Friends Fighting Entropy

One of the basic laws of physics is that entropy, or disorderliness, is increasing in the universe. It certainly is true in our beautiful Park. Whether due to natural causes or human intention, occasional "chaos" occurs in Matthias Baldwin Park and is reversed by the Friends group. This includes trash pickup on a regular basis and filling the empty doggie bag dispensers, deeds visible to regular Park users. Here are some other examples of behind-the-scenes entropy reduction just in the past year.

The benches in the Park are so inviting!

The Friends group removes painted graffiti and stickers on the benches, trash cans, and lamp posts. We also sand off graffiti carved into the wood on the benches. This particular bench had its central arm unbolted and thrown into the woods over the fence. The confiscated arm was retrieved, reattached to the bench, and then the bolts on all the benches in the Park were tightened to prevent recurrence.

Nothing unusual to be seen here. That is because the Friends buried an 18 inch piece of rusted iron rebar that was protruding straight up from the ground in this area.

A broken limb creates a hazard for humans and dogs. 

All clear thanks to the Friends.

Construction crews left a 3 x 4 foot plywood sign on this pole at the northwest corner of the Park. After no response from the construction company or the City, the Friends removed the unsightly plywood. 

Humans sometimes do crazy things. Someone threw this loose stone from the north side of the wall, into the woods over the fence on the south side. The stone was found during a neighborhood clean up day, and mortared back into place. 

Safe and secure.

This unfortunate snake apparently got itself caught in the rocks on the west side of the wall and expired. The stones are mortared in place and allow no give.

Stones that trapped the snake were pried up from their secure mortared position by an unknown assailant of the Park, possibly to get rid of the corpse.


Friends with mortar restore order.

After: Stump-ectomy in southwest corner.

In August 2019 a population explosion of rats made the Park less welcoming to humans. One source of the problem was the easy access to food provided by the damaged trash can liners.

The Friends purchased new trash can liners to replace 19 of the 21 trash can liners in the Park. Prior to doing the replacement, they picked up every speck of trash under the trash cans. 

Here Joan and Bob are at work. As Bob said and demonstrates, this is not smiling type of work. Purchases such as this are one use of dues money. The labor is free.

Someone with a black marker shows off the new word he or she learned in sociology class, and someone with a dissenting opinion tries to cover it with white paint.

The Friends, using elbow grease and sandpaper, restore the structure for use as a bench instead of a blackboard. The resulting lighter color will blend in within a few weeks.

In August 2019 the Friends paid $6,000 to replace the dead plants in the landscaped beds. The picture above shows the barren beds. The picture below shows the orderly patterns of the new plantings which will fill in the beds.

Many people doing many small things make a city great. It's a wonderful personal experience to hang out with people trying to make even a little corner of Philadelphia look its best. That's what the Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park try to do.

authored by Joe Walsh, updated August 2019

Matthias Baldwin Park 

423 N 19th St 

Philadelphia, PA 19130

Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Matthias Baldwin Park

© 2018 Friends of Matthias Baldwin Park