Philadeli is closed forever.

So claims Porky Pig with a yarmulke. For those looking for trends on East South Street, this certainly isn't a good sign. Philadeli, which had been around far longer than I've been showing my scruffy face around South Street, has shut its doors. Inside the old Jewish style deli looks pretty well cleaned out, just a misaligned and empty tastykake shelf is visible in the darkened interior. I used to go there pretty often when I worked at Pearl Art and Craft across the street, the place offered a nice 5 minute break when I was exhausted from being on my feet all day. I remember well Carl Ning discovering and recommending the Matzo Ball soup from the aggressive looking guys from behind the Philadeli Deli counter.

It seems from a couple of comment boards online that a new owner bought the building, and has new ideas for retail to take its place. I'm a little concerned, because if you look at past closures on the street, new stores have failed to materialize or have taken quite a long time. Seems like there's a slow unraveling taking place. A lot of closings in the past few years have been stores I didn't care about or actively disliked, like McDonald's, Tower and the Gap. But I'd much rather have those retailers than an empty storefront. Change is part of the city, and I'll wait to see what this new owner has in mind, but to lose a South Street stalwart like Philadeli makes me feel uneasy.

South Street doesn't get a lot of respect. I think many people consider it to be the trashy past-prime cousin to old city, and events like the 2001 Mardi Gras didn't help it's reputation. But consider that's it's the retail backbone to two wonderfully vibrant neighborhoods - Queen Village and Society Hill - and that many of it's businesses are unique in the city, like Pearl or Bluebond guitars, or Chef's Market. I am worried that I don't hear more voices concerned for it's future.

And who are these TRIAD realty folks? They seem to be everywhere on South Street.

No comments: