A BRIEF GUIDE TO PHILLY, WHICH BEGINS WITH FDR SKATEPARK - PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA
First Stop. FDR skatepark (pictured, 1, 2) is a homemade, DIY skatepark made by skaters and beautified by some of Philly’s best graffiti artists. It’s one of the city’s greatest community projects, gathering so many people together and embodies what it means to be both a skateboarder and a city dweller.
Stop Two. From FDR, you go next to cheesesteaks. This cheesesteak (pictured, 3) is from Pat’s, which is one of the more popular and touristy spots. There are probably better places to find a good cheesesteak in town, but, in terms of atmosphere, it doesn’t get much better than Pat’s (located at the south end of the Italian Market in South Philly).
Stop Three. If there’s one thing other than cheesesteaks that Philadelphia abounds in, it’s abandoned factories. Like many great cities of the northeast, it was once a center of manufacturing and industry; nicknamed the “Workshop of the World” for its industrial Delaware waterfront in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This empty factory with the smokeless smokestacks (pictured, 4) is located in Pennsport, an industrial section of the city that doesn’t get as much action as it once did.
Stop Four. A pretty typical Philly street (pictured, 5), consisting of mostly two and sometimes three story rowhomes. Most residential streets outside of Center city — whether North, South or West — look something like this. These houses are what’s left of working class Philly. That’s not to say the city isn’t a working class city, it’s just not working class in the traditional last century definition of the word (see Stop Three above, the empty factory in Pennsport).
Stop Five. The Ben Franklin Bridge (pictured, 6; view from) looks down Second Street. You can see Mr. Bar Stool, Christ Church, the US Customs House Building, and, finally, the Society Hill Towers by I.M. Pei.
Last Stop. (Pictured, 7: “203 homicides so far this year in Philadelphia.”) A reminder of a Philly plagued by crime, drug trade and prostitution. A bit of perspective from a local church into what daily life is like for a lot of Philadelphians, and how many families are affected by violence.
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Northeast Guide Chris Giuliano is a photographer and student living in the NY/NJ/PA region. Traveling throughout these states, and often to other places as well, he is able to see and capture a wide variety of life, and hopes to portray the way he sees the world to other people through his photographs. Follow on his blog, chrisgphoto.wordpress.com, and his website, chrisgiuliano.com.