Yet another inaccurate depiction of Fishtown by Mr. Murray

"Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone . . . "

Southbounddown's picture

Ken Milano is only digging himself in a bigger hole the more he further increases his association with such a known bigot like Charles Murray. Can't wait to see the reception he'll get if he chooses to be at this years Kensington Kinect event again. My opinion on Mr. Milano has greatly decreased since this whole Murray fiasco started.

Children are awful dogs

Kenzo's picture

It's so strange how, whomever the target of ire is on Fishtown.US; it generates an immediate reprisal from both the high and the low, no matter the target.

I can't wait to hear Mr. Murray denigrate us Kenzos and Fishtowners further at Bryn Mawr (Community) College.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Kenzo's picture

And this quote, this is absolutely blasphemous:

Quote:

“Some of the complaints I heard,” Milano e-mailed me, “were ‘What Fishtown is Murray talking about?’ The one in the book is barely recognizable in 2012. Yes, there are still working folks here, but to the newcomers, they are the pain-in-the- juvenile delinquents who mess with their cars, vandalize their houses, and make life miserable for the newbies.”

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Lauraska's picture

Kenzo wrote:
And this quote, this is absolutely blasphemous:

Quote:

“Some of the complaints I heard,” Milano e-mailed me, “were ‘What Fishtown is Murray talking about?’ The one in the book is barely recognizable in 2012. Yes, there are still working folks here, but to the newcomers, they are the pain-in-the- juvenile delinquents who mess with their cars, vandalize their houses, and make life miserable for the newbies.”

Seriously? He said that?? Wow, Ken Milano. WOW.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

lighterthief's picture

yeah, this guy is a real peach

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

Jordan's picture

"For the newcomers, there are no memories of a tight-knit community organized around the family and the Catholic Church where everybody knew everybody, doors could be left unlocked, and children safely allowed to play outdoors, knowing that neighbors were keeping an eye on them, and where local problems were solved in local ways."

ORLY?

A. Jordan Rushie
Fishtown Neighbors Association - Vice President
2424 East York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125 215.385.LAW1 (5291)
Blog: www.phillylawblog.com
Website: www.fishtownlaw.com

Lauraska's picture

Jordan wrote:
"For the newcomers, there are no memories of a tight-knit community organized around the family and the Catholic Church where everybody knew everybody, doors could be left unlocked, and children safely allowed to play outdoors, knowing that neighbors were keeping an eye on them, and where local problems were solved in local ways."

ORLY?

Yes. We all came here from...the BAD LANDS!! Where there are [gasp] Protestants and Jews. And of course, THOSE people all hate each other and don't do anything to support each other or foster a community at all. All of our children must stay indoors all the time (because of course, there are no child rapists who are CATHOLIC...snort). Our doors are locked and barricaded to keep everyone else out - remember, we all hate each other.

I'm aware of how this neighborhood is built around family and an allegiance to the church, and I respect that. But why does it always seem like there's an implication that "other" people don't have a respect for the family, as if the Catholic church has the exclusive on being family-oriented. Some of the deepest traditions of Protestants and Jews, among other religions, are heavily steeped in the family unit. Argh.

I guess anyone can call themselves a historian these days.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

stein's picture

Someone should tell all the kids on my block that they aren't allowed to play outside anymore, ken Milano and Charles Murray said so.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Jordan's picture

Lauraska wrote:
Jordan wrote:
"For the newcomers, there are no memories of a tight-knit community organized around the family and the Catholic Church where everybody knew everybody, doors could be left unlocked, and children safely allowed to play outdoors, knowing that neighbors were keeping an eye on them, and where local problems were solved in local ways."

ORLY?

Yes. We all came here from...the BAD LANDS!! Where there are [gasp] Protestants and Jews. And of course, THOSE people all hate each other and don't do anything to support each other or foster a community at all. All of our children must stay indoors all the time (because of course, there are no child rapists who are CATHOLIC...snort). Our doors are locked and barricaded to keep everyone else out - remember, we all hate each other.

I'm aware of how this neighborhood is built around family and an allegiance to the church, and I respect that. But why does it always seem like there's an implication that "other" people don't have a respect for the family, as if the Catholic church has the exclusive on being family-oriented. Some of the deepest traditions of Protestants and Jews, among other religions, are heavily steeped in the family unit. Argh.

I guess anyone can call themselves a historian these days.

Not to mention the fact that most of our local problems get solved in local ways. By both old and new people.

Just last week we all (old and new) attended a zoning meaning regarding Ice House condos and demanded the developer do a better job.

This week we're organizing to remove all the bandit signs (ironically, a local project) put up on Aramingo Avenue. Again, it's going to be a mix of new and old Fishtowners.

Here in Fishtown (and Port Richmond and ORCA), we are the epitome of solving local problems in local ways. It's what we do, and it's what makes our little section of the city unique.

This guy is such a loser.

A. Jordan Rushie
Fishtown Neighbors Association - Vice President
2424 East York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125 215.385.LAW1 (5291)
Blog: www.phillylawblog.com
Website: www.fishtownlaw.com

Matt Benatar's picture

Man, Charles Murray could use a phone call from Slayer.

Love is a Mattlefield.

Coder's picture

Kenzo wrote:
And this quote, this is absolutely blasphemous:

Quote:

“Some of the complaints I heard,” Milano e-mailed me, “were ‘What Fishtown is Murray talking about?’ The one in the book is barely recognizable in 2012. Yes, there are still working folks here, but to the newcomers, they are the pain-in-the- juvenile delinquents who mess with their cars, vandalize their houses, and make life miserable for the newbies.”

Yes, I thought the same thing. Idiot. Ken Milano has lost all credibility. I just hope people don't really believe it.

th's picture

Quote:
Milano reported that, unsurprisingly, the people of Fishtown have been less than thrilled. He directed me to a website, fishtown.us, run by Pastor Dan Roth of the Summerfield United Methodist Church, which, along with its forums on local events and issues, has one devoted to denunciations of me. Milano told me not to take them too seriously — a lot of the posts sound to him like they were written by newcomers who hadn’t read the book.

Thanks Ken.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

dan

I'll dig myself in here a bit.

First, I don't think it's fair to criticize Ken Milano in all of this. He loves his neighborhood dearly and serves as it's semi-official historian for that reason. He is only doing for Murray what he would do for anyone - giving him information. If someone with an opposing viewpoint was asking Ken questions, Ken would give that person information also. I think attacking Ken because he gives information to Murray is like attacking a librarian for lending books to people you disagree with.

Second, I think Murray's writings (and, often, the responses to them) are such a jumbled mix of facts, inaccuracies, opinions, conjectures, and emotional responses that it's nearly impossible to build on them in any meaningful way.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Coder's picture

How can Ken Milano presume to know that new people to the area feel like the natives are a pain in the butt who vandalize. I don't find that to be true and I think its detremental to the neighborhood to say it. Especially by someone who previously, IMO, had some gravitas.
That's my issue with Ken Milano now.

Lauraska's picture

dan wrote:
I'll dig myself in here a bit.

First, I don't think it's fair to criticize Ken Milano in all of this. He loves his neighborhood dearly and serves as it's semi-official historian for that reason. He is only doing for Murray what he would do for anyone - giving him information. If someone with an opposing viewpoint was asking Ken questions, Ken would give that person information also. I think attacking Ken because he gives information to Murray is like attacking a librarian for lending books to people you disagree with.

Second, I think Murray's writings (and, often, the responses to them) are such a jumbled mix of facts, inaccuracies, opinions, conjectures, and emotional responses that it's nearly impossible to build on them in any meaningful way.

Do you really think that what's upsetting people is the simple fact that he provided information? C'mon, Dan. You know exactly what is upsetting about what he's quoted as saying in that article. Don't dance around that.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

dan

Lauraska wrote:
Do you really think that what's upsetting people is the simple fact that he provided information? C'mon, Dan. You know exactly what is upsetting about what he's quoted as saying in that article. Don't dance around that.

I wasn't dancing around anything and had to go back and re-read the article to figure out what you're talking about.

I'm guessing it's this quote that has folks upset:

Quote:
“Some of the complaints I heard,” Milano e-mailed me, “were ‘What Fishtown is Murray talking about?’ The one in the book is barely recognizable in 2012. Yes, there are still working folks here, but to the newcomers, they are the pain-in-the- juvenile delinquents who mess with their cars, vandalize their houses, and make life miserable for the newbies.”

That's an unfair evaluation, but only because it's a universalizing statement. It accurately reflects a lot of, if not the majority, of what is posted on here.

Yes, a lot of contrary stuff is also posted too. But the simple reality is that people are more likely to post complaints rather than compliments.

Plus, there are a fair number of flat-out condescending statements made. I think these have lessened over the past few years, but they still pop up occasionally - as do similar "all newbies are snobs trying to steal our way of life" statements.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Pure_Fishtown's picture

I'm gonna go out on a limb here with my personal feelings about the article.

This quote: “"For the newcomers, there are no memories of a tight-knit community organized around the family and the Catholic Church where everybody knew everybody, doors could be left unlocked, and children safely allowed to play outdoors, knowing that neighbors were keeping an eye on them, and where local problems were solved in local ways."

I think they are talking about the old old days pre' 1975. Not a negative on you because you don't know what our area was like then. Sure you read about here and there but you didn't live it. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; it isn't. Me and others like me don't know what it is to grow up in the suburbs or other places; we just know what home was like.

