In 1960, much of Flamengo ’s beach disappeared beneath tons of earth. This radical landfill was part of an ambitious project to create a vast public park on prime oceanfront real estate that would come to be known as Parque do Flamengo (Av. Infante Dom Henrique). A formidable woman named Maria Carlota de Macedo Soares was in charge of this massive undertaking.
A vanguard intellectual from one of Rio ’s most traditional families, “Lota” was the lover of American poet Elizabeth Bishop (who, at the time, lived in Rio with her). A great fan of modernism, Lota sought out the talents of leading landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx and architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy. Battling bureaucracy and machismo (her all-male crew and colleagues balked at taking orders from a woman), she was able to carry out most (though not all) of the original project.
Today, this sweeping ribbon of green is Rio’s most popular playground. It contains running, cycling, and skateboard paths, various playing fields, a children’s park, a puppet theater, and an area reserved for model planes. It is also home to two museums: the Museu de Arte Moderna  and the Museu Carmen Miranda .
On Sundays and holidays, part of Avenida Infante Dom Henrique is closed to traffic and Cariocas descend in droves upon the park. On weekends, in the evenings, outdoor concerts featuring top names in Brazilian music are often held here.