Hello Hawthorne Park

On Thursday, the ribbon was cut at Hawthorne Park, the latest among the city’s new batch of public spaces to open in 2012. PlanPhilly’s JoAnn Greco was on hand for the grand opening. I also stopped by Hawthorne Park this week to check out the neighborhood’s long-awaited new park. Here’s what I saw:

The southeast corner of Hawthorne Park is an elevated, bench-lined plaza overlooking the small park’s expansive lawn that feels tailor-made for performances or a public market. The plaza and paths are paved with multi-toned, thin orange bricks laid in a permeable herringbone pattern. Planting beds along the paths and park edges have a mix of hardy perennials and native trees (like white swamp oak and hawthorn) that will provide shade when they mature. The park’s Percent for Art element, Object for Expression by Warren Holzman, is a stainless steel podium on the plaza, inviting passers-by to give an impromptu soapbox speech or solo aria. It’s a sculptural nod to a bit of neighborhood trivia: In 1965 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s spoke at the public housing towers that used to stand on the site.

Over the last year, I’ve watched Hawthrone Park take shape. Here’s what the site looked like during the course of construction:

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