Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hipsters Invasion of South Philly Continues

Long thought of as the home of Rocky Balboa and the Italian Market, South Philadelphia has recently become the haven of the local hipster set, causing concern for many longtime residents of the area who fear an "Italian flight."

After being priced out of other areas of the city, young people prone to wearing skinny jeans and American Apparel hoodies have been moving to the South Philly area, bringing their love of overpriced fruity beer and indie-rock with them. The move angers residents like Felicia DeBruno who has lived in the same South Philadelphia rowhome for all of her 82 years.

"The boys look like the girls and the girls with the leggings," DeBruno said. "I don't understand any of it. But they must have bad eyesight with the size of those sunglasses."

But it appears the future of South Philadelphia belongs to the hipsters as more and more hipster-related businesses move into the area. Shops like Doggie Style, which labels itself as a "premier boutique and spa for your dog," would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, yet they seem to be thriving today.

"Here's the thing, if I'm living here I want the places I shop in to have witty, snarky names," said Clint Lane, who moved to a Broad Street apartment with his three friends four months ago. "So, I'm getting coffee at Black N Brew and getting my dog's food at Doggie Style. Screw Starbucks and PetSmart."

Last month it was reported that Philadelphia restaurant maven Steven Starr would be purchasing the Broad Street Diner, which was on the market for $1.9 million, and bringing his signature style of restaurants like Alma De Cuba and Tangerine to South Philadelphia. But some argue the move won't be anything special for the neighborhood.

"Look at what Starr's doing in other places now," said Chris DiPeitro, restaurant critic for the the website "In all likelihood it's just going to be another Buddakan or Continental."

But as some long time residents are considering moving to escape the influx of hipsters, residents like Gaetano Difellipo say they're going to stick it out, even if they don't like what they see.

"I go into that South Philly Tap Room the other night and I walk over to the jukebox and guess what? Not a Sinatra tune in the bunch," said Difellipo. "I mean not even Dean Martin. This is like blasphemy, but I ain't moving, no way."

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