POLL: Which LOVE Park Redesign Do You Prefer?

After several meetings wherein officials heard out Philadelphians about what they envisioned for the new JFK Plaza / LOVE Park, the folks over at Hargreaves Associates sat down and incorporated the ideas into the soon-to-be redesigned space. Here are the four design concepts they came up with– what do you think?:

Images: Hargreaves Associates via phila.gov

Yes, no, maybe so? Perhaps you should take a look at the more in-depth JFK PLAZA/LOVE PARK Improvement Project presentation before voting on either the Square 1, Square 2, Bow-tie 1, or Bow-tie 2 plans. Make an informed decision, yah know? However, should none of the concepts be to your liking, feel free to leave a comment telling us why! (Although for the love of Ben Franklin, please don’t suggest an Applebee’s take its place.)

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Morning Headlines: Is It Sayonara for LOVE Park’s Saucer?


Image from Fairmount Park archives via Preservation Alliance website.

Image from Fairmount Park archives via Preservation Alliance website.

LOVE Park has been in the news quite a bit recently, with what the redesign led by Hargreaves Associates and KeiranTimberlake moving forward and the dude who started a wacky Change.org petition to trade it to Camden for an Applebees. With the former being far–like miles–more serious than the latter comes the news that Preservations Pennsylvania has listed the iconic Fairmount Welcome Center–aka “The Saucer–atop their list of most threatened buildings in the state. It’s not the only one from the region, either.

Designed by architect Roy Larsen and built in 1960, it’s not yet known whether the building will be incorporated into a revamped LOVE Park–leaving its future very much up in the air (no pun intended). Here’s more from the report (click here for the .pdf):

[T]he iconic Fairmount Park Welcome Center is an important one-of-a-kind building whose rehabilitation and creative reuse as part of LOVE Park’s redesign could be a model project involving innovative midcentury modern architecture. Without a public understanding of the Welcome Center’s architectural and cultural significance and a strong show of public support for its rehabilitation, the redesign of LOVE Park may result in the unnecessary loss of this unique historic resource.

The West Chester Post Office at 101 East Gay Street also made the list. While it’s not threatened with demolition, the USPS doesn’t need 17,000 square-feet of space and relocated to a smaller facility. “Disposal of the building by the USPS raises significant concerns not just about the loss of postal services, but also for the preservation of the historic buildings, the continuing vitality of a facility that generates foot traffic downtown, and a diminished federal government presence as part of the community fabric.”

Welcome Center listed as imperiled [The Inquirer]
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Change.org Petition: “LOVE PARK SUCKS!” Trade It for an Applebee’s

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

So there’s a bizarre Change.org petition that will ruffle some feathers. At the very least, it should cause you to tilt your head and say, what the …? A man named Ryan Wilson of Philadelphia has started a movement that’s kind of difficult to explain. Here are the details, if that’s what they’re called:

LOVE PARK SUCKS! Love park should be rezoned as part of the city of Camden in exchange for Applebee’s in New Jersey to be relocated to Philadelphia

I think he’s calling Camden to take LOVE Park in exchange for Applebee’s in a straight swap of a public landmark park for a chain eatery. Eight people have signed this thing — eight – including one (assumed) parody account named Mayor Michael Nutter, who is in love with the plan. So, why is Wilson on this crusade? Uh, the reasons are interesting:

Like a lot of people im sick of the patriarchy and its time we take control and rid ourselves of the perversion that is “love park” and adopt the more appropriate ideals of applebee’s. i mean just look at the hideous image that plagues our city:ugh. see you tomorrow!

What’s actually interesting, from a real news side of things, is that LOVE Park is very much in the process of, for lack of a better term and in the spirit of the argument, not sucking.

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LOVE Park’s Redesign Is Moving Into the Design Phase

Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

Photo by M. Fischetti for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

Do you want to learn more about the future of JFK Plaza/LOVE Park? A meeting will be held on January 20 to conclude the civic engagement process and review the upcoming project schedule, according to a recent announcement from PennPraxis.

Hargreaves Associates–you’ve heard of them before–will be in the house to introduce themselves and share their approach for the project. A previous public meeting was held on December 10 at the Free Library and those in attendance, over 200 people, expressed their wishes for greater seating, better lighting, more greenery and more space for food trucks. According to the recap of the meeting, attendees also spoke of wanting the space to be more versatile and flexible for events and programming–which sounds an awful lot like nearby Sister Cities Dilworth Park.

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Protest Leads Organizers to Cancel Lantern Parade


The Christmas Village Lantern Parade has been canceled.

That word comes via an email from Aversa PR and a note on the website. Lantern Parade organizers decided to call off the event after Ferguson protests were scheduled at the same time in LOVE Park.

The now-cancelled parade of “traditional German-style lanterns” was scheduled to start at the LOVE sculpture at 5 p.m. The event was scheduled to include performers from Enchantment Theatre’s The Snow Queen, a performance by the Philly Pops and a singalong led by the children from East Passyunk Ave’s Alphabet Academy.

Here’s the note from Aversa:

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What Do You Think the New LOVE Park Should Look Like?

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

JFK plaza is getting a top to bottom redesign and you have a say in the matter.

According to CBS Philly’s Mike Dunn, officials “will be all ears” when it comes to hearing out residents’ ideas for the renovation.  The meeting is set for 6:00pm at the Central branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia. Sign-in starts at 5:30pm.

Open Call For Ideas on Love Park Redesign [CBS Philly]

PHOTOS: Philly Christmas Village Grand Opening

Philly’s annual Christmas Village got the grand opening treatment on Saturday with a celebration in LOVE Park. The holiday destination was christened by “the official Christkind from Germany,” musical performances and cups and cups of mulled wine. Check out some photos below.

Philly Jesus: A Philly Cop Threatened to F*** Me Up After LOVE Park Arrest

A photo from Philly Jesus's Facebook showing his arrest.

A photo from the Facebook account of Michael Grant, aka Philly Jesus, showing his arrest.

“I woke up this morning; that’s all I can ask for.”

This is how my chat with Philly Jesus started the day after his now-notorious arrest for disorderly conduct in LOVE Park. I could tell that Philly Jesus, aka Michael Grant, was still a bit shaken up after what he calls an incident of “police brutality.”

“[The cop] didn’t even read me my rights,” Grant claimed. “He forcefully took me. It looked like he was having a seizure. There was so much hate in him.”

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Q&A: Out Singer-Songwriter Jo Stones

Jo Stones

Jo Stones

When you hear out singer-songwriter Jo Stones make some sweet love to a keyboard, you know the guy has got talent: The Philly Gayborhood favorite recently released his first single, “The Letter,” on iTunes, and will be spooking out listeners this Halloween at a free noontime concert at LOVE Park. We threw Jo some rapid-fire questions about his music, his performances, and his guilty pleasures. Read more »

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