Delancey Park, Philadelphia, PA



United States

Delancey Park

Situated amidst townhouses in Philadelphia’s Society Hill neighborhood, this pocket park was created in 1965. Transforming a vacant lot, landscape architect John Collins designed the park as one of several such spaces associated with the Washington Square East Urban Renewal Project led by Edmund Bacon between 1957 and 1977. Enclosed by brick walls and townhouses on two sides, the park is open to Cypress and Delancey Streets and is bisected by a greenway that extends several blocks in both directions. A bosque of mature honey locust shades the park. The eastern half of the site comprises a bluestone-paved plaza demarcated by the rhythmic positioning of lighted, concrete bollards. A raised, circular planter with an iron railing and mature shrubs occupies the north part of the plaza. To the west of the greenway, the park is paved with brick sectioned by concrete bands. Rectilinear planters with dense hedges enclose play equipment, benches, and tables. Demarcating the southwest entry, a cast-concrete sculpture of bears—created by Joseph Winter and added in 1966—gives the park its alternative name, Three Bears Park.

Addressing the slow decline of the site’s landscape features, the non-profit Friends of Three Bears Park was established in 1989. In 2006, landscape architects Thomas Johnston and Peter Johnson rejuvenated the park. Brick and bluestone pavers were salvaged and re-installed, retaining the site’s historic fabric. Play equipment was updated, new benches were added, drainage was improved, and a safety surface was added beneath the playground. Delancey Park is a contributing feature of the Society Hill Historic District, listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. 

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