A curse or a dream.
That's what it's like to live on the fringes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Labor Day weekend and have front row seats to the Made in America Festival.
On one hand, there's the pulsating beat that shakes windows, doors, almost anything. The deafening crowd that makes it hard to talk, no less sleep. The blocked streets. The overflowing trash.
On the other hand, there's free music by the country's biggest hip-hop stars, contagious feel-good energy, an economic boon to the city, restaurants and businesses, even the guys hawking cold bottles of water out of coolers.
Earlier this summer, when Mayor Kenney's administration said that Made in America would no longer be on the Parkway starting in 2019, Fairmount resident Bari Rose-Epstein said she thought, "Oh, thank you. It's one less mess we have to deal with."
But the mayor's decision drew fire from rap superstar Jay-Z who founded the event in 2012. In an opinion piece for the Inquirer and Daily News, he outlined the economic benefits it brings to Philadelphia — to the tune of $102.8 million. He also wrote that the mayor was rejecting a minority-owned business. Jay-Z's entertainment company, Roc Nation, manages the festival with concert promoter Live Nation, and reimbursed the city $600,000 for the $1.1 million cost of the setup, cleanup, and security for last year's event.
So in July, Kenney said it was not the last time the Parkway would host the festival.
That did not make Rose-Epstein and her husband, Roger Epstein, in the least bit happy. "When he reversed himself," Roger Epstein said, "we thought, 'Oh, he's a typical tool.'"
The couple have lived in the neighborhood for nearly three decades.
"I know people say sometimes, 'Oh, what do you expect?'" said Rose-Epstein. "But we've lived here for a really long time, and none of this was like this when we moved in."
>> READ MORE: Parkway neighbors: Does Kenney represent us or Jay-Z?
Normally, Epstein said, it takes 15 minutes to get home from work. "It took me 45 minutes to get home on Friday. … The traffic was terrible because of closures."
Longtime Fairmount resident Rex Cohen, 67, said Philadelphia has so many other places for Made in America other than the Parkway.
"They should do it in the stadium," he said. "There's so many places they could do it."
He said that thankfully, the noise and trash haven't been "bad" this year. But the traffic is another story.
"I travel back and forth, and I don't like when they cut off everything," he said. "And they seem to do something different every year. This year, they cut 24th Street off at JFK."
But Fairmount resident Katie Paradise, 26, said she "went to bed last night without any issues" regarding the noise.
When Kenney temporarily evicted Made in America, "it was a little upsetting," she said. "It's a really cool place to have a festival. You get the whole skyline and the Art Museum in the background."
But "I can see how it disrupts people's lives," she added. Paradise works as a visitor services assistant at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and "people have had to walk across the Spring Garden Bridge just to get to work."
She said that, on a typical first Sunday of the month, which is pay-what-you-wish, the museum attracts 7,000 to 10,000 people. On this Sunday, it only brought in about 4,500 visitors, she said.
"So, it definitely cut it down."
The Philadelphia Police Department did not have any official crowd estimate last night. Nor could it provide any information on arrests at the event.
Scott Long, a 38-year-old Fairmount resident who works for the Department of Defense, said the event has "a good police presence" and "the clientele, for the most part, is respectful."
But one thing sticks in his craw: He thinks the neighborhood's baseball field should be resodded after the event.
"That's where all the kids play," he said, as his and his neighbors' children played around them on Sunday afternoon. "For a pretty reasonable amount of money, especially with the profit they're taking in, they could clean it up."