Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Living in North Philadelphia for four years can definitely give one a reality check. Personally, I’ve learned to be more aware of my surroundings. I’ve also learned that fear and uneasiness are two emotions that most Philadelphians can sense, especially when out-of-towners suddenly appear in their neighborhoods. Having said that, I knew that when my MURL partner and I ventured past our North Philadelphia “comfort zone” into Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, we would garner some eerie looks. Undoubtedly, I was right.
There isn’t any type of research or statistical data that could’ve prepared us for the unwelcomed feeling we would receive, especially when entering one of Philadelphia’s most dangerous neighborhoods. Nonetheless, I tried to do as much research on Kensington as I could, before heading into a neighborhood that’s home to the city’s number one recreational drug corner (according to a 2007 Philadelphia Weekly article).
My partner and I decided to visit McPherson Square Park and library. While walking towards our destination we noticed the neighborhood’s diversity. During my first four years in Philadelphia I’ve noticed the city’s lack of a Hispanic presence, especially for a top ten market. My understanding is that Kensington is a mostly Hispanic neighborhood, but we also noticed a lot of African American and Caucasian families while roaming the various blocks.
A lot of the storefront's names were written in Spanish boasting Dominican flags and a few of the churches even offered sermons in Spanish. We also found an abundance of Latin restaurants, a couple of salsa clubs, and graffiti written in Spanish throughout the neighborhood. The park was quiet, which we sort of expected on a Sunday afternoon, but there were a few families barbecuing, and a couple of dog walkers. All in all, we didn’t see too much activity, but throughout the course of this semester I am sure that will change.
Herry Pierre-Louis and LaToya Allen, Group 1, Kensington
Posted by hplouis at 8:38 AM