The following people are frequents of the Philadelphia waterfront. They either work on the waterfront, or have a vast amount of knowledge about the waterfronts in Philadelphia. These five people you need to know are typical Philadelphians, who make the waterfront their place of employment, and depend on it for their livelihood.
Jordan (pictured above) is a laborer for Northeast Ship Repair at the Navy Yard. His main duties are to clean ballasts and tanks, and to assist with electrical and welding work on ships that are in need of repair. Jordan has a large amount of contacts at the Navy Yard and keeps a close eye on the changing landscape, as well as the addition of new buildings and businesses at the yard.
The Director of Marketing and Development for the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, Gray has worked for the small non-profit organization for 6 years. They work in conjunction with the city of Philadelphia and the state to revitalize the tidal Schuylkill waterfront, running from the Fairmount Dam to the point at which the Schuylkill meets the Delaware River. Their current project is a boardwalk that will run from Locust Street up to the South Street Bridge, adding to the Schuylkill trail they hope will one day lead all the way to Bartram’s Gardens.
Wall serves at the Information desk at the Independence Seaport Museum on Penn’s Landing. He has knowledge of the history of the waterfront and works closely with curator Craig Burns. Wall can help provide information on the failed plans for the development of Penn’s Landing. He can also provide information on any new plans for the waterfront.
Sykora is the Director of Destination Schuylkill River (DSR), an offshoot of the Manayunk Development Corporation. Through a combination of planning, projects and programming, the DSR tries to get people excited about the parks and trails around the Schuylkill in Manayunk and East Falls. Their current projects include developing a curriculum for local schools about watersheds and working with the city on Lower Venice Island, along with continual improvements and additions to the Schuylkill Trail.
Stern is the volunteer and programs coordinator at Laurel Hill Cemetery. One of the three staffers at the private cemetery, she manages the tour guides and programs that go on within its gates. With only 25 burials a year, Laurel Hill depends on projects and programs for funding in addition to grants. Their busiest time is during Halloween, including a Rest in Peace 5K, but tours go on year round, such as the Civil War Erotica tour they’re currently offering for Valentine’s Day.
– Text and images by Nicole Soll and Jesse Bellosi