Now this quote:
“Some of the complaints I heard,” Milano e-mailed me, “were ‘What Fishtown is Murray talking about?’ The one in the book is barely recognizable in 2012. Yes, there are still working folks here, but to the newcomers, they are the pain-in-the-ego juvenile delinquents who mess with their cars, vandalize their houses, and make life miserable for the newbies.”

Most of you will remember the old FT.us board a few years back when there were remarks/threads about the Fishtown native. Some of those were extremely mean-spirited and exaggerated at times. Anyone could read them and take from it how dispise the natives were. Also, there were remarks/threads about the new people and some of them were extremely mean-spirited and exaggerated at times.

To be perfectly honest, because of those old threads/voices many of the natives reacted negatively both here and in real life to the newer people. Was it right? No but we all know an action gets a reaction.

In the past several years, life between the old and new as become more harmonious. There are still bumps in the road but the vileness between the factions has disappeared.

Disclaimer: This is about no particular person but the community as a whole; do not take it personally.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

lighterthief's picture

The main problem with the whole argument is that he is making broad generalizations about a real, complex and dynamic place to serve a simplistic and flawed thesis. The premise that white-middle-class conformity is "good". (Domestic violence, broken homes, substance abuse etc are all pretty common in wealthy lilly-white suburbs too. Just hidden better) I have a real problem with the premise that conformity is good.

Beyond that: A real look at a place like Fishtown would focus on how in the context of demographic and economic changes and the breakdown of certain institutions that once formed a link between people a people have been creative in finding new methods and structures for community building. In the end I believe it is the presence of community that attracts new people to Fishtown and keeps long time residents from leaving. Certainly I feel no shortage of community here. Things like Philly Tree People, Friends of PTP, organized cleanups, the Rally for St. L., shared grief over the Buck, Festivals, pot lucks, flea markets, etc etc all form community. Yes many of the traditional institutions, unions and the RCC have waned but that does not mean that people stopped being neighbors, connecting, helping and living together.

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

jeffro's picture

Ken Milano is a great guy, who I never once heard complain about new neighbors. I've heard him complain about drug houses, but never once about gentrification. In fact, the neighborhood growing in popularity with new people has only helped Ken's career as a writer and historian.

However, everything I read from and about this Murray guy makes me not trust him. I don't trust his stats, his writings, or his integrity to keep a quote in context. I think he is biased in his reporting because he wants to substantiate this ridiculous case study. I think he is misquoting Ken here or taking his quote out of context.

That being said, I am aware that the stuff I do for the Spirit is just as heavily biased in painting the neighborhood as a utopian, urban Mayberry, which most people consider to be grossly inaccurate. And I'm going to keep doing that because I love this place, so Charles Murray and everyone like him can kiss my butt.

Kenzo's picture

Have I forgotten to tell you how much I luv ya jeffro? I owe you a Jameson shooter. :-)

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

dmandy's picture

Lauraska wrote:
Jordan wrote:
"For the newcomers, there are no memories of a tight-knit community organized around the family and the Catholic Church where everybody knew everybody, doors could be left unlocked, and children safely allowed to play outdoors, knowing that neighbors were keeping an eye on them, and where local problems were solved in local ways."

ORLY?

Yes. We all came here from...the BAD LANDS!! Where there are [gasp] Protestants and Jews. And of course, THOSE people all hate each other and don't do anything to support each other or foster a community at all. All of our children must stay indoors all the time (because of course, there are no child rapists who are CATHOLIC...snort). Our doors are locked and barricaded to keep everyone else out - remember, we all hate each other.

I'm aware of how this neighborhood is built around family and an allegiance to the church, and I respect that. But why does it always seem like there's an implication that "other" people don't have a respect for the family, as if the Catholic church has the exclusive on being family-oriented. Some of the deepest traditions of Protestants and Jews, among other religions, are heavily steeped in the family unit. Argh.

I guess anyone can call themselves a historian these days.

I don't think the remark was a put down of new neighbors. The truth is that new neighbors don't know what it was like here simply because they didn't live here. You see Kensington and Fishtown as it is now. The people who stayed thru the hard times see it for what it was and what we hope it will be again. When you are new in a place it can take awhile to see past the surface to what else is there. We always knew it was a good place to live. Most of us are glad that new neighbors can see it also. But I will be honest and say that some of us were a little leary when new people started to move in because many of them wouldn't have been caught dead here just a few years before. It was only after this area became cool that they wanted to move here. After the first wave I think the kind of people buying houses here changed. They are the kind of people a good neighborhood needs, the kind who are in it for the long haul. I think it will take time to sort out who everyone is, what they are really like.

Also, I have known Kenny most of my life and what I read just doen't sound like him. I would not be surprised if his quotes are out of context or just wrong.

dan

I can add that I have known Ken for most of the last ten years. I have on multiple occasions heard him say positive things about the changes new neighbors have brought to the neighborhood and never negative things about either new neighbors nor about what was here before the new neighbors. Like Jeffro, I think context is key.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Coder's picture

I wish that Ken would come on here and tell us whether or not he was quoted out of context.
I guess considering the crap that Murray writes, I should not be so quick to cast aspersions on Mr. Milano.

dan

I have to add that given the many things I have said over the years,
I'd hate having one latched onto by someone trying to prove a divisive point.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Lauraska's picture

My issue with the quote attributed to Ken is not that it's critical of newcomers. Neither newcomers nor natives are exempt from criticism. My problen is that Ken attributes our issues with scumbags as being ego-based and thereby implies that ALL newcomers think that ALL natives are scumbags. I'm tired of this generalization. If I make a statement about a specific incident with a less than favorable member of our community, I shouldn't have to disclaim it by saying it's not a statement about all natives. That should be obvious. My ego has nothing to do with why I despise people who vandalize my car or sell drugs on my block. It's NOT egotistical to demand that people treat their neighborhood with at least the most basic level of respect. There sure are other things we complain about that could be labeled as snobbery, but wanting the criminal element out of where we live? The assumption that it is just an ego-based worry of newcomers is insulting to ALL of the people who live here because it also says that natives DON'T worry about it, which is untrue. If the quote is for real, Ken owes everyone an apology.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

Atomic Larry's picture

Has this guy Murray ever even set foot in Fishtown? Just wondering. I wouldn't even consider reading his book unless he's lived here for a few years. What a joke. It's hard too believe anyone, especially someone like Ken Milano, is giving this nonsense any credence whatsoever. The 'lifer newbie gentrification' debates are so tired. Why waste your time on such divisiveness.

Newcomer's picture

dmandy wrote:
But I will be honest and say that some of us were a little leary when new people started to move in because many of them wouldn't have been caught dead here just a few years before. It was only after this area became cool that they wanted to move here. After the first wave I think the kind of people buying houses here changed. They are the kind of people a good neighborhood needs, the kind who are in it for the long haul. I think it will take time to sort out who everyone is, what they are really like.

It didn't become "cool" overnight and most of us on the board were here way before the NYT was writing about the neighborhood. People moved here for cheap real estate and stayed because it's a nice place to live -- just like many other Philly neighborhoods that have seen an influx of new residents in the last decade.

dmandy wrote:
Also, I have known Kenny most of my life and what I read just doen't sound like him. I would not be surprised if his quotes are out of context or just wrong.

While I've only known Ken for the last 5 years or so, I completely agree that he must have been misquoted or taken out of context.

lighterthief's picture

I really did not see the comments as offensive specifically to old timers or new residents but rather dismissive and insulting to both.

Empty factories to the east and all our waste
The shape of things that came shows on the broken workers face

dmandy's picture

Newcomer wrote:
dmandy wrote:
After the first wave I think the kind of people buying houses here changed. They are the kind of people a good neighborhood needs, the kind who are in it for the long haul. I think it will take time to sort out who everyone is, what they are really like.

It didn't become "cool" overnight and most of us on the board were here way before the NYT was writing about the neighborhood. People moved here for cheap real estate and stayed because it's a nice place to live -- just like many other Philly neighborhoods that have seen an influx of new residents in the last decade.

And these are the kind of people I meant when I said they were the kind a good neighborhood needs. There was a trickle of good neighbors at first, then came the wave of "cool" people, then more good neighbors.

dan

There you have it - good neighbors aren't cool. ;)

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

jbette01's picture

Newcomer wrote:
dmandy wrote:
But I will be honest and say that some of us were a little leary when new people started to move in because many of them wouldn't have been caught dead here just a few years before. It was only after this area became cool that they wanted to move here. After the first wave I think the kind of people buying houses here changed. They are the kind of people a good neighborhood needs, the kind who are in it for the long haul. I think it will take time to sort out who everyone is, what they are really like.

It didn't become "cool" overnight and most of us on the board were here way before the NYT was writing about the neighborhood. People moved here for cheap real estate and stayed because it's a nice place to live -- just like many other Philly neighborhoods that have seen an influx of new residents in the last decade.

dmandy wrote:
Also, I have known Kenny most of my life and what I read just doen't sound like him. I would not be surprised if his quotes are out of context or just wrong.

While I've only known Ken for the last 5 years or so, I completely agree that he must have been misquoted or taken out of context.

Thanks newcomer. When I moved here, I had absolutely no perception that Fishtown was cool. I moved because it was a working class neighborhood that was relatively safe with parking.

I agree that I really don't like Ken's characterization, but jeffro has as good point.

