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Postcard from the End of America: Philly’s Italian Market
George's in Italian Market, 2013
George's in Italian Market, 2013

I live a block from the Italian Market, see, and its ecology is more complex than anything I could ever aspire to describe, but better something than nothing, so let me give you a little tour of the Eyetalian Market.

Italian Market, 2014

Italian Market, 2014

There are lots of restaurants on 9th Street, so naturally, there are tons of Mexicans, and since they don’t go for the dark Irish bar ambience, they congregate at the Stab and Grab, not its real name. At this Korean-owned, neon-lit oasis, all these cooks, busboys and dishwashers just sit at brutal, lonely tables to stare at each other’s shell-shocked mug nonstop, so no wonder fights sometimes break out. I’ve witnessed a couple, cholo, and I hardly ever go there.

Lisa at Friendly Lounge, December 2016

Lisa at Friendly Lounge, December 2016

Speaking of grabbing, a white waitress told me she’s been grabbed a couple of times by drunken Mexicans in this neighborhood. We all need love. I witnessed another Mexican tried to chat up a Friendly Lounge bartender. Though his English was good, he wasn’t too charming, as evidenced by these doofus lines, “Are you shy? Do you want me to buy you a shot? A soft drink? Why won’t you shake my hand?” To be fair, I’ve heard much, much worse from the native-born.

In the free ESL classes, flirting lessons should be mandatory. We must catch up with the Germans, for they’ve long offered sex tips to immigrants. “Achtung! This is how you screw the natives!”

Half a century ago, the Stab and Grab wasn’t a semi nuisance bar but butcher shop. Undercutting all competitors, this guy sold three pounds of ground beef for just a buck, but what it was was mostly fat mixed with blood, so when you cooked it up, it shrank to almost nothing. The sly one advertised his bargain with a loud speaker until, one afternoon, another butcher blasted it with a handgun.

Once, there were many hucksters here, but now, you won’t hear anyone shout, “Don’t squeeze the tomatoes, lady! Go home and squeeze your husband’s balls!” It is a crying shame.

Drunken Man on Sidewalk, Italian Market, 2015

Drunken Man on Sidewalk, Italian Market, 2015

Now walk with me, buddy, down Washington Avenue, but don’t make eye contact with that miserable broad, Typhoid Mary, for if you show the least interest, she’ll tail and hound you. I have no idea what Mary’s on, but her eyes are always turbid yet searching. She wants to do somebody, anybody, the same favors.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Mary is learning Spanish. “¿Quieres una mamada, señor? Chingar? Why not chingar?! Come back! Come back! Barato chingar!”

The first time I met Typhoid Mary, she was with a bald man who boasted, “We just got married! We spent two days in AC for our honeymoon!” In her late 40’s, with dark hair, dead eyes and mouth ajar, Mary looked as if she had trekked through a lifetime of disasters, with her soul smoldering at the bottom of a trash-strewn gully. Fleeing everything, she’s a permanent refugee. Her “husband,” it turns out, has three kids with another prostitute, this one black and currently in jail.

Now, the cashier at this bakery seems wholesome enough, but she has loosening teeth, worse nightmares, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides, nothing in her fridge and, don’t ask me how I know this, no menstruation for two years, so do you think she’s on Xanax? Benzos? She can’t afford even a gram of blow a week.

Though she herself dealt coke recently, she’s on nothing but painkillers, actually, thanks to one raging boyfriend, a car accident and a childhood fall from a tree. To make ends meet, the young lady often sells her script. Many among us do this. “I just wanted to die,” she moaned.

When I was failing out of college, you could only sample maybe six drugs, but now there are hundreds to numb or jack up those suffering overwhelming anxiety, fear, stress, despair, pain or just plain emptiness. What are you on?

See that small, dark man contemplating a bag of carrots at Giordano’s? He fought in Cambodia for four years, then escaped Vietnam by boat. While others slept, he baled water, “to save the young ones.” Starving and exhausted, they miraculously reached Bidong. Now, the dude calls himself Jack, drinks Bud and works in a cardboard box factory. Jack married, divorced and has lived with the same white man, rent free, for over twenty years. He says they’re just friends.

A karaoke fiend, Jack can instantly pick up any song in three languages, Vietnamese, Chinese or English, so he claims. “I can sing better than Elvis, ah, what’s his name? Yes, Presley. I can sing better than Elvis Presley.”

Lin, Chinese, weaves in and out of businesses to sell pirated DVDs, including porn titles such as “The Squirt Locker,” “Texas Big Booty Brigade” and “Dr. Ava’s Guide to Prostate Pleasure.”

The middle-aged, pudgy owner of this restaurant used to be married to a handsome Syrian. She found him in Greece. When I met Johnny, not his birth name, he claimed he was just Greek, period. Johnny said he divorced her because she gambled all their money away, but listen, man, even a blind fool could see that that marriage wouldn’t last. After getting his citizenship, Johnny bolted. The frump wasn’t the first one to be dumped. Before her, an Icelander had flown Johnny to her cold, windswept village by the sullen sea. After one endless winter, Johnny belched, “See ya!”

Free, Johnny went to AC, mastered several table games, worked at casinos, bought a condo and, predictably, snatched a stunning, loving girlfriend. The suave, mustachioed playa had to make up for all those repulsive nights in Philly! Just thank God you never had to whore to become an American. After a while, though, Johnny also gave his lover the heave-ho, for it was time to return to Syria to find a traditional, virgin bride half his age.

