July 9, 2016 |
The golden summer morning was perfect for a stroll on the Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia's answer to New York's High Line . The difference is that Philadelphia's version has no architect-designed staircases or glass elevators to bring visitors up to the postindustrial wonderland. To get inside, you have to venture up an overgrown ramp, bushwhack your way through chest-high weeds, then shimmy through a large opening in a chain-link security fence. Technically, it's trespassing. "I've been here several times," Brian Ewing, a 37-year-old Philadelphia schoolteacher, told me the other day as he showed a friend the drill.
November 13, 2015 |
Backers of a plan to transform unused rail lines north of Center City into an elevated park say it will draw private investment to blighted areas. That may already be happening at 990 Spring Garden, which sits near a stretch of the planned Viaduct Rail Park that runs through a rundown industrial district along Callowhill Street east of Broad. Owners of the 88-year-old building, now mostly home to city offices, are turning it into loft-style suites to attract creatively minded companies and technology firms.
August 10, 2015 |
SEPTA WILL hold an online lottery Wednesday for special passes for the Norristown High Speed Line and trolley routes 101 and 102 during the papal visit, the transit agency announced yesterday. The special passes cost $10 apiece and will be valid from Sept. 26-28. Riders will be required to have a special pass that weekend because of the expected volume of passengers. SEPTA said it has 20,000 passes available for the high-speed line and 5,600 apiece for the two trolley routes. Like the Regional Rail pass lottery held earlier this week, customers will be able to register through SEPTA's website on Wednesday from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. All valid submissions will have the same chances of winning, regardless of what time they are submitted, the agency said.
July 18, 2015 |
It has been 15 years since the Philadelphia Navy Yard was turned into a suburban-style office park. Lured by the promise of free parking and easy highway access, dozens of companies now make their home there, employing some 12,000 people. The development is widely considered an economic success. If your only experience of the Navy Yard has been a fleeting glimpse from I-95, it may come as a surprise to learn that it is also a design success. Not only has the Navy Yard moved beyond the bland office-park model by creating a formal street plan with real sidewalks, but it also is producing some of the best architecture in Philadelphia - better than most of what we're seeing in Center City or University City.
July 13, 2015 |
When computer engineer Jim Nasto started working at the Philadelphia Navy Yard about a decade ago, the 1,200-acre property was a virtual desert of vacant industrial buildings and abandoned parade grounds. Many of those buildings now make up Urban Outfitters' headquarters, while the vast open spaces are being shaped into office parks inhabited by such corporations as GlaxoSmithKline. "I love it," said Nasto, 29, a research contractor for the U.S. Navy, as he tossed a bocce ball in a landscaped park that opened last month.
April 25, 2015 |
NEW YORK - The public may go gaga for the museum designs of Frank Gehry, but museum directors prefer Renzo Piano, the Italian minimalist who just completed an expansive new home for the Whitney Museum of American Art overlooking the High Line. Since partnering with Richard Rogers in the '70s on the crayon-colored Pompidou Center in Paris, Piano's firm has gone on to create well over two dozen art museums. In America, the notches on his belt include major designs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, Texas.
September 29, 2014 |
Let New York gloat about completing the High Line. Philadelphia is about to debut a linear park that might be even more impressive: the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. As wonderful as the High Line is, it merely allows people to wend their way through Manhattan a few stories above its bustling streets. When the latest segment of the Schuylkill Banks trail opens to the public Thursday, you'll be able to walk on water, under the glittering gaze of the Center City skyline. The new 15-foot-wide walkway dives into the river at Locust Street, and doesn't crawl back onto dry land until it reaches the South Street Bridge, a joyous journey more than 2,000 feet long.
April 15, 2014
A decade or so of persistent community activism is paying off in the Callowhill warehouse district, which is on its way to carving a vibrant residential identity from the city's industrial past. The city and state set aside $5.3 million to convert a quarter-mile Reading Railroad spur into a park. Residents and the Center City District have raised $70,000 on their own, a strong signal of the commitment they would provide once a park is built. Foundation grants are expected as well to help cover the $8.6 million cost of the first phase.
April 7, 2014 |
Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia's own elevated park more than a decade ago. After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts - and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause - finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad "spur" that curves through the city's burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.
March 5, 2014 |
A passion for art, vintage railroads, and little-seen places has inspired a local photographer to create a dramatic exhibit of one of the most hidden of hidden gems in the heart of the city. Lensman Bob Bruhin's "Secrets of the City Branch," on display at Brewerytown's High Point Cafe, offers documentary and artistic views of an old rail line through the Art Museum area and the Spring Garden section that some have seen as untapped potential. "One of the things I love to do is find pieces of the city that people aren't looking at, or that people walk by all the time and don't even realize actually exist," said Bruhin, 54, who lives in Mount Airy and works as a Web developer.