Why Cottman and Frankford? A Personal Perspective on Northeast Philadelphia

I’m from this little corner of the world called Northeast Philly. It’s the city that’s home of the “Cottman and Frankford” you’re hearing so much about since the Eagles secured their spot in the Super Bowl.

I also work in Philadelphia for a global company. I took Septa into work Monday morning after the championship ready to talk with my coworkers about what they did when the Eagles won. It’s still difficult for me to comprehend that there’s anything else you would do when Philly gets a win like this other than go to Cottman and Frankford.

Like I said, the company I work for is global. Meaning, it’s not weird that I’m the only person in the office who’s familiar with Northeast Philly or Philadelphia in general. Let’s get this straight, you don’t realize how much this city has made you who you are until you’re sharing an office space with people from around the world. I’ve learned to take pride in my accent, my childhood, my favorite foods, and how uniquely different I am because I was born and raised in Northeast Philly.

I frequently talk about my city to my coworkers. They’ve actually joked with me about how Northeast Philly sounds like some type of bubble or other world compared to Center City Philadelphia. They aren’t wrong.

And now that you’ve seen the needs, now you know why.

After a long night of celebrating the Eagles with my family at home and on Frankford Avenue, I didn’t have time to read or watch the news when I woke up (Read: I was very tired). I saw the helicopters the night before hovering over us. I saw the news crews everywhere. I never really thought much of it, though. I didn’t realize that the Eagles weren’t the only ones making history. My little corner of the world was, too.

Not seeing the news, I had no idea why my coworkers were overly excited to talk to me Monday morning. Of course being the proud Philadelphian I am, I was the first source my coworkers sought out to ask, “Why Frankford and Cottman?” “What the hell is Mayfair?” “I just don’t understand, why there instead of Center City, the Linc, or somewhere, I don’t know, more Philly-ish.” I don’t think they understand that there’s nothing more “Philly” than where I was last night.

A large part of the Philly fan reputation comes from my corner of the world. This area houses some of the many breeds of Eagles fans. If the loud Italians and the fighting Irishmen aren’t at Jetro Parking Lot during the game, you can bet they’re in the neighborhoods bordering the Delaware River where South Philly transitions into the Northeast. Let me try to explain this carefully, as this can be a touchy topic. But, here’s your answer to why Mayfair’s Frankford and Cottman is always the place to be when Philadelphia secures a win like this.

Mayfair is at the heart of “Traditional Philadelphia” depending on who you ask. Essentially, Mayfair is in the middle of all the neighborhoods housing the “Italian Irish Philadelphia” culture you hear so much about (Note: These neighborhoods are increasingly diverse and Philadelphia is proudly home to many other cultures nonetheless). Families from this area, Irish Italian or not, are their own breed of blue collar, middle class, hardworking people.

The close knit community on this side of the city are from up and down the neighborhoods that border the Delaware River. They’ve watched each other’s children grow up, they’ve been to each other’s family funerals, and they see each other out every weekend at the grocery store, church, or the local bar.

Everyone from here not only hasties to Mayfair, but ties to each other too. Home of Cottman and Frankford Avenues, Mayfair holds the strip where we all would get our dresses and suits for prom, where we would go out to a diner breakfast with our family on Sunday mornings or with friends on a Saturday night. It’s the home of the Erin Express, the first pretzel factory, the best cheesesteaks, and where we all receive the right of passage at one of the many dive bars.

Mayfair holds the bridge, call it Frankford Avenue, that gaps the neighborhoods our grandparents and parents grew up in: South Philly, Port Richmond, Tacony, Kensington. It’s the bridge that transports you to where many migrated, Northeast Philadelphia: Torresdale, Somerton, Chalfont, Morrell, Parkwood. Cottman and Frankford is smack dab in the middle of where old Philadelphia meets new Philadelphia.

Northeast Philadelphia as we’ve known it is evolving right before our eyes, a lot of us are moving out or moving on. But, when we all get together at Cottman and Frankford, it’s like coming home to a family reunion. Even if it isn’t home anymore for some of us, it’ll always be Eagles territory.

Go birds!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s