One Street Philadelphia: Montgomery Avenue

     A view from a window on Montgomery Avenue looking toward Center City Philadelphia.  (Jessica Kourkounis/For Keystone Crossroads)

    A view from a window on Montgomery Avenue looking toward Center City Philadelphia. (Jessica Kourkounis/For Keystone Crossroads)

    UPDATED: Montgomery Ave. shows the extremes of Philly. Census data show a wide range of incomes along the street. See what that means in terms of housing.

    UPDATED: Jan.15, 2016

    As part of the Keystone Crossroads series “Locked out: Pennsylvania has a housing problem,” I explored one street in three cities, getting to know the residents and seeing their homes as a way of telling a greater story about the city.

    If you move along one street in a city, you can get a good look at the differences and similarities of its residents and their homes. It may include high-end condos and new developments where people make six-figure salaries, but just down the road could be a neighborhood plagued with vacant lots and dilapidated homes where residents are struggling to make ends meet. Essentially all of these people are neighbors looking for the same thing; a safe and comfortable place to call home.

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    In many ways, Montgomery Avenue shows the extremes of Philadelphia. I chose it because census data showed the widest range of incomes along the street, and I was curious to see what that means in terms of housing.

    The first video features Isobel Sollenberger, who has lived in a factory loft space in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia for 17 years. She is a musician and artist and lives with her husband and sister-in-law. She discusses how the neighborhood has changed over the years and how it has become home.

    Greg and Diane Precht moved to Montgomery Avenue in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia about 12 years ago. Their house and private yard gave them more room (and closet space) to raise their two children compared to their narrow rowhome in Northern Liberties. The couple speaks about the influx of new neighbors and businesses to Fishtown.

    Jimmie Moore, a former municipal court judge and ward leader has lived on Montgomery Avenue in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood of Philadelphia for about 14 years. He discusses architecture, vacant properties and some of the perceptions and misperceptions people have about the neighborhood.

    Watch for more videos of residents of Montgomery Avenue in the coming weeks.

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