Uncovering Philly’s friendly little secret

    Even in my short time here (about a nanosecond in Philly time) I’ve discovered that people who don’t live here, and even some who do, can talk some massive smack about the city.

    Eh, that’s what people do. They did it in New York when I lived there.  They still do it in the Bronx, where I grew up. They certainly did it in Hartford, where I once worked. 

    Some of it is deserved. Some of it is self-loathing. Some of it is suburban rocking throwing.

    But a lot of it just isn’t true — at least not mostly.

    Most times I’ve heard people refer to Philly as the “City of Brotherly Love,” it’s done in jest or dripping with sarcasm or disdain.

    To those haters, I’d like to share a little story. 

    I helped a friend and former colleague from Connecticut move into his new Philly home this week. It’s a cool row house in South Philly.

    It bears noting that this isn’t one of those trendy, totally gentrified areas. There are some run-down homes, there’s litter on the street. From what I could tell, it’s also got a great mix of diversity — and a cool neighborhood tavern nearby.  

    Moments — and I’m talking mere moments — after my friend parked his U-Haul on the cramped street, his elderly next door neighbor, Carmen, came out to introduce himself and welcome him to the neighborhood.

    While I was moving boxes from the back of the truck to the front, a cook from one of the nearby hole-in-the-wall restaurants asked if we could use some help. And he meant it. 

    The block captain, who coincidentally lives right across the street, stopped by to meet his new neighbor and let him know he shouldn’t hesitate to call on him or his wife. 

    Philly, I’m onto you. You’re not as tough as you come off. I can relate, and I salute you.

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