Pearl Street runs four blocks long, an elongated alley with schools flocked on both sides. Despite its airy and well-lit lanes, the area is rundown and known as a very dilapidated area. When Center City real estate started its expansion, Pearl Street was left virtually untouched. Until this year, the street was highly underutilized and the lanes were littered with trash, and unkempt with large trash bins and graffiti-covered walls. In the past, the alley hosted illicit activities and operated as an unofficial shelter for the homeless who slept in the corners. The development in the area seemed initially hopeless, but the Asian Arts Initiative is leading a project to take back the neighborhood and the block. The goal is to revitalize Center City real estate and its surrounding area to bring back art, life, and color into the street.
Sitting on the northern edge of Center City real estate, Pearl Street closely associates with the Chinatown neighborhood. Most residents are afraid to walk down the block because of its unsafe connotations, something that the Asian Arts Initiative will remedy with the revitalization. The block’s renovation is part of a plan to bring in positive activity into the neighborhood, and claim all parts of the neighborhood back for festivities and community purposes. The executive directors of the Asian Arts Initiative acknowledge the upcoming difficulties they face, but still dream of the area as a communal area, perfect for constituent meetings and block parties.
Last month, Pearl Street launched a block party as a podium to speak about the newly planned changes, and as a free arts festival to bring together a diverse group of people. The event commemorated the area’s artistic community with live performance, artwork and many different delicious foods to sample. The plan was to showcase Pearl Street’s inevitable outlook and reveal a small taste of its future potential. The neighborhood and program wants to bring back the town’s culture and capitalize on Center City’s real estate illustrious and rich history. The inconsistent nature of the town is easily noticed with luxury buildings and homeless shelters existing on the same block. Now, the town hopes to actively shape and unify the community, and celebrate the diverse population.
As Center City real estate continues to spread throughout Philadelphia, Pearl Street will experience a cultural makeover, as it begins to develop into an artsy community hotspot and a beautifully pedestrian-lined street.