21 Aug

Looking Up at Magazine BeachScreen Shot 2017-08-21 at 4.39.41 PM

Many gathered there to watch the partial eclipse of the sun today between 1:28 & 3:59pm.

Red-Winged Blackbirds Are Migrating

8 Aug

The giant tree just east of the Riverside Boat Club is filled with the sounds of a flock of red-winged blackbirds stopping by on their migration from northern New England (or Canada) to the southern US. But these aren’t our Magazine Beach red- wings; ours are gone.

Over the past weeks, I have been checking the hedge along the river looking for young fledglings and their parents. But no males position themselves over my head and descend to within a few inches of my scalp while making alarm calls. I think of this display as “dancing on my head” and know when it stops the birds have left for the season.

Red-wing males are the first birds to arrive each year, generally the third week in February. I look for their red epaulets edged in yellow and enjoy watching them assume the role of sentry, warning of the approach of humans, dogs and predators.

The females arrive in April, mate, and choose a spot in the hedge to build a nest. Dark brown with darker brown streaks and a dark eye band with a lighter band above the eye, they are sometimes confused with sparrows. You can sometimes see them feeding in the swales.

By June nesting is underway in the hedge and the males become very protective. Both males and females are seen bringing insects to their young, who hatch in 11-12 days, fledge (leave the nest and fly) 10-14 days later and begin their migration within a couple of weeks later.

Their early departure reminds us to stay alert for the migrating birds that will shortly be passing through.

–By Jeanne Strahan

To learn more about nature around us, visit the Fly, Buzz, and Honk! Festival at Riverside Press Park this Wednesday and Thursday, August 9 and 10, 10am-12noon.

Music, Dance & Community

8 Aug

© Bimal Nepal, BimalPhoto.comMusic, dance and community: that was what our first annual Traditional Irish Session brought to the park Sunday night! Thank you the Druid (at Inman Square) and Jackie O’Reily of O’Reily Irish Dance for co-sponsoring the event and to Brian O’Donovan for inspiring it. About 300 attended. Photos by Cport neighbor Bimal Nepal. Thank you, Bimal!

Our season of part programs will come to a close next week. But first, Zumba tonight at 6pm (courtesy of the Cambridge YMCA), Navigation Games (courtesy of Navigation Games & CSU) Wednesday at 10 and 11:30am, and an amazing Magic Show by John Bonaparte Monday, August 14, at 10am (courtesy of Cambridge Community Schools, Department of Human Services). Thank you partners and sponsors: Sanofi/Genzyme, Kimco, MIT, Forest City and the Charles River Conservancy.

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, Sept. 24, for our Benefit at the Riverside Boat Club. Show your support for continued improvements at the park!



Traditional Irish Session this Sunday!

1 Aug

Sunday, August 6, 5:30-7:30pm (Rain Date: Sunday, August 13). Traditional Irish Session Poster - Low Quality 72 ppi

Calling all Irish instrumentalists, singers, dancers and listeners: join us at Magazine Beach Park this Sunday for a Traditional Irish Session with step dancing! Bring your instruments, your dancing shoes, or just your excitement. All are welcome!

Listen, dance, or play along to some of Boston’s best traditional players including Joey Abarta (Uilleann Pipes), Tina Lech (fiddle) and Ted Davis (banjo/guitar). Jackie O’Riley of O’Riley Irish Dance will be leading free instruction in traditional Irish step on an open dance floor for anyone interested! Performances by some of Jackie’s step dancing students and friends are rumored… And Brian O’Donovan of WGBH’s A Celtic Sojourn will be there! You don’t want to miss this! FREE. 

Bring a picnic or enjoy ice cream from Snowy Joey’s truck. Organized by the Druid at Inman Square and the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Inc. Summer program sponsors include: Sanofi/Genzyme, Kimco, MIT, Forest City and the Charles River Conservancy. For more information, see magazinebeach.org/events.

A Gorgeous Friday Evening…

31 Jul

Walk/Ride Day Eve Celebration: Magazine Beach Cambridge MA

Because of Thursday’s rain, our Walk/Ride Day Celebration was on Friday and it was beautiful. Thanks to all who turned out, all who partnered, all who shared music and stories, all who sponsored the event, and everyone else who helped out. Photos by Bimal Nepal.

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P.S. Sorry about no ice cream truck. Snowy Joey’s truck broke down. But it should be fixed for this Sunday’s upcoming Traditional Irish Session. See you there!

