News Flash: Riding Your Bike in the City Provides Greater Mobility

I just discovered this morning that I can get to Northern Liberties on my creaky British-made bike from Shawn in less than ten minutes. It's a whole new world over here in Liberties Walk.

Fishtown: One coffee shop that serves burnt coffee, has slow service, and plays the same whiny emo music over and over.

NL: I'm sitting in Shot Coffee--a clean and friendly place that give you gigantic cups of good coffee and plays contemporary, slightly pop though nevertheless upbeat music. They have a bowl of water set out for the dogs that may visit with their people.

Fishtown: Good luck tying your bike up to a dying and lonesome tree.

NL: Bike rack.

Fishtown: Stray, starved dogs roam the streets in ragged packs. Abandoned cats dart across the road.

NL: Just petted the biggest, fattest black dog I've ever seen tied up outside one of the stores. He is obvioulsy too well-fed.

Fishtown: Streets and curbs are lined with a thin layer of trash.

NL: Wide streets, trees, and clean sidewalks.

Fishtown: The only place to shop is Circle Thrift. The only places to eat are the many corner delis.

NL: I'm in a shopping area that has a pet store, several restaurants, and a few quirky (though overpriced) boutiques and art stores.

Fishtown: The numerous dive bars are not divey in a diverse way--where you have the old school people and the hipsters . The bar two blocks down from us features mostly the local alcoholics. The last time I was there, someone passed out face down on the floor. No one really seemed to notice or be surprised. It was like, Oh, there goes Bob again. I ended up talking to a couple and the woman had the most crossed-eyes I've ever seen. I didn't know which eye to look into--each was pointing in its own direction and neither was looking straight ahead. It is not unlikely that you could get into a fist fight with a drunk regular.

NL: In the restaurants, they have both food and bars.

God, I sound like a total jerk--superficial and snotty. But honestly, it's depressing to live in a place that is extremely poor, violent, poorly educated, and ravaged by various forms of addiction. It's not the fault of the people living there; the city does exactly nothing to improve the conditions. There are no parks, very few trees, no library, no retail, and too many bars.

Here is a typiccl photograph of Fishtown:

Here is a photo from Northern Liberties:

We cannot afford to live in NL, however. I can barely afford to shop here.