Lottery Tickets in Italian Market

Lottery Tickets in Italian Market

Now, we come to this metal shack of hope, for all day long, fools will petition, against all odds, to be transposed to a much sweeter arrangement. “Mr. or Mrs. Hindu, please save my ass.” The lottery ticket-dispensing couple are recent immigrants, with the husband also working at Dunkin’ Donuts, and the wife, Subway. Robert, not his birth name, has never drank a drop and only ducks into Friendly to deliver lottery tickets, cigarettes or use the bathroom.

Tilt your head and you’ll see, inside the hope shack, 74-year-old Angelo. No employee, he’s just there for its space heater, for it’s 20 degrees outside. Each night for the last five years, Angelo slept inside a rusty lemon, with the engine running in winter, but last week, the groggy Calabrian crashed his mini home on wheels. Luckily, no one died. After selling the wreck for a 100 bucks, Angelo couldn’t help but head straight for the off-track betting parlor. Till death, he’ll insist that some galloping mare will solve all his problems.

Charlie the Plumber was like that, an old man slowly dying in public. His problem was he couldn’t stop drinking. Drunk, Charlie would sometimes sit at Geno’s and rave on about his killing days as a chopper gunner in Vietnam. Moved, many tourists would buy him cheesesteaks, and Charlie could eat three in a row. Charlie died on a park bench.

Alamo Club in Italian Market

Alamo Club in Italian Market

At 9th and Ernest, there was the Italian American Laborers Social Club. Reacting to Mexicans moving into the neighborhood, it posted two small signs out front, “ALAMO MEMBERS ONLY PRIVATE CLUB,” then it sold itself to, what else, a Mexican business.

Just off 9th Street lives an indolent young man who spends his days half-watching movies or porn. In summer, he sometimes waxes his Porsche, which is practically brand new, for it’s almost never used. There is no place Nick has or wants to go. Though with the same woman for six years, he’s never hinted at marriage, and she lets it slide for fear of being ditched. Petite, Tina suffers in silence and shops for Nick each week. How many times have I seen the still pretty lady carry all those heavy bags up to the second floor by herself? Nick’s father, an immigrant from Sicily, is a 71-year-old doctor who still works each day and owns several houses. Naturally, he hires Mexicans to fix them up.

ORDER IT NOW

Though it wasn’t too long of a walk, it’s very cold out, so let’s stop at George’s for a pork or tripe sandwich. Notice the witticism on the sign, “Don’t divorce your wife because she can’t cook. Eat here and keep her as a pet.” Now, that’s old school.

For over a century, the Italian Market has absorbed waves of immigrants, but there’s a group that’s causing everybody tremendous anxiety. Wealthy Chinese have plans to develop several large plots into condos and upscale shopping centers. Already, most folks who work in the Italian Market can’t afford to live here.

To most people, immigrants imply destitute illegals and desperate refugees, but the super wealthy are also coming. If they target your city, you can quickly be priced out of your home. Just think of London, Sidney, Auckland, Vancouver or the San Francisco Bay Area. Advocating for open borders, the nose-ringed crowd don’t know they’re hankering to be homeless, and not just underpaid.

Linh Dinh’s Postcards from the End of America has just been released by Seven Stories Press. He maintains an active photo blog.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Immigration, Poverty 
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  1. Linh:

    “Advocating for open borders, the nose-ringed crowd don’t know they’re hankering to be homeless, and not just underpaid.”

    Serves ‘em right. And to this I say:

    POETIC JUSTICE!!!!!!!!

    Read More
    • Replies: @cucksworth
    You must be older because this scares me now.

    My block of Bainbridge is being filled with brand new million+ dollar row homes. Philly is the next city to experience an insane housing market, much of it brought on by foreign money swindled from the people of china.
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  2. Linh,

    Another matter entirely. What is the present day status of the Italians in Philly?

    Are they still there in force or are they a spent force like in New York City’s Little Italy where they are just a make believe Potemkin Village sham for the tourists.

    I believe that at one time Philly’s Italians were quite a rough tough formidable crew and sadistically vicious to boot. (BTW, these descriptors are meant to be complimentary!) Is this still true?

    BTW, is it ok to refer to your present home town as Philly?

    Always looking forward to your vignettes of the America downtrodden. Of which I expect to become a charter newcomer member in the not so distant future.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Dan,

    There are still plenty of Italians in South Philly, but it's a dwindling population, with the Italian Market itself not even half Italian as far as shops. As they move up the social ladder, they move out. My landlord, for example, lives in South Jersey.

    Astronomical rents in Center City are pushing yuppies and hipsters alike into many ethnic neighborhoods, so black Point Breeze, Irish Fishtown and Italian South Philly, for example, are all changing rapidly.

    Lower East Passyunk Avenue used to be filled with Italian businesses, but now the eateries are electic and trendy, meant for a much hipper clientele.

    In Friendly Lounge, my local bar, there are still many Italian old heads. Two days ago, Cigar Tim said to me, "Italians were like Puerto Ricans," to which Felix Giordano added, "Yeah, sometimes we were even called Spics! Italians weren't even considered whites until maybe 40 years ago."

    Cigar Tim describes himself as "half Mick, half Guinea."

    "When my father proposed to my mother, her family said to her, 'Is he even white?!'"

    Guys like these are dying off in South Philly.


