Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Summer Dreams

When the freezing rain is falling and the winter wind is blowing it's hard not to trail off during the 3PM lull dreaming about weekend road trips to the beach. Whether or not the Jersey Shore is your thing, it's hard to deny it's convenient. But what if we had a beach even closer?

In a way we do. New Jersey is dotted with wildlife preserves and sandy beaches along the Delaware River, but they're almost as far as Wildwood.

New York City is nothing if not surprising. Everyone knows about Coney Island, but I had no idea that New York was home to fourteen miles of sandy beaches, all easily accessible by public transportation. The banks of Philadelphia's untouched Delaware River could potentially offer the same, only without the trek to the outer boroughs. The swampy marshes of Northern Liberties, Fishtown, and the Northeast have been littered with trash for so long that the garbage has become the source of archaeological digs.

The city has done a surprisingly fine job with its bike trails and nature preserves along the river, in Center City and beyond. In some instances it is so surprising that no one knows they exist. Did you know there's a beautiful trail that runs from Washington Avenue to Wal Mart?

What if these trails were littered with sandy oases instead of trash? The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation continuously releases dazzling renderings of a new Philadelphia waterfront, lined with parks and condos. But once the excitement of what could be wears off, we're left with the realization that we're aiming too high.

I'm not saying we should join the Negadelphian choir of negative Nancies, but how about giving us something we can work with? Instead of showing us what Penn's Landing would look like with a capped interstate and a tree lined boulevard lined with condos that require private investment, tell us about the trails we already have and the wetlands aching for a Sunday photography tour.

Sure, I love hidden treasures, but I get tired of telling people that "Philadelphia isn't as bad as Philadelphian's say it is," you just have to look. Add some sandy beaches around Sugar House Casino and get the Fishtown hipsters who protested its existence to the shores they were fighting for.

1 comment:

  1. I have some pictures from the 70's and earlier of people relaxing on the sandy beaches of Tacony, East Torresdale, and even Port Richmond. What about Penn Treaty Park? Wouldn't a beach generate some buzz?