Reclamation Philly 2024


It's hard not to ask what the heck happened. Obviously an economic downturn that affected thousands upon thousands. Miles and miles of deteriorating row houses span both sides of the Schuykill River. How many left, how many stayed, how many squatted. How many were subjected over the years to carpetbagger developers patching together monstrous crumbling mansions.

The devil's in the details. Don't even think about what the electrical wiring must be like. Or what lines the interior of the rusted water pipes.

Philadelphia. A city that's trying. If I had Jeff Bezos' money, I'd fork over a million bucks to clean up as much trash here as that can.  Even if it just lasts for a day or two. A chance to start over. A chance to see what it could become. So many people here can already see the beauty through the grit. 

Bleeding hearts everywhere.

These homeowners articulate their purpose: Reclaim Philadelphia. 

Art goes a long way in opening the mind to possibilities beyond the mundane.

And flowers. Even the most impoverished homes have lovely tiny spaces where flowers are tended.

These ones evoke what it feels like to age. (I'm qualified to declare that.)

The communities try to create a feeling of unique culture and togetherness.

Chinatown, compact as it is, has the community sense down. Magnified by the synergy of the year of the dragon. And Drexel's mascot.

Red Asian Pear buds


Breath of the dragon: Fiery sunset (March in Philadelphia)

Aggression. Sculpture in Rittenhouse Square.

The melting pot of cities. People. Feelings. Music melding. Dancing in the streets.

So, as I said, it feels like a lot of people here, including those without the resources of the wealthier neighborhoods are trying to make the city a happy place, a happening place. 

Except those who aren't, like this sobering documentary by Mobile Instinct of those who have given up trying and just drift about the neighborhood of Kensington in an etheric realm between life and death.