Wednesday, September 30, 2009
On our many trips around North Central Philadelphia we have noticed that there are a lot of what appear to be abandoned gardens in the area. Not just small front yard gardens but expansive lots full of unkempt plants, gates with vines and signs indicating that someone once cared for this place. We drove by a particular overgrown area that had signs claiming to be a farm and a stable, but clearly was neither anymore. While trying to track down our failed stable story we asked about the former farm and one of the men at 26th and Fletcher stables told us that it had been abandoned for at least ten years. There are so many of these spanning the North Central area, it would be interesting to look into a few of them and see if we could find out why they went by the wayside.
As far as “Ask the Mayor” goes I’m sure that’s the last thing on Mayor Nutter’s mind right now. If we’re shutting down libraries I doubt we’re going to save a few public gardens for the beautification of a neighborhood that is often, like the gardens, put by the wayside.
Leeann Hamilton and Jeff Craven, Group 16, North Central Philadelphia
I know in this city as in any other, the style defines it, as do the artists. Yet it doesn’t take a whole lot of craft to throw a tag all over a city. Germantown naturally sees a lot of this. On sides of businesses, brick walls of abandoned buildings, anywhere someone can throw a hand up and get away without being seen.
Sure, there is the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, working fervently to keep the city surfaces clean. Still, I do not think everything needs to go. I enjoy looking at the expressions of art sprinkled all around out city. Keep the art alive, just keep it clean.
Our luck quickly turned around though as we happened to come across a group of pre-teen boys riding their bikes down a narrow block in the heart of Fairhill. They were very mature for their ages, and it almost seemed as though they were the welcoming crew of the block, as adults sat on their stoops and curiously watched as these kids interacted with the strangers. The leader’s name was Jose, and he quickly became enthusiastic at the idea of being interviewed on camera. He hurriedly disappeared down the block in search of others who could be helpful to us, and as we continued chatting with the other two boys, a small group of neighbors began surrounding us, eager to give suggestions and propose ideas for our story.
I had always heard that a journalist had to connect with the people in his or her neighborhood in order to properly report, but I never fully knew what that meant until now. It took an unlikley encounter with a group of boys, probably middle school aged, to connect with an entire block of people in Fairhill.
Danielle Harvey & Becca Lane
Group 17: Fairhill
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
If it’s “fried, dyed or laid to the side” Fishtown’s De’ Ultimate Hair Salon has it all. Just short of two months since their opening, the first glance of De’ Ultimate seems nothing more than just a regular hair salon, but taking a few steps closer it transforms into something special and typically unseen by most Black hair salons here in Philadelphia. While most Black salons here in Philadelphia are short on floor space, modern interior design and friendly staff, De’ Ultimate may just set a new standard. Decorated in eye popping decor, complete with bright orange walls and psychedelic mirrors, the salon has three sides: a waiting area, the actual hair salon and a “juice” hair bar. While at in the waiting area, you may have a seat in the plush leather booths (similar to those found in restaurants), watch the latest music videos from several flat screen televisions and help yourself to the various candies and treats. At the main “juice bar” you may help yourself to a selection of professional hair products from brands like TIGI BedHead and Redken. After, take a walk over to the salon and have your hair done in the latest styles including; locks, weaves, natural styles and curls. And for those special nights on the town, De’ Ultimate has a professional makeup artist on staff at all times. So ladies, before putting on your “freakum dress” and club hopping throughout Olde City be sure to visit De’ Ultimate Hair Bar, located at 5th and Girard Avenue for a "hair heaven" experience that's outta this world.
For more information call 215-426-1203
By: Ninah Bell and Ayanna Comrie
Group 21- Fishtown
As someone who values a well-made salad, it got me wondering about the eating habits in Fairhill. I mean, we have spent a good amount of time in Fairhill at this point, and although there seems to be a small eatery on just about every corner, I have yet to see a large supermarket. I am sure there are small ones somewhere in the neighborhood, as Google Earth seems to think there are actually two, but it must also be taken into account that Google Earth also shows four Dunkin Donuts, a Popeye's, a KFC, a McDonalds, 5 pizza places and at least 10--yes, you read right--10 Chinese take-outs within Fairhill's limits alone.
