On the banks of the Central Delaware River, the eerie remains of a coal loading dock that’s been transformed into a street art hotspot sit on a vacant pier, covered with years of graffiti. After its previous owner, Conrail, officially closed the pier in 1991, graffiti artists took over, using the site’s concrete pillars as canvases and creating an illegal outdoor art gallery filled with some of Philadelphia’s finest street art.
However, after two decades of illegal art-making and trespassing, the Philadelphia Police Department eventually began enforcing the no-trespassing rule, leaving the location nearly undisturbed for a year. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation recently signed an MOU to purchase the property and adjacent land from current owner, Conrail, for development, revealing a plan for a park that would incorporate the pier.
The pier structure itself is concrete, consisting of two colonnades supporting a roof, thus creating what is architecturally considered an arcade. There are other concrete forms on the pier, which are also decorated.
A range of graffiti is present, most notably tags, but also stencils, stickers, artistic representations, painting, general lettering, and geometric forms. Most of the pieces are at eye level or slightly above; however, some are in hard-to-see places.