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Posted by bender 03/04/2009 @ 19:37

Tags : philadelphia, cities and towns, pennsylvania, states, us

News headlines
mcnabb and Philadelphia in Awkward Embrace - New York Times
By Toni Monkovic So Philadelphia and Donovan McNabb are stuck with each other, like two guys in a bad buddy cop movie. Almost wish we could press the fast-forward on this film — skip the psychodrama — and get to the ending. The Eagles rewarded McNabb...
Phils hoping to avoid sweep at hands of Red-hot Sox - Sports Network
(Sports Network) - The defending world champion Philadelphia Phillies have dropped two in a row on their home field to the Boston Red Sox and will attempt to avoid a series sweep this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Ace Josh Beckett will be on the...
Recap: NY Mets vs. Philadelphia - Kansas City Star
By Sports Network Raul Ibanez continued his sensational first half of the 2009 campaign, blasting a three-run homer off Ken Takahashi in the 10th inning to cap Philadelphia's 6-3 victory over NL East foe New York. Bobby Parnell (2-2), in his second...
Phillies option Escalona; bring up Walker - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies optioned pitcher Sergio Escalona to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and selected the contract of pitcher Tyler Walker from the Iron Pigs on Sunday. Escalona has been with the Phillies for two stints...
Kendrick sent back to minors after 1 appearance - The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Right-hander Kyle Kendrick was sent back to Triple-A on Saturday, one day after he came up and took the loss in the Philadelphia Phillies' 5-2 defeat against Boston. Left-hander Sergio Escalona was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh...
Police officer shot in North Philadelphia -
By Cathy Gandolfo According to Philadelphia Police, Officer Ashley Hoggard is a lucky man. That's because the bullet that missed his body armor entered soft tissue in his shoulder. 26-year-old Hoggard, the 3-year force veteran from the 39th Police...
Car hits pedestrians in North Philadelphia - The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A car has jumped a curb and struck a crowd of pedestrians in North Philadelphia. Media reports say several children were among those struck Wednesday night. The total number injured was not immediately available....
PHILADELPHIA: Kimmel Center to sponsor Seinfeld comedy contest - Vineland Daily Journal
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, will host a standup comedy contest June 16 in the center's Commonwealth Plaza to celebrate Jerry Seinfeld's performances which are scheduled for June 19 and 20 at the...
Philadelphia's Latest Mural Honors Local Tuskegee Airmen -
The news comes, coincidentally, as the city of Philadelphia's 3000th mural was being dedicated on Sunday at 2pm in West Philadelphia - a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. KYW's Karin Phillips reports the wall-sized mural is on 39th Street facing south...
Danny DeVito Drunk: DeVito Philadelphia Morning Show Interview (Video) - Right Pundits
Case in point, there is a new Danny DeVito drunk video from a Philadelphia Morning Show interview he did that is really kind of embarrassing. We have the video for you here as well as photos and more about the interview. Danny DeVito was interviewed on...

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania

Map of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania today

Philadelphia County is a county located in the U.S. State of Pennsylvania. It is coterminous with the city of Philadelphia which also serves as its seat. In 2006, the United States Census Bureau estimated the population at 1,448,394. Philadelphia County is one of the three original counties, along with Chester and Bucks counties, created by William Penn in November 1682.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 142.6 square miles (369.4 km²), of which, 135.1 square miles (349.9 km²) of it is land and 7.6 square miles (19.6 km²) of it is water. The total area is 5.29% water. Bodies of water include the Delaware River, Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, Wissahickon Creek, and Pennypack Creek.

The lowest point in the county lies 10 feet above sea level near Fort Mifflin in Southwest Philadelphia at the convergence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The highest point is in Chestnut Hill, at 432 feet above sea level, near Evergreen Place, just north and west of Evergreen Avenue.

Tribes of Delaware Indians were the original occupants in the area which became Philadelphia County. The first European settlers were Swedes and Finns who arrived in 1638. The Netherlands seized the area in 1655, but permanently lost control to England in 1674. William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania from Charles II of England in 1681, and in November 1682 divided Pennsylvania into three counties. In the same year Philadelphia was laid out and was made the county seat and the capital of the Province of Pennsylvania.

Penn wanted Philadelphia, meaning "brotherly love", to be a place where religious tolerance and the freedom to worship were ensured. Philadelphia's name is shared with the ancient Asia Minor city spared in the Book of Revelation in the Quaker Bible. It was William Penn's prayer that his "Holy Experiment" would be found blameless at the Last Judgment.

When established, Philadelphia County comprised mainly of the area from the Delaware River west between the Schuylkill River to the south and the border with Bucks County to the north, the western boundary was undefined. Two counties would be formed out of Philadelphia County, Berks County which was formed in 1752 (from parts of Chester, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties), and Montgomery County established in 1784. From these separations, as well as other border moves, come the present day boundaries of the county.

The City of Philadelphia, as laid out by Penn, comprised only that portion of the present day city situated between South and Vine Streets and the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. Other settlements were made beyond the boundaries of the city, and in the course of time they became separately incorporated and had separate governments.

Several of these settlements were situated immediately contiguous to the "city proper" of Philadelphia such as Southwark and Moyamensing in the south, the Northern Liberties District, Kensington, Spring Garden and Penn District to the north, and West Philadelphia and Blockley to the west — which combined with the City of Philadelphia formed practically one continuously built up town, the whole group being known abroad simply as Philadelphia.

Besides these, there were a number of other outlying townships, villages and settlements throughout the county. Over time, as the population expanded out from the City of Philadelphia, those closer to the City of Philadelphia became absorbed in the congeries of towns of which greater Philadelphia was composed, while those further away from the city often joined with other townships, villages and settlements to form the newer counties of Berks and Montgomery.

During this period, the city government of Philadelphia and the county government of Philadelphia acted separately. By the mid-19th century, it was clear that a more structured government bureaucracy was needed. A reform charter, on February 2, 1854, brought all the boroughs, townships and districts of the County of Philadelphia within the City of Philadelphia, thus abolishing the patchwork of cities, boroughs, and townships that had made up Philadelphia County since its founding.

The city-county consolidation was a result of the inability of a colonial-type government by committees to adapt to the needs of a growing city for new public services, for example, better streets, police, transportation, sanitation and schools.

The newly integrated districts had marked characteristics between them, but over time, after the consolidation, these characteristics generally integrated into the City of Philadelphia known today. Today, the names of some of these districts are synonymous with neighborhoods in the city, with their boundaries roughly matching their historic boundaries.

In 1951, a new initiative called the Home Rule Charter fully merged city and county offices. This new charter provided the city with a common structure and outlined the "strong mayor" form of government that is still used today.

The county offices were merged with the city government in 1952, effectively eliminating the county as a governmental structure in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Even though the county no longer has a government structure by law, in both the Unconsolidated Pennsylvania Statutes and The Philadelphia Code and Charter, the County of Philadelphia is still an entity within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It is thus subject to the provisions and laws of the Commonwealth concerning counties. Exceptions include restrictions stated in the Home Rule Charter of Philadelphia, Act of Consolidation, 1854, and subsequent legislation. The county also is the only First Class County, meaning it had a population of 1.5 million or above at the last census, in the Commonwealth.

Philadelphia has become racially and ethnically diverse over the years, and this process continues. Since 1990, (the year that immigration began increasing), thousands of immigrants from Latin America, Asia and Europe have arrived in the county. Today, the city has some of the largest Puerto Rican, Italian, Korean, Vietnamese, Russian, Ukrainian, Jamaican, Chinese, Arab, Irish, Thai and Cambodian populations in America. The county has the fourth largest concentration of African Americans in North America, including large representations of Liberians, Nigerians, and Sudanese. The Northeast section of the city, and more significantly the suburbs of Philadelphia, contain vast numbers of Indian Americans and Mexicans.

