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Postcard from the End of America: Jack’s Famous Bar in Philadelphia
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Jack's Famous Bar, Kensington, Philadelphia

I’ve depicted Jack’s in a Kensington Postcard, two poems and even a Vietnamese article. In business since the end of Prohibition, Jack’s is the last bastion of a Kensington that existed before all the factories moved out and the heroin came in. Old timers on a shrunken budget can mosey in to get buzzed for under five bucks. Though a pitcher of Yuengling is only $3.75, I once saw a woman sit for at least an hour drinking nothing. She just lifted an empty mug to her lips every few minutes.

Though Kensington is not the safest neighborhood, you’re not likely to be murdered if you chill inside Jack’s. On June 24th, 2015, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

Seven people shot in Kensington

The neighbors around East Hilton Street heard the blast from a shotgun Monday afternoon and knew what to do. Up and down the narrow Kensington blocks, they opened their doors for the children on the streets, who were already running for cover.

On East Madison Street, Stephanie Johnson hustled her grandchildren – and anyone else nearby – inside. A block away, Tina Jacobs checked to make sure her granddaughter was behind her, inside the house.

“The kids on the block – they know how to move when they hear bullets,” she said.

Cathy Dever, who lives on Allegheny Avenue, was in her backyard when she heard what she thought was fireworks, and then saw children running, screaming, from the block behind her. She told her own children to get down […]

But that was a full block away, my fellow peed-ons, and, since bullets don’t as yet turn corners, everyone in Jack’s could continue to sip their emptying mugs in peace. About four years ago, though, a cute tussle that started outside Exotic Diamond Dolls, a few doors away, caused a slug to shatter Jack’s front window. With their geriatric reflexes, no one even flinched for a few seconds, not even the toothy gent whose calf was grazed by burning lead. When panic finally set in, however, a man ran so hard for the safety of the bathroom at the rear, he knocked two women out of the way. Waiting for a 40-ounce Bud to-go, a lady was standing on crutches when her legs, one broken and in cast, flew up in the air. At Jack’s, this hilarious sight still delivers much mirth with each retelling.

With said window replaced, I can stare out to see a young white woman begging at Allegheny Station. A black guy gives her change. Another black guy pours some Orange Crush from his can into her bottle. A white guy helps her out. I imagine her saying something about needing money for a train ticket.

Pat Horn, 67-year-old bartender, “I saw her at 6:30 this morning. She was lying there, asleep. Then she got up at around 11, fixed her hair and even put some deodorant on.” Patty laughs. “Then she disappeared. Now, she’s back.”

It took 66 years before Jack’s hired its first female bartender, Patty. Women used to drink upstairs. The first floor was reserved for men, white ones, as was the norm. Now blacks and whites are well integrated here, though the later the hours, the blacker Jack’s becomes, and the music shifts from Billy Joel, Otis Redding and Cat Stevens, etc., to 50 Cent, Kanye West and Beyonce. By 9 O’clock, it’s usually thumping in here. Until the 70’s, Kensington was basically a sundown neighborhood, meaning all blacks and browns had to make themselves scarce by sunset. There were no yellows to chase away.

Outside, a man wears a cerulean blue tank top, and over its one white band, there is “HEART” in red at the front, then “MIND” on the back.

Girl of about nine has “I’M GOING TO KNOCK YOUR SWAG OFF” on her baby pink T-shirt.

\"Jesse James\" on Kensington Ave., Philadelphia
"Jesse James" on Kensington Ave., Philadelphia

Zombies, not all of them high, trudge across one’s vision like fleeting nightmares. Down Kensington Avenue, you may run into a man who thinks he’s Jesse James, born in 1847. Often shirtless in summer, he’s proud of the bullet hole scars on his grotesquely misshapen torso. Long, unkempt blonde hair frames his burnt face and neck like the cheapest wig. Freebasing? A large yellow fang prevents his swollen lips from ever closing. He has no other front teeth.

A homeless white man in his 40’s rolls up to the screen door in a wheelchair. His toes have been amputated because of frostbites. Ragged and filthy, he’s not allowed inside, and so a bar patron sticks his head out to see if he wants anything. Expressionless, this Kensington native shakes his head, spaces out for a while, broods over two wrinkly dollars plus change, then wheels himself away.

