Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thriving around Henry

Philadelphia Weekly's November 23 piece, Greene and Carpenter Lane Inc., explores the thriving business climate on Henry's doorstep.

Too bad author Cassidy Hartmann didn't have the presence of mind to step inside the school to talk to the many teachers who've seen the intersection's evolution over the decades, or to hear about the Weaver's Way Market Place program at Henry (which she only references obliquely), or to talk to neighborhood parents who have a more complete experience with the full range of neighborhood value of the intersection. Too bad Hartmann only talked to the folks outside the school, as if they are the sole forces behind important school projects like the school yard renovation. And too bad photographer Jeff Fusco turned his back on Henry - literally - as if the school is a stigma to the visual vibrancy of the intersection.

Where's the role of families and parents of 500-some kids in driving critical mass to the businesses? Or the 50-some faculty and staff loading up on caffeine, groceries, and dry cleaning on a daily basis since 1908? How about the free off-street parking taking pressure off the streets every weekend & evening, and all summer, easing the impact of the growing number of business on the near-by residents?

Schools like Henry, with constant flow of neighborhood families who invest in their community, are an asset to business - increasingly so with increasing proximity to the school. I'm looking forward to Hartmann's return to the intersection to complete the story.

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