Nuisance: Lay of the land: Geography and security at the 2016 DNC.


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The Wells Fargo Center

The stadium in South Philadelphia, at the southeast corner of Broad and Pattison, where the DNC-proper is held. This is normally where the Philadelphia Flyers (Hockey) and Sixers (basketball) play. On this ground used to stand a smaller stadium called The Spectrum, which hosted the same teams. Both The Spectrum and The Wells Fargo Center are fully enclosed buildings (they have a roof). It is part of the South Philadelphia Sports Complex, across the street from the stadium where the Phillies play baseball, and another where the Eagles play football.

The Pennsylvania Convention Center

A permanent convention hall four miles north of the Wells Fargo Center, at 11th and Arch in Center City. It is called “The Pennsylvania Convention Center.” It’s name caused much confusion during the week.

This is where secondary activities and conferences for the DNC were held. For example, Bernie Sanders private speech to his full delegation, and the rules committee meeting before the formal DNC begin.

FDR Park

Where Bernie Sanders supporters resided for most of the week. It is directly across the street from the Wells Fargo Center, on the southwest corner of Broad and Pattison. The entrance of this park is at the actual corner: a diagonal entrance into the park, directly from the corner itself.

The permits for four out of the five sections of this park, For the entire week, were held by Billy Taylor of Philly.FYI.

In the middle of the park was constructed stage including three jumbotron’s. It was located in section three, just next to section five, facing south. The stage and its crew was personally supplied by Philly.FYI staff member Dicky Wurfel. Dicky made this decision to supply the stage only two weeks before the convention.

Although the curfew at the park was 10 PM, many Bernie Sanders supporters pitched tents and slept throughout the week. This was not encouraged by police, nor was it discouraged. Philly.FYI fought for this for much of the summer, knowing the large amount of people anticipated, with many having nowhere to go each night. This decision was not made until the last minute.

City Hall

Located at 15th and JFK, it is where some main Bernie Sanders supporter/protester events occurred before and early on in the convention. In particular on Sunday afternoon, July 24, where thousands attended speeches and then marched towards FDR Park, where many would remain for the week.

“Directly across the street” and security

The Wells Fargo Center is directly across the street from FDR Park. But “across the street” is misleading, since The Wells Fargo Center building is about a quarter-mile away from the sidewalk, and during the DNC, this road, Broad Street, is lined on each side with a solid, mesh-metal, industrial strength security gates, with a concrete highway barrier directly next to it on the street side. Not to mention the constant presence of many police officers. The only way to cross the street is to walk two blocks north to Hartranft Street (or Packer Avenue; the location of the opening changed), cross through the barrier, and then walk back south.

Beyond being robust, many of these gates are unusually shaped, as upside down capital-T’s, with the horizontal portion extending about four feet away from the vertical in both directions. The horizontal part is made up of exactly the same solid mesh-metal material. So when you are standing next to the gate, holding on to it, looking through it, you are also standing on it. Hence, the only way to tip it over is by launching yourself and several of those around you.


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At the corner of Broad and Pattison, looking south (the Wells Fargo Center is to the left, FDR Park to the right):

The security gate is on Broad Street, starting at Interstate 95, which is at the far corner of the block in which the Wells Fargo Center sits. It extends through three blocks north to Hartranft. Because the interstate is so close, a number of its exits are shut down. (Broad Street is the longest street in Philadelphia, and the longest straight “urban” street in the world, and this is one of its southern most blocks.) North of Pattison, protesters can be on Broad Street itself. South of Pattison, only officially sanctioned security, governmental, and state-delegation buses can be on Broad Street.

On Monday, Bernie Sanders protestors could be heard by those entering and exiting the AT&T subway station. On Tuesday, the gate was moved so that was no longer possible.

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