Showcasing the South Boston waterfront's newest public space, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) and local dignitaries today announced the grand opening of the South Boston Maritime Park. Senator John A. Hart, Jr., State Representative Brian P. Wallace, Boston Councilor James Kelly and Boston City Council President Michael F. Flaherty joined Massport Chief Executive Craig P. Coy, local community leaders, park designers and artists to open the park nestled in the heart of the South Boston waterfront at D Street and Northern Avenue.
This park is a tremendous addition to the South Boston waterfront, said Senator Jack Hart. Local residents, visitors and employees will all be able to enjoy the fresh air and breathtaking views. I commend Massport for their efforts. Intended to attract neighborhood residents, local employees and visitors to the South Boston waterfront, the 1.3 acre park was designed with extensive public input from local community groups and others including: The South Boston Design Advisory Committee, South Boston Residents Group, Castle Island Association, open space, youth, art, universal access and harbor advocacy groups. This park is a much anticipated jewel on the South Boston waterfront, stated Representative Brian P. Wallace. The South Boston Maritime Park will serve as a gateway to the waterfront; where residents, workers and visitors can enjoy the beauty of the seaport and experience the charm of our great neighborhood. The park opening culminates four years of careful planning by the community, Massport and two of Boston's leading design firms, Halvorson Design Partnership, landscape architects and Machado and Silvetti Associates, architects. The South Boston Maritime Park is a spectacular and long awaited memorial in recognition of the contributions of those who have worked the waterfront and the high seas, and continue to do so for the prosperity of the City of Boston, said Boston City Council President, Michael Flaherty. The South Boston Maritime Park celebrates Boston's rich maritime heritage. Boston's port is one of the oldest seaports in the Western Hemisphere and was once the busiest trading post in North America. The park is uniquely themed with nautical related elements and interpretive art, reminding visitors of Boston's proud maritime past as well as modern day activities within the Port of Boston. On behalf of the people of South Boston, I want to commend and thank all the neighborhood residents who took part in the planning of this beautiful park, said James M. Kelly, Boston City Councilor. It was fitting that Massport engaged the neighborhood in the process, as throughout the years, so many South Bostonians have made their living on the South Boston waterfront. Now each of us, with every visit to the park in the future, will have yet another reason to be proud to call South Boston our home town. With prominent views of Boston Harbor, a generous lawn area and plentiful seating, the park is an inviting place to catch a glimpse of the city's working waterfront, including the historic Boston Fish Pier and other waterfront activities. The South Boston Maritime Park is a valuable treasure on the waterfront and an important element in the thriving new South Boston waterfront district, said Craig Coy, Massport CEO. Many people deserve credit for the collaborative effort that has resulted in this signature waterfront park. The South Boston Maritime Park is a major benefit for Manulife Financial, which is completing its new 470,000 square foot building, 601 Congress Street, across from the park. As part of Manulife's agreement with Massport, Manulife financed a substantial portion of the cost of the park. This public space serves to bring residents of South Boston, employees of waterfront businesses and visitors, together in an attractive, outdoor setting. Interpretive engravings of lettering and graphics in the granite stairways leading into the park depict storm warnings, nautical measurements and weather signals on the east side and excerpts from seafarer literature and maritime songs on the west. Along the perimeter of the park, markings in the pavement indicate the distance, as measured in rods, to the water's edge. The main pathway is lined with a series of tidal lights that depict the current tidal conditions. Other features include a cafi, outdoor cafi seating, canopied trees and perennial plantings, public restrooms, a mist fountain and community bulletin board with a weather station. The community and Massport were clear that the park should reflect the robust qualities of the working harbor, honor the people and activities of the port and be a beautiful public place, said Bob Uhlig, Principal at Halvorson Design Partnership. The design team enthusiastically embraced those objectives. The park is a sequence of three parts: the front lawn, the pergolas and cafe, and the south garden, said Rodolfo Machado, Principal at Machado and Silvetti Associates and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University. The lawn is like a traditional public space in front of a public building- serene, strongly defined and inviting. Seen from the water's edge, the pergolas mark this as an important public place, while evoking a forest of masts in the harbor. The south garden provides plentiful bench seating arranged to encourage interaction within a canopy of trees with rich interpretive art displays at hand. The park's artistic features include interpretive elements such as public sculptor Ellen Driscoll's Aqueous Humour. Her three stainless steel and mosaic sculptures tell stories of the working harbor and include references to the immigrants whose labor helped build the port. Inspired by the Greek's ancient art of memory, Driscoll's memory wheels serve as a reminder of the port's long history and honors those who continue to make it vital today. At the northwest corner of the park stands a granite composition by public artist Carlos Dorrien entitled The Gateway. This as well as his Fishnet and Pulley in the southern park interpret both the natural bounty provided by the sea and workings of the fishing industry. I was pleased to be a part of this park's design process along with Massport and other community leaders, said William P. Spain, president of the Castle Island Association and a member of the South Boston Maritime Park Advisory Committee. The South Boston Maritime Park is a wonderful addition to South Boston's public park and green space system. Universally accessible, the park is convenient for people of all ages and physical abilities. The park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.