Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WHYY Hosts #PassyunkProud Chat

As a precursor to this post - I would suggest that if you don't follow WHYY Urban Life Corespondent Elizabeth Fiedler or Newsworks on Twitter, please do so now. Both offer a tremendous and diverse look in to our great city.

Which brings us to the reason for this post - the #PassyunkProud chat. In short, it was great. It offered a inside look at our neighbors to the west directly from the people who live and work there. The people who make up the spirit of one of the staple neighborhoods not only in South Philly but Philadelphia as a whole.

Some key themes:

This was the overarching theme of the whole chat. While East Passyunk has seen a renaissance within the commercial corridor, that sense of neighborhood and community hasn't left. In fact, it seems to have only gotten stronger. How does that happen?

Well, it seems as though East Passyunk has gotten business engaged and invested in the neighborhood. As one local business put it:
That is enormous. Having businesses who care and look out for the neighborhood is not only great business practice, it works wonders for the 'hood as a whole. Pennsport is sorely lacking in this area.

We need to look to create opportunities for local business to invest and be active in the neighborhood. This could lead to less trash on the street and more over all publicity for this great section of the city. Don't think so? Look no further than this very chat.

This community also seems strengthened by nosey (at least at first and in a good way) neighbors. Yes, East Passyunk has people who have lived there for generations. On the flip side, it's also seen an influx of new homeowners and renters. How does a neighborhood that sees that much turnover keep it's sense of community? By caring about and getting to know your neighbors. Something as simple as shoveling off your neighbors sidewalk works wonders in this department.

Lastly, the community is engaged with the goings-on in the neighborhood. I urge you to be active in Pennsport, for Pennsport. Care about what goes one here and get involved in helping to shape the community for today as well as down the road. 

Business, but the right business:
Business turnover in this area from old world to new school has been incredible. From urban gardening to some of the best pubs in the city - East Passyunk offers anything you could need or want.

Here is one of the most fascinating quotes from the chat:

That is straight from the source. If you sit and think about it, Pennsport could have it all. Old school Two Street pubs like O'Jung's and The Shamrock mixed in with new school business like Federal Donuts and The Industry. However, we would also have the accesbility to big-boxers like Target, Ikea, and an honest-to-goodness movie theater. In this instance, I95 acts as a barrier that separates the cool, local spots that we all love from the huge parking lots and necessity of Target and Walmart - both easily accessible by foot, bike, car, and public transportation.

Clever commercial/residential planning along Front Street, Two Street, and Moyamensing Ave could bring Pennsport to the forefront of the next amazing Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Parking as an issue:
I have to chuckle as this. Pennsport kills most any neighborhood when it comes to parking. Yes, what we lack in a commercial corridor we more than make up for in parking. While people may have issues parking right next to their homes, especially northern Pennsport, being next to I95 offers more than ample space in you're in a pinch. Yes, it's dirty and needs better lighting, but you can't argue with it's convenience. Aside from New Year's Day, when have you ever parked outside your immediate area?

Hello darkness my old friend. This is a huge deal for me. I see it as an almost completely avoidable and fixable situation with an easy solution:


Take pride in your neighborhood and help out. If you see trash or illegal dumping, pick it up or call the authorities. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people straight up dump a bag of McDonald's in to the gutter. I won't get in to the number of glass bottles that litter Two Street on any given evening. It affects everyone and hardly anyone does anything about it.

If you see someone picking up some trash, take their hint and grab a piece yourself - maybe offers them some gratitude along the way as well.

I simply commend Newsworks, Elizabeth Fielder, and the active members of the East Passyunk community for this glimpse in to a great neighborhood. Hopefully soon, Pennsport can see such a renaissance.