Currently, Philadelphia County has no government structure. Prior to the Act of Consolidation in 1854 a Board of Commissioners governed the county in accordance with the law of Pennsylvania at the time.

The origins of the Board of Commissioners are found in the office of Tax Assessor in Philadelphia County, established by an Act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly on 27 November 1700. Tax Assessor was an office of six persons, elected annually to estimate the County's fiscal needs, to make an assessment and levy a tax to meet them, and to appoint its collectors and the County Treasurer.

On 28 March 1710, the Assembly approved an act that created an appointed Board of County Commissioners, which was changed to a popularly elected board in 1725. The Commissioners were empowered to demand accountings of the Assessors and Collectors and to appoint new collectors if necessary. Subsequent acts passed by the Assembly in 1715, 1718 and 1722 expanded the power and the scope of the Board, granting the Commissioners authority to share with the assessors in the assessment process and in the allocation of tax receipts among the various county projects, to take part in the appointment of the County Treasurer, and to issue warrants and levy fines against delinquent taxpayers and collectors. Other Acts passed during the eighteenth century gave the Commissioners regulatory powers and maintenance functions in regard to county lands, roads, bridges, wharves and landings, courts and the county prison.

In 1780, the Assembly passed an Act that abolished the Board of County Assessors and left its functions in the hands of the Commissioners alone, who continued to appoint the assessors and collectors of each of the county's boroughs, townships and districts. Further legislation in 1799 and 1805 formally established the Commissioners' functions of furnishing lists of voters to election officers and aiding the Sheriff in the selection of jurors, as both were based upon lists of taxpayers. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Commissioners' duties were further increased to include the leasing of polling places, the provision of ballot boxes, and related duties.

The consolidation of the City and County of Philadelphia in 1854 abolished the Board of County Commissioners, with most of its functions transferred to the popularly elected City Commissioners who, although retaining their original title and duties, were thenceforth considered County officers. Because the City Commissioners were considered County officers, they were still regulated by State laws concerning County Commissioners. The City Commissioners should not be confused with the City Council, as these are two separate entities.

Even though the governments of the both the City and County were effectively consolidated by the Act of Consolidation, not all offices and agencies, such as the Board of Inspectors of the County Prison (Philadelphia Prison System), Coroner, Recorder of Deeds, and Sheriff, that were under the control of the county prior to the consolidation were transferred to the city, though their oversight and regulation were now handled by the City Commissioners. Other offices and agencies, like that of Offices of City Tax Collector and County Tax Collector were reduced to that of clerk in the new office of Receiver of Taxes. Both Commissioners' (City and County) powers in regard to streets and City property were transferred to the City's Departments of Highways and City Property. From 1854 until 1867, the Commissioners also served as members of the Board of Revision of Taxes. In 1867, the City Assessors were made appointees of that Board.

The powers left to the Commissioners were chiefly accounting ones over County institutions, regulatory duties regarding weights and measures (given them by an Act of 1895) and administrative functions in connection with elections, which culminated in complete control of their conduct with the formation of the County Board of Elections under their direction in 1937.

Although not mentioned in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, the City Commissioners' Office became part of the City government by way of the 1951 City-County Amendment to the State Constitution. In addition, the 1963 amendment to the First Class Cities Home Rule Act gave City Council the power to pass legislation with regard to operations of the City Commissioners' Office. The 1965 City-County Consolidation Ordinance of City Council further enabled these enactments.

Philadelphia County is by far the most Democratic county in Pennsylvania. In 2004, John Kerry received 542,205 votes (80%) to 130,099 votes (19%) for George W. Bush, making it Kerry's strongest county in the state, which he narrowly won. The county has voted for the Democrat in every presidential election since 1932. On numerous occasions, it has been the only county in the state to vote for a Democrat. Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter, a Philadelphia resident, did not receive one third of the Philadelphia vote in his most recent election, which he won easily.

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Philadelphia International Airport

Destinations with direct service from Philadelphia

Philadelphia International Airport (IATA: PHL, ICAO: KPHL, FAA LID: PHL) is an airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is the largest airport in the Delaware Valley region. As of 2008 it is the 10th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft activity. The airport is the primary international hub of US Airways and has service to destinations in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, and Mexico, and in the future to China, as US Airways is expected to begin service to Beijing in Spring 2010. Most of the airport property is located in Philadelphia proper. The international terminal and the western end of the airfield are located in Tinicum Township, Delaware County.

Starting in 1925, the Pennsylvania Air National Guard used the PHL site (historically known as Hog Island) as a training field for its pilots. The site was dedicated as the "Philadelphia Municipal Airport" by Charles Lindbergh in 1927. However, there was no proper terminal building until 1940, so airlines used an airfield in nearby Camden, New Jersey. Once the terminal was completed, four airlines (American, Eastern, TWA, and United) started flights to the airport. Philadelphia Municipal became Philadelphia International in 1945, when American Overseas Airlines began flights to Europe.

US Airways became the dominant carrier at PHL through the 1980s and 1990s and shifted the majority of its hub operations from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in 2003. In 2004, Southwest Airlines announced it would begin flights from PHL, challenging US Airways in some of the major's important north-south and transcontinental markets.

Today, Philadelphia International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and among the fastest growing in the United States. Its status as a US Airways hub and the growth of Southwest Airlines and other low-cost carriers has helped passenger traffic to reach record levels. In 2004, a total of 28,507,420 passengers flew through Philadelphia, up 15.5% over 2003. In 2005, 31,502,855 passengers flew through PHL, marking a 10% increase since 2004. In 2006, 31,768,272 passengers flew through PHL, a 0.9% increase.

Such growth has not come without difficulties. There are questions as to how much more passenger growth can occur. PHL's present terminal and runway configuration are reaching full utilization alongside the fact that PHL remains the world's largest airport without an inground fueling system (thus requiring fuel to be trucked to each airplane), have led to congestion and flight delays. Additionally, the airport's parking facilities have been severely taxed. Complete exhaustion of all parking at the airport has become a regular occurrence. However, airport officials have ambitious plans for terminal and runway expansion to resolve these issues.

PHL's fastest growing airline, Southwest, is currently working with the city and the airport to construct an expansion and improvement to its facilities. The new construction includes a joint ticket counter lobby for the D and E terminals, one large security check point for the two terminals, additional concessions, and an eventual hammerhead expansion to the E concourse. While construction on some of these projects has already begun, completion is slated for 2008-2009. More immediate growth plans for Southwest include an additional baggage service office in the D terminal, and, in fall 2007, taking over 4 gates (E1,E3,E5,E7) used by Delta Air Lines and 1 gate (E6) used by Northwest Airlines in the E terminal, when Delta moved to A East.

Philadelphia International Airport is important to Philadelphia, its metropolitan region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth's Aviation Bureau reported in its Pennsylvania Air Service Monitor that the total economic impact made by the state's airports in 2004 was $22 billion. PHL alone accounted for $14 billion or 63% of total. The calculations include both direct spending and the multiplier effect of that spending throughout the state's economy.

Extension of Runway 17-35; Extension of parallel Taxiways D and E; Construction of a High Speed Taxiway for Runway 35 landings exiting to Taxiway E; Construction of an Aircraft Holding Apron at Runway 35 end; Relocation of Airside Perimeter Service Roads at Runway 17 and Runway 35 ends; Installation of High Intensity Runway Lighting (HIRL) and Medium Intensity Taxiway Lighting (MITL); Modifications to airfield signs; Substantial relocation/modification of navigational aids (NAVAIDS): Demolition of existing Taxiways D2 and E2; Modifications to existing Economy Parking Lot; Re-designation of existing State Route (SR) 291 north of Airport; Modifications to Bartram Avenue from the SR 291 intersection to Island Ave., SR 291 and I-95 ramps; Demolition of SR 291 at Runway 17 extension work area; Construction of Landside Service Road adjacent to I-95 right-of-way limit; Associated drainage, grading and utility relocations/modifications. The first phase (IG), which allowed for the redesignation of Route 291, is complete. The remaining phases I, II and III are in progress.

