Out & About With the Pumpkin: The Very Small Street

Irving Street, Philadelphia
Irving Street, Philadelphia

When you grow up in a city like New York, it’s hard, for many reasons. But, partially, because you are ruined in terms of your expectations. No place will ever have that whatever it is that makes New York unique. That whatever it is becomes a necessity. The only time you start asking yourself exactly what is so necessary about it, is when you’re faced with trying to raise a child in the city. I mean plenty of people do it. We could have done it; stayed behind, close to family and friends.

But we didn’t. We followed quite a few New Yorkers and moved to Philadelphia.

I know, I know. My New York friends are like yup, yup, New York is awesome. How could anyone move away? And my Philly friends are like, STOP comparing us to New York already. Philly is not a consolation prize on some Your Budget or Your Life game show. OK, I know now. I get it. We’re seven years here and I don’t want to move back to New York. Yes folks! I like living here, better.

Let me put it this way. I don’t know anyone who can afford an entire house, even a small one, in Greenwich Village. Guess what I have? A small house with all the perks of living in a place that’s really quite like Greenwich Village, just smaller. Cute restaurants? Check. Cute boutiques? Second hand stores and antiques? Check! And close proximity to theaters, museums, what-have-you. And a fairly short commute to work. I love to visit New York but I also love living here day to day.

And that brings us to today’s picture. Center City Philadelphia is full of little streets. A car might be able to fit down one, if you don’t like your rims and you drive a Fiat. Today’s walk home took us through several such small streets and the Pumpkin picked this one for the photo.

The small urban street is quintessential Philly. In many other cities, small streets were destroyed as the cities became more populous and apartment buildings replaced the little homes, or larger homes were in vogue by the time the cities grew. But in Philly, the growth boom in Center City  happened during a time when a 500 square foot cottage was deemed perfectly reasonable and stopped before the same became unpractical to accommodate growth. So, fast forward to today when these little houses on their little streets actually have a cult following and people actually seek them out, if they can handle the small space.

Although this is not our street, we do live on a similar small street and it’s really quite wonderful. Just tonight, all the neighbors are out and about; their kids running around and we’ve got at least 20 just on our one block! We’re inside working on summer school work but the sounds are comforting – life at its best.

If you’re enchanted, here is a lovely row house on such a street currently for sale.


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