History of the Spot: Philadelphia Graffiti Pier
Often referred to as the Graffiti Pier, or the Graffiti Underground, this haven of vandalism was originally an old coal mining pier along the Delaware River, adjacent to Philadelphia’s Port Richmond and Fishtown neighborhoods. Officially named Pier 124, the pier was shut down in 1991 when Conrail moved it mining operations to Baltimore as a cost saving measure. Stripped of its heavy machinery and train tracks, all that was left was two concrete structures with rows of support beams that jutted out along the pier toward the river. Hidden down a dirt road and overgrown brush, the abandoned pier has continued to live on as a not-so-secret stomping ground for graffiti writers.
Offering a beautiful view of Philadelphia’s skyline, the pier has become a canvas for aerosol paint and a safe haven for writers to practice their craft. Although recently gentrified neighborhoods sit just on the other side of bordering Interstate 95, with the pier included in many of the city’s grand schemes for eventual riverfront redevelopment, for now the pier is too far north for any kind of serious revitalization. That is good news for the writers, photographers, fishermen and others who frequent this unique space. We recently explored Graffiti Pier and snapped some photos.