It’s less than two months until Philly welcomes the Democratic National Convention from July 25 to 28. But while most of the action will be taking place at the Wells Fargo Center, thousands will be checking out the rest of the city during the convention, too.
That means this city is in the middle of some major makeovers to make sure Philly looks good in the spotlight. From little things like repairing bike racks to big-time renovations at cultural institutions, here are 10,660+ ways Philadelphia is sprucing itself up before the DNC.
1. 10,000 light bulbs on Boathouse Row will shine brighter
Officials announced in May that they’d replace the lights on the historic and iconic Boathouse Row on the Schuylkill River in time for the DNC. The last time the boathouses had their lights replaced was in 2005. The upgraded LED lights will allow the buildings to shine 75 percent brighter.
2. 57 Donkeys will be all around downtown
Today we announced the Donkeys Around Town program, a creative civic program to encourage delegates, media and residents to see a little more of Philly during Convention Week. This art installation will feature 57 fiberglass donkeys representing 50 states, 5 U.S. territories, Washington D.C. and Democrats Abroad. Thank you to our partners: Mural Arts, Art Jawn, Visit Philadelphia. the City of Philadelphia and more than 30 area artists for collaborating on this original art initiative. #PHLDNC2016 #Philadelphia #philly #art #mascot # Read more about Donkeys Around Town on our blog today.
Dozens of glass donkeys will be installed all around Philadelphia, including the Independence Visitor Center, One Liberty Observation Deck, and more. All 57 of them were painted by local Philly artists. Each one represents a state, a U.S. territory, D.C., and Democrats Abroad.
3. Reading Viaduct Rail Park will (finally) show some life
While we longingly await for construction to begin on the Reading Viaduct Rail Park, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society will bring some activity to the spot during the convention. The PHS announced in April that it would host its first-ever pop-up beer garden at the foot of the proposed rail park. It opened last week on June 10.
4. Center City infrastructure will be upgraded and repaired
Bike racks, lights, trees, even bollard caps are being replaced or repaired, according to Center City District, which shared a long list of repairs with Curbed Philly.
- Replacing 19 bike racks on Market Street East
- Replacing 51 street planters
- Adding additional Transit signage in the Dilworth Park Concourse
- Replacing over 220 Walk!Philadelphia signs, including 60 disc map signs
- Replacing 65 Direct Philadelphia Vehicular signs
- Repairing 90 bollard caps
- Powder coating 60 honor box corrals on Market Street East and Avenue of the Arts
- Replaced over 35 trees
- Replacing over 60 LED RGB fixtures on the Avenue of the Arts
- The southside of City Hall will be lit up to coordinate with South Broad lighting
5. The Oval’s colorful mural will return to Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Officials announced this month that the Oval will officially open July 15. That means the grounds of Eakins Oval will be covered in another colorful mural that will surely make for some photo ops during the DNC. The pop-up beer garden will also expand its schedule during the DNC and offer discounts and quizzo night.
5. The National Constitution Center will get a makeover
"Freedom Rising, a theater-in-the round production, is a timeless yet state-of-the-art immersive experience that blends live theater, cutting edge 360 projection, and enveloping sound to engage visitors in unforgettable ways with the origins and unfolding meaning of the U.S. Constitution in our lives today." - Donna Lawrence, Executive Producer/Show Director. The National Constitution Center’s Freedom Rising in the Sidney Kimmel Theater will reopen on June 14 with a 360 degree seamless screen and enhanced projection technology. #FlagDay
The Sidney Kimmel Center is currently closed as it undergoes a renovation right before the DNC. It's home to Freedom Rising, the longest-running multimedia show in Philadelphia, and it’s due time for a little production and technology upgrade.
- Boathouse Row’s 10K lights to be replaced for DNC [Curbed Philly]
- PHS pop-up garden planned for still stalled Reading Viaduct Rail Park [Curbed Philly]
- The Oval returns July 15 [Curbed Philly]
- Map: 14 cultural institutions currently undergoing renovations [Curbed Philly]