Saturday, September 7, 2013

Where the C.H.U.D.s Are

SEPTA's Spring Garden stop along the Broad-Ridge spur isn't architecturally unique. It has barrel vaulted concrete ceilings, steel I-beams supporting the street above, and the Broad-Ridge line passes by it every day. What is unique, the train doesn't stop.

Like PATCO's Franklin Square station, the station was shut down. Spring Garden in 1991, Franklin Square in 1979.

Both are covered in graffiti, littered with trash, destinations for urban spelunkers, and I assume, home to C.H.U.D.s.

It's nothing new. Both are just examples of several shuttered transportation stations in the Philadelphia area, and countless abandoned subway stations across the country.

Since 2006, New York City's Transit Museum has offered limited tours of its architecturally stunning City Hall Station, closed since 1945.

While our abandoned subway stations are nothing of note, their locations can offer a unique and untapped opportunity. Twenty years ago someone might have said, "what a great place for a rave."

But now, with Philadelphia's Loft District (or Callowhill depending on when you moved here) becoming the primo location for many of Philadelphia's more successful local artists, the Spring Garden station could easily be opened, even periodically, as a gallery, or more often, as artist studios.

And why not? It's stable and structurally sound. It has to be.

It's on a corner full of a whole lot nothing, a corner that needs anything.

As an evening gallery it offers the kind of bizarre ambiance that's become synonymous with a neighborhood that once inspired the nightmares of David Lynch.

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