I think the picture on this blog best encapsulates the fast food culture of Fairhill. The rowhome, which is actually for sale, features a McDonald's billboard in the backyard. Unusual marketing strategy?
Danielle Harvey & Becca Lane
Group 17: Fairhill
Hacer (v.) meaning: to do.
The present tense of the verb is a fitting acronym for the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises, a community development corporation that has been the central force of rehabilitation in Fairhill since 1982.
HACE’s crowning achievement is the revitalization of Fifth Street. The organization reclaimed abandoned properties in order to create a vital housing development and shopping center for the Latino community. The Festival de Barrio that took place last weekend is a testament to their achievement.
Earlier this February the 2700, 2800 & 2900 Blocks of North Fifth Street were awarded a grant to aid developments and small businesses along high-potential commercial corridors across Philadelphia during the economic downturn. HACE’s 27-year progress transformed their neighborhood into an economic viability.
With the halfway mark coming up in their current 2005 – 2015 year plan, it could be interesting to see how the development corporation is managing their efforts in the face of a recession. The hopes are to push forward the continuing developments of Fifth Street, increase access to the arts and cultural experiences, help with social services of the community, and much more. With the state, city, and neighborhood struggling with even less money, HACE has much more to do.
Jonathan Viguers and Nikki Volpicelli. Group 11. Fairhill.
It's the ongoing topic about writing stories about new housing developments in Kensington instead of taking the easy route and writing about the old run down houses that are basically everywhere. The only problem with writing stories about the new housing developments is that there are so many run down houses in the neighborhood that they are so hard to ignore. For someone just entering the neighborhood for the first time, it's an obvious thing to just run and find out why. Why the houses are old and why haven't the owners made more of an effort to try and make them look better. I understand that other people have tried to figure out these same issues but it truly is hard to ignore knowing that some family probably had to raise children there or knowing that house was the best way they could provide shelter for their family. Although for every one new house that is being constructed there are ten old beaten down houses that people are living in or are abandoned. It is an issue that is discussed a lot but once the issue gets resolved it will never stop being talked about.
By Carmen Del Mastro & Adrian Fedkiw
Standing at the corner of 29th and Dauphin, back pressed against a brick building, eyes squinting from the dirt and crushed leaves that flew in a pattern through the streets. Red, green and yellow lights lit the still air that smell of freshly cooked chicken. My eyes looked at the bucket that stood high in the air, KFC. Immediately my eyes shifted to the huge rug of America’s iconic cartoon, Bettie Boop, who had tightly pin curled hair, dressed in what looked like laced lingerie, and red lipstick that puckered her lips for a kiss. The man that had been selling the rug, spread his prayer rug a few feet away the table where the sunglasses and socks sat, to make prayer.
As I walked across Dauphin, I noticed a light brown building that read Strawberry Mansion Health Center. Not the best location for a clinic but it was convenient to Strawberry Mansion residents in the neighborhood. Directly across the street from the clinic was a playground. No children; it was empty. “This neighborhood does not have community centers. Not any in this area,” said a mother from Strawberry Mansion, waiting on one of the many buses that ran in and out of her neighborhood. Buses that carried children into neighborhoods with community centers. “My son goes to an arts program on 18th and Diamond. He catches the bus to school and then to his after school program.”
Strawberry Mansion has over ten schools in its neighborhood, however, no community center. This leaves young residents with no place to get involved in art programs, go on field trips, join basketball teams, or cheer leading squads. Neighborhoods in Philadelphia are forced to compete for financial assistance and funding for these kinds of programs for their children. “It really is sad, they really need one. You are right,” said the mother of a 15-year-old teenage boy.
This is only one voice compared to the many from Strawberry Mansion with children traveling outside of their neighborhoods for recreation and a place to belong. These children have a right to create in their own community. The few community centers that are in the neighborhood are not reaching out to Strawberry Mansion's children. Their parents are not aware of the programs that are offered in the community which forces them to pay for their children to go into other neighborhoods for recreation.
