Archives: philadelphia neighborhoods

American Street Corridor To Become Philadelphia's Next Neighborhood?

Posted on: November 7, 2013

The American Street Corridor, an area in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, has been blighted and barren for decades. The area was once alight with industry, beginning in the late 1800’s when the Reading and Philadelphia Railroads routed through the area, spurring a lively commercial strip filled with factories and repair shops, freight yards and tens of thousands of busy workers. But all of that is gone and has been for quite some time. American Street has been the badlands for decades, a place you simply didn’t go.

Around 20 years ago, Philadelphia was awarded a grant through the Empowerment Zone program for $79 million. The money was split between blighted, post-industrial zones in West and North Philly and the American Street Corridor. The money has been budgeted annually to foster business growth in the area, slowly building the area back. The Amer­ic­an Street Em­power­ment Zone bound­ar­ies are Gir­ard Av­en­ue to the south, 6th Street to the west, over Dauph­in Street, and up 4th Street, to the north by Le­high Av­en­ue, and to the east by Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue down to Front Street, along Nor­ris Street and down Frank­ford Av­en­ue.

Recently, this corridor, which lies adjacent to real estate hot-spots Fishtown and Northern Liberties, has benefitted from the growth of its borders. Everyone from tech companies to coffee roasters are popping up in the area.

Recently, a number of residential developments seem to be in the works, which is an exciting development for the corridor. Could this mean the American Street Empowerment Zone could be poised to be the next great Philly neighborhood? Stay Tuned!

Further reading:

A brighter future for the American Street Corridor

Uncertainty and Ingenuity On Kensington’s Industrial American Street

Reclaiming American Street

Philadelphia Empowerment Zone (EZ)








Kid Friendly Philadelphia: FISHTOWN

Posted on: September 30, 2013

Fishtown— Fishtown is a Philadelphia neighborhood located North of Girard Avenue and bordering the Delaware River. Though its borders are often disputed, the heart of Fishtown lies within the triangular border created by the Delaware River, York Street and Frankford Avenue. It bleeds into and overlaps with part of Northern Liberties, Port Richmond and Kensington. In the last decade Fishtown has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Called by some residents one of the last truly “family neighborhoods,” in Philadelphia, Fishtown is becoming a bastion of nightlife, dining and culture. (Source:


Penn Treaty Park: Large and lovely park on the banks of the Delaware River. Great place to spend a lazy day. (1199 N Delaware Ave.)

Hetzell’s Field: Baseball Field (Thompson and Columbia Sts.)

Shissler Rec Center: Sitting on 5.6 acres, this recreation facility has a ballfield, a basketball court and a sports field. (866 Moyer St)

Fishtown Rec Center: Across the street from the Fishtown Community Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Fishtown Recreation Center contains a playground, picnic tables and a roller rink. Neighborhood opinion maintains that the adjacent basketball courts are one of the best places to play a pickup game in the city. (1202 E. Montgomery Ave.)

Palmer Park:  Small and cozy park near Frankford and Columbia (1774-1776 Frankford Ave.)

Konrad Square: Plenty of lawn space for a picnic, fun with the dog or a mid-afternoon nap (Tulip & Dauphin Streets)


Fishtown Cione Rec Center: Situated on the north-eastern part of the neighborhood on 4.8 acres.  It has a ball field, 3 basketball courts, large sport’s field, swimming pool, hockey rink, and a well equipped playground. (2600 E. Aramingo Ave.)


Philadelphia Summer Camps: A blog dedicated to Philadelphia area summer camp programs.

Attractions/ Things To Do:

Philadelphia Martial Arts and Kickboxing: Kids Martial Arts Classes. (262 E. Girard Ave.)

Angler Movement Arts Center: Dance Classes for All Ages. (1550 E. Montgomery Ave.)

Portside Arts Center: Arts, Acting, Dance, Puppet Classes for Kids and Teens. (2531 E. Lehigh Ave.)

Fishtown Athletic Club: Soccer, Baseball, Softball, Basketball (Berks and Blair Sts.)

Kid Friendly Restaurants / Stores:

Rita’s Water Ice: (2499 Aramingo Ave)

Mugshots Diner: (2424 East York St)

Pizza Brain / Little Baby’s Ice Cream: (2313 Frankford Ave.)

Sketch Burger: (413 E. Girard)

Sulimay’s Restaurant: (632 E. Girard)

More Info: All About Fishtown

Kid Friendly Philadelphia: GRADUATE HOSPITAL

Posted on: September 23, 2013

Graduate Hospital— “Though the large medical institution that gave this south-of-Center City swath its name is no longer in operation, Graduate Hospital — or “G-Ho,” to fans of brevity — has solidified a reputation independent of its common moniker. South Street West is the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare; it’s clean, well-lit and extremely pedestrian-friendly thanks to a vibrant entrepreneurial energy coming from the neighborhood’s restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and more. Characterized by a mix of single-family homes new and old and thriving places of worship, it’s a remarkably kid-friendly place.” (Source: Visit Philly)


Julian Abele Park: 22nd and Montrose Sts.

Marian Anderson Park: 17th and Catherine Sts.

Catherine Park: 2200 Catherine Street.

Uncle David’s Playground: 15th and Catherine Sts.


Graduate Hospital YMCA: Swim Lessons (1724 Christian Street)

Marian Anderson Pool: Largest Lap Public Pool in The City (740 S 17th St)


Philadelphia Summer Camps: A blog dedicated to Philadelphia area summer camp programs.

Attractions/ Things To Do:

Daddis Martial Arts: Classes and Gallery. (1719 Washington Ave)

Philly Dance Fitness: Kids Ballet and Family Classes Available. (1624 South St.)

Kid Friendly Restaurants:

Ants Pants Cafe: Australian inspired but most definitely a neighborhood spot, Ants Pants Cafe tries to blend fresh and healthy with cozy and tasty. Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Coffee, Dinners.

Breezy’s Cafe: Looking for a delicious sandwich? Then stop in to Breezy’s Cafe and enjoy one of our tasty soups, salads, or sandwiches today. Breezy’s offers vegetarian, vegan and classic sandwiches using quality ingredients. We strive to use organic and all-natural items in everything we make.

Jamaican Jerk Hut: The Jamaican heritage is traced back to several distinct and varied cultures, in turn, this is reflected in our cuisine. Our native island fruits and vegetables are skillfully fused with the flavors of Africa, England, China and the East Indies, to name a few. Peppers and tomatoes from the New World, curries from the East Indies, ground provisions and stews from Africa and herbs from Europe. The result of these combinations is truly a treat for all your senses!

The Igloo: Frozen Yogurt

Philly Cupcake: Chocolate and Cakes


Odunde Street Festival: The annual Odunde Street Festival, held every second Sunday in June, brings a genuine taste of Africa to South Street and one of Philadelphia’s oldest, historically African-American neighborhoods. (June)

More Info:

SOSNA: South of South Neighborhood Association

Neighborhood Profile: NEWBOLD

Posted on: August 19, 2013

History:  Real estate developer John Longacre, known to residents as “the original founder of Newbold,” saw potential in the undeveloped area, so he started purchasing properties that turned into residential and commercial spaces in the early 2000s. Later, he developed the nonprofit, Newbold Community Development Corp., which later shared its boundaries — Tasker to Wolf, Broad to 18th streets — with Newbold Civic Association, which launched around ’06.

Other, mainly newer, residents spanning Washington to Passyunk avenues with like ideas of how to improve their neighborhood began meeting at one another’s homes in ’07. Soon those neighbors formed Newbold Neighbors Association.

This area is historically part of Point Breeze, however Longacre (also the owner of the South Philadelphia Taproom) dubbed the neighborhood “Newbold” in 2003 in an effort to differentiate it from the rest of Point Breeze. Longacre drew inspiration for the name from the original name of Hicks Street.

Famous residents include singer/pianist Buddy Greco, a native of the 2000 block of South Chadwick Street; disc jockey Jerry Blavat, formerly of of 17th and Mifflin streets; singer Al Martino, a 15th-and-Tasker-Street native; The Four Aces’ lead singer Al Alberts, of the 1800 block of Chadwick Street. (From Wikipedia, South Philly Review)

Boundaries:  Washington Avenue to Wolf Street, Broad to 18th streets.

Zip Codes:  19145, 19146

More Information: Newbold Neighbors AssociationNewbold Civic Association

Schools: George W. Childs School,  St. Thomas Aquinas

Public Transportation: SEPTA Ellsworth Federal Station


Neighborhood Profile: ELKINS PARK

Posted on: August 5, 2013

History:  Elkins Park is in Montgomery County, Pa and is split between Abington and Cheltenham Townships.  Cheltenham Township, as it exists today, is the product of over 300 years of history. The interactions of numerous generations have created a tapestry of events and people that have shaped both the physical and cultural development of the Township.

The story of Philadelphia’s first suburb is filled with names of local, regional, and national significance. The physical manifestation of this history is the unique building stock that lends Cheltenham Township its sense of place and character. It is the express desire of the Township to promote and preserve these historical artifacts through the expansion of regulatory tools and historic preservation efforts.

Cheltenham Township was created in 1682 as part of Philadelphia County. It was not until September 10, 1784 that Montgomery County was formed and Cheltenham became its smallest Township. William Penn deeded land grants to fifteen fellow Englishmen. Each was deeded a small parcel of land in the City of Philadelphia and a larger area, comprising of between 100 and 500 acres, in Cheltenham Township.  (Cheltenham

Boundaries:  Elkins Park borders the City of Philadelphia along Cheltenham Avenue, and is roughly 9 miles from Center City, Philadelphia.

Zip Codes: 19027.

What to See and Do: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Beth Sholom Synagogue, Lynnewood Hall, Richard Wall House, High School Park

More Information: Abington Township, Cheltenham Township.

Schools: School District of Cheltenham Township.

Public Transportation: SEPTA bus routes 28, 55, 70 and 77 and  SEPTA Regional Rail trains on the Warminster LineWest Trenton Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line at the Elkins Park Station.


Neighborhood Profile: PENNSPORT

Posted on: July 29, 2013


History:  According to the Genealogy of Philadelphia County Subdivisions, Pennsport was originally part of Moyamensing Township. Most of the area north of present-day Mifflin Street was included in the Southwark District from 1794 until the consolidation of Philadelphia in 1854. At that point, it was mostly contained in the First Ward. The First and Second Wards ran east of Passyunk Avenue and were divided by Wharton St. (First to the south, Second to the north). The southern boundary of the First Ward initially spanned south to the river, but it was stopped at Mifflin St. in 1898.

Pennsport is a riverfront enclave that’s been building up exciting momentum in recent years. The influx of energy is welcome in a neighborhood already rich in Philly tradition.

The stretch between Front and Third, better known as “Two Street,” is the home of the Mummers, the bedazzled paraders who’ve been tearing up Broad Street on New Year’s Day for more than 100 years. Mummer clubs and pubs blend into the neighborhood’s quaint, narrow, well-maintained blocks in this historically residential part of town.

A growing number of new restaurateurs and shop owners are breathing new energy into the area, helping expand the neighborhood’s already robust identity.

A network of quiet, safe streets, Pennsport is not most convenient neighborhood to access via public transport, though buses do run north-south on Front and Moyamensing and east-west on three streets below Washington Avenue. The unorthodox nature of Pennsport’s more prominent corridors, especially the diagonally oriented Moyamensing, can make driving a little murky for the unfamiliar, though it’s close to 95 and there is typically street parking. (Visit Philly, Wikipedia)

Boundaries: Snyder Avenue to the south, Washington Avenue to the north, The Delaware River to the east, Fourth Street to the west.

