• about me

    Hi, I’m Kayte! Find out more about me here and/or send me an email at kaytet@gmail.com.

  • follow me

  • diy projects

  • archives

  • links

  • Hidden City Philadelphia {Part 1}

    June 26, 2013 | 2 Comments »

    Get ready for a big photo safari; this is going to be a three parter because I have so much to share!!

    The Hidden City Festival in Philadelphia is a tour of nine sites throughout the city that normally wouldn’t be open to the general public. The tour offers a vista in the vast history of our city, a glimpse into a synagogue built into a 19th century storefront in South Philly, for instance, or a private literary athenaeum on Washington Square.

    The festival teamed the historical sites up with contemporary artists, who created work in some way inspired by these places. The result was miraculous, educational and incredible fun. We felt like we were on an amazing treasure hunt the entire day, never sure what would greet us at our next stop but always delighted with what we found. This is the kind of art that makes my heart pound and gives me goosebumps; I live for this stuff.

    The Mr. and I were only able to get to five of the nine locations on Sunday but we already bought out tickets for next week to cover the rest (attn locals: this is the last week!).
    Here’s a little peak into what we saw…



    Our first stop was Fort Mifflin/Mud Island, a Revolutionary War fort, later used as a Civil War prison, hidden in the wastelands of Philadelphia, between the airport and treatment facilities. Driving towards the fort, we felt as if we were headed into Area 51. Airplanes flew low overhead, electric fences flanked the road. We passed ominous buildings containing all sorts of secrets. The fort itself is no less spooky with it’s many underground tunnels and caves.


    But hidden in the wooded marshland was something magical: local artists Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber constructed improvised dwellings along the Delaware River at Fort
    Mifflin with materials found along the riverbanks.








    (I don’t know why this flag was sitting on a table but it sure looked pretty.)

    Next stop was the aforementioned synagogue, nestled into an unassuming
    rowhome in South Philly. Founded in the early 1900s, Shivtei
    Yeshuron-Ezras Israel synagogue
    looks like a scrapbook of a past life.
    It’s largely untouched: the paint peels, the floors creak and the
    stairwells are tiny and dark.







    But people still come: an active core group continues to hold regular services at the
    synagogue–fondly nicknamed the “Little Shul”–and hopes to recruit new
    members and make necessary repairs in the coming years.





    The art project at Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel is by textile artist Andrew Dahlgren (or ADMK), who invited festival goers to help him create
    a knitted quilt that will cover the facade of the building for just a few short days. Many of the early synagogue members worked in textile sweatshops or did piecework at home and Philadelphia was once a great textile hub In creating a knit lab on the second floor of the space Dahlgren makes visible a process that has almost disappeared in this city.

    (all photos taken by me with a Canon5D, except of course the ones of me, which were taken by my husband)

    2 Responses to “Hidden City Philadelphia {Part 1}”

    1. Gabrielle says:

      Wow. you have a serious talent for photography. The first picture of that plain is absolutely magical – and I’m not sure why. It’s just so —- suspended. I love it.

      Also love that pic of you in the room – so artsy and ethereal.


    2. Hi Gabrielle! Oh, you are so sweet! Thanks! I have to give some credit to my very nice camera. That plane shot was really sweet-it was a surprise that it turned out the way it did. xo!

    Leave a Reply