16 Jan 2009
What city do you live in? What neighborhood?
I live in Philadelphia, PA, in a neighborhood called Fishtown. It's on the east/north side of the city, but not far removed from center city.
What are some adjectives that describe your neighborhood?
Being sadly gentrified.. but real estate agents like to call it "up and coming."
How long have you lived there, and what brought you there?
I've lived in Philadelphia for 25 years, leaving for bits of time, but keeping it a place I call home. I have a really hard time leaving because of my community. I started out in the northeast, then moved to north Philly (Temple University), back to the northeast, then to south Philly, then on to Kensington (north Philly), and over to Fishtown (north Philly).
What is your favorite thing about this place? Your least favorite?
Favorite: how small the city is, as in, how easy it is to get places and how things are readily available. I don't own a car and never need one.
Least favorite: it's the murder capital of the states. Crime, although mostly drug related, is pretty bad.
Do you feel that you belong there?
I've never felt I've belonged anywhere else than here.
What is the most common misconception about where you live?
There's a lot. Most people think that if you walk down the street in broad daylight, someone will shoot you for no reason. I'm not saying that doesn't happen... but you can't live here and fear for your life, that's just not healthy. Many parts of the city are very safe, and I feel comfortable walking at night... you just need to be aware of your surroundings.
Another misconception about my neighborhood in particular, is that the locals (people who have lived here their whole life) think that anyone who isn't them are "rich yuppies." It's a strange thing to hear shouted at you when you're minding your own business walking down the street or riding your bike, considering that I don't even have enough money to own a car.
What is a special fact about your city that you have to live there to know?
I got nothing. There's a lot people know about Philadelphia, regardless of if they've been here or not. Any special facts are about local Philadelphia minor celebrities, like, the guy who walks around the Italian Market dressed up as Elvis.
What aspect of your city do you secretly love?
There's green stuff here. I mean like, parks, rivers, creeks and forests. And you don't have to go very far to find them.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Philadelphia is well known. But what makes my experience unique is the way in which I choose to live here. I like to call it "intentional community." It's a place where friends live together in big houses, share food and resources. You can get almost everything you need second hand, and food banks are popping up left and right. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the people whom I call my community. It's a home where people are there for me, and we help one another out. It's a good place to be.