Before 2023 comes to an end, we wanted to reflect on events that have made a significant impact on Philadelphia and the surrounding region. This year was full of changes and excitement–from returning events and groundbreaking concerts to the election of new policymakers– the City has had its fair share of noteworthy moments. As we prepare for 2024, our team has compiled a list of events to look back on.
Philly’s 100th Mayor and transition team are announced
Philadelphia residents have made their voices heard and elected our 100th mayor. Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker, will become the City’s first female mayor after winning the race against David Oh. Parker, a former city councilwoman, also served as a state representative for Northwest Philadelphia. She will assume her role on January 2, 2024 and in the meantime is building a transition team of business leaders and policy makers. We congratulate Mayor-elect Parker on her victory as well as all who have been selected for her transition team! Likewise, we thank outgoing Mayor Jim Kenney for his leadership and service to the City.
Collapse and repair of I-95 unfolds
In June, a significant portion of I-95 collapsed in the Northeast region of Philadelphia. The incident caused major traffic disruptions for commuters and commercial vehicles who were forced to detour through local neighborhoods. I-95 plays a major role in the transportation of commercial goods. This accident posed serious challenges in an already strained supply chain ecosystem. City, State, and Federal officials, however, were able to get the highway repaired in about a two-week period. Restoration of the downed portion of the highway was live streamed on the internet as construction workers and officials worked around the clock to help restore the road.
Construction begins on Penn’s Landing Park
In other news related to I-95, the project of capping a portion of the interstate began after a two-year delay. The goal of this project is to connect Old City to the Delaware riverfront, creating roughly 12 acres of new parkland. With the help of PennDOT, the project is expected to be completed in 2 years, with visible construction anticipated to be seen this coming spring. The cap will contribute to the master plan of the Delaware Riverfront along with two other amenities, the Spruce Street Harbor Park, and the Cherry Street Pier.
Taylor Swift and Beyoncé make waves
Singers Taylor Swift and Beyoncé both had highly anticipated shows come through the City this year. Taylor Swift completed three shows which spanned from May 12-14. Each of Swift’s shows were packed with fans. Those who could not secure tickets listened alongside concert goers from outside Lincoln Financial in the stadium district’s parking lots. Beyoncé also played to massive crowds at Lincoln Financial Field. She kicked off the U.S. leg of her Renaissance tour on July 12 right here in South Philly. Fans began lining up at the gates at 5:30 PM, hours before doors would open. SEPTA accommodated for eager fans by including 5 extra trains the weekend of Taylor Swift’s performances, along with extending late night regional rail services. Commuters who utilized SEPTA to go to Beyoncé’s concert saw similar accommodations, with an additional 10 trains added to the Broad Street Line that day to ease travel to and from the stadium.
The Eagles come close in Super Bowl LVII
The Philadelphia Eagles made it to Super Bowl LVII, going head-to-head against the Kansas City Chiefs. This also marked the first time that brothers have squared off against each other in the 57 years since the Super Bowl Began with both Jason (Eagles) and Travis (Chiefs) Kelce stealing the show. The Eagles were unfortunately defeated, but a rematch may be in the near future. According to The Athletic, the Chiefs and the Eagles are once more favorites to win Super Bowl LVIII. Go Birds!
The Philadelphia Flower Show returns indoors
The Philadelphia Flower Show made its return to the Pennsylvania Convention Center. For the two years prior, the Flower Show was relocated to South Philadelphia’s FDR Park due of ongoing health concerns related to COVID-19. With the exception of 2021 and 2022, the Flower Show has been held at the Convention Center since 1996. ESI was commissioned in 2022 by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to calculate the impact of the show returning indoors. The report showcases the local and regional value of the show, but also broader impacts, like increased public transit use, small and minority business growth opportunities, and increasing equitable growth in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Center City District continues its recovery
Center City District’s recovery has been steadily seeing a positive recovery in the amount of activity occurring downtown. Center City is a vital hub of employment, tourist attraction, and a place many residents call home. The arts, retail, restaurants, and more have all contributed to the recovery of Center City. Additionally, the number of residents has risen 26% along with tourism and office workers coming back to 70% of pre-pandemic levels according to KWY News.
The snowless streak continues, but maybe not for long
The Philadelphia region has gone more than 667 days without substantial snowfall, meaning the City has seen less than one inch or more of snow. However, things could change dramatically this winter. The region is predicted to see around 25 total inches of snowfall. This is low compared to other parts of Pennsylvania such as Montrose which is expected to see up to 85 inches of snow, and other parts of southwestern Pennsylvania that could potentially see 120 inches this season.
SEPTA Key Advantage builds momentum
The City of Philadelphia became a participating member in the SEPTA Key Advantage program at the start of September. The city’s participation is a win for city employees and SEPTA. The Key Advantage program seeks to rebuild public transit ridership in the wake of the pandemic, while also providing a new benefit to city employees. Institutions such as Wawa, Drexel University, Penn Medicine, and FMC are also participating members of the program, offering all access passes to employees and students.
Philly draws closer to celebrating the nation’s 250-year anniversary
Philadelphia250, a non-profit organization formed to plan the celebration of our nation’s 250th anniversary makes steady progress in planning the festivities as America approaches this significant milestone. ESI sponsored the second annual countdown earlier this month with the event including live music showcasing the past, present, and future of the City. Similar celebrations will be held in 2026 with plans for an Independence Day Parade much larger than the yearly event the City regularly holds. In July, Vice President Frank Robinson sat down with President and CEO of Philadelphia250 Danielle DiLeo Kim to discuss what led her to this role and how equity and inclusion will be celebrated during the 250th anniversary.
Maggie Jiang | [email protected]
Maggie Jiang is a current third year student attending Drexel University working as an intern with the Business Development & Marketing team at ESI. She anticipates graduating in 2026 with a degree in marketing.