It’s bright and sunny in Germantown, still early enough in the day to be warm, not hot. We’ve picked the perfect time to wander around a neighborhood we know almost nothing about. We’ve heard earlier that stray cats are somewhat of an issue in the area. For some reason then, we follow the first one we see. He leads us right over to Kevin Rouse, who is busy working on his car outside of his home on Knox Street. With tools spread out all over the sidewalk, Rouse is intently bending over the open hood of the car before we interrupt.
Rouse tells us he has lived in Germantown for the past 10 years. “It’s a nice community overall,” he says, preferring it to North Philadelphia. Unwelcome trash on the streets comes up quickly in our conversation. “We do play a part in it because we live here,” Rouse says, “but the city’s not doing enough.”
But it seems Rouse can quickly find a positive for every negative in Germantown. Although the area sometimes gets a harsh portrayal in the mainstream media, Rouse points out the untold stories. Referring specifically to his block, he says, “There is a lot of unity between neighbors here. Nobody knows about that.”
He goes on to give examples. “In the winter one of the guys plows everyone’s snow for free. Whenever there is a birthday or any other kind of event, we’ll have a block party. Our block captain takes care of that.” He says it’s just “alright,” but it seems Rouse is actually quite fond of Germantown. After all, he has stayed 10 years. And listening to him describe it, it’s apparent Germantown is bigger than the litter and stray cats.
Meggan Kole and Lena Kravets, Germantown 12