Solo Real Estate’s listing for a trinity house 228 Catherine Street, #3 was featured in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Trinity Tuesday” series!
As the article puts it,
“A large part of the appeal of trinity houses is the character of the house. They’re often on tiny side streets, and the fact that they’re so small and so old adds an inherent vibe to them that you’re just not going to find elsewhere. This week’s Trinity Tuesday house has just that vibe.”
When a new job at the University of Pennsylvania brought research scientist Stewart Anderson, his wife Alexandra and their family from Manhattan to Philadelphia, they were eager to find a great and kid-friendly home. They would quickly learn however that getting the perfect house would require an open mind.
In beginning their home search, Stewart and Alexandra agreed on a few basic requirements for their future house: they wanted a place where their young son would be safe (“no spiral staircases” Alexandra says) that also had outdoor space, three real bedrooms (Stewart’s daughter from a previous marriage lives with the couple during the school year) and lots of light.
Where they might find a home with those attributes and in their price range became the real question though. After Alexandra ruled out West Philadelphia, Stewart’s new colleagues encouraged him to look in the Fitler’s Square neighborhood. While he and Alexandra loved the area, they had trouble finding a home there that met all their needs. “Prices were higher in Fitler’s Square than we liked, and I felt like we would be paying for the great neighborhood and not much more” Stewart says.
Stewart and Alexandra soon realized they needed to learn more about what was out there in order to find the right home. “We’re scientists” Stewart says with a smile, “and when we find out there’s something we don’t know, we’re trained to educate ourselves.”
Working with Deborah Solo, they did their research and soon began looking in Queen Village – a neighborhood they had heard of but hadn’t realized was quite so kid-friendly. The couple quickly fell in love with the area’s quirky charms, strong community feel and access to the great restaurants around Headhouse Square.
Growing steadily more confident about the area, Stewart eventually found a modern five bedroom townhouse on a residential block in Queen Village. Touring the home, Stewart loved the huge back deck area, expansive windows and one-car garage. For her part though, Alexandra was put off by the home’s décor. Stewart insisted, and Deborah affirmed, that those aesthetic issues could be easily fixed. Indeed, both Stewart and Alexandra are quick to add that working with Deborah was a breeze – “She knew when to take the lead and when to step back. We really appreciated that” Stewart says.
While their home search wasn’t quite as quick as they had hoped, the family is truly pleased with their new abode. More than just the house itself, they’ve come to appreciate their new neighborhood’s little perks, like the easy access to I-95 and the decidedly non-Manhattan like peace and quiet of Queen Village. These are the kind of benefits that make this new Philadelphia family confident they’ll love this home for many years to come.
Just steps from the traffic and big box retailers of Delaware Avenue sits Washington Avenue Green, a small waterfront park whose newly proposed redesign would transform one of the site’s crumbling piers into a public space honoring a hidden chapter of Philadelphia’s immigrant heritage.
The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) recently released a series of plans for the proposed updates to Washington Avenue Green’s Pier 53 (seen as it is today on the left). When completed in the summer of 2014, the restored pier will pay homage to the site’s former life as the Washington Avenue Immigration Station, which from 1873-1915 served as the main entry point for immigrants arriving in Philadelphia. During that time the station at Pier 53 accepted nearly one million immigrants, mostly from Eastern and Southern Europe, whose labor fueled Philadelphia’s booming industrial economy and whose rich cultural heritage has so deeply shaped the character of our city.
While none of the original Washington Avenue Immigration Station remains, the new park will speak to the site’s history thanks to the work of artist Jody Pinto, who has been commissioned to create a piece that evokes Pier 53’s special place in Philadelphia history.
Just as the plans for the new space celebrate the past of course, they also serve as a very real investment in the social and ecological future of both the project’s surrounding neighborhood and the Delaware River waterfront. Despite its charm and family-friendly streets, Pennsport (where the Washington Avenue Green is located) has limited green space, an issue that this redesign would immediately remedy. Furthermore, other successful riverside parks like Old City’s Race Street Pier and Fishtown’s Penn Treaty Park have shown people’s interest in the industrial and post-industrial spaces along the Delaware River. The redesigned Pier 53 would then add new parkland to Pennsport while also attracting much needed foot and bicycle traffic to the area.
Finally, the changes to Pier 53 and Washington Avenue Gardens will have an additional focus on creating a restorative landscape, as the proposal’s longterm goal aims to return much needed wetlands to the Delaware Riverfront. These new riparian spaces will improve the area’s natural beauty, ecological diversity and water quality, brining benefits for years to come.
We eagerly await to see how this plan, and its goal of connecting the Delaware Riverfront’s legacy of immigration with its green future, will change a wonderful and deeply historic part of South Philadelphia.
Zebra stripes, purple polka dots and snake skin are not patterns one expects to see on the brick and stone streets of Philadelphia. However, on a part of South 4th Street known as Fabric Row, rolls of brightly colored cloths stand out like the flags of this historically independent-minded community.
Stretching down South 4th Street from Bainbridge to Christian Streets, Fabric Row is an ever-changing commercial corridor that for over a century has hosted independent entrepreneurs and artisans. While the roots of the community go as far back as the founding of Philadelphia, Fabric Row as it is today was developed by Jewish textile merchants at the turn of the 20th century and was once home to countless bulk sellers, tailors and other related businesses.
The slice of Fabric Row between Fitzwater and Catharine Streets is an excellent example of this community’s evolving nature. Home to more traditional textile shops than any other block of Fabric Row, in recent years the street has seen the growth of quirky boutiques, a café and other independent stores. And while not every storefront is occupied, this block’s growing success is likely a sign that the area’s location – near enough to bustling South Street to attract visitors but far from that strip’s notoriously-rowdy crowds – will remain a key factor in Fabric Row’s continued development.
New independent businesses like Red Hook Coffee & Tea share South 4th Street with older fabric shops.
Recently though, a tragic event tested this community’s resolve: on April 6th, 2013 a fire at the corner of South 4thand Fitzwater cost a emergency responder his life and destroyed the generations-old Jack B. Fabrics store. While this community continues to mourn, it is also looking towards the future, hoping to rebuild and shape a space that truly represents the best of this historic and vibrant commercial corridor.
The future of the 743-772 block of South 4th Street, and indeed all of Fabric Row, looks bright. Queen Village has become an increasingly popular place for urban professionals to settle down and start families; these savvy urbanites are just the kind of consumers who actively support the local, independently-run businesses that for a century have found a home on Fabric Row. Strollers may have replaced pushcarts, but this block will continue to represent Philadelphia’s independent spirit.