April 23, 2011 |
George Leisenring was 26, a German immigrant living alone in Fishtown, working as a blacksmith, when President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for volunteers to defend the nation's capitol. Virginia had just seceded from the union. Leisenring boarded a train at Broad Street and Washington Avenue with 1,200 others on April 19, 1861. Lacking both uniforms and arms, the regiment made it only to Baltimore's President Street Station, where a mob of secessionists attacked its train. Leisenring, stabbed in the back and side, became the first casualty of the Civil War from Pennsylvania.
February 13, 2012 |
Sharon Van Etten is an itinerant singer-songwriter. Originally from New Jersey, she went to college in Tennessee, where she was involved in a destructive relationship that she mines in many of her direct, unflinching songs. She now resides in Brooklyn. Van Etten's career roots, however, begin here in Philadelphia. She recorded her first two brilliantly discomforting albums, Because I Was in Love (2009) and Epic (2010), with producer Brian McTear in his Fishtown studio, and Philly is her second home.
April 18, 2013 |
NO ONE gets out of this life alive. But not everyone thinks about that as often as Linda Belz does. She's the 30-year-old ovarian-cancer patient I wrote about last week, whose doctors can do no more for her. She will die soon. Her final wish is to raise enough money to pay her funeral expenses so that her grieving parents won't have to. When I visited with Linda at Vitas Hospice in Frankford, the bombs were eight days away from exploding at the Boston Marathon. So it was easy to forget, for the moment, that life can end in an instant the way it did for the three Boston victims.
October 27, 2011 |
One day 10 springs ago, Jim Smart was weeding in his Mount Airy garden and found his thoughts far from the daffodils. His grandson, an eighth grader who rode the bus and loved video games, was about to turn 14. How different the boy's life was, Smart thought, from that of his own grandfathers, who were 14 in 1876, the year of the great Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. "My mother's father worked 60 hours a week in a textile mill at that age," said Smart, a former Philadelphia Bulletin columnist.
December 22, 2008
WHEN I FIRST heard that the Nutter administration would be cutting certain public libraries, I automatically knew the ones in the African-American communities would be targeted first (exception of the Fishtown branch). Mayor Nutter clearly understands the consequences behind challenging the Philadelphia Eagles' multibillion-dollar football stadium, which owes the city $8 million, or targeting the Mummers Parade, which are both white-folks recreational establishments. But because this mayor has developed a slave-master relationship with the white community in this city, his tenure will forever be in a form of psychosocial obedient debt to them for electing him. Unfortunately, resulting in the cutting of urban libraries where young African-American children go to access resources is no concern to this psychologically trained "Happy Negro" mayor.
March 22, 2013 |
NOT MANY PEOPLE can go shopping and emerge from the store with a cart full of goods having either spent only a few cents or with the store actually owing them money. Marge McDermott could. At least, that was the story she told. She was a fanatic coupon-clipper, and by the time she finished delivering her coupons to the cashiers, her bill was negligible, or nonexistent. And Marge loved it. She enjoyed shopping so much that she was at two stores in Port Richmond the day before she died Saturday at age 92. She lived in Fishtown.
June 28, 1997 |
In Philadelphia, it's been demonstrated that you can take the boy out a River Ward, but you can't take the River Ward out of the boy, no matter what his biological age. Which is why River Ward Doco - now Doco of the Daily News - was assigned this story. Three of Philadelphia's most colorful River Wards are linked like sausages, better known as Fishtown, Port Richmond and Kensington. Each has its own personality, but they're more alike than not, because their rowhouse character was shaped by the early industrialization, when Philadelphia was the workshop to the world.
December 12, 2013 |
LUCCA ORETO was palling around with his stepdad in the snow yesterday afternoon behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art when he pointed to an almost-black puddle in the road. "That's not ice! That's not ice!" the sixth-grader repeated to Joe Silvasy. Then Lucca promptly stuck his leg in the slushy goo to prove he was right. Laughs and guffaws ensued for Lucca and his family, all formerly of Tampa, Fla., and now residents of Fishtown. Lucca and his family, mom Kristel Oreto and sister Angel, had been sledding down the hill behind the museum because the district canceled school, including the kids' classes at Adaire Elementary School in Fishtown.
April 25, 2012
A deeply offensive comparison I found the commentary "Film's dystopia rings familiar" (Friday) deeply offensive. To compare President Obama's administration, which is trying to bring better health care to all of our citizens and to prevent banks from using our savings in very risky financial deals, to a regime that requires children to kill each other is beyond the pale. It is on the same level as those who have called Obama a Hitler. The author seems to have a searing personal hatred for Obama, not a reasoned argument against his policies.
July 8, 2013 |
Imagine abandoned storefronts with crumbling facades on an empty downtown street suddenly springing back to life with avant-garde art galleries, boutiques with bright vintage clothing, and the aroma of freshly brewed espresso. It isn't hard to do - not when it has happened in recent years to formerly gritty neighborhoods such as Philadelphia's Fishtown, Brooklyn's Williamsburg, and dozens of other reclaimed city streetscapes from coast to coast. But could such a social and cultural beachhead ever take hold in Chester - the now-deindustrialized Delaware County river city of 34,000 that had 23 homicides last year and has some of the most entrenched pockets of poverty on the Eastern seaboard?