Washington Avenue Green was the first of the riverfront parks to be developed as part of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware riverfront. A decision was made to make the Washington Avenue Pier that extended from the Park pedestrian-friendly but undeveloped, remains unique because of its accessibility to the water. On the south side of the pier there is a physical beach among the concrete piers that originally supported the immigration pier and municipal pier that followed. Visitors can walk to the river and actually get their feet wet.

Since its official opening in 2014, visitors to the beach have been discovering artifacts washed up from the early twentieth-century industries and restaurants that had flourished along the northern Delaware. Amateur archeologists have found buttons from the old fabric mills, and piles of oyster shells discarded from a decades-old meal.

Another unique feature of the Washington Avenue Pier is its accessibility to canoers and kayakers.

Ready to Launch. Barbara Porter, Sebastien Bacle and Madeline Bacle on the beach at Washington Avenue Pier.

The days are getting shorter. Canada geese that used to migrate decades ago are now a permanent fixture of the Delaware Valley. Canada geese have wintered here for decades rather than fly south. Large raptors such as falcons and cormorants also weather here year-round. Intrepid ducks stay here all year.

Washington Avenue Green and the surrounding piers are part of the Atlantic Flyway—a complex ecosystem which includes forests, beaches, and coastal wetlands. With the threat of sea-level rise, wetlands like the Delaware River waterfront around this park become increasingly important as wildlife habitat and flood plain.

white heron

Herons and hawks stay here all year.

Piers 55 and 57. K4 is planning to break ground some time this fall, with initial building of a rental tower of approximately 268 units, a hotel, and an open space entrance connecting to the off-ramp from I95.

The final plan is for ten towers, two of which are to occupy Pier 55, and two to occupy Pier 57.




Conjuring Ghosts. The Metro Section of the February 1 Philadelphia Inquirer did a feature story on Susan McAninley and her work collecting stories of immigrants coming to Philadelphia through Pier 53. Here's the link.

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 of sign above is by Kathy Martin.
All other photos and artwork by Susan McAninley.