I double check the address in my notebook to see if misread it. I stand at the corner of 5th and Champlost Street, absolutely clueless to the exact location of my destination. After about fifteen minutes wandering up and down both streets I call up a friend who knows the area. My query is greeted with an understanding laugh.
“Yeah, it’s easy to miss.” she says. She had encountered the same problem when she was assigned to Olney during her stint in MURL.
A minute passes as we catch up then she tells me what to look for. I look directly above me and chuckle.
“Thanks Mari, I think I found it.”
The offices of Your Community Voice, located within the offices of District Representative Mark Cohen, bring hyper local news to Olney and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The successor to the Olney Times is run by Jean Pleis and Sonja Thomas. Both dedicate an amazing amount of time to bring this monthly publication to the doorsteps of Olney residents.
Being attached to a publication dedicated to hyper-local news has been an enormous asset for my partner and I. Jean and Sonja have made this neighborhood all the more accessible and familiar for us.
Matt Bell and Kristen van Genderen
"It's a load of crap, and L&I doesn't care. They say this is all ok," said Marie Milik. She was standing in front of the hole that used to be the house next door to her. A speculator from South Philadelphia owns the property and, "started construction," in October of 2008.
Once several row home stood next door to Marie's. During the neighborhood's decline the homes fell into disrepair, as did many in the area. The neighborhood has since started to make a drastic turn around though. The homes next to Marie's were bought a few years ago by a speculator looking to rebuild them and turn a profit. However, he has been dragging his feet.
He purchased the shells and left them there to rot. He didn't board them up or close them off. They were left open to the elements. Large rats made their home in the shells. The rats found their way into Marie's kitchen and walls. At one point, a stench eminated from the vacant homes homes. The neighbors all decided to investigate together. I large pile of putrid dead fish filled was located at the back of the bottom floor of the shell. The fish stench wafted up and down the block for all to enjoy.
Eventually the homes were torn down. There was no new construction. Where once there was a basement there is now a big chasm. "It's like a swimming pool next to my house. When it rains hard the water runs into my basement. They cut out part of my roof too, the water was running in there too before I fixed it," said Marie.
The vacant hole that used to be a house is a nuisance too the entire block. According to the residents of the 1400th block of 4th street their pleas to the city have gone unheard. The residents beg and plead with the speculator too, but to no avail. For now they just have to live with the situation and continue pleading their case to the city.
Evan Casey and Jessica Fowler, Ludlow
For the most part, none of us in class have traveled to 33rd and Diamond unless we are driving by. Nor have most of us talked to someone in Strawberry Mansion, sat down on their stoop or ridden at the bus hub at 33rd St and Ridge.
But still, everyone said "Oh, you got Strawberry Mansion."
I know the words on everyone's mind is crime or poverty. In fact when traveling to this North Philadelphia neighborhood, I found myself to be legitimately excited to meet and interact with the residents.
While some of them kindly brushed us off, a majority of people were willing to speak to us about their transportation habits or share small anecdotes about travel stories gone terribly wrong. Coming back my second and third days I recognized some faces, made sure I said hello and they did the same.
I can't explain what it is inside of me that gets a little irritated when someone bad mouths our neighborhood. I know live in a "different" neighborhood, with "different" people (I'm stuck in the suburbs) but something draws me to this place 15 miles away from home. Maybe it's a sense of intrigue , an interest in meeting new people, telling their story, shooting their picture.
Regardless, now I say "Oh, I got Strawberry Mansion."
Kevin Cook and Marilyn S. D'Angelo
The four boys, who only gave us their first names, all live in Port Richmond and sometimes take SEPTA to school. All four boys complained that SEPTA is rarely on time, which makes it difficult when they have to plan how early to leave the house. However, overall the boys said they feel safe on SEPTA.
They also said they feel safe riding their bikes around the neighborhood of Port Richmond, although they admitted they do not often ride after dark. Safety is definitely a hot issue that the city of Philadelphia is consistently working on since in the recent past it has had one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Port Richmond is definitely not exempt from crime, but it seems to be, and residents might agree, that it is one of the safer parts of the city.
