By Seth Daniel
The state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and National Development announced on Wednesday that the new, eight-acre park under the Expressway is set to officially open on June 8 and will have a lot of unique activities throughout the summer.
The park is the first of its kind in Boston and part of the DOT’s InfraSpace program. It will be dubbed ‘Ink Underground.’
National Development, developer of Ink Block, announced details of Ink Underground, which will extend from Albany Street to Fort Point Channel. On track for completion and a soft opening in May, the project will transform underutilized space located between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighborhoods into an active urban park, cultural attraction and mixed-use parking facility. Pedestrian boardwalks and bicycle paths along the Fort Point Channel will create new connections between communities previously separated by highway infrastructure.
“It’s an exciting moment for us because we’re excited to extend Ink Block across Albany Street to create this great new park with MassDOT,” said Ted Tye of National Development, which holds a long-term lease with MassDOT to provide programming on the park. “Our vision is going to be to to bring energy and vitality to an underutilized space. We’ll be bringing events starting in June and more fully ramping up in 2018.”
Visitors will enjoy amenities such as 24-hour security, a dog park, a curated series of pop-up food and beverage experiences, public art walls, sculpture exhibitions, and a diverse program of special events including a graffiti art festival, an artisan night market, fitness classes and much more. For the multi-modal traveler, Ink Underground offers a bike storage facility and 175 parking spaces directly opposite Ink Block and the new 205-room AC Hotel by Marriott at Ink Block.
A full schedule of Ink Underground 2017 programs and events will be announced at the official opening in early June. Events currently scheduled for the park’s opening season include:
- OFF THE WALL – A live graffiti and street art festival – Saturday, June 10 and Saturday, September 23.
- We Love Local – A festival celebrating the champions of local entrepreneurship, Saturday, June 17 and Saturday, Sept. 9.
- NIGHT Market @ Ink Underground: – Boston’s first night market complete with shopping, street art, local musicians & DJs spinning today’s hottest house music, food, beverage & much more, Saturday, June 24 and Saturday, September 16.
“I’m excited to build this creative and unique opportunity with Ink Block and some of Boston’s most talented artists,” said Victor Quinonez, aka ‘Marka27,’ Street Artist and Product Designer for Converse. “I believe together, we will build an energetic and passionate movement through Ink Underground. Boston will be proud of Ink Underground and provide an environment for communities from all walks of life can thrive in and enjoy.”
Tye said the park is at the convergence of several neighborhoods and he believes it will draw in the greater community from the South End, South Boston and Fort Point Channel. In that way, he said, the new park could potentially unite three neighborhoods in one spot.
“It really is going to make the walk into the South End and South Boston a lot shorter,” he said. “It’s a chance to really draw the communities together. The hope will be to make it great when we have events and great when it’s being used passively too.”
Ink Underground will open this spring after five years of planning, permitting, design, construction and leasing led by MassDOT in cooperation with the community, City of Boston, Boston Planning & Development Agency and the Federal Highway Administration.
Through a public bid process, National Development was selected and has entered into a long-term lease as operator of the park.
For more information about Ink Underground including opportunities for artisans, events, sponsors & more, please visit www.ink-underground.com.