Two black drug dealers enter Jack’s and stride right by the owner, Mel Adelman, sitting in a booth in the back. I once saw him bent over William Gibson’s Zero History. I’ve not seen anyone else read a book in Jack’s. In his late 60’s, Mel lives in Jenkintown, a tony suburb. His father bought Jack’s in 1945. “Can I help you?” Mel says twice, but they ignore him and go into the bathroom. Done, they exit to resume their position across the street. The length of the bar, with its many patrons, was like an empty corridor to these two gentlemen.

When an old black lady walks in, Patty shouts, “Look who the cats drug in! We thought you had died.”

“No, I come back alive,” the lady laughs.

ORDER IT NOW

A black man in his mid-50’s confides, “I was one of them guys who does nothing but work, and I gave my woman all my money. It still didn’t work out. I thought we would be together forever. All of my baby mamas were cheaters. The good thing is, after it’s over, it’s over. None of them give me problems, and I don’t give them none. I take care of my children. In fact, I’m going home right now to be with my baby–my daughter.”

A young white man taps me lightly on the shoulder, “Sir, do you want to buy some juice?” Turning around, I see that he has a tote bag filled with small cartons of corn syrupy drinks. People will walk in here to peddle DVDs, socks, roses or whatever.

Across the street, two white guys nod off on steps of train station’s entrance. Sitting next to me, a man in an Eagles cap shouts, “Must be some good shit! Must be that wet shit!”

Bloated, clean shaven and in his late 50’s, Eagles cap bartended at Jack’s for eight years but had to quit after two strokes. Seeing a group of Hispanic females strolling by, some clearly underage, he blurts, “I want them all!”

“One at a time,” dude next to him advises. He has on a Vietnam Vet cap.

Crown Chicken is two doors over. When its Dominican owner takes some trash out, Eagles cap comments, “I like her too. She’s pretty.” He then runs outside to catch a glimpse of his unsuspecting idol, now back among her thighs, wings and breasts. She also sells fish sticks.

Sex brings us all together. Hard up white men comb the world to bring home bedmates. In just about every English village, there’s a Thai restaurant. Italians jet to Cuba, Romania and Albania. Old, deformed, crippled or mentally defective Taiwanese and South Korean men wed lovely Vietnamese brides half their age. I know a Russian born, Israeli divorcee who ordered the biggest boobs available for his live sex doll. Even the surgeon cringed. The gold digger from the Mekong Delta can hardly walk and is already planning her escape. The worse an American slum, the more clout a black man has, and so in Kensington, as in Camden across the river, many white women naturally gravitate towards black men. Sometimes, though, it’s not a power thang, just love.

Pedro with Bag of Gifts
Pedro with Bag of Gifts

Last Christmas Eve, I was in Jack’s when Pedro, a 57-year-old Dominican, gave me something to chew on, “It’s like this. You have chihuahuas, greyhounds, german shepherds and bulldogs, but we’re all dogs, you know what I mean, so we’ve got to stick together!”

After a lusty swig of Coors Lite, Pedro worked up another analogy, “There are head, arms, legs, torso, asshole, but everybody wants to be a head, no one wants to be an asshole, so they got rid of the asshole. They threw the asshole into the river, and the asshole was doing backstrokes, like this, and they were like, fuck you, asshole! But when it came time to take a shit, guess what, they needed the asshole, so you may be an asshole, I may be an asshole, but everybody has a role to play, you know what I mean?”

During the first half of the 20th century, Kensington had factories making textiles, carpets, hosiery, cardboard, stoves, ships, engines, boilers, hardware, beer, toys and hats. It has several dye works and six banks, not just two, and local merchants didn’t have to compete with shopping malls, big-box stores and online shopping. The deindustrialization of the United States became catastrophic with the arrival of globalism, so just about every community across the country has suffered. The wholesale disappearance of manly jobs has hollowed out the young, working class American male, and that’s why he covers himself with tattoos, struts cartoonishly or joins the military to kill or be killed. Many spend hours in the dark to shoot at glowing enemies.

It’s afternoon in Jack’s, and everybody is watching a cartoon on television. Some fat guy sits on a football referee and is repeatedly punching him even as they’re having a friendly conversation. The ref’s face becomes increasingly bruised and bloodied. Next comes a movie showing two young men driving recklessly through Manhattan. While causing tremendous mayhem, they casually banter. Our mass media has made cool, blasé violence an American trademark and ideal, something for our young to aspire to.

