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Mark Henninger

A Valentine’s Day miracle: A South Philly crack filled with rainbow jimmies

The Streets Department insists it’s not OK to repair the road with ice cream toppings.

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Mark Henninger
Cassie Owens, Reporter/Curator

Updated Wednesday at 4:30 pm: We caught up to the artist responsible.

Did someone order extra … jimmies?

A South Philadelphia woman seemed surprised to find them. “Does this have a secret meaning??” Rebecca Kenton posted to a popular neighborhood Facebook group. “Somebody filled the 8 foot long crack in the alley outside my house with cupcake sprinkles…??.”

Jimmies? Sprinkles? That’s a long running debate, even among Philadelphians. But yup, they’re there. Our photographer snapped these shots at Fitzwater and Mildred streets between Eighth and Ninth near the Italian Market today.

Chicago-based Jim Bachor has attracted national attention for his pothole mosaics, particularly ones that portray ice cream and other sweets. But straight-up rainbow sprinkles? That’s something else.

Keisha McCarty-Skelton, a spokeswoman for the Streets Department, has been working in the department for more than 15 years. “I haven’t seen that before,” she said.

“The Streets Department does not encourage residents to perform maintenance using unsuitable materials,” McCarty-Skelton also wrote in an email. “[A]ppropriate materials are used to do repairs; ice cream toppings are not one of them.”

We reached Kenton this afternoon by phone. “I can see out my window: Every other person that walks by is photographing this,” she said.

Kenton said she went to lunch with a friend and noticed the confections when she came back.

“It looked like a little rainbow river from down the street. So I just stood there and stared at it,” she told Billy Penn. “It made me really happy, even though I guess it’s technically litter.

If it was a Valentine’s gift, it would probably be the cutest one I’ve ever gotten,” she continued. “It’s probably not because I’m single.”

Kenton has “zero clue” who did this, and is offering a reward to anyone who can definitely tell her who. The reward is a chocolate cake with sprinkles. “Not with those sprinkles,” she added to be clear.

She’s not concerned that the sprinkles will bring insects or rodents: “If the cockroaches want to come and have a little feast, or rats are coming, they’re out there anyway. I don’t think they’re going to take refuge in my house because there’s sprinkles out there.”

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Mark Henninger
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Mark Henninger
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Mark Henninger