“first city park in america, founded in 1634”
The Boston Common, founded in 1634, is the oldest public park in America. Its fifty acres form a pentagon bounded by Tremont, Park, Beacon, Charles, and Boylston Streets. The Common attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year, both residents and visitors. A visitor information center for all of Boston is located on the Tremont Street side of the park. From Colonial times to the present day, the Common has been at the center stage of American history. It has witnessed executions, sermons, protests, and celebrations, and it has hosted famous visitors from Generals Washington and Lafayette to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Pope John Paul II. In Colonial times, it served as a meeting place, pasture, and military training field. Bostonians in the nineteenth century added tree-lined malls and paths and, following the Civil War, monuments and fountains. The twentieth century saw victory gardens, troop entertainment, rallies for civil rights and against the Vietnam War, and the first papal mass in North America. Today, the Common is the scene of sports, protests, and events large and small. Yet for all its adaptation to modern life, the Common remains a green retreat remindful of its storied past. The Frog Pond is the heart of the Common all year round. In summer, it provides an escape from the heat and a great spot for a picnic. Children from all over the city squeal and splash in the spray pool, while grownups wade in or watch from the grassy slopes. Children also enjoy taking a ride on the colorful carousel nearby. In winter, skaters of all ages stumble, glide, and twirl on the refrigerated ice as lively music fills the air. In spring and fall, the pond becomes a peaceful reflecting pool. The adjacent Tadpole Playground, installed in 2002, always seems to have a happy crowd of youngsters, and the year-round café is a welcome respite no matter the temperature. The Frog Pond is the only pond left of the original three on the Common. The once muddy pond, curbed and ornamented with a fountain, became the centerpiece of the mid-nineteenth-century Common. The fountain was in many ways the symbol of modern Boston. Its debut in October 1848 was the highlight of an extravagant daylong Water Celebration, hailing the introduction of the city’s public water system. Bells rang and cannon were fired.
Everyone is out on the Commons on a beautiful day. In many ways, it's the life blood of Boston. The frog pond is a gem in both the winter and summer and there are gardens and greenspace everywhere you look. Totally kosher to toss a frisbee or lay out for hours here. It is slightly less protected than New York's central park. But then again, the surrounding streets are much less busy.
Take a ride on the swan boats or the carousel, play in the pond, or just chill on a bench and people watch! There's tons of history and activity going on-- tons to soak up!
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