The Rail Park And My Attraction To Industrial Design


My attraction to industrial design started when I lived in New York City and first experienced the neighborhood of SoHo, with all it's industrial loft apartments, art galleries, and designer shops.

Industrial design was not something I ever thought about or even imaged that it would be something I'd find attractive. However when I saw it for the first time, I fell in love because it instantly felt familiar. Almost as if I had a soulful connection to it.

Industrial design is not for everyone because it's edgy, raw, imperfect. and very much exposed. Some people even find it cold.

But I find it perfect, inviting, earthy, and sexy in a masculine way.

For me, I think the main attraction to industrial spaces is that they are traditionally one massive room that can be divided into separate sections without the use of floor to ceiling walls. Being that I've primarily lived in studio apartments all my life, I like the idea of having one space that I can divvy, yet still have it be one space. I'm also someone who likes a lot of windows, and industrial spaces have immense windows that give way to natural light.

Here are a few examples of industrial design spaces that I found online...


I love how the brickwork, ductwork and beams are all exposed...




If I could choose my ideal industrial style apartment, it would be this one. Notice the bedroom loft to the right. Oh god, how I love this space...


A beautiful combination of wood, brick, glass, and metal...


The reason that I shared all of the above, is because I recently visited Philadelphia's Industrial Rail Park, which caused me to remember why I love the look of industrial design.

Philadelphia was drawn to the Rail Park project in part because of the success of the High Line in New York and because it could create an opportunity to add residential and commercial development in the expanding communities of Center City.

Abandoned to weeds and disrepair since the last train traveled its rails in 1984, the railway is now being transformed into a ribbon of greenspace with views of the Philadelphia skyline and surrounding neighborhoods.

As you can see from this diagram, only a very small portion (Phase 1) of the railroad has been completed. I'm looking forward to seeing how it progresses.


Here are the photographs I captured that day as I walked along the Rail Park.

Please enjoy...


The stairs leading up to the Rail Park...


A mural...


I sat on one of these cool-looking industrial swings...


These next several photographs are of the walkway...




This next picture is one of the reasons I enjoy city life, particularly on the East Coast. I love the splashes of grittiness in many of the older cities on this coast...





Isn't this Art Deco building faaaaaaaaaabulous?
It is referred to it as "the castle." It used to be the Lasher Printing Company. It is now office spaces.
It reminded me of the witch's castle in the Wizard of Oz... 



My favorite part of the Rail Park is the rusty, weathered steel... 




Even the trash cans are designed in rusty steel...






Thank you all for taking this industrial tour along the Rail Park.

Have a beautiful week, everyone!
💗

26 comments

  1. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comJuly 27, 2020

    I love that Rail Park - very cool!

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  2. I remember in the late ‘80’s, my husband had a coworker who moved into an apt that was located in what had been a hat factory! We initially thought it was bizarre, but then came to appreciate industrial design. My favorite part is definitely the tall windows. Those swings and trash cans are so unique and I’m happy that Philly is revitalizing that area. Is the mural a Shepard Fairey? It looks like his style, which I learned about when visiting Wynwood Walls in Miami.

    Have a great week, Ron!

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  3. While I'm not entirely sure I'd enjoy living in one of those industrial places, I do love all those windows -- I gravitate toward natural lighting and love watching the world go by! But that stairway to the Rail Park? NO! I get the heebie-jeebies, just looking at that thing! Somebody would have to hit me over the head with a frying skillet to get me to go up them!


    Great tour this morning, Ron -- thank you for letting me see a part of the country I've never seen before ... through your talents with a camera. You're getting really GOOD with that, you know!


    Happy work week! xx

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  4. Ron, I am obsessed with industrial design, and so is my girlfriend. Our goal is to find an industrial building that's be converted into apartments. I totally agree with you about it being earthy and sexy! She and I are both artists, so I think industrial spaces appeal to more artist/creative people. I too like the ideal of having one massive space that can be divided, but still be ONE space. The examples that you shared are just the coolest. And the one you picked as your ideal space, me too!

    Your photographs, as always, are excellent! What a great space that is. Love the mural!

    Very awesome post, dude!

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  5. Isn't it the coolest, Fiona? I can't wait to see how it progresses over the next year.

