Thursday, September 10, 2009

Norris Square - a neighborhood to love

Hey folks...I reported earlier that I was moving to Fishtown. And I have found a gigantic apartment that I love. It is the first floor of a building, which means I have plenty of space - my own basement, a large private backyard and a living room that is so huge, that I can divide it into two spaces.

I'm so geeked, but people have informed me that my place near 2nd and Berks is definitely not Fishtown. And they are right - thanks to my friend who did some googling, he has discovered that I live in West Kensington. More specifically, I live in the heart of Norris Square.

Norris Square is bounded by Berks at the South, Allegheny on the North, 5th Street to the West and Front Street to the East. Norris Square Park is in the middle of the neighborhood.

The Berks el stop is right there and I've seen quite a few buses in the area so transit shouldn't be a problem. I even timed the walk from work, if I'm ever so inclined to skip the el, and it took me a doable 65 minutes.

But I won't lie to you. There is blight in the neighborhood, few services, and likely I'll be grocery shopping at Reading Terminal Market near where I work rather in my community. And the abandoned factories and warehouses demonstrate that this once vibrant area has suffered many economic losses.

But I used to be a community organizer and I know that if I want to beautify my neighborhood, I have the power to do that if I work with people. I plan to join the neighborhood association, visit the many local improvement iniatives (such as the youth center & the low-income housing programs), and I hear there is a women's organization dedicated to the neighborhood. Also, I will frequent the small businesses in my neighborhood - the pizza shop, the lounge, and the beauty shop across the street.

The move is in October and I am already feeling at home.

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