Dumb flick mercifully over, Bob, the 51-year-old bartender, can finally share with me his thoughts on Kensington. As he talks, his bespectacled and crew cut head is haloed by five American flags hovering above the cash register. “If you know how this neighborhood used to be, you’d weep.

When I was a kid, we used to ride our bikes across the BetsyRossBridge to New Jersey. Sometimes, we’d go all the way to Camden.”

“Camden?! That’s so far away!”

“No, it’s only about six, seven miles.”

“You can’t do that now. You’d be dead!”

“I know, but it was perfectly safe then. When I was a kid, you didn’t have to worry about anyone climbing in your windows. Many people didn’t even lock their doors.

Each Saturday, everybody washed their front steps, and there was never any trash on the sidewalks. Up and down Kensington Avenue, there was never an empty store front.”

Bob’s two grown children are still in the neighborhood. His son works at a car washer and his daughter cleans offices with his ex wife.

“What do you think will happen to Kensington in five years, Bob? Do you think it will get better? Worse?”

“Probably worse.”

“What can make it better?”

“We’ll need to get many of these people out of here. It’s the people that are making it worse.”

Street Outside Jack\
Street Outside Jack's Famous Bar

Though Bob won’t say it, we can guess which people he’s talking about. “But without jobs, Bob, how can it get better? Those factories are gone.”

To this, Bob has no answer, but who can blame him. None of our politicians have solutions for us, only slogans. Don’t think for a second, however, that they don’t know what they’re doing. They have all of the answers for themselves and their masters.

ORDER IT NOW

We have a rogue government that respects no law, domestic or international. It violates every other country’s sovereignty while puncturing its own borders. It creates terrorists while pretending to fight terrorism. It extols global stability while generating millions of war and economic refugees. It turns all ideals, freedom, democracy, equality and sacrifice, etc., into perversions. It kills millions of people. It kills language.

We’re assholes for allowing this to happen, and assholes for turning on each other. We’re assholes for not knowing who our common enemies are, and when this house collapses and the bullets fly, will we just knock each other out of the way to jump into the shitter?

Jack’s still opens at 7 in the morning, but instead of workers coming off their night shifts, its earliest customers these days are hookers, pimps, drug dealers and junkies, people who’ve been up all night to get by in the worst ways. The factories are gone.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty, Unemployment 
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  1. It’s too bad economists don’t seem to place any value on people having orderly structured lives. Most people need structure and order to even be remotely productive. Thank god my hangovers made me so sick I seldom got drunk on weekdays.

    Read More
    • Replies: @yaqub the mad scientist
    If economists had any brains, they could easily quantify "lack of structure", by cross-referencing states on crime, WIC, property values, welfare, teen pregnancy, and a host of other dystopian parameters.
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  2. Interesting piece. Glad I live in a very different part of the country (although make no mistake – my community has also been greatly harmed by Globalist deindustrialization).

    Read More
  3. I saw the Oranges, outside Newark, turn from nice middle-class suburbs into toilets in the late 1970s. I saw nice working class neighborhoods in Trenton suffer the same fate barely a decade later. It had nothing to do with lost industrial bases and everything to do with the human refuse that flooded these places and drove decent people out. The local industry left only after the process was well underway. The same is true, I suspect, for most other mid-Atlantic locales that have gone under.

    My hometown, a suburb ofr Boston, is now undergoing the same fate. The elites don’t care. They’re encourafging the process with Section 8 housing vouchers; great for landlords, bad for neighbors.

    Read More
  4. Keep up the good work.

    I grew up in Upper Darby, went to high school in North Philly at 17th and Girard. Amazed at the gentrification in Fairmount and University City. But have not been to Kensington since 1995 …I hear it is much better today and gentrifying

    While Upper Darby, as you know, is being destroyed by section 8 housing. Upper Darby High School was 90% white in 1988 , today it is most likely less than 40% white.

    Let me know how the Waverly Lounge is doing , or the Trophy Tavern up the street. Or The old Clifton Inn in Clifton Heights, since renamed Murray’s bar and Grill

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Travis,

    The gentrification has transformed Northern Liberties and parts of Fishtown. Kensington is still a mess. Bridesburg, further north, has managed to avoid mayhem and degradation, and I've written about it:

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/postcard-from-the-end-of-america-bridesburg-philadelphia-2/

    Linh

    , @markflag
    17th and Girard. St. Joe's Prep. That is an interesting neighborhood today.
  5. @Travis
    Keep up the good work.

