Boston Harbor Now builds on sixty years of collective work advocating for the Boston Harbor cleanup, creating and co-managing the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park and establishing the Boston Harborwalk.  

A generation ago, Boston Harbor was quite literally a dump. A swim in the harbor meant a trip to the hospital. Spectacle Island was a smoldering trash pile. The industrial waterfront was suffering from decades of decline and disrepair.

Boston – Harbor/City/Islands, 1969 (Restored) courtesy UMass Boston Archives.

This 17-minute film, taken in 1969, shows Boston Harbor prior to the Boston Harbor cleanup, Central Artery Project and establishment of the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Even if your memory of Boston extends back before the late 1990s, the film is a stark reminder of how far we’ve come!

Decades of work and billions of dollars in public and private investment laid the groundwork for today’s waterfront renaissance. Two non-profit organizations, The Boston Harbor Association and Boston Harbor Island Alliance were leaders in the Boston Harbor cleanup and creation of the Boston Harbor Island National and State Park and 43-mile Boston Harborwalk.

But we’re only getting started! In order to realize Boston Harbor’s great promise, we knew we needed to join forces. In April 2016, we did just that, merging into a single new civic organization: Boston Harbor Now.  In collaboration with our public and private partners, we are working to reestablish Boston as one of the world’s great coastal cities.