Posts tagged ‘Philadelphia’

May 2, 2013

What Detroit SHOULD Learn From Philadelphia!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

Detroit

I was shown a Twitter comment a few days ago suggesting that places like New York were “overrated” and so that Michigan born individual suggested that it was best to head back to Detroit. Why yes – that is if you are going to do as the late Tony Goldman did and now his daughter … that is to REALLY address and not faux champion the problems in that once iconic Michigan city. Recently (April 2013) at the inaugural meeting of Project for Public Spaces at Westin Book Cadillac, downtown Detroit investor, Dan Gilbert and now CEO, Jessica Gold Srebnick , seemed posed to offer that REAL dedication to the basic and core history – one might say flavor – of this Midwestern city. What was discussed in needing to be foremost in any redevelopment plans was the creative and herculean effort such an under taking requires. May I add that it seems quite obvious the fawning influx of middle class young suburbanites and surely temporary inner city Detroit residents is NOT the solution. Like my beloved hometown of Philadelphia, like New York City and Miami – you need REAL devotees of a place in order to save and then grow that community. Love I tell you is not only the answer for a personal life but REAL love is needed to save a city and to make it blossom.

Location,  location, location is the well known mantra used as instruction when one buys a home or starts a business and it is also the geographical dictate that often helps decide the destiny of a city, town or community. Some places like the historical city of Philadelphia lucked out by having itself center East Coast – near to the world’s REAL capital, New York City, close to this nation’s government center, Washington, D.C. and easy travel launch to the rest of the world. Both New York City and Philadelphia are blessed to be the center for a ring of REAL thriving neighborhoods – middle and working class boroughs and suburbs are logistically attached through public transportation and even decent highway, bridges, and tunnels. Add the plethora of universities, medical centers, major companies, art/entertainment venues and such – these two cities thrive where places like Detroit can never hope to in just the commerce and activity quotient alone. However, not only location make these East Coast cities more stable than its Michigan poor cousin – no, it is also the REAL strength of diversity from nationalities, ethnic groups, races, social economic levels that forge a stronger and more resilient platform for sustained growth. Not always peacefully coexisting to be sure but still interacting and hence interdependent are the varied demographics of places like NYC, Philadelphia, Boston and Miami. You know the reality is – in it together for better or worse – what forces these historically prominent places to go the distance and make things work no matter the obstacles.

Oh baby, hard work is certainly part and parcel of making a city be relevant and vibrant. Government and civic oversight a must in development and sustaining of our nation’s oldest cities. My own family and many friends were and still are at the forefront of Philadelphia prospering. The City of Brotherly Love was blessed from G-d to have [for two terms beginning in 1991] as its Mayor, Ed Rendell – he who demanded, cajoled and more the business types into doing the right thing to make the city a destination world class place. In my memoir, Heiress Mommy …  A Modern Super Woman Life! there will be so much to relate my very essence to  the city of my birth, Philadelphia. Almost DNA for me is how distinctly important that city was and is to my family history, successes and narrative.  Not nostalgia as many reminiscence about the “good old days” when Detroit prospered on the determinate factor involved in its being the automobile manufacturing center of the world but instead East Coast cities have morphed and expanded while keeping the respectful denotation of past glories and accomplishments. There is moral imperative in keeping a city center vital despite the suburbanization of its population – not at all different than acknowledging those relatives that went before each generation and by hard work made more success possible for their offspring. I am snobbery to a fault  in thinking but probably correct at the same time in the belief that only a REALLY astute and sophisticated population can overcome narrow minded preoccupation to allow the inclusiveness necessary to work, school and seek entertainment in a heterogeneous city center. Why even the Midwest city of Chicago has despite its center of country locale  managed to sustain a panache – a desirous draw to new and old residence alike. Why then not Detroit? Easy answer for me is that the groups that comprised a thriving motor city at one time just never REALLY worked together in effort to make it better – no, they just segregated to their bedroom communities and dismissed “those people” as the “other“. Come on readers,  you know its true … race relations and prejudice by the less than intellectual and far from progressive white middle class damned that city and still makes it nearly impossible to reconfiguration it into something modern and valuable. My wise husband was born and bred in Michigan – near Detroit and is stunned and very impressed with the difference here on the East Coast; he fell in love with inclusive intellectual awareness that Philadelphia offers its many citizens. In discussions and attempted analysis my husband’s first hand Detroit experiences have allowed him to surmise that the prejudicial and minimal scoped attitude of most suburban Detroit residences has lead to its demise. As I have in other blog posts,  I must mention my own personal awareness and battles with the lesser type bedroom community dwellers from that area: for these strip mall shoppers, it is that despite a few budget trips aboard and for a few a four year State college education or community college for others, they remain narrow minded and destructive. Their kind would never consider helping inner city Detroit minority youths and yet are willing to do an occasional Haiti “mission” in order to get their once in a lifetime photo opportunity. Is it in the water hubby and I often joke? Why here on the East Coast or places like Chicago do even those without benefit of  travel or higher education seem so much more erudite and willing to embrace REAL life possibilities than their similar types in the Detroit area? Is that a matter of location too or could it be the suburb’s ghetto attitude that you are born, live, work, school and die in that place being just fine that which has so limited the possibilities for REAL achievement in Detroit? All or some of these reasons need to be outed, dissected and addressed if ever in the words of Motown great Stevie Wonder there is “living, living just enough for the city” is to happen!

March 18, 2012

Why I LOVE American Cities …New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, D.C., L.A. is the Place For Me!!!

by Teréza Eliasz-Solomon (HeiressMommy™)

One of the greatest things about American cities has always been that the Arts [museums, theater, libraries, etc.] were/are available to ALL people. Even those living in the adjoining neighborhoods, suburbs or for New York City, the boroughs – are able to take advantage, for the small prize of public transportation, of many cultural and educational venues. Sadly, the “dumbing  down”  of our populace is suggesting that these activities are some how “elitist”. This is not only a fallacy but additionally a dangerous concept. Why dangerous? The answer is quite simply – without the ability to have EVERYONE expand their horizons, this great nation will be demeaned and further segregated – all leading to less progress and much more strife. We MUST fight against the current right wing zealots who for whatever reasons, want to defund PBS [G-d forbid Big Bird should influence your child], NPR and Arts in public school.

Those of us – like myself and now my children – who have the advantages that afford both the country and city life experience, along with private school education – will be just fine. However, one must acknowledge that even those of us so blessed can not live in a bubble and denying the general public the same opportunities will diminish us all eventually. Who does not personally know or at least have read about someone who if not for publicly financed/sponsored arts would have been lost to a life of tragedy?.One need look no further than many current music stars to find such a glorious American story.

My husband joins me in being thrilled that our twin sons will be frequent Museum goers – having access to NYC multiple marvelous venues [where else can one see a Cindy Sherman retrospective?] and Philadelphia [like the current Up Close Van Gogh Philadelphia Art Museum exhibit – which just yesterday we decided will be the boys first Museum experience, as well as the Annenberg Children Theater series this Spring] when we are there. Additionally, we decided before their birth to do other city excursions specifically for The Arts & Sciences – this should not be limited to us privileged few – if you think Wall Street v. Main Street is important class warfare, then trust me Jersey Shore v. Broadway/MOMA  is an equal class division to be fought against!!!

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