soon be hunting pigeons in the park.

The stars of the park this year have been a brilliant Indigo Bunting and a Bald Eagle that has been spotted a few times flying up and down the river.

Still to come? I’m still hoping a least or willow flycatcher will show up soon. They’re alway late to the party. 

–Mari Badger

(Mari led a bird walk at the park this morning and will lead another on Sunday, May 19 @ 6:30am. Meet at the Powder Magazine.)

Boats, Birds, a Marathon & another Cleanup

12 May



The CRWA’s Run of the Charles brought a canoe relay to our new boat launch 4.28; Morse kids ran the First Annual Morse Marathon 5.3 building fitness and community; Novartis volunteers, led by the CRC, made the park sparkle 5.9; and Mari Badger leads the first bird walk of the season TOMORROW, Monday, May 13 at 6:30am! See you at the Powder Magazine. Bring your binoculars! (If you can’t come tomorrow, join her Sun., May 19 @ 6:30am. Email Mari at to let her know you’ll be there.)


Thank you for the cleanup, Novartis and the Charles River Conservancy!


Note: The canoe/kayak launch will be completed by May 31. The contractor still needs to  add pebbles over the stones and plantings too.

Intrepid Volunteers Turn Out Despite the Weather

27 Apr

Thanks to the 25+ intrepid volunteers who turned out for the Earth Day Cleanup at the park this morning. It was cold. It was wet. And it was windy and yet they came out to remove the piles of wet leaves on the pedestrian footbridge, pick up trash and gather sticks. Hurray! Many thanks to the CRWA and CRC for organizing and to DCR for taking stuff away.

IMG_6379The park is looking spectacular. Welcome spring.

Earth Day Cleanup April 27, 9am-12noon

26 Apr


Let’s get the park ready for summer. The pool opens June 22nd and our summer programs kick off just the night before.

DCR counts on us to make their parks shine. Many thanks to CRLS’s Charles River Cleanup Project for picking up sticks at the park twice earlier this month. And thanks to Boston College High’s rowing team for cutting back the shoreline’s willow hedges last week. In preparation for shoreline work that’s about to begin along the river, we cut back the willow hedge now, before the red-winged blackbirds nested there.


Coming soon: river views, native plantings, 10 more trees and seating, and a drier shoreline path.

Take in spring at Magazine Beach. It’s greener every day.


City Commits $600k to Phase II-1

26 Feb

Winter at Magazine Beach

Last night the City Council approved the City Manager’s recommendation to appropriate $600k for shoreline and Powder Magazine patio improvements at the park. Huzzah! This is FABULOUS news because it will inspire the State, once again, to invest at Magazine Beach.

As you know, the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) is responsible for almost a half million acres and its current funding is at 89% of its 2009 level. To make improvements at the park, DCR needs partners. And the City of Cambridge has been an excellent one.

Look for a ribbon cutting at the canoe/kayak launch late this spring, and soon thereafter, a groundbreaking and construction along the river and around the Magazine.

Below: a rendering of Phase II-1.

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DCR Awards $155,450 for Shoreline Improvements

15 Jan

img_5775DCR celebrated the distribution of $900,000 of Partnership Matching Funds with its park partners yesterday at the State House. Among them were us–Magazine Beach Partners, represented by Decia Goodwin and Cathie Zusy.

With us in the photo above are, L to R, DCR’s Comm. Leo Roy, Senator Joe Boncore, Representative Jay Livingstone and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton.

Thank you, DCR, and thank you, Cambridge. Cambridge CPA funds will match these dollars. Look for an improved shoreline path, additional seating, open views of the river, and native plantings later this spring and summer.