Located between Boston’s Commercial and Long Wharves, this site was once populated by industrial buildings that served the city’s shipping industry. In the 1960s the Boston Redevelopment Authority funded the construction of public spaces, including a “Walk to the Sea” from Quincy Market to the waterfront. In 1974 the landscape architecture firm Sasaki, Dawson & DeMay created a waterfront park on filled land that became the harbor’s public access point. The design drew on the site’s history, using cobblestones and brick paving, wooden structures, and a bollard-and-chain system along the water to mimic the old bulkhead. On the nation’s bicentennial, thousands watched from the newly dedicated park as the “Tall Ships” paraded into Boston Harbor. In 1999 a new design by the landscape architecture firm Halvorson Company saw the installation of a new performance area and additional lawn space that opened up views of the harbor.
Framed by Atlantic Avenue, the park is screened from traffic by groves of sycamores. A central lawn is bordered by a paved walkway that connects the park’s central features, including the Rose Kennedy Garden and an open promenade framed by Sasaki’s Lamella truss shade structure, which is draped in wisteria vines. A circular fountain demarcates the park’s southwest entrance. To the north, a linear brick path leading from the street to the harbor separates the playground and the Massachusetts Beirut Memorial (1992) from the lawn. In 2020, during a period of social unrest, the park’s namesake statue was beheaded and subsequently put in storage.