Longform

Six of Philly’s Best Writers on How the Past Year Changed the City — and Us All

After a long, unprecedented year, Philadelphia is still standing. We asked these powerful voices to reflect on how their favorite places in the city evolved and endured.


pandemic perspectives

A masked woman walks by One Year Later, a street art piece installed in March by Symone Salib and Nicole Nikolich at 12th and Walnut streets. Photograph by Drew Dennis

After a long, strange, difficult, challenging, revolutionary year, Philadelphia is still standing.

Six notable writers reflect on how the pandemic changed some of their favorite places, and how they’ve changed as a result.

COVID Stole So Much, But It Couldn’t Take Away Music

During a year of disruption and disorientation, music kept so many of us connected — and helped us through even the most devastating losses. — by Jennifer Weiner


What Is Old City Without Tourists?

When travel restrictions curtailed the red-white-and-blue-clad throngs, another group of ardent pilgrims took their place, and changed everything about how we saw our home. — by Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez


When Everything Shut Down, Philly’s Black Community Found New, Revolutionary Ways to Convene

When Odunde and the Roots Picnic were postponed, there came a wave of reimagination that, characteristic of our American experience, took the bad and made something new and good. — by Tre Johnson


The Pandemic Forced Us Apart. Will Philadelphia Ever Fully Regain Its Intimacy?

What happens to a city when you can’t touch it? — by Nathaniel Popkin


In 2020, West Philadelphia Was the Best Place in This Terrible World

My neighborhood is committed to the American city despite the continuing problem of American history, profoundly welcoming, community-minded, and thirsty for justice. — by Asali Solomon

Published as “The City Survives” in the June 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.