-Stephanie Hobson and Amy Fuhrmeister, Group 7, Port Richmond
I decided this time around to just take a hike around Hunting Park. I got off the subway, and just started walking, aiming for Front Street. I kept my eyes open for any possible points of interest. I saw a few churches and noted them, an elementary school, June's Place, the Nueva Esperanza Academy, the PSPCA Operations Center, and Los Brothers Barber Shop. At the end of my hike to Front Street, the blocks got longer, and with less people and houses, and I still hadn't turned up a possible place of interest. I got ready to go back and look at my list and figure something out when I got to Front. The corner of Front Street and Hunting Park Avenue was occupied by a couple selling things. Random things. I saw a loveseat, some rugs, a computer monitor, a stroller, and a bunch of other things. I saw a story.
I got the vendor's attention and we began to talk. I explain to him that all I want is his story, so he smiles and tells me everything. Hamdi Dedagher and his wife, Khadiga Hagouchi, used to have a furniture store on G Street. But business began to decline two years ago, and when the economy went down, his business took a turn for the worse. "The rent was too high, so I had to closeout the store," he said. For two months, Dedagher and Hagouchi have been selling odds and ends on the corner there, after the closure. "I have to make a living, and business here is not too good, but not too bad. I still have to pay rent, you know?" Dedagher said. They set up shop every day, using a small station wagon and driving from Juniata. They take two or three trips just to unhaul everything and have to pack up if it begins to rain. "We do what we have to do. Some days we make a hundred or eighty, some days, like yesterday, it rains and we make nothing," said Hagouchi. No matter what the situation, they are determined to make ends meet.
Ryan Ruth and Marissa Murtaugh
Hunting Park Group 10
Arnold recalls that when he first started his business it was going pretty good until all the customers who came on a regular basis moved out of the neighborhood. "Now I'm lucky if I bring in 30 dollars a day," Arnold says. "I'm the only card store left, but I'm getting so tired I just don't care anymore." With little profit being made, it's easy to assume that Arnold isn't in it for the money. Since he is retired, the shop seems more like a hobby than anything else. Arnold mentioned that since business is so slow he covers his rent by selling most of his items at a big flea market in Columbus, NJ on the weekends.
The most interesting thing about Arnold's business structure is that he does not feel the need to have security guards or even a security system to protect his store from intruders or potential robbers. Instead, he simply pulls out a huge black tazer from beneath his desk and shows me exactly what it is capable of doing. Upon pressing the side buttons, the electrical shock I observed from a distance was more than enough proof for me to realize just how strong 500,000 volts is. My immediate reaction was, "He could do major damage with that thing." My expression probably said it all and almost as though he heard my thoughts or read my mind, Arnold said in agreeance, "Yeah, I don't need no shotgun, this is all I need."
LaToya Allen and Herry Pierre-Louis, Group 1, Kensington
By Emily Freisher and Samantha Williams, Group 6, Mantua
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I've been fairly lucky on picking my days to go do research and reporting in Hunting Park so far. The few times I've been have been clear, sunny skies and people were more than willing to talk to me and my questions. I'm certain there are tougher days of reporting ahead, but for now I'll just enjoy the sounds of the park.
It came to attention this past visit that Hunting Park needs a bike lane on Ninth street where the street borders the park. I used some of this in my transportation story, but I think it deserves some more attention. I only used a small piece towards the end because I decided to go with the positive story instead regarding those funny looking skateboard-type-things the kids were riding.
The truth is the park, as I said in other posts, is the highlight of the area. Any park in an urban area should be respected and taken care of. There's no reason why this area doesn't have a separate bike lane. I believe it would do a lot for the community with bringing people through on their bike excursions. It would be a really good opportunity to enjoy the green scenery as they pass by Hunting Park. Bikers usually take on the other side of the road when riding and cars speed through well above the speed limit, at least overtime I was there. I just feel like it's little improvements like this that can better a community in more ways than just being a bike lane.
