tuscan philadelphia

12:08 PM

While I was home doing some work on the house the other day I was outside painting my front railing and chatting with my neighbors, something that, despite the annoyance they can be sometimes, I relish. Living in a decaying urban area of Philadelphia filled with social breakdown and blight, I am so happy to have the majority of houses that surround me inhabited by the same people I have been growing up with since childhood. I have lived in my home now for about 28 years of my life. It belonged to my grandmother and then my mother and father, and, upon their divorce, I secured its rights. But that's another story...

So in our conversation she remarked about how nice the house was looking and said that she wants to be the "Tuscany of Beulah Street." I didn't quite know what she meant by this. "Oh you've never looked at pictures from Tuscany? I love it, everything has paint chipping and is covered in flowers. Things are hundreds of years old and covered in flowers," she said pointing to the paint chipping on her railing and posts....and watering her dozens of flowers. But she got me thinking. There's a difference between aging and dilapidation. The problem is that, considering where I live in respect to other places in the city...and the world...when things start to age, people simply leave it to fall apart hoping that the city of their landlord will fork the cost out to repair instead of taking an initiative to make a change. Sad. A chipping wall will turn into a broken window and a building covered in graffiti in a matter of days. But not everywhere. There are place in the city where a crack in the wall is beautifully accented by ivy, an aging statue and terracotta pots - just like Tuscany. My neighbor's house might have flaking paint, but she cleans her porch every day and tends to the little things that she can.

This has me setting out to find the little bits of elegant decay in the city. I had an idea where I might find a little bit of this but I only had time to pick a few shots in a little alleyway behind some nice brownstone-style homes along Spruce street. I am hoping to document more as I now have a different view on these little things. Enjoy!

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