Eyes on the Street pounded the pavement Friday to see as many of the Park(ing) Day installations as possible. We started in South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) territory, trekked east on Walnut Street to Old City and looped around to catch a few near City Hall.
For those just tuning in, Park(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The day is intended to promote creativity, civic engagement, unscripted social interactions and play.
This year Philly came out in full force to participate in the city’s sixth annual Park(ing) Day. Twenty-nine teams turned parking spots into everything from campsites to outdoor offices, a life-sized chess board and more.
In South Philly, Eyes on the Street visited the campsite that SOSNA and Fireside Camp Supply pitched near the Catherine Thorn Fountain in the northern most Grays Ferry Triangle. On the 100 Block of 17th Street, friends hosted the Note-4-Note installation. There they asked passersby to write a note to a stranger and read a note from a stranger. Further down Walnut Street, patrike design workshop offered another interactive “park,” where they asked users to paint a canvas with colors that corresponded with how they traveled to Center City that morning.
Across Broad Street the “park” by Bohlin Cywniski Jackson + Avenue of the Arts stood out above the rest, literally. The partners thought outside the box and created a “lifted lawn” theme with a carpet of mulch and ceiling of balloons – the “lawn” – floating more than six feet overhead. The Park(ing) Day installation by Jacobs/Wyper Architects seemed to have the largest crowd, but that may have been due to the lunchtime barbecue the Park(ing) Day designers hosted.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority had the largest “park” of the day at 7th and Market Streets. There they had people dress up like Park(ing) Day king and queen and take photos in a thrown. On a faux grassy surface, the PPA showed off bedazzled parking meters and offered passersby seating and prizes. Nearby OLIN and KS Engineers offered games of chess, and PhillyCAM set up an outdoor TV studio.
As the afternoon pushed on, Eyes on the Street headed back toward City Hall, where we found retrofitted parking spots designed by Philadelphia Recycling Rewards, Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson, SEPTA, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy, and the Mayor’s Office of Transportation.
If you missed out on Park(ing) Day this year or are already itching for next year’s event, you are in good company. The official Park(ing) Day (Philadelphia) website is counting down too. Only 361 days until Park(ing) Day 2014.
Not shown in the photos above are Park(ing) Day installations by Zimmerman Studio LLC, Philadlephia City Planning Commission, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Locus Partners, Mural Arts Program, Community Design Collaborative and Philadelphia Water Department, Stantec, Eviama Life Green Spa & Boutique, Rec 4 Life Therapeutic Recreation Association of Temple University, CityLights Network, West Girard Community Council, East Passyunk Business Owners, Logan CDC, Gilmore & Associates, North 5th Street Revitalization Project, People’s Emergency Center, PennDesign CORE + CO+LAB, Germantown United CDC, The Enterprise Center and EPA Emerging Leaders Network and Outreach Group.