I am going to try and see if I can go to the talk at Bryn Mawr this week, I cant find the details posted publicly anywhere. Always good to seek out experience that will test your patience with humanity.

dmandy's picture

dan wrote:
There you have it - good neighbors aren't cool. ;)

good neighbors are very cool but they aren't "cool"

dan

dmandy wrote:
dan wrote:
There you have it - good neighbors aren't cool. ;)

good neighbors are very cool but they aren't "cool"

good point.
I missed the air quotes on the first reading.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Ken Milano's picture

fishtown.us:

It's obvious from the various posts, that I need to clarify some things. Charles Murray did not misquote me, or take my statements out of context. He wrote me asking my thoughts about how his book was received in the community. I pointed him to the fishtown.us website. Besides a couple of friends who contacted me to say they saw my name in the book, fishtown.us is the only place I saw people actually discussing the book, albeit perhaps not reading it, not sure.

Friends of mine (all old timers from the neighborhood) who either read “Coming Apart” or read the book reviews, like me (I read the book), agreed with the basic premise of Murry’s book, that there is a crisis in white working class America. While the Left and Right are arguing causes and how it got this way (this is the big beef with all the reviews you read) the fact is that there is a crisis in white working class America and there is not much attention given to it. While the Liberal press hates the book and the Conservative press loves it, they both agree that it is one of the more important books to be published this year. Murray is not a problem solver, so there are no solutions, more like a conscious raiser. He brings to light the problem in the hopes that discussions will lead to some sort of remedy. You might not like Murray, but he writes significant books (and no, his books are not the typical crap of the right wing talk show hosts that wind up on the NY Times Bestseller List, read them, then make an opinion, don’t let the book reviewer do it for you).

Having grown up and spent my entire life in a white working class community (Fishtown/Kensington), I think I understand its problems better then those who have not, as the problems Murray details I can relate directly to my life. When he writes that church attendance is down, divorce is up, men are giving up looking for work, etc. I see this every day in the neighborhood (yea, there are reasons, each case is unique, but when you are talking about America with its 300 million plus population, you have to make generalizations). When he says that the values of white working class folks has declined, and that just like the working class once looking up to their middle class or upper class counterparts, to mimic their success, they really do need to get it going again. Do the things that are working for the middle class, the attention they pay to education. Murray uses national statistics, he gives the citations where he got the information, his work can easily be checked.

One of Murray’s main points is that the upper or upper middle class, what he calls the “super zips” (wealthy zipcodes), live in a bubble, making decisions (policies) for the working class without ever being in touch with the working class, or having to live under those policies they create. Some of the disasters over the past fifty years are school busing, Section 8 housing, Affirmative Action for jobs or school applications, etc. etc. the list goes on. These policies while helpful to minorities had the opposite effect on their white counterparts. The pie is only so big and while you’ll get arguments that the pie can be grown bigger, the white working class has lost a big piece of the pie as others have gained and that pie is not getting bigger right now.

My apologies to those who felt let down or offended by the quotes that I gave, as if this is some new personality of Ken Milano they didn’t know about. It’s not, I’m still the same knucklehead from the neighborhood I’ve always been, a registered Independent who votes for the candidate that I feel has the best ideas, which is always rather hard to find, especially in local politics. I generally don’t talk about politics or religion, as these are passion driven conversations and not usually based in reality.

I was of course generalizing and generalizations are never good and do nothing to help improve any situation when they are generated. It was off the cuff after reading through the fishtown.us forum where the book was discussed and thinking that it sounded like folks were reading the reviews and not the actual book. Did anyone really read the book? But I said it and these kinds of statements are great for newspapers, so there you have it.

Also, my prejudice was probably obscured by the fact that on many occasions, let’s say numerous occasions, I have read very disparaging remarks about the youth of Fishtown, on the fishtown.us forum (as pointed out by another poster), posted by obvious newcomers to the neighborhood. While I agree that criminal behavior should not be tolerated, there is a fine line of what is criminal and what is just kids with no guidance acting out. The comments were not just the normal “these pain in the juvenile delinquents” stuff, but down right mean things, to the point of cursing their parents, etc., street urchins is a phrase I remember seeing. You see, I recall that I was a juvenile delinquent once, and it had nothing to do with my parents, in fact, my mother was practically a saint, my grandmother almost a nun. So my behavior had nothing to do with my home life and I’m sure there were plenty of folks who thought my friends and I were terrible pains in the asses and that we came from bad homes, but we didn’t, most of my friends were Lace Curtain Irish, not Pig . But guess what? We grew out of it…some quicker then others, but you had adults back then that would let you know when you were out of line, today you don’t.

I’ve never really been a complainer, if I had problems with youths I would confront them. I admire people like Pastor Dan who work with the youth in the community, perhaps those that have problems with the youth in the community should follow Dan’s example and get involved it the lives of your neighbors.

As for new folks in the neighborhood….I always say you’ll always be “new” in the neighborhood until your kid bloodies his nose in a street fight, then you are officially a neighbor. All kidding aside, I love the new folks, but it is a double edge sword with gentrification. So far it has been good for my family. Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here. There are better places to eat now in the area, but with two small boys in private school, who can afford to eat out. I don’t drink alcohol, but I like the idea of the gastro pubs, although I’m still confused about what makes a place a “nuisance bar,” since gastro pubs are fairly loud on weekend nights, the exhaust vents are ugly noisy, crowds gather outside to talk and smoke, and they screw up the parking. If that’s not the definition of a nuisance, what is? To each his own I suppose? (Disclaimer: I’ve eaten at Johnny Brenda’s and Memphis Tap a number of times and love them).

Hope this answers any questions folks might have. I’m not a regular on this site, but thought to tune in to see the result of Murray’s article, as I thought, it might create another dust up, and so if there are any responses to this post I probably won’t see them. If folks would like to talk about Murray’s book or talk with me about my post, or quote in the newspaper article or his book, you are always welcome to stop by my home. We can sip Turkish coffee the garden and talk face to face. My particulars are on my website: kennethwmilano.com

Ken Milano

Pure_Fishtown's picture

Applause to Ken. Bravo.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." (Edmund Burke)

Kuishimbo's picture

lighterthief wrote:
I really did not see the comments as offensive specifically to old timers or new residents but rather dismissive and insulting to both.

I feel the same way. I grew up in Fishtown, but now have friends from college who are moving into Fishtown. The same people who used to tease me from being from Fishtown are now paying $200 thousand for a house. So I am good friends with a lot of old school Fishtowners and people moving into the neighborhood. And I always make sure to welcome my friends to their new neighborhood and warn them about some of "eccentricities". (I don't know why, but we love watching parallel parking and somebody bailing water out of a flooded basement.) There are things I like about the people who have lived here for 40+ years. And there are things I dislike about them. There are things I like about the new people moving in. And there are things I hate dislike them. But I still treat everybody as individuals. I don't like all of this lumping everybody into distinctive groups thing.

How often do you have to replace the "I" key on your computer?

stein's picture

Quote:
While the Liberal press hates the book and the Conservative press loves it, they both agree that it is one of the more important books to be published this year.

the liberal press does not think it one of the more important books this year.

Quote:
Murray is not a problem solver

understatement of the year. though it should be pointed out that he did have a solution: rich people need to 'lead' and explain to their working class brothers and sisters how to live like rich people (but without any of the material support that allows rich people to live like they do).

Quote:
You might not like Murray, but he writes significant books (and no, his books are not the typical crap of the right wing talk show hosts that wind up on the NY Times Bestseller List, read them, then make an opinion, don’t let the book reviewer do it for you).

He wrote the bell curve, his books are PRECISELY the crap of right wing talk show hosts, only somehow he gets columns in the new york times to peddle his crap.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kenzo's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Newcomer wrote:
dmandy wrote:
But I will be honest and say that some of us were a little leary when new people started to move in because many of them wouldn't have been caught dead here just a few years before. It was only after this area became cool that they wanted to move here. After the first wave I think the kind of people buying houses here changed. They are the kind of people a good neighborhood needs, the kind who are in it for the long haul. I think it will take time to sort out who everyone is, what they are really like.

It didn't become "cool" overnight and most of us on the board were here way before the NYT was writing about the neighborhood. People moved here for cheap real estate and stayed because it's a nice place to live -- just like many other Philly neighborhoods that have seen an influx of new residents in the last decade.

dmandy wrote:
Also, I have known Kenny most of my life and what I read just doen't sound like him. I would not be surprised if his quotes are out of context or just wrong.

While I've only known Ken for the last 5 years or so, I completely agree that he must have been misquoted or taken out of context.

Thanks newcomer. When I moved here, I had absolutely no perception that Fishtown was cool. I moved because it was a working class neighborhood that was relatively safe with parking.

I agree that I really don't like Ken's characterization, but jeffro has as good point.

I am going to try and see if I can go to the talk at Bryn Mawr this week, I cant find the details posted publicly anywhere. Always good to seek out experience that will test your patience with humanity.

Make sure to wear pearls with matching droplets to it like you're going to a dance with stuffy Republicans at the Union League.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Coder's picture

I appreciate Mr. Milano coming on the site to clarify his words. Don't know if I feel any better about it, but I appreciate his participation.

Atomic Larry's picture

First let me say I don’t consider myself a newbie (for the record, I hate that word). I grew up in nearby Port Richmond which had always been a similar river ward neighborhood. I went to northeast catholic high school (same as many kids from Fishtown). I have owned my house here since 1993. Having grown up and spent my entire life in these white working class communities (Fishtown/Port Richmond), I also understand its problems. I know the eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. Yep the problems Murray describes (allegedly, I have not read the book) are certainly there. But my opinion is that statistics are just that. Statistics. Metrics. Not a real world scenario of the complex socio-economic dynamic that is happening here in Fishtown. And to write a book about it all, to paint that picture, and for the rest of the country to give it credence, is unfortunate. The things I've seen quoted from Murray certainly don't sound like the neighborhood I know.

