Tuesday, January 14, 2014

McMichael Park

McMichael Park is located within the East Falls section of Philadelphia. The park is right on Henry Avenue and close to the Allegheny West area. The park was established in 1929, but before that, the land was used as headquarters for Lafayette during the American Revolution according to the East Falls History website. The park is named after Morton McMichael (1807-1879), who was the first President of the Fairmount Park Commission in 1867, the Mayor of Philadelphia in 1866, the publisher of the North American newspaper, and the founder of the Union League of Philadelphia. Now, the park's upkeep is maintained by the East Falls Friends of McMichael Park and the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department. 

If you enjoy local community events...

  • The Friends of the park host local events ranging from Candlelight Carol Singing to volunteer work in order to keep the park's grounds clean and green. 
  • According to this Newsworks article, the park just had it's 25th annual Christmas Caroling event!   
  • The park is also home to an annual flea market that includes over 100 vendors. 
  • During the summer, the Friends put together a free week show of Shakespeare Theater in the park. 

 If you enjoy minimalist details...

  •  The park includes a large war memorial, a small turtle statue, a variety of trees, and a few park benches. 
  • The park is great to take your dog or children, but you need to look out for the fast-paced traffic on Henry Avenue. 
  • The rest of the square is surrounded by large East Falls houses, which are also visually pleasing
  • It's also great for college students to have a chance to get away from their hectic schedule and relax in the green space. 

 If you like to volunteer...

  • The Friends gather local volunteers to take part in LOVE Your Park, which is a collaborative partnership between Philadelphia Parks & Rec and the Fairmount Park Conservancy to promote Friends groups across the Philly area and help conserve and maintain the green space

If you would like to keep up with the EF Friends of McMichael Park events, 
you can like their Facebook page here!  


Monday, January 13, 2014

Pennypack on the Delaware

Pennypack on the Delaware Trail is a recent addition to Philadelphia's public green parks. It's located off the Delaware River within the Northeast part of Philadelphia and was opened to the public in 2008. According to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council article, the park is an expansion to the revitalization of the Delaware River project. Warning! There's not much information on this new space.

If you love spectacular views...

  • I wish I could post all of my pictures because of the surreal views of the river meeting the shoreline. 
  • The park includes two look-outs. One is located when you first enter the trail and the second is the gazebo spot pictured above. The first place goes out farther than the gazebo and it was most likely a former pier.
  • Many couples have been posting on the web about potentially taking wedding pictures around the gazebo and around the trail.  

If you love being by the water...

  • This is another great park to take in the Delaware River.  Benches are located in front of the water. So, if you wanted to relax, read a book, or even just listen to music, there are plenty of benches to do so.
  • People who love to fish also have plenty of room on the Delaware shoreline.

If you would like to know the setting around the trail...

  •  Further off the shore are massive spaces for recreational activities. There were multiple soccer posts and ball fields. 
  • People are able to walk their dogs, push their strollers, go on runs, and even bike without getting close to each other.

If you love the law...

  • This bullet point is a little joke, but the trail is behind the following law institutions:
    • The Curran-Fromohld Correctional Facility
    • The Correctional Facility Police Department
  • When I went to go visit, you could hear loud booms from the distance which meant the police were practicing at the gun range. 
  • Quick tip: The trail is a little difficult to spot off of State Road. You should turn into the the tiny street right before the police academy if you are coming from the city. If you are coming from the opposite way, you are going to make a left right after the police academy!

 If you would like to know more about the Delaware River expansion, 
you can click here to read a PlanPhilly.com article about it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Liberty Lands Park

Liberty Lands Park is a more recent Philadelphia urban park located within the Northern Liberties section. According to the Liberty Lands website, the Northern Liberties Neighbors Association was given a few grants from the Philadelphia Urban Resources Partnership over the years in order to create their ideal community park and it continues to grow. The 2-acre park is the largest green space within the neighborhood.

If you have kids...

  • The playground for the children is sizable compared to some of the other larger parks I visited in my list. The playground includes multiple jungle gyms and a swing set. 
  • The layout of the park is also designed for parents because most of the seating surrounds the children's playground. 
  • Some of the events are for the children, such as Halloween hayrides. 

If you love a sense of community...

  • The park was built off of the idea of the community coming together and the park is a representation of their community. 
  • On the Neighbors Association website, they offer outside bathroom subscriptions for a key to the two doors. The only way you can enter the bathrooms is if you have a memebership and key. 
  • Every sculpture or mural was created by a local artist. 
  • The Liberty Lands park site explains that the space acts as a social way to connect and bring together the variety of all residents. Whether is be 'dog owners, parents, gardeners, workers, business owners, and artists
  •  There is a community garden that includes the following:
    • 37 plots
    • Native American herb garden
    • butterfly garden

If you are environmentally-friendly...

  • Not only does the park have a community garden, but they have included a composting area as well. 
  • The small city park has over a variety of 180 tree species. 

 If you want to know more about Liberty Lands park, 
click here to read the park's Yelp reviews!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Girard Park

Stephen Girard Park is another green space located within a South Philadelphia neighborhood. The park was named after the famous Stephen Girard, who was a merchant, financier, and philanthropist within Philadelphia's history. His country house, a 580 acre farm, is what is pictured above and is within the park. It's surrounded by large trees, a statue of Girard, park benches, and a connection of walkways. 

If you appreciate the smaller things in life...

  • The park isn't as small as Capitolo Playground, but it's not as large as Rittenhouse Square.  
  • It is surrounded by upscale row homes, but it's not surrounded by high rises, like Rittenhouse.
  • Fortunately, you are able to jog through the park or ride your bike without bumping into anyone. It's not as crowded as Rittenhouse can be

If you're an architecture fan...

  • The Girard farm house is a piece of the 18th century architecture. It still stands today within the park.
  • The homes that surround the park have their own unique history. According to a Philly.com article, the homes were built as the turn of the 20th century. The majority of the "semidetached" houses consist of porches, yards, and large rooms, which make them different from the usual rowhomes within South Philadelphia. They used to act as rentals because the rental money would go toward Girard College. Then they were rented to soldiers during WWII; however, they soon went on sale after 1952. 
  • The houses bring a different vibe to the park. It's almost as if the park was picked up in the middle of nowhere and placed in South Philadelphia.

  If you would like to find out more information about Stephen Girard, click here!


Saturday, January 4, 2014

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park (FDR) is in the southern most point of South Philadelphia. It is a park that is made up of 348 acre. According to Wikipedia, the park's layout was designed by the Olmsted Brothers during the early 1900s. Because of the Sesquicentennial Exposition, the park includes a boathouse, gazebo, and the American Swedish Historical Museum. It was previously known as League Island Park, but changed during the 1940's. 

If you like recreational activities...

  • The Friends of FDR park boast about the variety activities and fields they provide on their siteThe park includes
    • 20 tennis courts
    • 8 ball fields
    • rugby field
    • gold course
    • a playground
    • and the FDR Skate Park located under
  • According to Visitphilly.com, the park challenges skaters of all levels. It is also located under 95, so it blocks the rain or snow.  

If you love going to Philadelphia's sports teams events...

  • The park is right near all three Philadelphia stadiums including the Wells Fargo Center, Citizens Bank Park, and the Lincoln Financial Field.
  • Many people come to FDR park to hang out before games. They also use the park to tailgate and meet up with large groups before the game begins.

 If you enjoy the water...

  • Locally known as "The Lakes," the park contains lagoon, creeks, and lakes. 
  • The lakes within the park are known as Meadow and Edgewood lake. The Friends of the park encourage park goers to take rest, find a good fishing spot, or enjoy the scenic visuals of the lakes. 
  • In addition, these waterways have brought in a variety of bird species for bird watchers to enjoy. 

If you appreciate landmarks...

  • As I mentioned above, FDR park includes historical landmarks such as the Gazebo on Meadow Lake pictured above. 
  • Another point of interest would be the Bellaire Manor that was built sometime between 1714 and 1735. You can click here to find out more about the manor! 

To find out more about the FDR
click here to find out what park goers are thinking!  


