Pier 53 Park on the Delaware and Washington Avenue
The pier where many Philadelphia families first arrived in this country now welcomes visitors from shore as the city’s newest riverfront park. Pier 53 features public access to the pier and panoramic views of the river; an elevated boardwalk; access to the water; and ecological improvements designed to further improve natural habitat.
It also features the Land Buoy art installation by artist Jody Pinto, who was inspired by the pier’s Ellis Island-like immigrant history. Powered with a solar panel, the top of the buoy lights up at night. Visitors can climb partway up it with a spiral staircase.
The $1.5 million project extends the on-shore Washington Avenue Green park out into the water. It is part of the city’s goal to revitalize the Central Delaware, from Allegheny to Oregon avenues, as described in the Central Delaware Master Plan, implementation of which is being guided by the quasi-city Delaware River Waterfront Corporation.
The plan calls for a network of public spaces linked together by waterfront trail and transit. Also planned are new residential, retail and commercial spaces and capping part of I-95 with a new park to reconnect existing neighborhoods to the Delaware.
The pier park is the northern-most portion of the wetlands park and will stretch from there to Pier 70, and it will serve as a demonstration of the wetlands restoration practices. If Pier 53 is successful, the rest of the wetlands park could be funded in part by entities that are required to do wetland restoration.