17th Street overpass over Interstate 676
|The worst depiction of anyone... ever. Pic from philart.net|
Oh, Franklin Town. That failed experiment of urban renewal from the 70's, complete with fucking moving sidewalks. I once wrote about one of its many empty lots.
|Yeah, this all got built. Sike!!|
Since it was being placed on an overpass, massively large amounts of killer bureaucracy was involved. The Federal Highway Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and Philadelphia Streets Department all had to have a hand in this disgrace. Real Estate moguls/artists Tom Miles and Alex Generalis were forced to design a sculpture based on the only thing Franklin Town could ever be known for-- Ben Franklin.
Philadelphia loves itself some depictions of early Philaphile Ben Franklin. Literally over 100 depictions of him are viewable on any given day. Throwing another one on top of the pile shouldn't have been that big a deal-- but in this case, it was. The design called for 15,000 pounds of stainless steel sheets that have been cut and painted and arranged to be a silhouette of Franklin with lightning bolts and kites everywhere. Since the bust of Franklin is 30 feet in the air, it would be viewable from 676.
In May of 1992, the steel shitstorm was installed bit by bit, work finishing on June the 1st. The "sculpture" was dedicated on June 12, 1992. Almost immediately, the hatred began. Motorists noticed the thing from below, no doubt puking all over their windshields. By August, the Inquirer's architecture critic tore it a new asshole. This disfigurement of Franklin made people start questioning the intelligence of putting depictions of him all over the place.
Today, it stands faded and rusty-nailed, still making people question what the fuck they were thinking. Franklin Town is still a piece of shit, but getting a little better... the new Mormon Temple will be right near the sculpture. With the construction of the temple, maybe its time that a new Franklin Town gateway was created. Get Albert Paley on the phone. He could design an Archway of Kick-ass that matches the one nearby on 18th Street. That'll show 'em.
|Its also a depiction of Colonial-era Cousin Itt.|