Brad Maule is the creative force behind www.phillyskyline.com, a website that uses hard-to-get photographs and witty commentary to show and tell us about parts of the city that we drive or walk past every day, but probably don’t notice.
Recently, camera in hand, Maule spent some time scoping the Central Delaware Riverfront from Pennypack to Penn’s Landing.
Here are his impressions, in words and through the lens of his Canon.
p.s. We’ve also included some stunning shots of the riverfront he took from the top of the Comcast construction site.
“I headed north on I-95 and saw the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge and realized I didn’t have any good pictures of it, so I got off at Cottman Ave. and went looking for an access point to the river.
”Naturally, there were no signs pointing there so I just followed my instinct and right by Holmesburg Prison, saw signs to “Riverview Home for the Aged”.
“Turns out it’s also the southern entrance to Pennypack Park on the Delaware. I found my view of the bridge (and a ton of seagulls) but decided that I wanted a better one, where I wasn’t shooting into the sun and headed south.
”The next place I found was the Frankford Arsenal. I saw signs for the Pa. Boating and Fishing Commission and other signs that said launch points were closed from December to April and found a better view of the Tacony-Palmyra and more seagulls.
“The next stop was off of Richmond and Orthodox, just above the Betsy Ross Bridge. At the riverside end of Orthodox, just past the Yellowbird bus yard, was this post-industrial Stonehenge of tires, cable spools, skits, crates and all sorts of junk. Plus two sheds that were hollowed out and covered in graffiti. This land would make a fantastic park – there’s a hill and plateau next to it that lead down to the water’s edge. If it ever is developed into a park, I’d hope they could keep Stonehenge.
”I headed toward Pulaski Park on the part of Delaware Ave. that runs below the New Jersey Transit railroad bridge. By the PECO station, I noticed a stairway leading to a platform I’d never seen before, so I went up and enjoyed the view for a minute before continuing to Pulaski.
“The Penn Praxis river walk in November was the only other time I’d been there. This time, I walked out past the pier on the muddy earth that leads out to the river. Pulaski Park could easily extend out to use this land; it’s worth it just for the view of the Philadelphia skyline and Ben Franklin Bridge.
”Leaving there, I took Richmond Street south. Coming under the Conrail tunnel, I noticed these massive icicles and had to stop to take a picture. I parked directly under I-95 at Lehigh. Instead of just snapping a couple shots, I ended up walking out onto Conrail’s land.
“Not realizing just how massive it is. It’s no wonder Pinnacle wanted to develop here. This property is ready and waiting for a massive development, and there is so much room for creativity it’s mind boggling. I walked out onto three of the seven or so piers here, one of which is the “paintball pier”. It’s a fantastically urban pier that I would have loved exploring, were it not for the fact it was in use by paintball players with big guns and I was unarmed.
”From here, I headed to Penn Treaty Park to catch a breather and relax a little before shooting the last pictures, of Penn’s Landing. Not exactly the most welcome return to center city on a day’s worth of riverfront gallivanting. But despite the giant parking lots, I-95, Delaware Ave, the scissor ramps and the big concrete pi that still doesn’t have an aerial tram, there’s something to be said for a tiled river walk with views of the Ben Franklin Bridge.”
Brad Maule lives on South Street in g-ho, a couple of blocks from Philadelphia’s other river.