A home for the man about town

    Somewhere stuck between the Scylla of Center City and the Charybdis of Suburbia, lays my home of Roxborough.

    Somewhere stuck between the Scylla of Center City and the Charybdis of Suburbia, lays my home of Roxborough.

    In a tiny duplex on the loud confluence of three bus routes, my parents decided to settle down and raise their family.

    It has been my home for as long as I can remember.

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    When I was younger I couldn’t wait to depart from what my uncle had described as “the armpit of the United States”.

    But Nathaniel Popkin, author of ‘Song of the City’, gave numerous examples of people who stay in Philadelphia despite the great challenge or desire to leave.

    So despite my wanderlust, The Sirens of Philadelphia have brought me back time and again.

    After college, I was lucky enough to enter almost immediately into journalism and got a job at my local weekly newspaper.

    It was like seeing the neighborhood through new eyes.

    Growing up, it was full of tight-knit families and fruitless dreams of glory days gone by.

    The neighborhood still has some families but it’s become more transient in nature.

    But there are many successes; Ridge Ave is again a bustling commercial corridor.

    Gorgas Park has become a jewel and hub of social activity with concerts and festivals. Main St., despite the slow economy, still has a number of high-quality eateries and unique shops.

    I have been working at a more than 100-year-old newspaper for the past five years.

    The paper’s official name is The Review, although many call it the Roxborough Review, to distinguish it from South Philly Review. (Yes, people do get us confused.)

    Since then, like some Joyceian Odysseus, I have been writing about my own adventurous life in Northwestern Philadelphia.

    I have seen the inside of a grand church organ built in the early 1900s.

    I have seen the hills and spires of Roxborough-Manayunk from the one of the oldest clock towers in the neighborhood.

    I walked through the neighborhood’s history via its graveyards.

    I have drunk with Hollywood stars and performed on the same stage where Grace Kelly started her acting career.

    I have also traveled to foreign lands, experiencing new cultures but I don’t do it alone.

    My readers see it too, through my eyes and they love it.

    I am a throwback to the bygone era of the Man About Town, the wandering, well-dressed gentleman with waxed mustache.

    My friends often ask me, if there is someone I don’t know.

    I tell them that there are many and that’s why I live where I live.



    Tell us why you live where you live.  Send your essay to: newsworks@whyy.org

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