Parks, Sparks, and a Big Hammock on Greenway

First of all, the really big news: the Big Hammock on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway opened at the Fort Point Channel park at Atlantic Avenue and Oliver Street on Friday, August 20… and was closed two days later due to rain. You might wonder how a hammock can close–I’d think it would roll up, really–but no matter; it is due to re-open again as soon as it’s dry. After all, it’s a hammock, not an umbrella.

The hammock is a 33-foot-long temporary art/furniture installation by Hansy Better Barraza, a Roslindale architect and professor at Rhode Island School of Design. Barraza’s hammock proposal got the first $1,000 grant ever made by the Awesome Foundation for, well, being awesome. Rumor has it that Barraza originally planned the hammock for the Boston Common, but I haven’t been able to confirm that. In the end, Barraza got 4,278 feet of polypropylene rope, four permits, a spot on the Greenway, and a story in the Boston Globe.

In the spirit of shared intergenerational lounging, the Hammock will host children’s story times August 26-29 at 3 pm; the readings on Thursday, August 26 and Friday, August 27 will be in Mandarin and Cantonese.

In other park news, I am delighted to report that the Park Spark project was due to open on Wednesday, August 25 at Pacific Street Park, Cambridge (Sidney St. between Pacific and Tudor). As was reported in this space in April, Park Spark is “a scientific-art intervention that transforms dog waste into energy,” as the City of Cambridge puts it. Throw your bagged dog poop into an on-site methane digester, and–surprise!–methane gas comes out. Why hasn’t someone designed a chocolate digester? On second thought, perhaps that’s not the wisest use of this material.

Right now, the gas is being burned in a street lamp– but I’m sure all of you have better ideas about what to do with a gas flame in a public park (apart from lighting all the, er, “cigarettes” at the Boston Common Freedom Rally). Bring your brilliant concepts to the first Park Spark design meeting Wednesday, September 1, at 7 pm at the Livable Streets Alliance, 100 Sidney Street, Cambridge. After all, Hansy Better Barraza doesn’t have *all* the awesome ideas around here.

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