As the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation looks ahead to a reborn Penn's Landing, its latest proposal is still devoid of that signature destination attraction: an aquarium, music pavilion, sports arena, an observation deck. Well Camden has most of that, and may soon have it all.
It's easy to say the best thing about Camden is the view, but it has a regional monopoly on waterfront attractions. Herschend Family Entertainment will be working with the U.K.'s Skyview Company to privately fund the 300 foot Skyview Tower just south of the New Jersey State Aquarium.
Those docking on the Riverlink at the east bank of the Delaware will be greeted by three tall pillars circled in metallic hoops surrounding a glass pod carrying thirty visitors to the top. At night it will be illuminated in various colors providing Camden with an iconic skyline viewed from Penn's Landing.
It's as exciting for Philadelphia as it is for our neighbor across the river.
Many cities have erected copycat observation towers, some better than others. Toronto's CN Tower borrows heavily from the original Space Needle in Seattle but succeeds. Other Space Needle lookalikes in Vancouver and Crystal City, VA fall flat atop larger buildings. Maryland recently opened its large Ferris wheel on National Harbor emulating but not rivaling London's iconic Eye. And Knoxville once though, "hey, instead of a Space Needle, what if we capped it with a gold disco ball?" Its Sun Sphere defines its Kentucky skyline, but sadly as the butt of a Simpsons joke.
Camden's Skyview Tower will be as unique as it gets. Its illuminated columns will reflect Center City's own colorful, nighttime palette while its futuristic pod may evoke images from Bladerunner or The Fifth Element.