Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Long Day

Just got home a few minutes ago.

Started my day as I do most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with a 6am run. Ran w/ E on the same Acme loop we've been doing the last few times out, but added a little twist north on 46th and then east on Brown so we could run on the 800 block of Lex Street.

This is a haunted block. Every native Philadelphians should instantly recognize the name of this block. Back in the days before the blocks around Lex were rebuilt suburban style, the block was on the edge of the highrise Mill Creek housing projects and in the middle of an open air drug market. Lex Street itself was a block of decaying two-story rowhouses when, in late 2000, four guys went into #816, which was used as a crack house. They forced 9 people to lie on the floor and shot them execution style, killing 7 in what would be known as the Lex Street Massacre. I remember I was in Texas when this happened, and even the papers down there carried the story.

Today this block is flanked by overgrown weeds and trash, as the rowhouses were torn down in 2002 during the course of demolishing the projects. However, no new suburby-type houses were built on Lex, and overgrown weeds and trash flank both sides of the street. I'm not sure why nothing was ever developed there, but I guess not too many people (myself included) would want to live in a house on a block with that kind of history.

This all happened before I ran in the area. As I've alluded to, the area has changed, mostly through wholesale physical and social upheaval. Lex Street becomes a good metaphor here. Will the Mill Creek area experience a new beginning, a revival, if you will, engineered largely by the Philadelphia Housing Authority and the City's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative? Or will it, like so many things in Philadelphia, be haunted by its past. . . by ghosts that emanate from these weeds? Running offers a unique perspective into this as a series of time lapse photographs. I wrote about this when I first started running around the Mill Creek area and now I realize that these "snapshots" don't just mark the passing of time, they become more and more filled with details from the neighborhood.

8 miles in 62:53. That's how my day started.

The day ended with my first trip to a prison.

SCI Graterford. Part of a program called "Inside Out" which I am getting involved with. I won't say much about it because I try to keep this blog focused on running, except that the most tangible impressions I brought back from this evening were the details from the physical surroundings the place. I keep coming around to when I walked down one of the hallways, looked out the window into the yard, and there, circumscribed around the yard, was a track.


Blogger Scott said...

I have enjoyed your blogs, know some of the Acme loop well, and knew Lex Street as it was and as it is today. I have had the good fortune of being able to participate with groups in prison. After several times, the physical setting, the metal detectors, the multiple locking doors, the long white halls, and the molded furniture becomes like going to a Wawa. It is the people that I met that I remember the most. Hopes and dreams, fortunes and misfortunes are shared both inside and outside the bars.

11:28 PM  
Blogger Brooklyn said...

Sounds like Tom Waits would be right at home at 800 Lex.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Amon said...

Well done on a nice blog seebo. I was searching for information on metal detector reviews and came across your post Long Day - not quite what I was looking for related to metal detector reviews but very interesting all the same!

If you have a moment, why not hop over and take a look at my report on metal detectors.

3:34 PM  

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