The Spruce Street Harbor Park, floating on the Delaware River near Penn’s Landing, has extended its residency for an extra month, and it will pop-up again next summer.
The park nestled between Columbus Boulevard and the river is part floating beer garden, part Jersey Shore boardwalk, and 38 lazy hammocks swinging in the shade. Its popularity exceeded the expectations of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, which developed the $600,000 park. An average of 35,000 people visited every week, almost twice that around the Fourth of July holiday.
Based on credit card transactions for food and beer, at least 10 percent were repeat visitors.
It was supposed to be taken down on Labor Day, but why stop a good thing? Following an 11th hour request from Mayor Michael Nutter just five days before deconstruction, the park will remain open until September 28. When it returns next summer it will be slightly retooled, based on visitor surveys of what worked, and what didn’t.
“So what worked? Hammocks, obviously. Biggest draw,” said Emma Fried Cassorla, spokeswoman for the waterfront corporation. “We saw the centerpiece of the park as the floating barges, but it was the hammocks. The fight for the hammocks was the thing most people were talking about, most people were taking pictures of and putting on social media.”
Cassorla says some people requested the DRWC enforce time limits on the hammocks, so more people can have a chance to doze under the tree canopy.
In September, the park will change slightly to accomodate the cooler nights of autumn, with fire pits, hay bales, and seasonal food and beer from the concession stands, operated by Chef Jose Garces.
Cassorla says next year’s park will have more floating elements, to accentuate the waterfront corporation’s underlying agenda: to connect people with the river.