2022 Season Wrap Up: Events and Partnership Intern
Written by Eliza Jones, Events and Partnership Intern
When given the task of reflecting on my summer at The Greenway, I knew it would be difficult. Reflection signifies the summer’s end, and I, for one, am terrible at goodbyes. Especially when they mean leaving behind people and places that have just begun to feel like home.
As someone who grew up in Greater Boston, I came to this internship with a peripheral understanding of what it means to be a Bostonian. For so long, I thought living in a city meant sacrificing community for proximity, and I even chose a small, rural college for this very reason. As an intern on the Programs Team at the Greenway Conservancy, however, I witnessed firsthand the energy that can flow through a public space, such as in Auntie Kay & Uncle Frank Chin Park on The Greenway every Thursday from 4 to 6pm at play sessions.
Children play at Auntie Kay & Uncle Frank Chin Park
Week after week, young kids arrive with their families ready to bathe in sticky bubble solution, don oversized hula hoops, and show off their newly acquired reading skills. While some of our regulars know exactly where to find us, other families happen upon our setup and kindly ask if they are allowed to join in. Words cannot describe how lucky I feel to be the one who gets to tell them that all are welcome.
Play is just one of many examples of how The Greenway and the Greenway Conservancy create a feeling of connectedness throughout Boston’s many neighborhoods. This summer, I also had the great pleasure of staffing the North End Music and Performing Art Center’s Jazz in the Park series. As soon as Debo Ray and her band took the stage on that first night, the North End lit up with smiles, dancing, and R&B groove.
The talented Debo Ray and her band kick off the Jazz in the Park series in the North End
As someone with a musical background, I am no stranger to music’s role in community building. This summer, however, I grew to appreciate the attention and care put into the spaces that give life to performances such as Jazz in the Park. From the lawn and fountains maintained by our Horticulture and Maintenance Teams to the stage set up by the City of Boston, every piece of this event was evidence of a thoughtful plan to invite people in.
Of course, inviting people into public spaces has a different meaning than it did three summers ago. When the pandemic hit, connectedness became simultaneously more difficult and more important than ever and, in the face of these challenges, many small businesses struggled to survive. Working with our food truck program this summer has given me a renewed appreciation for vendors that continue to innovate despite unforeseen circumstances. Whether it was stopping for lunch at Dewey Square or for bubble tea and ice cream at the Greenway Carousel, my fellow interns and I never ceased to have our days brightened by the positive energy and delicious offerings that our food trucks provide every day in the park.
Brian from Revelry poses for a quick photo on a sunny day at Rowes Wharf Plaza
Through developing these relationships with partners, park goers, and Conservancy personnel, my time at The Greenway transformed the way I see Boston as home. This was no more evident to me than at Truck and Tractor Day, an event I helped plan alongside my fellow interns, Madeleine and Wendy. The event featured a bustling combination of large vehicles, enthusiastic children, and unexpected learning moments, but what remained constant throughout was the compassion and support we received from our Greenway Conservancy team members. From helping to parallel park a trolley to catching runaway coloring sheets, it took a village to produce that event, and I was even lucky enough to make a friend through it all— my coworker Leonard’s daughter, Althea, who at age 5 can already locate Rings Fountain on a Greenway map.
My new friend!
Whether taking a communal ride on the Carousel, laughing with (maybe even at) each other, or simply exchanging a ‘hello’ across the park, the Conservancy team embodies the welcoming inclusivity that The Greenway represents, and I can only hope to find a community as strong as this one in my next chapter. Thank you to my Programs people, my fellow interns, and all those who I laughed with this summer— what a privilege it has been to work alongside you all.
See you soon,
The Programs interns and their supervisor, Programs Manager PhuongDuy Tran, at an All-Staff social at one of Boston Calling’s Block Parties
Summer workforce development opportunities on The Greenway are made possible with the generous support of Citizens.