THERE’S a thing going around right now called “I’m so Philly”. The idea is that you claim that you’re SO Philly because you:
A) Know a place in some part of Philly
B) Remember a place in some part of Philly
C) Were at an event in some part of Philly
D) Any combination of the above
What bugs me about it is the way it cuts Philly up into smaller less significant pieces, when the true significance of Philadelphia is that it contains ALL OF THESE things.
Look, you can go anywhere and there’s always something that place can claim. Detroit has a kick-ass manufacturing history. New Orleans has great places to eat. Boston has loads of American Revolution era history. New York was a place where immigrants who helped make this nation great, went to put down roots. Yet Philadelphia is ALL of these things.
For the last decade, I’ve made Port Richmond my home, but I’ve lived in South Philly, North Philly and the Northeast. I went to high school in Center City. My friends have been from every corner and crevice of this city and (except Chestnut Hill), there is no section of it where my head has not rested a night. As far as I’m concerned anywhere I lay foot in this great city is home.
The people of this city are the bearers of a great legacy. At one point we were one of the world’s (not just the country’s) major manufacturing powers. Philly Soul is a music industry term because of the performing AND producing talent culled from it’s native citizens.
And of course there’s that whole thing of being AMERICA’S BIRTHPLACE!
What makes us great isn’t the fragmentation of our diversity or what our individual neighborhoods have to offer, but the fact that we have it ALL to draw on. This ALL belongs to us, and is us.
That’s not to say don’t be proud of where you’re from, (I mean I am the guy who’s been selling those Philly Strong jerseys that you’ve been seeing around the city). Just never forget that you are part of ALL of this. (Which is why I put the 1-9-1 on the front of my jerseys). That you’re part of more than just your neighborhood. That you are from more than just your street.
Which is why I’m so Philly that I claim it all.