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Wrecking Ball delivers first hit on demolition of Philadelphia's Wachovia Spectrum

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For those of you wondering if the Spectrum was ever actually going to start being demolished,The Spectrum's demolition clearly marks the end of an era in the history of Philadelphia sports wonder no more.

The orange wrecking ball started inflicting damage on "America's Showcase" shortly before 1pm Tuesday afternoon. The demolition process will take about a month. And even though the long goodbye seems rather anticlimactic, saying goodbye to the Spectrum clearly marks the end of an era in the history of Philadelphia sports.

The Spectrum will be replaced by Philly Live, a sports and entertainment project which Comcast Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider  says will provide many job opportunities for the people of Philadelphia.

Although there were some chants of "Thanks for tearing down my building, Ed" as the wrecking ball made its way towards the Spectrum bricks, fans such as Johnny Laughlin from Kensington, prefer not to dwell on the Spectrum's closing, but rather to remember the good times the arena provided.

"I went to my first Flyers game in 1972. I paid $8 dollars for the nose bleed section," laughs Laughlin.

Despite his fond memories, Laughlin thinks that the change is going to be good for the city of Philadelphia, as well as workers in need of a job.

"It had its time, but it's all about progress. Plus, it's going to put people to work."

Also coming out to watch the ceremonies were brothers Darien and Byron Ganz, Coming out to watch the ceremonies were brothers Darien and Byron Ganz, who are the owners of Shoe Kings in Camden who are the owners of Shoe Kings in Camden. Life long Sixers fans, the Ganz brothers came to the Spectrum demolition with a Dr. J and Moses Malone poster from the 1982-83 Sixers championship season. They also were carrying actual game shoes worn by Dr. J and Malone, with hoping to meet his boyhood idol.

"In 5th grade I snuck out of school to go to the Sixers parade. I never made it over there, but I've always been a Doc fan," said Darien. "I met Moses Malone, but I've never met Dr. J. I always wanted to meet him. I hope this is the day."

Julius Erving was in fact one of several former Philadelphia athletes in attendance for the ceremony. Along with former Sixer World B. Free, former Broad Street Bullies  Bobby Clarke, Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz, Bob Kelly, Don Saleski, Bill Clement, and Joe Watson were also there. Comcast President Peter Luukko, Mayor Michael Nutter, Flyers PA announcer Lou Nolan and Lauren Hart (who sang God Bless America) rounded out the guests. Clarke  and Parent recalled their Spectrum memories, as well as Erving (who received the loudest ovation of the day). Mayor Nutter, Nolan, and Luukko also shared their thoughts with the crowd.

A visibly emotional Snider was the last to speak.

"I don't know that I want to see it, but all can see it," deadpanned Snider in regards to his beloved building. "Let me know what happens."

And with that, the demolition began.

 

 

The Spectrum will be gone soon, but a lifetime of Flyers, Sixers, and many concert memories will never be forgotten.

To watch all of Philly2Philly's Spectrum Demolition Ceremony videos, click HERE

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com