May 4, 2015 |
As neighbors filled the church pews and lined the aisles, they were warned: Don't talk about your property taxes tonight. But some feared the project on the table - 22 single-family houses spanning half a block of Point Breeze - would price them out of their homes. And the man at the front of the room, developer-turned-candidate Ori Feibush, seemed to only add to the anxiety. In minutes, people were shouting over the pews. "I would love change. But we want affordable change," a woman yelled into the microphone as others waited to speak.
April 23, 2015 |
At Front and Tasker sits the garage of Billy Ski and Fred O'Rourke. Lifelong friends, they are a couple of roofers in their 50s who spend most of their free time in the garage with a pit mix named Widdy - "like the dartboard," Billy explained - fixing up their antique cars. Like Billy's beautiful 1963 candy-apple Chevy Nova. If gentrification abounds in the neighborhood in the form of pricey new townhouses, it ends at Billy and Fred's metal gate. The garage is private. Strictly friends and family.
October 29, 2014 |
UP AND DOWN the 1500 block of North Dover Street, handwritten notes on yellow legal-size sheets of paper were tucked inside the storm doors of every house. "My name is Danielle . . . My husband is Kyle," the notes began. "We would like to buy your house. Please call or text me at (516) . . . " It then gives a number for the couple in Long Island, N.Y. Miss D, who lives in the middle of this tidy block of brick rowhouses - just east of 29th Street between Jefferson and Oxford - shows the note at her front door.
October 27, 2014 |
On Point Drive at the tip of Longport, where houses were cracked open two years ago by Hurricane Sandy's waves and wind, their multimillion-dollar vulnerability bared to the sea, all is as it was. The Hankins finished a total rebuild. The Tuchmans debated selling, but decided to do the repairs and keep their summer home after all. Marvin Ashner, who never left, not even during the storm, still answers his door beneath whimsical Blues Brothers statues. "Everybody's back," said Steven Hankin, an Atlantic City lawyer who lives on Point Drive, which overlooks the inlet's washing machine currents.
September 26, 2014 |
On an overcast morning in June, Chaplain Jeff Harley of the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission cast a skeptical eye down Pearl Street, an alley that's been caught up in - but has not caught up with - the burgeoning revitalization of the Chinatown North neighborhood. "I wouldn't take any pictures down there. They're selling drugs, getting high - they'll get really paranoid," he told Anula Shetty and Michael Kuetemeyer. The artists were there to collect panoramic images and video footage for what they're calling an interactive documentary, a mobile app that will explore the life of Pearl Street, and potentially create a chronicle of gentrification.
March 15, 2014 |
Pat Shannon purses his lips into a frown with each clip of the scissors and stroke of the razor, the lines across his face a testament to decades of repetition. Tucked in a tiny storefront in Wayne, Pat's Barber Shop has kept the same business model for more than 35 years: No appointments, no credit cards, and no frills. It will remain the same "as long as I have people coming in," Shannon said. In a Main Line town that boasts of fine dining and boutiques, Pat's Barber Shop is the place that gentrification forgot, a reminder of the past on North Wayne Avenue.
March 4, 2014 |
PEOPLE FROM all over Philadelphia came together Saturday to tell their stories about gentrification at the Church of the Advocate in North Philadelphia. Organizers had issued fliers calling for an "emergency town hall" to confront a "crisis facing black Philadelphia: the demise of our neighborhoods. " In gentrification, some neighborhoods are targeted for revitalization - but the new development leads to huge rent or property-tax increases that often force longtime residents out. Sister Empress Phile, one of the organizers, said the group will host more town halls and ask for more public meetings, including congressional hearings.
July 27, 2013 |
In too many Philadelphia circles, there's a view that the answer to the city's poverty pandemic is to just open more coffee shops, more restaurants, more yoga studios. More Center City, in other words. In this view, virtuous "urban pioneers" - as they sometimes call themselves, seemingly unaware of what that phrase implies about the neighborhoods they are settling in - are eradicating poverty block by block, renovating row homes and old warehouses, or building townhomes on formerly vacant lots.
April 17, 2013 |
The 2300 block of Christian Street sits squarely in Graduate Hospital, for more than a decade one of the city's hottest neighborhoods, where new homes and residents have translated into skyrocketing prices. While about half the homes are filled with newcomers, the block also reflects the strong attachment Philadelphians have traditionally shared with their neighborhoods. The other half of the homes there have had the same owners for an average of 27 1/2 years, according to a City Council analysis, including three under the same ownership for more than 50 years.
April 8, 2013 |
Baltimore's Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower, once the city's supreme skyscraper, always delivers a smile. It's a symbol of kitsch and nostalgia, like the city itself. It's a reminder of a gritty past and an uncertain present. Joe Wall, the tower's facility manager, is leading a free tour of the Clock Room, with the story of the tower's heyday (a 20-ton blue bottle of the headache remedy sat atop the building), its decline (a stereotypical Baltimore tale of neglect and despair), and its renaissance (reborn as artists' studios)