As promised, Eyes on the Street will occasionally feature especially plannerdly Philly Love Notes culled from the growing collection on the Philly Love Notes blog. For our first installment, the Bicycle Coalition‘s Nicholas Mirra shares his love for the bikes locked to the fence around Rittenhouse Square.
- Favorite Spot: The bike-filled fence on the east side of Rittenhouse Square below Walnut Street
- Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
- Address: 18th St between Walnut and Chancellor
- I am: Nicholas Mirra: communications guy for the Bicycle Coalition; ultimate frisbee player; Pacific Northwest born and raised
- Years in Philly: 6 years
- Current Home: Grad Hospital area
Nicholas’ love note: The bike-ridden fence on the edge of Rittenhouse Square is a wall of graffiti. There are loud voices in Philly, voices accustomed to influential audiences, which say bicycles are for children and contemptuous hipsters; a frivolous activity taking vital space away from cars. Yet look at this fence! It sits in the heart of a famously well-heeled neighborhood, surrounded by some of Philly’s most inhospitable streets for bicycling. Despite the obstacles, bicyclists pour into Center City and make room for themselves.
This fence has been tagged with bikes. Like other important graffiti, it is an early sign of an approaching change. Slowly but surely, Philly will accommodate bicycling because bicyclists are accommodating themselves to Philly. Today, the bicycles are locked to the fence. Tomorrow, they will be locked to new racks on the sidewalk. Eventually, some of those riders will live in towers looking down on Rittenhouse Square, and they’ll enjoy a mischievous nostalgia for the days when they were ahead of the curve.
Philly Love Notes is a collection of reminders. There is too much in the city that is forgotten or overlooked. This site seeks to rediscover those places — to remind the city, and us, that it is loved. Want to share your favorite spot? Drop Philly Love Notes an email with your idea.
Eyes on the Street has teamed up with Philly Love Notes to feature especially plannerdly love notes about places in Philly on this blog. This piece originally appeared on Philly Love Notes on July 13, 2012.