Taxis charge a flat rate of $28.50 from the airport to central Philadelphia.

SEPTA operates regional rail service and bus service between the airport and the surrounding area via R1 Commuter Rail line and bus routes 37 (South Philadelphia to Eastwick and Chester Transportation Ctr via Philadelphia International Airport), 108 (69th Street Terminal to Philadelphia International Airport or UPS) and 305 (Darby Transportation Center to Philadelphia International Airport) with convenient stops at University City, Amtrak’s 30th Street, Suburban, and Market East Stations.

Rental cars are available through a number of companies, all of which must be reached by shuttle bus.

As a benefit to students, local schools including The University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, and Swarthmore College have provided transportation to the Airport by means of shuttles during such times as Spring Break and Thanksgiving.

Philadelphia International Airport has seven terminal buildings, which are divided into seven lettered concourses. Terminals A East and A West, B, C, D, and E are all interconnected, and it is possible to travel through all of these without reentering security. Terminal F, completed in 2003, is completely separate from these terminals. There are, however, shuttle buses inside security between Terminal F and Terminal C using gate C16, an old US Airways Express gate and between Terminal F and Terminal A, at gate A1. There is a large shopping/dining area between Concourses B and C.

Ongoing construction at the airport will add new passenger facilities between Terminals D and E, connecting E to the rest of the Terminal complex.

The Philadelphia metropolitan area is the largest in the United States without nonstop flights to East Asia. This is most likely due to its proximity to major airports in New York City and Washington D.C. In July 2007, US Airways announced that it would seek federal approval for a non-stop route between Philadelphia and Beijing, China.

On September 26th, 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced it has awarded US Airways a new route between its Philadelphia hub and the Chinese capital city of Beijing. The daily service to China is scheduled to begin on March 25, 2009 with a wide-body Airbus A340 aircraft configured to seat 269 (42 Envoy and 227 economy). US Airways announced that it would seek to the US Department of Transportation to delay the Philadelphia-Beijing flight until Spring 2010.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker said they hope they're able to seek three more international destinations including Tel Aviv by the summer of 2009 from Philadelphia.

It is expected in 2007 that there will be a relocation of airlines, with the upcoming renovation of Terminals D and E. Delta Air Lines has moved from Terminal E to Terminal A East, Frontier Airlines is expected to move to either A East or Terminal D. PHL 1247.14/15/16/17 - Terminals D/E Connector Building Phase IA $20M Projected completion November 2007 PHL 1247.24/25/26/27/2B/2E - Terminals D/E Connector Building Phase IB $91M Projected completion December 2008 PHL 1247.34/35/36/37/3E - Term. D/E Ticketing Renovations & Bag Claim Phase II $91M Projected completion February 2010 This project consists of a new multi-level connector building between Terminals D and E, a 50,000 SF addition to the Terminal E concourse, a 9,000 SF connector building between Bag Claims D and E, and various renovations to areas within the two terminals and the adjacent Thermal Plant.

Phases IA and IB are the new multi-level connector building between Terminals D and E. The first level will house a new baggage make-up area, which would replace the existing areas in each of the terminals. This area will also contain an Explosive Detection System (EDS), to be operated by the TSA as part of an in-line baggage screening system. The second level will be a 14-lane passenger security screening area serving both terminals, and the third level will house Division of Aviation offices and have space for an airline club. The Phase IA portion that is finishing up, consisted of site work, building foundations, utility relocation and structural steel placement for the connector building. Work on Phase IB has commenced in July 2007 and will complete the connector building.

The modifications to existing terminal buildings will include an increase of 23 ticket counter positions with larger queuing spaces, increased public circulation, new concessions and other tenant spaces. The Terminal E Concourse will be expanded with the construction of a 2-level addition at the end of the concourse. Airline Operations space will be at ground level. The second level will provide hold rooms, concessions, rest rooms and operations space to accommodate three new gates and four relocated gates. The Bag Claim buildings for Terminals D & E will be connected with a one story addition that will contain two new baggage carousels.

One of the two newest terminal buildings at the airport, Concourse A West has a very modern and innovative design. Opened in 2003 as the new international terminal, it is now home to all international flights (except Canada), and also some US Airways domestic flights. It offers a variety of international dining options.

International Arrivals (except from locations with Customs preclearance) are processed at the Terminal A West arrival building.

This terminal, originally the airport's international terminal, is now used mainly by domestic carriers, but also sometimes by US Airways for international flights. A East is well upgraded and well maintained, and recently received a new baggage claim upgrade.

Terminals B and C are the two main US Airways terminals. They are connected to each other through a very large shopping mall and food court, the Philadelphia Marketplace. The gate waiting areas have recently within the past year started getting remodeled, though there is a lack of waiting space at many of the gates, but aesthetically, the terminal is in good condition. The facilities are fairly modern and dining options on the concourses are also available.

Terminal D, along with Terminal E, is slated for renovation. Currently, its dining options are limited. Baggage claim areas and ticket counter areas are heavily in need of upgrades. Terminal D is home to Southwest Airlines' growing presence at Philadelphia, and because Southwest's ticketing takes place in Terminal E, Southwest passengers must cross from Terminal E to Terminal D. Currently under construction is a new combined ticketing area for the two terminals, located directly between the two, that will alleviate this problem. Also a recently completed connector building between Terminal D and Terminal E that features a variety of shops and restaurants, similar to the one between Terminals B and C, and a connector building between Baggage Claims D and E. This terminal is connected to the shopping area of Terminals B/C through a post-security walkway.

This terminal is also slated for renovations. Like in Terminal D, food selections are generally limited. Ticketing areas are strained for space because of Southwest's rapid growth. Also strained by Southwest's growth is the baggage claim area. It serves Southwest passengers arriving in both Terminals D and E, in a very limited space. Overall, the baggage claim area is in dismal condition, requiring very heavy operations in a very cramped area. Also, the baggage area has troubles with heating in winter, due to the close proximity of the doors to the carousels. To help reduce the congestion problems in the baggage area, Southwest now shares AirTran's baggage carousel in the Terminal D baggage claim for passengers arriving there. It also has its own baggage services office located nearby in D. Delta Air Lines, which previously operated out of Terminal E, moved to Terminal A East on November 15, 2007.

Terminal F is a regional terminal, for US Airways Express flights. It includes special jet bridges that allow passengers to board commuter planes without walking on the tarmac.

On Sunday, November 16, 2008, Flight 4551, a US Airways Express deHavilland Dash-8 turboprop operated by Piedmont Airlines, took off from Lehigh Valley International Airport at 8:20am heading to Philadelphia International Airport, had to make an emergency landing. The flight crew was indicated that the front nose gear hadn't come down and had to make a flyover the runway for confirmation. Of 35 passengers and 3 crew, there were no injuries.

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Official seal of City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia (pronounced /ˌfɪləˈdɛlfiə/) is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-most-populous city in the United States. It is the fifth-largest metropolitan area and fourth-largest urban area by population in the United States, the nation's fourth-largest consumer media market as ranked by the Nielsen Media Research, and the 49th-most-populous city in the world. It is the county seat of Philadelphia County (with which it is coterminous). Popular nicknames for Philadelphia include Philly and The City of Brotherly Love (from Greek: Φιλαδέλφεια, , Modern Greek: , "brotherly love" from philos-φίλος, "love", and adelphos-αδερφός or αδελφός "brother").

In 2005, the population of the city proper was estimated to be over 1.4 million, while the Greater Philadelphia metropolitan area, with a population of 5.8 million, is the fifth-largest in the United States. A commercial, educational, and cultural center, the city was once the second-largest in the British Empire (after London), and the social and geographical center of the original 13 American colonies. Ben Franklin took a large role in Philadelphia's early rise to prominence. It was in this city that many of the ideas, and subsequent actions, gave birth to the American Revolution and American Independence, making Philadelphia a centerpiece of early American history. It was the most populous city of the young United States and served as the nation's first capital.

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Philadelphia area was the location of the Lenape (Delaware) Indian village Shackamaxon. Europeans arrived in the Delaware Valley in the early 1600s, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, British and Swedish.

The Swedes sought to expand their influence by creating an agricultural (tobacco) and fur-trading colony to bypass French and British merchants. The New Sweden Company was chartered and included Swedish, Dutch and German stockholders. The first Swedish expedition to North America embarked from the port of Gothenburg in late 1637. It was organized and overseen by Clas Fleming, a Swedish admiral from Finland. Part of this colony, called New Sweden or Nya Sverige eventually included land on the west side of the Delaware River from just below the Schuylkill River: in other words, today's Philadelphia, southeast Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their victory in a war against the English province of Maryland. A series of events led the Dutch — led by governor Peter Stuyvesant — to move an army to the Delaware River in the late summer of 1655. Though New Netherland now nominally controlled the colony, the Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to enjoy a degree of local autonomy, having their own militia, religion, court, and lands. This status lasted officially until the English conquest of the New Netherland colony, in October 1663-1664, and continued unofficially until the area was included in William Penn's charter for Pennsylvania, in 1682.

In 1681, as part of a repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Part of Penn's plan for the colony was to create a city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. Despite already having been given the land by Charles II, Penn bought the land from the local Lenape to be on good terms with the Native Americans and ensure peace for his colony. According to legend Penn made a treaty of friendship with Lenape chief Tammany under an elm tree at Shackamaxon, in what is now the city's Kensington section. As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely despite their religion. Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for brotherly love (philos, "love" or "friendship", and adelphos, "brother").

William Penn's plan was that Philadelphia would be like an English rural town instead of a city. The city's roads were designed with a grid plan with the idea that houses and businesses would be spread far apart and surrounded by gardens and orchards. The city's inhabitants didn't follow Penn's plans and crowded by the Delaware River and subdivided and resold their lots. Before Penn left Philadelphia for the last time, he issued the Charter of 1701 establishing Philadelphia as a city. The city soon grew and established itself as an important trading center. Conditions in the city were poor at first, but by the 1750s living conditions had improved. A significant contributor to Philadelphia at the time was Benjamin Franklin. Franklin helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as the American Colonies' first hospital. Due to Philadelphia's central location in the colonies, during the American Revolution the city was used as the location for the First Continental Congress before the war, the Second Continental Congress, which signed the United States Declaration of Independence, during the war, and the Constitutional Convention after the war. A number of battles during the war were fought in Philadelphia and its environs as well. Unsuccessful lobbying after the war to make Philadelphia the United States capital helped make the city the temporary U.S. capital in the 1790s. In 1793, the largest yellow fever epidemic in U.S. history killed as many as 5,000 people in Philadelphia—roughly 10% of the population.

The state government left Philadelphia in 1799 and the federal government left soon after in 1800. However Philadelphia was still the largest city in the United States and a financial and cultural center. New York City soon surpassed Philadelphia in population, but construction of roads, canals, and railroads helped turn Philadelphia into the United States' first major industrial city. Throughout the 19th century Philadelphia had a large variety of industries and businesses, the largest being textiles. Major corporations in the 19th and early 20th centuries included the Baldwin Locomotive Works, William Cramp and Sons Ship and Engine Building Company, and the Pennsylvania Railroad. Industry, along with the U.S. Centennial, was celebrated in 1876 with the Centennial Exposition, the first official World's Fair in the United States. Immigrants, mostly German and Irish, settled in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts. The rise in population of the surrounding districts helped lead to the Act of Consolidation of 1854 which extended the city of Philadelphia to include all of Philadelphia County. In the later half of the century immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe and Italy and African Americans from the southern U.S. settled in the city.

By the 20th century Philadelphia had become known as "corrupt and contented." Philadelphians were content with the city's lack of change or excitement, and single-party politics, centered on the city's entrenched Republican political machine, allowed corruption to flourish. The machine and corruption permeated in all parts of city government and reformers had little success. The first major success in reform came in 1917 when outrage over the murder of a police officer during that year's election led to the shrinking of the Philadelphia City Council from two houses to just one. In the 1920s the public flouting of Prohibition laws, mob violence, and police involvement in illegal activities led to the appointment of Brigadier General Smedley Butler of the U.S. Marine Corps as director of public safety, but political pressure prevented any long term success in fighting crime and corruption.

After a population peak of over two million residents in 1950 the city's population declined while the suburban neighboring counties grew. Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the 1960s and continues into the 21st century, with much of the development in the Center City and University City areas of the city. After many of the old manufacturers and businesses had left Philadelphia or shut down, the city started attracting service businesses and began to more aggressively market itself as a tourist destination. Glass and granite skyscrapers were built in Center City. Historic areas such as Independence National Historical Park located in Society Hill were resuscitated during the reformist mayoral era of the 1950s through the 1980s and are now among the most desirable living areas of Center City. This has slowed the city's forty-year population decline after losing nearly a quarter of its population.

Philadelphia is located at 40° 00′ north latitude and 75° 09′ west longitude. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 142.6 square miles (369.3 km2), of which 135.1 square miles (349.9 km2) is land and 7.6 square miles (19.7 km2), or 5.29%, is water. Bodies of water include the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, and Cobbs, Wissahickon, and Pennypack Creeks.

The lowest point is sea level, while the highest point is in Chestnut Hill, at approximately 445 feet (136 m) above sea level (near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike).

Philadelphia is located on the Fall Line separating the Atlantic Coastal Plain from the Piedmont. The rapids on the Schuylkill River at East Falls disappeared after the completion of the Fairmount Dam.

The city is the seat of its own county. The adjacent counties are Montgomery to the north; Bucks to the northeast; Burlington County, New Jersey to the east; Camden County, New Jersey to the southeast; Gloucester County, New Jersey to the south; and Delaware County to the west.

Philadelphia falls in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone. Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Snowfall is variable, with some winters bringing moderate snow and others bringing some snowstorms. Annual snowfall averages 21 inches (534 mm). Precipitation is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to eleven wet days per month, at an average annual rate of 42 inches (1068 mm).

January lows average 25 °F (−4 °C) and highs average 39 °F (4 °C). The lowest officially recorded temperature was −11 °F (−24 °C) on February 9, 1934, but temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C) occur only a few times a decade. July lows average 70 °F (21 °C) and highs average 86 °F (30 °C), although heat waves accompanied by high humidity are frequent with highs above 95 °F (35 °C) and the heat index running as high as 110 °F (43 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on August 7, 1918. Early fall and late winter are generally driest, with February being the driest month, averaging only 2.74 inches (69.8 mm) of precipitation.

Philadelphia has many neighborhoods, each with its own identity. The large Philadelphia sections, North, Northeast, Northwest, West, South and Southwest Philadelphia surround Center City, which falls within the original city limits prior to consolidation in 1854. Numerous smaller neighborhoods within the areas coincide with the boroughs, townships, and other communities that made up Philadelphia County before their absorption by the city. Other neighborhoods formed based on ethnicity, religion, culture, and commercial reasons.

Philadelphia's architectural history dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The earliest structures were constructed with logs, but brick structures were common by 1700. During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture, including Independence Hall. In the first decades of the 19th century, Federal architecture and Greek Revival architecture were popular. In the second half of the 19th century, Victorian architecture was common. In 1871, construction began on the Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hall. Despite the construction of steel and concrete skyscrapers in the 1910s, '20s and '30s, the 548 ft (167 m) City Hall remained the tallest building in the city until 1987 when One Liberty Place was constructed. Numerous glass and granite skyscrapers were built from the late 1980s onwards. In 2007, the Comcast Center surpassed One Liberty Place to become the city's tallest building. For much of Philadelphia's history, the typical Philadelphia home has been the row house. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 1800s and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as "Philadelphia rows". There is a variety of row houses throughout the city from Victorian-style homes in North Philadelphia to twin row houses in West Philadelphia. While newer homes are scattered throughout the city, much of Philadelphia's housing is from the early 20th century or older. The age of the city's homes has created numerous problems which has led to blight and vacant lots in many parts of the city, while other neighborhoods such as Society Hill, which has the largest concentration of 18th-century architecture in the United States, have been rehabilitated and gentrified.

