Confession: I’m Black, and I Used to Be Afraid to Walk Around Fishtown

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This September marked the start of my 32nd year of residence in this city. And for all of those previous 31 years, I’ve treated this place as my oyster. It’s part of my nature: No matter what city I’m in, I want to take it all in, or as much of it as time will allow. Thirty-one years is a lot of time, and in that time, I’d set foot in every neighborhood in this city.

With — until pretty recently — one big exception.

Like most black Philadelphians, I had heard stories about Fishtown. It seemed that we weren’t welcome there. I’d read stories about blacks getting harrassed, and worse, when they moved into the neighborhood.

And I wasn’t alone.

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RealtyTrac Heat Map Reveals Where Millennials and Baby Boomers Are Going

RealtyTrac heatmap showing where the largest shift in millennial population is occuring.

RealtyTrac heatmap showing where the largest shift in millennial population is occuring.

Which counties are seeing an influx of millennials? Which are seeing rapid emigration? And where the heck are baby boomers going? RealtyTrac’s latest report answers these and other questions after analyzing Census population data in over 1,800 counties between 2007 and 2013.

In addition to using the Census data to track each generation’s migration patters, the study used rental rates and median prices to see what prompted millennials and baby boomers to go certain places and not others. (For the record, RealtyTrac defines baby boomers as people born between the years 1945 and 1964, and millennials as those born between 1977 and 1992.)

Here’s what the real estate website found in its analysis: Read more »

Phillies Introduce Phone Charging Station at Citizens Bank Park

Photo courtesy of the Phillies.

Photo courtesy of the Phillies.

Monday night, the Phillies will honor Jimmy Rollins for setting the team record for hits. They’ll also be introducing a new feature to Citizens Bank Park: A phone charging station. No longer will you have to turn off your phone or put it in airplane mode in order to save your battery while at the ballpark. The Phillies will also be providing cords.

The charging station sits on the rooftop outside the TV booth in center field. (If you’re facing the skyline while on the rooftop, it will be on the left side.) What’s nice about the Phillies’ charging station is you’ll still be able to watch the game while your phone charges. And the rooftop is the perfect place for people-watching at CBP as well (if you’re into checking out thousands of people in t-shirts).

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Gen Y to Boomers: You Taught Us to Be “Flaky Dreamers”

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Bitching about an up-and-coming generation is nothing new. And now it’s Gen Y’s turn to bear the brunt of the complaining. We have been dubbed entitled, lazy, over-sharing and egotistical. While I don’t dispute that social media rules our lives or that we can be wishy-washy when it comes to choosing a career, I do think that my generation has been put under more intense scrutiny than prior generations thanks to the information age that we live in.

If you do a Google search on “bad things about Gen Y,” some 586 million results will pop up compared to the sparse 32 million or so for “good things about Gen Y.” The latest articles to “explain” millennials (such as this by my colleague Sandy Hingston) perpetuate the negative stereotypes. We’re seen as a group of whiners who don’t have a work ethic and think we’re all special snowflakes or Peter Pan. Many of these pieces fail to address the economic shit-show that happened while most of us were preparing ourselves for post-collegiate life. But I digress.

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Philadelphia Rental Market Poised for Takeoff

millennialsThe prospects for new multifamily construction in Philly look good in the long run, a panel of insiders say – but there are some matters that need to be addressed for the market to truly blossom. The millennial generation (pictured at left) is getting tired of living with its parents and is ready to strike out on its own. Developers and investors are now giving them the apartments to rent here, and are ready to supply even more if the jobs they need materialize.

That was the rough consensus of the panelists who spoke on the state of the Philadelphia rental property market at the RealShare Philadelphia conference at the Union League Feb. 27.

Things are picking up on the multifamily front, said panel moderator Jerald M. Goodman, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. In fact, he said, “Multifamily is hot.”

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Millennials Love Philly—But Not Enough to Stay

The Inquirer says that Philadelphia’s much-heralded millennial revolution is just a mirage.

