South Street, Philadelphia
As you approach Penn's Landing, you realize there is a uniqueness to the place that is demonstrated on art placed on nearby buildings. It's a kind of urban art that seems to use junk to make a point.
Tiles, paint, and perhaps glass serve as ornaments to someone's home. I doubt most neighborhood associations would allow this to happen in most places.
I do not know if this place has any practical use. If it's abandoned, it at least looks interesting. It's a pretty cool urban renewal technique.
It's hard to get a clear story on the birth of the cheese steak. Some locals insisted it was here at Jim's Steaks, although other sources point to Pat's King of Steaks in a nearby part of town. It didn't matter, as I was still savoring my previous experience.
This place is not famous, but it is important. About eight years ago while working in Lancaster, PA, my best friends from high school paid me a visit. After drinking a few, we decided we were going to get tattoos. It took us a really long time to get there, and did not arrive in Philly until about midnight. We picked this place because it was the only one opened. It was not a really thorough selection process.
Anyway, long story short, it took so long for my friend Josh to get a panther plastered on his thigh that the rest of us sobered up. None of us did it except him. He was happy with it though. It was a great tattoo. Seeing the place brought back memories of a really good time.
The joy of a place like South Street is it's throwback nature, yet it's still a thriving place. It reminded me of Greenwich Village in New York, as it is a place where you could eat, shop, and browse from stores that were just a little bit odd.
They have all the things you would want from a shopping mall, like clothes, music, and restaurants. Here, though, there is a less corporate feel and more of an independent streak among the patrons and the visitors.
Looking to find the latest drum and bass records? You're probably not going to find them in a mall (you're probably not going to be normal either, but that's another story). In South Street, however, there is a place you can go to that specializes it. Actually, there was a couple of them. It takes a throwback area to hold things like records, which are probably things that most kids today have never seen.
Imagine that for a moment.
Store owners and landowners of the area seem to have a lot of fun with their buildings. It adds to the color and tapestry of the place. The area's website describes it nicely:
South Street speaks of ordinary people who dreamed of building new lives where hard work and imagination could lead to economic independence and a chance to live and worship freely with their families. South Street then and now speaks of the everyday people of the continuing American revolution. South Street was (and is) a marketplace. Shops sold fish and fowl, fabric and all the produce of the land and vineyard. Families occupied the space over the storefronts - a bustling and noisy place where commerce ruled and kids played in the alleyways. Sounds like today, doesn't it? Or at least like the past when hippies and, artists and craftspeople moved in during the 60's and 70's and recreated a workplace and market reminiscent of the 1700's.It is an important place historically, as William Penn's landing took place here in 1682. He is considered the founder of Philadelphia:
William Penn first sailed up the Delaware River in the fall of 1682 aboard the ship Welcome, an aptly named vessel, for in Penn's progressive vision of his colony, all religions would be welcome to pray as they pleased. Penn arrived in Philadelphia by barge from the downriver town of Chester where the Welcome had moored. He alit near a tidewater basin called the Dock fed by a creek of the same name. At the time of Penn's arrival, the area was inhabited, though sparsely, by some landowners in his "holy experiment," as well as by Swedes, Dutch, and Indians. Many of these locals gathered to welcome Penn near the Blue Anchor Tavern, an inn being built along Dock Creek.If you're in Philly, you must spend some time here. It's a great place to walk.