Philadelphia contains many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence National Historical Park is the center of these historical landmarks. Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city's most famous attractions. Other historic sites include homes for Edgar Allan Poe, Betsy Ross, and Thaddeus Kosciuszko, early government buildings like the First and Second Banks of the United States, Fort Mifflin, and the Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church National Historic Site.

Philadelphia's major science museums include the Franklin Institute, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. History museums include the National Constitution Center, the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia History, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the African American Museum in Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the state of Pennsylvania and The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania and Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia is home to the United States' first zoo and hospital.

The city contains many art museums such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside of France. The city’s major art museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is one of the largest art museums in the United States and features the steps made popular by the film Rocky.

The city is home to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, one of the country's oldest artists' clubs; and to a profusion of art galleries, many of which participate in the First Friday event. The first Friday of every month galleries in Old City are open late. Annual events include film festivals and parades, the most famous being the New Year's Day Mummers Parade.

Areas such as South Street and Old City have a vibrant night life. The Avenue of the Arts in Center City contains many restaurants and theaters, such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy of Music, the nation's oldest continually operating venue, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia has more public art than any other American city. In 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association was created, the first private association in the United States dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. In 1959, lobbying by the Artists Equity Association helped create the Percent for Art ordinance, the first for a U.S. city. The program, which has funded more than 200 pieces of public art, is administered by the Philadelphia Office of Arts and Culture, the city's art agency.

In particular, Philadelphia has more murals than any other U.S. city, thanks in part to the 1984 creation of the Department of Recreation's Mural Arts Program, which seeks to beautify neighborhoods and provide an outlet for graffiti artists. The program has funded more than 2,700 murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists.

Philadelphia has had a prominent role in music. In the 1970s, Philadelphia soul influenced the music of that and later eras. On July 13, 1985, Philadelphia hosted the American end of the Live Aid concert at John F. Kennedy Stadium. The city reprised this role for the Live 8 concert, bringing some 700,000 people to the Ben Franklin Parkway on July 2, 2005. Philadelphia is also home to the world-renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, who have performed their music all over the world. Dr. Robert G. Hamilton, founder of the choir, is a famous Philadelphian. The Philly Pops is another famous Philadelphia music group. The city has played a major role in the development and support of American rock music.

The city is known for its hoagies, scrapple, soft pretzels, water ice, and is home to the cheesesteak. Its high-end restaurants include Morimoto, run by chef Masaharu Morimoto, who rose to prominence on the Iron Chef television show.

Philadelphia has a long history of professional sports teams, and is one of thirteen U.S. cities to have all four major sports: the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League, the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League of Major League Baseball, and the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association. Until the Phillies' World Series championship in 2008, the last major professional sports team in Philadelphia to win a championship was the 76ers, who won the 1982-83 NBA Championship. Due to the length of this streak without winning a world championship, in 2004 ESPN ranked Philadelphia as number two in its list of The Fifteen Most Tortured Sports Cities. The failure of Philadelphia's major professional sports teams to win championships since that date was sometimes attributed, in jest, to the so-called "Curse of Billy Penn". The Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors were originally from Philadelphia.

Philadelphia is home to professional, semi-professional and elite amateur teams in other sports, including cricket. Philadelphia hosts other major sporting events, including the Penn Relays, Stotesbury Cup, Philadelphia Marathon, Broad Street Run, Philadelphia International Championship bicycle race, and the Dad Vail Regatta.

Philadelphia is known for the Philadelphia Big 5, a group of five Division I college basketball programs: Big 5 are Saint Joseph's University, University of Pennsylvania, La Salle University, Temple University, and Villanova University. The sixth NCAA Division I school in Philadelphia is Drexel University. At least one of the teams is competitive nearly every year and at least one team has made the NCAA tournament for the past four decades.

In February 2008, Philadelphia beat several other cities in competition for the 16th Major League Soccer franchise. They will enter the league in 2010 calling Chester Stadium their home (a soccer specific stadium) in Chester, PA.

Philadelphia is also home to The Arena, the birthplace of Extreme Championship Wrestling and current home to multiple wrestling and boxing promotions.

Philadelphia is also home to the American national rugby league (AMNRL) team the Philadelphia Fight who reached the grand final in the 1998 and 2000 seasons.

Philadelphia's economic sectors include manufacturing, oil refining, food processing, health care and biotechnology, tourism and financial services. According to a study prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Philadelphia and its surrounding region had the fourth highest GDP among American cities, with a total GDP of $312 billion in 2005. Only New York City ($1,133 billion), Los Angeles ($693 billion), and Chicago ($460 billion) had higher total economic output levels among American cities. Philadelphia ranked below Tokyo ($1,191 billion), Paris ($460 billion), London ($452 billion), Osaka-Kobe ($391 billion), Mexico City ($315 billion), and above Washington, D.C. ($299 billion).

The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and several Fortune 500 companies, including cable television and internet provider Comcast, insurance companies CIGNA and Lincoln Financial Group, energy company Sunoco, food services company Aramark, Crown Holdings Incorporated, chemical makers Rohm and Haas Company and FMC Corporation, pharmaceutical companies Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing helicopters division, and automotive parts retailer Pep Boys. Early in the 20th Century, it was also home to the pioneering brass era automobile company Biddle.

The federal government has several facilities in Philadelphia. The city served as the capital city of the United States, before the construction of Washington, D.C. Today, the East Coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well. Philadelphia is also home to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

With the historic presence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the large ridership at 30th Street Station, Amtrak maintains a significant presence in the city. These jobs include customer service representatives and ticket processing and other behind-the-scenes personnel, in addition to the normal functions of the railroad.

The city is a national center of law because of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Rutgers University School of Law - Camden, Villanova University School of Law, and Widener University School of Law. Additionally, the headquarters of the American Law Institute is located in the city.

Philadelphia is an important center for medicine, a distinction that it has held since the colonial period. The city is home to the first hospital in the British North American colonies, Pennsylvania Hospital, and the first medical school in what is now the United States, at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Penn, the city's largest private employer, also runs a large teaching hospital and extensive medical system. There are also major hospitals affiliated with Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, and Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Philadelphia also has three distinguished children's hospitals: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the nation's first pediatric hospital (located adjacent to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania), St. Christopher's Hospital, and the Shriners' Hospital. In the city's northern section are Albert Einstein Hospital, and in the northeast section, Fox Chase Cancer Center. Together, health care is the largest sector of employment in the city. Several medical professional associations are headquartered in Philadelphia.

With Philadelphia's importance a medical research center, the region supports the pharmaceutical industry. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Wyeth, Merck, GE Healthcare, Johnson and Johnson and Siemens Medical Solutions are just some of the large pharmaceutical companies with operations in the region. The city is also home to the nation's first school of pharmacy, the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, now called the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

Center City anchors The Gallery at Market East, The Shops at Liberty Place, The Shops at the Bellevue, and a variety of standalone retail stores. Rittenhouse Row, a section of Walnut Street in Center City, has higher-end stores and boutiques. Old City and Society Hill, as well, feature upscale boutiques and retailers from local and international merchandisers. Philadelphia also has several neighborhood shopping districts, including Manayunk and Chestnut Hill. Also noteworthy is South Street with blocks of inexpensive boutiques.

The Italian Market in South Philadelphia offers groceries, meats, cheeses and housewares from Italy and other countries. Two famed cheesesteak outlets, Geno's and Pat's, are located here. The Reading Terminal Market in Center City includes dozens of restaurants, farm stalls, and shops, many run by Amish farmers from nearby Lancaster County. There are also neighborhood farmers' markets throughout the city.

