At a block party on Saturday, Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled our conceptual plans for Frankford Pause, a pop-up park to be built on a vacant lot next to the Margaret-Orthodox Station.
Frankford Pause is a part of Destination Frankford, an arts-based initiative using marketing and creative placemaking to enhance and expand the resources of Frankford's growing arts, artisanal industry, and creative business economy. A pop-up gallery next to the park was also created through the initiative.
Reactivating the Area Around the El
“Frankford was an industrial powerhouse,” says Ian Litwin, a city planner with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission and author of Destination Frankford. Through Destination Frankford, he has been partnering with Frankford CDC to make Frankford a place “where people make things again, just in a different economy.”
“Lots of those old buildings are vacant. A good number are now seeing new life—but not many close to the El,” says Ian. “Destination Philadelphia is re-engaging Philadelphians with the blocks bordering Frankford Avenue. Projects like the pop-up park and pop-up gallery are making them visible—even from the El!”
Our excellent volunteer team, led by Alexa Bosse, used a bold, bright pink for key elements of the park. Loops of hot pink shade cloth will crisscross the sky. Pink paths of pink artificial turf will traverse the lot. The loops will contain lighting activated by the sound of passing trains.
Moveable cubes covered in pink artificial turf can be reconfigured to fit any community event—an art show, a movie screening, an open air market, or a concert. Plywood platforms will provide perches for sitting, reclining, play, and performances. Plus, the park will provide an engaging place to enjoy new wall murals by Cesar Viveros.
Think Pink, Think Permanent
Kim Washington of Frankford CDC explains, “Margaret-Orthodox is our busiest corner.” She believes this intersection merits more than a vacant lot and says the pop-up park will guide the design of a permanent park. “In the short term, we’re designing a public space for people to come and use, to get an idea of what works and doesn’t work… what people like.”
So what about that pink? Kim recalls, “This was a great idea that came from Alexa [Bosse]. At first it was a shock, but the more we talked and the more the design came together… we really fell in love with it.”