To steal a line from Van Halen, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
Pipelines and myself decided to do something we had never done before and head for a part of Philadelphia we normally stay away from; The Art Museum. We had heard of some fairly obscure place that promised a vast cavern of not just street art, but also adventure. For me, adventure is something that you should experience whenever you can, and with Pipelines in tow, we were more than ready to take it on! We originally started at the other end of the Ben Franklin Parkway and stared straight into a pit where countless cop cars were parked. I had to laugh. “Well, maybe we should just ask an officer for directions. Just say, ‘Hey, how do we get to the abandoned railroad tracks?'”
We eventually reached a tiny dirt path that led directly to our treasure; a hidden world cut off from everything and everyone.
As amazing as the space itself was, it was also incredibly intimating. A massive expanse, seemingly endless at times, and a set of abandoned tracks running down the middle. It made me think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and where their lair would be, but also of how it was still so well preserved on a whole. Columns rose from the ground high into the air to keep the ceiling up. Considering the large number of cars and how long its been around and how unwell kept it is… it is nothing short of amazing to comprehend!
As we entered, we saw the walls covered in street art.
When you’re a kid, you imagine finding ancient ruins, lost cities, and new worlds. When you’re an adult and you accomplish this goal, a feeling of both pride and nostalgia washes over you, cleansing you of all your inhibitions and fears and it beckons you to embark on this new quest.
Against the water and hidden from prying eyes, The Pier was just breathtaking. The years were not kind to most of it, but the decay was just perfect. It was, without a doubt, the most stable and safest abandoned structure we had ever gone to. The place had to be at least 3 city blocks long, maybe more. Every single tower in the place was covered in tags! Hands, wildstyles, pieces, throw-ups. Everything and everyone was represented!
“You know what would be awesome?,” I asked Pipelines.
“I don’t know, what?”
“If you had a paintball fight here! It’s perfect!”
That was when I noticed that a lot of the towers were, in fact, covered with paintball bullets. I guess I wasn’t the only one to realize this.
Over the course of an hour, maybe even more, we were in awe of this behemoth. We ran around examining almost every inch. We even yelled and scream in joy because, for once, we could. No one awaiting the corner to possibly attack us, no cops waiting to bust us. No, none of that. All we had was the peace and joy of a new fort.
As we left, we passed someone who seemed to just arrive to take photos. We exchanged glances and smiles; we knew they were about to have the time of their lives.
“Where are we again?”
“We’re somewhere [redacted], but it shouldn’t be too dangerous.”
“Wait, what’s with the truck? Should we be-”
“Don’t worry, every photo I’ve seen of this place has that truck there. We should be OK.”
Myself and Pipelines had finally arrived at the entrance of the place we were tipped off about. I had helped scout out the place on Pipelines tip, and together we were going to explore it. The place was around [redacted], and largely ignored. All around us were a bunch of No Trespassing Signs, but none of them were for the property we were about to go to. “Don’t worry,” Pipelines said, “It’s mainly so if someone gets hurt that the owners can’t get sued. Instead, the blame falls on the person who enters.” Pipelines, always good for a gentle reminder that this job is sometimes easier than I think.
As we approached the truck, I soon realized there was also a guy there. In his late 50’s and balding, the man was gazing out at the vast tract of mud and dirt before him. I waved hi and smiled and he returned the favor in kind. We looked around for a [redacted], but didn’t see it. “Hey, isn’t there supposed to be a path around here?” “There is,” he said, “But it really isn’t really for walking, just cars.” “Ah, gotcha, thanks!” We took another look around and figured the best way in was by just climbing over some rocks blocking the way.
The closer we got, the more impressive the stone monolith became. Finally, we arrived at the entrance.
Covered in tags from top-to-bottom was The Pier, forgotten by time and nearly everyone. This was, by far, the single biggest playground for Philly Taggers we’d ever come across, and the incredibly epic amount of tags was staggering! From the entrance alone we saw fresh tags mixed with some rather old ones. When we finally walked by The Pier to the other side for a better look, we were floored by the incredible expanse we were about to embark on.
These are from last fall, but the fact remains that I love going to The Rez! Ever since last summer when O.D.D.Ball, Yeroc, and Eaze took us there, we’ve always enjoyed going there and back. We went back on out own last fall and got to actually relax a little and take a ton of shots. The main thing I enjoy about this place is all the years of street art that you’ll find.
Oh, and my favorite…. BURNING RABBIT HEAD OF DEATH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!