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December 21, 2017

LOVE Park keepsakes officially unavailable for holiday shoppers

11172017_LOVEParkGranite Photo courtesy/Philly Parks and Rec

The city's Parks and Recreation Department created 3x3-inch bricks sourced from the original granite at LOVE Park.

Pieces of the old LOVE Park promised to shoppers this holiday season still aren’t available for purchase, and there’s officially no hope of scoring one before 2018, if then.

Last month the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Department announced that pieces of granite from the old LOVE Park, prior to renovations, would be available for $50 a pop and emblazoned with the LOVE statue design.

On Black Friday, 300 people lined up at the Christmas Village to get a piece of the park, and they all left empty-handed. Now, with just four days until Christmas, the bricks – of which only 250 were made – are still nowhere to be found. This week an email was sent to some of those Black Friday hopefuls with word that the gifts would officially not be available for the holiday.

So what happened? The Black Friday pull came when officials realized they needed permission to sell the granite with the LOVE design, created by Robert Indiana.

“We need to sort out this legal issue first,” Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Jennifer Crandall told PhillyVoice at the time. “We’ve applied for permission to use it already. We’re working on it. We’re hopeful. We want to move on this as soon as possible, that way folks can soon pick these up for the holiday season.”

Now, nearly one month after Black Friday, the city announced its still struggling to attain permission to use Indiana’s print.

“We’re still engaged in ongoing discussions,” Crandall said to “If something is going to happen in 2018 we’ll be in touch, but we felt it was only fair to let them know nothing was going to happen before the end of the year, so they weren’t holding their breath.”

The hold up is a matter of intellectual property. Indiana’s design has been replicated without authorization all over the world, and the department had “incorrectly assumed,” Crandall previously told PhillyVoice, that they had permission.

In an email to the people interested in buying the statue, Billy Penn reports, the Parks & Rec department said they were contacted by an organization “representing the intellectual property interests of artists” that led to the department halting the sale.

“At this time, those discussions are still ongoing and therefore we will not be able to reinstate the sale of the granite keepsakes before this issue is resolved and permission is granted, which will not happen before the end of the year,” the email reads.

Proceeds from the keepsakes were designated to help fund maintenance and programming at the new LOVE Park, which is still missing its namesake sculpture.