Steampunk fairyland: Through the door at Brookline’s new Corey Hill Park

This past Saturday was a perfect fall day here in New England.

That afternoon, I rode my bike to the bottom of Summit Ave. and parked at the corner of Beacon Street in Brookline. I was headed to the top of Summit, to Corey Hill Park’s re-opening celebration, and only an idiot would attempt to ride their bike up Summit Avenue. Sorry, but it’s true. Corey Hill’s 157 m/515 ft elevation is the stuff of November Project legend. You should have to sign a disclaimer to walk up it.

Still, the steep 10-15 minute trek is worth it.

Corey Hill Park was recently renovated by the Town of Brookline. There’s a revamped section that features giant hammocks, outdoor furniture, and, as before, the view. This is all wonderful, but the playground area is even better.

There, off a bit from the new play equipment and water feature, is a path of 21 stepping stones that leads down to a pint-sized portal…a magical door…

Corey Hill Park, Brookline

It is a door to nowhere, and anywhere…

Created by artist/designer and Brookline native Jennifer Lockwood, the fantastical playscape and accompanying bird houses, all made from reclaimed mahogany with antique metal details, bring to mind an urban fairy landscape with a touch of Alice in Wonderland — and maybe a tiny bit of Lord of the Flies.

It’s a hit: Jennifer Lockwood with her installation.

We watched self-appointed doorkeepers lining other kids up to go through the door, one at a time, instituting a new, solemn playground ritual. Others just barreled through, then darted back-and-forth.

Doorways symbolize entryways into other realms, portals that take you to other realities and possibilities.

Knock knock: Who’s there?

When you step through a door, for better or worse, you are taking control of your destiny. You are entering new worlds or returning home again.

What choices have you made, what doors have you walked through? How has your journey been, so far?