Protests on Boston Common

A history of demonstration in American’s first park

The Women’s March on January 21 on Boston Common was just the latest in a long history of peaceful demonstrations on the Common.

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photo credit: Greg Cook

“The Common has been at the center of Boston’s civic life since its establishment in 1634. Despite physical changes, the Common has remained a focal point for the community – from grazing cows and military activities to celebration, punishments, protests and recreation. Physically, as well, it has remained fairly consistent in size and character, a green respite in the midst of the city.” — Boston Common Cultural Landscape Report, prepared by Landscape Historian Shary Berg for Friends of the Public Garden

After rowdy demonstrations against the English Stamp Act and the tax on tea, the repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766 was cause for a huge celebration on the Common. Following the Revolutionary War, the Common was host to protesters of every stripe, and Presidents from Washington to Jackson visited along with other notables.

Summer Party Raises Roof and Funds for Parks

We were delighted to be joined by 170 Friends at the Rooftop of the Taj Hotel on July 22 for our second annual Summer Party. The event doubled in size from the the previous year and sold out nearly one month earlier. Thank you to our generous event sponsor First Republic Bank, and to old Friends and new who stepped out to celebrate and support the three parks we care for in partnership with the City. Read about the evening in the Boston Herald  and visit our Facebook album to view more photos.

Photos: Pierce Harman

Boston Common Frog Pond Wading Pool Opening July 1

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Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook and The Skating Club of Boston president Joe Blount will welcome children and guests to kick off the 2015 summer season as the Boston Common Frog Pond reopens on Wednesday, July 1. The day will include a fun and exciting celebration at 11 a.m. followed by the opening of the wading pool.
“Boston’s youngest residents are ready to cool off from the heat as the Frog Pond wading pool opens for the season,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “I hope all of our residents are able to enjoy the Common this summer. This is a great place for families to relax with a carousel, food concessions, and the Swan Boats all within walking distance.”
In addition to activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., information regarding upcoming summer programs offered by the City of Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission will be available to families and residents and tasty treats will be provided by in-kind sponsors HP Hood LLC, Cabot Cheese. DAVIDsTEA, and Polar Beverages.
The celebration will feature a special visit from official mascot Frog Pond Freddie, entertainment, face painting, books courtesy of ReadBoston, and giveaways from Mix 104.1 FM. In addition, children of all ages are eligible to enter a summer raffle.

The Frog Pond spray pool will be open for wading daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Labor Day. Visit http://www.bostonfrogpond.com for more information.

Take the Duckling Day Quiz

Children play on Make Way for Ducklings scupture at end of parade
Children play on Make Way for Ducklings sculpture at end of 2014 Duckling Day parade

Test your Duckling Day IQ with our quiz! 

True or False

1. The author of Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey, kept a family of ducklings in the bathtub of his apartment as he was writing the book. 

2. The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture is the only one one of its kind in the world! 

3. The Make Way for Ducklings book is the official children’s book of Massachusetts? 

4. “Oooh-ack” is definitely the proper pronunciation of duckling Ouack’s name.

5. Duckling Day has been a Boston Tradition for less than 10 years. 

1. True. The author, Robert McCloskey, kept a family of ducklings in the bathtub of his apartment as he was writing the book. His tolerant roommate at the time, Marc Simont, also went on to become a famous children’s book writer. And in case you were thinking that might be fun? McCloskey noted, ”Ducks start quacking at the break of day, very loudly and emphatically.”

2. False. The duckling sculptures that the Friends of the Public Garden had made and placed in the Garden in 1987 exist in just one other place – Moscow! Raisa Gorbachev fell in love with the ducklings on a visit to Boston, and former First Lady Barbara Bush presented them to Raisa during a 1991 summit meeting.

3. True. Make Way for Ducklings is the official children’s book of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts….and it’s best enjoyed with some chocolate chip cookies – the official cookie of Massachusetts!

4. False. The mystery of how to pronounce “Ouack” has never been solved: some prefer “Oh-ack” and others “Oooh-ack”!

5. False.  Duckling Day has been a beloved Mother’s Day tradition in Boston for over 30 years! It’s a morning of fun for the whole family organized by the Friends of the Public Garden.

Duckling Day is on May 10th, Mother’s Day. Dress up the kids in their duckling best and enjoy entertainment and games on Boston Common – with a free mini-massage for Mom! The famous Harvard Band will lead a parade to the Make Way for Ducklings statues. The event is hosted by the non-profit Friends of the Public Garden.

You may register at the event. Registration opens at 10 a.m.

Mark Your Calendars for Duckling Day 2015!

2014 Duckling Day parade weaves through the Boston Common and Public Garden, led by the Harvard University Marching Band
2014 Duckling Day parade weaves through the Boston Common and Public Garden, led by the Harvard University Marching Band

The Friends of the Public Garden, in association with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Mayor Martin J. Walsh, will celebrate Mother’s Day with Boston-area families during its annual Duckling Day on Sunday, May 10th. A beloved tradition for more than 30 years, Duckling Day celebrates the children’s classic book, “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey. Every year, over 1,000 people meet up and parade through Boston’s most picturesque parks, dressed like characters from the story. Led by the Harvard Marching Band, the parade will begin on the Boston Common at the Parkman Bandstand and end in the Public Garden near the famous Make Way for Ducklings sculptures. Bring your camera – the parade is possibly the most adorable thing you’ll ever see!

Prior to the parade there will be plenty of family entertainment including crafts, face painters, a magician, and puppet show. Walk on a circus tightrope with Esh Circus Arts, or play on the Common with the Knucklebones crew. Moms are invited to enjoy a free mini-massage thanks to local volunteer Massage Therapists. All families are welcome to bring a picnic and enjoy springtime on the Common!

Mayor Walsh will greet families prior to the parade, and actors from the Wheelock Family Theatre will do a dramatic reading from Make Way for Ducklings. The registration fee is $35 per family in advance and $40 per family the day of the event. Each child who registers will receive a special goodie bag filled with Duckling Day themed items.

Quick Facts:

Sunday, May 10, 2015
Boston Common – Parkman Bandstand
Hosted by the Friends of the Public Garden
10:00 a.m. – Registration begins
11:45 a.m. – Mayor Walsh and Executive Director Liz Vizza greet families
12:00 p.m. – Parade begins
The registration fee is $35 per family online before May 8 and $40 per family the day of the event

Register today!

For nearby parking, please consider the Motor Mart Garage, the lead sponsor of this event.

Motor Mart Garage

 

Join Skating Night on Frog Pond and Support Our Parks

©Mark Hunt/Huntstock.com
©Mark Hunt/Huntstock.com

The Friends of the Public Garden Young Friends group is hosting a private skating night on Frog Pond for all ages. Enjoy outdoor skating and mingling with Friends while supporting the three historic greenspaces cared for by the Friends – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall

All are welcome and new friends are encouraged to attend this event; membership is not required to participate.

Wednesday, February 11
Frog Pond on Boston Common
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
$35.00 per person (Skate rental and hot cocoa are included in ticket price.)
Reserve your ticket today!