Seaport Neighborhood - Infill and Discussion

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,200
Reaction score
392
Actually, the true STAR is the entire bottom 50% of that picture. The pedestrian/ground level area. I am just as guilty as the next poster here about having an "Edifice Complex". The past year or two, I've been re-examining what really makes a city interesting and dynamic. It ain't the boxes.
I think the way the Harborwalk area in the Seaport is turning out is fantastic. It is a huge asset to the city.
 

stick n move

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Messages
7,170
Reaction score
1,652
Agree its a major asset, the fan pier view of downtown is world class. I cant wait until fort point is built out and we get more harborwalk down there as well.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,738
Reaction score
493
Agree its a major asset, the fan pier view of downtown is world class. I cant wait until fort point is built out and we get more harborwalk down there as well.

If Gillette and the USPS plays ball, I can't even imagine the possibilities of Fort Point Channel - - - world class, picture postcard, pedestrian experience..........
 

#bancars

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
204
Reaction score
269
Le Havre, in France is an interesting example. The city was completely destroyed in WW2, so its all new, circa 1950s.

From above, it looks pretty ugly, in that 1950s modern style nobody really likes. But the ground level experience as a pedestrian is pretty good. Much more traditional than the urban renewal stuff in the US. Still a big focus on walking, biking, and small retail. Very limited visible parking.



Streetview examples:

Had they planted some trees, it would look lovely. Which is one of the things the Seaport has going for it...very high level quality public sidewalk experience. Thats one of the things Boston does a very good job of, compared to other US cities.


Id be curious to learn how this works in the modern context:

Ive never been, so I cant say anything about it.
I have plenty of critiques of the Seaport -- especially the width / design of many of the main roads (can't wait for the Summer St re-design to take place) -- but do agree a lot of the sidewalk experience is quite good. The core few blocks near the channel are a pretty solid pedestrian experience, though it degrades the further away you get.
 

Vivanna

New member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
94
Reaction score
77
It's crazy to me how a new boardwalk over the Harbor in the Seaport can go up with no problem but a similar concept along the Charles in Allston gets fought over for years.
CLF fought over this one for years too, thank goodness common sense prevailed and the harborwalk in the Seaport will be complete.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,738
Reaction score
493
I predict the Harborwalk will rival the Freedom Trail in years to come. What a huge win for the city. Tip of the hat to everyone who fought some pretty entrenched interests for this.

I humbly admit, I wasn't as interested in this as I was about the height of the buildings years ago - - I had no idea how vital something like this is for the actual LIFE of a city.
 

Massachoicetts

Active Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
334
Reaction score
401
I predict the Harborwalk will rival the Freedom Trail in years to come. What a huge win for the city. Tip of the hat to everyone who fought some pretty entrenched interests for this.

I humbly admit, I wasn't as interested in this as I was about the height of the buildings years ago - - I had no idea how vital something like this is for the actual LIFE of a city.
Good point. Funny you say that because two weeks ago my friend visited Boston from Florida. She was like "I love that boardwalk thing where I was staying! (Seaport)". I was like huh? And she said "Yeah the boardwalk thing was one of my favorite things! I put 2+2 together and realized she was talking about the Seaports Harborwalk. I haven't been there in a while, so I wonder how great it is now. Looks fantastic.
 

shmessy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2010
Messages
1,738
Reaction score
493
Good point. Funny you say that because two weeks ago my friend visited Boston from Florida. She was like "I love that boardwalk thing where I was staying! (Seaport)". I was like huh? And she said "Yeah the boardwalk thing was one of my favorite things! I put 2+2 together and realized she was talking about the Seaports Harborwalk. I haven't been there in a while, so I wonder how great it is now. Looks fantastic.
Last time I was in Boston was a warm Saturday evening August 2019. That night I walked along much of Seaport Harborwalk (or what was in place at the time, with interruptions) from the WTC to the Childrens Museum. There was some kind of event taking place at the MCA where several hundred cocktail party goers buzzed with live music while crowding the bleachers there. Further along there were stone fire pits with people sitting around in large circles next to the boardwalks. There are other bleacher areas and nooks that jutt out into the Harbor. On the other side, there are inlets with small waterfalls. The entire path was electric that night as the dusk set and the dark sky was offset by the lively and varied light colors at ground level. There had to be 30-40,000 people out and about, but it never felt crowded. It was one of the most incredible walks through any city I have ever experienced anywhere in the world (London, Milan, Paris, Marrakesh, Fez, etc. ). Growing up in Boston, I always loved the city - - but never saw it as "spectacular". That night was a revelation. Although I still love tall buildings, ever since that night my viewpoint has changed dramatically as to what makes a truly lively city. That Harborwalk (and the Esplanade and the boardwalk at the North Station Lovejoy Wharf and others) has shifted my focus.

And it's only going to get better. Boston IS the walking city. It's compactness has always made it so. Only now, we have civic leaders who recognize it and are taking action to 'Spectacularize' the experience. The new pedestrian trails (i.e. along the ROW from Somerville to North Station) and the increasing bike lanes are adding a human vibrancy to Boston that far exceeds big boxes hovering over empty streets that so many (particularly, Sunbelt cities) represent.

Your friend from Florida seems likely to have received that same vivid impression. I would wager most tourists, be they domestic or international, do not take home the image of Boston's skyscrapers as a meaningful memory at all. Where Boston actually is increasingly emerging UNIQUE is on the ground level.
 
Last edited:

xec

Active Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
384
Reaction score
80
I predict the Harborwalk will rival the Freedom Trail in years to come. What a huge win for the city.
Years back I thought the Greenway had that kind of potential but the Harborwalk has definitely left it eating dust. I hope the Aquarium, Dock Square, Parcel 9 and other future developments will let it catch up.

And it's only going to get better. Boston IS the walking city. It's compactness has always made it so.
I'm looking forward to the day when the Government Center garage is redeveloped and Canal St. is pedestrianized. It's going to make a great promenade and entrance to the city from North Station.

Then maybe someday pedestrianize Washington St. all the way to Stuart St. and Newbury from end to end. The walking city indeed!
 

Tom Nevers

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2020
Messages
24
Reaction score
28
I predict the Harborwalk will rival the Freedom Trail in years to come. What a huge win for the city. Tip of the hat to everyone who fought some pretty entrenched interests for this.

I humbly admit, I wasn't as interested in this as I was about the height of the buildings years ago - - I had no idea how vital something like this is for the actual LIFE of a city.
Yesterday I visited the Seaport and Harborwalk for the first time and agree it's a really nice pedestrian experience. Given the huge amount of new development in that area, I was curious to see how well it connects to the rest of the city. My reference point for a new neighborhood created in a matter of years is the South Waterfront in Portland, OR. At least coming from downtown, the Seaport feels much more accessible on foot. After walking around the Harborwalk I walked a few more miles over to Fort Independence and there were a couple blocks that felt like urban wasteland but even in those areas there were a lot of joggers and cyclists. The remaining undeveloped and older industrial areas are a testament to the significant transformation of the area.

On a side note, when I looked across the water to East Boston it seemed like there's been a lot change along the water over the past ten years. I don't remember half those buildings being there when I spent a a few months on Maverick St in '09.
 

DZH22

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
6,508
Reaction score
4,816
Drove through there today with my girlfriend and it was bustling with tons of people. It has enough depth in places where it's really starting to feel like a thriving neighborhood. The Echelon complex in particular adds a ton. But really, the total accumulation of a decade of steady building has finally hit that critical mass where you can feel a lot of the potential actually being realized. It's only going to get better for the next few years too!
 

Life Coach Mike

New member
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
95
Reaction score
85
Last time I was in Boston was a warm Saturday evening August 2019. That night I walked along much of Seaport Harborwalk (or what was in place at the time, with interruptions) from the WTC to the Childrens Museum. There was some kind of event taking place at the MCA where several hundred cocktail party goers buzzed with live music while crowding the bleachers there. Further along there were stone fire pits with people sitting around in large circles next to the boardwalks. There are other bleacher areas and nooks that jutt out into the Harbor. On the other side, there are inlets with small waterfalls. The entire path was electric that night as the dusk set and the dark sky was offset by the lively and varied light colors at ground level. There had to be 30-40,000 people out and about, but it never felt crowded. It was one of the most incredible walks through any city I have ever experienced anywhere in the world (London, Milan, Paris, Marrakesh, Fez, etc. ). Growing up in Boston, I always loved the city - - but never saw it as "spectacular". That night was a revelation. Although I still love tall buildings, ever since that night my viewpoint has changed dramatically as to what makes a truly lively city. That Harborwalk (and the Esplanade and the boardwalk at the North Station Lovejoy Wharf and others) has shifted my focus.

And it's only going to get better. Boston IS the walking city. It's compactness has always made it so. Only now, we have civic leaders who recognize it and are taking action to 'Spectacularize' the experience. The new pedestrian trails (i.e. along the ROW from Somerville to North Station) and the increasing bike lanes are adding a human vibrancy to Boston that far exceeds big boxes hovering over empty streets that so many particularly Sunbelt cities represent.

Your friend from Florida seems likely to have received that same impactful impression. I would wager most tourists, from other US cities and around the world, do not take the image of Boston's skyscrapers home with them as a meaningful memory at all. Where Boston actually is increasingly emerging UNIQUE is on the ground level.
Absolutely! I moved from a lifetime in Boston to Tampa. There is NOTHING down here to compare with Boston. The new Riverwalk in Tampa is a start, but it's only a few blocks long and there's not much to see at ground level. I'm glad I'm 13 miles from downtown, which keeps me from getting tempted to go there and get bored (there's not even a convenience store to buy water). The more active area is South Tampa, which is more walkable with shops, etc, but is inaccessible due to the lack of parking, constant road reconstruction, lack of benches/parks, and the unrelenting heat and humidity most of the year.
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
6,833
Reaction score
1,757
CLF fought over this one for years too, thank goodness common sense prevailed and the harborwalk in the Seaport will be complete.
Yeah...no way it would be as far along as it is now if the CLF hadn't spent all those years bear-wrestling in its favor. Unfortunately a lot of similarly nice things in other neighborhoods aren't subject to toothy legal commitments somebody will fight like a junkyard dog to uphold. Binding energy can be damn hard to come by if the coalition in question doesn't have the right mix of huevos in its constituent bodies. Sometimes that's neighborhood-to-neighborhood inequity showing itself...sometimes it's just luck of the draw.
 

stick n move

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2009
Messages
7,170
Reaction score
1,652
Cant wait to see how the new pedestrian path through seaport sq comes out. Should create a sort of grand entrance coming down the steps from summer st between those awesome parcel n and p buildings. It leads all the way to the harborwalk and pier 4 so its going to be a key piece of the transformation.
 

curcuas

Active Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2015
Messages
353
Reaction score
83
Last time I was in Boston was a warm Saturday evening August 2019. That night I walked along much of Seaport Harborwalk (or what was in place at the time, with interruptions) from the WTC to the Childrens Museum. There was some kind of event taking place at the MCA where several hundred cocktail party goers buzzed with live music while crowding the bleachers there. Further along there were stone fire pits with people sitting around in large circles next to the boardwalks. There are other bleacher areas and nooks that jutt out into the Harbor. On the other side, there are inlets with small waterfalls. The entire path was electric that night as the dusk set and the dark sky was offset by the lively and varied light colors at ground level. There had to be 30-40,000 people out and about, but it never felt crowded. It was one of the most incredible walks through any city I have ever experienced anywhere in the world (London, Milan, Paris, Marrakesh, Fez, etc. ). Growing up in Boston, I always loved the city - - but never saw it as "spectacular". That night was a revelation. Although I still love tall buildings, ever since that night my viewpoint has changed dramatically as to what makes a truly lively city. That Harborwalk (and the Esplanade and the boardwalk at the North Station Lovejoy Wharf and others) has shifted my focus.

And it's only going to get better. Boston IS the walking city. It's compactness has always made it so. Only now, we have civic leaders who recognize it and are taking action to 'Spectacularize' the experience. The new pedestrian trails (i.e. along the ROW from Somerville to North Station) and the increasing bike lanes are adding a human vibrancy to Boston that far exceeds big boxes hovering over empty streets that so many particularly Sunbelt cities represent.

Your friend from Florida seems likely to have received that same impactful impression. I would wager most tourists, from other US cities and around the world, do not take the image of Boston's skyscrapers home with them as a meaningful memory at all. Where Boston actually is increasingly emerging UNIQUE is on the ground level.
The harborwalk is a great place for an evening run, too. Month to month it only gets better.
 

#bancars

Active Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
204
Reaction score
269
Absolutely! I moved from a lifetime in Boston to Tampa. There is NOTHING down here to compare with Boston. The new Riverwalk in Tampa is a start, but it's only a few blocks long and there's not much to see at ground level. I'm glad I'm 13 miles from downtown, which keeps me from getting tempted to go there and get bored (there's not even a convenience store to buy water). The more active area is South Tampa, which is more walkable with shops, etc, but is inaccessible due to the lack of parking, constant road reconstruction, lack of benches/parks, and the unrelenting heat and humidity most of the year.
As someone who lived in Tampa for 10 years...I identify with this tweet. Tampa's pedestrian experience is beyond abysmal. There's only a few bright spots, none of them are connected, and most of them are recreation-oriented, not really areas of great commercial / social activity (Ybor being the notable exception, with a few small spots on Harbor Island, Hyde Park, Davis Island, Seminole Heights etc. also in the mix).
 
Last edited:

Top