The last two summers, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society has transformed two different vacant lots in Center City into pop-up gardens. In 2011, they created a lovely but temporary green space at the corner of 20th & Market where (in theory) a new building will soon (finally) rise. Last year, a garden appeared on the embarrassing vacant lot on the 1900 block of Walnut Street which where a movie theater burned down almost twenty years ago. Now, a third garden is poised to open, this time at 313 S. Broad St., on a lot owned by University of the Arts.
The front of the space functions as a welcome area, with trees, a lawn, and flowers. The rear contains seating and greenery, a beer garden, and a mobile restaurant. The menu will include craft beers, snacks, and a small variety of hot sandwiches. Starting on the 29th, hours for the restaurant will be Monday-Thursday, 5-10pm; Friday & Saturday, 1-11pm; and Sunday, 12-10pm. And because the of the partnership with UArts, the garden will also feature performances and art installations from undergrad and graduate students from the University.
We can’t wait to check out the garden once it opens, and enjoy a beer and a snack in this wonderful, albeit temporary space. In October, the garden will be taken down and this lot will return to its previous underused state. Will UArts be inspired to do something worthwhile with this lot in the near future, or will it continue to languish as a very-well-located surface parking lot for years to come? Let us hope that it’s the former that the University has in store. But only time will tell.