When we moved to Philadelphia, Joe and I spent a LOT of time house-hunting. We scoured every neighborhood in the city, often block by block, photographing every ‘for rent’ sign on every halfway decent building. We wanted light, space, affordability, and that elusive phenomenon, ‘community.’
In Kensington, it seemed like the sun was always shining. Perhaps it’s a function of architecture–the buildings aren’t too tall, there are open spaces between them, and the residents like to garden.
Take a walk down the Frankford Avenue arts corridor; First Friday art openings are only a block away. If the galleries aren’t open, just stroll down Norris between Frankford and Front. You’ll discover the magical Norris Passage mural project for yourself.
Joe and I don’t agree about the best neighborhood café; he spends his spare time in the Rocket Cat, drinking Rocket fuel, while I could happily move in at Leotah’s. Both of them have comfy couches, friendly baristas, rotating art exhibits, excellent food, and a sound track that makes you feel like Hemingway in Paris.
Saturday afternoons, you can take a tour of the Philadelphia Brewing Company, and sample a fistful of scrumptious brews in their Dickensian tasting room. You will definitely want to take home a sampler case, available at bargain prices in the York Street Beer Barn (well, the sign says ‘Philadelphia Beer Co.,’ but…).
Oh, and yes, there’s an actual community. The Kensington Community Food Co-op doesn’t have a physical location yet, but they’re well on their way to obtaining one, and they throw great parties! Become a member and get discounts at twenty local businesses, including Practical Bodywork.
And now, I will let you in on a deep dark secret. This nineteenth-century police station for sale at the corner of Trenton and Dauphin is the potential future home of the Practical Bodywork Integrative Wellness Center. Envision those cinder-blocked windows framing a warren of treatment rooms, a meditation garden and an indoor therapy pool. All we need is time, working capital and the support of our beautiful community.
UPDATE: The police station is now being renovated into condos and, it is rumored, a bank on the first floor. I devoutly hope that it’s the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, as that would mean I didn’t have to go downtown to deposit checks, but this is unconfirmed as of December 2012.
(Also featured: The Rocket Cat Café; photo by Joe Rosato)