Vicki's Neighborhood Blog

Blog for Neighborhood Narratives class!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I swear I tied to complete the assignment

Me: "Where's the USB cable for your digital camera?"
Boyfriend: "I thought you wanted the camera?"
Me: "Yeah, but I'd eventually like to transfer the pictures from the camera to a computer."
Boyfriend: "Well you never said that"


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Block History Month


When the Amish trade in their horse and buggy for a pick-up truck, there must be a really good reason behind it. Every day, hundreds of vendors whose roots stem from all over the world, gather in Reading Terminal Market to sell food, clothing and other ethnic crafts. The market (obviously) lies in an old train terminal that was built in 1889, which marked the beginning of America’s industrial revolution.

Prior to construction, street markets lined all of Market St. (obviously). When construction of the terminal threatened the merchants, the city agreed to relocate the markets to the basement of the terminal, to ensure both local and commuter consumers and to simplify shipping. Reading Terminal Market opened its doors in 1892 as a 78,000 square-foot space with room for 800 six-foot stalls. As technology improved, the market boasted the largest refrigerator in Philadelphia, and wealthy patrons could have goods shipped directly to their homes via refrigerated trucks.

The Great Depression hindered productivity and sales, but the marketplace was able to make up for this in the next decade. WWII made food rationing commonplace, and Reading Terminal Market was one of the few places to offer a variety of goods. However, the market struggled in a post-war era. The refrigeration facility was closed to save money and the Reading Company declared bankruptcy in 1971. Railroad service was suspended and the company was forced to reinvent itself as a real estate operation, charging vendors for space in the terminal.

In 1985, Market East train station was opened just east of Reading Terminal, and plans for a convention center two blocks away made a revitalization of the market possible. The terminal was revamped throughout the 1990’s, and it remains an important part of the city’s history, reflecting the social and technological changes of the past century.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Overheard Conversation

Friday 2/3 5:30 pm
Starbucks - Broad & Pine

Teenage girl makes call as she sips a beverage that contains more whipped cream than coffee:

Where you at?
Nah, I'm at Starbucks
Did you talk to him?
Why Not?
WHAT - NUH UH! [high-pitched]
OH MY GOD [high-pitched]
All right, this is what we're gonna do [regains composure]
Hold up now - we are going to go there tonight [cuts off]
All right baby

Teenage girls are funny. Of couse, I was NEVER like that.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Then there was this other time I was aimlessly walking alone in the cold...

Four days a week, I walk up South Broad to City Hall. Had I unlimited income, I could take the subway (among other things*), but for now I'll suck it up and walk the mile.

On one fateful Friday morning around 6:30 am, when it was still dark and even the 24 hour diner appeared to be closed. It was about halfway to city hall, at Broad & Fitzwater, that I decided to leave something behind. Something to show I was there, that THIS person walked through here almost every day. I took out the piece of paper I was preppared to mark my territory with. The 8.5x11" white sheet had a map drawn on it. It wasn't to scale and I didn't use a ruler, but I thought it was easy enough to decipher. The map had showcased directions to my house, with arrows pointing in the correct direction.

At the top, I wrote the following information:
Saturday, January 28. 8pm
Umlimited beer and wine, only $3!

I realize this is misleading for many reasons, the top being that there is no actual party, but I was curious to see if I recieved any responses. I tapped it to a chain-link fence.

When 8pm rolled around the next day, I anxiously waited for a knock. When it became 9pm, I figured my map was a bust. I thought that if someone had shown up, I'd probably pretend I didn't know what the map was and offer the guests some coffee.

On Sunday, my flyer had already disappeared, leaving nothing but small remnants of duct tape to show where it hung. I was looking forward to a guest actually arriving, but I can see why no one would answer such a silly flyer.

*Other things I would do with unlimited income: never cook again, buy a houseboat and a real house in case I decide houseboat life isn't for me. Also, boating lessons.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The grass is always greener where the dogs are sh**ing*

Public Space: Christopher Colombus park & playground at 13th & Wharton Sts.