There are several large shopping malls in the region, including Franklin Mills in Northeast Philadelphia and King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, seven miles outside the city. Franklin Mills saw an estimated 18 million visitors in 2006. The King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall on the US East Coast and the largest in the country in terms of leasable retail space.

Philadelphia is the birthplace of the secondary ticket marketplace. Wanamaker Ticket Office, located in Center City, is among the nation's oldest ticket agencies.

Philadelphia's two major daily newspapers are The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, both of which are owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. The Philadelphia Inquirer, founded in 1829, is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the United States. The Bulletin, another newspaper that operates in Philadelphia, traces its history back to The Philadelphia Bulletin that went defunct in 1982. The Bulletin is locally owned by The Bulletin, Inc.

The first experimental radio license was issued in Philadelphia in August, 1912 to St. Joseph's College. The first commercial radio stations appeared in 1922: first WIP, then owned by Gimbel's department store, on March 17, followed the same year by WFIL, WOO, WCAU and WDAS. The highest-rated stations in Philadelphia include soft rock WBEB, KYW Newsradio, and urban adult contemporary WDAS-FM. Philadelphia is served by three major public radio stations, WHYY-FM (NPR), WRTI (jazz, classical), and WXPN-FM (adult alternative music), as well as several smaller stations.

In the 1930s, the experimental station W3XE, owned by Philco, became the first television station in Philadelphia; it became NBC's first affiliate in 1939, and later became KYW-TV (CBS). WCAU-TV, WPVI-TV, WHYY-TV, WPHL-TV, and WTXF-TV had all been founded by the 1970s. In 1952 WFIL (now WPVI), premiered the television show Bandstand, which later became the nationally broadcast American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark. Today, as in many large metropolitan areas, each of the commercial networks has an affiliate, and call letters have been replaced by corporate IDs: CBS3, 6ABC, NBC10, FOX29, Telefutura28, Telemundo62, Univision65, plus My PHL 17 and CW Philly 57. The region is served also by public broadcasting stations WYBE-TV (Philadelphia), WHYY-TV (Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia), WLVT-TV (Lehigh Valley), and New Jersey Network. In September 2007, Philadelphia approved a public access cable channel.

Rock stations WMMR and WYSP have traditionally been intense rivals. Since 2005, WMMR has played more music after a shift in WYSP's programming from rock (including controversial shock jock Howard Stern) to a Free FM format. WYSP has since returned to the classic rock format it shed in 1995. WYSP also broadcasts all Philadelphia Eagles games. WMMR's The Preston and Steve Show has been the area's top-rated morning show since Howard Stern left for Sirius Radio. In November 2008, WYSP launched a competing show hosted by Philadelphia native Danny Bonaduce. Both stations host regular live music and other events in throughout the region.

Four urban stations (WUSL ("Power 99"), WPHI ("100.3 The Beat"), WDAS and WRNB) are popular choices on the FM dial. WNUW is the city's Adult Contemporary station. The station had been home of "Smooth Jazz" WJJZ after the format was dropped from the 106.1 frequency (now WISX) but the format was dropped once again due to poor ratings.

At the 2007 U.S. Census estimates, the city's population was 43.9% White (39.4% non-Hispanic-White alone), 44.9% Black or African American (43.0% non-Hispanic Black or African American alone), 0.7% American Indian and Alaska Native, 5.7% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 6.7% from other races and 1.6% from two or more races. 10.3% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race (most of them Puerto Ricans).

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households, and 352,272 families residing in the city. The population density was 11,233.6/square mile (4,337.3/km²). There were 661,958 housing units at an average density of 4,900.1/sq mi (1,891.9/km²). As of the 2004 Census estimations, there were 1,463,281 people, 658,799 housing units, and the racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 43.2% African American, 5.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.8% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population. The top 5 largest ancestries include Irish (13.6%), Italian (9.2%), German (8.1%), Polish (4.3%), and English (2.9%).

Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,746, and the median income for a family was $37,036. Males had a median income of $34,199 versus $28,477 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,509. About 18.4% of families and 22.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 16.9% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2008 more than 500,000 immigrants call the Philadelphia metropolitan area home. More than one-fifth of these immigrants have arrived since 2000, resulting in an increase of 113,000 immigrants between the years 2000 and 2006. This is nearly the same amount of immigrants that arrived during the decade of the 1990s, of which today comprise of 9% of the city's population. As reported by the Brookings Institution, the Philadelphia area is poised to re-emerge as a destination for immigrants, a longtime characteristic of the region that stalled in the mid-20th century.

Philadelphia has the second largest Irish, Italian, and Jamaican populations and the fourth largest African American population in the nation. Philadelphia also has the fourth largest population of Polish residents. In recent years, the Hispanic and Asian American populations have significantly increased. Hispanics have settled throughout the city, especially around El Centro de Oro. Philadelphia is home to the third largest Puerto Rican population in the United States. In recent years many Mexican immigrants have come to areas around the Italian Market. There are an estimated 10,000 Mexicans living in South Philadelphia. Mexicans and Guatemalans also have settled in small communities in North Philadelphia, mainly in the Kensington neighborhood. Colombian immigrants have also come to the Olney neighborhood. The Asian population was once concentrated in the city's thriving Chinatown, but now Korean Americans have come to Olney, and Vietnamese have forged bazaars next to the Italian Market in South Philadelphia. Concentrations of Cambodian American neighborhoods can be found in North and South Philadelphia. Indians and Arabs have come to Northeast Philadelphia along with Russian and Ukrainian immigrants. This large influx of Asians has given Philadelphia one of the largest populations of Vietnamese, Cambodians, Chinese, and Koreans in United States. The Philadelphia region also has the fourth largest population of Indian Americans. The West Indian population is concentrated in Cedar Park. Germans, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, English, Pakistanis, Iranians, and also immigrants from the former Yugoslavia along with other ethnic groups can be found throughout the city.

From a governmental perspective, Philadelphia County is a legal nullity, as all county functions were assumed by the city in 1952, which has been coterminous with the county since 1854.

The city uses the "strong-mayor" version of the mayor-council form of government, which is headed by one mayor, in whom executive authority is vested. Elected "at-large," the mayor is limited to two consecutive four-year terms under the city's home rule charter, but can run for the position again after an intervening term. The current city mayor, having taken office in January 2008, is Michael Nutter, replacing John F. Street who served two terms from 1999 to the end of 2007. Nutter, as all Philadelphia mayors have been since 1952, is a member of the Democratic Party, which tends to dominate local politics so thoroughly that the Democratic primary for mayor is often more noticeable than the general mayoral election. The legislative branch, the Philadelphia City Council, consists of ten council members representing individual districts and seven members elected at large. The current council president is Anna C. Verna.

The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia. It is funded and operated largely by city resources and employees. The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles matters of limited jurisdiction as well as landlord-tenant disputes, appeals from traffic court, preliminary hearings for felony-level offenses, and the like. Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction that hears violations of traffic laws.

Pennsylvania's three appellate courts also have sittings in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hall. Also, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sit in Philadelphia several times a year. Judges for these courts are elected at large. Each court has a prothonotary's office in Philadelphia as well.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in 1955 to preserve the cultural, social, political, economic and architectural history of the city. The commission maintains the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, adding historic buildings, structures, sites, objects and districts as it sees fit.

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the largest landlord in the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Established in 1937, it is the nation’s fourth-largest housing authority, housing approximately 84,000 people and employing 1,250. In 2006, its budget was $313 million.

As of November 2008, there are 1,126,768 registered voters in Philadelphia.

