Introducing the 67th ward

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With a bit of a twinkle in our eyes, my colleagues Brian James Kirk and Sean Blanda, today, we launch a small testament to our love for that city that lives in Philadelphia’s historic shadow: New York.

Today, we launch the 67th ward.

It’s not much now and probably won’t be in the future. Just a small landing page for a mentality.

Yes, it comes from that old New York Times trend story that chronicled — in a somewhat condescending tone — the young people from that city, particularly Brooklyn, who were migrating to old transitioning neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, the story suggested, was the ‘next borough’ so the ‘sixth borough.’

Gosh that just seemed stupid and so very representative of how difficult it is for most of us to take hold of the gravity of time. New York City was the engine of urban power in this country since the Second World War, with increasing dominance in the last 25 years, and that is quite indisputable.

But that city and its paper of record could certainly use a level of humility, particularly with regard to the once Workshop of the World. Particularly considering New York has won itself so much praise and acclaim that is just frankly played out. Cliche, my friends, runs deep in any sentence you utter about your travails there.

Philadelphia has the wonderful magic, grit and striking chance for recapturing that excited so many in so many corners of New York. So it made perfect sense to make clear who was in what place.

Historically and perhaps once again in the future, New York would be cast in its older brother’s shadow.

So in casual conversation, I started using the phrase to describe the cit to the north. Then I slipped it into a few Technically Philly stories, and we actually heard back from readers who got a kick out of it. So we used it more.

No anger here, I have nothing but love for the 67th ward.

Wards aren’t the teeniest political divisions in the city, but something about the ward system is the most Philadelphian.

Maybe it’s the ugly realities of street money and machine politics or perhaps the more beautiful aspects of a city still possessive of neighborhoods as divided and varied, different, troubled and tight-knit as the best and oldest cities always have been. Whatever the reason, it sure seems like Philadelphia has a lot to remind its neighbor 90 miles north along the Jersey Turnpike.

New York is going to get through all of this. It just needs to follow the lead of its older brother, Philadelphia, and its much maligned, corrupted and bureaucratic political ward system, fitting for both of our municipal histories.

The sidebar from Yahoo Pipes that replaces “New York” with “the 67th ward” in various news stories and a small passage is just a small landing page to convey that feeling.

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