The Boston Harbor Association, along with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Boston Conservation Commission, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, continues to work with property owners to bring new HarborWalk segments on line as quickly as possible. Nearly 39 miles of the 47-mile HarborWalk public access system is now completed, with the remainder to open as waterfront development moves forward. Take a look at the newest segments opened to the public with a variety of public amenities:
Battery Wharf: Battery Wharf on the North End waterfront is fast becoming one of the most popular HarborWalk segments on the waterfront. Opened in 2009, the site features a pocket maritime museum, a 24-hour, second-floor observation deck, a water transportation pavilion, and an enhanced HarborWalk with interpretive signage, free binoculars, outside terrace dining, and free public restrooms. The wharf is also home to the upscale Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel and Aragosta Restaurant. The Boston Harbor Association was the primary advocacy group for the construction of the public amenities, including the observation deck and the new maritime museum, which offers a 1,100-square foot exhibition space featuring fascinating maritime and Coast Guard history, during the Chapter 91 tidelands licensing process.
The museum, observation deck, and restrooms are open to the public free of charge. The water transportation pavilion provides a very attractive waiting area for water taxi service to Logan Airport and other Harbor-side locations, and there is nearly 300 feet of dock space at the site.
Note the public art on display along the HarborWalk, exterior of the water transportation pavilion, and retail spaces from the 2011 Flash Forward Festival. The works of art by emerging contemporary New England photographers are on display through Fall, 2011.
New England Aquarium HarborWalk: As part of the New England Aquarium's new Marine Mammal Center, a new HarborWalk segment opened to the public in July 2009. The $10 million facility is home to five fur seals (only 20 of the seals are in captivity in the world today). The entirely glass-walled, open-air pavilion that abuts the HarborWalk is complete with informational panels offering facts about the seals, and there is new public seating on the HarborWalk. In the evening, LED strips make for an interesting walk along the Aquarium's HarborWalk segment. TBHA was a strong advocate for the educational signage and the improved HarborWalk.
Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea: This unique wayfinding path begins at Beacon Hill and spans a mile to the waterfront. At eight key locations are viewing panels that describe and depict four centuries of Boston history, including three panels at Long Wharf which trace the dominance of Boston's 18th-century shipping industry (note the wind turbine atop one of the panels which lights the panels in the evening). Boston native Norman B. Leventhal, for whom the walk is named, has a longstanding connection to the Harbor, including development of the landmark Rowes Wharf complex, as well as the generous donation of one of the most outstanding collections of historic Boston Harbor and Massachusetts Bay maps in the world to the Boston Public Library. A number of these priceless maps can be viewed in the lobby of the Boston Harbor Hotel, and others are on display at the Boston Public Library. For more information on the "Norman B. Leventhal Walk to the Sea," please visit the web site Walk to the Sea.
Fort Point Channel
Atlantic Wharf: Beginning Spring, 2011, visitors and employees have enjoyed events and public art exhibits at Atlantic Wharf (previously known as Russia Wharf). The multi-use buildings house offices, residences, and soon-to-open restaurants, including a Smith & Wollensky Restaurant as well as chef Jody Adam's Trade Restaurant. Next year, visitors and residents will be able to take architectural boat trips conducted by the Boston Society of Architects from the Atlantic Wharf dock. In the meantime, visitors can get information about the HarborWalk, Fort Point Channel, and other attractions from the water transportation kiosk on the HarborWalk (rest rooms available in the kiosk for the general public). From the Atlantic Wharf HarborWalk, visitors can watch construction progress on the new Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, scheduled to open Summer, 2012.
Dorchester Avenue HarborWalk Along the Fort Point Channel:A new HarborWalk segment along the Fort Point Channel across from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston opened to the public Labor Day weekend, 2009. Featuring granite paving, benches, lighting, and trees, this segment is a welcomed connection between the 245 Summer Street and Russia Wharf HarborWalk segments. Additional tree plantings will be completed late fall, 2009. This new HarborWalk segment is part of the environmental mitigation measures required of the Central Artery/Tunnel project for the Fort Point Channel area. The Boston Harbor Association, together with the Boston Shipping Association, was the intervenor in the Consolidated Written Determination proceedings which resulted in this and other public amenities along the Fort Point Channel.
470 Atlantic Avenue: The facility of public accommodation at 470 Atlantic Avenue provides a quiet respite on the HarborWalk. An interior seating area immediately adjacent to the HarborWalk is available to the general public, housing educational displays about Independence Wharf (former site of the Boston Tea Party) as well as a television monitor tuned to CNN. WiFi is also available. Visitors can also enjoy the free 14th floor observation deck, with views of Boston Harbor, the Harbor Islands, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, and the Blue Hills Reservation (free telescope as well as indoor viewing area also available to the public). During summer, 2011, a new take-out cafe and patio seating opened next to the HarborWalk.
Fan Pier: A new HarborWalk segment, Public Green, and boat dock have been built as part of the Fan Pier development project along the South Boston waterfront. Along with a dramatic harbor vista, the Public Green offers something totally unexpected- seasonal music that is played 24/7. A public rest room, take-out cafe, and small sitting area for the general public are located in the lobby of the One Marina Park Drive building, which is also home to Strega Waterfront Restaurant. Next door is the Louis Boutique, Salon Mario Russio, and the waterfront restaurant, Sam's at Louis. Construction of two buildings is underway which will house the global headquarters of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2013.
Liberty Wharf: Adjacent to the Fish Pier, the new Liberty Wharf complex, which opened in April, 2011, is one of the most popular destinations on the HarborWalk. Boaters dock at the wharf while enjoying dinner. Four new waterfront restaurants next to the HarborWalk include:
NSTAR: Adjacent to NSTAR's K Street Electrical Substation on the Reserved Channel is one of Boston's newest and most attractive HarborWalk segments. Accessible from 1st Street near L Street in South Boston, visitors can enjoy a generous walkway with viewing areas, free pedestal-mounted binoculars, seating, interpretive signage, and landscaping. An original rail from the Transcontinental Railroad, manufactured by the Bay State Iron Works once located on the site, was added in late 2007.
Check back soon for more of what's new on Boston's HarborWalk.