Friday, October 2, 2009

Then and Now: 16th and Sansom Streets looking east, Philadelphia


Hemmed in by towers and skyscrapers, the south side of the 1500 block of Sansom Street contains a row of narrow 2- and 3-story buildings housing a motley crew of small locally-owned shops, bars, and restaurants that feel far removed from their surrouding streets. By and large, these businesses would be unsuitable for the larger floor spaces or higher rents on Chestnut Street or Walnut Street, dominated for the most part by national and international retail chains. Sansom Street's shops add an invaluable contribution to the Rittenhouse area's retail mix and hence to its liveliness. It's Jane Jacobs' theory of diversity in action: a variety of building types and ages are a natural generator of activity.

Original photo: "Historic Commission-12827-37." 1969. Philadelphia City Archives. Philadelphia Department of Records. 21 Sep. 2009.

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