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New Works by Nate Harris

July 8, 2014

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LOVING these new works by Nate Harris that seem to have been popping up all over the city the last few weeks… Keep up the great work, Nate!

Abandoned in The Poconos

July 2, 2014

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Stumbled on this massive, MASSIVE resort in the Pocono Mountains over the weekend, which seems to have been left completely abandoned. Tons of rooms, dozens of private cabins, a few tennis and basketball courts, two swimming pools, and an ice skating rink. The size of the abandoned property was awe-inspiring. Must have been really impressive in its heyday.

It makes me wonder: Was this resort in particular just poorly managed, or do people just not go to the Poconos as much as they used to? Judging by the fact that there are plenty more abandoned Pocono resorts, it’s probably the latter. But I wonder why?

In the meantime, more photos await…

Read more…

The Case for Graffiti Pier

June 26, 2014

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Put simply: I LOVE this place – and one look at these photos of Graffiti Pier will tell you that many, many other Philadelphians do as well! So, why aren’t we doing more to support wonderfully organic space uses like this?

Not unlike most ‘abandoned’ places I’ve seen in Philly, Graffiti Pier has also become a bit of a mecca for graffiti artists and photographers alike. I use ‘abandoned’ in quotes only because it’s quite clear that people have not abandoned these spaces, but in fact people have found new uses for spaces abandoned by our city’s old industries.

I’d love for Philly to not only allow for more spontaneously occurring Free Walls, like the walls of Graffiti Pier, but for the city to encourage and support their growth. In my mind, spaces like Graffiti Pier are perfect opportunities for the city to cultivate a naturally existing culture. (A culture, it deserves to be mentioned, some cities would kill to have – and we have it in abundance!) An artistic one at that. And one flourishing in spaces that have otherwise been abandoned by Industrial Era businesses.

Philly has a bit of a history of making the wrong decisions when it comes to recognizing how its citizens use spaces too. Namely, the ban on skating in Love Park.

In the early 2000s, after more than a decade of ‘illegal’ skateboarding in Love Park, and after Love Park had become an outright mecca in skateboarding culture – even becoming an entire level in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, among other games – the city pushed skaters out with redesigned benches, buffers to make skating all but impossible, and steep fines to those who even tried.

Even Edmund Bacon, one of the park’s original designers, was “so impressed with the skateboarders’ ability to find a new use for the space he designed, that at age 92, Bacon skated in LOVE Park in protest of the crackdown.” -via 99percentinvisible.org

Could Love Park have continued to grow as a destination for skateboarders the world over? What kind of impact would that have had on our economy? While we can’t go back in time, we can certainly learn from this clearly missed opportunity when considering how we as a city embrace public spaces moving forward.

Austin’s Graffiti Park is a great example of a city embracing local culture to its own benefit. A naturally occurring graffiti Free Wall in Austin, the space was supported by the city as well as dedicated private investors, and it is now one of Austin’s most visited attractions! Undoubtedly bringing in a ton of money to the local economy.

Graffiti Pier is a chance for Philly to embrace a burgeoning local culture. It’s not 1971 anymore – people by-and-large love graffiti. Younger people love graffiti. People who travel love graffiti. And a huge number of Philadelphians love graffiti. Hell, there were at least 5 other photographers out shooting Graffiti Pier when I was out taking these photos.

This is a beloved art form for many. And, lucky for us, we have tons of it! Now, let’s support it in spaces like Graffiti Pier. It’s a win for the city: people are organically investing in spaces that have otherwise been left abandoned. It’s a win for graffiti artists, who seem to be getting buffed quite a lot recently. And it’s a win for people like me, people who love graffiti and who will travel to go see it in spaces like this – in all its glory. And if you’re not sold on that last point, maybe you should ask Austin how they feel about their Graffiti Park.

How can the city support Graffiti Pier? Well first, leave the damn graffiti alone! Perhaps help to clean up the grounds a bit; add some rails so that kids can’t fall into the water. But otherwise, just let it be!

Read more…

First Look At The Spruce Street Harbor Park

June 24, 2014

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Super excited yesterday to get a little preview of the Spruce Street Harbor Park (aka #SSHP), which opens this weekend for 2 months on the Delaware Waterfront at Spruce street!

As a lifelong Philadelphian that’s been promised cool things are coming to the waterfront for years, I feel like things are ACTUALLY starting to happen down there: Jose Garces food, Art In The Age cocktails, and tons of local beer on 3 retired barges surrounding a floating garden with a ‘net lounge’ hanging over the water; a nearly 2-block-long boardwalk with other fun snacks, bocce ball courts, arcade games, a sea of hammocks, and shipping container murals curated by Art Star including the likes of Bonnie Kaye Whitfield (pictured above) and Michael Konrad, among other local artists.

A little more detail from Delaware River Waterfront Corporation:

“Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP) engages the river in a reimagining of summer on the waterfront. Starting the last weekend in June, waterfront visitors will be able to lounge in a hammock orchard, read a book on colorful Adirondack chairs, take in a cool summer night on the Oasis – floating, landscaped barges complete with water garden, and eat delicious food while relaxing in the net lounge hanging over the water. With the help of an ArtPlace America Grant, and the vision of David Fierabend from Groundswell Design Group, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) is completely transforming this riverfront space. DRWC also worked with Interface Studios and Digsau to create the plan for the park, and is collaborating with The Heads of State for brand design.  Through landscaping, programming, and art installations influenced by the maritime history of the area, this project will showcase the River’s industrial past, and the bright future ahead for Philadelphia’s waterfront.”

Really looking forward to this!

#SEPTA247 Midnight-Thirty Subway Ride A Success!

June 24, 2014

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(First and third photo by Albert Lee and Alexander Kacala, respectively!) 

Thanks to everyone who came out Saturday night in support of #SEPTA247… Love y’all!

 

#SEPTA247 Is Up And Running! Join Me THIS Saturday Night For A Celebratory Midnight-Thirty Subway Ride

June 18, 2014

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(Photo by Theresa Stigale)

This summer, Philly turns 21 (metaphorically speaking, of course.) FINALLY we’re allowed to stay up all night! (Well, on weekends, at least . . . for now.)

After our victorious #SEPTA247 Petition this past spring seemed to push SEPTA towards returning late-night train service in the city, SEPTA kicked off its long awaited all-night weekend Subway and El service last weekend! (In fact, read my review of SEPTA’s first late-night weekend service, with tons of photos, on WHYY’s Newsworks HERE!) Now, won’t you join me for a little toast?

Join me, and (hopefully) a ton of other #SEPTA247 supporters THIS Saturday night, June 21st (get it?) for a Midnight-Thirty Subway Ride (that’s 12:30am), from The Clothespin at 15th and Market to Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown for celebratory rounds.

AND, you’ll actually be able to take the El home!

Share this with your friends – help me get the word out – and I hope to see y’all on Saturday night!

New Video by Brick x Birch: Watching Graffiti Artists Reno and Keech at Work

June 17, 2014

Episode 1: Reno x Keech from Brick x Birch on Vimeo.

New video today by local photographer, urban explorer, and graffiti aficionado, Brick x Birch, exploring one of Philly’s abandoned spaces as graffiti artists Reno and Keech work on a pair of lovely new pieces!

According to Brick x Birch’s blog, this is just the first in a new series of videos… Looking forward to what he does next!

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