River Wards: Then and Now, Old and New: New to Northern Liberties

Aimee Vig­gia­ni, who lives at 2nd and Brown streets.

Aimee Vig­gia­ni moved from the North­east to North­ern Liber­ties with a bit of hes­it­a­tion.

“I had a mis­con­cep­tion of this neigh­bor­hood,” she said. “I heard it was just ‘full of hip­sters,’ and people way young­er.”

She dis­covered, however, when she and her hus­band moved to 2nd and Brown streets three years ago, that the neigh­bor­hood was full of people their age, as well as lots of people start­ing fam­il­ies.

“There is a real mix of people on my block,” she said, “My neigh­bors are su­per friendly.”

North­ern Liber­ties, she said, can’t be iden­ti­fied with just one word.

“It’s so many dif­fer­ent things,” she said. “It’s what you make of it.”

The Piazza, she said, is like its own little world, and though it def­in­itely changes the vibe of the neigh­bor­hood, she said,

“I think people are cool with it. Some of the neigh­bor­hood just isn’t the mar­ket for the Piazza, and that’s okay.”

Some great events, she said, are the 2nd Street Fest­iv­al, as well as movies in the park at Liberty Lands.

One thing she’d like to see in the neigh­bor­hood, she said, is more de­vel­op­ment on 2nd Street, as there are still many empty shells of build­ings.

The best thing, she said, is how much there is to do in the neigh­bor­hood.

“You can really make a day of it here,” she said. “Go bowl­ing, grab a beer, check out boutiques. There’s a bit of everything. The real need is more busi­nesses, not just bars, but cre­at­ive busi­nesses, bi­cycle shops, a spa, di­versity.”

She said the North­ern Liber­ties Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation is ex­tremely help­ful in get­ting things done for the neigh­bors, and she thinks it would be a good thing for more young people to get in­volved.

Long­time res­id­ents, she said, de­serve a lot of cred­it for build­ing up the neigh­bor­hood.

“In 2000, I rode through the neigh­bor­hood with a friend, and my per­cep­tion was like, ‘where the heck are we?’ Now, it’s been like an ex­plo­sion of stuff pop­ping up on blocks,” she said. “I don’t see my­self go­ing any­where else.” ••

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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