The Esplanade Association (TEA) is celebrating Boston’s historic park and the organization’s vision for its thorough restoration during the Esplanade Moon Dance Gala. The party will take place on Saturday, September 29, from 6:30pm-midnight at the Charles River Esplanade. The Gala is TEA’s largest fundraiser and will help support priorities addressed in Esplanade 2020, public programs for all ages, and undertakings that will assist in taking care of the Esplanade.
“It is critical because it provides the operating support for us to do the kind of advocating we do,” says TEA Executive Director, Silvia Salas, like “free programming and planning that goes into projects.”
Esplanade 2020 is a report that illustrates aspirations for the park’s future. It demonstrates how certain principles can transform the Esplanade into an outstanding, urban, outdoor space on the waterfront. The 2012 Committee — together with the general public, individual stakeholders, businesses, and community groups – held over a dozen meetings to discuss recommendations for the park’s landscape, access and circulation, activities, facilities, and identity.
TEA hopes to strengthen the Esplanade’s traditions by enhancing and restoring the park’s design. The organization will continue developing ways to have the land and water work collectively.
The Committee also wishes to reclaim land lost because of highway construction by opening as much public space as possible.
Another principle is to make the park’s landscape and structures more sustainable and maintainable with “healthier and more beautiful, horticultural elements,” like trees, turf, composts, and granite landings, adds Salas.
The Committee aspires to have year-round concessions and a cafe open at the Hatch Shell with healthier food options.
In addition, TEA will be making the park more readily accessible for people of various physical abilities, and easily reached from different points across the city. This involves enhanced pedestrian footbridges, trails, and better signs directing people to the park and around Boston.
“Something that is iconic, tasteful and artful,” Salas says about the markers.
There will be improved separation of pathways because of safety concerns. Roller bladders, cyclists, joggers, people walking, and mothers pushing baby carriages can get congested on a highway-like park trail. Better pathway systems will be implemented to avoid conflicts among those traversing the Esplanade.
With approximately three million visitors annually, lack of resources, frequently postponed maintenance, and understaffing, the park’s beautiful scenery, paths, and original structures have deteriorated. Volunteers come in every week to paint benches, rake leaves, plant flowers and clean up the park.
Proceedings from the Moon Dance gala will go to making Charles Eliot’s (the 1890 landscape architect) “crown jewel” sparkle again.
About 500 neighbors, friends and families are expected to attend the black-tie party under a full moon for a fabulous night of dancing, cocktails, jazz music, and dinner provided by Max Altman. Items will also be auctioned to guests: a trip to Italy, dinner on the Hatch Shell, and 4th of July on the Charles River.
“This evening will be spectacular,” says Salas.
Tickets are still available for the Gala and can be purchased at www.esplanadeassociation.org or through Silvia Salas at (617) 227-0365.