    Linh

  3. @Dan Hayes
    Linh,

    Another matter entirely. What is the present day status of the Italians in Philly?

    Are they still there in force or are they a spent force like in New York City's Little Italy where they are just a make believe Potemkin Village sham for the tourists.

    I believe that at one time Philly's Italians were quite a rough tough formidable crew and sadistically vicious to boot. (BTW, these descriptors are meant to be complimentary!) Is this still true?

    BTW, is it ok to refer to your present home town as Philly?

    Always looking forward to your vignettes of the America downtrodden. Of which I expect to become a charter newcomer member in the not so distant future.

    Hi Dan,

    There are still plenty of Italians in South Philly, but it’s a dwindling population, with the Italian Market itself not even half Italian as far as shops. As they move up the social ladder, they move out. My landlord, for example, lives in South Jersey.

    Astronomical rents in Center City are pushing yuppies and hipsters alike into many ethnic neighborhoods, so black Point Breeze, Irish Fishtown and Italian South Philly, for example, are all changing rapidly.

    Lower East Passyunk Avenue used to be filled with Italian businesses, but now the eateries are electic and trendy, meant for a much hipper clientele.

    In Friendly Lounge, my local bar, there are still many Italian old heads. Two days ago, Cigar Tim said to me, “Italians were like Puerto Ricans,” to which Felix Giordano added, “Yeah, sometimes we were even called Spics! Italians weren’t even considered whites until maybe 40 years ago.”

    Cigar Tim describes himself as “half Mick, half Guinea.”

    “When my father proposed to my mother, her family said to her, ‘Is he even white?!’”

    Guys like these are dying off in South Philly.

    Linh

    Read More
    • Agree: Dan Hayes
    • Replies: @Miles Long
    South Jersey is moving up?
    , @mcohen
    Heard that in Australia....
    except here they were called wogs...one old guy told me they used to call him wog on the building site,.....hey wog make me tea,said one day he pissed in the pot for flavour.

    In south africa a wog was an African.so I was surprised they called Italians wogs because back then we would say....every white skin counts.

    Hows that....every white skin counts.thats when the colour of your skin could get you killed.

    Wrote a short poem about it

    I am mostly white by night
    A little shadow of no doubt
    The day brings a frightful light
    Exposed cheeks a tightful pout
    But never you kind what colour to the blind
    What lies beneath the skin
    We are all kith and kin
  4. Speaking of grabbing, a white waitress told me she’s been grabbed a couple of times by drunken Mexicans in this neighborhood. We all need love.

    Just a few decades ago that wouldn’t have ended well for el borracho.

    Read More
    • Agree: Steel T Post
    • Replies: @uslabor
    She didn't say she didn't like it. White women love Mexicans, I've had many gabachas myself. I have one now, she's at work.
  5. I’m pretty familiar with the Italian Market myself, and the actual place is less down and out and divey than Linh Dinh makes it out to be. There are several good restaurants there (I have never been to the “stab and grab though”, and would appreciate its real name so I could avoid it), also further down along Passyunk, so its worth a visit if you are in Philly.

    Yes, the natives and the local media call the city “Philly”.

    As the end of the article notes, the surrounding neighborhood is gentrifying rapidly. This despite the fact that if you are looking for an apartment there, you have to get it word of mouth or deal with sleazy small time brokers who are probably out for the security deposit and don’t have any actual inventory. This is how residents of working class neighborhoods protect the places from gentrification. But right now its in the sweet spot of some upscale, some middle of the road, and some downscale places, what an urban neighborhood should be. With money moving in at the end closer to Center City, and the Mexicans moving in on the other end, this probably won’t last.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    I am fascinated by your reference to gentrification in Philly. I went to Penn in the late 1970s when most of Philadelphia seemed worned down if not actually dangerous.

    Gentrification in the U.S. generally follows some decline in violent crime in an area. I think that applies to much of those parts of the City on the rebound.

    But, who are the people moving in? I would guess suburban whites account for much of it but Linh Dinh also refers to wealthy Chinese.

    What's the attraction for Chinese?
  6. The neighborhood is called the “Italian Market” because that is who created it. What does the modern ‘immigrant’ create? Nothing really. They are more like feral dogs. They enter a neighborhood, overturn garbage cans, defecate on the sidewalk and pee on everything to mark it as their ‘territory’.

    Like a gigantic sewage pipe, Afro-Islamic filth gushes out onto the streets of North America and Europe creating nothing but a foul stench where once a neighborhood thrived.

    Read More
  7. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Dan,

    There are still plenty of Italians in South Philly, but it's a dwindling population, with the Italian Market itself not even half Italian as far as shops. As they move up the social ladder, they move out. My landlord, for example, lives in South Jersey.

    Astronomical rents in Center City are pushing yuppies and hipsters alike into many ethnic neighborhoods, so black Point Breeze, Irish Fishtown and Italian South Philly, for example, are all changing rapidly.

    Lower East Passyunk Avenue used to be filled with Italian businesses, but now the eateries are electic and trendy, meant for a much hipper clientele.

    In Friendly Lounge, my local bar, there are still many Italian old heads. Two days ago, Cigar Tim said to me, "Italians were like Puerto Ricans," to which Felix Giordano added, "Yeah, sometimes we were even called Spics! Italians weren't even considered whites until maybe 40 years ago."

    Cigar Tim describes himself as "half Mick, half Guinea."

    "When my father proposed to my mother, her family said to her, 'Is he even white?!'"

    Guys like these are dying off in South Philly.


    Linh

    South Jersey is moving up?

    Read More
  8. Darn, the title of the piece made me hungry. Been more than 50 years since I left “Philly”, but still have a strong hankering for a decent cheese steak.

    Read More
  9. @eD
    I'm pretty familiar with the Italian Market myself, and the actual place is less down and out and divey than Linh Dinh makes it out to be. There are several good restaurants there (I have never been to the "stab and grab though", and would appreciate its real name so I could avoid it), also further down along Passyunk, so its worth a visit if you are in Philly.

    Yes, the natives and the local media call the city "Philly".

    As the end of the article notes, the surrounding neighborhood is gentrifying rapidly. This despite the fact that if you are looking for an apartment there, you have to get it word of mouth or deal with sleazy small time brokers who are probably out for the security deposit and don't have any actual inventory. This is how residents of working class neighborhoods protect the places from gentrification. But right now its in the sweet spot of some upscale, some middle of the road, and some downscale places, what an urban neighborhood should be. With money moving in at the end closer to Center City, and the Mexicans moving in on the other end, this probably won't last.

    I am fascinated by your reference to gentrification in Philly. I went to Penn in the late 1970s when most of Philadelphia seemed worned down if not actually dangerous.

    Gentrification in the U.S. generally follows some decline in violent crime in an area. I think that applies to much of those parts of the City on the rebound.

    But, who are the people moving in? I would guess suburban whites account for much of it but Linh Dinh also refers to wealthy Chinese.

    What’s the attraction for Chinese?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can't afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn't easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90's, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it's all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.


    Linh
    , @Expletive Deleted
    Same as London. Parking mountains of cash of debateable provenance out of the grip of The Party (for now). No pile of 18th-century bricks or 21st-century concrete slabs could conceivably be "worth" the many millions sterling they go for. Check the prices of equivalent property in County Durham, say, or Wales.
    In London, they're just taking a haircut in the traditional money-launderer's way, and betting that the former global Imperial capital and current world money-washing hub won't go t1ts anytime soon, as too many of the planet's movers and shakers have skin in that game. Same as Switzerland's gnomes sitting out pan-European carnage for centuries.
    They're hoping to preserve some value in the fiction of the land values underlying the slum parked on top, and recoup some losses by 'just renting it out, innit'. Also a handy bolthole when the Great Recession MK II (or is it III?) hits home in mainland China, and the unhappy serfs kick off, bigly.
  10. @PV van der Byl
    I am fascinated by your reference to gentrification in Philly. I went to Penn in the late 1970s when most of Philadelphia seemed worned down if not actually dangerous.

    Gentrification in the U.S. generally follows some decline in violent crime in an area. I think that applies to much of those parts of the City on the rebound.

    But, who are the people moving in? I would guess suburban whites account for much of it but Linh Dinh also refers to wealthy Chinese.

    What's the attraction for Chinese?

    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can’t afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn’t easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90′s, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it’s all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @PV van der Byl
    Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.
    , @jacques sheete
    Speaking of Chinese, has anyone been to Chinatown in Chicago lately? When I was a kid, I used to go there every chance I got. To me it was a fascinating place. I went back once, in the mid '80s, and the place was mostly boarded up with garbage and graffiti everywhere.

    I often wonder what it's like now.

    , @Clyde
    Hey Linh Dinh
    First time I ever ate pho was in a very nice looking Philadelphia Vietnamese restaurant around 1994 or so in what was called Philadelphia's Chinatown back then. I have loved pho ever since though the rest of Viet cuisine does not excite me. Sorry about that. The pho I always order is with the raw very thinly sliced beef in the broth, so that it cooks in the broth. I should eat some some pho today. Have not eaten any in two years.
    , @Durruti
    Linh Dinh,

    You never read my book, A History of the Puerto Rican Community in Bethlehem, PA: 1944-1993?

    It was on the NYT -Best Seller List for 0 days.

    Grad of Lehigh U. - as is my wife.

    Durruti: alias- Peter J. Antonsen

  11. @Linh Dinh
    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can't afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn't easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90's, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it's all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.


    Linh

    Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.

    Read More
  12. The Chinese who have driven everyone else out of San Francisco aren’t all wealthy. Put 25 indentured servant dishwashers in a 1,000 sq ft 2 bedroom house over a garage, they all chip in $250 a month and they can afford $6,250 a month for the shabby shack.
    And the garage is an illegal chicken slaughterhouse by day and a dorm by night.

    Rich, poor or middle the Chinese and Indians are more of a threat than the Hispanics

    Read More
  13. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Dan,

    There are still plenty of Italians in South Philly, but it's a dwindling population, with the Italian Market itself not even half Italian as far as shops. As they move up the social ladder, they move out. My landlord, for example, lives in South Jersey.

    Astronomical rents in Center City are pushing yuppies and hipsters alike into many ethnic neighborhoods, so black Point Breeze, Irish Fishtown and Italian South Philly, for example, are all changing rapidly.

    Lower East Passyunk Avenue used to be filled with Italian businesses, but now the eateries are electic and trendy, meant for a much hipper clientele.

    In Friendly Lounge, my local bar, there are still many Italian old heads. Two days ago, Cigar Tim said to me, "Italians were like Puerto Ricans," to which Felix Giordano added, "Yeah, sometimes we were even called Spics! Italians weren't even considered whites until maybe 40 years ago."

