Walking the Labyrinth at Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway (photo Andrea Burns)

Treasured Place in the Heart of the City, Celebrating What Unites Us!: Armenian Heritage Park

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BOSTON – “Armenian Heritage Park is a treasured place in the heart of the city” is often heard.  During these many weeks of isolation during this COVID-19 pandemic, many are commenting on social media what Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway, Boston means to them.

“One of the things I miss most is spending time in Armenian Heritage Park,” comments Steve Vilkas, who writes for NorthEndWaterfront.com, “whether walking the labyrinth or reading on a bench- reconnecting, whether at dawn or dusk, with the beauty of nature and the peace of this special place. We’ll return to the oasis eventually!”

Vicki Adjami, Principal and Creative Director, Communication via Design, recently shared, “The Park means so very much to me and my own heritage. And it’s so very relevant to our world today – a unique place of peace and representation of inclusion and togetherness during this current time on earth.”

Many commented that they missed not coming together at the park on April 24 this year for the annual Genocide Remembrance and placing flowers on the rim of the Reflecting Pool. An annual program of the Massachusetts Armenian Genocide Commemoration Committee, this year’s virtual recognition was thoughtfully planned by Anais Astarjian, committee chair, with Lauren Piligian and others.

While all programs at the park are on hold due to COVID-19, the Celebrating What Unites Us! series, a program of Friends of Armenian Heritage Park in collaboration with Age-Friendly Boston, will be connecting many virtually Fridays at 10 a.m., May 8-June 5, for this special at-home series via Zoom.

The five-week special series is being generously offered by Oldways, a “food and nutrition nonprofit helping people live healthier, happier lives.” Each week an instructor from Oldways shows how to prepare a delicious meal celebrating the cultural heritage of the many residents of the City of Boston and Commonwealth. To register, please visit https://www.armenianheritagepark.org/events-2.

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The Celebrating What Unites Us! series, inspired by the park’s design and its key features, celebrates the immigrant experience while building community and cross-cultural understanding and promoting healthy and active living. Initially the two-part program, developed by Friends of Heritage Park in collaboration with Age-Friendly Boston and The KITCHEN at Boston Public Market, and supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, was held monthly, May-November. Each month highlighted the cultural heritage of many of the residents of the City of Boston and Commonwealth. Participants first met at Armenian Heritage Park on the Greenway where a community leader shared his/her immigrant experience. Many walked the labyrinth, symbolic of life’s journey. Then walked to The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market where a chef prepared a signature dish for all to enjoy for lunch and conversation.

Now, as The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market is permanently closed, possible venues near the Park are being explored to continue the two-part series, which was so well received and attended.

Each monthly program began at the park with a leader sharing his/her immigrant experience, while standing in front of the Park’s Abstract Sculpture.  Annually, the Abstract Sculpture, a split rhomboid dodecahedron made of stainless steel and aluminum, is reconfigured – its two halves pulled apart and re-assembled to create a new sculptural shape, symbolic of the immigrant experience.

Among those who shared their immigrant experiences during the two year series were Consul General of Ireland Laoise Moore, Councilor Lydia Edwards, Boston City Council; Tania Del Rio, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office of Women’s Advancement; Nicola Orichula, Founder, I Am Books; Ronnie Millar, Executive Director, Rian Immigration Center (formerly Irish International Immigration Center;  Emmanuel Owusu, Executive Director, African Bridge Network among others.

The notable Boston chefs who prepared a signature dish for all to enjoy for lunch and conversation included Chef Nina Festekjian with Raffi Festekjian, anoush’ella; Chef Leo Romero, Casa Romero; Chef Tony Barros, Cesaria; Chef Hector Pina, Merengue; Chef Carlos Rodriquez, Orinco and chefs from Oldways.

Programs at the park, planned for this year, are now on hold.

Gratitude is expressed to so many – the park’s benefactors and supporters, partners and collaborators, friends and greeters. Their ongoing generosity and commitment are just extraordinary.

To receive updates and announcements about programs and events, please email info@ArmenianHeritagePark.org or visit the park’s website – ArmenianHeritagePark.org.

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