12th Street torment


Twenty years ago this month, The Wallflowers released the single “6th Avenue Heartache.” As Friday marked the final day of a 53-year-run for the South Philly Review at 2448 S. 12th St., I thought of that tune since I am experiencing a case of 12th Street Torment. While the publication will remain strong through a new location, I still feel sad to have needed to vacate the space. I have been with the company since May 10, 2010, meaning I enjoyed ample days and opportunities to develop an affinity for the corner spot. Here are the top 10 activities that I will lament the loss of now that we have said our farewell.

10) Walking past Marconi Plaza: Our old address was an incredibly quick walk from my home, and I always passed Marconi Plaza, 2700 S. Broad St., on the way to do my duties. No matter the time of year, the elements, or the congregants, I constantly enjoyed turning my head to the right and feeling left with a great sense of calm.

9) Heading to Big Nick’s: FREE ADVERTISING ALERT! Ha. Over the last year, I often felt an urge to spend a few bucks on non-home-prepared lunches and to fraternize with the owners of corner stores. Nobody struck me more than Big Nick’s Cold Cuts and Italian Specialties, 1311 W. Moyamensing Ave., where I became known as the “half pound of turkey guy” before anyone knew my name.

8) Making a trip to “The Dungeon”: Dank and dingy, our basement housed our bound annual compilations and copies of current issues, so when someone needed a copy of something pre-Internet times or we had to look at papers for a contest, I made trips to “The Dungeon.” Wishing the dead roaches fun in the afterlife, I scurried back upstairs and made use of the contents I had secured, feeling a sense of gratitude that the South Philly Review has served as a mainstay since 1947.

7) Seeing our delivery truck on Thursdays: I absolutely loved the occasions when my arrival at the paper would coincide with the loading of papers into delivery trucks. No matter my role at the Review, I have forever found issue dates to be compelling reminders of my fortune in taking part in the composition and distribution of community news. You have all made it so easy to care about giving maximum effort.

6) Listening to rants from The Midnight Caller: When I joined the staff, then-managing editor Bill Gelman let me listen to voicemails from a man who would call after business hours, usually between midnight and 2 a.m., to rant about the paper. Once he became editor, the calls intensified, and then when this man started to see my name appear, he would leave me profanity-laced messages teeming with personal attacks and presumptions about my identity. When the publication installed caller ID last year, I was able to determine his identity and called him, leaving him a message to which I have not received a reply. While my move ended his harassment, I must say I will occasionally miss the displays of his narrow mind.

5) Interacting with subjects who came to retrieve copies: How I would love when administrative assistant Cathy Semeraro would call me to say a subject of mine was waiting downstairs to congratulate me on how I represented him or her in the paper. The exchanges occasionally led to great friendships, and I hope I can add a few of those bonds as we plot the next chapter in our existence.

4) Watching folks from my window: South Philly registers as a wonderful place to engage in people watching, and being the curious chronicler that I am, I reveled in looking from my window to catch exchanges among residents and to form narratives for the interesting characters who passed. Thank you for always keeping boredom at bay, unsuspecting journeyers!

3) Taking my son to the office: I occasionally had my son accompany me to the office on the weekend when I needed something for a story, and I would love how professionally he wanted to act, twice saying “Daddy, let me write for your paper.” I may have a future journo on my hands. Keep the presses warm!

2) Approving pages: I became the editor of the Review last September, meaning the honor of approving pages to send to the printer fell to me. As the piles increased each Wednesday, I had a relentless sense of excitement come over me, as I proudly strove to make every piece of content clear and captivating.

1) Receiving emails to say that the paper had gone to the printer: After sending the final page of each issue to our design team, I gladly waited for the email that said everything was safely with our printer. Upon receiving confirmation, I would smile and anticipate readers’ reactions to our stories. That excitement will not wane as we continue to produce material for you. I would venture to say it will grow since you never fail to give us great pitches to present to the masses. ■

Contact Editor Joseph Myers at jmyers@southphillyreview.com or ext. 124.