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.
Billy Penn, PlanPhilly and WHYY joined forces with Thirsty Dice to bring some friendly competition to the day with the GAMEADELPHIA tent.
Visitors were welcome to play board games like chess and Othello, plus try their hand at Jenga, Connect Four or giant Uno.
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.
Congrats to the winner, Dave, who took the top prize with an impressive 47.
There were lots of bicycles, though few as sparkly as this one.
Mural Arts brought bright colors that people spread throughout the street.
Double dutch was in full effect.
Some large-wheeled contraptions…
And some small-wheeled ones.
Thinking up important messages, the creative way.
Cooling off was key.
Especially after “the beach.”
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.
There were beach chairs and hammocks and places to chill out.
No matter what species you were.
Dogs were plentiful along the eight mile route.
Food stands were more scarce, but Siddiq’s Water Ice was serving up cold refreshment.
The Laborers District Council was inviting folks to try out the city’s (semi-controversial) new voting machines.
And enticing people to register to vote with the offer of free food.
PAFA’s paintbrush was part of the action.
Hahnemann Hospital’s farewell window messages looked out over the event.
Handlebars? Who needs ’em.
Though they do sometimes come in handy.
Water was available for the chugging and tasting.
Sun umbrellas were another tactic to ward off the heat.
All kinds of wheels were out on the pavement.
Always best to be protected.
The chalk drawings are already washed off.
But the memories live on.