Philly

Posted by Ellen

The Little League games were in full swing when Mister Softee showed up at Taney Park. So the players couldn't just leave the field and run over to the truck–but the grownups could.

The park entrance is red, white, and blue for Memorial Day, and also for every other day; a nearby plaque memorializes neighborhood boys who died in Vietnam. This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago, though the scene will look the same today, albeit with a wardrobe adjustment to deal with much, much warmer and muggier temperatures.

Posted by Ellen

The bronze Ben Franklin standing atop City Hall's dome is said to be the tallest statue anywhere that's on top of a building. He's 37 feet tall and weighs 27 tons.

This picture of Ben from behind was taken from the new observation deck on the 57th floor of One Liberty Place a couple of blocks away.

Posted by Ellen

Philadelphians voted today, here at Derkas Auto Body on Aramingo Avenue in the Fishtown neighborhood. Other voting sites around town included a beauty parlor, a Vietnamese restaurant, a coffee shop, and a tire store, in addition to all the usual schools and firehouses and other community spaces.

Norman and I did our voting at two different places, because he had responsibly updated his address last summer when we moved a few blocks from our old house, while I irresponsibly failed to report the change. So Norm reported for duty at his newly assigned voting booth in the after-school daycare building at Markward Playground, and I just went back to our old polling place in the basement of a medical center, where the people working the election were neighbors who treated me all neighborly.

At this writing, election results are still trickling in. But I cast my vote, so nothing is my fault.

Posted by Ellen

Before this building was a church, it apparently was a tavern, the oldest structure in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. After it was a church, it was converted into something else, some kind of housing.

At the building next door is a sign that reads: "We don't know anything about the church."

Posted by Ellen

On the sidewalk. In the city. Last summer.

Posted by Ellen

Presidents' Day has already come and gone, and they still haven't taken down the Valentine's decorations.

Posted by Ellen

Ten or so days ago, when Philly got whacked by a pretty good thump of snow, this guy was the only one out driving around in the neighborhood, until he wasn't.

He was going the wrong way up 24th Street–and really, why not? There were no other cars on the road. But he slipped and slid, and then he was digging and digging. . . .

One of the neighbors brought him some cardboard, which was eventually helpful, but nobody offered to help him shovel, which might have made a more immediate contribution. (In our own defense, it is noted here that ever since last August, when we moved into an apartment, we no longer own a snow shovel.)

It's warmed up now and rained, and the snow is disappearing. Maybe this next month will bring us more winter, but maybe not.

Posted by Ellen

Just a few years ago, Monday in the neighborhood was obviously washday, as in this scene looking out over the alley behind South Taney Street. But that was then; nowadays, rowhouse backyards like these, minus the clotheslines, are described in realtor-speak as perfect for entertaining. 

Posted by Ellen

We offer a robust winter sports program here in Kater Street. See, for example.

Posted by Ellen

Between 1950 and 1953, Philadelphians demonstrated repeatedly in many neighborhoods, seeking stop signs, traffic lights, and one-way traffic patterns in hopes of making the city's narrow streets safer for pedestrians, especially children.

In June 1952, these women and children blocked off Sansom Street at 32nd Street, to draw attention to a block where seven children had been hit by cars in a single month. Police broke up the demonstration and arrested three of the women.

At some point between then and now, city officials made almost all the streets in and around center city one-way and installed stop signs or red lights at virtually ever corner.

Pedestrian safety is no longer a major political issue. Parking, on the other hand. . . .