    Cigar Tim describes himself as "half Mick, half Guinea."

    "When my father proposed to my mother, her family said to her, 'Is he even white?!'"

    Guys like these are dying off in South Philly.


    Linh

    Heard that in Australia….
    except here they were called wogs…one old guy told me they used to call him wog on the building site,…..hey wog make me tea,said one day he pissed in the pot for flavour.

    In south africa a wog was an African.so I was surprised they called Italians wogs because back then we would say….every white skin counts.

    Hows that….every white skin counts.thats when the colour of your skin could get you killed.

    Wrote a short poem about it

    I am mostly white by night
    A little shadow of no doubt
    The day brings a frightful light
    Exposed cheeks a tightful pout
    But never you kind what colour to the blind
    What lies beneath the skin
    We are all kith and kin

    Read More
  14. @PV van der Byl
    I am fascinated by your reference to gentrification in Philly. I went to Penn in the late 1970s when most of Philadelphia seemed worned down if not actually dangerous.

    Gentrification in the U.S. generally follows some decline in violent crime in an area. I think that applies to much of those parts of the City on the rebound.

    But, who are the people moving in? I would guess suburban whites account for much of it but Linh Dinh also refers to wealthy Chinese.

    What's the attraction for Chinese?

    Same as London. Parking mountains of cash of debateable provenance out of the grip of The Party (for now). No pile of 18th-century bricks or 21st-century concrete slabs could conceivably be “worth” the many millions sterling they go for. Check the prices of equivalent property in County Durham, say, or Wales.
    In London, they’re just taking a haircut in the traditional money-launderer’s way, and betting that the former global Imperial capital and current world money-washing hub won’t go t1ts anytime soon, as too many of the planet’s movers and shakers have skin in that game. Same as Switzerland’s gnomes sitting out pan-European carnage for centuries.
    They’re hoping to preserve some value in the fiction of the land values underlying the slum parked on top, and recoup some losses by ‘just renting it out, innit’. Also a handy bolthole when the Great Recession MK II (or is it III?) hits home in mainland China, and the unhappy serfs kick off, bigly.

    Read More
  15. @Linh Dinh
    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can't afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn't easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90's, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it's all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.


    Linh

    Speaking of Chinese, has anyone been to Chinatown in Chicago lately? When I was a kid, I used to go there every chance I got. To me it was a fascinating place. I went back once, in the mid ’80s, and the place was mostly boarded up with garbage and graffiti everywhere.

    I often wonder what it’s like now.

    Read More
  16. December 27, 2016 The shantytowns of America: Inside the shacks, cars, tents and boxes that America’s homeless call home

    From Florida to Louisiana, photographer, Mary Lou Uttermohlen, has captured these captivating images of homeless people across the US, who have organized their lives in shantytowns.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4069570/The-shantytowns-America-Inside-shacks-cars-tents-boxes-America-s-homeless-call-home.html?ito=email_share_article-bottom

    Read More
  17. @Linh Dinh
    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can't afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn't easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90's, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it's all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.


    Linh

    Hey Linh Dinh
    First time I ever ate pho was in a very nice looking Philadelphia Vietnamese restaurant around 1994 or so in what was called Philadelphia’s Chinatown back then. I have loved pho ever since though the rest of Viet cuisine does not excite me. Sorry about that. The pho I always order is with the raw very thinly sliced beef in the broth, so that it cooks in the broth. I should eat some some pho today. Have not eaten any in two years.

    Read More
  18. Right on Linh, the local politicians will give the wealthiest foreigners the keys to the city, including personalized tours. The local riff-raff will be thrown the hell out of the way, the local realtors will call it gentrification, if they know how to spell the word.

    According to the widely loathed Paul Krugman, the Chinese provided the “financing” for the housing bubble. Moreover, China “financed” the US military adventure in Afghanistan. It’s still a unique feature of our empire status but slowly ebbing away.

    Meanwhile, the “US Government” typically encouraged foreclosures on its own citizens properties during the asset grab phase of the financial crisis. Some of these previously Government guaranteed swindles were snapped up by those who had the cash, which naturally included foreigners (some of whom were gangsters or regular crooks – doesn’t matter to the US Gov) for much less than what the rubes were set up to owe on their homes. Beyond fucking criminal!

    Read More
  19. Is Ralph’s still on 9th street? It was the most authentic Italian restaurant in South Philly , you expected don corleone to be sitting in the stamm tisch . I left Philadelphia over thirty years ago; it was the epitome of the corrupt democrat city controlled by the Irish Mafia and apparently it has not changed a bit, not that being a corrupt Republican city controlled by WASPS is any better.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Johann,

    Yes, Ralph's is still there. Here's Marty the Plumber's assessment of Italian food on 9th Street:


    Good Italian cooking is dying off. It’s not the same. You go to Villa di Roma when Kaiser and his kids ran it, it was good, it was fantastic. And there was Big Ralph’s and various Italian eateries. It doesn’t appear that it has changed, to new newcomers, but people who grew up here, they know the difference in the way things are made today from 50 years ago.

    Today, they use convectional ovens, microwaves and not the old wooden ovens or the gas-fired appliances.

    It’s the ingredients. A pot of gravy, I guarantee you, if you go to Villa di Roma, he still makes a pot of gravy the exact same way he did when he was twelve-years-old, but the ingredients have changed, therefore the results have changed. That’s why you don’t see too many old mom-and-pop Italian restaurants anymore.

