Thousands of people visit South Street each week. They visit restaurants, bars, and the shops that are concentrated mostly to the east side of 7th Street. This area is great for going out to eat or drink and tourists like to find the “Philly” souvenirs here, but there is a lot more that South Street has to offer.
West of 7th Street on South is a bit of a more residential area and there are some local landmarks the tourist crowd is apt to miss. An example of one such landmark, flying under the radar is the Philadelphia Magic Garden. Sound hippy-ish? It is.
Hippy or not, you cannot deny the beauty of this place. Nor can you miss it when you walk by. Located on South Street in between 10th and 11th, the Philly Magic Garden is an attention grabber. Perhaps it’s best to show a picture:
Unfortunately my pictures do not do this place justice. Let me explain:
In 1994 a mosaic muralist named Isaiah Zagar found an open lot on South Street near his studio. Familiar to the process of renovating, Zagar thought he’d do something a little different- instead he excavated, sculpted, and tiled. If you ever visit this space (which I HIGHLY recommend you do), you will be amazed at the intricate detailing. Zagar is famous for his mosaic murals around Philly, especially in the South Street area, but this installation is more than that. The usual glass, tile, and mirror he uses in his mosaics is supplemented by other mediums- bike tires, wine bottles, china sets, and more. It is truly mind-blowing the amount of work and thought Zagar put into this 3,000 sq. foot place.
If you don’t make it to the Philadelphia Magic Garden, or if it’s too much, too soon, check out some of Zagar’s other work. Here is a map of where you can see some of his public art in Philadelphia: http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/about/public-mosaic-murals.
See more (professional) pictures of the Philadelphia Magic Garden at: http://www.gabekphoto.com/portfolio/zagar/magicalgarden.htm