John Stish, Group 9, Fa0919Hunting Park
The team began trying to get interviews from construction workers or PennDOT officials. Our pursuit concluded with the promise of a detailed e-mail, giving facts and answers to frequently asked questions about the project. We then proceeded to seek an interview for a representative for Gaffney Fabrics, a business on the outskirts of the construction project itself. While in there, we struck gold as we were approached by a business owner, informing us of her story of how the construction has led her to close her business altogether as patrons had, what she described to be, no possible way to get to her store. This proved to be true, as the project disallowed us a viable vantage point to even take a picture of the shop itself.
As the semester progresses, it is safe to assume that this project will either be a factor or a focal point in a fair percentage of our reports, as Germantown Avenue is by far the heart of our assigned neighborhood.
Whether herbivore, carnivore, or somewhere in between, Sketch Shack has something for everyone. Its vegan-friendly menu provides alternatives that satisfy any pallet. Located in Fishtown on 4th and Girard Avenue, this eater has a scrumptious spread that is sure to make your tummy say, “Yum” and your taste buds say, “Wow.” Its healthy portions and quirky creations are well worth the pennies spent. Everything is made fresh to order and the modern décor keeps you so entertained, you forget that your food is being prepared. The walls of this establishment are decorated with chalkboards and hand-made pictures, hence the name Sketch. From child to kid-at-heart, patrons of this new age burger joint are sure to feel at home. The menu is unique and provides healthy alternatives for non-meat eaters. Vegan icecream is also available for those who live the Vegan lifestyle but still have that sweet tooth. One of their smash hits is their Phyllis Home-Baked Desserts and an ever-so entertaining sketch of their daily specials. It takes a while to place your order because you have to make up your mind. Fortunately, the cashier is very patient because they used to customers desire to sample everything. Open 7 days a week, this popular establishment is a destination for many Fishtowners to grab a nice hearty lunch or even an unconventional dinner. From entre to dessert, there is something for everyone. Visit the Website
By: Ayana Comrie and Ninah Bell
It was Saturday afternoon and the weather was perfect for a festival. This one took place in Fisher Park, Olney and was a Family Health and Safety Festival, providing information about health care, budgets, and ultimately bringing the community together for free grilled food and conversation.
My partner and I received the warmest hello that I have ever had by Sonja, the coordinator of the event. Once we got to the event I called her, only to have the women next to me answer her phone. We turned to look at each other, comprehended that I had called her, laughed and then she gave me the biggest hug! She even hooted for Temple. She was so thankful and thrilled for us to be there.
One thing that we noticed by talking with neighbors at the event was how proud they are of their town. One of the residents, Armond, who heads the community garden in Fisher Park, said that he feels Olney is the "greatest neighborhood in the city."
He also stated Olney was, "The most eclectic neighborhood there is. You look around, look at the people. You see some from everywhere."
The overall event was great. The free hot dogs, hamburgers and chilled drinks were pumped out all afternoon (we got our bite in!) informational booths were set up, music was blasting, kids were playing basketball and jumping in moon-bounces. We had a great time connecting with neighbors and hearing their positive outlook toward their community.
Standing on the corner of Richmond and Clearfield Streets last Friday afternoon I was wondering how I could make a story about transportation interesting. I didn’t know what angle I should take or how I could describe the trolleys in a way that hadn’t been done before. Just then it was like someone dropped the perfect transportation story in front of me. Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
Two cyclists came zooming around the corner and sped into oncoming traffic on Richmond Street. Seconds later there was a crash and a loud scream and one of the cyclists was lying in the street, unable to move. He rode his bike into the driver’s side mirror of an SUV and was now lying across the yellow lines in the middle of Richmond Street.
I couldn’t believe I had just witnessed such a dramatic accident. People were pouring out into the street and crowding the sidewalk, staring in disbelief. Suddenly I had the perfect story, the perfect angle and more than enough people to interview. After talking to a few people I found out that accidents occur frequently on Richmond Street and we really had been in the right place at the right time to uncover this reoccurring event and write a story. As I witnessed the accident and the aftermath I heard the words we had heard the first week in class echo through my head, “You have to be out looking for a story to find a good story… You need to be out in your neighborhoods observing.” I guess our professors were right.
