Yesterday was the official grand opening of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the strip of urban parks that has replaced the elevated route 93 and changed the face of Boston.  I might quibble with the execution or the cost, but I can’t say enough good things about the whole idea of creating this green space in the most built-up part of the city.

The Greenway echoes the Emerald Necklace and provides about ten times the park area of nearby Post Office Square.  The project isn’t done – there are plans for two museums and an Armenian Heritage Park – and it’s not clear that it ever will be, but it’s done enough, and it got a pretty good crowd yesterday.

I was helping out at the Hudson Street Gallery most of the afternoon, so I wasn’t able to see the whole thing, but there were a few performance stages and at least one farmers market, outside of South Station, where I saw my old friends When Pigs Fly Bakery and Shy Brothers Cheese, among others. Closer to the gallery was the Chinatown park, where there were cultural performances all day, including lion dances, noodle-making, several kinds of martial arts, and Cantonese opera.  Click on the maplet at right – to which I’ve added the location of the Hudson Street Gallery near the bottom – for more information about the Greenway and more comprehensive maps.

Further along the Greenway, near the Aquarium, was a fountain of sorts.  It’s a spiral-patterned circle of stone and brick, with water jets that fire in patterns, creating mini-geysers in various patterns.  And inviting passers-by to tempt fate by first running through, and then, oddly, just standing still in the middle.

There’s lots more to explore in the Greenway, but I have to leave you with a final cartographic note.  The grand opening events included some kind of text-message scavenger hunt, and the map for that event included one unusual feature: the thick black line represents the approximate coastline of Boston in 1775, which is itself already much extended from the land profile at the time of European arrival.

Click on the map for more information on the game and the full-size PDF map.  And be sure to enjoy your local urban greenspace, wherever you are.