It’s been more than a year and a half since Philly’s most famous park closed for renovations – and several months since we were first told the park would reopen.
Going once … going twice … the trapezoidal stainless-steel pedestal that held the LOVE Park statue – and was thus captured in an incalculable number of tourist, newlywed and skateboarding photos – is up for auction by the city that once gave it birth.
Philadelphia has placed the podium, which held Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture for about three decades, on Municibid.com, an auction website for municipalities. The starting bid on June 14th was just $100. As of Tuesday afternoon (after 16 bids), the latest offer was $410. Read more »
Apparently, Sweden knows a good thing when it sees it – even if Philly destroys that thing, which, in this case, is LOVE Park (as skateboarders know it).
The park, which is now closed for renovations, was one of most revered skateboarding spots in the world (despite the fact that it was illegal to skate there). And if Philly won’t preserve its history, Malmö, Sweden, will: the city will put to use a half a million pounds of granite from LOVE Park. Read more »
With LOVE Park closing for renovations in February, the LOVE sculpture was moved from the place officially known as JFK Plaza to Dilworth Park.
It’s been at the corner of Dilworth since the George Young Company moved it on February 23rd, but it won’t be there for much longer. You have about six weeks to enjoy the LOVE sculpture until it’s moved from the plaza so it can be restored. Read more »
LOVE Park entered the second phase of renovation in its $16.5 million facelift yesterday, and Mayor Jim Kenney as well as officials from the project’s main sponsor, Saint-Gobain, were there to announce it. Read more »
The LOVE Sculpture by Robert Indiana is up there with the Liberty Bell and the cheesesteak for ubiquitous icons of Philadelphia-ness. And it may soon have a permanent Spanish-language partner just a few blocks up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Read more »
For the George Young Company, it was a labor of love.
“It’s the kind of thing we do as a niche business,” company president George S. Young said while watching workers move Love into place. “And so we handle a lot of sculptures. We have a reputation for doing this. We moved the Liberty Bell. We did the Clothespin; we put in Rizzo over here.”
George Young Company, which was founded in Philadelphia in 1869, is named after a great-great uncle of Young’s who won the company from his great-great grandfather in a poker game. (Unfortunately, the current George Young didn’t know the winning hand.) Workers from the company guided the Love sculpture on a slow journey from one plaza to another this morning.
“What goes into this is typically we look at the piece and we try to determine how it’s secured to the base,” Young said. “So those straps that you see around it are nothing more than — they’re just a safety. Just in case the hardware inside that holds it to the base is defective.” Workers then screwed the sculpture’s stand to a temporary concrete base that was later covered up with a decorative slab. Read more »
On Friday I wrote about how skateboarders turned LOVE Park into a great public place. The park is now being overhauled with a new design, and it was re-opened to skateboarders for five days before major construction begins.
All weekend, hundreds of people braved cold temperatures to skate at the park; on Friday night they were even shoveling snow. In case you wondered just how Philly this was, there were two flaming barrels at LOVE yesterday.
But I didn’t write about the time when a 92-year-old Ed Bacon, the city planner responsible for LOVE Park, skated across it in 2002 in defiance of Mayor John Street and City Council’s skateboarding ban. It was awesome, and you can watch it above. Read more »
This week Mayor Jim Kenney announced that skating would be allowed at LOVE Park one last time before it’s closed for a massive overhaul. Dan McQuade wrote about why all Philadelphians should mourn the loss of the space as a skating mecca, calling LOVE “an under-utilized city park turned into something great by skaters.” Photographer Jeff Fusco braved the cold to capture the scene as many skaters take their final spins.
In some ways, it seemed like a mean joke.
Jim Kenney’s announcement that skateboarding was legal at LOVE Park was a great idea. It was well intentioned, too; he certainly didn’t have to open the park to skateboarders before it’s overhauled with a new design. But it’s also kind of hilarious: Yo, skateboarders: You’re finally allowed to skate in LOVE Park … for five days… during the coldest week of winter. I’m surprised John Street and Michael Nutter didn’t come out and break skateboards over their knees at the end of the announcement.
But Philly area skateboarders did not let the cold hold them back. Maybe 50 skaters were there around lunchtime Friday, braving 25-degree temperatures to give it one last go. (See more of Jeff Fusco’s photos here.) They grinded on the granite benches and did kickflips down the stairs. They all attempted to land a serious jump — from the top near the sculpture all the way into the empty fountain. It made me feel like a kid again. Read more »