-Stephanie Hobson and Amy Fuhrmeister, Group 7, Port Richmond
Eventually however, we were finally told to come down to the police station to speak with an officer who could help us. Our meeting with the officer, however short, turned out to be very informative and our frustration, which at that time had begun to turn into panic, subsided. Now as we begin to move forward through this semester we can only hope that our relationship with the 14th Police District will grow stronger and that perhaps the more we work with them, the quicker they’ll respond to our inquiries, as they hopefully gain a trust with us.
Shane Fox and Marco Dorazio, Group 5, Germantown
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Looking from the outside, McPherson Square Branch library looks like an abandoned building. When my partner and I traveled to the library, we weren’t sure if it was closed down, or just plain old. After a little bit of research I found out that this library was just another piece of the great history Kensington is home to.
The library seems to have a lot of its original parts to it, and I would be surprised if it were renovated anytime within the past 20 years. Matter of fact, the current building was built almost a century ago, in 1917.
A little more research also helped me understand the large statue of Charles Allen Smith, which is placed on the front lawn of the library. I found out that Charles Allen Smith was the second American killed at Vera Cruz in 1914. What makes the statue so significant is that the Kensington neighbors paid for the statue to be put up by the library.
Unfortunately the library was closed the day we chose to journey to Kensington, but I am confident that we will travel to McPherson Square Branch again. It is hard to explain, but something about the area is captivating, sort of like a hidden gem. I am hoping to learn more about this library branch, which will in turn; help me understand the area that we will be covering for the rest of the semester.
Herry Pierre-Louis and Latoya Allen, Kensington
My partner and I set out to catch random folks on their way to their offices and the like to ask them about transportation. We talked to one gentleman who called himself Rocky Robinson who said something that resinated with me. He talked about how the Strawberry Mansion and Brewerytown areas use SEPTA in a very high volume, perhaps the highest in the city. He pointed out that service was better in center city areas, but that the people in his neighborhood relied on the service more.
Most of the people we approached were friendly, and willing to speak on camera with little hesitation, after we announced our intentions. They also warned us to be careful with our camera, because it gets “pretty dangerous after dark.” We knew that knowledge went without saying, because after all we were in “The Bottom.” Putting that handy piece of wisdom in our back pocket, we completed our interviews within the span of two days, making sure to end just as the sun set.
Getting the interviews done quickly wasn’t hard. We found many residents actually approaching us, questioning why we were lugging around a video camera in one of the most dangerous areas of Philadelphia. Many, after realizing they may hit internet stardom on Philadelphianeighborhoods.com, put on their best smile conveyed their transportation routes for the camera. Their willingness put our disparities to rest, and gave us the confidence we need for our next project.
Tiffany Jackson & Dustin Khebzou, Group 8, Mantua/Parkside
At first it seemed frustrating in finding people to talk to. Many seemed to avoid us by walking the opposite direction. Others walked away to avoid the camera while others covered their faces.
However, we were able to talk to some insightful people. An older man, native of Guyana, had much to say about transportation. The C bus was very reliable and affordable for him, however not easily accessible during the middle of the night. The C bus runs both directions on Broad Street. Broad Street is a very busy route. With limited stops at night, it can make it hard for many people to travel. After talking to us about his use of public transportation, he went on to talk to us about other things. He thinks Logan, as well as other surrounding neighborhoods can be very dangerous. One night while walking home he heard gunshots. He advised us to be careful and not to stay out here too late.
There were some people who didn’t mind being interviewed. Some people were very interested in our production. We had many people ask us about our project. One woman passing by asked us about our project. After informing her that it was about transportation, nothing encouraging came out of her mouth. She went on to say that Septa is the worst public transportation service. However, she never stopped for an interview.
While packing up, a manager of a fast food restaurant asked us if we were filming the store. We wondered why are they were concerned about being filmed. This made us feel as if they were hiding something.
As we headed back to the car, hours after we first arrived a lady had set up a table selling numerous accessories next to our parking spot. I thought it was quite strange since the parked cars would block the people’s view of the table. This could be a fascinating story for another day.
