Race Street Pier Noir

Race Street Pier on a misty Sunday morning presiding over a seemingly empty river.  In minutes, though, the High Speed Line clatters across the Bridge with a staccato roar.  We are reminded that this is a place of equal parts quietude and energy.  Almost instinctively, you follow the strong thrust of its ramp leading you into the innards of Cret/Modjeski’s Benjamin Franklin Bridge.  Race Street Pier enables a close read of the Bridge.   The piers and substructure revealing details once only known to stevedores, ferry captains, wharf rats and Wobblies. Try and find the anchor, the great seals of Pennsylvania and New Jersey and other hidden filigrees. Clearly, the park enables a new kind of sight.  This is a hallmark of Field Operations, the landscape architecture firm behind Race Street and its esteemed cousin, the High Line in New York.  Field Operations engenders a way of seeing horizontally, vertically and through the physical forms–the finger piers, the bridge elements, the ships, barges and, yes, the Duck Boats that move people and commodities near and far.  Seemingly empty.  But as the morning mists burn off the river, visitors’ eyes flicker over the endless variety of movement.

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