Manayunk: Local Artist Concerned Over Park Disappearances

Local artist Jim Williams painted in Pretzel Park, Manayunk.
Local artist Jim Williams painted in Pretzel Park, Manayunk.

A Philadelphia artist, who frequents Pretzel Park, has noticed that the number of people who come to the park has decreased in the recent years.

Philadelphia artist Jim Williams, who is represented by the Gross McLeaf Gallery, located on 127 S. 16th St., has been a local artist for 25 years. Pretzel Park, located on 4300 Silverwood St., is just one of the places where Williams finds inspiration for his paintings.

“There used to be people who lived under the bridge who would come watch me paint and talk to me,” Williams said. “But they just disappeared.”

Although Williams is concerned over the whereabouts of the people who would talk to him while he painted, their disappearance, which could possibly be attributed to the operators of Pretzel Park, is not the only one that alarms Williams.

“Two years ago, they paid staff to clean the park,” Williams said, “But for two decades, a woman with some sort of mental disorder took care of the park.”

Williams said that this woman would come to the park and clean up on her own accord until she was asked to leave.

“She was kicked out of the park when the city made the paid staff official,” Williams said.

Finding the whereabouts of the old inhabitants of the bridge and the woman would prove very difficult, but Williams said that he believes that these are stories that the local newspapers should be investigating and covering.

Kevin Smith, president of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, said this woman was not asked to leave.

Smith also said he is pleased with the amount of people going to the park. “There is pretty heavy use on the dog walk as well as the play area.” Smith also said the Manayunk Neighborhood Council is very pleased with the attendance at the Manayunk Saturday Summer Concert Series. “We think the programs are a success.”

Despite any concerns Williams may have over the disappearances of people who used to frequent Pretzel Park, Smith said the park is doing very well.

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