6/28/2013 09:05:00 AM

The Oval Bringing Food Trucks to the Ben Franklin Parkway

The ugly blemish that mars the landscape leading up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is getting a makeover. Belied by its name, Eakins Oval was formerly an undistinguished parking lot plopped in front of the infamous steps and impressive Greek facade, but this summer it will be transformed into a very cool public space. When The Oval launches on July 17, it will feature games, lawn chairs, sandboxes, cafe tables, umbrellas, movie nights and a whole “Boardwalk” area with food trucks.

The effort is part of the city’s “More Park, Less Way” action plan, and makes good on a commitment by Mayor Michael Nutter to make the Ben Franklin Parkway more pedestrian friendly. Paint and landscaping will create four different sections for the “urban oasis,” and different themes will guide events throughout the week. Here’s what to get excited about:

Beach: Sandboxes, misters, lifeguard chairs
Lawn: Volleyball, badminton, miniature golf, Adirondack chairs
Boardwalk: Food trucks, the “Showmobile”
Blanket: Cafe tables, umbrellas, oversized chess and checkers, Twister, ping-pong, chalkboard, corn hole

The Oval will be open 9 AM-9 PM, Tuesday-Sunday from July 17-August 18. Themed programming will take place as follows:

Tuesdays: Wellness
Wednesdays: Arts and Culture
Thursdays: Environment
Fridays: Food and Flicks
Saturdays: Live Music Series
Sundays: Family Fun Day

This is a huge step in the right direction for the avenue that was designed as Philadelphia’s Champs-Élysées. The Parkway is home to our greatest museums, including the new Barnes Foundation, but had become a whizzing mass of cars to the point where walking across the road was dangerous. The official announcement of The Oval will take place on Thursday, July 11, and we can’t wait to check it out.

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