North End Park: Two ideas, one design
By Sofia Celeste
Dig construction will no longer be
an eyesore for North
As the debris from the Central Artery is cleared, the dust settles
and construction of a new park begins next spring, the North End
will get a new, more welcoming front door.
After nearly three decades ofmeetings
and, most recently, heated discussions over what this threshold
should look like, the
contours of the newly cleared land that will link the North
the rest of the city has taken shape.
A green platform with maple trees, benches and vine-covered trellises
will replace a maze of rebar, dust and bulldozers.
“We are trying to restore Boston back to its roots,” said
Nancy Caruso, project co-chair and founder of the North End Waterfront
Central Artery project. “We are trying to re-knit the North
End with downtown Boston.”
The two-acre park planned for parcels 8 and 10 is but a fraction
of the 27-acre Rose Kennedy Greenway: the open space uncovered
by the dismantling of the Central Artery highway that once connected
South Station with North Station. The land is immensely valuable
and the Central Artery Advisory Committee has had to resist pressures
from developers in keeping it green.
For example, nearly 20 percent of the North End’s shops,
businesses and homes were demolished to make way for the Central
Artery in the early 1950s. When the elevated freeway’s traffic
leapt from 75,000 cars in 1959 to 190,000 cars in 1994, the solution
was to build an underground passage, otherwise known as the Big
Dig project—once again freeing up the land that lies between
Haymarket and Cross Street.
Since the early 1980s the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, along
with representatives from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, has
been planning a park to replace the poorly-planned highway.
Politicians like Rep. Sal DiMasi, the majority leader, support
the Central Artery Committee in backing plans for a tranquil buffer
between the historic North End and downtown Boston.
“DiMasi wants a place where elderly and visitors can relax,” his
legislative aide, Jason Aluia said.
| Planning | Concerns | Long-term