    Thanks a bunch for stopping by, my friend. Have a fantastic week!
    X

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  6. " Is the mural a Shepard Fairey? "

    Yes! You are absolutely correct! Isn't it fabulous? He's done several murals here in Philly.

    "I remember in the late ‘80’s, my husband had a coworker who moved into an apt that was located in what had been a hat factory! We initially thought it was bizarre, but then came to appreciate industrial design. My favorite part is definitely the tall windows."

    I know, when you initially think of industrial, you don't think that you would see it as attractive. But then after being within it, you see the attraction. Back in the 70's and 80's when I was in New York, I used to love going into all the art galleries in SoHo and just walk around, looking at how cool the spaces were.

    Me too, I'm glad to see Philly making use of what was by keeping it alive in different ways. I actually love that part of Philly, where the Rail Park is. It's called Callowhill.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a grrrrreat week!
    X

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  7. Hey there Debbie!

    Aren't those windows faaaaaaaabulous? And I love how they have no blinds or curtains on them, they're just open so that all the wonderful natural light can enter.

    "But that stairway to the Rail Park? NO! I get the heebie-jeebies, just looking at that thing! Somebody would have to hit me over the head with a frying skillet to get me to go up them!"

    HAHAHAHAHA! Oh that's right, I forgot, you don't like fire escapes or heights. I'm not fond of heights myself, but as long as I don't look down as I'm climbing the stairs, I'm okay.

    Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind, supportive words, my friend. I love taking pictures. And I keep learning more and more as the years pass.

    Have a wonderful week!

    X

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  8. Hiya Matt!

    " I think industrial spaces appeal to more artist/creative people."

    You know, I had a feeling you liked industrial design as well! And for the reason you mentioned, you're a creative/artsy person. You're right about that because when I was living in NYC during the 70's and 80's, that who lived in SoHo...all the artists, musicians, writers, and actors. It had such a wonderful Bohemian feel to it!

    Isn't that space faaaaaaaaaaaabulous? God, how I wish it were mine. LOL!

    I love mural too. It was done by Shepard Fairey -- https://www.muralarts.org/artist/1305-2/

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a most excellent week!
    X

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  9. Ron, I forgot to say in my previous comment that you're right, that art deco building DOES look like the witch's castle in the Wizard of Oz. That is one cool looking building.

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  10. Doesn't it, Matt? That's the first think I thought when I spotted it. I could just imagine the flying monkeys flying all around. LOL!

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  11. So many great photos! I love that sort of weathered industrial look, too. I'm less sold on more modern versions of it, but think old exposed brick is just gorgeous. And I'm endlessly fascinated by rusted things. Around these parts, there's no end to old vehicles and farm implements rusting away and gradually returning to the earth.

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  12. Aw...thank you, my friend :) I took so many pictures that day that it took me forever to do through them, deciding which ones to toss and which ones to keep.

    " I love that sort of weathered industrial look, too. I'm less sold on more modern versions of it, but think old exposed brick is just gorgeous. And I'm endlessly fascinated by rusted things. Around these parts, there's no end to old vehicles and farm implements rusting away and gradually returning to the earth."

    Yes, that's an awesome way to describe it -- weathered! I love things that look as though they've had a past life (a history), rather than new. And yes, I don't like too modern as well. And what is it about the look of rusted things that is so damn attractive? I LOVE it so much! I love the way it looks and feels when you touch it. I like anything with texture. And I'm sure where you live (especially your new property) there are so many wonderful vehicles and farm implements. I would love to see you share a post on all things rusted!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a faaaaaaaaabulous week!

    X

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  13. DA PerrucciJuly 27, 2020

    What a great tour, Ron, and do tell WHERE is that apt shown in this post. It is wonderful! We are huge fans of converted residences as we currently live in a former textile mill. Unfortunately, the apartments fo not contain as many original features as in some former industrial buildings. But, we do have wonderfully large windows that overlook the Nashua River and we never put down the blinds that were on these windows (not sure why?). NO curtains for us as we like the open look.

