yellow flowers in rain garden

May 18, 2016. After some fits and starts, spring has finally come to Washington Avenue Green. Plants and flowers are taking over the asphalt of the old parking lot behind the Sheet Metal Workers' Building. In a few years the natural environment will be another overlay on this site that has seen a battery, a busy navy yard, an immigration pier, plaits of tracks, and a municipal pier.

The trail continues. Immediately to the south on the site adjacent to the Sheet Metal Workers' property south of Reed Street (the former site of the proposed Foxwoods Casino) the plan is to continue this extension. Developer Bart Blatstein, who controls the site, said on March 18, 2015 that he is also working with the Natural Lands Trust to set aside the next segment of the riverfront trail. Read the story from PlanPhilly.

bicyclists on trail at Washington Avenue Green

DRWC and Natural Lands Trust are now in the process of finalizing similar agreements of sale with Tower Investments for the acquisition of 100 feet of land plus associated riparian lands from the parcel in the middle of the two completed acquisitions.

Read more on DRWC's website: One step closer to a brand new bike trail.

Tentative plans for development include ten 379-foot towers extending from Washington Avenue to Reed Street, along with a suburban-style shopping center with residential buildings from Morris to Tasker Streets, on the site of what had originally been earmarked for the Foxwoods Casino. To date no definitive plans have been presented.



The waterfront had once been described as 'the retreating glacier of Philadelphia's industrial past'. It is now gradually returning to its natural state with a series of parks and trails.

map of waterfront from Pier 53 to Pier 70

Washington Avenue Green is getting larger. Natural Lands Trust, in partnership with the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC), has recently acquired a 100-foot swath of land, as well as Pier 56 (to the south of Pier 53) along with the riparian rights. The total acquisition of 9.5 acres will make possible the continuance of the riverfront trail set back 100 feet from the river's edge and continued environmental restoration.

Pier 70. In 2012 five acres of land and 11 acres of riparian lands at the end of Pier 70 Boulevard were purchased by Natural Lands Trust. The two sites (Pier 53 and Pier 70) now serve as bookends for the proposed southern Delaware River Trail, a permanent .7-mile multi-use, recreational trail along the river. The area is planned to include mixed-use developments by private builders.

Upcoming Events:

June 25, 2016. Flowers! Trees! Migrating birds! Bring your paints and easels and join us outdoors at the Park at 1 PM on Saturday, June 25. Free. Resfreshments provided. Rain date Sunday, June 26, 2016.

Ongoing at Washington Avenue Green is the Pier 53 Project—a historical study of the immigrants who arrived at the Pier from 1876 to the 1920's, their stories, and the stories of their descendants. Each story is part of a mosaic that contributes to the history of Philadelphia and its waterfront, and ultimately to the history of immigration in the United States.

Here's the link to the Pier 53 Project page on this site. Pier 53 Project 

Photo directly above by Kathy Martin. All other photos and artwork by Susan McAninley.