Philly’s Reading Viaduct & NYC’s High Line
November 2, 2011
The Reading Viaduct soars over the neighborhood just north of Philadelphia’s Center City – some call the area “Callowhill,” others “Chinatown North,” and still others favor the “Eraserhood.” Elevated railroad tracks long abandoned and overgrown with vegetation, the Viaduct has many dreaming of a park along the lines of the High Line in New York, one of the biggest urban-renewal successes of the last decade. But not everyone agrees that a park is the best use; many Chinatown residents want housing instead. City Council just advanced a Neighborhood Improvement District for the area between 8th and 13th Streets and Vine and Spring Garden Streets, where a special 7 percent property-tax assessment will generate money that could be used for improving the neighborhood below the Viaduct. Providing an update on the politics and power plays behind the new tax district is Philadelphia City Paper reporter ISAIAH THOMPSON, who also contributes to the weekly’s “Naked City” blog and writes the “Man Overboard” column. Then, we’ll hear from JOHN STRUBLE, a founding member of Callowhill Neighborhood Association and Co-Founder of the Reading Viaduct Project. We’ll also talk to JOSHUA DAVID, co-founder of Friends of the High Line and co-author of the new book documenting the journey towards Manhattan’s headline-grabbing new park, High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky.