Replacing what was once a dusty parking lot adjacent to the complex, the pods in this 35,000-square-foot space at Germantown Avenue and North Second Street are painted in a rainbow of colors. At its entrance stands a 33-foot-tall robot sculpture dubbed Bebot, who looms over nearly a dozen food and drink vendors, a fitness area, and retailers — all operating out of recycled shipping containers. Seating is scattered throughout the dog-friendly plaza.
While lacking in waterfront views, consider the pod park Northern Liberties’ answer to Spruce Street Harbor Park. (It’s also inspired by similar concepts in Las Vegas and London.) The Post Brothers, who developed the park, hope to create a community space — something the Piazza didn’t manage.
“The Piazza courtyard was event-dependent, whereas this is not,” said Randy Hope, a principal of Post Brothers. “It’s a comfortable space where you can go and sit by yourself or come hang out with a crowd of people.”
The Piazza Pod Park will be open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) starting Saturday, June 8.
Here’s what else to expect:
Food and drink
The park has more than 10 food and drink spots, offering Montreal-style bagels, dim sum, Mexican street corn, pizza and beer, and more. The restaurant pods range from 10 to 40 feet long. The larger ones feature mini indoor-dining spaces; the smaller ones have open windows for walk-up orders. One dining-only pod will offer rooftop tables and air-conditioned indoors.
Food vendors include Essen Bakery, Tiki Takos by El Camino, Spread Bagelry, Urban Village Brewing Co., French Toast Bites, Mama Maria’s Italian Ice, Empanada Box, and Lil Sum Sum.
Besides the drinks from Urban Village and Tiki Takos, there are pods serving wine and cocktails (the latter of which is branded after the newly opened, vibrantly decorated Center City bar Blume). Urban Village operates the wine bar, offering all Pennsylvania wines, while the cocktail bar is operated by the Craft Concepts Group, also behind Tradesman’s, U-Bahn, Kontrol, and Uptown Beer Garden. Craft is working with Manatawny Still Works to spike both draft and frozen cocktails.
An open-air gym
The group and personal training outfit Fit Academy will helm a designated workout pod, which opens completely to provide clear views of the park (and plenty of breezes).
Fit owner and trainer Osayi Osunde, also a former Villanova football player, will run a variety of high-intensity interval training-inspired boot camps at the pod. Classes will be offered at 5 and 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 9, 10, and 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Up to 25 people can attend each session. Visit fitphl.com for updates on the schedule.
Other open-air workouts will pop up at the park, too, including yoga classes that were formerly held inside the Piazza courtyard.
Burning Man sculptures
Bebot, the pod park’s 13,000-pound centerpiece, brings a slice of Burning Man to Philadelphia. Initially created last year by the London artist Andrea Greenlees for the annual Nevada art festival, the robot now waves hello to NoLibs visitors.
Also imported from Burning Man, a series of “Think Cubes” light up an 800-foot-long path in the northeast corner of the park every night. The color-changing blocks are made of 185 water-storage containers and 100,000 LED lights. The path is designed to connect the Girard Station subway entrance to the park.
East Passyunk Avenue’s Tildie’s Toy Box will cram one pod with more than 600 gender-neutral toys, games, books, and crafting materials. Alongside bubble wands and Pitch-N-Catch for the kids, there are Ruth Bader Ginsburg finger puppets for the adults.
The park is also scattered with public art for kids to climb, and a small jungle gym will be added within the next few weeks. New moms in need of a quiet place to step away can retreat to the air-conditioned nursing pod.
Year-round programming is in the works. In warm weather, expect movie screenings, outdoor concerts, yappy hours, trivia nights, and salsa dancing lessons. Look for a full schedule at piazzapodpark.com as details are completed.
Location and parking
The Piazza Pod Park is at 1069 Germantown Ave. The Girard subway station is about a block and a half away, but there’s an adjacent parking lot that fits up to 200 cars and is free with validation. There’s plenty of bike and stroller parking, too.