Looking east towards the Delaware River, it’s hard to imagine that Philadelphia once had a thriving and vibrant water front. The decline of industry meant a decline in shipping and trade. Immigrants no longer arrive in America by the shipload, and newer forms of transportation mean less work on the water. Then I-95 came through and basically severed the waterfront from the rest of the city.
Today, the Philly waterfront is seeing a renaissance of sorts, as old piers are being converted to parks and trails are being established. Penn’s Landing continues to draw people in, and plans to cover more of the sunken parts of I-95 will turn what is now basically a moat back into usable space. But besides the crumbling remains of piers, there is little left of Philly’s nautical past.