From the American Civil War until the mid-20th century, Philadelphia was a bastion of the Republican Party, which arose from the staunch pro-Northern views of Philadelphia residents during and after the war. After the Great Depression, Democratic registrations increased, but the city was not carried by Democratic Franklin D. Roosevelt in his landslide victory of 1932 (in which Pennsylvania was one of the few states won by Republican Herbert Hoover). While other Northern industrial cities were electing Democratic mayors in the 1930s and 1940s, Philadelphia did not follow suit until 1951. That is, Philadelphia never had a "New Deal" coalition.

The city is now one of the most Democratic in the country, despite the frequent election of Republicans to statewide offices since the 1930s; in 2008, Democrat Barack Obama drew 83% of the city's vote.

Philadelphia once comprised six congressional districts. However, as a result of the city's declining population, it now has only four: the 1st district, represented by Bob Brady; the 2nd, represented by Chaka Fattah; the 8th, represented by Patrick Murphy; and the 13th, represented by Allyson Schwartz. All four are Democrats. Although they are usually swamped by Democrats in city, state and national elections, Republicans still have some support in the area; a Republican represented a significant portion of Philadelphia in the House as late as 1983. Pennsylvania's Republican Senator, Arlen Specter, is from Philadelphia.

Like many American cities, Philadelphia saw a gradual yet pronounced rise in crime in the years following World War II. Murders peaked in 1990 at 525, for a rate of 31.5 per 100,000. There were an average of about 400 murders a year for most of the 1990s. The murder count dropped in 2002 to 288, then surged four years later to 406. Out of the ten most populous cities in the United States in 2006, Philadelphia had the highest homicide rate at 28 per 100,000 people, though the number of murders decreased to 369 in 2007.

In 2004, there were 5,513.5 crimes per 100,000 people in Philadelphia. In 2005, Philadelphia was ranked by Morgan Quitno as the sixth-most dangerous among 32 American cities with populations over 500,000. Among its neighboring Mid-Atlantic cities in the same population group, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. were ranked second- and third-most dangerous cities in the United States, respectively, and Camden, New Jersey, a city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, was ranked as the most dangerous city in the United States.

In 2006, Camden was the fifth-most dangerous city in the country, lower than its 2004 ranking, but still high for a city its size, while Philadelphia was ranked 29th.

Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Philadelphia runs the city's public schools. The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States with 210,432 students in 346 public and charter schools.

Philadelphia is one of the largest college towns in the United States and has the second-largest student concentration on the East Coast with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area. There are over 80 colleges, universities, trade, and specialty schools in the Philadelphia region. The city contains three major research universities: the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and Temple University. Other institutions of higher learning within the city's borders include Saint Joseph's University, La Salle University, Peirce College, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, The University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Curtis Institute of Music, Thomas Jefferson University, Moore College of Art and Design, The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia University, Chestnut Hill College, Holy Family University, the Community College of Philadelphia and Messiah College Philadelphia Campus.

Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which operates buses, trains, rapid transit, trolleys, and trackless trolleys throughout Philadelphia, the four Pennsylvania suburban counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, in addition to service to Mercer County, New Jersey and New Castle County, Delaware. The city's subway, opened in 1907, is the third-oldest in America.

SEPTA's R1 Regional Rail line offers direct service to the Philadelphia International Airport.

Philadelphia's 30th Street Station is a major railroad station on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, which offers access to Amtrak, SEPTA, and New Jersey Transit lines.

The PATCO Speedline provides rapid transit service to Camden, Collingswood, Westmont, Haddonfield, Woodcrest (Cherry Hill), Ashland (Voorhees), and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.

Two airports serve Philadelphia: the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), straddling the southern boundary of the city, and the Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE), a general aviation reliever airport in Northeast Philadelphia. Philadelphia International Airport provides scheduled domestic and international air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation. As of March 2006, Philadelphia International Airport was the 10th largest airport measured by "traffic movements" (i.e. takeoffs and landings), and was also a primary hub for US Airways.

Interstate 95 runs through the city along the Delaware River as a main north-south artery. The city is also served by the Schuylkill Expressway, a portion of Interstate 76 that runs along the Schuylkill River. It meets the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, providing access to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and points west. Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning. A link between I-95 and I-76, it runs below street level through Center City, connecting to the Ben Franklin Bridge at its eastern end.

Interstate 476, commonly nicknamed the "Blue Route" through Delaware County, bypasses the city to the west, serving the city's western suburbs, as well as providing a link to Allentown and points north. Similarly, Interstate 276, the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Delaware River Extension, acts as a bypass and commuter route to the north of the city as well as a link to the New Jersey Turnpike to New York.

However, other planned freeways have been canceled, such as an Interstate 695 running southwest from downtown, two freeways connecting Interstate 95 to Interstate 76 that would have replaced Girard Avenue and South Street and a freeway upgrade of Roosevelt Boulevard.

The Delaware River Port Authority operates four bridges in the Philadelphia area across the Delaware River to New Jersey: the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and US 30), the Betsy Ross Bridge (Route 90), and the Commodore Barry Bridge (US 322). The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connects PA Route 73 in the Tacony section of Northeast Philadelphia with New Jersey's Route 73 in Palmyra, Camden County, and is maintained by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.

Philadelphia is also a major hub for Greyhound Lines, which operates 24-hour service to points east of the Mississippi River. Most of Greyhound's services in Philadelphia operate to/from the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal, located at 1001 Filbert Street in Center City Philadelphia. In 2006, the Philadelphia Greyhound Terminal was the second busiest Greyhound terminal in the United States, after the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York. Besides Greyhound, six other bus operators provide service to the Center City Greyhound terminal. These are Bieber Tourways, Capitol Trailways, Martz Trailways, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Susquehanna Trailways, and the bus division for New Jersey Transit Other services include Mega Bus and Bolt Bus.

Since the early days of rail transport in the United States, Philadelphia has served as hub for several major rail companies, particularly the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad first operated Broad Street Station, then 30th Street Station and Suburban Station, and the Reading Railroad operated out of Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The two companies also operated competing commuter rail systems in the area, known collectively as the Regional Rail system. The two systems today, for the most part still intact but now connected, operate as a single system under the control of the SEPTA, the regional transit authority. Additionally, Philadelphia is linked to southern New Jersey via the PATCO Speedline subway system.

Philadelphia, once home to more than 4,000 trolleys on 65 lines, is one of the few North American cities to maintain streetcar lines. Today, SEPTA operates five "subway-surface" trolleys that run on street-level tracks in West Philadelphia and subway tunnels in Center City. SEPTA also recently reintroduced trolley service to the Girard Avenue Line, Route 15. The route is considered by some a "heritage" line, yet the use of rebuilt 1947 PCC streetcars was primarily for budgetary reasons, not a historic tribute.

Today, Philadelphia is a hub of the semi-nationalized Amtrak system, with 30th Street Station being a primary stop on the Washington-Boston Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 30th Street also serves as a major station for services via the Pennsylvania Railroad's former Pennsylvania Main Line to Chicago. 30th Street is Amtrak's third-busiest station in numbers of passengers as of fiscal year 2003. It is also a terminus of New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line.

Southeastern Pennsylvania was, at one time, served only by the 215 area code, beginning in 1947 when the North American Numbering Plan of the "Bell System" went into effect. The area covered by the code was severely truncated when area code 610 was split from 215. Today only the city and its northern suburbs are covered by 215. An overlay area code, 267, was added to the 215 service area in 1997. A plan to introduce area code 445 as an additional overlay in 2001 was delayed and later rescinded.

Philadelphia is now also served by Wireless Philadelphia, a citywide initiative to provide Wi-Fi service. The Proof of Concept area was approved on May 23, 2007, and service is now available in many areas of the city; although discontinued by Earthlink.

Philadelphia has dedicated landmarks to its sister cities. Dedicated in June 1976, the Sister Cities Plaza, a one-half-acre site located at 18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, honors Philadelphia's relationships with Tel Aviv and Florence which were its first Sister Cities. Another landmark, the Torun Triangle, honoring the Sister City relationship with Toruń, Poland, was constructed in 1976, west of the United Way building at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The Triangle contains the Copernicus monument. The Chinatown Gate, erected in 1984 and crafted by artisans of Tianjin, China, stands astride the intersection of 10th and Arch Streets as an elaborate and colorful symbol of the Sister City relationship.

