Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.

FIGHT THE STIGMA!

FIGHT THE STIGMA!
Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

May 21, 2012

Subterranean Life at Frankford Terminal

by Rosemary Reeves


After disembarking the market el upon arrival at the Frankford Transportation Center Saturday before last, I went down the escalator, bought a trans pass for next week and exited through the glass doors.  Just beyond those doors is a kind of passage way leading to the outside.  A young woman standing there immediately tried to get my attention.  “I need money,” she said. “Got any money?  I’m trying to get home to New York.”

Septa cops heading back to station
“I don’t have any,” I told her, “Sorry.”  I didn’t believe her story.  She looked like a perfectly healthy, well-dressed young miss, not a runaway kid or homeless person.   A hunch told me she just wanted to guilt enough passersby out of their money so she could buy who knows what.  

I turned left, following the blue sign directing passengers to the buses.  The underpass was enveloped in a mix of sun and shadow.  It had rained earlier and was saturated with the pungent smell of wet asphalt, brick and steel wafting in from outside.  Mingled with it was a hint of another earthy fragrance that within moments became a mildly sickening odor.

A few feet away, people were lingering under the sign.  Someone must have shared a joke because I heard laughter.  There was glare as sunlight struggled to peek through the clouds.  A shaft of light penetrated the underpass through spaces in the structure and hit me straight in the eyes.  For a split second, I was blinded.  I very nearly bumped into a young man wearing a green jacket.  I stopped just inches from his arm  and stared at the fabric of the jacket he was sporting.  He was standing beside a steel column in the underpass.  Just as my eyes came back into focus, I saw smoke rising off of the joint in his hand.  

Route 20 bus stop
I reached the group of people standing under the blue directional sign right outside the underpass.  They were all young, mostly in their late teens and early twenties.  They seemed to be hanging out because they were flirting amongst each other and several of them were puffing on weed in lit rolling paper.  They didn’t seem a bit concerned about getting caught out in the open like that.  Maybe it was the foolishness of youth that made them so carelessly rebellious.  I was uncomfortable but not afraid as I strolled past them to look for my bus in the depot.

Under the el tracks
I soon discovered I had walked the wrong way and ended up on the other side of the terminal to wait for the 20 bus.  I saw it roaring away just as I got there.  Across the street were two Septa cops walking back to the station from the busy street.  I snapped a photo of them and wondered if they were going to chase out the potheads.  


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