ABOVE PHOTO: Cherry Street Pier (Cherry Street Pier | Photo courtesy DRWC)
Art studios, a marketplace, and restaurant collaborations breathe new life into a historic pier…
By Shannon Wink
Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront hosts perennial good times at multiple riverside sites throughout the year. And as of last Friday, the waterfront welcomes yet another game-changing destination with the opening of Cherry Street Pier.
The indoor-outdoor attraction is a multifaceted public space with artist studios, a marketplace, an event space, and alfresco bar and cafe. It’s the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation’s first covered public space to open year-round, and joins the DRWC’s other popular riverfront spaces like Spruce Street Harbor Park and Blue Cross RiverRink.
Festival for the People kicked off last Saturday to help welcome the revamped space to the waterfront with three weekends of arts and subculture programming across Cherry Street Pier and its neighboring Race Street Pier.
What to Eat and Drink at Cherry Street Pier
Cherry Street Pier’s food and beverage lineup brings together some of Philly’s favorite flavors while also offering exclusive dishes and deals. James Beard Award-nominee Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya offers popular items from the menu at its Indonesian BYOB in Point Breeze, including chicken, lamb and pork satay.
Birdie’s Biscuits makes its second home on the pier on Saturdays and Sundays, serving items customers at its Reading Terminal Market stall love, like blueberry cheesecake, apple cobbler, and mushroom and brie biscuits.
Visitors can find Little Baby’s Ice Cream in cups, cones and milkshakes, as well as in non-dairy forms, in the outdoor portion of the pier. To celebrate the collaborative spirit of Cherry Street Pier, Little Baby’s has revived its Balsamic Blueberry Cheesecake Biscuit ice cream flavor in partnership with Birdie’s. Visitors should also keep an eye out for an exclusive flavor in honor of Festival for the People.
Old City-based Cooperage teams up with Cescaphe executive chef Joe Laporte on neighborhood-named dishes like Queen Village Quinoa Salad, Broad Street Taco, Market Street Pizza and more.
The bar serves the best of Philly’s booming brews and spirits scene. New-to-Fishtown Kurant Cider offers a variety of sips at the pier, including some exclusive ciders. Specialty cocktails feature local spirits Kiki Vodka and Five Saints Whiskey, and a local Artisan’s Cellar team curated the pier’s draft wine selection.
The bar is open daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Restaurant hours are 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. tp 10 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.
Artists at Work
Repurposed cargo shipping containers house 14 artist studios. For the next year, these multi-discipline creatives will work from Cherry Street Pier, opening up their processes to the public and often collaborating with one another.
Sue Huang’s installation and new-media piece will come together through a study of clouds and ice cream.
Philly-based painter Ed Marion will paint portraits of Philadelphia to be published in a book. Product designer Sharif Pendleton is relaunching his brand at Cherry Street Pier for all to see and influence.
Theatre Philadelphia’s time on the pier will include professional development events and public performances, creating a hub for both industry professionals and theater lovers.
Photographer James Abbott will host Cherry Street Pier’s first exhibition. Abbott, whose also one of the 14 artists-in-residence, will display work from Philadelphia and abroad throughout the month of November.
Opening Weekends with Festival for the People
There’s no soft opening here: Cherry Street Pier’s year-round programming kicks off with three weekends of interactive and participatory events and installations. On Saturdays and Sundays until October 28, visitors can stroll between Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier to celebrate subcultural forms throughout the city with Festival for the People.
Banners honor city neighborhoods and short films, and talks and demonstrations pop up during the weekends.
Visitors to Cherry Street Pier can test out installations from two visiting groups. Impulse, an installation of seesaws designed by CS Design and Lateral Office; and Prismatica, a group of colorful spinning prisms by Raw Design, are meant for engaging.
Cherry Street Pier’s multifaceted space is broken down into different areas that call back to the pier’s former life as a key part of Philadelphia’s port.
What to See
The 55,000-square-foot abandoned warehouse has been repurposed with consideration and care to maintain its historic value, and visitors can see and interact with many callbacks to the pier’s former life as a key part of Philadelphia’s port.
Visitors find a casual area for dining and drinking near the entrance of Cherry Street Pier (The Hub) alongside a bazaar where local artisans and merchants can showcase and sell their goods (The Market).
Affordable co-working spaces and studios, housed in repurposed cargo shipping containers, will line the main corridor and be available to share or rent for local creatives, artists and businesses (The Garage). The units will be completely public facing to allow visitors to observe the artistic process and give the artists the opportunity to interact with their audiences.
A versatile, revolving event and performance space will be positioned centrally near the back of the pier (The Platform) and visitors will find a tranquil open-air garden at the pier’s end, offering incredible views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and plenty of room for riverside relaxation, plus a cafe and more alfresco food and drink options (The Terrace).
Stay tuned for much more to come from the latest way to get on the water in Philly, including events for kids, flea markets, holiday programming and more.