Boston, MA– Boston Seaport officially announced the opening of the first phase of Harbor Way, a one-third-of-a-mile pedestrian promenade designed to bring increased connectivity and open space to the Seaport neighborhood.
Opening on Wednesday, October 13, Harbor Way’s first phase, The Rocks at Harbor Way, is a public green space set in the heart of the promenade with a myriad of community and environmental benefits, an innovative, first of its kind audio installation, The Singing Trees powered by PlantWave, and world-class landscape design. Upon its completion, Harbor Way will change the way Seaport connects with Boston as it creates a vital pedestrian link between Summer Street and the Boston Harbor. It will also foster a sense of community through its flexibility for large-scale, planned events such as greenmarkets and winter bazaars, a new ice-skating rink debuting in 2023, in addition to informal and impromptu public programming, such as fitness classes, art installations, public performances and so much more.
To celebrate the unveiling of The Rocks at Harbor Way, WS will host a community event on opening day, Wednesday, October 13, from 5:00–7:30p.m at 100 Autumn Lane in Boston’s Seaport. Live music and entertainment will be provided by the Boston Music Project Brass Band and DJ SuperSmashBroz, along with a performance by the Singing Trees powered by PlantWave. There will also be a celebratory ribbon cutting and community picnic with complimentary dinner catered by Aceituna Grill and dessert from Full Glass Livin’. All are welcome and are encouraged to RSVP for this complimentary event at the link here.
A collaboration between Boston Seaport developer WS Development and leading-edge landscape architect James Corner Field Operations, known for New York City projects including Domino Park, the High Line and the highly anticipated Gansevoort Peninsula at Hudson River Park, and Pentagram, a world-renowned design consultancy who created the visual identity and wayfinding signage for the project, Harbor Way’s overall design is inspired by a hybrid of New England’s coastal geology, forest landscapes, and traditional wooden boardwalks.
Previously a paved surface parking lot, Harbor Way will provide ecological value with permeable surfaces, mature tree cover, abundant native planting, boulders from regional quarries, and hardwoods that are FSC certified. The site will also collect stormwater that will be reconditioned and used for irrigation and neighboring building functions. Harbor Way also reduces the urban heat island effect by bringing a significant mature tree canopy into the heart of the city.
“With Harbor Way we hoped to create a cozy and comforting oasis in the middle of our bustling city. A little bit New England, a little bit new age, it combines the best of our region with the best of this innovative neighborhood to create a public space unlike any I’ve seen before,” says Samantha David, President, WS Development.
The Rocks at Harbor Way will feature native coniferous and deciduous trees, massive “glacial erratics,” stone seating, coastal grasses and shrubs that frame a central lawn for visitors, workers, and residents alike to lounge, picnic and play. The space was also carefully designed to host year-round events and activations for public enjoyment.
“Inspired by the New England landscape, its glacial history, and the harborfront of Boston, The Rocks at Harbor Way features a large chunk of raw, visceral nature with dramatic hills and hollows, coastal grasses, massive rocks (invoking “glacial erratics”), and places for people to explore, discover, and enjoy,” says James Corner, Founder and CEO of Field Operations. “We could not be happier with WS Development’s commitment to creating a strong and unique public realm in the middle of the Seaport, and to their unwavering support and investment.”
“It was a genuine pleasure to work with the WS Development and JCFO teams on such a beautiful urban environment in a key part of Boston. Harbor Way’s stunning urban park features create a truly welcoming, central gathering place for those in the Seaport neighborhood and local community to enjoy,” says Paula Scher, Partner, Pentagram.
In addition to its carefully curated design, The Rocks at Harbor Way will also feature a new, first of its kind audio installation, Singing Trees powered by PlantWave, that infuses technology with mother nature, transforming ordinary trees into master musicians. Using carefully placed electrodes, PlantWave measures the electrical variations of leaves, translating the data into sound, bringing visitors on a sonic journey. The Singing Trees come to life at The Rocks at Harbor Way through four distinct listening pockets situated around the park. The Singing Trees will also have its very own Spotify playlist, and host biweekly concerts sponsored by Delta Air Lines, who has been committed to being carbon neutral since March 2020 and is taking steps to create a future of zero impact aviation.
“We all go to parks to restore but it’s rare that trees are acknowledged as active participants in our restoration. PlantWave helps to expand our awareness of plants by letting us hear their biological activities as music. These harmonious sounds help enhance our experience of the landscape, bringing us into deeper connection with nature,” says Joe Patitucci, CEO of Data Garden, makers of PlantWave. “Singing Trees powered by PlantWave is the first ever permanent plant music exhibit that’s open to the public. We are so grateful to offer visitors of Harbor Way such a unique opportunity to tune into trees and build a relationship with this wonderful park.”
Amazon will have two full-building leases situated along Harbor Way at 111 Harbor Way and One Boston Wharf Road. 111 Harbor Way, which will be completed later this year, will provide space for 2,000 Amazon corporate and tech employees in Boston. By 2024, Harbor Way will be surrounded by additional new buildings, which will be home to state-of-the-art office and research space, along with world class retail and indoor/outdoor dining at street level, facing the park.