Boston is often described as a big town masquerading as a small city, and the Boston Public Garden is one of the city’s most human-scaled spaces. Established in 1836 as the first public botanical garden in the United States, the Boston Public Garden remains a democratic neighborhood gathering place on the edge of Beacon Hill and adjacent to the larger Boston Common. Walking paths flow along beds of formally arranged plants and flowers, while families clamber aboard the famous Swan Boats for a leisurely paddle around the lagoon and under the willows—just like their great-grandparents did a century earlier. Fair weather or foul, Mrs. Mallard and her bronzed brood proceed along the northeast corner of the garden, in sculptor Nancy Schön’s homage to the Boston-based children’s book Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey.

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