When I left Philadelphia for Portland nearly five years ago, I wholly credited Penn Treaty Park for reestablishing a personal connection with nature—it and Johnny Brenda’s were my go-to fortresses to escape Fishtown without leaving Fishtown. Watching the tide roll in and out focused my attention on the bigger Delaware River, the one that bubbles out of the ground in the Catskills and empties into the Atlantic below the horn of the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. Portland’s lush greenery cemented that connection as something wholly necessary, wherever I might live. Moving back to Philly a little over a year ago, I knew I had to be somewhere with real green space. Not Rittenhouse green space, but Wissahickon green space. And I knew it had to be Mt Airy.
I like Chestnut Hill and Germantown, and Roxborough, Manayunk, and East Falls have their pluses, but Mt Airy is the sweet spot, the porridge. It’s just right. The low crime rate, the racial and economic diversity, the progressiveness, the SEPTA regional rail lines (and buses), the stuff on Germantown Avenue, the great residential architecture, American Revolution history … all this is well documented. But for me, A#1 at the top of the list is the natural beauty—the tree canopy throughout the neighborhood, the topography and vistas it provides, the direct access to Wissahickon Park.
Six months ago, I departed my interim arrangements a surprisingly satisfied customer in Brewerytown, where I’d been living since moving back to Philadelphia from Portland, Oregon. It was nice to watch that neighborhood in mid-transition—it felt very similar to G-Ho of about 12 years ago, before Toll Bros and boring people with boring homes took it over. The growth in Brewerytown, though, is anything but boring, and places like High Point Cafe and Shifty’s Taco and Brewerytown Beats, as well as those in the pipeline like Pizza Brain’s second location and Crime & Punishment Brewing, will keep Brewerytown interesting. Plus—speaking of access to green space—all of East Fairmount Park is right there, from Lemon Hill to Strawberry Mansion and a new plan coming from Penn Praxis to provide even better connectivity via Brewery Hill Drive.
But I knew I had to be in Mt Airy amongst the trees and the birds, so in November, I made the move. These first six months have been a bona fide love fest, getting to know Weavers Way, Earth Bread & Brewery (brewer Tom Baker says proper shorthand is “Earth,” not “Earth Bread”), High Point, the Goat, Chef Ken, Carpenter’s Woods, even busy Lincoln Drive … So I thought, what better way to profess this love than on the 44th annual Mt Airy Day?
My only hangup is a matter of syntax: how to spell it. Mount Airy? Too formal. Mt. Airy? Ehh. Much like I absolutely despise hyphens, I don’t like using dots for anything other than periods. I use “Mr Jones” and “Dr Smith.” Mt Airy? It’s neither AP nor Chicago style, but baby, it’s Skyline style, so here we are, in Mt Airy. (See also: Allens/Allen’s/Allen Lane.) Besides, it’s good to have options.
So: what up 19119! Nice to see ya. It’s nice to be here. See y’all at Cliveden. Happy Mt Airy Day!
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Click any of the 80 photos below to launch a gallery of photos, all taken on the iphone 4S, in chronological order from November 1st through May 4th, Mt Airy Day. Use your right and left arrow keys for best viewing.