Lots of old timers moved out when the housing boom hit. So new people moved in, so what? Who's fault is that? And is it really that big a problem to the old timers that stayed? Would they rather that the properties stayed vacant and eventually deteriorate? We should be thanking the new people for coming in and taking care of our neighborhood, participating in our community, just like the people that left. and I think most of us do. I won't say that Fishtown is better off today then when I first bought my house. It's just different.

But I like the dynamic here now. I like the gastropubs (for the record I hate that word too). To equate them to a nuisance bar is ridiculous. I can take my kids to Kraftwork or Memphis taproom. maybe there is some noise and less parking but to say it is the same as a smoky, drug ridden den, load music blasting, regular street brawls at 2am, is a reach. I've been to those bars. I used to hang out in them. They're not the same. I also love the artsy vibe, cutting edge and green architecture, the young energy that’s moved in. I like that clean-ups are organized, the new blood in the FNA and NKCDC... energetic and wonderful people like jbette and neil puck and kenso... and for Ken Milano to say that vandals and drug addicts who might be children of long time residents are a Pain-in-the EGO to these good people is totaly disrespect ful.

Lauraska's picture

Coder wrote:
I appreciate Mr. Milano coming on the site to clarify his words. Don't know if I feel any better about it, but I appreciate his participation.

100% agree with this...and with what Larry said, too.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

th's picture

I also appreciate Ken coming on here and posting.

Quote:
I have read very disparaging remarks about the youth of Fishtown, on the fishtown.us forum (as pointed out by another poster), posted by obvious newcomers to the neighborhood.

Just a quick observation - over the past year or so, I've found it more and more difficult to tell which new posters are new the the neighborhood or have been here for a long time. Until they state it. I have been surprised on several occasions.

I have also read some pretty "disparaging" things posted by long time residents who don't feel the least hesitation about using words like "animals".

Sometimes we only see what we expect to see. (an obvious problem with doing research from a "conservative" or "liberal" perspective - to bring it back around to Mr. Murray.)

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

jbette01's picture

Larry, thank you for the compliment. I cant begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

I do appreciate that Ken clarified and more specifically, owned his statements.

This is an interesting point.

Quote:
Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here.

I wonder if this sentiment still holds true among Fishtowners that have been here more than 10 or 15 years?

Also Kenzo - I couldn't get into the Bryn Mawr event. It's a Michael Smercornish ticketed thing. Boo.

Lauraska's picture

What's funny is that I don't really remember reading disparaging, generalized remarks about the youth of fishtown in at least the last couple years. I feel like everyone who comments about kids, both old and new, makes sure to say that they know there are good kids here too. After doing stuff at Pops and working with the Fishtown Rec girl scout troop for a couple years, I know I certainly got to know a lot of the good kids in the area. That doesn't excuse the outrageous behavior of the bad ones, though. Saying, "Well, I was that way as a kid, so it's okay" doesn't make it okay.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

Atomic Larry's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Larry, thank you for the compliment. I cant begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

I do appreciate that Ken clarified and more specifically, owned his statements.

This is an interesting point.

Quote:
Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here.

I wonder if this sentiment still holds true among Fishtowners that have been here more than 10 or 15 years?

no jbette, thank you for all the great work you do for our community! as for the latter part of your post I guess I fall into that category but I'm not completely sure what Ken meant by that?

The housing boom has been great for me. I have been able to borrow on the equity in my home; for home improvements, family travel, vacations, debt consolidation, etc. It's been great! My kids staying or leaving the neighborhood when they're grown really has no bearing on the job I do as a parent IMO. As long as they're financially secure, happy and independent it doesnt really matter to me. In fact, I'd say I've done my job right if they can afford to buy a house here!

And I may have said some disparaging remarks about kids at one point or another over the years. It doesnt matter what perspective you're from, i.e. old or new resident... bad kids are bad kids and deserve whats coming to them.

Coder's picture

jbette01 wrote:
Larry, thank you for the compliment. I cant begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

I do appreciate that Ken clarified and more specifically, owned his statements.

This is an interesting point.

Quote:
Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here.

I wonder if this sentiment still holds true among Fishtowners that have been here more than 10 or 15 years?

Yeah, I didn't quite get that, but I'm one who's been here forever. I never gave a thought to my family leaving...but I might be in the minority. I've stayed, my siblings stayed, why wouldn't my child?

jbette01's picture

Coder wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
Larry, thank you for the compliment. I cant begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

I do appreciate that Ken clarified and more specifically, owned his statements.

This is an interesting point.

Quote:
Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here.

I wonder if this sentiment still holds true among Fishtowners that have been here more than 10 or 15 years?

Yeah, I didn't quite get that, but I'm one who's been here forever. I never gave a thought to my family leaving...but I might be in the minority. I've stayed, my siblings stayed, why wouldn't my child?

I guess I can attribute this to a 'movin on up' attitude decades ago that fueled the flight to the greater northeast. Since the neighborhood is changing, I wonder whether that sentiment is changing.

Lauraska's picture

Coder wrote:
jbette01 wrote:
Larry, thank you for the compliment. I cant begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.

I do appreciate that Ken clarified and more specifically, owned his statements.

This is an interesting point.

Quote:
Housing is much more dear now, but I own my house so that isn’t high on my list and I’m not worried about my child not being able to afford to buy here because if I do my job right, he’ll move out of here.

I wonder if this sentiment still holds true among Fishtowners that have been here more than 10 or 15 years?

Yeah, I didn't quite get that, but I'm one who's been here forever. I never gave a thought to my family leaving...but I might be in the minority. I've stayed, my siblings stayed, why wouldn't my child?

I see what you're saying, but often don't understand why it's a problem if kids go somewhere else. Sometimes it's as simple as just wanting to spread your wings a bit. Sometimes it's because your family drives you crazy. Sometimes it's because the job you want is somewhere else. It's not always a personal hatred of where you live. I grew up in a beautiful town, with amazing schools, five minutes from my grandparents and less than 45 minutes from pretty much all of the rest of my family, but I doubt I'll ever live there again. It's just not my thing. No diss on anyone who does want to stay there. I have many friends who have stayed and are very happy. It's just not that crazy anymore to live apart from all of your relatives, I guess.

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

Coder's picture

Agreed, I would have no problem at all with my family moving away, if that were their choice. I'm sure I'd find something to occupy my time. I just didn't know that people are "expected" to move away. We never were in my family. No one ever said to me, "where do you want to live when you grow up"...its not offensive to me if someone would, but I just didn't realize that it was expected of some folks.

Kenzo's picture

You two agreeing on something TWICE on the same day?

Something's wrong here.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Coder's picture

Don't be a troublemaker...the stars are aligned.

th's picture

Growing up, we were never "expected" to move away. But for some reason my family just tends to do that. I've got family all over TX (which is huge), OK, CA, GA, MN, ILL, PA, & AZ.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Coder's picture

th wrote:
Growing up, we were never "expected" to move away. But for some reason my family just tends to do that. I've got family all over TX (which is huge), OK, CA, GA, MN, ILL, PA, & AZ.

You might have to look inside for that answer. Did they all move away from you?

th's picture

Coder wrote:
th wrote:
Growing up, we were never "expected" to move away. But for some reason my family just tends to do that. I've got family all over TX (which is huge), OK, CA, GA, MN, ILL, PA, & AZ.

You might have to look inside for that answer. Did they all move away from you?

Actually, those are all the places I've "planted my seed" then high-tailed it out of there.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Lauraska's picture

Coder wrote:
Don't be a troublemaker...the stars are aligned.

That and I've been drinking heavily all morning to keep my other personality (the one that secretly hates the world) quiet. ;)

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

Atomic Larry's picture

I just realized that the "pain-in-the ego" quote by Ken is a result of the profanity filter. I thought he actually said "ego" which has a whole different meaning that is way more condescending. Actually I would agree with him that vandals are pains-in the-(back side), I guess the only difference is that I'm not a newbie. ...like I said bad kids are bad kids. Anyone living here, old or new, shouldn't have to put up with them but I guess what he said is not so bad.

Lauraska's picture

Atomic Larry wrote:
I just realized that the "pain-in-the ego" quote by Ken is a result of the profanity filter. I thought he actually said "ego" which has a whole different meaning that is way more condescending. Actually I would agree with him that vandals are pains-in the-(back side), I guess the only difference is that I'm not a newbie. ...like I said bad kids are bad kids. Anyone living here, old or new, shouldn't have to put up with them but I guess what he said is not so bad.

Ohhhhhhhhh!!! That totally changes everything. I mean it!

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

phillybama's picture

Yeah, I was confused about the "ego" thing too.

jeffro's picture

I had to change my post to say butt instead of because was replaced with the word ego.

Ken Milano's picture

This is a rather long post, maybe four pages, so I warn you....my apologies....

Stein wrote (in response to me saying the Left & Right both agree that Murray’s book is an important book), that: “the liberal press does not think it one of the more important books this year.”

I recall that back in February when Murray’s book “Coming Apart” was published, a columnist for the NYT called the book one of the more important books of the year. I do not read the Times regularly, so I do not remember the columnist’s name. I also read negative reviews in the NYT and positive ones in the WSJ. Going on the theory of the NYT is liberal and the WSJ is conservative, I think I am somewhat accurate in my statement.

Stein wrote (in response to me stating that “You might not like Murray, but he writes significant books….not the typical crap of the right wing talk show hosts that wind up on the NY Times Bestseller List….”): “He wrote the bell curve, his books are PRECISELY the crap of right wing talk show hosts, only somehow he gets columns in the new york times to peddle his crap.”

