So you recently moved to Philadelphia from New York! How long did you live there? I was born in the Bronx and I lived all over the city when I graduated college. I lived in Queens and Manhattan and Brooklyn, and then I moved to Yonkers and I lived there for 30 years. It’s the longest I lived anywhere! [Laughs]
Are you noticing any big differences between here and New York? I like the smaller scale of Philadelphia. When I first came here I stayed for 4 or 5 days to consider it as a place to really live. In walking around center city, I liked the small streets and the row houses and the architecture of it… I knew the culture here was on a scale of New York, great arts and things like that. [But there’s] not enough local news for my taste. Out of Philadelphia papers, I prefer the free weeklies, more political news.
How do you like the LoMo area? I like it! I was able to afford a house here. My first house, I’m thrilled! I retired and I bought my first house. [LoMo] is a great organization. The people at LoMo are so enthusiastic about what they’re doing; they’re fun to be around. They’re just doing so many ambitious things.
As a new resident, you’re already getting involved in helping to improve the neighborhood, which is fantastic! Can you talk a little about your involvement with LoMo’s Environment Committee? Cleaning is not my favorite thing [Laughs], but the environment is a concern. And I think as we have our meetings and talk about things more, I think we have to get beyond clean-ups. We hope to inspire people to take better care. I think a lot of people, like one of my neighbors, he’ll be sweeping up and he’ll say, “Yeah I used to do it more often, but it’s like a never ending job.” There’s always garbage and you always have to clean it up, and it gets tiresome after a while. Especially if it’s in the street because you know it’s not your garbage, you’re not just cleaning up after yourself like you’re cleaning up your house.
Have you taken a walk around to explore the neighborhood? I don’t have a car so I do a lot of walking. Every so often I’ll discover a little store. When I first came to this neighborhood I would ask, “Where’s the shopping?” [Laughs]. Coming from New York, it’s like there’s always a main shopping street that goes on forever… [When] I came here, it was like they were hiding all of the stores, it’s so spread out! But then as I’d look around I’d find the little corner stores, the bakeries, the hardware stores.
Have you found a favorite place yet? Locally, for takeout, there’s Little Nick’s [1311 W Moyamensing Ave], which is around the corner from me, and there’s this Asian fusion and steak place on Oregon Avenue and I do a lot of takeout from there. So far those are the places I go to the most.
Based on your first impressions, how do you feel about your new neighborhood? I like living here. I find it to be a very convenient area, a very friendly area. The people outside, on the street, I find them to be very friendly. I was walking the street and making my way around a motorcycle and a guy in his car said something to me about the motorcycle and we kind of started this conversation [Laughs]. It was fun while it lasted! I like it!
I think the people are very considerate, until you’re on the bus or something and then forget it [Laughs]! ‘A little space please, just a little space!’ I need to find out more about the city… I like to explore neighborhoods, I’ve always done that.
You know the funniest thing about this neighborhood is that there are about half a dozen Italian funeral homes [Laughs]. What’s that about?
– Interview by Tylor Augustine
Editor’s Note: Join LoMo’s Environment Committee for a fun get-together at Los Gallos Taqueria on Tuesday, July 23, from 6:00 – 7:00 pm, to meet other neighbors who are interested in sprucing up our community and discuss possible projects for the fall. Los Gallos is BYOB!
Past Meet-Your-Neighbor Interviews: