united by blue

It’s a sustainable clothing shop before a coffee shop. But, to someone like me who had never bought clothing from there, it had always been a coffee shop before a clothing shop.

It’s in University City, otherwise known as West Philadelphia before it had been renamed for rebranding and gentrification purposes. After all, I cannot imagine the administrators of Penn and Drexel to want to be associated with Philadelphia, the city where the median family income is not $100,000 a year. My friend once said, “People who go to Penn identify more with being a student in an Ivy League school than a citizen of Philadelphia.” What a sad thought.

United By Blue is next to a food court known as Franklin’s table, a series of expensive fast-food chains that had previously replaced the Taco Bell that was there my freshman year. The cheapest thing from is a falafel sandwich for $7. They do not accept cash. But I suppose the Penn students who frequent there wouldn’t really mind. After all, cash is much less convenient than a credit card paid by parents.

I wonder what shop was there before United By Blue. Perhaps it was a clothing shop that preferred to sell cheaper clothing before ethical practices. Perhaps it was a restaurant that sold a hamburger for the price of a cup of dark roasted coffee. Perhaps it was just empty. Whatever the case, the expansion of three times its previous size within the past year makes me wonder whether there could exist stores in University City that did not cater towards college students.

But here I am, sipping a cup of coffee and thus implicitly supporting the structural changes to this area of West Philadelphia. I suppose I am a bit of hypocrite.

Categories: coffee shops, photography