Spring is in the Air!

24 Mar


Look for signs of spring at the park. This next week things will be bursting out. Go explore!

We need your help, though: please pick up trash (using plastic gloves) and gather sticks in piles along pathways.  If you need work gloves or plastic gloves, take some from the white bucket on my front porch at 202 Hamilton St. Since the 4.25 Earth Day Cleanup has been cancelled, we really need your help.

*MIT set up at the park, and then, after students were sent home, removed their dock and equipment.

*Riverside Boat Club has closed temporarily.

The park is a great open space to run around and linger. As per Governor Baker, no groups of 10 or more, please, though, and keep your distance, and, sorry, for now the exercise station is closed.

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THANK YOU, enjoy, exercise, and let nature refresh you!

Coming soon: MIT rowers to Magazine Beach

28 Feb

IMG_9130As you might have noticed up river, MIT is rebuilding their boathouse. This spring, while MIT renovates, their students will row out of the park—just behind the swimming pool.

Both Cambridge and DCR have given MIT necessary permissions and the Riverside Boat Club, good neighbors, will accommodate the new influx of college rowers. MIT will just be at the park through June. See sad, existing conditions above and where MIT rowers will be below. (We really need to get rid of that sunken parking lot!)

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Also, this spring at the park:

*The City will be planting some new trees!!!!!!!!

*3rd grade CPS students will start engaging in a river study using Magazine Beach as base.

*We’ll host the big Earth Day Cleanup Saturday April 25–contact the Charles River Conservancy’s Sasha Vallieres to register at svallieres@thecharles.org.

*Around May 31, DCR will take down the protective fence blocking off the newly renovated shoreline path and Powder Magazine. 

Celebrating 2019

17 Dec

IMG_1088See our 2019 MBP Annual Report here. 

Many thanks to all who contributed to a transformative year at the park.

  • to the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Cambridge for the shoreline and patio work around the Powder Magazine, the boat launch and outlook, and park maintenance
  • to State Rep. Jay Livingstone and Sen. Boncore for advocating for us and for budget earmarks
  • to Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge for their design work and to R. Bates & Sons for their construction
  • to our business sponsors, who contributed to park improvements and programs:  MIT, BioMed Realty, Inc., Biogen, Boston Biomedical, Inc., Alexandria Real Estate, Brookfield Properties, Kimco, Charles River Conservancy, Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge, Barrett Tree Service East, Inc., Cambridge Family YMCA, Good News Garage, Harpoon Brewery, Middle East Restaurant, S & H Construction, Target and Torrey Architecture
  • to our amazing Magazine Beach Partners board:  Marge Amster, Ken Carson, Brian Conway, Decia Goodwin, Richard Garver, Heather Saforrian and Cathie Zusy
  • to our amazing Summer Program Coordinator: Doug Feinburg
  • to our many partners, including the Charles River Conservancy and Riverside Boat Club
  • and, of course, to YOU. Nothing would be happening at the park without your engagement. Your gifts inspire City and State investment. With over a half million acres to tend to, DCR engages at Magazine Beach because the City matches dollars and the community advocates and contributes.

Please make a tax deductible gift TODAY and help us advance Phase II-2. See below. Mail checks made out to “Magazine Beach Partners” to Cathie Zusy, President, 202 Hamilton St., Cambridge, MA 02139 or donate on PayPal (but they take about 3%).Screen Shot 2019-12-17 at 11.09.13 AM


Phase II-1 Tours 11.25 & 12.14

26 Nov

Note: Change in date: December park tour will now be Saturday, 12.14 @ 9am, rain or shine. Meet at the Powder Magazine. Also, see our 2019 MBP Annual Report here. 

IMG_9921 copyYesterday neighbors had a chance to walk the newly restored shoreline of the park and to see the expanded patio and terrace. DCR will offer this access Saturday, December 14 at 9am, too. Come and see the new raised and widened path, seating, plantings and hardscape. It looks fabulous.

DCR has extended their contract with R. Bates & Sons to May 31st so that the contractors are responsible for all plantings through the spring. The fence will come down soon thereafter. Thank you, DCR, Cambridge and YOU, park supporters, for for these renovations!

Outside, Exploring Nature

13 Nov


Each week, Paul Kelley of Mass Audubon’s Habitat Education Center, brings Morse Community School (after school) students to run around and engage with nature. Last week, after learning about the history of the park from me (the big idea: the Powder Magazine was once on an island surrounded by marshes), kids looked at leaves, mussels and other objects they found under the microscope. How wonderful to be outside exploring!

Paul and Habitat also get Cambridge teens out on the Charles via their Paddling Program. In July campers from the Frisoli Youth Center ventured out from our canoe/kayak launch as did youth and adults with special needs from Waypoint Adventure.

Thanks also to the Charles River Conservancy and Sophos for raking the leaves off the pedestrian footbridge and gathering sticks and trash last Thursday. It’s been a beautiful fall…


Update: The fencing at the park will now stay up through May 31. This gives R. Bates & Sons more, warmer weather to finish the bluestone patio and extends their responsibility for the new plantings through the spring.



The Patio & Terrace Look Great, Too…

9 Oct

IMG_9143Yesterday, inspired by how great the park renovations are coming along, we organized a few tours of the site. The stone and grassy terraces are in. The patio has been expanded and the bluestone is being laid. The million dollar question is: What will the Powder Magazine be used for? Stay tuned. DCR hopes to have a tenant there, activating the space, by next summer. Have ideas? Email me and DCR’s Jennifer Norwood.

