If there’s anywhere in Philadelphia to fully recognize where industrial past becomes post-industrial park, it’s Pier 53. Washington Avenue Green—WAG—is the gateway to this and several other piers along South Philadelphia’s Delaware Riverfront. Tomorrow, it’s the site of an event to help the public get to know the place and see what lies ahead.
The Friends of Washington Avenue Green and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation are hosting Ecofest, a morning long event with bird watching, crafting activities, and a presentation by Applied Ecological Services on the plans for Pier 53. Scott Quitel, principal at the AES firm, will then lead an ecology walk from Pier 53 to Pier 70, the one behind Walmart.
Pier 53, once the site of the Washington Avenue Immigration Station, through which so many of Philadelphia’s families passed in the 19th and 20th centuries, will become a unique park where the city encourages the transition back to nature (as opposed to those where Mother Nature has simply reclaimed piers from decades of non-use). With floating wetlands, riparian enhancements, ‘rubble meadows’, and even wading areas in the river, it will contrast starkly with Race Street Pier, DRWC’s first pier park execution. But unlike that popular space, Pier 53 doesn’t stand alone; it is only the first of what could become several continuous access points to the Delaware.
Ecofest begins at Washington Avenue Green with bird watching at 8:30 tomorrow morning and goes to 12:30 with the ecology walk. The Pier 53 presentation is at 11. For more info and to learn more about Pier 53’s history, visit WAG’s site HERE.