Yes, the age group 20-34 accounts for a quarter of the city’s population, but half of those kids are going to up and move out the city when the kids come. There they will pine for the city and the artistic life, like some 21st century version of Revolutionary Road, until tragedy born of ennui shatters their lives.

Or so we assume.

Inky points to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts to make the case:

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Meet the Millennial Behind Philly’s LGBT Equality Bill

millenials chris goy closeLast spring when I was covering Jim Kenney’s LGBT Equality Bill, I visited the councilman’s office in City Hall to learn more about it. During our conversation, I noticed he kept deferring to his young assistant in the corner, particularly when I asked about the many components extending rights to Philly’s transgender community. The assistant’s name was Chris Goy, 26, and what I later found out is that he was the driving force behind creating the bill, the person who hit the streets to talk to locals about ways to make Philadelphia better when it comes to offering all-inclusive LGBT rights, the person who wrote the entire thing — all 35 pages of it.

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The Millennial Revolution: We’re Committed to the City

Erica Palan, 28. Photo by Chris Sembrot

Erica Palan, 28

It’s 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, and my boyfriend and I are driving toward the Philadelphia skyline. We’ve had a lovely evening visiting friends who just bought a house in Ambler. We giggled at old photos, had burgers and beers on the deck, and played board games in a room with track lighting and Yankee Candles. Then we headed back home to Fishtown to begin our evening

“Let’s never move to the suburbs,” my boyfriend says as we sip lagers at our neighborhood dive bar. “I just think we’d be so … boring.”

He’s not alone. For many millennials, suburbia’s white picket fences are looking more and more like cages. In August, Leigh Gallagher, author of the new book The End of the Suburbs, told this magazine, “Millennials don’t really have any interest in this kind of cul-de-sac life. They’re not saying they hate suburbs entirely, but they want to be someplace where they can walk everywhere.”
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The Millennial Revolution: Our Style Is DIY

Annie Monjar, 26

Annie Monjar, 26

I’ve never done well in thrift stores. Medium sweaters mix with size fours. The DVDs aren’t organized by genre. The bare feet of a total stranger were in those shoes at one point? The clutter and charming chaos that make so many people giddy these days still give my Gap-covered hide hives.

Today, in 2013, my inability to breeze out of a vintage shop with a monocle I can turn into a brooch or an oversized gingham shirt for fashioning into a fetching fall dress feels like my biggest style handicap. If Sex and the City is to be believed, 15 years ago women my age coveted Manolo Blahniks; now, the youthful fashion ideal is far more ambiguous, and style success is measured by the elevation given to odd found items, not the designer labels stacked in your closet. To the extent that I get jealous of other people’s stuff, I’m less envious of what my friends have than of their seemingly effortless ability to make it.
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The Millennial Revolution: Gay Equality Is a Value

Josh Middleton, 34. Photo by Chris Sembrot

Josh Middleton, 34

It’s a frustrating thing, being young and gay in Philadelphia. Go to any Pride celebration and it’s obvious we live in a city that nurtures our right to be here and queer. But we also live in Pennsylvania. My partner and I moved here six years ago, and have watched as this remained the only Northeast state to maintain a same-sex marriage ban. I’d be lying if I said we haven’t considered moving to a place that recognizes our right to put a ring on it, but leaving also feels like turning our backs on a city that’s working hard to propel us onto the right side of history.

Chris Goy, a 26-year-old legislative aide to Councilman Jim Kenney, agrees. “It would be a shame if we rested on our laurels and took for granted the many successes and rights we’ve been able to gain,” he says. Goy moved to University City in January to pursue his master’s in public administration at Penn, and played a pivotal role in drafting the LGBT Equality Bill that passed Council with flying rainbow colors in April. In his short time here, he’s become such a believer in Philly’s support for the community that he and his partner have decided to stay when he graduates next spring.
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