This folder first started as A Punk's Guide to South Street, Philadelphia in 2012:
Stepping out into the light of day from the long El ride from 69th Street to 5th Street, I begin my tour of the historical district of Philadelphia. The cobblestone streets, the colonial houses, and horse drawn carriages quickly turn to concrete streets, row homes and the noisy, steel cars that zip past the horses. In this hustle and bustle, 5th Street quickly turns to 4th Street—the center of South Street.
A quick history of South Street reveals that in the 1960s and 1970s, South Street was filled with clubs and bars that fostered a live local music community. It was not uncommon for South Philadelphians to "bar-hop" across the clubs, listening to live bands along the way. This community of fans helped attract recording contracts for many artists, including Kenn Kweder, the "bard of South Street" and George Thorogood.
It is in this history that South Street has the reputation of promoting the alternative lifestyle—punks, metal heads, and other “bad asses” frequent here although South Street is one of the largest tourist attractions in Philadelphia. It is in this aura that pulls people into the eclectic shops and restaurants. There have been many songs written about South Street such as a band by the name of Fear 1982 song "I Don't Care About You", which name-checks the neighborhoods associated with the punk movement in the United States in the early 1980s, begins with the line, "I'm from South Street Philadelphia." A 1988 song, “Punk Rock Girl,” by the Dead Milkmen makes reference to Zipperhead, a store that sells punk and other alternative clothes. Zipperhead is now called Crash Bang Boom which has been relocated since.
I am not a big Philadelphia fan, but I love South Street. South Street has been the exception since I was thirteen when my parents took me after watching “Cats.” At thirteen South Street was all about exploring the myriad of CD shops to look for that Good Charlotte or Casualties or Kittie or Murderdolls CD (which always proved successful when the store clerks with pink or purple hair would help and make suggestions). At 22, it is all about experiencing the bar and hookah café atmosphere and getting pierced. Although, I am in the process of relocating to the Midwest - finally at the age of 25 - I know South Street will be some place I'll remember fondly while I make new memories in the Midwest.
I have since expanded this folder to cover travel pieces to Baltimore, Maryland, Spring Lake, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, Roseville, Michigan, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and my travels on Amtrak through Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Toledo, Ohio. Although those places were while waiting in a train station, it still taught me a lot of lessons about places and people. I hope you enjoy!