    I grew up in Upper Darby, went to high school in North Philly at 17th and Girard. Amazed at the gentrification in Fairmount and University City. But have not been to Kensington since 1995 ...I hear it is much better today and gentrifying

    While Upper Darby, as you know, is being destroyed by section 8 housing. Upper Darby High School was 90% white in 1988 , today it is most likely less than 40% white.

    Let me know how the Waverly Lounge is doing , or the Trophy Tavern up the street. Or The old Clifton Inn in Clifton Heights, since renamed Murray's bar and Grill

    Hi Travis,

    The gentrification has transformed Northern Liberties and parts of Fishtown. Kensington is still a mess. Bridesburg, further north, has managed to avoid mayhem and degradation, and I’ve written about it:

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/postcard-from-the-end-of-america-bridesburg-philadelphia-2/

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @Travis
    thanks for the link, I had missed that one, it was excellent writing. Never been to Bridesburg, will have to check it out next time I am in Philly.

    so it must be Fishtown where there is some gentrification. I don't get to visit Philly too often , but my sister lives in Fairmount North, near the Eastern State Penitentiary and it still amazes me the prices for homes there today.
    , @JohnnyWalker123
    Does South Philly still have a large white underclass?
  6. Does Jack’s still have the sign “Home of the 12 Pack” outside? I had an uncle that used to live there.

    There is a good book about the K&A Gang by Temple U prof Alan Hornblum, “Confessions of a second story man.”

    Read More
  7. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Travis,

    The gentrification has transformed Northern Liberties and parts of Fishtown. Kensington is still a mess. Bridesburg, further north, has managed to avoid mayhem and degradation, and I've written about it:

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/postcard-from-the-end-of-america-bridesburg-philadelphia-2/

    Linh

    thanks for the link, I had missed that one, it was excellent writing. Never been to Bridesburg, will have to check it out next time I am in Philly.

    so it must be Fishtown where there is some gentrification. I don’t get to visit Philly too often , but my sister lives in Fairmount North, near the Eastern State Penitentiary and it still amazes me the prices for homes there today.

    Read More
  8. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Travis,

    The gentrification has transformed Northern Liberties and parts of Fishtown. Kensington is still a mess. Bridesburg, further north, has managed to avoid mayhem and degradation, and I've written about it:

    http://www.unz.com/ldinh/postcard-from-the-end-of-america-bridesburg-philadelphia-2/

    Linh

    Does South Philly still have a large white underclass?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    I've lived in South Philly, off and on, since 1984. East of Broad Street, there are still many working class Italians, but there are also many Chinese, Vietnamese and, since about 2000, an increasingly large influx of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. My landlord is a Calabrese. A doctor, he has an office in deep South Philly but lives in New Jersey. Many South Philly Italians move to New Jersey as they move up the social ladder. With each year, then, there are fewer Italians in South Philly.

    Extending for several blocks south of 7th and Snyder is a strip of Cambodian businesses. I don't have the exact figure but I'd guess a couple thousand Cambodians live in the immediate area. The large Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple is by Mifflin Square. There are about eight other Buddhist temples in South Philly.

    Pennsport has long been primarily Irish and it remains that.

    West of Broad Street is Point Breeze, long a black neighborhood. White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they're making slow progress gentrifying it. On the edge of Point Breeze, there is an Indonesian neighborhood.

    Greys Ferry, in the far western part of South Philly, was Irish for the longest time, but it's now at least 56% black, a transformation that was accomplished with the help of Section 8 Housing.

    In sum, there are still many Italians east of Broad Street, and many Irish and other whites in Pennsport. Pushed away by the ridiculously high rents in Center City, white yuppies and hipsters are also moving into South Philly. Though the hipsters are of limited means, I'm not sure I'd consider them a part of the underclass. Their presence has become very noticeable in certain pockets of South Philly.
  9. @JohnnyWalker123
    Does South Philly still have a large white underclass?