In the summer, the park and accompanying baseball fieldsand playground are full of kids, pets and their parents. However on a cold and cloudy January afternoon, the occassional dog-walker or passerby is the only sign of life. The grass on the fields is brown and sparse and I no longer wonder why I haven't been spending any time there. A new field house is being built on the far side of the park, and the slabs of concrete and yellow caution tape contributes little to the park's appeal.

Attempting to spruce up the bleak atmosphere, I strike up some conversations with anyone I can find. I usually shy away from conversing with strangers, but since none of us have anyone else to talk to anyways, it made things pretty easy.

Potential new friend #1 was wearing sunglasses even though it wasn't sunny. She looked around 40 years old and wore lots of make-up. She stopped to light a cigarette, so I approached her for one because I didn't really know what else to say. She said she only had one left, and showed me her near-empty pack of Parliament Lights. I said thanks anyway and asked her how long she had been a smoker. She said she started at age 14 and began to walk faster.

Potential new friend #2 was walking a dog. A chain link-fence surrounds part of the park and plastered every few yards is a home-made sign requesting that owners clean up after their pet. Based on the signs' collectively poor designs and nearly illegible handwriting, I can only suppose they were made by the kids of Christopher Colombus Elementary (I hope). Anyway, potential new friend #2 DID NOT clean up after his pooch (disgusting!), and therefore was rendered unfit for proper conversation. Come on buddy, it's where the children play!

Around 3:30, the grade schools that boarder each side of the park let out for the day. Hundreds of children and preteens streamed out the front doors. Instantly, the streets became locked with cars, arriving at the exact time the kids were dismissed. Crossing guards appeared as if out of nowhere, and any driver who was not claiming a child was surely upset he chose this particular route, as traffic inched along.

Still, most of the kids ignored the park, and were more interested in returning home or buying snacks at the corner store that bears the sign "no more than 2 kids at a time." I guess I can't blame them. It's cold and dark and the park has seen better days. It's comforting to know that the kids and parents and under-employed college students will return in the spring, and the kids will have brand new facilities, too.

*Profanities excused, as we are all adults here. Contest: I will give 1 US dollar for the first classmate who approaches me and can accurately explain what this post's title is referencing.*

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I have a lefty notebook, but I'm not left-handed

If my schoolbag was to be examined in May, I can reasonably assume that there would be at least five times the amount of old papers, books and general junkthat lies in it today. But Thursday being the third day of the semester, my posessions are mostly limited to things I actually use.

Of course, I have my wallet, which I recently filled with six crisp $20 bills courtesy of the ATM. However, I owe this money to a friend - apologies to potenital thieves who took note of the wad, as my budget rarely exceeds one $20 bill. I have a set of keys - 2 for the house, one for the car I never drive, one for work. The third thing I always have is my cell phone, but I left it at home because the 'low battery' alarm started going off at 5am this morning and I was going insane because it was dark and I couldn't figure out what the noise was and then when I finally realized it was my phone, I turned it off completely and now I forgot where I put it, although if I were to wager, my bet would be on "way far under the bed."

I have a notebook that was manufactured with the spine on the right especially for left-handed people, who I can only presume, encounter many difficulties with the standard "righty" notebook. I am right-handed, but I had not yet purhased a notebook of my own, so my boyfriend's 'special' notebook must suffice.

Uninterestingly, I have the syllabuses (or is it syllabi?) from my other classes and I also have three order forms from the Temple bookstore. While looking at these order forms and pretending to listen to my classmates, I made the decision to drop the class with the monster reading load and threw the forms away on my way out, rather than returning them to my schoolbag.

I have my iPod and 1509 mp3s, most illigally downloaded. I don't like the ear-plugs that come with the iPod, so I use the headphones from my old CD player.

I have a pack of Pall Mall 100's menthol. I don't smoke regularly, but this pack was given to me for free, so it doesn't count.

There's a fork in my bag too, but I can't remember what I ate with it. There's some used tissues, a few unused napkins and an empty coffee mug. Finally, I have a Poland Spring bottle filled with tap water. I keep the bottle in the refrigerator before I leave the house and I can't tell the difference.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

example post

This is what it would look like if I wrote something