Updated 9:30 a.m.
One of the most popular Instagram and drone videography destinations in the city is now off limits.
Graffiti Pier, the slowly-eroding but colorfully-decorated jetty that juts into the Delaware River in Port Richmond, has always technically been private property. But on Tuesday, Philly Police announced they plan to actually enforce no-trespassing laws there, according to a PMN report.
How effective the ban will be remains to be seen. The pier, which is a former Reading Railroad coal loading dock and is now owned by Conrail, has been viewed by default as a public space for years.
It’s listed as a destination — complete with “trail map” — on a site called Philly Day Hiker. It’s featured in a Curbed listicle called “12 Amazing Abandoned Spaces in Philly.” A Facebook page for Graffiti Pier is labeled “Art Gallery.” There’s an entire photography book about it. Hidden City last year published a reasoned case for why it should be officially designated a public park.
Conrad Benner, of the popular street art blog Streets Dept., has long argued that Graffiti Pier should be treated as an icon, and suggested the city could add infrastructure like guardrails along with taking other preservation steps.
Instead, it’s now shut down. Cops will regularly patrol the area, per PMN, and plan to ticket and tow cars parked near the entrance.
The growing attractiveness of the pier as an Instagram destination is one of the reasons police gave for the change. Apparently, tourists leave their cars unlocked when they go explore, and then sometime have things stolen out of them — or the cars themselves get swiped. The PPD’s solution to this is to stop the exploration from happening in the first place. “A surge in illicit activity” was another reason cited for the shutdown.
Whether the new policy is effective remains to be seen. For now, here’s proof of the spot’s visual beauty in 15 killer Instagrams of Graffiti Pier.
The ground-level view through the arches is the most recognizable and iconic.
But there’s still dozens if not hundreds of different angles from which to snap the pic, each with a unique vibe.
Including a model in a yoga pose is one way to differentiate your shot.
The juxtaposition of concrete and nature is one of the pier’s charms.
As is its proximity to water.
The giant empty pipes strewn nearby are another popular photo spot.
Whether it’s from the inside…
…or from the outside.
From some angles, the pier is impossible to miss.
Nearly every square inch of stone is covered with color.
There are new details to discover around every corner.
Some more recognizable than others.
There’s also a fantastic skyline view to be had.
From some angles, it seems like a very long way from Center City.
Yeah, this is probably what the cops are worried about. This is the opposite end from most of the graffiti art. Don’t do this.