Kaira Patrick and Chelsea Sexauer
Group 14 Logan and Feltonville
During our first venture into Ludlow to record interviews, we found that the residents responded with mixed reactions, some where shy about being on camera, others angry about being interrupted from their daily activities. However, we quickly learned that even those who preferred not to be quoted could provide insightful information useful for our understanding of the neighborhood.
A group of women in nursing scrubs preferred not to be on camera, but took the time to talk to us and discuss some of the changes they hope to see in Ludlow. They were the first of many residents to point out the severe lack of big, one-stop shop grocery stores in the area. The closest is Cousins Supermarket in Kensington. While small bodegas and delis dot many of the corners in Ludlow, residents do not have a grocery story chain anywhere nearby. The same is true for pharmacies. Residents have to make multiple stops at different stores to get everything an average family would need for a week, or commute to another neighborhood. Considering most of the residents we spoke with named walking, biking and public transit as their primary source of transportation, we began to imagine what a hassle this must be for them.
A young mother who wanted to speak off the record described what it was like to live in Ludlow her whole life. She told us about how far the neighborhood had come in recent years, evolving from a Mecca for criminal activity to a place that businesses and developers are more willing to invest in. Ludlow has just barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential for commerce, with an abundance of empty lots and land that can be purchased cheaply as well as the obvious need for more stores available to residents. Restaurants and music venues are beginning to fill the stretch of Girard that borders the Ludlow and South Kensington area. Many residents described the East Poplar and Northern Liberties neighborhoods on the other side of Girard as cleaner and more convenient in terms of the resources available to them. The change is gradual, and Ludlow still has a long way to go before becoming economically stable.
These conversations helped Evan and I to understand the immediate concerns of the residents in the area and also a better idea of what issues need more coverage.
Jessica Fowler and Evan Casey, Group 15, Ludlow
“They need to make hybrid buses. That’s a lot of smog, and it smells.” Kyle Henry, 26, manager and promoter
In 2007 SEPTA approved the purchase of 400 hybrid buses, which will make SEPTA’s hybrid fleet one of the largest in the country by 2011. From 2008 to 2011 SEPTA will introduce 100 new buses per year. Currently there are just under 200 hybrid buses in operation, and SEPTA is on schedule to have 272 performing regular routes by 2010. That would be a little less than one-third of the entire bus fleet.
“[For] the trains, they say they’re going to use a new form of a pass you can swipe. I don’t think that they should do that…because tokens don’t have an expiration date.” Frank McAllister, 44, retired military personnel
While it is true that tokens are expected to be phased out beginning in 2011, SEPTA isn’t looking to replace the token with anything that would have an expiration date. Instead, riders would have a smart card, said John McGee, chief officer of new-payment technology at SEPTA. People could pay for SEPTA fares by either putting a certain amount of money on the card or having the card act like a debit card, in which the fare automatically subtracts from the customer’s account. No matter which way customers choose to set it up, the cards would never expire.
“Philadelphia has the most expensive transportation system. Prices are too high for people to afford.” Angel Perez, 31, worker at the Philadelphia Recovery Community Center
Philly has the sixth largest population in the United States. In comparison to the five largest cities, SEPTA’s single-ride fare is less than the average. Only Los Angeles and Phoenix charge a cheaper $1.25 per single-ride on bus or rail within city limits.
We all know the field we are about to enter. If you don't then you obviously haven't been paying attention. Not only is the job market a nightmare, but journalism in particular is going through some changes to say the least.
This week, the media seemed to put our world, the world of the up and coming journalist, under a microscope. For some reason, the way we are handling this historical transition has become newsworthy. To us, it's just reality.
You don't usually appreciate things until after it's passed. This summer, I got the chance to spend two months with many of the overachieving student journalists of the country. There, I came to realize, the skills we're being taught, the skills we fuss and cus' over within the walls of club tech, are skills that are just now being introduced.
We are actually ahead of the curve here at Temple, learning multimedia that top grad programs are just beginning to adopt. And skills the industry is just learning how to use. Uploading, downloading, editing, exporting- it all has it's purpose and no matter how hard we fight it, it is our future.
We are a generation of college educated bloggers- the first of our kind. With the downfall of print, our entrepreneurial skills and our ability to self-produce will be what sustains us.