P.S.S. If you’re thinking, those Magazine Beach t-shirts sure look good and I’d like one, email me at cathzusy@gmail.org and we’ll get one to you. They’re $20 a shirt and they come in S, M, L & XL. Design by Conway Design.



Music! Stories! Big Animal Puppets! And Bicycle Decorating on Friday, July 28

25 Jul

UPDATE: We’re moving to our rain date, Friday, July 28. Sorry to change things, but we don’t want you sitting in the wet. Tomorrow should be beautiful! See you at the park!singing white background horizontal

Come celebrate sustainable and healthy commuting at our Walk/Ride Day Eve Celebration Friday, July 28 at 6-8pm (rain date: Walk/Ride Day, Friday, July 28). Bring a picnic and enjoy treats from ice cream truck!

Boston-based band Trusting Fate will serenade us with “imaginative, unexpected music that combines elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, roots and blues into a fresh, powerful sound.” Katie Liesener from Massmouth will MC commuter-related storytelling. (Have a funny, gripping, or otherwise memorable personal story about urban biking, walking, or transit experience to share in 4-5 minutes?) Gallery 263 will host a bicycle decorating table, so bring your bikes. And be amazed by big animal puppets made by the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project. FREE!

Thanks to our partners: Green Streets Initiative, MassMouth, the Cambridge Wildlife Puppetry Project and Gallery 263; and to our sponsors: Sanofi Genzyme, MIT, Kimco, Forest City and the Charles River Conservancy.

Celebrating Biodiversity

19 Jul


About 20 Cambridge Mayor’s Program teens learned about watersheds, swales, biodiversity and nature in their own backyards today at the park. Mass Audubon educators engaged them with bug nets and binoculars as they examined insects (gathered from the swale) up close and birds and bees at a distance.

Afterwards, Elisabeth Cianciola of the Charles River Watershed Association led the students in removing purple loosestrife from the western swale. (See purple flower above.) While beautiful, this plant is non-native and invasive–it takes over! It has a long flowering season that allows it to produce a vast number of seeds. And it spreads by its roots.

We need biodiversity–which is why we’re making an effort to get rid of the phragmites, which has taken over most of the eastern swale, and the loosestrife, which is colonizing the western one! Vive la difference!


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18 Jul

Stellar, but silly, juggling, amazing magic,
incredible unicycle tricks,
(on a 6-foot unicycle, space permitting)
wacky antics, balloon sculpture,
audience participation,
and a rubber chicken!
Plus accordion music (played by DAVEY!),


a parade with members of the audience!
Family Friendly Entertainment
that will keep the kids (and the adults) convulsed –

Co-sponsored by Cambridge Community Schools, Department of Human Services.

And, don’t forget, Navigation Games on Wednesday, Yoga Saturday, Stories & Song Mondays and Nature Detectives Tuesday! For more info, go to: magazinebeach.org/events.



Yellow Bird Chase, Clown Fun & Magic!

13 Jul


7.15.17 update: Yoga is on. Looks like a little rain at 7am, but then just clear. Enjoy!

Yesterday, Liars & Believers theater brought Yellow Bird Chase to Magazine Beach. Unprompted, Morse pre-schoolers cried “Try harder! Work together!” to the clown/maintenance crew—which was caught in terrible fixes (again and again) while pursuing the yellow bird. After the show, the actors mingled with the kids who LOVED trying out the props and giving those ordinary cleaning supplies (a plunger, duster, sponge and tarp) the imaginative powers bestowed upon them in the show. Very fun.

Next week, along with weekly Stories & Song, Nature Detectives & Navigation Games for little ones, Davey the Clown will join us:  Thursday, July 20 @ 10am (rain location: Morse School). Monday, August 14 @ 10am, the amazing John Bonaparte will bring magic. Click here for details.


Slowing Down & Speeding Up

9 Jul

Note: Nature Detectives is cancelled this morning, due to rain and predicted thunderstorms. Zumba is on at 6pm today. See you at the park!

While rowers raced, some of us slowed down with Boston Sketch today and studied what was before us, or in our heads….


It was another perfect day at the park. The Riverside Boat Club’s Cromwell Cup regatta, the largest summer regatta on the Charles, attracted over 600 competitors from ages 16 to 70+ from all over New England and the mid-Atlantic.

And what a day for a picnic!