Ridley Park Man Lived at Vet Stadium in Secret, Tells All in Book

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A 1980s South Philadelphia neighborhood view of Veteran's Stadium.

Walt Disney had his secret apartment located in the Disneyland firehouse.

Tom Garvey had his secret spot at Veteran’s Stadium, writes Stephanie Farr for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

 “I was like a kid with a Willy Wonka golden ticket,” he says.

The Ridley Park native who now lives in Ambler details his life from 1979 to 1981 living in a refurbished Veteran’s Stadium concession stand in his new book, “The Secret Apartment: Vet Stadium, a surreal memoir.”

There were post-game parties with the Eagles and their wives and meet-ups with Philly sports legends like Tug McGraw, Dick Vermeil, and Julius Erving.

“I always knew this was bizarre, but when I put it together and assembled the stories, I thought ‘Holy God!’” he said.

The 78-year-old stumbled on to the idea of a Vet apartment when he worked as a cashier supervisor in the Vet parking lot.

During Pope John Paul’s 1979 Philadelphia visit, Vet lots were open to visitors.  Garvey had to have a crew there at 4 a.m., so they stayed overnight in Garvey’s office and in an empty concession stand across the hall.  

That’s when the secret apartment took root.  

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about Garvey’s Vet experiences.

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Editor’s Note: This post first appeared March 13, 2021.

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