June 10, 2021. It's impossible tp tell by the photograph, but the sun rose on the morning of June 10 and was partially eclipsed by the moon. The sun from 6 to 8 o-clock looked as if it had a bite taken out of it.

There were half a dozen people at the Park. One man was doing yoga; another was a runner whose destination was the Park and he stopped to watch the sun rise, and then turned around and went home. There were some people with cameras. One man was wearing eclipse gasses he had saved from the solar eclipse in 2017. Someone had brought a radio and it was playing elevator music, but it was perfect for the occasion. Cool breezes off the river. You could tell the day was going to be hot, but at this time of day it was glorious.

The migrating birds have returned, as they do every year. The ducks and the geese never leave. The geese honk noisily, especially at sunrise. The insects have returned. It's noisy. 

Butterflies are back.

Just before the lockdown in 2020, the Friends of Washington Avenue Green received a grant from the Precious Places Community History Project—a Philadelphia-based group dedicated to collecting oral histories of public spaces that hold the memories of the community.

The finished eight-minute-long documentary was aired on Channel 12 in January, and will be available later in the year as an accessible archived document and will be aired as part of the regular scheduled programming—date to be determined.

As part of the re-imaging of the Washington Avenue Pier space, trees indigenous to the area were planted, but some of the 'invasive' trees, such as the white mulberry, were left untouched.  Now they all live together and share canopy space over the land and the river's edge.

tree canopy

Visitors will be returning soon to the beach. There will be kayakers, and waders, and bird and turtle watchers. 

man and young girl on the beach


title image for video

Pier 53:
They Came, They Stayed.

The eight-minute-long video will be aired at some time in the late summer/early fall. PBS features "Precious Places' entries on Wednesdays at 7:30 PM.

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

And here's the link to a podcast first aired on WHYY on June 14, 2018. It includes an interview with Susan McAninley and a description of the Pier 53 Project.


Title image of the video at the top of this column was taken by Joseph Showalter.
All other photos by Susan McAninley.