    With governmental regulations, you can’t have this, you can’t have that and expect it to taste like 50 years ago. I like deep red gravy. Most gravy today is pinkish. It’s not the restaurant owners that are cheating. It’s the FDA governmental regulations saying you can’t eat tomatoes raised in pig shit.
     

  20. @Johann
    Is Ralph's still on 9th street? It was the most authentic Italian restaurant in South Philly , you expected don corleone to be sitting in the stamm tisch . I left Philadelphia over thirty years ago; it was the epitome of the corrupt democrat city controlled by the Irish Mafia and apparently it has not changed a bit, not that being a corrupt Republican city controlled by WASPS is any better.

    Hi Johann,

    Yes, Ralph’s is still there. Here’s Marty the Plumber‘s assessment of Italian food on 9th Street:

    Good Italian cooking is dying off. It’s not the same. You go to Villa di Roma when Kaiser and his kids ran it, it was good, it was fantastic. And there was Big Ralph’s and various Italian eateries. It doesn’t appear that it has changed, to new newcomers, but people who grew up here, they know the difference in the way things are made today from 50 years ago.

    Today, they use convectional ovens, microwaves and not the old wooden ovens or the gas-fired appliances.

    It’s the ingredients. A pot of gravy, I guarantee you, if you go to Villa di Roma, he still makes a pot of gravy the exact same way he did when he was twelve-years-old, but the ingredients have changed, therefore the results have changed. That’s why you don’t see too many old mom-and-pop Italian restaurants anymore.

    With governmental regulations, you can’t have this, you can’t have that and expect it to taste like 50 years ago. I like deep red gravy. Most gravy today is pinkish. It’s not the restaurant owners that are cheating. It’s the FDA governmental regulations saying you can’t eat tomatoes raised in pig shit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous IX
    And also...the food has been greatly degraded in America over the years. (Try to avoid Monstanto's GMO's--many whistleblowers now recounting tales of suppressed data in independent GMO research--squashed by Monstanto) Which is why the "farm to table" movement. In many markets, produce looks great and tastes like cardboard. Old days--a tomato tasted like a tomato.
  21. Yeah the demographics are changing geometrically. Ten years ago 75% white, 5 years ago 60% white, 5 years from now???

    Read More
  22. “Sandwiches that you will LIKE!”

    LOL! I love the humility – that is so cool! None of this; “World famous sandwiches!” or “Best sandwiches in town!”

    Reminds me of a joint I used to drive by in SoCal called ‘OK Donuts’.

    “Hey, how’re your donuts?”

    “Meh, they’re OK.”

    Anyway…

    Fleeing everything, she’s a permanent refugee.

    Every one of your articles has one gem of a line like this one – someone should compile a book of your aphorisms.

    Peace.

    “The Squirt Locker” – LOOOOL!

    Read More
  23. Feb 7, 2017 Is the Agenda a New Civil War?

    The not-so-secret word is “Chaos”. Whenever you hear it, the system wants you to scream real loud.

    Read More
  24. I have loved pho ever since though the rest of Viet cuisine does not excite me.

    You gotta try Bánh mì. Or anything that you can use nước mắm pha on. What’s not to like?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Clyde
    I like banh mi, I used to eat some two dollar ones where I lived 25 years ago. But where I am today is a banh mi food desert. I have Sriracha sauce at home.
  25. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Johann,

    Yes, Ralph's is still there. Here's Marty the Plumber's assessment of Italian food on 9th Street:


    Good Italian cooking is dying off. It’s not the same. You go to Villa di Roma when Kaiser and his kids ran it, it was good, it was fantastic. And there was Big Ralph’s and various Italian eateries. It doesn’t appear that it has changed, to new newcomers, but people who grew up here, they know the difference in the way things are made today from 50 years ago.

    Today, they use convectional ovens, microwaves and not the old wooden ovens or the gas-fired appliances.

    It’s the ingredients. A pot of gravy, I guarantee you, if you go to Villa di Roma, he still makes a pot of gravy the exact same way he did when he was twelve-years-old, but the ingredients have changed, therefore the results have changed. That’s why you don’t see too many old mom-and-pop Italian restaurants anymore.

    With governmental regulations, you can’t have this, you can’t have that and expect it to taste like 50 years ago. I like deep red gravy. Most gravy today is pinkish. It’s not the restaurant owners that are cheating. It’s the FDA governmental regulations saying you can’t eat tomatoes raised in pig shit.
     

    And also…the food has been greatly degraded in America over the years. (Try to avoid Monstanto’s GMO’s–many whistleblowers now recounting tales of suppressed data in independent GMO research–squashed by Monstanto) Which is why the “farm to table” movement. In many markets, produce looks great and tastes like cardboard. Old days–a tomato tasted like a tomato.

    Read More
  26. @Linh Dinh
    Hi PV van der Byl,

    There are many people who want to live near NYC, but can't afford it, so they live in Philly. Some even commute to NYC from Philly.

    Then you have people fleeing NYC into New Jersey and PA. Bethlehem, PA, for example, has seen its Puerto Rican population rise significantly in recent years.

    Many New Jersey towns now have large South Asian populations.

    One street from the Italian Market, there have been many Vietnamese businesses for decades, and there are two Vietnamese strip malls within a five-minute walk. East Asians were drawn to the Italian Market because it is somewhat like open air markets back home. Italian merchants also sold tripe, chicken gizzards, goat, rabbit and other stuff you couldn't easily find in supermarkets, and they sold them cheap.

