New “stuff” has been springing up on the Greenway parks, including fancier signs, tables and more chairs. The bustling North End parks were an early recipient of tables and chairs last year. Unfortunately, some of the North End chairs have tended to go missing, a problem raised by Greenway Leadership Council members at the last meeting. A recent walkthrough shows the chairs are very movable and that’s exactly what is happening. A few chairs were definitely missing but most were simply scattered, most noticeably in the fountains. The pergola vines are not providing any shade so patrons seem to be moving the chairs around to get out of the direct sun. It does raise the question of how the chairs will persist through future seasons because they are so portable. The tables do not have any umbrellas and are also showing quite a bit of wear despite being relatively new.
New Greenway-branded signs have been installed in the North End Parks and incrementally elsewhere along the corridor. As you can see from the photos below, they are skinny and vertical with maps and interpretive text. I was actually starting to get used to the old signs (which are still there), though I suppose it will now be more difficult to move the Chinatown sign to the North End. The new signs were estimated to have cost $250,000.
An obvious improvement is on the Greenway area across from Rowes Wharf where new tables, umbrellas and chairs have been placed. The tables seem to be getting quite a bit of use in what was previously a barren spot. The umbrellas help provide the much needed accomodation for shade.
The garden parcels across from the Intercontinental seem to have lost the seating lottery. There are no tables or umbrellas, just a few dark red metal chairs stacked on the lawn. The ground is sloped so the chairs are difficult to steady and sit comfortably. People seemed to want to sit in the shade on the garden parcels near the Intercontinental, but found the chairs unsteady on the uneven ground.
A student trying to balance his laptop using the new wi-fi while sitting on a lawn chair thought it would be better to have a few solid benches. The good news is that folks are desperate to sit by the gardens because people were trying out many spots with these chairs. They were scattered under trees, inside of garden beds and a few on the adjacent sidewalk. Again, the desire for shade was clear.
Back on the North End parks, shown below, several fountains have not been working since a winter 2008 flood damaged a nearby equipment vault. In addition, the linear water feature is turned off in several sections. Designed by Kathryn Gustafson, the surface water references an 18th Century industrial canal that once connected this part of Boston to the harbor.
The other recent addition to the parks are the food carts. Shown below is the one in the North End parks, Boston Pushcart, run by North End restaurateur Joe Bono (Al Dente, Benevento’s) on the Freedom Trail. Going Bananas (Salem St.) also has a cart on the next to the carousel.