Faces of Philadelphia - friday 2008-07-04 2202 last modified 2008-07-04 2202
Categories: Road
TrackBacks Sent: None

Two days in this city and it's striking how set apart the Independence Day aspect is from the rest of it. Right across the Schuykill at viewing distance from the dominant Philadelphia Art Museum and its famed Rocky steps is a slum so badly off that at least 20% of the homes on the bus route between my sleeping place and the historic Philly are derelict, abandoned, condemned, or long ago demolished. I don't have to say what the dominant ethnicity is in the neighborhood, which merits its own field of study.

Just six stops on the subway / elevated train out of that same historic district is more of the same, in a neighborhood called Kensington - host to The Simple Way, a group that the tract handlers directly outside the station sadly knew nothing about. One of their buildings is a vibrant magenta, standing out in lively contrast against its surroundings. On a holiday, though, it didn't seem anybody was home. Someday I'll make contact.

The area around the el is clearly not meant to ever be seen by visitors. A municipal self-awareness that throws its lot and identity into long-gone associations with the genesis of the country instead of its present, economically depressed reality is disturbing. Where exactly is the cash the city gets for selling naming rights to its July 4th celebration to a gas magnate going? What exactly are they doing about urban decay? I'd like to be educated. And now, to a nearby plateau away from the crush to better shoot the fireworks.

You must login to leave a comment


No TrackBacks for this entry.