Winter, 2017. Not much is happening at the Park these days. It's cold. Plants are in hibernation. The diehard joggers pass by, as well as the dog walkers and the bicyclists, but they don't stay very long. Some light snow showers have been seen but the effects don't last. The giant snowstorms experienced in past years have not yet been here.
Piers 55 and 57. Also in early planning stages is the first-stage development of 'Liberty on the River'—a building plan by K4 Associates for development of the area directly south of Pier 53.
K4 expects to break ground in the spring of 2017, 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.
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.
First to arrive from the south during the third week of April will be the Henslow's Sparrow, the Ovenbird, and Prairie, Black-and-white, Blue-winged, Palm, and Yellow-rumped warblers. The Park changes to spring colors, and it becomes noisy with songbirds.
Herons and hawks stay here all year.
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 .