Philly Free Streets: 32 photos from the car-free party on North Broad

There were board games, beach chairs and a *lot* of different wheels.

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

North Broad looks much more impressive without any cars. The entire street from City Hall to Erie Avenue was closed to traffic Saturday morning as the fifth annual Philly Free Streets took over the boulevard.

The most striking thing was how big the roadway looked — and how much room there was to have fun along the way. Alongside the cyclists, pedestrians, rollerbladers, rollerskaters, skateboarders, wagon riders and onewheelers were lots of stops for activity.

There were jump-ropers and face-painters, board games and BBQ, water ice and chalk drawings. There was a place to win show tickets, and a place to swing in hammocks. There were contests and photo ops, even voter registration. The car-free party had plenty to do while also leaving plenty of space for travel.

The event, organized by the city, was inspired after road closures during Pope Francis’ 2015 visit left cyclists and pedestrians with miles of Center City streets at their disposal. Since then, the planned street closure has moved around to various neighborhoods. This year was its second time on North Broad, which is slowly and steadily being revitalized.

Here’s a selection of photos from Philly Free Streets 2019.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Billy Penn, PlanPhilly and WHYY joined forces with Thirsty Dice to bring some friendly competition to the day with the GAMEADELPHIA tent.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Visitors were welcome to play board games like chess and Othello, plus try their hand at Jenga, Connect Four or giant Uno.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

There was also an ongoing Tumbling Dice competition, with a chance to win a gift card to Thirsty Dice. If you’ve never played, the game is a good one for parties. It’s playable by people of just about any age — from 4 to 104, let’s say — and also super quick.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Congrats to the winner, Dave, who took the top prize with an impressive 47.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

There were lots of bicycles, though few as sparkly as this one.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Mural Arts brought bright colors that people spread throughout the street.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Double dutch was in full effect.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Some large-wheeled contraptions…

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

And some small-wheeled ones.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Thinking up important messages, the creative way.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Cooling off was key.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Especially after “the beach.”

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

For the second year running, The Goldenberg Group and the North Broad Renaissance brought in 50 tons of sand to create some shore-worthy relaxation at Master Street.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

There were beach chairs and hammocks and places to chill out.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

No matter what species you were.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Dogs were plentiful along the eight mile route.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Food stands were more scarce, but Siddiq’s Water Ice was serving up cold refreshment.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

The Laborers District Council was inviting folks to try out the city’s (semi-controversial) new voting machines.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

And enticing people to register to vote with the offer of free food.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

PAFA’s paintbrush was part of the action.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Hahnemann Hospital’s farewell window messages looked out over the event.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Handlebars? Who needs ’em.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Though they do sometimes come in handy.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Water was available for the chugging and tasting.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Sun umbrellas were another tactic to ward off the heat.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

All kinds of wheels were out on the pavement.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

Always best to be protected.

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

The chalk drawings are already washed off.

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

But the memories live on.

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