Photo courtesy of @kylekleinphoto via @rosewkennedygreenway on Instagram.
Chances are, visitors to Boston today will pass through the Rose Kennedy Greenway. At the heaert of downtown Boston, the greenway is a series of parks near the waterfront, connecting sites like Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium and the Seaport. It’s hard to believe, though, that locals remember a time before the Rose Kennedy Greenway, when the land now covered in grass and trees was a congested, elevated highway tearing through the city.
In 1991, the city and state launched “The Big Dig,” a massive construction project—one of the largest urban infrastructure developments in US history—to move the highway underground, leaving the land above to be redeveloped. Ignoring call to turn the area into mid-rise buildings, the Boston Redevelopment Authority developed a Boston 2000 plan mandating 75 percent of the land be used for parks and plazas. The land was thus converted into a series of connected public green areas and linear parks with public art installations, fountains and paved walkways. Today, the Rose Kennedy Greenway consists of Dewey Square, where food trucks and a farmers’ market are set up in the summer; Chinatown Park; Fort Point Channel Parks; Armenian Heritage Park; and North End Parks.
The Rose Kennedy Greenway was officially dedicated in 2004, marking a momentous change in the city’s history. While residents and visitors had always enjoyed the Boston Common and Public Garden (the oldest botanical garden in the country), the waterfront and the North End had long been sectioned off, out of access thanks to the many lanes of elevated highway.
The name of the Greenway came from one of Boston’s most famous matriarchs, philanthropist and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. Daughter of the city’s first Irish-American mayor, she was the mother of President JFK and senators Ted and Robert Kennedy.
Thanks to the foresight of motivated Bostonians, the Greenway exists as a thriving outdoor area in the heart of the Financial and Seaport districts, hosting concerts and public events. Summer 2017 has also seen the addition of an urban zipline and Boston’s first open-air beer garden, serving Trillium Brewing Company’s beer and wine from Westport River Winery.
Just a fifteen minute walk from John Jeffries House, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is one of our favorite spots in Boston. Be sure to visit during your stay!