Kevin Cook and Marilyn S. D'Angelo
So there we were, lugging around the camera, still attached to the tripod, searching for interviews. We got ridiculed, we got asked if the interviews were paid (in cash or transpasses). Our spirits were low, and there he was. Mr. Ed.
As previously mentioned in our first blog, my partner and I wanted to put a face to the community of Mantua. We wanted to get a feel for what was important to those who lived and worked there on a daily basis. For our city transportation assignment, we thought it would be beneficial to see how the elderly of Mantua and Parkside got around. We visited several different senior homes in the area, and we met some amazing people that we will never forget.
This is Marion Sanders, one of the many individuals we met in Mantua last week. She is the receptionist and Advisory Council President for Sarah Allen Senior Homes in Mantua. Not only was she very helpful to our story, but she was able to give us a real feel as to what is important to the elderly community in which she lives. She talked to us about SEPTA's CCT Connect service, a service her home uses on a daily basis. Sanders said the transit service ensured the elderly and disabled of the community are able to live their lives comfortably and accomplish things on their own, without assistance from a family member, which is important.
It was nice to meet you Mantua. See you soon!
Samantha J. Williams and Emily Freisher
Group 6 - Mantua
Traveling to the Northeast seems to get simpler, yet more difficult with each trip. For one, it is easier because I have now grown accustomed to the train ride on the El to Frankford Ave. Transportation Terminal and then transferring over to a bus to take me to my final destination. However, due to the fact that the Northeast contains more than thirty neighborhoods, I find myself somewhere new each time, in what seems to be the middle of nowhere.
This week I wound up in Holmesburg at Pennypack Park, which runs nine miles and covers more than 1,300 acres. The park follows alongside Pennypack Creek, named after the Lenne Lenape Indian word for slow moving water. Part of the Fairmount Park Commission, it was established in 1905 to guarantee protection of the creek and its surrounding land.
Walking along the trail off of Ashburn Rd, I was in awe of the beauty in the park. The water flowed serenely while pedestrians and cyclists went up and
down the path, some stopping to stare at the beautiful scenery. Besides hiking and biking, I later found out that other popular activities at Pennypack Park included picnicking, fishing and horseback riding.
Residents of Northeast Philadelphia seemed to love the park not only for its nice touch of greenery in the middle of an urban city, but because it gave them a place to connect with nature as well as relax a bit. I came in contact with several cyclists riding their bikes and taking advantage of the nice weather, and most were doing it for fun and exercise. I also came across an old couple who were enjoying a nice walk together and a mother who had taken her children out for an afternoon away from the televisions and computer.
One man said he came down to the park everyday before work to prepare for his day. And indeed, as I completed my stroll along the trail and made my way to return to the bus stop, I felt calm and ready to take on the rest of the day's challenges.
Monday, September 21, 2009
I didn’t, so before heading to Fairhill we make a few stops on Broad, finally finding our mini DV’s at Rite Aid. We also find an intriguing character there.
As we wait in line to check out, a man in a runners’ shorts and a tank top walks up to the cashier. This man is unlike any other I’ve seen because he is covered head to toe in rubber bands.
Large rubber bands surround his thighs and smaller ones hug his calves tight. He wears thick rubber bands like necklaces around his neck and consumes his arms, knees and elbows in the likes of them as well.
He asks the cashier where the rubber band section is and she says she doesn’t know.
Once outside the store, Jonathan and I decide that we need to find a character this outlandish a few blocks over. We head east to find Fairhill’s own rubber band man.
Instead, we find a bundle of police officers walking down 5th St. Officer Colin M. Goshert of the 25th District gives us his card and tells us to call if we’d like to schedule a “walk through.”
We find Joe Evangelista, office manager to State Representative Angel Cruz and ex-arcade game salesman.
We find Denise James of NBC News who tells us about “hack cabs” and their impact in the underground economy.
None of these people prove to be the initial character we sought out to find, but reaching out gave us a better understanding of our neighborhood and a step closer to our rubber band suitor. Nikki Volpicelli and Jonathan Viguers, group 11- Fairhill