New Kensington from the Market-Frankford “El”

A while back I had the opportunity to photograph part of the unique New Kensington neighborhood from the unique perspective of the Market-Frankford elevated train. Like many Philadelphia neighborhoods, Kensington (now often referred to as “Fishtown”) thrived in the 19th century  as a center for the textile industry but suffered with mid-20th century deindustrialization. In recent years, parts of Kensington, especially along Frankford Avenue, have seen reinvestment and repopulation. A combination of changing demographics (younger people interested in living in the city), new business (many of those young people are also entrepreneurs and artists!), and a dedicated community development corporation (NKCDC) have come together to explain this neighborhood’s resurgence.

A Market-Frankford El station at sunset.

A Market-Frankford El station at sunset.

Brightly colored row homes across from vacant green space.

Brightly colored row homes across from vacant green space.

Many vacant industrial spaces are being converted to urban loft space while others remain vacant and can become fire hazards.

Many vacant industrial spaces are being converted to urban loft space while others remain vacant and can become fire hazards and degrade the neighborhood.

This creative mural caught my eye as we sped by.

This creative mural caught my eye as we sped by.

Looking towards the Delaware River.

Looking towards the Delaware River.

Unfortunately, commercial properties built up to the El have not done well.

Unfortunately, commercial properties built up to the El have not done well.

This bottle-shaped water tower, built in 1914 for Harbison Dairies, is a recognizable part of the New Kensington skyline.

This [milk] bottle-shaped water tower, built in 1914 for Harbison Dairies, is a recognizable part of the New Kensington skyline.

Unfortunately the upper floors of this historic corner building are boarded up. I see so much potential!

Unfortunately the upper floors of this historic corner building are boarded up. I see so much potential!

Meanwhile, under the El, this new commercial building appeared to be doing well.

Meanwhile, under the El, this new commercial building appeared to be doing well.

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