Elevated Park On Rail Viaduct Finally Firming Up In Philly

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia’s own elevated park more than a decade ago.

After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts – and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause – finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad “spur” that curves through the city’s burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.

Turning that section into a park with stunning Center City views is just a small part of the overall vision to “green” abandoned railroad infrastructure, transforming foreboding eyesores into amenities.

A larger, 4/5-mile section of the viaduct stretches with fortresslike walls from Fairmount Avenue to Vine Street. Across Broad, the old railroad line drops below street level, running through a subterranean channel from the former Inquirer and Daily News building to Fairmount Park at Girard Avenue.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140406_Elevated_park_on_rail_viaduct_finally_firming_up.html#Uh2WhMLXCYwVcP2B.99

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Changing Skyline: Pop-Up Parks Perk Up Dull Philly Spots

Need a quick getaway? May I suggest a stroll over to South Broad Street?  Look for the opening in the crape myrtles, follow the juniper-lined path down to the grove, then take a seat in one of the vintage patio chairs, grab a beer, and settle in with a book.  You might actually mistake the whoosh of city traffic for the lapping of waves.

It seems only right that an instant vacation should be held in an instant space.

The hideaway in question is the latest addition to Philadelphia’s growing collection of pop-up parks, an increasingly popular and low-cost way for cities to carve out green retreats amid the crowded hardscape desert.  This one is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and, to be honest, it’s not really hidden.  It’s right there across from the Kimmel Center, between Spruce and Pine Streets.  It just feels as if it were a world away.

You could similarly indulge your escapist fantasies at the Porch, alongside 30th Street Station; at the University City District’s new Baltimore Avenue plaza; or at Eakins Oval.  As of Thursday, the interior of that glorified traffic circle has been outfitted with Parisian-style cafe tables and christened, “The Oval.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20130712_Changing_Skyline__Pop-up_parks_perk_up_dull_city_spots.html#ksoDsGsIAxUBwmd8.99

New York Parks In Less Affluent Areas Lack Big Gifts

When Frederick J. Kress, who sits on the board of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, heard about it, he had only one thought: What about us?

Flushing Meadows-Corona, which has been the setting for two World’s Fairs, is considerably larger than Central Park, at 1,225 acres, compared with 843. Last year, its conservancy attracted $5,000 in donations.

The park’s bicycle and walking paths are cracked and pitted, Mr. Kress said, and its natural areas are overgrown with invasive species.  “Central Park is doing pretty well,” said Mr. Kress, who is also president of the Queens Coalition for Parks and Green Spaces, noting that though Mr. Paulson’s home on Fifth Avenue overlooks Central Park, he grew up in Queens.  “I’m not saying he owes anyone anything, but how about you give Central Park $98 million and Flushing Meadows-Corona $2 million?  That two million would have gone so much further in an underappreciated park.”

Read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/nyregion/new-york-parks-in-less-affluent-areas-lack-big-gifts.html?hp&_r=0