SPOTTED: Pop-up spaces sprout, tree seats, Wistar reveal, and night owls

Our eyes are ever peeled for interesting sights and sites. Here’s what we spotted this week:

Pop Ups Crop Up

Each year Philly adopts new pop-up public spaces and each year we’re seeing more and more replace underused property with fair-weather fun.

This year the PHS Pop Up Garden has put down roots on the 1400 block of South Street. It’s got a decidedly tropical feel featuring palm trees, hammocks, and deck furniture, picking up the vibes from Jamaican Jerk Hut next door. The 2014 PHS Pop Up Garden officially opens Tuesday night at 5:30pm and will be open daily (hours vary) serving up food, drinks, and events like movies and Quizzo. (If 2013 was the year of pop-up spaces featuring shipping containers, could 2014 be the year of the public hammock in Philly? Discuss.)

Over at 6th and Market the elevated apron of the Rohm & Haas building has also been transformed into an outdoor oasis. The Independence Beer Garden, which opens July 15, overlooks Independence Mall and winds through the . Groundswell Design Group, the same folks behind the design for Morgan’s Pier, Spruce Street Harbor Park and Waterfront Winterfest, developed the spaces – from bars to shipping container kitchen and bathrooms, pergolas planted with vines, tall trees, fire pits and Adirondack chairs. The industrial aesthetic (think rusty Corten steel pergola, pulleys and chains, and corrugated metal panels) may feel a bit heavy-handed but it goes a long way to creating an atmosphere out of the building’s base. Plus the lush plantings help soften the look.

The PHS Pop Up Garden won't look so empty come this evening when it opens.
The PHS Pop Up Garden won’t look so empty come this evening when it opens.


Sweet Tree Seats

Over at 39th and Chestnut University City District has debuted two prototypes of new “social seating” tree benches outside of their office and they want our votes. The sleek “Will” and the traditionalist “Carlton” designs (awww) are vying for your love. Vote online, or tell UCD what you think via Twitter (@ucdphl) using #TreeSeats or on Facebook. The winning design will crop up around University City.


Wistar Unwrapped

The Wistar Institute, the expanding cancer research center at 36th and Spruce streets, has completed its new seven-story addition to accommodate more lab and research space. In addition to the new building passersby will notice that you can actually walk or bike past the Wistar again. For years the Spruce Street sidewalk and westbound bike lane have been closed off but now they’re back in public use. Sweet joy! The Wistar Institute has been under construction since 2011, but as any pedestrian or cyclist along this stretch of Spruce Street will attest it felt longer. Now there’s just a generous curb cut/loading bay (and a relatively dead looking ground floor) to contend with.


Look for the night owl

Late night service signage on subway platform
Late night service signage on subway platform

There’s a new night owl helping guide bleary-eyed riders using SEPTA’s overnight weekend service on the Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford El. If you haven’t yet experimented riding the subway in the wee weekend hours, you should know that some typical routines shift: Certain stations don’t have personnel at the turnstiles to take payment. Instead look for the orange and blue owl sign near the front end of the subway platform – that’s where you’ll need to pay the train operator. 

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