On the Table Philly is a one-day forum designed to engage area residents over a meal, coffee, drinks or whatever to discuss local issues and ways to make their self-described community stronger, safer and better connected.
The series started in Chicago in 2013 and the Knight Foundation $1.15 million donation expanded the initiative with community foundations in 10 cities where Knight invests, including Detroit, Long Beach, and Miami.
Today in Philadelphia, conversations are happening all over the city, in offices, libraries, and even modern industrial workspaces. We had our own conversation at here at WHYY, with our neighbors in Chinatown and Old City.
Eric Law of Asia Crafts (well known as the Hello Kitty store in Chinatown), Stephanie Reitano, the owner of Capofitto Pizza and Gelato, Rasa Vella of Indy Hall joined PlanPhilly’s Diana Lu at WHYY’s studio to discuss living and working in two of Philadelphia’s most well-known tourist destinations. The neighbors talk about the how the area has changed as the city has changed, and what has fondly stayed the same for locals.
In an area dominated by large cultural and government institutions, historical monuments, and restaurants and nightlife, the four discuss the sights, smells, and hugs that keep their neighborhood local serving, but how the built environment has disrupted the connection between the two neighborhoods. The neighborhood has room to grow in, they believe, and envision what they’d want Philadelphians and tourists alike love and appreciate in their ‘front yard.’
The meal, by the way, was soup dumplings, dan dan noodles, and spicy cucumber salad from a neighborhood lunch spot. It was delicious.