Adam Goldin | Philadelphia Blog

Adam Goldin covers Philadelphia news and updates.

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Spring Festivals and Events in Philly

cherry blossom fairmont parkIt doesn’t matter if you are looking for a uniquely romantic date night or a relaxed family fun day, there are so many great things to do in Philadelphia in spring, and as the weather starts to warm up, there is no better way to shake off the chill and the cabin fever of winter than by getting out and enjoying some of the great events that this city has to offer.

Spruce Street Harbor Park. The Delaware River Waterfront has been amping up their game every year. We are going into the third year of the SSHP, and while I know it can get crowded in peak times, it is always worth the trip. Last year they stretched the length of the park further, and tied in more with the Roller Rink just around the point past the Seaport Museum. Though the specific details haven’t been released yet, they have always tried to expand the offerings. From horseshoes and shuffleboard to napping in a hammock fried chicken sandwiches from Federal Doughnuts and ice cream from Franklin Fountain, to a sandy beer, wine, and cocktail barge on the water for the grownups, it’s a spring afternoon that just can’t be beat. Last year they opened in May.

Chinese Lantern Festival. As part of the 10th birthday part of Franklin Square, Historic Philadelphia is putting on a great spring event starting in April and running until June. The small but charming square at 6th and Race will have the usual fare of the carousel and Philly-landmark mini-golf as well as Square Burger (for that Tastykake milkshake), but there will also be huge, illuminated lanterns, including a three-story-tall pagoda and a 200 foot long Chinese dragon. There will be craftspeople with small booths and will be creating edible sugar dragons, Chinese character painting of guest’s names, and more! There are entertainers at night when the lanterns are lit, including acrobats and balancing acts. The square is free during the day, but once the sun sets, the activities entertainment will come with a ticket price.

Fairmount Park’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Fashion shows, tours of the Shofuso Japanese Garden House, a samurai competition, Taiko drumming, dancing, karaoke, live music, Sakura Under the Stars, and more events all made an appearance at last year’s festival. And, of course, the cherry blossoms themselves, which are just as magical as any of the festivities put on at this wonderful spring festival.

Starting this month and running through September, the Franklin Institute will be hosting a “Science behind Pixar” event. From the math and engineering to the modeling and sound recording, dive into the world of Pixar with over 40 hands on displays, along with video of interviews with the creators of Pixar films. Try out modeling, set design, animation, and more at this event that everyone can enjoy. Don’t forget to walk through the giant heart on your way out, in true Franklin Institute tradition!

And don’t forget to celebrate warm weather the Philly way: with a street fair. The Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, the South Street Spring Festival, and the 9th Street Italian Market Festival all happen about the same time every year. Each brings the unique personality of its neighborhood, with food, drinks, entertainment, music, and elbow-to-elbow people out into the sunshine every year. I recommend going early in the day if you are taking kids, as the crowds get rowdy after a day of sun and imbibing. If you’re looking for something more brainy, check out the Philadelphia Science Festival, which culminates every year with a street fair science carnival.

philadelphia skyline

Philly’s Changing Skyline

Philadelphia’s iconic skyline, familiar to anyone who visits frequently or calls Philly home, is changing again. The Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, due to open in 2017, has been in progress for a while (the $1.2 billion skyscraper began construction in 2014), and will be one of the largest buildings in the country when completed.

At 59 stories of glass and stainless steel tall, it has been planned to be an extension of Comcast’s global headquarters. It will also become the headquarters for NBC 10, Telemundo, and the Four Seasons Philadelphia Hotel. It has 1.285 million rentable square feet of office space, and 230,112 square feet of hotel space. The Four Seasons, which was located in Logan Square for over 30 years, will be taking over the top two floors with a spa, fitness facilities, meeting space, event space, and a 360 degree view restaurant at the very top of the building as the cherry on the sundae.

It will be the eighth tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The architect is world-renowned  Lord Norman Foster of Foster + Partners, with interior design by Gensler. It will include a parking garage and a retail mall on the lower levels and at least three television studios. There will be an enclosed public indoor plaza build to compliment Comcast’s existing outdoor space, and will connect to the Suburban Station concourse underground, as well as widened sidewalks and roads surrounding the building which will improve access to the area for Philadelphians.

Governor Tom Corbett’s Office said the tower “will become the dedicated home for the company’s growing workforce of technologists, engineers and software architects.”

“We are thrilled to mark another historic moment in our company’s history in Pennsylvania with the development of the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center,” said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast Corporation. “This expansion of Comcast’s vertical campus in Philadelphia will create tens of thousands of jobs and drive billions of dollars in economic development in the Commonwealth and the City. This exciting project would not be possible without the support of the Commonwealth and Governor Corbett, who is a true and committed partner in driving Pennsylvania’s growth.”

The building is estimated to generate $2.75 billion in overall economic impact in Pennsylvania and will create over 20,000 jobs by some estimates. They are also looking to make the center as much of an attraction as it is a technologically-advanced business center. “This entertainment and innovation complex elevates downtown Philadelphia’s strong reputation as a world-class destination for culture and connection,” Corbett said. “We’re investing in public spaces where visitors and Pennsylvanians alike can marvel at our world-class art, our incomparable architecture and our unique attractions. This project is not only about building a new tower on Philadelphia’s skyline, or about creating new and beautiful public spaces in Center City. This project shows that Philadelphia is taking a bite out of the ‘Big Apple’ and we are ready to compete with anyone in the world to bring jobs to Pennsylvania.”

While there is not yet word on what the restaurant on the top floor will be, the most buzz is definitely whirling around it. It will be the tallest publicly accessible point in Philadelphia by about 400 feet, with huge glass walls for a view of the entire city. For reference, the City Hall Tower Observation Deck is 500 feet above ground, and restaurant R2L is also 500 feet high, this new restaurant will clock in at 900 feet off the ground. And we also know there is no shortage of food talent in the Philadelphia area, so there is no doubt this place is going to knock some socks off.

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Welcome to Adam Goldin‘s blog about Philadelphia. Check back here to learn more about all the amazing that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer.

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