Archive for the ‘Neighborhoods’ Category

Yo! It’s Almost Spring

Business in South Philly today. Had a pleasant conversation with Lenny the Lock, who told me a story about Benny Bananas. I am not making this up. Lenny the Lock is actually a well know locksmith and Benny Bananas was a fruit and produce man who sold off the back of a truck. These guys had their monikers a long time before the Sopranos, or Scorsese did ‘Mean Streets.’

In a review in Sunday’s New York Times about Pete Dexter’s new book, Paper Trail, it was mentioned Pete ventured into Philadelphia neighborhoods where others feared to go. That’s where I first met him at a Beef and Beer fund raiser. It is where I grew up and visit, like today, for one reason or another.

In my travels I see they are tearing down what was St.John Neumann/Bishop Neumann High School at 26th and Moore Streets. Word is the archdiocese is building a retirement home on the site?

This teasing weather had many folks out walking, jogging and I even saw someone fishing , as I drove through Roosevelt Park. Robins were about and the lakes were filled with white swans as well as mallards.

Why I Love Where I Live

I bought my first home just over one year ago in South Philly – the cradle of many fine pizza and corner drinking establishments. All this was made possible on the extremely unglamorous salary of a proposal consultant for a major insurance carrier. My now little piece of earth – and I do mean little – was the first place I went to see after several months of scouring numerous real estate websites. As I walked in the front door, I knew that this was a place that I could call home. Forty-eight hours later, I submitted my offer. One week later, the house was mine.

Oh, look! A snack!

If you live near Fitler’s Square, you might see spots of orange flour on the sidewalk or street posts. I haven’t heard the call, “On on…,” but unless I miss my guess, I think it’s one of the trail markers of a local club of Hash House Harriers.

What’s funnier than a bunch of runners in red dresses is that my dog always looks at the flour and thinks that somebody left a meal for her on the sidewalk. So for all you hashers out there, if I don’t stop her from eating it first, here’s hoping you don’t lose your way!

Drexel Birds

There is an open courtyard in the middle of the engineering buildings at Drexel just off Market Street with a few trees and bushes. I walk though a few times a week, usually when I’m late or feeling too lazy to walk around. Every time I’m amazed at the huge numbers of birds hanging out in there at all hours. They sing birdly choruses and all congregate in one tree, but not always the same tree.

This perplexed me quite a bit until this morning. The birds were gathered in a shorter tree closer to the walkway and I got a good look at some of them. They are quite pleasingly plump. Then it occurred to me that there are also about half a dozen food trucks lining the south end of the courtyard. These must be some of the happiest, best fed birds in Philadelphia.

It’s Been a While

Today I had a reprieve from my usual working existence in the metropolis of Glenside to attend a meeting at the Chestnut Hill Hotel. I was glad for this change of venue, primarily because it made me realize that I have not been to Chestnut Hill in far too long. The words “quaint” and “charming” are probably used entirely too much to describe this area of the city, but it truly is. Just the walk to and from the hotel from the train station was great. The walk to the hotel in the morning was spent window shopping along Germantown Avenue, and the way back required a visit to one of the many stores touting their mid-fall sales. It really was mandatory. Would I lie?

It’s funny how Philadelphia has so many great neighborhoods, yet I barely make it to any outside of Center City and Fairmount. This outing has me determined to force my way out of my cocoon and make it to other parts of the city. For you other city dwellers, do you find that you make it to neighborhoods other than your own of a fairly regularly basis, or not so much?

Street Closure

Heading home tonight, I noticed that 19th Street is closed south of Chestnut. There cop cars blocking the street, and I imagine that the closure runs to Rittenhouse Square. I didn’t get to close because I had had a very long day and was single-minded about getting home, but now that I’m comfortably ensconsed in my living room, I’m a little curious as to what was going on down there. Construction? Accident? Movie filming?

Anyone know?

Loonyversity City

I walk though both Drexel and Penn campuses at least twice daily and I must say there are some colorful characters. Yesterday afternoon I saw not one, but two young men riding unicycles. They were not part of a group either, these were two separate individuals riding on different blocks. Then, this morning, I passed a young woman wearing a tiara. Not just any tiara, mind you. It was large, plastic, very shiny and trimmed with fake pink fur. Certainly nothing I’d expect to see at 9:00 AM, yet much nicer than the vomit pile from last week.

One of these things is not like the other…

During lunch today, was passing by the Penn Center House on 19th & JFK, home to a lot of elderly folk, and watched as a contractor was applying a final coat of paint to a bigass cement plant holder about 2 1/2 ft high, and about the same in diameter. The painter suddenly stops two grandmother-types about to the enter the building and shouts “Ladies! Tell me which color you like best, and I’ll paint over the other to match.” There were two of these newly painted plant stands outside–the one which he had just finished was a subtle eggshell white; the other, a blinding pink/salmon hue that should only exist on flamingoes or a puddle of regurgitated Pepto Bismol and bile (hopefully the two elderly gals were hip enough to realize this). I have a friend who lives there (probably one of 3 people under the age of 35 in the entire building) so I stop by often and I shall update you on whether they went with “simple and understated” or the”Miami in Philadelphia” theme.

South Philly Clean Up Day

Looking for a way to give back to your city? Want to get up early on a Saturday morning and be productive? This
might be something for you to check out…

Philadelphia, PA, August 19th, 2006, 8:00AM

Philadelphia Young Democrats is helping to organize the biggest neighborhood clean up in the recent history of South Philadelphia. The 17th Police District in South Philadelphia has had the highest level of homicides in our City. According to the broken glass theory, many unaddressed quality of life factors, such as dirty streets, help to contribute to the tragic homicide rate. So, in concert with the South Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, Block Captains from the 17th Police District, Universal Companies, South Philadelphia Block Association, the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ, Hope Worldwide Philadelphia, Point Breeze Community Development Coalition and the City of Philadelphia, PYD is making a difference.

We’ll be cleaning out vacant lots, planting trees, painting, sweeping, etc. The cleanup will be at 1700 Reed Street at 8am on Saturday August 19th. Contact the organizer: Damon Roberts for more information.

Via Albert

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