According to Wikipedia (I agree not the best source, but this particular argument it will suffice):

“Fifty-two professors, most of them researchers in intelligence and related fields, signed an opinion statement titled "Mainstream Science on Intelligence"[5] endorsing the views presented in The Bell Curve. The statement was written by psychologist Linda Gottfredson and published in The Wall Street Journal in 1994 and subsequently reprinted in Intelligence, an academic journal. Of the 131 who were invited by mail to sign the document, 100 responded, with 52 agreeing to sign and 48 declining. Eleven of the 48 dissenters claimed that the statement or some part thereof did not represent the mainstream view of intelligence.[6]

In response to the growing controversy surrounding The Bell Curve, the American Psychological Association's Board of Scientific Affairs established a special task force to publish an investigative report on the research presented in the book.[7] The final report, titled Intelligence: Knowns and Unknowns, is available at an academic website.[8] Some of the task force's findings supported or were consistent with statements from The Bell Curve.”

This doesn’t mean I support the findings in the Bell Curve, but it does mean that this book seems to have gotten a lot of backing by academia and the professional community, whereas I never seen academia supporting Talk Show hosts such as Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, etc., so I think I am again correct on my statement.

Stein wrote (in response to my stating the Murray was not a problem solver) that I made the “understatement of the year.”

While this is not something one can prove or disprove, it makes no sense to try and answer it, as it appears to be one of those emotional responses when politics and religion are involved. Given Stein’s previous derogatory statements (masked with humor) about working class Irish Catholics (his snippet battle with Margaret Mary on steep steps in Fishtown houses acting as a contraceptive), I hardly see that he is worth responding to further.

It's folks like him that give the fishtown.us website a bad name and as another poster mentioned above, is what folks most remember if they visit this site. While Lauraska is probably correct, that it has been awhile since folks were making fun of the native Fishtowers on the site, I really can’t tell because the posts in the various forums do not go back any further then 4 or 5 months. Is the site archived anywhere?

However, some of the comments that I remember on fishtown.us, mostly because of the outrageousness of them were:

"Fishtown brief case" - in describing a working class guy carrying a case of beer that has a handle.

"street urchin children" -in describing working class children (not teenagers) in the neighborhood.

"lunch meat crowd" -in describing working class neighbors diet.

I've read other posts where people were making further fun of the quality of beer, quality of food, etc. Huh? How immature is that?

Now I'm all for humor, at St. Anne’s I was the class clown 8 years running, but to have middle class kids new to the area make the above comments is akin to a white person calling a black person the "n" word. While it is okay for blacks to call other blacks the "n" word, if a white says it, it carries all sorts of other meanings and connotations and I would think this goes for a middle class person's comments about working or poor people, and I’m not talking about derogatory comments about the criminal class, I mean working class or simply poor folks. I mean, let's face it, poor and working class whites are the last ethnic group that folks can make fun of in polite society. Black jokes, Jewish jokes, women jokes, gay jokes, heck even polish jokes, they are all no no’s amongst decent folks...but make fun of a "cracker," a "redneck," a person that lives in a trailer park, or a native from Fishtown, well heck that's just fine.

Now I know there is some natives who post on this site and they stick up for the more outrageous posts, but hey, there has always been apologists in history, so that is nothing new and that doesn’t bother me either. I’m sure there will be folks that won’t agree with me, but that is expected. I’m 52 years old with thick skin, so I’ll be okay if folks want to continue to rip me. However, my offer still stands. If you liked to have a face to face conversation, contact me and we can sit out back and shoot the breeze and air the laundry. I don’t’ drink, so you’ll have to supply your own alcohol, but I might still have some raki left over from our trip to Albania.

As for Charles Murray’s book “Coming Apart”….If you read Murray’s book, you’ll see that he does not denigrate our Fishtown. He uses national statistics to talk about the problems facing the white working class. He focuses on whites because whites are always used as the focus group to compare minorities against (plus the fact that he took a lot of crap because of his work on minorities in the Bell Curve book), so he wanted to see what has happened to the focus group over the past fifty years (1960-2010). When Murray talks about the white working class in “America,” he calls them Fishtowners. Why? Because Fishtown is one (used to be?) of the oldest white working class neighborhoods in America and has been since it’s beginnings in the 1730s up to today, never really changed until the current gentrification process started 10 years ago or so.

The only chapter in “Coming Apart” where Murray actually talks about our Fishtown is the chapter titled “The Real Fishtown,” where he takes a peak at the real Fishtown neighborhood in Philadelphia. This chapter covers pages 209 thru 225, so only 17 pages. Most of these 17 pages are filled with quotes from Patti Stern’s PhD dissertation titled “Why Do They Stay: Rootedness and Isolation in an Inner-City White Neighborhood.” Patti has since married and goes by the name of Patti Stern Smallacombe. She received her PhD from the University of PA.

Patti’s dissertation field research was conducted in St. Anne’s Parish. She lived in the neighborhood for over a year and in fact I am the one that found a place for her to live, my mother’s elderly now deceased cousin Claire Shannon, who at the time lived on Cedar Street at Tucker. Patti calls the parish “St. Judes” for some reason; I suppose to protect the innocents? I don’t know. In any event, Patti’s findings correlate fairly well with Murray’s statistical findings, thus his using her extensively in his work; otherwise he wouldn’t have quoted her as much as he did. Nobody would ever think that Patti is a conservative, in fact, I believe she’s a Lib.

Murray was not aware of Patti’s dissertation until I told him about it, the same with Peter Binzen’s book, which I believe I also introduced to him (Binzen use to write for the Inquirer, business history if I remember correctly, I met him a couple of times, but back in the 70’s he wrote a book called, “Whitetown, USA,” which was about Kensington & Fishtown, the “silent majority” of the George Wallace campaign. Patti Stern in a conversation with me stated she agreed with Binzen’s findings. I actually agreed with Patti more then Binzen, because Binzen was a journalist who moved to the neighborhood for three months, a bit of a loud mouth, whereas Patti was an actual scholar, a sociologist who lived and worked here over a year, working with New Kensington CDC.

Now there is a reviewer of Murray’s book that interviewed Patti about “Coming Apart,” where Patti states that Murray “cherry picked” her book. However, in conversation with Murray, he stated he gave Patti the opportunity to review what he wrote and make any corrections. She apparently didn’t, so I guess you can choose who to believe.

So there you have it. If you haven’t read the book, at least read the chapter called the “Real Fishtown.” There is nothing derogatory in it all that I can see. His basic premise is that the white working class is “suffering from corrosions of the family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness.” He obviously is not talking about the new folks that just moved to Fishtown, folks moving in from the burbs, or folks who went to good colleges. He is talking about folks that didn’t go to college, folks that are having a hard time making ends meet. Can anyone really argue against that?

He’s not blaming the working class for this problem, he’s simply pointing out the various problems. For example, the church was always a place not only for worship, but for social networking, just like clubs such as the Odd Fellows, Red Men, Shriners, Water Buffaloes (to use Fred Flintstone’s club) etc etc…the dramatic decline in church membership and the decline in membership in fraternal clubs has led to a real lack of social capital in some working class communities. Okay, sure, in Fishtown we have the AOH, some sports clubs etc, but in many areas they have nothing. Remember, Murray’s talking about America, not just our neighborhood. This is just one example, the decline of social capital for working people. He offers up various examples where the working class is hurting. Think about what social capital does for the middle class or the upper class? It is the thing that often gets the kids into the good schools, gets the good jobs, etc..

The real criticism in Murray’s book is the criticism of the upper class, not the working class. I’m almost of the mind to think that this is the real backlash against his book, is he is really criticizing the elites, whether they are in the media (book reviewers for the Times perhaps), or in politics, or in Academia. He says the upper class live in their super bubble zipcodes distancing themselves from normal folks, and that they have a stranglehold on all the good, high cognitive jobs, making policy for poor folks and never having any contact with the folks that they are making policy for. The book attacks the 1 percenters that the Left loves to hate. I asked Murray why his books get people so red eyed and excited with smoke coming out of their nostrils and his response was that he doesn’t sound like a normal conservative. He’s a small town boy who did well in high school, got the opportunity to go to Harvard, did well there, went to MIT for his PhD. About 20 years or so ago he moved to a small town northwest of DC away from the bubbles of the superzip suburbs. He wanted to raise his children outside of the superzips. I commend him, he could easily have stayed closer to DC and the commute to work would have been easier, schools better, etc., he didn’t.

Kenzo's picture

Ken Milano wrote:
While this is not something one can prove or disprove, it makes no sense to try and answer it, as it appears to be one of those emotional responses when politics and religion are involved. Given Stein’s previous derogatory statements (masked with humor) about working class Irish Catholics (his snippet battle with Margaret Mary on steep steps in Fishtown houses acting as a contraceptive), I hardly see that he is worth responding to further.

OK, despite that you were the point-source for the author/celeb at a ::shudder... holding back dry heaves:: Smerconish event, that quip alone has redeemed you in my eyes.

The reason why posts only go back to November is because there was a massive, horrible database crash with no useable backups. Dan tried to rescue the database but those efforts failed. A lot of good posts were lost for years, including from some of those who are no longer with us.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

stein's picture

Ken Milano wrote:
Going on the theory of the NYT is liberal and the WSJ is conservative, I think I am somewhat accurate in my statement.

lazy/wrong theory.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Kenzo's picture

And the "street urchin" thing I recall was from Sweeny, of Philebrity. I remember "Fishtown street urchins" being uttered quite explosively on Philebrity about an incident at a park that shall not be named.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

stein's picture

Also, when should i just start making up things I "remember" that were said about newcomers to fishtown to balance out ken's posts?

