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PHOTOS: Boston City Hall Plaza’s Grand Opening

10:01 AM EST on November 21, 2022

children and parents play inside the new playscape next to City Hall.

Plaza Playscape, a 12,000 square foot accessible playscape across the now accessible Hanover entrance features a large metal slide under shade cloths and a Toddler Cube Zone, aimed to mirror City Hall’s brutalism architecture.

After several delays and a construction project that spanned three Mayoral administrations, Boston’s new City Hall Plaza is finally open!

On a sunny Friday morning last week, the newly renovated City Hall Plaza welcomed members of the public to explore the various new installations, including Hanover Walk, a fully accessible path for wheelchair users connecting Cambridge Street to Congress Street, a new playground, and a terrace of fountains (which are dry for the winter). 

Dion Irish, Chief of Operations for the City of Boston kicked off the grand opening festivities.

“We are very excited to welcome you to a reimagined plaza…it's a space for all residents that's universally accessible. It's a new civic space for all to use,” he said to the crowd.  

Mayor Michelle Wu emphasized the importance of building spaces that reflect our values and thanked the various city departments past and present who have contributed to the project along the way. 

“This plaza wasn’t just shaped by our values, it brings them to life. It was built by the people of Boston, for the people of Boston for generations to come,” said Mayor Wu. 

Kristen McCosh, City of Boston’s Disability Commissioner, expressed her gratitude to the members of the disability advisory board, acknowledging the critical input they provided throughout the planning process to make the plaza’s amenities accessible to all. 

“Beginning today, (people with disabilities) have access the same as everybody and that is a thing to be really proud of,” said McCosh.  

“This project has been a long time coming, but I feel I can say, honestly, it was worth the wait.”

A person using a wheelchair overlooks the newly opened Boston City Hall Plaza under a bright blue winter sky.
A member of a tour group using a wheelchair rolls onto Speaker Corner overlooking City Hall Plaza opening day festivities on a sunny November morning.
a group of people are led on a tour up the brick ramp to the main entrance of Boston City Hall.
Patricia Mendez, City of Boston’s Director of Architectural Access, leads a morning tour of the new City Hall Plaza beginning with the now accessible main entrance to the building. “There’s no longer a set of stairs to the front entrance of City Hall. “Beginning today, nobody has to try to find a ramp to get in the front door. We can all go in together,“ said McCosh.
a group of eight people are seen on the rooftop terrace of the new civic pavilion
Folks enjoy the rooftop terrace of the Civic Pavilion, both new publicly accessible community spaces overlooking Congress Street. On warm days, the rectangular window planes can be removed, allowing a breeze to come in. True to being a public space, the indoor gender-inclusive restrooms are also open and available to the public.
students dressed in black sit while they play their instruments on the rooftop terrace of the new Civic Pavillion at City Hall Plaza.
Students from the John D. O’Bryant School Pep Band play on the Civic Pavillion’s rooftop terrace as part of City Hall Plaza’s opening day festivities.
a student band plays behind blue and red flowers sitting among a bed of greenery on a portion of the plaza under a blue sky.
Student members of the Boston Latin School Jazz Ensemble play their saxophones and clarinets next to some of the many flowers and shrubs that have replaced hundreds of steps in the new City Hall Plaza, adding more green space to the landscape.
a group led by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu walks along the side of City Hall.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu leads the crowd across City Hall Plaza to the site of the ribbon cutting at the Congress Street entrance following remarks from various city officials including Kristen McCosh, City of Boston’s Disability Commissioner and Mauricio Gomez, landscape architect with Sasaki, the design firm behind the project as well as a performance by students from the Eliot School Coir.
a young maple tree planted inside a small square filled with gravel amidst red bricks with City Hall in the background.
A young maple tree stands planted on the North Terrace amongst the new porous pavers, part of a number of green infrastructure features throughout the plazas. Upon completion of the entire reconstruction, this will be one of 250 total trees filling the plaza’s landscape, providing beauty and shade for people walking and rolling outside City Hall.

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