The City of Brotherly Love is attracting millennials, developers, conventions and more people interested in opening restaurants. New York still has some of the best in the country, but we are catching up and New Yorkers and other visitors are traveling to Philly. There is great interest in the fusion of several cuisines that correspond to the influx of immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
As a testament to the vibrant growth of our city, The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau has just announced that there is a prosperous year ahead for the city. One of the key economic indicators is the number of hotel room nights which signal an increase of 12% with respect to 2018. But all around town, in Center City, in north Philly above Northern Liberties, towards Frankford and Kensington there is a sense of optimism in spite of certain difficulties related to the opioid crisis and gentrification.
One of the main concerns expressed by political leaders is the fact that the Hispanic population that was displaced decades ago from the Fairmount area and moved East, is now being pressured to move further North, past Lehigh Avenue and heading towards the Roosevelt Boulevard. Of course, there are Hispanics in the Olney section and all the way to Cottman Avenue and further north. City Council is planning to ask developers to build affordable housing in order to maintain a balance in those growing areas, but we have yet to see specific regulations that will enforce those plans.
It is undeniable that the city is experiencing an era of tremendous growth. We have a right to hope that progress will not bypass the poorest among us and that the local and state governments take steps to guarantees that any development brings benefits for all of Philadelphia’s citizens.