Ever since it was announced, people have been complaining about Jay-Z and his Made In America festival, what with the non-housebroken crowds, taxpayer costs, open-space issues, high ticket prices and piles of trash and torn up grass left behind on and around the Ben Franklin Parkway.
And today, the cover story of Philadelphia’s Metro is knocking “Open Air”, a public art exhibit (pictured) over the Parkway that will utilize “24 of the world’s brightest robotic searchlights” to illuminate the night sky. All of this got me thinking about truly awful uses for the Parkway, because a 50,000-person concert and a little light show are really just mere annoyances.
Parkway Subterranean Max SCI
Promoters for Made In America were able to jam 50,000 people per day into a walled-off, ticket holders-only portion of the Ben Franklin Parkway. Imagine what you could do with a multi-level maximum-security prison under the damn thing. It has been said that Zaire’s president-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko rounded up 1,000 of that country’s “worst criminals” prior to the Rumble in the Jungle and stashed them under the very stadium where the fight was fought. Put an end to those “overcrowded prison” complainers once and for all.
The Ben Franklin Bullet Train
Everyone has been oohing and ahhing over the possibility of getting from Philadelphia to New York in just 37 minutes, albeit by 2040. But what if you could get from Love Park to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in mere seconds. Now that’s innovation.
Diner en Blanc II
Just think. You and your white linen-clad, bougie friends can picnic and frolic yards away from all those homeless and hungry people who congregate in front of the Free Library and Family Court. After you’ve consumed most of a bottle of Prosecco, you can get into a “get a job” discussion and throw a Camembert wheel at them.
Superconducting Super Collider
We may have musical robot quadrotors, but one thing we do not have is a superconducting super collider. I’m not sure why we need one, or why anyone really needs one for that matter, but it sure would be cool to have one. We could sell naming rights to cover the $14 billion-plus cost. Are you listening, Comcast? TD Bank? Anyone?
The Gathering of the Juggalos
Each August, tens of thousands of Juggalos and Juggalettes descend upon Cave-in-Rock, Illinois for this music festival produced by Psychopathic Records, the Insane Clown Posse label. I say, bring them to the Parkway. If you were irritated by Pearl Jam fans taking a crap in front of your Fairmount home, just wait until it’s some face-painted, HatchetGear-clad 300-pound dude who bathes in Faygo and lists horror-themed rap music among his hobbies.
The Logan Circle Trash Burning Facility
Every time I visit my friends in the country (and by country, I mean Lancaster County), I am impressed with how effortlessly trash is disposed of in those parts. There are no fussy trashmen unions to negotiate with, no letting rotting chicken bones wait around for Trash Day, no worrying about whether or not you accidentally tossed a recyclable cardboard Lucky Charms carton into the trash. You just burn everything.
World’s Largest Chicken Dance
We’ve conquered the World’s Largest Soul Train Dance Line on the Parkway. And this month, 200 dancers will take to it for the Live Arts Festival production Le Grand Continental. But we cannot (and should not) ignore Pennsylvania’s rich polka heritage any longer.
Since the Philadelphia Soul and Lingerie Football things haven’t worked out too well, it would be easy enough to resurrect the XFL, because remember how awesome the XFL was? The Parkway provides the ideal width for the defunct league’s extreme football games, and you could score extra points by taking out a window at the Barnes. This is a no brainer.
C’mon. Has no one ever thought of a Rocky theme park at the foot of the Art Museum steps? Duh. Dolly has a theme park. Even Napoleon is getting his own theme park. If Pat Croce can open a friggin’ Pirate Museum in Florida, surely Philadelphia merits a theme park for one of the best movies of all time. And when it happens, I will be the first one in line to punch the meat.