Friday, January 3, 2014

Capitolo Playground

Capitolo Playground is located in the East Passyunk neighborhood of South Philadelphia. The location consists of 4.1 acres and includes a playground, a recreation facility, two basketball courts, and three sports fields. The park was first named Federal Park and was a part of a city-wide project to build playgrounds all around Philadelphia during the 1940s. The playground and recreation facility now provide green space within an urban neighborhood.

If you have kids...

  • This is the place to go! The playground includes two jungle gyms, two swing sets, and a sprinkler for younger children. 
  • If you have older children, the park also includes basketball courts and large fields to play catch or run around. 
  • The park has recreational activities for locals including tee ball teams, day camps, and after school programs.  

If you're craving a cheesesteak or just hungry...

If you're appreciate murals...

  • The recreation center is covered in paintings of people.  The whole building is covered from head to toe in a local mural. Sometimes, the paintings of the people almost seem lifelike at different angles.
  • The park also has drawings of birds flying around the outside of the cement base, located right underneath the fence. They are brightly colored and are all similarly painted. 

If you want to know the environmental aspect of the park...

  • The park includes a community garden that is only available to the residents of the neighborhood. They even have a waiting list for gardening spots! 

If you're into haunted stories...

  • According to a Philly.com article, the prior usage for Capitolo's land was a burial site called Lafayette Cemetery. It was used during the 18th and 19th century for over 100 years and eventually fell to disrepair. 

 You can keep up with Capitolo Playground's new here!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wissahickon Valley Park / Forbidden Drive / Valley Green Inn

Wissahickon Valley Park, also known as Forbidden Drive, runs along the Wissahickon Creek and makes up 1,800 acres of Philadelphia's 10,500-acre park system. It was named Forbidden Drive because automobiles were forbidden on its gravel road in the 1920's and still kind of are today. (With the exception of certain parking areas). Because I did not have the time or resources to cover that much space, I narrowed my picture-taking down to the Valley Green Inn area.

If you're passionate about history...

  • According to the Schuylkill River National & Heritage Area, Wissahickon Valley is a registered national landmark. It is one of the 600 National Natural Landmarks in America. During the 18th and 19th century, the creek was utilized by the local mills and factories that surrounded the area. 
  • Throughout the valley, you can encounter historical structures including damns, bridges, houses, and statues, that have been preserved by the Friends of the Wissahickon. These structures usually include plaques in order to explain their significance in history. 

If you enjoy hiking, cycling, walking, and recreational activities...

  • Forbidden drive can provide a location for all of these things and more.  The Friends of the Wissahickon have listed bird watching, fishing, photography, horseback riding, and running/jogging under activities to do within the park. 
  • The Friends note that there are more than 50 miles of trails, trout available in the spring within the creek, seven miles of beautiful gorge that entices the photographer, 167 different species of birds over the course of a year, three public stables, and several running clubs. You can view the list here
  • If you have children, this is also great place to take strollers. Although the gravel can be a bit bumpy, people have always been running, walking, jogging with their strollers back the park. 

If you were wondering about food...

  • The Valley Green Inn may be available! The Inn is also a part of the Wissahickon Valley Park's history having been around since the 17th century (the name and location, not necessarily the building. )
  • The Inn is only open for certain hours of the day. For instance, 12 pm to 3 pm for lunch hours and 4 pm to 8 pm  for dinner hours, and that's only Monday thru Friday hours. 
  • The Inn is also popular for larger events such as wedding and banquets. 
  • You can check out the Valley Green Inn website here!  

 If you like creeks... 

  • According to the Philadelphia Water Department, the watershed of creek has been preserved for years. But, there are still efforts to preserve and restore in recent years because of stormwater runoff and discharge of treated wastewater. The PWD have partnered with other groups in order to keep the creek up to its full standard.
  • The creek also consists of 'Devil's Pool,' which is a popular place for people to swim.
  • In addition, the popular place to feed the ducks is right in front of Valley Green Inn. 

For more information on Wissahickon Valley Park, 
please visit the Friends of the Wissahickon site here!