« Hectic Day | Main | Philadelphia, Part II »

South Philadelphia/Welcome to my neighborhood

I was born & raised in South Philly and still live here. If you are in the right neighborhood and know how to "work" the school system it can be a great place to raise a family. As I mentioned before, I live in the Little Italy Section. Many of my neighbors are second and third generation immigrant families. It is still a Blue Collar neighborhood, though more young professionals are moving in. Center City has become unaffordable for most and we are just about 10 minutes or less from downtown. People live in Rowhouses with 40 or so houses on most city blocks. Family Businesses still dot the corners of most street. People are warm & friendly and look out for each other. We love to decorate our front windows for EVERY holiday and all special occasions (weddings, graduations, births, etc.). We love cheesesteaks, but would never buy one from the well known Tourist Traps on 9th Street. We are home to the best Italian Bakeries for Bread & pastries in the tri-state area (at least we think so). We love the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day - during which you are either hosting or visiting several open houses.

We love being so close to downtown. It is easy to take advantage of the many cultural opportunities as well as the many wonderful restaurants. However, we have had a recent restaurant explosion in So. Philly so it has been fun to try the many new eateries in our own back yard. I love taking guests on a tour of So. Philly, visiting the Irish, Italian , Asian and Afircan American enclaves, while pointing out where different groups of people are beginning to live together. This usually involves some shopping at the Italian Market (which, of course, now has some Latino and Asian vendors as well)and a drive down a few of our residential blocks that are barely wide enough for the car!

Certainly, we are experiencing some changes in So Philly. There have been an influx of Asian immigrants over the last 10 years. For the first time in 30 years my street has an Vietnamese Family, and a Chinese Family as well as a Muslim Family, and a young Asst. District Attorney. I am happy to say that my neighbors have been very welcoming. Some of my neighbors have never traveled anywhere beyond So. Philly. While being firmly rooted is a good thing, some could be narrow minded when it comes to accepting differences.(This was the main reason why I sent my kids to a public magnet school from an early age - it was a distance from home and is known for its' diversity).

Parking is atrocious(sp?). This could be a post in and of itself. When I learn how to post photos, I will post some of the crazy parking situations that occur. There are many semi legal spots that we vie for. Sometimes we get parking tickets, sometimes not - depends on the Police Officer on duty that night as 99% of tickets are written between 3:00 & 5:00 a.m. I can't imagine that Philadelphia Police Officers (I truly do respect & appreciate the Police) have nothing better to do in the middle of the night than write parking tickets! Parking is the one part of living in South Philly that I dislike. I also get tired of being asked if I know any Mobsters! For the record, I don't (though I think that I have met a few wanabees!).

I am going to post a popular e mail joke about South Philly that circulates every so often. It may only be funny to the folks in and around Philadelphia.


Real South Philadelphians don't call gravy, "sauce".

Real South Philadelphians know the meanings of the phrases skeeve;
bimbo; how cheap; comare; paisan; and chooch.

Real South Philadelphians know where to get the best SOS on toast, roast beef sandwiches, water ice, hot dogs, pasta, and mussels.

Real South Philadelphians don't buy packaged rolls.

Real South Philadelphians don't buy meatball sandwiches from street

Real South Philadelphia girls wear T-Shirts instead of bathing suit

Real South Philadelphia men don't wear

teeny, weeny, speedo briefs at the beach.

Real South Philadelphians love Frank Sinatra.

Real South Philadelphians know where to play a number (not always at the local lottery outlets either).

Real South Philadelphians call the Italian Market "Ninth Street"

Real South Philadelphians love the challenge of a tight parking spot.

Real South Philadelphians do the "South Philly Slide" thru stop signs.

Real South Philadelphians eat macaroni on Sunday.

Real South Philadelphians have plastic slipcovers on their couches and
ceramic elephants in their windows.

Real South Philadelphians spell relief r-a-v-i-o-l-i.

Real South Philadelphia teenagers hang out at Morey's Pier on the

Real South Philadelphians call FDR park, "the Lakes"

Real South Philadelphians will play softball rather than eat dinner.

Real South Philadelphians go to New Jersey movie theaters.

Real South Philadelphians can drive 60mph up Mole Street, aren't afraid
of killer potholes and don't believe it is illegal to double park.

Real South Philadelphians call Second Street, "2 Street."

Real South Philadelphian parents call their kids "mommy" and "daddy".

