Strawberry Mansion is a greatly named, oddly reputed neighborhood in often misunderstood North Philadelphia. Because of the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality that permeates local news coverage (which I am by no means suggesting is Philadelphia exclusive), Strawberry Mansion is sadly probably known more in the metro area for things like the shooting of four students last December than for its architectural and cultural heritage.

These days, it's in its infant stages of hearing the g-word (rhymes with "adventure vacation") creeping up from Center City, with ridiculously cheap rents to be had on large apartments that fit the needs of the risky artistic urbanite. 33rd street is the boundary between the neighborhood and East Fairmount Park and is lined with grand old post-Civil War mansions and apartments that are beginning to be gobbled up by said artists and investors. John Coltrane lived in a house on 33rd right on the border of the Park, the neighborhood and the Penn Central railroad tracks (now used by Septa, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit).

Anyway, it's an incredible neighborhood and, like a handful of other similar neighborhoods that bottomed out in the 70s and 80s thanks to crack and guns, it's turned a corner. It's got its problems still, of course, but the neighborhood organization has some pull and the future is bright.

I'm really happy with how this tour turned out, so I've displayed these images at 800x600 (as opposed to the normal 640x480). Throw on "Autumn Serenade" and let's go . . .