Favorite Spot: The corner of 9th and Fitzwater
Neighborhood: Bella Vista
I Am: A Carolina girl turned full-fledged urbanite
Years in Philly: 4.5
Current Home: Grad Hospital
My Love Note
Dear Corner of 9th and Fitzwater,
You are, without a doubt, one of the most underrated spots in the city. Sure, most people will stand on the corner or walk on by without ever realizing your potential, but I always take a minute to stop and admire.
You see, when I first moved to the city, I was a Carolina girl getting used to big city life, living in Bella Vista and working in Center City for AmeriCorps. I had a highly romanticized view of city life, the lights at night, the fashion-forward people with their fingers on the pulse of all things new and exclusive, and the fabulous lofts occupied in the movies. The old jazz and blues tunes that appear on the soundtrack of every Meg Ryan movie play in my head when I think of my perception of life in the city. But it wasn’t what I expected. I worked multiple jobs and took food stamps during AmeriCorps.
After my year of service, I didn’t know what to do – the economy was tanking and the bills were still rolling in. Luckily, I landed a position as a nanny in Queen Village, an equally lovely part of the city, but one that rendered my trips to Center City infrequent. I fell into the groove, and often forgot about the vast city that surrounded me. I moved over to 11th Street. I worked to pay my rent and spent time with friends, hardly living the romantic big city life I had always imagined.
My small world consisted of everything from Hawthorne eastward, with an occasional trip to Northern Liberties. One night, I was walking home alone (something I did in the early days). As I was walking by Palumbo Park I ventured to look up, and caught a glimpse of the city lights and skyscrapers. It was as if I had completely forgotten I lived in Philadelphia, bustling city with a gorgeous skyline; I was in awe. It’s corny, but then and since, that image has made me feel like the heroine in a romantic comedy when I chance upon it.
Four years later, the corner of 9th and Fitz still gives me that sense of urban romance and reminds me of how far I’ve come since my early days here. While there’s romance in the glamorous images in city life, there’s also something romantic about being a struggling urbanite relying on your network and working hard to make ends meet. I’ll always look upon these years with fondness.
Thanks for being a great space for reflection,
PS – You should meet the South Street Bridge. I think you’d be besties based on your shared love of amazing city views.