The hideaway in question is the latest addition to Philadelphia’s growing collection of pop-up parks, an increasingly popular and low-cost way for cities to carve out green retreats amid the crowded hardscape desert. This one is brought to you by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and, to be honest, it’s not really hidden. It’s right there across from the Kimmel Center, between Spruce and Pine Streets. It just feels as if it were a world away.
You could similarly indulge your escapist fantasies at the Porch, alongside 30th Street Station; at the University City District’s new Baltimore Avenue plaza; or at Eakins Oval. As of Thursday, the interior of that glorified traffic circle has been outfitted with Parisian-style cafe tables and christened, “The Oval.”
But it is PHS’s pop-up that will make you feel you’ve truly left the pressures of the city behind. That is due partly to the site – a vacant lot cradled between the pocked brick walls of two survivor buildings – partly to good design, partly to beer. OK, beer is a big reason the pop-up is so irresistible.
PHS has assembled pop-up gardens on such vacant lots for the past two summers as a way to take its mission to the streets and put leftovers from its annual flower show to good use. Those installations were artful, but static.