Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Little Bit of Philly Magic

I don't get out nearly as much as I should, but on Columbus Day I'm happy to report that I spent some time on South Street with my college-era favorite friends as well as the lovely addition of Sarah Rose. Tanya, Jess and I caught the train into the city and met up with Ryan, Ian and Sarah before walking down to South Street.

It was Ry's idea to check out the Magic Gardens, a truly amazing and wonderful place that I had only peered at from the sidewalk before Monday. The incredible space showcases the work of mosaicist Isaiah Zagar and... I can't really put it into words.


And that's but a small fraction of the space. I can't imagine how long it took Zagar to finish this, and I also wonder what inspired him in the first place. According to the Magic Gardens website, Zagar and his wife have been working to beautify the South Street area since the 1960s. If that's the case, they have certainly contributed an immense amount of beauty with this half-city-block area of mosaic. It took Zagar 14 years to finish the Magic Gardens.

Something I found incredibly cool about this installation was the fact that many of the endless number of glass bottles cemented into place had little notes tucked inside. I don't remember who noticed this message-in-a-bottle phenomenon (I want to say it was either Ryan or Jess), but in any case, we pulled out the first note we found. The original message told he reader how the writer came to be in the Magic Gardens, with cities around the world he or she had lived in. Someone added their own journey to the back, and under that we had Sarah pen her travels, too. She tucked the note back inside the bottle, and from here we discovered most of the bottles had messages buried inside.

Naturally, we all wanted to add our own notes to the collection. Tanya passed around paper, I passed around pens and we all did just that. (Well all of us but Ian.) My note said: "You are beautiful. You are talented. You make a difference." I smile when I think about someone finding it.

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