With the pandemic waning and the city about to lift many of its restrictions, Philadelphia’s iconic Reading Terminal Market had just refreshed its exterior and doors and put new window dressings around the entire building.
“We had cleaned everything, and we were really looking forward to welcoming people as they come back into the city,” said Annie Allman, CEO and general manager of the Reading Terminal Market Corp.
Then a vandal struck Wednesday night. Using what appeared to be a jet-spray device, the person sprayed the Filbert Street side of the 128-year-old building. The paint, which Allman described as battleship gray, hit from as high as the gun could apparently reach to sidewalk level, along the entire block, between 11th and 12th Streets. A surveillance video shows a person dressed in black with a face mask carrying a red bag with white letters while spraying.
With help from the Center City District, the market was able to clear much of the paint. But some of it hit the wood and stone trim and that will be more difficult to repair, Allman said.
Like many businesses, the market’s 70 merchants have had a tough time during the pandemic. Now, a vandal has caused more harm.
Allman estimates the damage is at least in “the five figures.” The market coincidentally is about to kick off a fund-raising campaign, and now some of that money will have to be put toward the repairs, she said.
Since the market went public about the vandalism, it has received an outpouring of warm and caring comments, Allman said.
“People who love the market, love it deeply and passionately, and we appreciate that,” she said.
Police are investigating, she said. No other buildings apparently were hit. The market is offering a $500 gift card for information leading to identification of the culprit.