Opinion The Philadelphia Inquirer
Made in America is ‘an ongoing atrocity’ for neighborhood residents
By Joseph Batory
Sunday September 1, 2019
Most people who live in the Art Museum area purchased homes and condos there to be in an area of world-class museums and the green environment that surrounds them.
Unfortunately, in recent years, the Art Museum area has become the designated site for numerous “circus atmosphere” events that simply do not belong in Philadelphia’s artistic and cultural centerpiece.
The greatest misuse of the area is the annual Made in America farce over Labor Day weekend. Perverse blasting music pours out continuously from the fenced-in Art Museum area for hours on end until midnight, shaking rooms in area homes.
There is absolutely no rhyme or reason in allowing this bizarre happening in an area of artistic beauty. The Art Museum area stands on its own merits. Its museums and quiet, tree-lined beauty are world class. Holding a rock concert in this area of quiet gracefulness usurps the aesthetic or intellectual experience for many thousands of local and world visitors. Blaspheming the Art Museum area with blasting noise, closed-off sections of the Parkway, fences around sculptures, portable toilets, limited parking, chaotic detours, and excessive traffic jams create surreal happenings that simply do not belong.
City officials who have allowed Made in America to invade our neighborhood seem to be clueless and/or apathetic about the Art Museum area. Philadelphia’s centerpiece of art and science should never be closed off to the public as a location for chaos.
The political response to the many thousands of taxpaying residents who live in this area is: “Live with it.” But walkers cannot walk, and runners cannot run, because of fences everywhere in the area and artificially loud decibel accompaniments for hours on end! Should taxpaying residents who seek or need quiet be deprived of it on a weekend? No Philadelphia neighborhood should have to put up with this excessive disturbance. This event violates the privacy of Art Museum-area residents and is a terrible and unfair intrusion on their quality of life. Many residents of the area (who are able) will leave this weekend to stay with family or friends or in a motel because the noise, disruption, and area access will be unbearable.
Architect Cameron Mactavish once characterized one of these disruptive Art Museum area events as: ” a display of tasteless and greedy interest that put the priorities of a for-profit and private monopoly over the public domain…snarled traffic…waste and inefficiency… obscuring the main facade of the most beautiful building in America and clogging the artery of our fair city’s grand boulevard… “
In conclusion, the city’s perversion of the Art Museum area’s green environment demonstrates blatant disregard of the Art Museum’s surrounding neighborhoods with massive disruptions and unnecessary chaos. It is an ongoing atrocity.
Joseph Batory is a resident of The Philadelphian. He is the author of three books and has been widely published on politics and education.