Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Philadelphia 1969

Me - 1969 in our dining room at our new Philadelphia address

The year was 1969 and the place was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I always wanted to live in the Big City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  In 1969 we finally realized our dream and brought a 16 foot wide, 50 feet deep row house in center city Philly at 2409 Naudain Street.

2409 Naudain Street - our door is the red door (of course) - 1971

We were living at an apartment in Roxborough (Philadlephia) after we had moved from Bill's New Jersey (Pennsauken) apartment.  After they raised the rent from $145 a month to $165 a month, I decided that was too much.  So instead of throwing out money down a rat hole every month I suggested that we look at properties in center city Philly.  I always wanted to live in center city Philadelphia.  It was my dream to walk to work (I had a job at Girard Bank right across from City Hall) and the OTHER reason was so I could walk to the bars.  The GAY BARS.  I didn't have a car at that time and wouldn't drive anyway because one doesn't drive and drink and I did like my gin an tonics in those days.

Me and my G & T - dancing the night away at an after hours club - NO DRIVING - I just stumbled home

So looked at houses and decided on a recently rehabbed house on the edge of center city.  The previous house was torn down because it was in a bad section of town.  Yes, we were The Gays gentrifying a bad section of town.  

Our nice backyard at Naudain Street, Philadelphia, PA - 1971

The asking price of the row house was $27,000.  I suggested that we pay the asking price.  The owner almost tripped over his own shoes rushing to get the agreement of sale before I changed my mind.  

We bought the house. The next week I was sick to my stomach, convinced that I had made the biggest mistake of my life ( I hadn't). Now we had a 20 year mortgage at $119.27 a month.  WE.WERE.LOCKED.IN.  Funny how one feels when one makes a commitment like that.  

Our two little Pomeranian dogs out for a walk in front of our Philadelphia home - 1977

Well folks, it didn't turn out too bad.  We had that mortgage paid off in five years.  This was before the housing market got wise to the facts that many gay couples lived together and had double incomes and could easily pay such a mortgage off.  Remember those days when the husband went to work and the wifey-poo stayed home and raised the little brats kids? 

We lived at that wonderful property for eleven glorious years until I had my fill of police sirens (sometimes it seemed as if they went all day), potential race riots (we lived on the edge of the "bad section") and just the general feeling of suffocation of living in the middle of a densely populated city.  Plus, I grew tired of going to the gay bars every weekend.  That novelty wore off on my 37th birthday when I was standing in the 247 Bar and the lights flashed on as the bartender screamed "LAST CALL!"  I thought to myself, "What am I doing here?"  That night I left never to return to gay bar cruising again.  

"What am I doing here?"


We sold our center city townhouse for what we thought was the astronomical sum of $95,000 and moved to the country (Downingtown) where we lived for the next twenty-five years until we moved to our present location here in Delaware in 2006.

By the way, know how much that "little row house" in center city Philly is worth now?  Zillow estimates $621,864.  It was last sold in June of 2009 for $592,000.  Hey, maybe we should have stayed and won the lottery.  

Last year when Pat and I were in Philly, I showed him where we used to live.  You know what folks, it's now in a fou fou section of town.  Just goes to show you.  

Our former Philadelphia home now, fou fou home.  


6 comments:

  1. Cool, Ron. I love these TBTs you post. Your example with the house sale was similar to mine - I bought my first in 1993 for $78,000, sold it 6 years later for nearly $100K, bought one for $95K, sold it 27 months later for $115K! But yeah, $621K?!?! Heck yeah, but hind sight is almost always 20/20.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,
      Thanks for the encouragement. I love writing about my history plus I want to leave this information behind for my family once I am gone, assuming they would be interested. Maybe not but at least I tried.
      Ron

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  2. And Ron - I really enjoyed seeing that bit of town you lived in - and the row houses there looked great!

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      I would love to live there now!
      Ron

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  3. Ron,
    As you know, I grew up in Delaware County actually about 5 miles or less from the county line. I could stand back in the day and see Willie Penn's hat and the clock on City Hall. Back in the day, you are so right about the neighborhoods surrounding Center City that are now "fou fou". When I was younger back in the fifties riding through West Philly and then through Center City and then beyond towards the river, it was a "roll up the windows and lock the doors" ride. Beyond Broad Street, not too far east past 12th street, it was actually slums. South Street was slums and most of the elite town houses that are there today were then tenement housing. We went many times through there on our way either to the Skin and Cancer hospital where my mother had to go on occasion and to the Settlement Music School which was at 416 Queen Street (don't go there) for our weekly piano lessons. We didn't have money, we were poor so we had scholarships to go. All that has changed and as you well know homes are going from half a million and up. Wish I had listened to friends who tried to get me to invest in some shells in Queens Village and Society Hill before the change. If I had, oh well......
    Love your TBT posts.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      As you probably know, Naudain Street was only one street away from South Street. Back in the late 60's and 70's that was a pretty dicey place to live. Last year when I visited, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw "regular folk" walking their dogs at dusk. My, my how times have changed.
      Ron

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