13 March 2006

When people in philly ask what neighborhood I live in, I'll either say Fitler Square or the Graduate Hospital Area, depending on the conversation and its participants. But repping both is not my personal greed, it's the truth. I live right on South Street, the traditional border of Center City and South Philly. On the Center City side, Fitler Square is a quiet, somewhat posh area that's mostly white. I did a photo essay of it last summer.

Then on the other side of South Street, you've got a neighborhood that has been dying for a catchy name like 'Northern Liberties' or 'Fishtown' or 'Queen Village' but which hasn't gotten one. Realtors have tried calling it 'South of South' (or worse, SoSo), the US Census (and now Phillyblog too) tracks it as 'Southwest Center City' and Toll Bros has been building what is known as 'Naval Square', a giant gated townhome development with 275 units. No non-Toll residents would be caught dead calling their neighborhood 'Naval Square' but again, the realtors agree that it's catchier than a below average sick bay.

That's where Philly Skyline comes in. It's time we put on a name the rest of the world wants to say and which we here want to hear. That name is G-Ho. Catchy? Indubitably. Cheesy? You know it. Will it stick? It has to. It will be permanently authenticated when Graduate Hospital is finally put out of its misery. (Let's face it -- there are a hundred great hospitals in Philly and they're all within a few blocks of the neighborhood, and you know that there is a long line of salivating developers waiting for that bolt to lock so they can get to converting The Graduate already.)

Marian Anderson was born and raised here. Billie Holiday was born here. Wilt Chamberlain ran the show at the YMCA in the 50s. Kenny Gamble owns a lot of properties here but hasn't done much by way of development, sadly. (We all love the mural on the Royal Theatre, but come on -- that place needs to be open.) Ron's Ribs and Jamaican Jerk Hut are legendary. Bob & Barbara's is an institution. Tritone, Ten Stone, Grace and the Sidecar (in that order) are share its customers. Ants Pants, Jouvay Java and LaVa serve the morning after. Pumpkin is the best BYOB in the city. The 'Sixth Sense house' is over 23rd & St Albans way. Holler at ?uestlove while you're here . . .

South Street to Washington Avenue, Broad Street to the Schuylkill. We, ladies and gentlemen, are G-Ho.