Letter: Franklin Park – more than just a dead Olympics bid

Though the Olympic 2024 bid caused a great deal of commotion amongst Bostonians this summer, activities in Franklin Park have continued as vibrant and fun as ever. From the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park concert series, to Salsa in Franklin Park, to the fourth year of line dancing with Angie Dickerson (a.k.a. Mz. Rhythm), this has been a jam-packed summer filled with people in the park.

For the past thirteen years, Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) has revived the beloved Playhouse in the Park concert series that Elma Lewis put on in Franklin Park during the 1970s. Between 500 to 1,000 people groove every Tuesday evening to popular local bands. These next few weeks we are looking forward to a DJ dance party, Motown’s best AJ Smooth, and Athene Wilson. We plan to wrap up the summer in style!

This is also the first year that FPC is hosting Salsa in Franklin Park. Carolina Prieto, a leader of Boston’s “one in three” salsa movement, teaches and swings better than anyone. Two hundred people came out for a first-time event Saturday, July 25 with DJ Condorito. Planned again for Saturday, Aug. 15, we expect an even bigger crowd.

This year nearly 80 people showed up to the opening night of line dancing, and since then our numbers have grown exponentially. Women and men from neighboring communities convene on top of Refectory Hill overlooking Blue Hill Avenue to groove and sweat with Mz. Rhythm. This area, once a hot spot for drug deals, has now been transformed into a physical fitness mecca.

The Lawn on D, Rose Kennedy Greenway and Shakespeare on the Common have nothing on Franklin Park in terms of engaging longtime community residents. The thousands of people enjoying Franklin Park, from Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester and Jamaica Plain, truly represent our majority-minority city. FPC board president Rickie Thompson says, “Franklin Park is hopping every night of the week.”

In the face of the dead Olympic 2024 bid, we urge you to explore the other side of Franklin Park, the one that has nothing to do with equestrian events. Franklin Park is the crown jewel of the Emerald Necklace, and exemplifies the heart of what Boston stands for. Though the Olympics have moved on from Boston, we hope that your attention stays on Franklin Park.

Franklin Park Coalition




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