Warming Up in 19125

Emerald Street Urban Farm | Photo: Peter Woodall

Various indicators of Kensington’s evolution, besides increasing property values:

  • New Kensington CDC’s garden center at Frankford and Berks, which opened in the 1990s to serve as a plant supplier for all the new community and side gardens created from vacant lots, closed this year. Why? Vacant land, once in enormous surplus, is now shrinking and the need for acute measures–guerilla gardens and privatizing side lots–is falling. In any case, says NKCDC executive director Sandy Salzman of vacant land, “some of it people love and so we have to decide what stays and what doesn’t.”
  • The Columbia Avenue connection, which links the “Big Green Block” to Penn Treaty Park, continues with Bryan Hanes’ light towers and light-generating form-fitting walls for the I-95 underpass to be installed by PennDot.
  • Pop’s playground at Huntington and Trenton Avenues will be part of a linked skate-boarding pathway.
  • Enrollment at the new Kensington CAPA High School is creeping over the 400 student capacity, already causing changes in the way the spaces in the building are used.
  • NKCDC deputy director Shanta Schachter says the school is teaching a lesson on building quality. School District officials wanted grates on the windows and threatened they would be installed as soon as one of the school’s windows became broken. Well, two windows are broken. The cause (not vandalism): the August earthquake. No grates coming.
  • Salzman, who grew up at Frankford and Palmer, says all the neighborhood’s Catholic schools have closed but Visitation BVM at B and Huntington, which is not what she would have predicted 10 years ago. Why has this school survived? Easy access to the El for parents on their way to work in Center City.
  • 23 new businesses opened last year in 19125, according to Schachter.
  • Community leaders have turned their sights to the neighborhood around the Somerset El station–widely considered the city’s #1 drug corner. This is Rocky’s neighborhood, kicked in the teeth a little too many times. And yet a vision is emerging.
About the author

Hidden City co-editor Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book is the novel Lion and Leopard (The Head and The Hand Press). He is also the author of Song of the City (Four Walls Eight Windows/Basic Books) and The Possible City (Camino Books). He is senior writer and script editor of the Emmy-winning documentary series “Philadelphia: The Great Experiment” and the fiction review editor of Cleaver Magazine. Popkin's literary criticism appears in the Wall Street Journal, Public Books, The Kenyon Review, and The Millions. He is writer-in-residence of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia.



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

 

Recent Posts
Developers Continue To Distrust Central Delaware Master Plan

Developers Continue To Distrust Central Delaware Master Plan

September 27, 2016  |  Morning Blend

The imperative of collaboration in reaching a critical mass on the Delaware, proposed regional rail power plant draws residents’ ire, L&I releases more data sets, and Walnut Lane Bridge reopens > more

The Crisis On Jewelers Row: Mayor Kenney We Need You

The Crisis On Jewelers Row: Mayor Kenney We Need You

September 27, 2016  |  Soapbox

The tools are in hand to stop Toll Brothers' tower (and get it built somewhere else), architectural historian and preservation professor Aaron Wunsch argues. Can Jim Kenney deliver? > more

Ground Broken On Reuse Of Old Spring Garden School

Ground Broken On Reuse Of Old Spring Garden School

September 26, 2016  |  Morning Blend

North Philadelphia eyesore being converted into 37 units of subsidized housing, Fishtown entertainment complex opens, and Kenney the pedestrian champion > more

The Tale Of Catfish And Waffles

The Tale Of Catfish And Waffles

September 23, 2016  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Long before chicken and waffles took hip restaurant menus by storm Philadelphia was famous for the meal's precursor, catfish and waffles, served at inns and taverns on the banks of the Wissahickon Creek and the Schuylkill River. Harry K. sets the table and serves us up a heaping plate of local culinary history > more

Requiem For A Moderne Gem, William Penn Annex Post Office

Requiem For A Moderne Gem, William Penn Annex Post Office

September 22, 2016  |  Vantage

Contributor Ann de Forest delivers a eulogy for the decline of civic architecture and the closing of an iconic post office on East Market Street. > more

Residential Towers To Connect Old City With Northern Liberties

Residential Towers To Connect Old City With Northern Liberties

September 22, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Apartment high-rises planned for East Callowhill, Little Pete’s replacement moves ahead, adverse possession in Fishtown, conserving INHP’s bronze statues, and Clarke defends low-density urban development > more