Thanks DCR, CSS, R. Bates & Sons, the City and to all who turned out yesterday. Also, thanks to Cambridge and to City Councilor Quinton Zondervan, who introduced Policy Order #18 Monday night, supporting the City’s investment in trees and their maintenance (in consultation with DCR, of course), especially in the grove area, at the park. It passed unanimously!

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The Shoreline is Looking Spectacular

26 Sep

IMG_8947Nine young trees have been planted and thousands of perennials and shrubs, including Hollow Joe-Pye Weed, Steeplebush and Winterberry, are being planted now. Thank goodness for tonight’s rain.


R. Bates & Sons is preparing the concrete base for the granite of the grassy terrace wall and the pervious 8′-wide path along the shoreline has been laid, along with the asphalt path leading up to the Powder Magazine. It’s thrilling to see and worth a visit to the park.

The Design of Phase II-2 is Funded

Screen Shot 2019-09-16 at 2.31.47 PMMonday night the City Council approved the CPA Committee’s recommendations to invest $47.7k to complete the design and engineering studies for the next phase of work at the park. This will replace the sunken parking lot behind the swimming pool with a grassy beach, better integrating the pool with the site, and add a dock and outlook to increase engagement with the river. This will match a $50k earmark that Rep. Livingstone and Sen. Boncore advocated for in the State budget. Thank you, all!

Canoe/Kayak Launch & Outlook Officially Opens

23 Sep



(L to R) Rep. Jay Livingstone, DCR’s Comm. Leo Roy, Magazine Beach Partner’s Cathie Zusy, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern and Budget Director Taha Jennings officially open the new boat launch and outlook.

On Sunday, the new boat launch and outlook officially opened with a ribbon cutting. This was the 4th official DCR event at the park over the past 15 months. Roy will step down from his 3.5-year tenure as Commissioner this Friday. During his leadership, Magazine Beach Park has witnessed a renaissance. The Powder Magazine interior renovation was completed; the spray deck built and wading pool removed; boat launch and outlook built; and current shoreline and Powder Magazine patio and terrace improvements begun. (Thank you, Comm. Roy!)

Most of this work was seeded by Cambridge Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. At 17 acres, Magazine Beach is Cambridge’s second largest park. Its free outdoor Olympic-sized pool, ball fields, and old shade trees draw thousands of bathers, soccer and baseball players, and picnickers each summer.

Thank you to launch and outlook funders: DCR, the City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Kimco, BioMed Realty, the Judy Record Fund/Mass Audubon, the Lawrence & Lillian Solomon Foundation and individuals. And many thanks to CRLS’s Charles River Cleanup Project for doing a park cleanup just before our ribbon cutting.

Photos by Bimal Nepal


Comm. Roy, who has done so much for Magazine Beach Park, retires Friday.

Biogen Cleanup

19 Sep

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Just before our pre-party park walk and Benefit, September 13, 50 Biogen volunteers picked up trash, weeded, removed black swallow-wort, and painted water fountains and benches at the park. They also removed the cobblestones and bricks and tarps from the eastern “phragmites” swale. (I’m afraid that the phragmites won that battle. They are brilliantly designed to spread and to dominate and have–sadly, for the bugs and the birds.)  The Charles River Conservancy partnered with us, providing tools, paints and leadership. Thank you, CRC.

Biogen also served as a lead sponsor for our Benefit. Thank you, Biogen!

Take note: Sunday, Sept. 22 at 2pm, we’ll have the Official Ribbon Cutting for our new canoe/kayak launch & outlook. Join in, by boat or by foot, for this celebration of public access to the Charles. Meet at the launch, on the eastern side of the park, beside the BU Bridge. DCR’s Commissioner Leo Roy will be there. This will be one of his last official events before he retires Sept. 27. We will miss him. He’s been an amazing friend of Magazine Beach!

Another Enchanted Evening: Our Benefit Party at Riverside

16 Sep

Magazine Beach Park

Over 100 turned out Saturday night for our Benefit Party for the park. The Ruta Beggars, fresh from Berklee, played bluegrass as attendees ate, drank and enjoyed being right on the river, on the first floor balcony and docks of the Riverside Boat Club. (Thank you Riverside, sponsors, attendees, and volunteers!)

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DCR’s Project Manager Rick Corsi led a pre-party tour of the park, showcasing ongoing projects: improvements to the shoreline path, opening up river views, planting trees and native plants, adding new seating and expanding the patio and terrace around the Powder Magazine.

Magazine Beach Park

At the event, a rendering of the next phase of work at the park, Phase II-2, was debuted. Phase II-2 will replace the sunken parking lot behind the swimming pool with a grassy beach, better integrating the pool with the park, add a dock and outlook, and replace invasives with native grasses along the shoreline.  Now to find funding for this…

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And Representative Jay Livingstone, DCR’s Commissioner Leo Roy, and Cambridge’s City Manager, all major supporters of the park, spoke of their ongoing commitment to realizing the park’s potential. It’s amazing what we’ve accomplished together: we’ve restored the 1818 Powder Magazine, built a spray deck, boat launch and outlook, and are now engaged in shoreline and patio and terrace improvements around the Magazine.

Take note: Sunday, September 22 at 2pm, is the official Ribbon Cutting for the new canoe/kayak launch and outlook. Join in, by boat or by foot, for this celebration of public access to the Charles. Meet at the launch, on the eastern side of the park, beside the BU Bridge.

And, once again, thank you Benefit Sponsors!!!!!!

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