Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Race to Race Street

I went down to the new Race Street Pier just after it opened and I have to admit, it's beautiful. Unfortunately I went back there last weekend and it's a ghost town.

This is why I'm leery of rebranding the Reading Viaduct as Manhattan Highline's southern sister. It's a lot of money to throw at an iffy location.

I hope that the Race Street Pier invites development because that's exactly what it needs to succeed. As it stands it's a destination attraction with a bad destination.

Additionally, as I understand it, the "wood" used in its construction will all but last forever. After seeing the reconstruction of Jeanette's Pier in Nags Head, NC, this bizarre material is my only complaint in the design of Race Street Pier.

It looks like plastic. And when it comes to Philadelphia's most famous art - graffiti - traditional wood is probably a lot cheaper to replace than whatever this stuff is.

Apparently the pier has been recently adorned with "Melissa Joan Hart" in unimpressive white pen. As much as I loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch, I want to meet the hipster that decided to brand our newest landmark with this tag.


  1. Yeah, somehow I doubted the pier would maintain its energy by itself. It's a much nicer spot than Penn's Landing, but still...the energy needs to be maintained by bringing more cool stuff people want to go to around the pier. Its geography makes that tricky, but not impossible.

    As an aside, I'm beginning to wonder what whether an el stop at Race would make sense. The major technical issue I could see would be the slope being too steep for trains to stop there, but it would otherwise be an excellent point of access to both the northern third of Old City and to the part of the waterfront between Penn's Landing and Spring Garden.

  2. Supposedly the LiveArts/Philly Fringe group has purchased or leased the brick building across Columbus Blvd from the entrance of the Race St. pier. So plays and shows will be drawing people to that area, the pier a natural place for pre- and post-show gathering.