It’s here — it’s open! The massive 55,000-square foot Municipal Pier 9, just a 100 feet south of the stunning Race Street Pier underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge, is officially the city’s newest, coolest space. Open seven days a week to the public, year round, Cherry Street Pier is poised to be a massive hub of arts, culture, community, and innovation in Philadelphia. In what is sure to be a model for public-private-artistic collaboration, locally and internationally, funders and artists and entrepreneurs have come together to create magic on the Delaware River. Cherry Street Pier is a reflection of the Philly that thrives today — creative, diverse, historic, adaptable, and inspired.
Here are just a smattering of the reasons why it’s just so dang cool, in no particular order.
1. Shipping containers as artist studios. Some of our city’s most intriguing artists, creatives, and nonprofits are going to be calling the Pier home. Repurposed shipping containers feature artists-in-residence publicly displaying their craft and giving the public a peek into their processes and products, even opening up the prospect of strangers becoming integral to the final product. Photographers, fiber artists, moving image artists, Theatre Philadelphia and Orchestra 2001, technology experts, and more will buckle down in 290- and 440-square foot structures with largely glass facades. So much to see! BTW applications are rolling so submit yours today.
2. Wait ‘til you see what November and December have in store for you: Phila Flea Markets is producing the The Cherry Street Pier Antique & Vintage Market is November 3rd; Popupplay presents Playfest2018 the next day, November 4th; it’s Paint Nite Philly on the Pier on November 9th and 16th; and then the markets just start rolling in (see #7).
3. It takes a village— Cherry Street Pier didn’t appear overnight and we got a ton of support in the process of opening up the pier. The City of Philadelphia, the William Penn Foundation, the Board of Directors of City Trusts and the Delaware Avenue Fund, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, and the Knight Foundation contributed a collective $5 million to get this project completed. You’ll feel it when you cross that threshold - this space is contemporary, elegantly designed, user-friendly and community-oriented, and FOR THE PEOPLE TO USE FOR FREE. TY funders!
4. Hungry? Yeah, we weren’t going to skimp on that front. Cherry Street Pier is not only a great place for a snack and a cocktail, but the method of delivery is extra special. We’ve got tricked-out old Philadelphia trolley cars upcycled to house food and drink: Hardena’s got unreal Indonesian cuisine; Cooperage is offering up healthy twists on classic appetizers and barfare; Birdie’s Biscuits are on fire with inspiration from their Georgia-born matriarch baker serving up perfect biscuits tweaked with sweet and savory fillings and toppings; Little Baby’s Ice Cream, of course, Philadelphia ice cream nuts (the good kind) who believe Ice Cream is a Feeling.
5. Thirsty? Yup, we got you. Fishtown-based on Girard Avenue, Kurant ciders will flow - classics and seasonal twists that are tart and tasty. Artisan’s Cellar is tricking out draft wines. Plus Bluecoat Gin and Manatawny Whiskey for your nerves - we’ve got some really creative cocktails happening here. But the bar’s only open from 5-10PM everyday so plan accordingly for your Happy Hour outings.
6. Stunning gardens are a complement to the space with ample accommodations for relaxing, recreation, and river views - a very contemporary mixture of steel, stone, and subtle greenery. Philly Mag’s Fabiola Cineas calls it an “urbanist game-changer” - after decades of vacancy, the Pier has been carefully repurposed to preserve and celebrate the historic value including original railroad tracks, steel trussed roof, and masonry headhouses. You’ll find pink echinaceas, lilac trees, red maples, dogwood, all a stroll to the patio with unobstructed views of the river.
7. Open-air shopping, honey. Yes, think a Bazaar-style alley of local vendors and artisans selling their wares while you sip a Cherry Street Mule. The Punk Rock Flea Market is coming December 8th and 9th. Plus there’s the Art Star Pop Up Market on December 15th and 16th. And wait until you see how the holidays are going to look under that roof - The Christmas Tree Stand Holiday Market kicks off on Black Friday and runs up to Christmas with all of your tree needs covered. This is the stuff that your visiting families will adore.
8. Everything changes. All the time. The CSP is delighted to have a fully occupied roster of artists-in-residence and their work will fill the space in a circuital, constant flux. James Abbott is having a photography exhibition (beginning November 2nd) and reception (November 2nd)— his work focuses on urban architecture, especially the very bridge that looms above the pier. Al-Bustan, which is Arabic for “The Garden,” will be installing their hanging immigrant alphabet soon. Plus there’ll be an endless mix of artists and makers holding workshops, events, and demos.
9. This is a truly egalitarian space. The Pier aims to facilitate meaningful civic engagement and community building, and act as a public destination that is inspiring, enlightening, and universally accessible. Want to put on a show? Contact us. Thinking about throwing a sweet event? Yeah, we can do that. Starting a book club and need a space to crit lit? Perfect, c’mon over. Freelancers and satellite workers, tired of your cafe rotation? We’ve got Wi-Fi during the day and you can reward yourself at 4PM when all the food vendors start humming. The beautiful thing about the Cherry Street Pier is that you can never the whole thing to yourself — it belongs to the city. And that’s a beautiful thing.