Mailbag 37: South Philly Strikes Back

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Whew, been a long time since we peeked in the mailbag, eh? Judging by the following letter from Project reader "Frank," I can see why:

Get your stories strait, almost all of the churches you mentioned in south phila. Were started, built and maintained by the Irish, st monicas, epithany, st.edmonds, ect. The Irish were the higherarchy of the Catholic church in this country till the 1960's . Also kid, the lack of large churches in south phila. Was space, its one of the oldest parts of the city the steets were built for the horse and wagon, not cars and trucks.and the biggest part of big churches in the east side of south phila. Was that before WW2, south phila. Was home to 300, 000 russian jews, it ashamed you never have seen all the beautiful synagoges and little shules on every block, they are almost all gone now, but you can see a art deco one now that turned into a buddest temple, on ritner between 7th and 6th sts.

Man, do I attract the crazies or what? It's worth noting that Frank is writing from a "phillychick" email address, so he's probably got bigger problems going on. That said, Frank, I do actually have a few points I'd like to make:

  1. Don't call me "kid." Unless, of course, you'd like me to call you "old fart." Because I gladly will.
  2. If you're trying to correct me, please at least use proper grammar and spelling. Whatever the hell you have going on now completely undermines the point you're trying to make.
  3. Indeed, much of South Philadelphia's past is Irish-American. I've never said otherwise, however--simply that, today, in areas not named Pennsport, it tends to run much more heavily Italian. And as someone who lives in South Philly, I can confirm this to be very, very true.
  4. I don't buy the space argument. It's utter nonsense. Most of the city was built for the horse and buggy, and that didn't stop a lot of neighborhoods from getting their religious !%@$ together. You think North Philadelphia's some spacious paradise? See what St. Bonaventure was able to do in between those crazy Fairhill alleys.
  5. (No, seriously, see. Because, you know, it won't be there much longer.)

 Thanks for the note, Old Fart! 

With Love,

The Project