Zip Codes: 19147, 19148.

More Information: Pennsporter, Naked Philly.

Schools: Abigail Vare, George SharswoodFurness Horace High School.

Public Transportation: SEPTA 57 Bus Line


Neighborhood Profile: EAST OAK LANE

Posted on: July 22, 2013

History:  Settled in 1683, East Oak Lane, located at “The Northern Gates of Philadelphia”, is William Penn’s first neighborhood- his first “Green Country Town.” Rich with history, gorgeous architecture, green space and cultural diversity, this neighborhood is truly a jewel in the crown of Philadelphia.

Convenient to the newly restored Melrose Park Train station, Fernrock Subway Station and many bus lines- residents have access to all the City of Philadelphia has to offer, yet they enjoy the quiet and beauty of a suburban environment.

The vision of William Penn to create a pastoral oasis for city dwellers is shared by the residents of East Oak Lane. Neighbors are passionate about preservation of their beautiful landscaping and their rich Philadelphia architecture. This community comes together to celebrate their shared respect for the “quality of life” of all of its neighbors. As a result, East Oak Lane continues to attract Philadelphia’s great minds and talents who love to call this neighborhood their home.

Boundaries: Cheltenham Avenue at the north, Broad Street on the west, Godfrey Avenue at the south, and North 5th Street to the east.

Zip Codes: 19126, 19141.

More Information: East Oak Lane Community Action Association, Oak Lane Tree Tenders, Friends of the Oak Lane Library.

Schools: Ellwood School, Philadelphia High School For Girls, Central High School, St. Helena’s.

Public Transportation: Melrose Park Station, Fern Rock Station.


Neighborhood Profile: UNIVERSITY CITY

Posted on: May 20, 2013

History:  University City is a name for the easternmost region of West Philadelphia. The University of Pennsylvania has long been the dominant institution in the area and was instrumental in coining the name University City as part of a 1950s urban-renewal effort. Today, Drexel University and The University of The Sciences in Philadelphia also call University City home. 

The eastern side of University City is home to the Penn and Drexel campuses, several medical institutions, independent centers of scientific research, 30th Street Station and the Cira Centre. The western side contains Victorian and early 20th-century housing stock and is primarily residential.

Tree-lined streets, public gardens, and open green spaces make University City a verdant, livable community. Neighbors shop together for fresh produce at farmer’s markets, dine in cozy restaurants, and listen to open-air concerts and plays, all within blocks of the distinctive wide porches of the leafy residential areas.

University City grows each year, adding occupants, restaurants, world-class institutions, and programming, making it one of the most livable, well-kept, and friendly neighborhoods in Philadelphia. (Wikipedia

Boundaries: Schuylkill River to the east; Spring Garden Street, Powelton Avenue, and Market Street to the north; 52nd Street to the west; and Woodland Avenue, University Avenue, and Civic Center Boulevard to the south.

Zip Codes:  19104, 19139, and 19143.

What To See / Do: Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and AnthropologyArthur Ross GalleryFisher Fine Arts LibraryPenn Park The RotundaAnnenberg CenterFranklin FieldPhilaDanco!

More Information: University City District


Primary/Public: Alexander Wilson School (K-5)Charles R. Drew School (PreK-8)Henry C. Lea School (K-8), Middle Years Alternative & Parkway School (6-12), Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School (K-8)Samuel Powel School (K-4) .

Private: Christ Memorial Day School (K-6), HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy (ages 2–21), Jubilee School (pre-K-6), Spruce Hill Christian School (K-8) ParochialSt. Francis de Sales School (1-8)

Secondary: Middle Years Alternative & Parkway School (6-12), University City High School (9-12), West Philadelphia High School (9-12)

Higher: University of PennsylvaniaDrexel UniversityUniversity of the Sciences in PhiladelphiaCommunity College of PhiladelphiaLincoln University , The Restaurant School .

