Minnesota Post: Philadelphia’s unending spaces

From Andy Sturdevant at the Minnesota Post on September 12, 2012, with mention of SABR member Morris Levin:

This past weekend I was in Philadelphia, having had the good fortune to be invited to present one of my performance pieces in a new gallery space in a large, artist-occupied warehouse on the outskirts of Chinatown. Practice, the name of the space, is in a second-floor hallway shared with some light industrial outfits, but also occupied by at least five other contemporary spaces, all of which band together for First Friday gallery crawls that draw hundreds of people. I hadn’t been to Philadelphia in almost a decade, and was excited to inhabit the role of louche visiting artist on a holiday for a weekend. As with St. Louis a few months ago, this will be the second Stroll written from the road. 

And as with St. Louis – even more so – Philadelphia is a radically different city from Minneapolis. The differences are so self-evident they’re barely worth mentioning, but the most obvious is that Philadelphia’s neighborhoods are old. Of course they’re old in terms of their physical infrastructure, but also in terms of the more metaphysical way they seem to hang together.

Three- and four-story rowhouses are stitched together in tight, condensed blocks on impossibly narrow streets that make the tightest squeezes in Lowertown St. Paul seem like the Crosstown. People walking around the streets have the sense of living in the neighborhood for generations. It is the sort of street life your own eastern ancestors may have been eager to escape to the Midwest from 50 or a hundred years ago. But spending some time away from the endless surface parking lots of the urban Midwest is very exciting.


One of the people I met was a fellow named Morris Levin, a Philadelphia native who holds a degree from the Wharton School of Business, and is also a baseball fanatic who serves as editor for this year’s Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Journal. An ideal guide to Philadelphia, he is endlessly interested in historic ephemera and old spaces.

Read the full article here: http://www.minnpost.com/stroll/2012/09/philadelphias-unending-spaces-are-parceled-stacked-storefronts-and-garrets

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Originally published: September 12, 2012. Last Updated: September 12, 2012.