My initial Philadelphia “world / universe” was limited to Center City. The first time I became cognizant of a neighborhood, outside of Center City, that was cool and hip was when I heard “Northern Liberties”. The neighborhood starts north of Spring Garden with 2nd Street and to a lesser extent, 3rd Street, are the two main commercial streets. I think the neighborhood has lost a bit of its cache over the years—certainly the growth of Fishtown has diminished the spotlight Northern Liberties used to have to its own.
The Southwest Corner of Poplar and 2nd Street has an open lot with a cool mural:
The Piazza at Schmidt’s was a bold apartment project that transformed a former brewery into a commercial and residential area. The European inspired project never reached the full popularity or gathering space the developers intended, however, I still find this place an inspirational urban project and enjoy walking through whenever I’m in the area. Just north of the Piazza is the Piazza Pod Park, an attempt (I’m being polite) to turn a vacant lot into a destination, an attempt to steal some of the spotlight back from Fishtown. Eh. Not sure I’m a big fan of the Pod Park which has food stalls and a couple of shops in containers. Mainstay Brewing, who’s brewers previously worked at Sly Fox, occupies the Craft Hall space at the former Yards Brewing.
Standard Tap was at the forefront of the brewpub movement and is an iconic Philly destination bar. Higher Grounds is an ok, a little too dirty, a little too cramped, of a coffee shop. Penn Herb Company is an interesting store to check out—it has row after row of herbs, easily the largest herb shop in the city, and an assortment of organic food.