    But, I digress, I followed the link provided to read more about the Rail Park and it looks like it will one day be a great space. The Baldwin Locomotive Company was one HUGE operation. I also read a bit more about Lasher Publishing and WHAT an interesting history about its construction. That would definitely be a great industrial place to live. Unfortunately, we have never explored NYC's High Line although I would like to one day, but my husband is not as keen to do so and I'll have to go alone or find a friend as interested as myself.

    Finally, your photos were GREAT! You really captured the flavor of this small portion of the Rail Park and the "rusty weathered steel" and those rusted trash cans were FUN! I could feel the inner city vibe just looking at them. Thanks for a great post, my friend.

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  14. DA PerrucciJuly 27, 2020

    Forgot to mention that the list of Don'ts were very interesting and glad to see that no bikes, rollerbladers, skateboards, scooters, motorized vehicles were allowed. I laughed about "no alcoholic beverages, except as authorized."

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  15. Rob LenihanJuly 28, 2020

    Ron, the Rail Park looks fabulous! I can definitely the High Line connection (another cool location).

    And that Castle looks fantastic! It would a trip to work there.

    I love the industrial look, as well, and there's a great location in Brooklyn called "Industry City," which was a series of old factory buildings that were converted into shops and restaurants.
    https://industrycity.com/


    Oh, how I loved that place because it was a short distance from my house, they had great events and things to do, and it was right on the water!

    Someday, when this madness is over, I would love for you to come to Brooklyn and check it out. And I'll make the trip to Philly to see the Rail Park.

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  16. Hey there D!

    Do you mean the apartment photo I shared in which I said that it would be my perfect apartment? I don't actually know where that apartment is because I got photo online at an interior design website that didn't say where the apartment was. But here is the link in case you want to see the website, which is fabulous!

    https://blog.dcorstore.com/2019/10/03/get-the-look-trendy-industrial-style-home/

    "! We are huge fans of converted residences as we currently live in a former textile mill. Unfortunately, the apartments fo not contain as many original features as in some former industrial buildings. But, we do have wonderfully large windows that overlook the Nashua River and we never put down the blinds that were on these windows (not sure why?). NO curtains for us as we like the open look."

    Yes! I had a feeling from reading your blog posts and the photos that your shared, that you were a BIG fan of industrial buildings! And I TOTALLY agree with you...NO curtains or blinds for me as well as I LOVE the open look. And that's while I adore industrial spaces because the window are HUGE.

    Isn't it interesting to read about the history of the Rail Park? That area (Callowhill) is actually my favorite area of Philly. I also love Old City.

    I've walked the High Line in NYC and LOVED it! It's much bigger than the one here in Philly. I've walked it a few times--once alone, and another time with a friend who lives in Brooklyn.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for you kind words, my friend. You're a sweetheart! Hope you're having a fabulous week!

    X

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  17. "I laughed about "no alcoholic beverages, except as authorized."

    HA! I know, isn't that one hysterical? And what does that even mean!?!?

    The one that made me laugh too was the one about no graffiti and yet if your look at the picture below it, there is graffiti all over that wall. LOL!

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  18. OMG Rob, I can't thank you enough for sharing the link to Industry City. Being someone who LOVES New York, how did I not know about it?!? Tonight when I have more time, I'm going to go back to the website and read more. THANK YOU!!!

    Yes, being that you know the High Line, I knew you would see the connection. Other than the Rail Park being smaller, it looks pretty much exactly like the High Line. I'm anxious to see how it progresses over the next year. That area of Philly is actually very cool!

    "Someday, when this madness is over, I would love for you to come to Brooklyn and check it out. And I'll make the trip to Philly to see the Rail Park."

    YES! YES! YES! I was just thinking that same thing! I can't wait for this madness to be over so that I can return to my favorite city. You have no idea how much I miss it. And yes, you come to Philly and we can see the Rail Park and other sites!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Hope your week is going fabulously!

    X

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  19. Ron, there is so much I love about this post! First, your photos are so AWESOME! They really capture the beauty of the Rail Park and surrounding area. I love the photograph of the guy (wearing the mask) walking in front of that brick wall with graffiti. You're right, that is so typical of cities in the North East. I like the grittiness too!

    "It reminded me of the witch's castle in the Wizard of Oz." Me too! And it's so funny that you said that because about two weeks ago on a Saturday night, my girlfriend and I bought a couple bottles of wine and made some delicious Italian food, and watched that movie! I own a DVD copy.

