Magazine Beach benefit party at Riverside Boat Club

Magazine Beach benefit party at Riverside Boat Club

State Senator Anthony Petruccelli (photo, right) a speaker

A benefit party for the Magazine Beach State Park Sunday night, June 27, drew about 100 guests to the Riverside Boat Club on Memorial Drive. In addition to refreshments and socializing, the program included remarks by those who took part in efforts, led by the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association (CNA), to revitalize the 15-acre park and restore its central architectural feature, the historic powder magazine.

The 1818 granite structure was originally built to store gunpowder. At the end of the 19th century the building was converted to a bathhouse, later becoming a utility garage for the parks department. In recent years it deteriorated and became a target for vandalism; restoration efforts are expected to begin soon.

Anthony Petruccelli (lead photo, above right), Massachusetts state senator for the First Suffolk and Middlesex districts, and State Representative Jay Livingstone jointly sponsored Massachusetts Bill S.1966, permitting the publicly-owned structure to be leased. The measure makes it possible to proceed with stabilization, restoration, and longer-term commercial ventures to provide income and facilitate upkeep.

CNA Board President Bill August (right) welcomed the guests, saying that the success of the project thus far has “raised the bar” for urban planning. Petruccelli (left) spoke briefly, as did Executive Director Charles Sullivan (behind them, in red shirt) of the Cambridge Historical Commission, which has provided key support for the restoration. Sullivan noted that support from the city, the CNA, and local individuals qualified the project for matching funds from state agencies, making it possible for the work to go forward now.

August introduced current and former city officials Dennis Carlone, Tim Toomey, Nadeem Mazen, Fred Fantini, Minka van Beuzekom, and Alice Turkel, as well as Conrad Crawford, director of external affairs for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. He presented a bouquet to Magazine Beach Chair Cathie Zusy, who has led numerous volunteer park improvement and fund-raising projects.

Riverside Boat Club historian Richard Garver (left) spoke briefly about his organization, which hosted the party. The club originally formed to allow workingmen -- many from the nearby Riverside Press -- to participate in the sport, he said.

Cathie Zusy thanked TRILL, Whole Foods, and individual contributors for refreshments, and the band, Best Ever Chicken. She also introduced party organizers Decia Goodwin and Brian Conway and the Magazine Beach Committee. She listed upcoming summer programs at the park, sponsored by the CNA, DCR, the Riverside Boat Club, Charles River Conservancy, Cambridge Historical Commission and Cambridge Arts Council and supported by Sanofi, the Charles River Conservancy and Knucklebones. In addition to free swim lessons at Veterans Memorial Swimming Pool, programs include:

  • July 12, 19 & 26 & August 2, 9 & 16 - Saturday Morning Yoga! With Carol Faulkner & Monica Batkis-O'Donnell. 9-10 am. FREE
  • July 22 - Dance Performance by Mariale Dance Fusion. "Summer in the City" special event sponsored by Cambridge Arts. 10-11am. FREE
  • Friday July 25 & Friday Aug. 22 - Music in the Park! Boston Percussion Group (7/25) and Arneis Quartet (8/22) 6-8pm. FREE
  • Aug. 31 - Bread & Puppet Theater at Magazine Beach Park! 3-4pm. FREE. Sponsored in part by Cambridge Arts Council