Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Why South Philly?

Ever since Greg and I decided to leave our apartment in Media, PA (Everybody's Hometown and America's First Fair Trade Town), we've been answering the question: Why South Philly?  My family asks because they're not from around here and all South Philly means to them is Rocky and cheesesteaks.  Greg's family asks because they are from around here, and many of their relatives left this very part of the city one or two generations ago.    

Because people ask for different reasons, we give them different answers.  We tell people who aren't from the area that South Philly is much more than Rocky and cheesesteaks: it's the Italian market, the close-knit neighborhoods, the red-brick rowhomes, and the sense of history and tradition.  We tell those who live in the suburbs that we want to experience living in a city--sure, parking will be a hassle, and there's that city wage tax, but we're young and energetic and love the movement, the diversity, the fact that we won't have to worry about mowing the lawn or finding something to do on a Friday night.  Our realtor, who has lived in South Philly his whole life, told us incredulously that when he visits his brother in the Jersey burbs, the streets are quiet by 9 PM!  

As someone who grew up in apartment buildings and condos, the idea of living in a stand-alone home is unsettling.  I spent a few years during elementary school in a house in Southern California, and I was often scared going to sleep at night, having watched the news and knowing that my bedroom window was pretty penetrable.  Later, living in a high-rise apartment building in a big city, I found a lot of comfort in the knowledge that there were people above me, below me, on either side of me.  That's not the only reason I want to live in the city, but it's a definite perk.

On Andrea's last day in town, I let her off demo duty.  We drove around the neighborhood and had a tasty lunch at the Royal Tavern.  All these pictures, which Andrea took, are of locations within walking distance of our place, and hopefully give an idea of why we chose to live here.

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