The City of Philadelphia has officially renamed 33rd Street between Chestnut and Arch Streets as “Squash Way,” in recognition of the thirty-nine squash courts at the Arlen Specter US Squash Center, Drexel University’s Kline & Specter Squash Center, and Penn Squash Center—the highest density of squash courts in the world.
The new street sign was unveiled by Philadelphia City Councilmember Jamie Gauthier representing West Philadelphia’s 3rd district during a special ceremony Wednesday, November 30, at the Specter Center. Gauthier was joined by Drexel University President John Fry, Shanin Specter and Specter Center Executive Director Ned Edwards.
“It is truly my honor to officially unveil squash way,” Gauthier said. “As much as squash is about recreation and friendly competition, it is also an opportunity for youth in our area to earn scholarships, to find community, to know what it’s like to be on a team and use those skills to succeed in life. Providing our kids with safe and healthy outlets outside of the classroom is one of the best ways to combat what our city is going through right now with the gun violence epidemic that has claimed so many young people. So thank you to everyone at Drexel and the Specter Center for putting in the work and staying true to your commitment to West Philadelphia. I hope that Squash Way serves as a token of the city’s gratitude and encourages you to keep using squash as a tool to empower our community in the years to come.”
“When we talk about Squash Way, that is the way for the sport going forward,” Fry added. “That way is inclusivity, access and showing the gifts of this great game to as many people as possible and letting them take it wherever they want to. And that’s what this home for the sport is all about. There is no greater concentration and access to squash courts in the world other than 33rd Street.”
Edwards noted the love of squash that Arlen Specter, for whom Specter Center is named, along with Shanin’s and John Fry’s passion for squash as the authentic cornerstone on which the Center was built. Ned also thanked Shanin for the inspired idea of renaming 33rd Street and his unwavering support for the Specter Center and its mission.
“The new street sign at 33rd and Market Street is emblematic of what this stretch of University City has become, which is world’s home of squash with the most prolific series of squash courts and programs anywhere in the world,” Specter said. “To the Specter family, the Arlen Specter US Squash Center is a bargain. We want to popularize squash, we want to bring squash to communities across the city of Philadelphia. Jamie, thank you for your healthy skepticism, please maintain it and call us out. We want to be responsive to you because you represent the community of West Philadelphia as one of ten district city Councilmember representatives and it’s your job to get the most possible out of every single institution in your district to serve the people of this district. We have more to do. We have five schools from West Philadelphia starting programs here this week and we want to double that. I’d like to see more youth playing squash in Philadelphia than anywhere else in the country. That is one way to assure their safety, and responsibility. One thing you learned playing squash with me, Jamie, is that you have to learn to get along with somebody in that small space in a squash court here or anywhere else. It’s a great day for the Specter Center. It’s a great day for Philadelphia and we intend to keep up the good work.”