Richmond St., Port Richmond

One of my favorite streets in Philadelphia is Richmond St. in the Port Richmond section, due north of where I live. I ran down Richmond St. last evening and snapped a few pictures. I got the idea to a photo-essay of Richmond St. very near the end of my run so that is why there are only four photos in this post. Maybe one day I will take better pictures and do a proper piece. There is something sad and beautiful about this street. It has a strange vibe, like it doesn't know if it wants to go full dilapidation or push towards revival.

I made a dumb joke on Twitter about this picture that went like this. Apparently, this business is part of a network of Philly preschools and daycares. I like their logo.

Upon learning this establishment was only 10 years old, I was a bit taken aback. Although, I should've know better. In Episode 1 of the Port Richmond Books TV Show, it's clear that Port Richmond is not a book-reading community (3:11 mark).

Originally, this building was a silent movie theatre, build over 100 years ago. This is really a tremendous read on the building's history. Here's an excerpt:
Built by architect E. Wilson Allen, designer of the Philadelphia homes of John Coltrane and Paul Robeson, the Richmond Theatre opened in 1913. From the street, “RICHMOND” is carved into the concrete façade, still solidly intact. The theater held 1,026 seats, arranged in deeply sloped, stadium-style seating. In what is now the main library and reading area of the bookstore, the curved arch that would have framed the original stage and movie screen now dramatically frames an alcove filled with books. The original Moeller organ, which was used to accompany the silent movies, lies dormant in the musty basement—the theater’s former orchestra pit—smothered under rubble.

The owner of this carpet store was locking up shop as I passed by and I think I startled him. There is basically no info about this store online at all. And it exists on a block and a half strip inaccessible via Google Street View.

Do you see where there is no blue line next to the little yellow person on the right here? The store is basically in the middle of that blue-less abyss. This screenshot was the closest I could 'get to it' on Street View. When you try to 'walk' towards it, you are either pushed backwards or mysteriously shuffled off to a side street. And furthermore, why is the sign blurred out? What is this a front for exactly? So many uninteresting questions!

Lastly, I leave you with this. This is the kind of street where TVs of a certain age still show up on the sidewalk. This is Richmond St., Philadelphia, USA.


Post a Comment