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

stein's picture

in conclusion:

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Ken Milano's picture

Kenzo: I'm not sure I was actually a point man for Murray, especially not at Bryn Mawr. Like many people, he contacted me for information about the neighborhood when he was writing his book. I offered to answer his questions, gave him a tour of the neighborhood, and he bought me dinner at Johnny Brenda's (if only they knew he was in there!). I've done this countless times for all sorts of people, he was no different, just a little more well known. As for the Bryn Mawr event he invited me to come as his guess, but as I told him, I'm the one resonsible for doing the homework with the children and putting them to bed, so me going out to Bryn Mawy wasn't going to happen on a weeknight. I asked him how the event went and he said better then expected, no rotten eggs were thrown. The convesation centered around the "new upper class," not Fishtown, which is not surprising, the event was held in Bryn Mawr and Michael Smerconish was the host, his wife is one of the top real estate people on the Main Line. I also wanted to say to you that I appreciate very much what you do around neighborhood for the bandit signs. I've always been the policeman on my block for this (we have three telephone poles), but I never ventured off my block. Thank you! I do have a question though. I drove down Frankford Avenue today. I saw bandit signs on poles outside of Barbary Coast, Johnny Brenda's, and Rocket Cat Cafe. Are they not worthy for picking? I mean, you wouldn't want to get the reputation of picking on working folks and not hipsters?

As for Stein, I'll let him have the last word, he's the type that one recognizes quite quickly and learns to avoid, so go ahead Stein, start the name calling and you can have the last word, I know you're the type that likes that........ :)

ExUnit4's picture

I'm one of those working class types( or was till I was forced to early retire), didn't go to college and was lucky to get thru High school in one piece. Not being well versed in grammar or having the ability to sit down and type out a well constructed thought out response I'll just say TOO Shay ( see I warned ya I can't spell) to Mr. Milano. Enjoyed reading everything you've written here and in our local papers.

Speak softly, the dashboard cam has a very sensative microphone

Kenzo's picture

OK Ken, you got me. I'll pay the stupid money and read the book.

This is going to be a guess, but I bet Murray will speak volumes about economic shifts but will speak little to political policies that facilitated those shifts. What happened to Kensington began in 1950 when the last gasp of war production ended, expansion of Philadelphia's road system made suburban commuting easier, trucking and the Interstate Highway System made it a lot easier to put production outside cities and 10 years later redlining started to disappear and block-busting by realtors helped accelerate white flight out of Philadelphia juiced along by racial prejudice with a dash of some school busing to scare white people with money. First in the 50s it was the expansion of the Lower Northeast (much of Mayfair was built in 1951-1955) that caused shifts of families within the city, then all the way up through to Somerton and all the border burbs all rapidly expanded in the 70s.

People those days, including the working classes, had better incomes relative to what their dollars could buy than they do now. They could make choices like: "Do I want to continue living in this 100 year old home, or do I want to buy a shiny brand new home just a few minutes out, further away from black people (synonymous in many people's minds with crime... which I still see today in Philly.com comments), the grime and the noise?" Easy decision to make for the 245,000+ people who picked up and left Philadelphia between 1960 and 1979.

In fact, during the Rizzo years, that was the fastest rate of population decline Philadelphia ever saw in its history. I'm guessing the constant racial strife on TV day after day and the violent crime escalating with no decrease in sight didn't help matters. And the taxes were also going up quickly then, too. Council & Rizzo tried to raise the Wage Tax to 5% which caused his recall referendum, which the PA Supremes threw out. The suburbs at this moment in time were relatively cheap compared to the city back then so the preference to leave was irresistible. The late 70s was the "last gasp" of a lot of sections of Kensington, which affected Fishtown too. The exodus continued, the decay got worse, especially for Kensington. The properties and the condition you see them in reflect the toll that caused.

Today, almost all of the suburbs except the undesirable ones (like Chester) are just as expensive or more expensive than Philadelphia to live in, with property taxes levied on the upper and middle classes far outstripping what Philadelphians of any class pay.

But what about the factories and jobs that left Kensington? Many of them moved to the Midwest, then to the South, then to Mexico and other countries or dissolved in bankruptcy. The textile industry now has the ability to pick up and flee a foreign country to chase another one of lower cost within a matter of months. Too expensive in Thailand? We can get those new custom denim jeans made in Indonesia by Christmas. Those workers are working on incomes that pay out less than what American unemployed people get in compensation from WIC, EIC, SSI, TANF put together. The only logical answer to give poor people about all this is: "don't have kids. They're really just as likely to turn out as poor as you are, if not poorer, and the American Dream has always been just that: a dream."

We all know what happened with factory work. And now what happened there is stretching up to hit the middle class. My own industry I work in was swallowed by outsourcing. Paralegals are suddenly finding their careers to be a dead-end, because that is now outsourceable. It's uncanny how nursing seems to be the only career the last 15 years that never goes down in demand. Ever. Because you can't outsource changing IVs and bedpans to Southeast Asia, but you can most everything else.

Why do people who stick it out in Kensington stay in Kensington, or Fishtown? Well... where else is there else to go, honestly? The middle class is shrinking, this housing crisis mess is mostly just the middle class hangover from using credit to tide over their cash-flow problems when their incomes couldn't catch up. 2007/2008 stripped that security blanket away from most people to reveal the cold reality, and middle class who have incomes are trapped and can't move because they can't sell their homes to chase jobs.

The "middle class", which I am a member of obviously, who have entered Kensington and Fishtown have done so for a multitude of reasons. I will be honest with my own situation. It's economically unadvantageous for me to live in the suburbs here. Not that I just don't like the suburbs because when I left rural country I moved to one for a spell, but that if I ever wanted to be able to afford a house and live like I was used to in the 80s and 90s, I would need to do it without using a car that much, and in this country, to live without constant use of a car means you only have a few places you can move to.

The day I sold off my car, it was like I got a 9% raise. Gas, insurance, tires, fluid changing, parking tickets, garage fees, tolls---gone. I put that money I suddenly wasn't spending to use, which is how I bought a house to begin with. If I was a burb commuter, I would probably still be renting and stuck there, trapped, because I would have no way to save enough quickly enough to satisfy a bank.

Do I want to see Fishtown, or Kensington, turn into some middle-class mecca? Frack no. Do I want less crime? Of course. Less garbage on the street? Who doesn't? Less folk shooting needles up their arms? Uh huh. Vacant lots filled-in? Yup.

You know at the Exxon at York and Aramingo this evening, unleaded is now at $4.00 (Wawa $3.85). The American Dream that was centered around bedroom suburbs with jobs located far away is over with gas at that price.

That huge wall around Philadelphia that used to keep the poor contained within the City has busted open. Pennsauken, Bensalem, Folcroft, Cheltenham... all burbs that are getting poorer and are getting new poor coming in from the city who have now discovered they can get nicer digs relative to what they've got, and a yard, because the credit-fueled folks there shot their wad and got foreclosed on. Many don't have jobs to commute to, they just have a home. The working poor who rent though, that will be a tough choice with gas so high, and it's that particular demographic that's the most sensitive to gentrification that is happening.

Murray probably should have continued his study and waited a while longer before publishing, because "The Real Fishtown" has obviously changed to a mixed-income neighborhood. And now East Kensington is getting that way, too.

The stigma of "the city is bad" with my generation and the ones before it not present at all in the current generation coming out of colleges and many of the 28-and-younger folk think it's crazy to sit in a fiberglass enclosure for 3 hours a day and paying 12-16% of your income to do it being ridiculous. Philadelphia finally has a break-thru where it can once again attract jobs, income and capital back to it, and some of that will come at the expense of our suburban brethren who had it good for the last 45 years.

On Mayor Nutter's desk right now waiting to be signed is the Hedge Fund bill to make Fund businesses almost tax-free. Super-liberals like Stan Shapiro have attacked it with vicious fury (Stan hasn't seen a tax or a tax-increase he doesn't like), but he is quick to forget that the Fund Management industry doesn't even exist in Philadelphia. There are no hedge fund companies in the city with giant pools of assets under management and workers drawing high six figure salaries living in this town. The largest hedge fund in Philadelphia is the University of Pennsylvania's own endowment. The hedge fund shops that are around here are all in the burbs, North Jersey, Manhattan and Connecticut--all out of the reach of Philadelphia's ability to tax it and receive income from it. Simply enticing them to move here sans-BPT makes their employees taxable and their activities taxable, even if their operations don't get taxed. It doesn't help you to scream at some rich people if the rich people are safely outside your ability to do anything about it.

So anyway Ken, if you think I'm off my rocker, go look at what is happening in Point Breeze right now. I can walk through it with you if you want--trust me I think we can make it through there for a couple hours without being stabbed, shot, mugged or beaten. Nobody is alive right now that can ever remember that neighborhood being a good neighborhood--a safe one. Now the gentrification is swallowing everything above Federal Street---and this is during the Great Recession. The low-income rental is going to disappear and those folks will lose, the homeowners that inherited or bought years ago will win. Where will the renters go living in the slum houses? Probably wherever there's a hot market that's loaded with a growing number of nuisance properties (hint: Oxford Circle) and into the inner ring burbs.

