The true Kensington

Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man re­flects on what makes Kens­ing­ton any­thing but a bad place to live.

Do you make it to the Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Derby and Trenton Av­en­ue Arts Fest this past Sat­urday?

I did.

I’ve at­ten­ded these paired events without fail for the past few years.

Bar­ring any un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances, I ex­pect this streak of at­tend­ance to con­tin­ue.

Just like the an­nu­al River City Fest­iv­al or Shad Fest, the Kens­ing­ton Kin­et­ic Derby and The Trenton Ave. Arts Fest al­low loc­als to gath­er and share a sunny af­ter­noon with friends, which is great.

More im­port­antly though, these events are a sign that the neigh­bor­hood is grow­ing while the com­munity works to­geth­er like a well-oiled ma­chine.

There are sig­ni­fic­ant par­al­lels between the in­cred­ible mech­an­ics of the kin­et­ic sculp­tures in­volved in the derby and the func­tion­ing cogs of each per­son in­volved in the com­munity ef­forts that bring it all to­geth­er.

These com­munity events are something every loc­al res­id­ent should sup­port, be­cause, un­for­tu­nately, a stigma still ex­ists—too many people wrinkle their noses upon hear­ing the word “Kens­ing­ton.”

Dec­ades of neg­lect from politi­cians, crim­in­al activ­ity and long- va­cant prop­er­ties have made “Kens­ing­ton” in­to a seem­ingly bad word.

Some people hear “Kens­ing­ton” and are quick to re­call ex­ag­ger­ated stor­ies they’ve heard of drug corners on Kens­ing­ton Av­en­ue or the sor­did tale of the “Kens­ing­ton Stran­gler.”

The very thought of the neigh­bor­hood makes some people cringe, but the fact is (as loc­als know and have shown time and time again) good neigh­bors make a good neigh­bor­hood.

And as this past week­end’s events read­ily proved, Kens­ing­ton has no short­age of good neigh­bors.

Every day – on dis­play un­der a shin­ing sun and bright blue skies this past week­end – Kens­ing­ton res­id­ents stand to­geth­er in a way that should show the city that a neigh­bor­hood can be what you de­cide it is.

If you know someone who scoffs at the thought of a friendly, won­der­ful Kens­ing­ton, tell them it is not a neigh­bor­hood of guns, drugs and pros­ti­tu­tion.

In­stead, Kens­ing­ton is a neigh­bor­hood of in­genu­ity, co­oper­a­tion and good­will.

If Phil­adelphia is the truly the “City of Broth­erly Love,” last week­end proved that love is alive and well in Kens­ing­ton.

And any biased or un­in­formed Phil­adelphi­ans, con­tent to turn up their noses at the neigh­bor­hood, will nev­er know the true spir­it of that love if they re­fuse to see Kens­ing­ton at its best.

Star Staff Re­port­er Hay­den Mit­man can be con­tac­ted at 215-354-3124 or hmit­

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