text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

LOVE Park (JFK Plaza)

Ben Franklin Parkway 11
View of the Plaza
Ben Franklin Parkway 52
"The Spaceship"

Begin at LOVE Park (JFK Plaza) on the west side of City Hall. On the corner of 16th is the circular glass LOVE Park store. The building is often referred to as "the spaceship." During the milder days of the year there is often entertainment of some sort here — concerts, evangelical and gospel singers, political speeches, dancing, string bands, sporting exhibitions. Lunchtime crowds flock to see and hear these groups and senior citizens make up much of the audience for the summer-evening concerts. The fountain is a thing of beauty, but it has a lighter aspect, too. High school students regularly celebrate the end of the school year by taking off their shoes and stockings (some don't!) and cavorting in the fountain. Several years ago, this was the center of "street skateboarding" on the East Coast, then the city banned skateboarding. Today, it is still officially banned, but oftentimes the police turn a blind eye to the ollies and flips of the young skateboarders, who are returning to their "mecca" of street skateboarding.

Rittenhouse Square