Just returned from a trip to Philadelphia to move my sister back before she resumes another year at Temple University. I haven't been to the city since I was eleven and went to go see the ancient artifacts at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Needless to say, I didn't see much of the city then. This time was different, since my sister lives away from the Center City, I got to go around the residential neighborhoods. I got to see the good and bad of what the city had to offer. At times you feel like an archaeologist in America's inner cities, seeing beautiful buildings that have decayed and are empty, or that once held the headquarters of powerful companies and now are home to boutiques and bars.
It made me wonder if the chic parts of Brooklyn once looked like this before they were redeveloped a decade or so ago. I know there are still plenty of bad neighborhoods, but those most of them were never built up with hotels and tall buildings that were then abandoned. I guess it was what the Lower East Side probably resembled in the early 1990s. If such places that were once written off can be brought back to life, perhaps there is hope for Philadelphia, which was once America's largest city, important enough that we had the national bank there. Things are trickling in, to be sure, and it's loss of people has stabilized somewhat, but the city still has 500,000 people less than in 1950.
The infrastructure is there, the history, the culture, the location, but the jobs have to return. It's the same all over the country, in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and in other places. To be sure, the jobs need to return all over the country, but in the inner cities of the Rust Belt they will do the most good, as the economics of suburban sprawl have become unsustainable. If nothing else happens, I suppose the rust belt holds the cards when the inevitable energy crisis comes along and we can no longer import everything from China and run our air conditioners in the Sun Belt 24/7.
Anyways, the trip is probably the last interesting thing that will happen to me for the rest of the summer. Other updates of note, I had a poem published in Word Salad and have been quoted here by Benjamin C. Krause. Hopefully it will not be the last time anyone finds my maxims memorable. Also, happy 30th anniversary to my parents Michael and Pamela Nardolilli, Kansas City's most beautiful couple of 1981.