April 3: Businesses of the El | Civic infrastructure | Where’s the next Jewelers’ Row?

In a continuing series on the Philadelphia’s ‘greatest single people-mover,’ the Inquirer’s Jason Laughlin highlights seven businesses along the Market-Frankford Line and the people whose livelihoods are tied to the El.

Lancaster Avenue’s Everyone At the Table (EAT) Café addresses the issues of hunger, poverty, and unemployment in the Mantua neighborhood in West Philadelphia by providing a “communal eating environment, dignity with a healthy, inexpensive, and delicious meal, and repurposing of food that is going to be wasted to help those who may not have access to good healthy food.” The Philadelphia Citizen sits down with EAT Café, manager and chef Donnell Jones-Craven, who operates this inventive ‘pay-what-you want’ restaurant.

In the Roaring Twenties, the Dunbar Theater at Broad and Lombard was the only theater built, owned, and operated by African Americans. PhillyHistory Blog’s Ken Finkel discusses the “color line in the theater,” and one show in particular, “Shuffle Along,” which came to Philadelphia with the 15-year-old Josephine Baker in its chorus line.

“Without waiting for federal approval or funding, cities are devising their own solutions to inequality and social segregation” by way of civic infrastructure. Contributing to Architectural Record, Diana Lind calls for investment and renewed public interest for the “soft” or civic infrastructure in cities and communities, such as parks, rec centers, and libraries, highlighting movements across the country, including Philly’s Rebuild initiative.

The future of Jewelers Row has left many Philadelphians wondering which neighborhood or cluster of buildings may be next in line for the wrecking ball. In an opinion piece, the Inquirer shares photos of various Philadelphia ‘unguarded gems’—buildings, open air markets, and structures that are not listed on the Historic Register—and are at risk being “the next” Jewelers’ Row.

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