10 Years of The Greenway Carousel
It’s the ten-year anniversary of The Greenway Carousel at The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove. Running from March to January, our one-of-a-kind carousel enchants hundreds of thousands of visitors who take a spin each year.
The Greenway Carousel got its start through a lead gift from Amalie Kass, who sought to bring joy to the children of Boston for generations to come. With seed funding in hand, we got to work collecting input from the community to create something that was truly unique.
From 2010-2011, The Greenway held community meetings to determine what people wanted. At the suggestion of our lead donor’s young grandson, we went straight to the carousel’s future customers—our city’s children. These children’s design charettes helped determine the design and decoration.
Building the Carousel
In 2013, Carousel and Carvings got to work on building the structure of the carousel while local artist Jeff Briggs created its iconic creatures. Briggs used input from children and their illustrations that were captured during the charettes to bring their imaginations to life. Inspired by the children’s ideas, the carousel moved away from the traditional horses you would find on a typical carousel and instead focused on animals native to the Shawmut Peninsula. That’s why you’ll see lobsters, squirrels, and grasshoppers to ride on!
We also wanted the carousel to be accessible to as many people as possible – so we ensured that it was built with universal design principles in mind. This goes well beyond wheelchair accessibility to integrate subtle but important features that address the specific needs of people with a wide range of physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. With the guidance of the Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD), we were able to create a carousel that subtly and effectively offers all riders delightful experiences through small details. For example, one of the rabbits stays in place rather than moving up and down, and some creatures have more tactile qualities rather than smooth surfaces to afford comfort for those sensory sensitivities.
A Joyful Experience
Over its past ten years in operation, The Greenway Carousel has provided a space for everyone, from children to adults, to share an experience of pure joy. Its environmental theme makes the carousel at once educational and playful, linking the carousel experience to visits to the Aquarium and Harbor Islands, walks along the Harbor’s edge, and play within the parks. As a contemporary interpretation of an historic public amenity, it connects people across generations, as elders share their carousel memories and youngsters create new ones. More than 100,000 people ride the carousel each year!
The fact that the carousel relates back to the local environment makes it a unique experience for riders. For example, while sitting atop the Peregrine Falcon, riders can be on the lookout for the real falcons nesting in the surrounding skyscrapers of the Financial District. Even the mythical Sea Serpent Gondola has been designed based on historical accounts of giant oarfish that surfaced in Gloucester Bay in the 1800s.
The carousel was especially popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families were looking for safe, outdoor venues to spend time in. The carousel provided a perfect place for that, and we saw increased ridership during this time.
Every year, we do minor touch-ups to the creatures on the carousel to keep their character. However, it has also gone through some larger overhauls. In 2022, we decided that many of our characters needed some extra attention so in collaboration with Adirondack Studios, we took all of the creatures off the carousel and restored them to their original design through media blasting. They also recreated three of the lobsters that were structurally damaged.
More renovations are in store for the carousel this year, specifically with the canopy. Our first canopy was made of canvas, and while it held up well, it retained moisture. The current canopy is made of vinyl and it has been a major asset in protecting the carousel against the elements – we will be creating a replica of it this coming year to keep the carousel protected for years to come.
In addition to keeping the carousel well-maintained, The Greenway also wants to ensure that the area around it remains a beautiful space in which to explore and unwind. We’ve undertaken many projects to make this a reality, including expanded tree pits, waterproofing the trench drains around the carousel, and resetting, repainting, and caulking the area adjacent to it.
Whether you’re coming to the carousel for the first time or hundredth time, we welcome you to enjoy it and the park surrounding it. Learn more and plan your visit here.
The Greenway Carousel at the Tiffany & Co. Grove was made possible by a lead gift from Amalie Kass and additional support from donors including the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, Marketplace Center/Clarendon Group USA, Citizens, John W. Alden Trust, Boston Harbor Alliance, Maggie and Jim Hunt, Steven and Christine Manfredi, and the Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation.