As a kid, I hated the Market-Frankford Line. It made a lot of noise, and I’d cover my ears every time I heard it. As I got older, the El seemed like less like a scary experience and more of a ticket to freedom.
As a kid, I hated the Market-Frankford Line, or the “El.” It’s the subway/elevated train that connects Upper Darby, West Philadelphia, and Frankford to downtown Philadelphia. It made a lot of noise, and I’d cover my ears every time I heard it.
As I got older, the El seemed like less like a scary experience and more of a ticket to freedom. I attend high school in Downtown Philly, and it’s the only transportation that gets me there on time.
It’s an adventure every time I get on board. On my way to school some days, I see (or smell) a lady that probably hasn’t showered since the ’90s and who has caused everyone to move to the next car to escape the terrible odor. In the afternoons, high school students swipe their student passes and board the El bursting with energy they probably didn’t have in math class. Screaming, yelling, and cracking up, they have a good old time amongst themselves while infuriating the adults trying to enjoy their relaxing ride home.
I am also in love with the murals made only for El riders to experience called “Love Letter” by West Philly native Steve Powers. Fifty rooftop murals span from 45th to 63rd along Market Street, each one expressing love for a partner or love from local residents to their neighborhood of West Philly. The Market-Frankford Line is definitely a special experience that you wouldn’t get in any other city.
Sunny Morgan, 17, is a high school student and a native Philadelphian. Currently she lives in West Philadelphia.
This essay originally appeared in the blog Philly Love Notes.