    Some Vietnamese businesses are actually owned by Chinese from Vietnam. With an East Asian population in place, more arrived. A fifteen walk from my front door takes me to a Cambodian neighborhood, and 20 minutes away is an Indonesian one. There must be nearly a dozen Buddhist temples within 1 1/2 mile of me.

    In the early 90's, you could hardly find authentic Mexican food in Philly, but now, it's all over, but primarily in South Philly. The Mexicans came thanks to the housing boom. Cheap labor for construction was needed.


    Linh

    Linh Dinh,

    You never read my book, A History of the Puerto Rican Community in Bethlehem, PA: 1944-1993?

    It was on the NYT -Best Seller List for 0 days.

    Grad of Lehigh U. – as is my wife.

    Durruti: alias- Peter J. Antonsen

    Read More
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    Hi Durruti,

    No, I haven't read your book. I'm very fond of Bethlehem, and Allentown too. A few years ago, I was hired to teach a class at Muhlenberg, so was up there twice a week. I've also taken buses to either city to just walk around. Are you still in the area?


    Linh

  27. @Durruti
    Linh Dinh,

    You never read my book, A History of the Puerto Rican Community in Bethlehem, PA: 1944-1993?

    It was on the NYT -Best Seller List for 0 days.

    Grad of Lehigh U. - as is my wife.

    Durruti: alias- Peter J. Antonsen

    Hi Durruti,

    No, I haven’t read your book. I’m very fond of Bethlehem, and Allentown too. A few years ago, I was hired to teach a class at Muhlenberg, so was up there twice a week. I’ve also taken buses to either city to just walk around. Are you still in the area?

    Linh

    Read More
    • Replies: @Durruti
    Children grew up in Allentown, we could see the Mack Truck center (& the UAW Union HQ) from our house.

    The outer remnants of the Bethlehem Steel Mill (quite visible from my Alma Mater), now houses a Casino & hosts Blood Sports).

    I grew up in a far more important town, Brooklyn. Schooled in Mexico.

    Also taught several classes in Muhlenberg, (one class was based upon the research of & human histories in my book).

    Of course, THE BOOK is Trotsky's " The Revolution Betrayed. [hmmm!].

    I reside, not far from Key West, in another small town, infested with millionaire$ & billionaire$. If it were not for the substantial population of Homeless, and Mexicans (who do most of the hard work), and African Americans (African Americans -many Haitians- comprise half of my immediate neighbors; they live in the past, in a dreamworld -not a crime), this town would be insupportable. I love all. but specially the homeless.

    Many of the homeless are quite young, and sport a variety of ailments. The 'least' are worth more than all the others.

    Feel free to communicate. florent.defeu@yahoo.com. Florent is my Belgian cousin's name. We can break bread, (or even drink intoxicating beverages).

    For the Republic!

    Durruti

  28. @Dan Hayes
    Linh:

    "Advocating for open borders, the nose-ringed crowd don't know they're hankering to be homeless, and not just underpaid."

    Serves 'em right. And to this I say:

    POETIC JUSTICE!!!!!!!!

    You must be older because this scares me now.

    My block of Bainbridge is being filled with brand new million+ dollar row homes. Philly is the next city to experience an insane housing market, much of it brought on by foreign money swindled from the people of china.

    Read More
  29. @jacques sheete

    I have loved pho ever since though the rest of Viet cuisine does not excite me.
     
    You gotta try Bánh mì. Or anything that you can use nước mắm pha on. What's not to like?

    I like banh mi, I used to eat some two dollar ones where I lived 25 years ago. But where I am today is a banh mi food desert. I have Sriracha sauce at home.

    Read More
  30. And also…the food has been greatly degraded in America over the years. (Try to avoid Monstanto’s GMO’s–many whistleblowers now recounting tales of suppressed data in independent GMO research–squashed by Monstanto)

    Yes and yes.

    I grow and preserve a lot of my own for both those reasons and there is difference. Those who’ve only had supermarket poultry, pork and dairy are in for a huge surprise if they can get some from ma ‘n pa.

    Read More
  31. @Linh Dinh
    Hi Durruti,

    No, I haven't read your book. I'm very fond of Bethlehem, and Allentown too. A few years ago, I was hired to teach a class at Muhlenberg, so was up there twice a week. I've also taken buses to either city to just walk around. Are you still in the area?


    Linh

    Children grew up in Allentown, we could see the Mack Truck center (& the UAW Union HQ) from our house.

    The outer remnants of the Bethlehem Steel Mill (quite visible from my Alma Mater), now houses a Casino & hosts Blood Sports).

    I grew up in a far more important town, Brooklyn. Schooled in Mexico.

    Also taught several classes in Muhlenberg, (one class was based upon the research of & human histories in my book).

    Of course, THE BOOK is Trotsky’s ” The Revolution Betrayed. [hmmm!].

    I reside, not far from Key West, in another small town, infested with millionaire$ & billionaire$. If it were not for the substantial population of Homeless, and Mexicans (who do most of the hard work), and African Americans (African Americans -many Haitians- comprise half of my immediate neighbors; they live in the past, in a dreamworld -not a crime), this town would be insupportable. I love all. but specially the homeless.

    Many of the homeless are quite young, and sport a variety of ailments. The ‘least’ are worth more than all the others.

    Feel free to communicate. florent.defeu@yahoo.com. Florent is my Belgian cousin’s name. We can break bread, (or even drink intoxicating beverages).

    For the Republic!

    Durruti

    Read More
  32. Philly, Balto, DC, Northern Virginia. Toilets filled with the turds of diversity.

    Read More
  33. @Marcus

    Speaking of grabbing, a white waitress told me she’s been grabbed a couple of times by drunken Mexicans in this neighborhood. We all need love.
     
    Just a few decades ago that wouldn't have ended well for el borracho.

    She didn’t say she didn’t like it. White women love Mexicans, I’ve had many gabachas myself. I have one now, she’s at work.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marcus
    Jajaja, y yo soy el imperador de Mexico! Lots of women of all backgrounds probably like the basically Spanish, Ricardo Montalban type Don Juan's you see on Univision, but none want 4'11" cholo oompa loompas from Oaxaca!
  34. @uslabor
    She didn't say she didn't like it. White women love Mexicans, I've had many gabachas myself. I have one now, she's at work.

    Jajaja, y yo soy el imperador de Mexico! Lots of women of all backgrounds probably like the basically Spanish, Ricardo Montalban type Don Juan’s you see on Univision, but none want 4’11″ cholo oompa loompas from Oaxaca!

    Read More
    • Replies: @uslabor
    Your Spanish grammar needs tweeking. What you should have said is "...yo ESTOY el imperador de Mexico!"

    http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/servsestar.htm
    , @Anon
    Es usted uno de los Iturbide? Claro, que estan muy populares con las mujeres, esto yo no dudo.
  35. @Jim Christian
    Philly, Balto, DC, Northern Virginia. Toilets filled with the turds of diversity.

    “turds of diversity” includes white folks.

    Read More
  36. @Marcus
    Jajaja, y yo soy el imperador de Mexico! Lots of women of all backgrounds probably like the basically Spanish, Ricardo Montalban type Don Juan's you see on Univision, but none want 4'11" cholo oompa loompas from Oaxaca!

    Your Spanish grammar needs tweeking. What you should have said is “…yo ESTOY el imperador de Mexico!”

    http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/servsestar.htm

    Read More
    • Replies: @Marcus
    jaja, like the gringos say, " si no lo usa lo pierde." Not that I was ever fluent
    , @BB753
    Wrong.
  37. Anon says:     Show CommentNext New Comment
    @Marcus
    Jajaja, y yo soy el imperador de Mexico! Lots of women of all backgrounds probably like the basically Spanish, Ricardo Montalban type Don Juan's you see on Univision, but none want 4'11" cholo oompa loompas from Oaxaca!

    Es usted uno de los Iturbide? Claro, que estan muy populares con las mujeres, esto yo no dudo.

    Read More
  38. @uslabor
    Your Spanish grammar needs tweeking. What you should have said is "...yo ESTOY el imperador de Mexico!"

    http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/servsestar.htm

    jaja, like the gringos say, ” si no lo usa lo pierde.” Not that I was ever fluent

    Read More
  39. @uslabor
    Your Spanish grammar needs tweeking. What you should have said is "...yo ESTOY el imperador de Mexico!"

    http://spanish.about.com/cs/verbs/a/servsestar.htm

    Wrong.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hibernian
    Depends if he's Emperor for Life or just for the moment.
  40. @BB753
    Wrong.

    Depends if he’s Emperor for Life or just for the moment.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BB753
    Rule of thumb :

    - ser +adjective/noun= inherent quality or being. "Soy bueno" " Soy médico ".

    -estar + adjective = transient state
    " Estoy vivo"

    -estar+noun= does not compute, ungrammatical. You can say : "Soy estudiante " but never "Estoy estudiante".

    -estar + prepositional phrase= locative expression. "Estoy en una casa, Estoy en Nueva York"
  41. @Hibernian
    Depends if he's Emperor for Life or just for the moment.

    Rule of thumb :

    – ser +adjective/noun= inherent quality or being. “Soy bueno” ” Soy médico “.

    -estar + adjective = transient state
    ” Estoy vivo”

    -estar+noun= does not compute, ungrammatical. You can say : “Soy estudiante ” but never “Estoy estudiante”.

    -estar + prepositional phrase= locative expression. “Estoy en una casa, Estoy en Nueva York”

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hibernian
    Thanks; I was aware of Points 1,2 and 4, but not #3. I think you can say "Estoy de Nueva York, or at least "Estoy de los Estados Unidos."
  42. @BB753
    Rule of thumb :

    - ser +adjective/noun= inherent quality or being. "Soy bueno" " Soy médico ".

    -estar + adjective = transient state
    " Estoy vivo"

    -estar+noun= does not compute, ungrammatical. You can say : "Soy estudiante " but never "Estoy estudiante".

    -estar + prepositional phrase= locative expression. "Estoy en una casa, Estoy en Nueva York"

    Thanks; I was aware of Points 1,2 and 4, but not #3. I think you can say “Estoy de Nueva York, or at least “Estoy de los Estados Unidos.”

    Read More
    • Replies: @BB753
    No, you can't. You can only say : "Soy de Nueva York" , i.e., I'm a New Yorker.
  43. @Hibernian
    Thanks; I was aware of Points 1,2 and 4, but not #3. I think you can say "Estoy de Nueva York, or at least "Estoy de los Estados Unidos."

    No, you can’t. You can only say : “Soy de Nueva York” , i.e., I’m a New Yorker.

    Read More
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