LOVE Sculpture Defaced With Anti-Pope Graffiti

Just a day before Robert Indiana’s AMOR sculpture was unveiled on the steps of the Art Museum, a graffiti artist took a can of spray paint to the artist’s iconic equivalent in Love Park. The LOVE sculpture was tagged with “#FuckThePope.” A photo posted last night on the Facebook group page “South Silly” showed the damage:


The verbiage echoes the sentiment of a trending Twitter hashtag of the same name. People are using it to gripe about Francis’s visit to the City of Brotherly Love this week. Some examples:

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The Saucer and the Fountain(s) Will Live on at New LOVE Park

All rendering via Hargreaves and Associates

The All New LOVE Park | All rendering via Hargreaves and Associates

If there is one major thing to take away from the newly released designs for LOVE Park, it’s this: They listened. They being lead designers Hargreaves and Associates, who along with KieranTimberlakeParks and Recreation and the Fairmount Park Conservancy reimagined the iconic gateway to the Parkway as a place with both active and passive spaces that allow for visitors to experience Philadelphia in a special way. “It’s a major step,” said Mary Margaret Jones, President and Senior Principal of Hargreaves and Associates, of the resulting design. “It fits now.”

The design is a culmination of five public meetings and over 2,000 public comments, according to Mark Focht, First Deputy Commissioner of the of Parks and Recreation. Throughout the process, there were four main themes, which Focht summed up as save the Saucer, make it green, throw a lot of water in the air (“People love the water jets.”) and keep diagonal sight lines and create better access through the park. Let’s take a peek at how they accomplished these four goals.

The Saucer (Fairmount Park Welcome Center):

The big news is that the iconic Saucer will be saved. Richard Maimon, Partner at KieranTimberlake, said the group was “absolutely well aware” of the cultural significance of the building, noting that the original form–essentially a glowing lantern built five years before the park in 1960–had a sense of optimism towards Center City during a time of urban decline. As the single pane windows became more and more inefficient over time, Maimon said darker film was placed over the glass and the Fairmount Park Welcome Center, its official name, became “dark and unwelcoming.” It will be very public, open and bright. Read more »

PHOTOS: Community Leaders Remember AIDS Victims at Ceremony in LOVE Park

G Philly and I were honored to be included in an event hosted by ActionAIDS yesterday, where community leaders gathered to read aloud 5,000 names of local people (and a few celebrities like Rock Hudson and Liberace), who lost their lives to AIDS. Among those speaking were ActionAIDS Executive Director Kevin Burns, ACLU of PA Executive Director Reggie Shuford, William Way Executive Director Christopher Bartlett. and WXPN host DJ Robert Drake.

A group of about 30 spectators showed up to listen to the touching tribute, despite the fact that it fell on a day winter just so happened to return to Philly. (It was so cold!) We toughed it out though, and I feel comfortable speaking for everyone else when I say we’re damn glad we did. Check out photos from the event below:

The event took place exactly a week from ActionAIDS annual fundraiser Dining Out for Life. If you haven’t made your reservations yet, now’s the time. Check out the full list of restaurants here, and be sure to stop by the Gayborhood, along Locust between 13th and Broad streets, from 11 am to 2:30 pm on April 30th for the DOFL Food Truck roundup.

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

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 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]
Read more » Petition: “LOVE PARK SUCKS!” Trade It for an Applebee’s

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo credit: Jeff Fusco

So there’s a bizarre 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.

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