Give the homeowners who stick it out a break with a Homestead Exemption and let the new kids move in and spend their money. Grandma's City Pension has to get paid by somebody, and her pension ain't gonna come from a City full of poor people without any money to spend. Philadelphia is lucky that it is still a desirable place to live despite all these years of decline and surrounded on all sides by suburbanites who poo-poo it constantly, and a litany of bad press.

The last Pew Poll shows that more than half of all Philadelphians actually see the city improving within the next 5 years. That's probably because when we walk outside our front doors and look around, we can SEE it improving. New buildings. Dormant lots being fixed up. New places to go eat out. Endless swarms of Temple kids stuffing themselves into rentals everywhere. Chicks moving here from some random place to sit in their apartment and make crap to sell on Etsy.

Like I said at the top, I'll bite and read Murray's book. But since we both live in this place and I've been watching it improve before I moved here and I see it up close--still improving--I'll take the tome with the idea in mind that this is merely a snapshot of the past, not indicative of the future. I'm not going to concern myself with national problems--there's millions of people who devote themselves to that task. What I care about most is the neighborhood that you and I live in, and the negative stigma attached to "Kensington" and "Kenzo" fades.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Kenzo's picture

Ken Milano wrote:
Thank you! I do have a question though. I drove down Frankford Avenue today. I saw bandit signs on poles outside of Barbary Coast, Johnny Brenda's, and Rocket Cat Cafe. Are they not worthy for picking? I mean, you wouldn't want to get the reputation of picking on working folks and not hipsters?

As for Stein, I'll let him have the last word, he's the type that one recognizes quite quickly and learns to avoid, so go ahead Stein, start the name calling and you can have the last word, I know you're the type that likes that........ :)

Actually it's been maybe a month now since I last hit FKD Ave. When Aramingo got hit up I went on a rampage along with fellow "street urchin" Jordan, through with a bunch of Port Richmond storm troopers and other folks in Flatiron.

I target the predatory stuff the most. "We Buy Houses" is actually home-equity fraud. "Junk Cars" is usually unlicensed tow-ops. It's time to do a sweep of FKD again to clear those off. Last night though was Port Richmond's night to get some cleaning because they have been blanketed to death way more than 19125 has.

All of the activism that I do centers around one thing: property. And property is a subject that Philadelphia has historically ignored for a very, very long time. Every aspect of property issues has been ignored until just recently. Zoning, taxes, tax collection, vacancy, building codes, licenses.

Property is closely connected with crime. Folks like open-air drug dealers more often than not live on a property that has any number of problems that... in a city that works, if the city acted on THOSE issues--the drug dealer wouldn't have the use of that property anymore. I learned this from Lisa Parsley, a SOSNA activist. She sent loads of properties to Sheriff Sales in Graduate Hospital using the $800 deposit method.

It's like waving a magic wand over crime. It's way more effective than dumping more money into policing, and the City makes a profit on the deal.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Ken Milano's picture

Kenzo:

Wow, that was a mouthful, and I'm not sure where to start. First, dont' buy the book, you can borrow mine (assuming it's not a book you want to keep), drop by the house if you can.

I'd agree with just about everything you said, particularly the Point Breeze story, I've been following that story as I drive through that area a lot coming to and from work. I understand why the natives there aren't happy about the new folks, but to try and keep development at bay is weird, heck, one woman actually said she'd rather see a drug dealer on the corner rather then a white lady attending a garden. Huh? Go figure! Homestead exemption is a great idea, the city will still taken in a ton of revenue with the new $200,000 to $400,000 plus housing being built in the inner city neighborhoods and the little they will lose would be nothing.

Obviously, being a native here, I've always found Philadelphia a great place to live, one of the few walkable cities, it's why I've stayed here when I could have easily moved when I was younger, now maybe not so easy, although my house is worth a bunch these days, but where would I move that I would like? The suburbs are horrible, unless you can afford one of those nice stone homes in an older area. I've traveled a lot, been to 46 of the 50 states, lived in Texas (San Antonio), Vermont (Hardwick), and down the shore (Wildwood), but I always came back.

Murray doesn't go much into the why's department of how we got where we are today, mainly the statistics and for the working class whites, they are all reading negative in many areas. I think most folks that would read his book know how we got this way, of course your politics will sway you one way or the other.

Murray does a lot of statistics comparing, where the Middle Class was in 1960 compared to the Working Class and where they are now. In 1960, divorce for the middle class and the working class were only about 4 percent difference with the Middle Class having less divorce. However, while the Middle Class divorce rates flatlined in the 1980s, the Working Class divorce kept going up to the point in 2010 you have the Working Class with 35 percent divorce rates and the Middle Class only about 8 percent. The statistics for crime was greater for the working class in 1960, but the numbers were low, flashforward 2010 and boom you have a tremendous increase, so you have these various factors of the middle and workings class, and the middle class tended to be better off statistically in 1960, but not that dramatically, but as time goes on, the working class begins to drop further and further...while the middle class stays fairly stable. For example, in 1960 children of broken marriages living with a single parent was about 1 % or less for the middle class, for the working class about 3 percent. Flashforward to 2010, and you have the middle class at about 3 %, but the working class at something like 22 percent. It's these kinds of pictures in all areas that Murray looks at. I'm not saying you'll be won over to my side of the fence, although I pretty much sit on the fence with a foot in both camps (it's hard on the buttocks), but I think you'll get a picture of the sorry state for working folks if something is not done. I'd hate to be pessimistic, but I don't know what can be done to fix a problem on such a scale that we have. And this is the white working class, forget about the minorities, it's even worse for them.

Kenzo's picture

Ahh you lived in Texas? I grew up one county south of Bexar County, between Corpus and San Antonio.

Father is from McAllen, mother from Three Rivers. Family that lives down there is scattered all around the Valley. I would never move back because I cannot tolerate 120F heat anymore.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

Scrambler's picture

Kenzo;
Please do not buy Murray's book. If you really want to read it, borrow it from Ken or someone else. Or buy it used. Please do not put money into his pocket. It is obviously a trash book, written to make money, and facts, and honest research etc. are not relevant to him. It was written to make a name for himself, and make money on the talk circuit etc.
I like to read, and read many books. But I refuse to waste my time reading books that are greatly biased, not researched properly, and and twist info to inflame passions to sell books and make money.

Most current books bashing Obama, Hilary Clinton, George Bush etc fall into this category. Time needs to pass to give an accurate history.

Also why I refuse to listen to most all radio commentators. They are just trying to inflame emotions to make a name for themselves and make money.

All sides of the political spectrum are guilty of this.

Ken Milano's picture

Kenzo: My sister and her family live in San Antonio. I lived with her one summer (1977) right out of high school, at that time she lived in Van Ormy, right on the main highway to Mexico, bordering the south side of San Antonio. It was a small ranch (small for Texas, only about 100 or 200 acres). I also lived there again in 1982 or so, went one semester to Incarnate Word College, a weird little school run by an order of Irish Catholic nuns. Now I think it is a university, it grew. I very much liked San Antonio, particularly liked getting my work study check and heading up to Austin. One of my best friends while in college in Texas was a fellow from the Valley, Harlington to be exact. I've beento Padre Island on several occasions...also went to Boystown across the border. Ah...to be young again....!

As for Scrambler's comments.....I was given a copy of the book. I'm not sure if money goes into Murray's pocket or not. He works for one of those think tanks in DC, so I'm not sure how the contract is structured. I know he didn't get a dime from the Bryn Mawr event, all the ticket fees went to either pay for the facility or to Smerconish, or more likely charity, I'm guessing. I know the type of books you talk about Scrambler, but having read Murray's book, I wouldn't put it in that class you are talking about. I don't read those either. Murray's books are supported with footnotes and sources, which can be followed to see if he is conjuring things up or actually reporting facts. The real problem is that almost no one will bother to do this because it is easier and quicker to simply trash the book because you do not agree with the person's politics. Doesn't really matter, I don't think he's out to change people's minds, nor to make a reputation (he already has a reputation, for good or bad, he's considered (rightly or wrongly) one of the top social scientists, or at least his books wind up on the bestsellers' lists, he's reviewed by all the major media outlets (Liberal and Conservative), and as pointed out by Stein, given plenty of space in the NY Times. I really don't think that the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Shawn Hannitys of the world are in the same camp, they do not get the media support that Murray does, they only get Fox News and talk radio. I think the two are different, maybe not your cup of tea, but nonetheless different. My opinion.

Coder's picture

The battle of the massive posters.

Kenzo's picture

Ken: You mean Harlingen. I have an uncle that lives in Falfurrias not too far away. It's funny how those towns down there are connected to each other through families but the towns are spread further apart than Philly and Harrisburg.

I also lived on Padre Island in Corpus Christi for a while when I moved from home. I didn't want to work for Diamond Shamrock (oil refinery) and the jobs that I could get sucked so I moved back to SA town.

I know Incarnate Word well, it's over in Alamo Heights--which is its own municipality within San Antonio... its own city hall, cops, fire, EMS. There's a bunch of enclaves like that (Terrell Hills, Olmos Park, Shavano Park, etc.)

I did my college at Our Lady of The Lake, the other big Catholic Uni over in the East Side (Hispanic Catholic).

Have you thought about taking a vaca down there? The San Antonio of today looks absolutely nothing like back in '83. Joskeys closed in '88, the Riverwalk is double in size, and all the freeways finally connect. The old Pabst factory and later the Pearl Brewery where PBR used to be made is now turning into some hipster/yuppie enclave and downtown is actually expensive to live in--when I was a kid you didn't rent an apartment downtown unless you couldn't speak English at all and had no money. Before the brewery closed they used to churn out Lone Star and Lone Star Light--the most horrible swill to ever be put in a can, that makes NattyItes taste terrific.

