It’s been one year since my last post. If only as a marker, I thought I’d write an update.
In a way, it feels like not that much has changed. I think that’s part of getting older: a year will go by and your life feels fundamentally the same as it did the year before. I don’t remember that happening when I was younger.
The next year will most likely be very different. I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but I’m looking forward to it. In the meantime, here’s a picture from this last year.
Last fall, I took some pictures of my neighborhood. I thought I would take similar pictures today, with the snow covering everything. I’m not thrilled with the quality of the new pictures, but I like the comparison between late summer/early fall and the middle of winter. Click on the pics for larger versions. Enjoy!
I went to the Philadelphia Zoo about a week ago, and fought the jaguars for their food. Ok, not really, but here’s some video footage of some of the animals. Specifically, an orangutan (who had a baby recently), a few tigers (who didn’t), and a jaguar (who ate a bone the size of a baby). Oh, and otters.
Footage of otters, that is. I wasn’t saying the jaguar ate the otters. That would have been traumatizing, for me and the otters. Ok, mostly just for the otters.
Now that I know what my neighborhood is called, I can put up some pictures of it. Well, I could before too, but whatever. I like the way Poplar Pics sounds. Enjoy!
As a journalist by training and a bit of a grammar nerd, I groan as much as the next stickler for spelling when I see an “it’s” where an “its” should be. I love witty takes on the lack of grammar in some writing. I especially rue the mistakes I make in my own writing.
But sometimes the grammar and spelling nerdiness goes too far. The world is not ending because “U r 2″ is now a complete sentence. Specifically, I have a problem with the idea that instant messaging, texting and Internet-speak has ushered in a doom spiral of bad grammar, non-existent copy editing and poor spelling.
This is a myth, pure and simple. Read more…
I recently moved into an apartment on Mt. Vernon Street, east of Broad Street. This was my first apartment outside of north central Philadelphia, or Templetown, as it is sometimes called. These two names are self-explanatory. (The neighborhood is also known as Hartranft, after a Civil War general and advocate for broader suffrage and working-class rights, but I haven’t been able to find out why this specific neighborhood is called Hartranft.)
So back to my new neighborhood. It didn’t seem to have a name. Very broadly, it is North Philadelphia, but that moniker covers half the city. Lower North Philadelphia might be more appropriate, but that runs from the Delaware to the Schuykill.
The neighborhoods surrounding mine all have their own names, but they are too distinct to include my ‘hood. To the east is trendy Northern Liberties. But the trendiness ends around Sixth Street, when a few industrial buildings and a housing project psychologically separate NoLibs from the west.
To the south, below Spring Garden, an abundance of monikers exists. Some say Chinatown extends that far north, evidenced by Vietnamese and Chinese food markets a block south of Spring Garden Street. The neighborhood is also referred to as the Loft District, an appropriate-enough title given all the converted industrial buildings there.
But, the names for east-of-Broad, south-of-Spring Garden, north-of Vine St. Expressway don’t stop there. Eraserhood, owing to its bombed-out nature and the abandoned Reading Viaduct railway, recently named to the Register of Historic Places. And Callowhill, a more traditional name, from Callowhill Street, which runs parallel to Spring Garden to the south.
But Callowhill-Eraserhood-Loft District-Northern Stretches of Chinatown don’t apply to my ‘hood north of Spring Garden. There are no lofts, it’s not bombed out (there’s actually a lot of new construction), it has no connection to Callowhill, and the already-stretched definition of Chinatown certainly doesn’t reach this far.
To the west, there are just more problems. Read more…