REALITY CHECK: OF COURSE, IT WAS NICETOWN

Written by on August 15, 2019

The shootout with city police yesterday was in a struggling stretch of North Philly that has too often seen violence. WURD’s afternoon host wonders if now the neighborhood will get some help

As worried Philadelphians and the world were gripped by images of a fierce, 8-hour standoff of gun battles and crouching police, many Philadelphians weren’t really all that surprised by one aspect: where it went down.

Nicetown may be one of the more oxymoronic designations for a large city neighborhood brutally tucked into an armpit corner of North Philadelphia. There are constant jokes surrounding its name, even while most of its residents have struggled to carve out a defiant contradiction of normalcy. Wednesday’s epic shootout is a sign of Nicetown-Tioga’s generations-long war with itself and the many problems that have plagued it.

Of course, a situation where a half-dozen Philadelphia police officers are shot—thankfully, perhaps miraculously, doing okay—is a situation that will dramatically alter the city’s usual discourse on violence. Philly has had a growing gun violence problem for a while; it’s steadily creeped into crisis status. While largely confined to the city’s poorest pockets, it seemed to take a new turn with a random afternoon shooting in Center City this Monday. Perhaps that began to shake half-slumbering city officials who work, eat and play in the city’s central district, a cloud of worry suddenly darkening the sidewalk beneath them upon realization the violence could begin spreading into Philly’s hub of business, politics and tourism.

Go to The Philadelphia Citizen to READ MORE!


Reader's opinions
  1. Eric Marsh Sr   On   August 16, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I am disappointed by the underlying theme of your article. “Of course, it was Nicetown” fails to take into account that in reality Nicetown is NOT unlike many other areas of Philadelphia or the rest of the country. Nicetown has been home to me and my family for three generations and I have seen it go through its changes.
    What happened on Wednesday evening was only exceptional because police were the victims. Philadelphia has seen six mass shootings this year with a total of 30 people injured and two dead. The majority of these happening in South, Southwest and West Philadelphia. Nicetown is not exceptional.
    The reality is that Nicetown has not had a “generational war with itself”. What it has been at war with is the benign neglect of city administrators and elected officials who have failed to invest in the residents and small businesses that supported the community in it’s hay-day. The person that perpetrated this horrendous act may or may not have been a long-term resident of Nicetown, we don’t know yet, but what we do know is that they were an individual. He is not indicative of every, nor most, nor even a large percentage of the residents there. Your article leaves the impression that Nicetown is overflowing with ravenous killers waiting for an opportunity to make national news. Not only is that false but it is irresponsible and disrespectful. The one thing you said that was accurate, the fact that “philly has had a growing gun violence problem for a while …” is what we should be focusing on. Not separating one already neglected and traumatized neighborhood from all the others that suffer from the same ills and challenges.

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