    I’ve lived in South Philly, off and on, since 1984. East of Broad Street, there are still many working class Italians, but there are also many Chinese, Vietnamese and, since about 2000, an increasingly large influx of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. My landlord is a Calabrese. A doctor, he has an office in deep South Philly but lives in New Jersey. Many South Philly Italians move to New Jersey as they move up the social ladder. With each year, then, there are fewer Italians in South Philly.

    Extending for several blocks south of 7th and Snyder is a strip of Cambodian businesses. I don’t have the exact figure but I’d guess a couple thousand Cambodians live in the immediate area. The large Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple is by Mifflin Square. There are about eight other Buddhist temples in South Philly.

    Pennsport has long been primarily Irish and it remains that.

    West of Broad Street is Point Breeze, long a black neighborhood. White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they’re making slow progress gentrifying it. On the edge of Point Breeze, there is an Indonesian neighborhood.

    Greys Ferry, in the far western part of South Philly, was Irish for the longest time, but it’s now at least 56% black, a transformation that was accomplished with the help of Section 8 Housing.

    In sum, there are still many Italians east of Broad Street, and many Irish and other whites in Pennsport. Pushed away by the ridiculously high rents in Center City, white yuppies and hipsters are also moving into South Philly. Though the hipsters are of limited means, I’m not sure I’d consider them a part of the underclass. Their presence has become very noticeable in certain pockets of South Philly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @JohnnyWalker123
    Thanks for the response.

    I just want to say that I find your portraits of America to be fascinating. Very eye opening. It's one thing to read about statistics in the paper, but seeing accounts of the lives of everyday people conveys reality much more effectively.
    , @Whytpryd
    "White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they’re making slow progress gentrifying it. "

    And those same whites will spout off about how dumb and backwards white racists are. They will proclaim a love for multiculturalism. But what they mean is for other whites to endure it. Not themselves.
    , @MarkinLA
    Gotta get the gays in there.

    Of course it is easier for gays to bring a place up like they did in Long Beach when they are replacing old whites moving out than when replacing blacks who will hate them for being white and gay - no matter how much they rehab the old building and bring up the property values.
  10. @Linh Dinh
    I've lived in South Philly, off and on, since 1984. East of Broad Street, there are still many working class Italians, but there are also many Chinese, Vietnamese and, since about 2000, an increasingly large influx of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. My landlord is a Calabrese. A doctor, he has an office in deep South Philly but lives in New Jersey. Many South Philly Italians move to New Jersey as they move up the social ladder. With each year, then, there are fewer Italians in South Philly.

    Extending for several blocks south of 7th and Snyder is a strip of Cambodian businesses. I don't have the exact figure but I'd guess a couple thousand Cambodians live in the immediate area. The large Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple is by Mifflin Square. There are about eight other Buddhist temples in South Philly.

    Pennsport has long been primarily Irish and it remains that.

    West of Broad Street is Point Breeze, long a black neighborhood. White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they're making slow progress gentrifying it. On the edge of Point Breeze, there is an Indonesian neighborhood.

    Greys Ferry, in the far western part of South Philly, was Irish for the longest time, but it's now at least 56% black, a transformation that was accomplished with the help of Section 8 Housing.

    In sum, there are still many Italians east of Broad Street, and many Irish and other whites in Pennsport. Pushed away by the ridiculously high rents in Center City, white yuppies and hipsters are also moving into South Philly. Though the hipsters are of limited means, I'm not sure I'd consider them a part of the underclass. Their presence has become very noticeable in certain pockets of South Philly.

    Thanks for the response.

    I just want to say that I find your portraits of America to be fascinating. Very eye opening. It’s one thing to read about statistics in the paper, but seeing accounts of the lives of everyday people conveys reality much more effectively.

    Read More
  11. Philadelphia is a sober city today. … Why, it is as good as Sunday to be in Philadelphia now.
    - Dinner speech at Stationers Board of Trade Dinner, Hotel Brunswick, New York, 10 February 1887 http://www.twainquotes.com/Philadelphia.html

    Now? Even being drunk doesn’t improve the place and the more federal housing dollars just ruin everything more. No more stationers, just lots of litter and broken pavements. If Wright or any architect visited, would declare it cheaper to abandon. With globalism all the people moved there for the lack of jobs and supply of heroin and a gubermint check to stay high. All the checks are drawn on debt and public debt is public robbery. It’s not even good on Sunday.