Real South Philadelphian add the letters "y" or "ie" to all names,
hence: Joey, Paulie, Mikey, Sammy, and Bobby.

Real South Philadelphians don't cuff their jeans...they hem them.

Real South Philadelphians know the difference between pizza and tomato

Real South Philadelphians know where the Crest, the Heart, AC, and
Diamond Beach are.

Real South Philadelphians have a friend in the business ... any

Real South Philadelphians get snagged by the cops, at least once, for
breaking curfew, or being down under the bridge, down at the Lakes.

Real South Philadelphians aren't afraid to spend money.

Real South Philadelphians know that Goretti was built on top of a cemetery.

Real South Philadelphians still call Frank Rizzo "Mayor Rizzo."

Real South Philadelphia girls don't wear boots in the snow.

Real South Philadelphia guys wouldn't be caught dead in sandals.

Real South Philadelphian girls have names like Re-Re, Jo-Jo, and Dee.

Real South Philadelphian girls get serenaded by the Mummers at their
wedding or the night before at their Mom's house!

Real South Philadelphians call calamari, "golamad!"

Real South Philadelphians say " youze" instead of you guys or Y'all or whatever else!

One snack – Tastykakes.

Real South Philadelphians know what you are talking about if you say any of the following: Bo-Bet, submarine races, Mifflin, lemonade (Cherry or Lemon), throwin' old sneakers, Frrrr-essshhhhh Prrreettttzells, Broad Street Beach, The Lakes, Goin' uptown, "Is it Frank's thanks

Real South Philadelphians know at least three people with some kind of nickname Fat Pat, Rockhead, Mikey Droop, Joey Earrings, and Jimmy Tomatoes.

Real South Philadelphians played games like , Dead Box, football or Atlantic City baseball on the 'flat' at Southern, Jailbreak;

Hide-the-belt; Half-ball; Muffries; and Buck-Buck or played hockey,

Real South Philadelphians can still draw a Dead Box.

Real South Philadelphians remember when the Broad Street Subway stopped at Snyder Ave.

Real South Philadelphia girls went to Goretti and always rolled up their uniforms when they got a block away from the school.(local Catholic High School)

Real South Philadelphians called South Philadelphia High, "Southern.

Real South Philadelphians remember when 'Pop' would sell water ice out of two green barrels with pot lids while he sat on a beach chair with an umbrella at 13th and Oregon!

You attended at least one wedding reception at the Fiesta, J&A Caterers, Venice Plaza, Venus Lounge, or President Caterers.

You attended a Saturday matinee at either the Colonial, the Broadway or
the President movie theaters with a ticket from Bambi Cleaners

You had lunch at any of the following: Millie's, Emil's, Sal, &Dan's,Fuzzy Joe's, Shay's or Ralph &Ricky's.

You shopped at Lou Belles, Renell's, Kresge's, Cy &Moe's, John's
Bargain Store or Woolworth's.

You made a scooter out of a wooden fruit basket, a 2"X4", and an old
roller skate.

You ever made a bottlecap shooter or a Popsicle stick switch-blade.

You had a family picnic at Bellmawr, Clementon, Almonesson or Lake

You ever fished for balls in the sewer (a.k.a. coal bin)

You ever used your hand, or better yet, your backside, to make a shower
under the fire plug!

You ever went to Neumann's dance on a Saturday night and a priest at the door made you lift up your foot to see if you had taps on your shoes.

You used a can of Aqua net hairspray a week.

You sit on your stoop to watch the fireworks.

Comments (5)

It is great to have such a connection to a neighborhood, it is definitely something that many cities have lost or are losing. I spent four months in Baltimore and I loved how the families in Federal Hill and Locust Point were so tied to their communities. It is special to grow up in a place like that. Thanks for telling us about it!


Great seeing this on the net. Sowfilly will never die!! Still the biggest Italian neighborhood in the USA


yo from 9 street.you got it down pat..i know jimmy tomatos..hes dead.keep up the good work..joey s

I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks - you cleared up some things for me!


you forgot half ball!!! i love this so much. thanks. very proud to be a south philadelphian. speedos?? how cheap! i'm sorry you didn't forget half ball. i was feeling nostalgic and googled fuzzy joe's just to see what would come up. no one on god's good earth but us know what water ice and a good pretzel is. thank you again. is marra's still there??

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 12, 2009 6:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Hectic Day.

The next post in this blog is Philadelphia, Part II.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2009 - 2012 Slow Travel