    Wonderful post, Ron! xo

    Is it hot there? It's been so damn hot these past several weeks. I can't wait until the summer is over.

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  20. Hola Denise!

    Thank you, girl! I took so many photos that day, which took me forever to go through them all and decide which ones I wanted to use. Isn't the picture of that guy cool? I just so happened to be walking along and saw him there, so I snapped a picture. I was lucky to get him walking right in the center of the frame.

    Sooooooo much like High Line, yest! I'm anxious to see how it progresses over the next year. That's a really interesting area of Philly. It's called Callowhill. Very cool area!

    "..about two weeks ago on a Saturday night, my girlfriend and I bought a couple bottles of wine and made some delicious Italian food, and watched that movie! I own a DVD copy."

    Oh, how funny!!!! I own a DVD copy as well. I bought it several years ago for Christmas. I got the 75th Anniversary release. I love it because it's got all these great special features.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Hope your having a grrrrrrrreat week so far!

    X

    Yes! It's been so DAMN hot and humid here. I went grocery shopping this morning at 7.30 and was soaking in sweat when I got home. Can't WAIT for FALL!!!!!!

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  21. Ron, fantastic photos! Can I ask what kind of camera you use? The reason I ask is that I'm thinking of upgrading mine and would like to get your feedback. Thanks!

    The Rail Park is really cool! It looks almost identical to the High Line. I visited there about two years ago and walked it with some friends. And I loved that it was free because in New York, nothing is ever free LOL!

    I also liked the way you described industrial design. One of my girlfriends used to live in Soho and she had a very small studio above one of the art galleries and it had that wonderful industrial feel.

    Have a great week, Ron!

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  22. Hi Candice!

    Yes, sure! I currently use a Canon Rebel t5. I got it about 6 years ago when I decided to upgrade from my Canon Power Shot Point and Shoot (which I loved and still have). I loved everything about this camera except the lens it came with. One day I need to invest in a more powerful lens. But other than that, I love it. I also bought a camera case and extra battery with it, and the price was not bad at all. I had $100.00 gift card so that reduced the original price. I can't exactly recall the price, but I think I paid less than $300.00.

    Isn't the High Line fabulous? I've walked it twice and really enjoyed myself because it's a great place to take picture.

    "One of my girlfriends used to live in Soho and she had a very small studio above one of the art galleries and it had that wonderful industrial feel."

    OMG...I cannot believe she lived in SoHo!!! How wonderful! And I bet she paid a fortune for that small studio. LOL! I love that area of Manhattan!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Have a terrific week!

    X

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  23. Ron, thanks a a lot for sharing that information. There are just so many camera options that it gets overwhelmingly trying to choose one. I will definitely looking into the Canon Rebel t5. I don't mind spending the money for a good camera, but some of them are priced way out of my league.

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  24. You are so welcome! And I TOTALLY know what you mean about it being overwhelming. I do a lot of research before purchasing a high ticket item and find that there comes a point where I just have to choose one. I think you'll ready enjoy the Canon. Good camera and good price.

    X

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  25. Ron, I'm with you when it comes to the style of industrial design. I think it sexy! Very much SoHo and the Meatpacking District. I love the photos your shared of the examples. God how I wish I had a kitchen like the one you pictured. It's so nice and open. The kitchen we have in our home is so tiny.

    Thanks so much for sharing the information about the Rail Park because my husband and I had no idea it was there. When the weather cools off, we are going to check it out. Can't wait! I've been to the High Line and really enjoyed it.

    You photos are marvelous, Ron! I especially like the last three of the rusted steel.

    Stay cool and enjoy the rest of your week. ox

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  26. You are so right, Elaine, the Meatpacking District as well! That's another area of NY that I LOVE!

    I know, isn't the kitchen faaaaaabulous? I love the window and the distressed brick wall. Bellissima!

    Yes, wait until the weather cools down because it's way too hot to be walking up there. I was lucky because the day I decided to go it was very mild. It was during those few couple of days when we got some relief from the heat. I want to go back again, but not until the Fall.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, neighbor! Stay cool too, and have a great rest of your week!

    X

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