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The shell of the Divine Lorraine hotel, North Broad Street, Philadelphia.

When I was growing up, the family business was one of  scores in the apparel industry. Our shop was on the fourth floor of a building in North Philadelphia that housed a half dozen other manufacturers and contractors. More than two decades have passed since our doors, as well as those of all the others in the city, have creaked shut.

The North Philadelphia I remember from of the 1970s and 80s was decaying, falling apart, verging on abandonment. I drove down North Broad Street with my father recently, through mile after mile of a falling apart, torn down, overgrown, weedy and trash-strewn cityscape. “It’s gotten much worse,” he said.

Boarded up house, Allegheny Ave.

House for sale, Allegheny Ave.

 

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I took these photos from the comfort of an Amtrak train to Philadelphia and back the other day. North Philadelphia used to be a bustling manufacturing area, packed with factories, warehouses and rowhomes. As manufacturing fled the northeast over the last sixty years, these buildings were left behind.

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A couple things about this next picture. It’s conveniently located behind the SEPTA North Philadelphia station. You can see vines encroaching on the right side of the building. It’s huge.

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Blurry, I know, but I didn’t have the good camera with me.

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January 2019
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