A Vietnam veteran says he lived inside Philadelphia's old sports stadium for years while the Eagles and Phillies held games
- Tom Garvey, 78, says he lived in
Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium between 1978 and 1981.
- Garvey, who ran parking lots outside the stadium, turned an empty concession stand into a studio.
- He described the room in his new book, "The Secret Apartment: Vet Stadium, a surreal memoir."
A Vietnam veteran says he lived in a self-made apartment inside Philadelphia's now-demolished Veterans Stadium for several years in the 1970s and 80s as the Eagles and Phillies held games.
Tom Garvey, 78, wrote about his secret apartment in his 188-page book, "The Secret Apartment: Vet Stadium, a surreal memoir," which was published in December.
In stories detailed by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Garvey said he worked a number of odd jobs after returning from the war in 1969, and he was eventually given an office and keys to a Veterans Stadium entrance while running parking lots outside the
Across from his office was an empty, 60-foot-by-30-foot concession stand that he secretly refurbished into an apartment, using AstroTurf for carpet and creating a makeshift kitchen out of a sink and a hotplate.
He said he lived in the secret apartment, located by the stadium's gate D, between 1979 and 1981.
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, which corroborated his story with multiple people, Garvey said he'd hold secret parties with Eagles players and their wives, and once watched a Phillies doubleheader in a bathrobe and flip-flops.
"I was like a kid with a Willy Wonka golden ticket," Garvey told The Inquirer.
Garvey left the parking lot job - and subsequently his secret apartment - in 1981, when his uncles' contract at the stadium ended.
Veterans Stadium closed in September 2003, and the Phillies and Eagles moved on to new stadiums. The building was demolished in 2004, as was any physical proof that Garvey's apartment actually existed.
But looking back at his years at the stadium, he told the Inquirer the most memorable nights were when no games were going on, and he was alone amid 65,000 seats.
"I'd been so busy for so many years when I came home, and this gave me the opportunity to put things in perspective," he told the Inquirer. "I found it to be healing. It was a place where I went inside myself and found some peace."
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