The Greenway is one of Boston’s most special spots.
No, not just because it’s a gorgeous 1.5 mile stretch of parks and gardens in the heart of the city, but because less than 30 years ago, it was the site of a massive, raised highway! Ever heard of the “Big Dig”? Well, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is the fantastic end result of 15 years of construction to put Interstate 93 underground.
As you blissfully enjoy a summer’s day on The Greenway, it’s hard to imagine this lush green space being anything than what it is today. I moved to Boston in 2003 and have vague memories of the construction, but am always in amazement when I stumble across photos of how the area looked pre-Big Dig. Let’s just say, it is 100 times better as a park!
From bubbling fountains for children to splash around in, to bistro tables under shady terraces where nearby business women and men can enjoy an al fresco lunch, The Greenway has something for everyone. During the summer, there are regularly offered fitness classes, farmers’ markets, concerts, and movies!
While there are so many fantastic elements to The Greenway, one of my favorites is its display of public art. As you stroll through The Greenway, don’t miss the wonderful assortment of free and engaging contemporary art exhibits. Not only does the outdoor space give artists an opportunity to showcase their work, but it allows passerby to embrace innovative art that they might not otherwise experience. The exhibits are all temporary and regularly change, which makes it exciting for both Bostonians and visitors, alike.
Now that the sun is finally shining, if you find yourself wandering down The Greenway, here is a guide to the art you can currently keep a lookout for and enjoy…
The A-Lyst for Public Art on The Greenway in Boston
The Meeting House, Mark Reigelman
This cheerful yellow house is one of my all-time favorite sculptures that The Greenway has hosted. It’s so bright and fun, and I love how it literally stops people in their tracks when they see it. The inspiration is drawn from the simple architecture of New England’s original colonial houses. One part of the home is meant to represent the demolished houses that came as a result of the creation of the original aboveground highway system; the other part is inspired by the Pembroke Fiends Meeting House, which is the oldest surviving Quaker meetinghouse in Massachusetts.
Spaces of Hope, Mehdi Ghadyanloo
This painting is definitely one of the most recognizable pieces of art on The Greenway as the wall is 76′ x 70′ and very visible to both pedestrians and motorists on Atlantic Avenue. I love taking a break from walking to enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet on one of the adirondack chairs that faces the mural. Every time I look at it, I see new things! Fun fact; this is the first mural to be curated entirely by the Greenway Conservancy!
Make and Take, Chris Templeman
Will you be the lucky passerby to score a 3D printer rooster? So far, I haven’t been, but I’m keeping the faith! Right outside the restaurant, Townsman, you will find a 3D printer on top of a white acrylic box, reminiscent of a vending machine or museum case. If you have some extra time on your hands, stand and watch the printer at work, as it algorithmically and mechanically create a rooster figurine! Each rooster takes three to four hours to create, but if you happen to walk by at the right time when one is dispensed, you can take it home with you. There are an estimated 2,000 roosters that will be created this year, so if you live or work in the area, the odds could be in your favor.
Pink Lines as Concentric Arches on Yellow, Kawandeep Virdee
Slightly hidden by an exit ramp from the highway and C-Mart Supermarket, this colorful mural brightens up an otherwise dull concrete wall. Mixing yellow and pink hues into a gorgeous design, the artist wanted to use both repetition and a simple pattern for this piece of work. The end result is a celebration of color and design, which I love to pass by!
This optical illusion is sure to be a hit with visitors to Boston this summer. The Ames Room is three-walled trapezoidal “room” designed to look like a garden. The fun part is that the sculpture is a false perception, meaning it looks different when viewed through the peephole, camera, and door. Depending on how you view it, the space changes! Get ready for lots of photo opps…!
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The A-Lyst is a Boston-based lifestyle blog curating the very best of style, beauty, food, and travel.