New series of pop-up beer gardens & events around East Falls aims to festoon Ridge Ave with funky, functional art.
You’d think a solid metal sculpture bolted to concrete would be a stationary fixture, but Inn Yard Park’s jaunty fish bike rack has been surprisingly mobile. Installed in 2011, around 2015 we noticed it was just sitting freely on the sidewalk, chained to a standard “U” bike rack. WTF?
Since the piece had been commissioned for EFDC, we asked Gina Snyder who explained that PennDOT had done some road work there at some point, and disengaged the sculpture for some reason…? Instead of bolting it back into the concrete when they were done, PennDot did the simplest thing. Gina was told the fix was only temporary, and that the bike rack would most likely need to be moved to make room for curb cut-outs and a new crosswalk.
Meanwhile, John Howie of Frequency Tattoo also noticed this weird bike rack-on-a-bike-rack situation. As an artist, it kinda hurt to see someone else’s fine work so poorly displayed. He mentioned this to Gina, and offered to make a proper home for it in front of his shop near the Twin Bridges. He often rides his bike to work from his home on Cresson, his clients often cycle, too — it’d get used, it’d be loved.
So the catfish bike rack came to East Falls’ only tattoo shop: a great pop of color and flourish in front of John’s gleaming historic facade. Inn Yard Park’s upgrades went smoothly, and then… Gina got a call from Philly Streets Department, “Hey, where’s the bike rack?”
Uh oh. Turns out there’s room for the rack at Inn Yard, after all. They were coming for the sculpture. Gina pleaded a good case but you can’t fight the city: it’s technically their sculpture, not EFDC’s.
So the Fish Bike Rack moved back to its old spot — looks great, but unfortunately now there’s a sad empty space in front of John’s shop. Seems so unfair, to have such a prize taken away.
Of course Gina feels terrible; we do too because that cool bike rack looked great down that end of Ridge, which doesn’t often seem to get a lot of love. Last October, we raised $3,000 towards a boat ramp with one event, so what if this year we shoot for replacing Frequency’s bike rack?
As luck would have it, the artist is still in nearby Springfield, and still taking commissions for her awesome recycled metal pieces. We shared our story, and Sandy was so touched by our situation she agreed to create John a replacement bike race at cost (!). She and John discussed a new bike rack design, and Gina’s rustled up $500 to get things started.
We are about a sixth of the way there, thank you Sandy & EFDC!
Although the Bike Race has been cancelled this year, a new series of pop-up beer gardens are bringing fun, music, and even vendors to Kelly Drive & the Twin Bridges parking lot every 3rd Thursday thru fall. Since the event takes place on EFDC property, a portion of the proceeds will come back to the community as functional art we can all use & appreciate.
In addition — EFL’s been cooking up some fun with Billy Murphy and other players on the local business scene. We’ll be announcing a Summer/Fall calendar that kicks off this July with a pool party fit for a mermaid! Plus, some other truly spectacular private locations we’ve been scouting all year…
Our goal? To energize and engage East Falls residents and businesses, and give something back to the community. What better place to start, than righting a wrong by replacing Frequency Tattoo’s lost bike rack by supporting a local artist who reflects our industrial roots.
MIAMI DAYS AND NIGHTS THIS JULY 22 AT ALDEN PARK: An epic party for East Falls.
GET ON THE E-LIST! Obviously we’ll be covering East Falls’ burgeoning beer garden scene as events develop but if you’d like to receive updates or have your contact info added to our vendors/advertising list, please email us.
We’re also open to ideas for events and promotions in East Falls and surrounding NW Philly neighborhoods. Let’s chat about how we can pull you into our creative circle.