Public Transportation: SEPTA University City Station, LUCY Gold Loop, LUCY Green Loop


Neighborhood Profile: FISHTOWN

Posted on: May 6, 2013

History:   Fishtown is a neighborhood in Philadelphia located immediately northeast of Center City. The name “Fishtown” is derived from the area’s former role as the center of the shad fishing industry on the Delaware River. The name comes from the fact that a number of 18th and early 19th centuries German and German-American families bought up the fishing rights on both sides of the Delaware River from Trenton Falls down to Cape May, New Jersey.

The area was originally inhabited by members of the Turtle Clan of the Lenni Lenape Indian tribe (who the Europeans named the Delaware Indian Tribe). The first European settlers were a group of six Swedish farming families, later replaced by British landed gentry, then British shipbuilders and German fishermen.

The neighborhood has been working class for centuries. While poverty grew after jobs left in the deindustrialization which afflicted many “rust belt” cities, Fishtown’s workers continued to maintain a stable working-class community. Most long-time residents trace their ancestry to Irish, German, and Polish Catholic immigrants.

In recent years Fishtown has experienced gentrification characterized by significant rises in housing prices and the opening of upscale art, entertainment, and dining establishments. An influx of artists and professionals has joined the ranks of police officers, fire fighters, nurses, carpenters, electricians, stonemasons, plumbers, sheet-metal workers, and teamsters. (From Wikipedia)

Fishtown is home to many well known bars and restaurants. The more well known bars and restaurants include Fette Sau, Frankford Hall, Pickled Heron, Pizza Brain, Pizzeria Beddia, Loco Pez, Barcade, The Barbary, M Room, East Girard Gastropub, Memphis Taproom, Sketch, Interstate Draft House, Lloyd, Cedar Point Bar and Kitchen, The Rocket Cat Cafe,  Kraftwork, Johnny Brenda’s and Ida Maes Bruncherie.

Boundaries: The neighborhood is a triangle, bordered by the Delaware River, Frankford Avenue and York Street.

Zip Code:  19125

What To See / Do: Penn Treaty Park, The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kinetic Sculpture Derby, Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor, Greensgrow Farms, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Walking Fish Theatre.

More Information: Uwishunu

Schools: Adaire Alexander School, Penn Treaty Middle School, St. Laurentius School, Kensington High School For The Creative and Performing Arts.

Public Transportation:  SEPTA Market / Frankford Line, The Route 15 Trolley Line, Septa Bus Lines 15 and 25


Neighborhood Profile: BALA CYNWYD

Posted on: April 29, 2013

History:  Bala Cynwyd is a community in Lower Merion Township which is located on the Main Line in southeastern Pennsylvania, bordering the western edge of Philadelphia at US Route 1. It was originally two separate towns, Bala and Cynwyd, but is commonly treated as a single community. Bala Cynwyd lies in the Welsh Tract of Pennsylvania and was settled in the 1680s by Welsh Quakers, who named it after the town of Bala and the village of Cynwyd in Wales.

(From Wikipedia)

Boundaries: Bala Cynwyd extends west of the Philadelphia city limits represented by City Line Avenue from Old Lancaster Road at 54th Street west to Meeting House Lane and then along Manayunk and Conshohocken State Roads north to Mary Watersford Road, then east along Belmont Avenue back to City Line.

Zip Codes:  19004.

What To See / Do:  West Laurel Hill Cemetery, History and Landmarks

More Information: The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd

Schools: Cynwyd Elementary SchoolBala Cynwyd Middle SchoolLower Merion High School, Catholic Merion Mercy  Academy, Waldron Mercy AcademyFrench International School.

Public Transportation: SEPTA’s  Cynwyd Line