Photos: Hannah Yoon

The Long and Winding Road of Inequality Cuts Straight Through Philadelphia

Documenting the shutdown on Germantown Avenue, which crosses three zip codes with deep economic divides

Chestnut Hill, 19118

8705 Germantown Avenue Mary MacAvoy and Paul Roller both grew up in Chestnut Hill. They said it has been tough for them to avoid gathering with friends during the shutdown.
8616 Germantown Avenue A branch of Citizens Bank.
Carmen Notarianni, owner of Carman’s Shoe Repair in Chestnut Hill.

Carman’s Shoe Repair, 8111 Germantown Avenue

7998 Germantown Avenue Greyson Heimbach and Brannen Clark, a college student at nearby Temple University. Clack didn’t experience much of disruption in his education due to the shutdown since he lives at home with his parents in Chestnut Hill.
Cynthia Fillmore in front of her store in Chestnut Hill.

Windfall Gallery, 7944 Germantown Avenue

The intersection of Germantown and Springfield avenues

Mount Airy, 19119

7135 Germantown Avenue Tanesha Trippett opened the Brotherly Grub Café in December after running it as a food truck in the city for three years.

“Residents in the neighborhood thought it would be a good idea, as well as a good gesture, to purchase food from Brotherly Grub and have the meals delivered to essential health care workers on the front line. Because of these donations, I have a guaranteed number of sales each weekend.”

Jessica Liddell, owner of Bella Mosaic Art Studio, with her 16-year-old daughter, Maya.

Bella Mosaic Art Studio, 6780 Germantown Avenue

6750 Germantown Avenue Hannah Lee stands in front of her home in Mt. Airy. “Right now, my greatest worry is our country will not change for the better from this,” she says. “That people will continue to value their own individual entitlements over the good of the collective.”
6734 Germantown Avenue George Drakopoulos is the owner of Malelani Café. He has been taking the time to do renovations and use his space as a place to give out meals for the community.

“As soon as the mayor told us about the shutdown I informed all my employees they were off till we reopen. I paid all their wages and started doing takeout and delivery by myself seven days a week, hoping it wouldn’t be this long. After a few weeks I called one employee back because I was exhausted.”

Homes on Germantown Avenue in the Mt. Airy neighborhood.
6700 Germantown Avenue Michael Deshields and his five-year-old son Ayden wait for the 23 bus on Germantown Avenue. Deshields says he’s been a bit nervous and hasn’t left his house a lot. He thinks the coronavirus pandemic is affecting poor people more and he worries about his family.

Germantown, 19144

6004 Germantown Avenue Malik Harper, left, sits with his friend Jasmine Thompson as they wait for the bus. Thompson lives at Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth, and is sometimes worried about what the other youth might bring into their shared space.
6008 Germantown Avenue Kiya Boyd was a manager at the Hilton in downtown Philadelphia but was laid off at the end of February when the hotel closed. She’s been able to bring in some income by making meals for people in her community.

“What’s my gift? It’s helping people. And people don’t like to cook themselves so I just thought of making platters for people.”

5723 Germantown Avenue A man stands at his car in front of Young’s Beauty Town.
5721 Germantown Avenue Glenn Williams waits outside of a pawn shop. This his first time out in three weeks and he misses playing music with other musicians.
Justin Moore is the manager of Uncle Bobbie’s, a coffee shop and bookstore.

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books, 5445 Germantown Avenue

5442 Germantown Avenue Lois Volta, center, with her daughters, Jane Keenan, left, Madeline Keenan, Penelope Keenan, and her husband, Erich Enns at their home on the Germantown Friends School grounds.

“I am observing how I live. It’s almost like I am watching myself move through space. I monitor everything everyone touches. I sanitize everything that comes into the house — I am determined for my home to be classified as a safe space. I am hopeful that we will understand the value of life in a deeper way.”

Imam Hassan Abdi, left, stands in front of his mosque, Germantown Masjid. Anwar Wright, right, is a teacher at the mosque.

Germantown Masjid, 4944 Germantown Avenue

Homes in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
4605 Germantown Avenue Barbara Briscoe is retired and says she isn’t going out much during the shutdown, usually just to buy groceries while wearing a mask.

“People are doing too much. God slowed them down. I don’t worry about it. I stick to myself.”

Peter Merzbacher, the owner and head baker of Philly Bread, sits on the steps in front of his closed store.

Philly Bread, 4530 Germantown Avenue

Photographer based in Philadelphia.

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