    Read More
  12. anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    Lots of drug and alcohol abuse going on all across this country. The poor person’s entertainment, apparently. There’s skid rows and trailer parks everywhere for those who’ve given up or who were never in the mix to begin with. It’s something of an invisible parallel universe existing alongside that of the average everyday person who is only dimly aware of it’s existence or perhaps prefers not to know too much.

    Read More
  13. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    If you’re into this post check out Kensingtonblues.com for stories about some of the residents of kenzo.

    Here’s a great home video of Kensington in the 80s:

    I was driving down Kensington Avenue last month, for the first time. It was mid-day and I was checking out girls through the window. Every one waved at me or raised her eyebrows. IT took me a moment to realize they were all hookers.

    Read More
  14. @MarkinLA
    It's too bad economists don't seem to place any value on people having orderly structured lives. Most people need structure and order to even be remotely productive. Thank god my hangovers made me so sick I seldom got drunk on weekdays.

    If economists had any brains, they could easily quantify “lack of structure”, by cross-referencing states on crime, WIC, property values, welfare, teen pregnancy, and a host of other dystopian parameters.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    Remember to an economist the only thing that matters in the whole entire universe is whether the GDP of a country is going up or down. This is why they think Japan is in some kind of decline.

    Well this is what they write in their "research". I doubt that even they are that stupid. They just know what to emphasize when they try and sell their BS that benefit the 1% to the rest of the 99%.
  15. What ever happened to the Kensington Welfare Rights League (sp?). I know the lady who ran it hit the big time a few years ago and ran nationally on the Green Party ticket.

    Read More
  16. Anonymous says:     Show CommentNext New Comment

    The destruction of Upper Darby is almost complete. You could swap Kensington for Upper Darby and you could write the same article. Upper Darby, Colwyn, the White areas of Darby, East Lansdowne, and now Aldan have all been destroyed under the Black Tidal Wave.

    Read More
  17. @Linh Dinh
    I've lived in South Philly, off and on, since 1984. East of Broad Street, there are still many working class Italians, but there are also many Chinese, Vietnamese and, since about 2000, an increasingly large influx of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. My landlord is a Calabrese. A doctor, he has an office in deep South Philly but lives in New Jersey. Many South Philly Italians move to New Jersey as they move up the social ladder. With each year, then, there are fewer Italians in South Philly.

    Extending for several blocks south of 7th and Snyder is a strip of Cambodian businesses. I don't have the exact figure but I'd guess a couple thousand Cambodians live in the immediate area. The large Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple is by Mifflin Square. There are about eight other Buddhist temples in South Philly.

    Pennsport has long been primarily Irish and it remains that.

    West of Broad Street is Point Breeze, long a black neighborhood. White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they're making slow progress gentrifying it. On the edge of Point Breeze, there is an Indonesian neighborhood.

    Greys Ferry, in the far western part of South Philly, was Irish for the longest time, but it's now at least 56% black, a transformation that was accomplished with the help of Section 8 Housing.

    In sum, there are still many Italians east of Broad Street, and many Irish and other whites in Pennsport. Pushed away by the ridiculously high rents in Center City, white yuppies and hipsters are also moving into South Philly. Though the hipsters are of limited means, I'm not sure I'd consider them a part of the underclass. Their presence has become very noticeable in certain pockets of South Philly.

    “White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they’re making slow progress gentrifying it. ”

    And those same whites will spout off about how dumb and backwards white racists are. They will proclaim a love for multiculturalism. But what they mean is for other whites to endure it. Not themselves.

    Read More
  18. @yaqub the mad scientist
    If economists had any brains, they could easily quantify "lack of structure", by cross-referencing states on crime, WIC, property values, welfare, teen pregnancy, and a host of other dystopian parameters.

    Remember to an economist the only thing that matters in the whole entire universe is whether the GDP of a country is going up or down. This is why they think Japan is in some kind of decline.

    Well this is what they write in their “research”. I doubt that even they are that stupid. They just know what to emphasize when they try and sell their BS that benefit the 1% to the rest of the 99%.

    Read More
  19. @Linh Dinh
    I've lived in South Philly, off and on, since 1984. East of Broad Street, there are still many working class Italians, but there are also many Chinese, Vietnamese and, since about 2000, an increasingly large influx of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. My landlord is a Calabrese. A doctor, he has an office in deep South Philly but lives in New Jersey. Many South Philly Italians move to New Jersey as they move up the social ladder. With each year, then, there are fewer Italians in South Philly.

    Extending for several blocks south of 7th and Snyder is a strip of Cambodian businesses. I don't have the exact figure but I'd guess a couple thousand Cambodians live in the immediate area. The large Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple is by Mifflin Square. There are about eight other Buddhist temples in South Philly.

    Pennsport has long been primarily Irish and it remains that.

    West of Broad Street is Point Breeze, long a black neighborhood. White yuppies and hipsters are moving in, but they're making slow progress gentrifying it. On the edge of Point Breeze, there is an Indonesian neighborhood.

    Greys Ferry, in the far western part of South Philly, was Irish for the longest time, but it's now at least 56% black, a transformation that was accomplished with the help of Section 8 Housing.

    In sum, there are still many Italians east of Broad Street, and many Irish and other whites in Pennsport. Pushed away by the ridiculously high rents in Center City, white yuppies and hipsters are also moving into South Philly. Though the hipsters are of limited means, I'm not sure I'd consider them a part of the underclass. Their presence has become very noticeable in certain pockets of South Philly.

    Gotta get the gays in there.

    Of course it is easier for gays to bring a place up like they did in Long Beach when they are replacing old whites moving out than when replacing blacks who will hate them for being white and gay – no matter how much they rehab the old building and bring up the property values.

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  20. @Travis
    Keep up the good work.

    I grew up in Upper Darby, went to high school in North Philly at 17th and Girard. Amazed at the gentrification in Fairmount and University City. But have not been to Kensington since 1995 ...I hear it is much better today and gentrifying

    While Upper Darby, as you know, is being destroyed by section 8 housing. Upper Darby High School was 90% white in 1988 , today it is most likely less than 40% white.

    Let me know how the Waverly Lounge is doing , or the Trophy Tavern up the street. Or The old Clifton Inn in Clifton Heights, since renamed Murray's bar and Grill

    17th and Girard. St. Joe’s Prep. That is an interesting neighborhood today.

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  21. I’ve seen it go the other way. South of Market in San Francisco was once a hideous place with bars like Jack’s. I was young and working at Bank of America’s data processing center back in the days of magnetic tape and mechanically driven printers. Graveyard shift so, on occasion we’d emerge in in the morning at 8:00 AM and go for a drink in them because they were open!

    Now the cheap single room occupancy hotels are gone, replaced by glass towers with million dollar apartments no bigger than the slum hotel rooms they replaced. Over in Marin, where I ended up a few years later, there was a biker bar in downtown San Rafael. Cashed checks and paid you off in Eisenhower Silver Dollars for any odd amount above zero or 5 because a drink cost a dollar. While not as good an investment as Marin real estate those silver dollars were 1/3 silver and are worth $5 bucks today and they, like the local people who went to “George’s” are gone from circulation.

    I did OK. It was really impossible not to if you had a halfway decent job in San Francisco or Marin and had a 401K or bought a house back then. Silicon Valley and finance made you wealthy whether you deserved it or not but a million dollars isn’t enough to retire on in San Francisco or Marin these days so even those who ‘made it’ can’t afford to live in those golden ghettos today.

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  22. […] cards or candles. I was heading to Kensington, a place I have written about repeatedly, the last time 10 months […]

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  23. I grew up in South Philly and watched so many neighborhood turn from good to bad, bad to good, and from bad to worse. I remember 7th street just north of Oregon Ave in the 60′s being a safe and friendly business district with stores on both sides of the street. My mom and I would walk there and shop at the “mom and pop” stores. The proprietors were mostly Jewish. About fifteen years ago I drove through that neighborhood and the stores all had roll down metal security screens and graffiti painted all over the walls. On the flip side, I worked at 23rd and South right out of High School. The neighborhood was borderline ghetto but now its very nice. Same thing with Northern Liberties. I worked at a machine shop in an old factory building at 1732 Nth 5th street back in 1979 and that neighborhood was very bad. I found out that the same building was converted into lofts. I guess certain areas go through cycles.

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  24. […] but the last at the sinking end of the economic scale, places I’m well familiar with. At Jack’s Famous Bar, we ordered a cheesesteak and a roast beef sandwich for just $4 each, my kind of price, and I […]

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