For Penn students who are tired of the Schuylkill banks there’s no need to head to the shore for July 4. A pop-up urban oasis located along the Delaware River is bringing the boardwalk to Philadelphia.
The Spruce Street Harbor Park, sponsored by the Delaware River Waterfront, opened its decorated doors on June 27 and will stay open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. until August 31. Admission to the park is free.
Communications manager for the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation Emma Fried-Cassorla said that about 25,000 people visited the park its opening weekend.
According to the Delaware River Waterfront’s website, the design of the park is meant to reflect the “maritime history of the Penn’s Landing area, the River’s industrial past and the bright future ahead for Philadelphia’s waterfront.”
Most of the oasis was pieced together over the span of 3 weeks at Hays Pier, located south of the Commodore Barry Bridge. The park is perched on 3 stabilized 80-foot barges and is reminiscent of the Jersey Shore, with a restaurant, various trees and other plantings and a boardwalk.
The rainbow-laden park features everything from 50 brightly colored hammocks to a breathtaking water garden filled with lily pads to several branch-like misting stations to cool visitors down throughout the sultry summer.
The beach-style boardwalk offers countless pay-as-you-go games, including bocce and shuffleboard courts. Board games come to life through a lifesize chess board, Connect Four boards, an oversized Jenga set, and ping pong, a bean bag toss and several arcade and concession booths are available to play for free.
The hub of the oasis is the Blue Anchor restaurant, a venue provided by the Garces Group. Executive chef Adam Delosso — an affiliate of Jose Garces — will feature a casual menu mirroring Garces’s vision, including a version of his famous Village Whiskey burger. After patrons grab food, they can find a place to sit at one of the rainbow of Adirondack chairs, picnic tables or smaller bistro tables.
Philly residents have loved the atmosphere that the Spruce Street Harbor has brought to the city.
“My husband and I had so much fun at Spruce Street Harbor Park” said local teacher Aileen Burr. “It has a beautiful ambiance and the floating bar has delicious beer and food and is perfect for adults. Families can enjoy the boardwalk food and arcade games.”
The park will hold small concerts throughout the summer and every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the park will host a crafts fair, sponsored by Art Star, which will feature a wide selection of vendors. On July 25, the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series will visit the park, serving drinks from 4 to 7 pm.
“Penn students should come and do what everyone else does — lay in the hammocks, have some food and a drink, enjoy the light show at night, play bocce ... and basically just relax in one of the coolest — literally — spaces in Philly,” Fried-Cassorla said.