I miss some of that. Mostly what I miss are good breakfast tacos.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

dmandy's picture

"the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Shawn Hannitys "
I was working at Borders when it was closing. One of the things I noticed was that the books by these guys and others of their ilk didn't start selling until they were 60% off. When they went to 80% off they flew out the door. On the other hand Sara Palin's book never really sold even at 80% off. On the last day we packed up at least ten boxes of her book.

FPDA's picture

dmandy wrote:
"the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Shawn Hannitys "
I was working at Borders when it was closing. One of the things I noticed was that the books by these guys and others of their ilk didn't start selling until they were 60% off. When they went to 80% off they flew out the door. On the other hand Sara Palin's book never really sold even at 80% off. On the last day we packed up at least ten boxes of her book.

I'd say that probably had more to do with other factors (geography, timing, particulars of the clientele). Her book did sell around 3 million copies and spent 6 weeks as #1 on the NYT Bestseller list and another few in the Top 10. I'm sure the Borders in rural Texas had plenty of Bill Mahr's or Obama's books left over at the end of their closing sale, too.

dmandy's picture

FPDA wrote:
dmandy wrote:
"the Rush Limbaughs, Glenn Becks, Shawn Hannitys "
I was working at Borders when it was closing. One of the things I noticed was that the books by these guys and others of their ilk didn't start selling until they were 60% off. When they went to 80% off they flew out the door. On the other hand Sara Palin's book never really sold even at 80% off. On the last day we packed up at least ten boxes of her book.

I'd say that probably had more to do with other factors (geography, timing, particulars of the clientele). Her book did sell around 3 million copies and spent 6 weeks as #1 on the NYT Bestseller list and another few in the Top 10. I'm sure the Borders in rural Texas had plenty of Bill Mahr's or Obama's books left over at the end of their closing sale, too.

Possible but we're talking about a book that was selling for about 4.00. Even at the price no one wanted it. We sold out of most of the other conservative writers so it's not like they weren't in the building.

hhkal's picture

This moron was just interviewed on Bill Maher's show tonight... wow wait til you see the hilarity lol!

Ken Milano's picture

Kenzo: Rigth, Harlingen. I really liked San Antonio, when I was there in 1977 (for the summer) and 1982 for school, the buses stopped running about 10 or 11 PM, so if you did go into town, you had to make sure you got a bus on time otherwise we were walking back up to Alamo Heights, which we did several times, a long trek up Broadway. Yea, the folks in Alamo Heights set their enclave up pretty nicely. Had all the conveniences of being in a good size city, but didn't appear to have to pay for it. I almost went to Our Lady of the Lake, that was mys sister's college. Here's what an Einstein I was, Incarnate Word College's catalouge looked nicer, the map showed a lot more land and open space then Our Lady of the Lake, even though Our Lady had the lake, Incarnate Word had some wilderness on campus, Texas brush, even an archaeology dig on campus, etc etc.....plus they had a pub on the first floor of the men's dorm, right next to the cafeteria. It wasn't long before we were buddies with the the fellow who stocked the pub and he was making regular drops to our dorm rooms :) I remember well Lone Star and Pearl, in fact we drank nastier stuff, it was a plain white beer can with the words "Beer" printed on it. There was some tiny writing at the bottom, I think it was the bottom of the vat from Lone Star. You bought it next to the college at the supermarket store, in the Nor Frills isle where everything had white boxes or cans. For a six pack it was like $1.50 or something....being your average college students with no money, we drank a lot of that crap. Incarnate Word had just become co-ed the year before I went there. On campus it was 9 to 1 women, commuters were 15-1, so with those odds and $1.50 for a six pack, I was able to last a whole semester :) My sister still lives in San Antonio, bought a house on the South Side, near one of the military bases, in a decent area. My niece on the other hand lives in the northern suburbs. I was back down somewhere in the mid to late 1990's, but haven't been back since. At college I lived on breakfast tacos, soft shell potato & egg...contact me off line if you want to borrow the book.

george's picture

I lived in Austin for four months in 1983. Obviously in terms of 'life experience' it was a cup of coffee.

But I would say even back then it was an amazing music town (SO many great punk shows) and the Mexican food was cheap, authentic, and bangin.

May as well add I was doing a lot of mushrooms and never lacked for umm..'companionship' at the time. So my Texas soujourn was alright, even if I never considered really staying there.

(had I been in Waco, I would have been the one stockpiling arms in a bunker, though)

th's picture

Ken Milano wrote:
in fact we drank nastier stuff, it was a plain white beer can with the words "Beer" printed on it. There was some tiny writing at the bottom, I think it was the bottom of the vat from Lone Star.

I have memories of seeing this stuff while growing up in Dallas. I've always questioned the reality of the memory because it just seemed so strange.

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

Susan's picture

Bill Maher kept saying, "Well then I am from Fishtown" on his show. We cheered in our Fishtown house, the Fishtown single Mom and her Fishtown well adjusted polite child.... that guy Murray is a total turkeyhead. I'd like the opportunity to do a Murray smackdown. Yes the marriage rate was 84% in 1960 but back then people 'had to' get married and wedding anniversaries were faked for families because of these little accidents. He is such an arrogant dog!! Maher disagreed with him the whole time.

dan

Coder wrote:
The battle of the massive posters.

in-depth, thoughtful dialog
like it or not, it's the kind of stuff I actually hoped we'd have a lot of on here.

kinda brings tears to my eyes.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

dan

I apologize to Ken, Larry, Laura, and everyone else for the unintentional misrepresentation of Ken's words by the the word filter's substitution of the word "ego" for the common vulgarity used to refer to the buttocks.

While I have no intention of removing the word filter, I will modify it to avoid this specific problem in the future.

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

stein's picture

I think Fishtown can do better than Bill Maher

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Terlach Lugus's picture

I lived in the 1200 block of Day Street from 1960 until a few years ago. My whole family is from Fishtown and I went to Adaire and Penn Treaty for school. I've never even heard of Ken Milano the entire time I was growing up and living there, so he must have been in hiding. I know pretty much all of the old Fishtowners but I surely don't know Ken. So I wonder how he is the "Unofficial Historian" of Fishtown? He can't know much if he wasn't out and about in the neighborhood. Books don't tell you everything Ken! Besides when I was growing up there if you weren't Irish most likely you would get your kicked on a daily basis. People forget about the race riots on Girard Avenue everyday after the busing of Black students started at Penn Treaty and Adaire back in the 60's and 70's, even though they stopped it at Adaire they never stopped it at Penn Treaty.

2014 york's picture

I'm so envious of you Fishtowners. You make it seem like it was such a magical place back in the day.

I've lived in many cities, both here and abroad and could say the same things about most any of them. We, as a society, were all more conformist and law abiding. Most everyone looked after their kids and cared about their future. The worst drug most ever did was smoke a little pot, not good pot either. My parents didn't worry about me getting hurt or abused, they were concerned about me doing something that would embarrass them. I don't think we ever locked a door or window, even when we went to the shore. They do now.

The world changed everywhere...not just Fishtown. How were things in 1980? I bet it wasn't so great judging by what I've seen and read. Drugs, crime and abandoned homes. That had nothing to do with the recent wave of newcomers. Sure, it wasn't all bad and the community managed to hold together but you can't ignore or dismiss that Fishtowners were responsible for the ugly times. It's fine to long for the good old days but make some attempt at being honest about the way things were and remain to some extent. You still have plenty of dirt that hasn't made it under the rug and should appreciate that new folks have come armed with brooms. Not as saviors but as neighbors who moved from a community that was, in many ways, not unlike your beloved Fishtown. It's much easier if you just accept that it's typical, not special. The most laughable thing is that Mr Murry chose Fishtown over ANYPLACE and you take it personally.

Ken Milano's picture

I've never heard of Terlach Lugus either, but race riots on Girard Avenue was one of the reasons we moved from Germantown and Girard to our current York Street back in 1964. Grandmom, the matriarch of the family, spent 1910 (when she was about 8 years old) until 1964 at 1149 Germantown Avenue. The race riots we experienced happened over at about 10th and Girard, just a mini-riot, nothing major, but close enough. The real icing on the cake and the main reason for us "giving up" on Germantown Avenue, was the Atlantic Richfield Station that opened up next door to us (the paint store now). This was before community zoning meetings was dreamed up. However, your correct, you probably never heard of me, since in 1960 I was all of 1 years old and didn't live near 1200 Day Street, although my brother's friends, the Herbert family did live on the 1000 block of Herbert Street, they were recent German immigrants. Did you know them? My status as "unofficial" historian, is just that, "unofficial." One becomes the historian of an area, not because one has lived there all their life, but rather, because one has studied the history of the area for many years, researched it, written it up, etc.

York Street - I agree, Fishtown is (was) probably more like any small town in many states across the country. Murray simply picked out Fishtown because of its long history of being White Working Class for many many years. He could have easily picked out any other white working neighborhood in any other big city, or perhaps even suburban working class towns, like outside of Boston, or Chicago. I've not got the point that folks in Fishtown (newcomers in particular) got upset with Murray's book, because he really wasn't talking about them, he was talking about the oldtimers.

Kenzo's picture

While there's plenty of folks who will defend Fishtown, who will be around to defend working-class areas that are doomed right now, like Marcus Hook? That town just lost most of its income base.

On the advice of someone who probably queened-out, this signature has been deleted.

jeffro's picture

Fishtown rules.

th's picture

This one just came up on the ipod. Seemed appropriate. Not Everyone Likes Us:

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!