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North Philadelphia

Map of Philadelphia County with North Philadelphia highlighted. Click for larger image

North Philadelphia is a section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. It is immediately north of Center City. Though the full extent of the region is somewhat vague, "North Philadelphia" is sometimes regarded, especially by people with little familiarity with Philadelphia neighborhoods, as everything north of either Vine Street or Spring Garden Street, between Northwest Philadelphia and Northeast Philadelphia. The official boundary of North Philadelphia is Cheltenham Avenue to the north, Market Street to the south, 35th Street to the west, and Adams Avenue to the East. Though, some traditionally consider it to be north of Market Street.

The city government views this sprawling chunk of Philadelphia more precisely as three smaller districts, drawn up by the Redevelopment Authority in 1964. These regions are (from north to south) East & West Oak Lane/Olney, Upper North Philadelphia, and Lower North Philadelphia. The Oak Lane neighborhoods and Olney are sometimes considered to be separate from North Philadelphia entirely because of their unique architecture, culture and differing patterns of development.

In past decades, North Philadelphia was hit hard by economic decline. The majority of North Philadelphia's residents are poor African American and Hispanic American. Despite its wealth of history, schools, cultural sites, parkland, architecture, and other holdovers from more prosperous times, high crime and unfettered poverty have earned North Philadelphia a reputation as a slum. At the same time, some would counter that it is far more diverse an area, and thus too large to stereotype. From the Puerto Rican communities in Hunting Park, West Kensington, and Fairhill to the middle class African American neighborhoods around the Oak Lanes to the poor ghettos that typify much of its core to newly-gentrifying Brewerytown, a large portion of Philadelphians call this section home. Recent developments have given North Philadelphia a brighter future, as several neighborhoods begin to overcome some of the aforementioned problems.

Prior to its incorporation into the city proper, North Philadelphia was little more than a collection of primarily agricultural townships above the original City of Philadelphia. In the 18th century, as Philadelphia grew in importance and, consequently, population, then pastoral North Philadelphia became an attractive alternative to the burgeoning city. The mansions of wealthy Philadelphians began to dot the landscape, and by the late 18th and early 19th century, several small town centers had developed to anchor the growing population. However, this suburban landscape was to be interrupted around the middle of the 19th century, as rapid urban expansion led to The Consolidation Act of 1854. This state law annexed all of the townships within Philadelphia County to the City of Philadelphia. With new territory now under the aegis of Philadelphia's city planners, and a rising influx of European immigrants, led to the end of North as a suburb of Philadelphia. North Philadelphia's decentralized towns were gradually meshed into a sprawling network of the ubiquitous Philadelphia rowhome. Many of the newly created neighborhoods retained the name of their ancestral towns and townships, for example, Northern Liberties was formerly Northern Liberties Township.

As the industrial age peaked in America, North Philadelphia became a working man's town. Upper North Philadelphia, Olney, Brewerytown, became major hubs of production. Large factories and industrial complexes were erected, covering vast swaths of city land. Scores of rowhomes were constructed to house the burgeoning worker population. This expansion was also the impetus for breaking ground on the Broad Street Line subway; designed specifically to carry a passenger from the northern hub of Olney to Philadelphia City Hall in under 20 minutes. Major freight and passenger rail lines were built to intersect at the newly constructed North Broad Street Station, and transmit cargo from the bustling factories. The completion of the BSL these major railways made the region a thriving hub of transportation. For a time, North Philadelphia station became the second most heavily trafficked rail station in the city, and the Olney Ave station the most used subway stop.

Along with many of Philadelphia's major manufacturing concerns came the nearby estates of the wealthy industrialists who had founded them. Lower North Philadelphia in particular housed a number the nouveau riche; ambitious first or second generation immigrants or that had made their fortunes starting manufacturing firms. Many were German Jews that had settled in the area, later founding companies and building synagogues. For a time, an age of opulence and grand architecture returned to North Philadelphia, centered around what is now zoned as the Historic North Broad Street Mansion and Speculative Housing Districts. Gentlemen's Clubs, upscale restaurants and shopping districts grew in this southern tier for a brief moment in history, peaking in the late 1920s. Upper-class foremen and executives lived farther north along Broad Street, in what is now the West Diamond Street Townhouse Historic District. Thriving commercial districts sprung up along the great northern avenues; Columbia (renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue), Susquehanna, Dauphin, Erie, Lehigh and Olney, to name a few. However, just as this wealth was so suddenly gained, it would just as suddenly be lost. The new money culture proved to be an unstable foundation for a lasting community, and like so many constructs of the Gilded Age, this core of wealth was doomed to rot.

Over the next few decades The Great Depression, outsourcing, and white flight took their toll on North Philadelphia in a fashion similar to other major US cities of the mid to late 20th century, if not in a more pronounced fashion. While residential corridors like Hope Street and Delhi Street had long housed primarily African-American residents, redlining, racist loan companies, and rising unemployment led white residents out of the city as waves of poor blacks moved in. During the 40s and 50s, much of the area was racially integrated, although smaller streets were usually completely black or white. Whites began to move out slowly at first in the late 1940s as these residents became more affluent and Northeast Philadelphia began to develop new housing with lawns and conveniences such as modern plumbing. In most cases African Americans moved into the vacant houses and as this began to increase, true white flight began. Increasingly, people moved out of North Philadelphia not solely to move into newer homes, but to avoid facing decreasing property values. For a time, Lower North Philadelphia became a great center of black culture and music, most notably Jazz. Many commercial corridors were maintained for decades, and a great many musicians came to North Philadelphia, like John Coltrane and Stan Getz. By 1964, North Philadelphia was the city's center of African American culture home to 400,000 of the city's 600,000 Black Residents.

As the century marched past middle age, many other problems symptomatic of all US cities of the time came about. Many of the neighborhoods in North Philadelphia sprung up around one monolithic factory, which was the center of the community's income. Each factory that closed down devastated its host neighborhood. In this way, the wave of national industrial collapse caused the rapid break up of numerous "factory neighborhoods" in the predominantly working class North Philadelphia. On the evening of August 28, 1964 a black woman named Odessa Bradford got into an argument with two police officers, one black, Robert Wells, and the other white, John Hoff, after her car stalled at 23rd Street and Columbia Avenue. After Bradford refused to comply with the two officers' orders to move the car, because the car had stalled, and she was unable to drive it, an argument ensued. The officers then tried to physically remove Bradford from the car. She resisted and a large crowd assembled in the area. A man tried to come to Bradford's aid by attacking the police officers at the scene, but he and Bradford were arrested. Rumors then spread throughout North Philadelphia that a pregnant black woman had been beaten to death by white police officers. Later that evening, and throughout the next two days, angry mobs looted and burned mostly white-owned businesses in North Philadelphia, mainly along Columbia Avenue. Outnumbered, the police response was to withdraw from the area rather than aggressively confront the rioters. The race riots of 1964 became iconic for the rising ethnic tensions in the region, and the continued withdrawal of white residents. The riot, which virtually destroyed the central shopping district of North Philadelphia, signaling the beginning of the end for the North's commercial sector. The withering of the American manufacturing sector led to the closing of many of the factories that many northern neighborhoods were centered around and depended on. Increased urban blight and the general decline of Philadelphia in the late 20th century even saw the decline of even many of the strong black communities in North Philadelphia. The legendary Connie Mack Stadium was closed in favor of the new Pattison Sports Complex. North Philadelphia Station lost Amtrak Service, and the BSL subway line garnered a reputation for violent crime and rape. The great art deco office buildings and government institutions were mostly abandoned, as were the mansions of the many ruined industrialists.

Today, many remnants of these more prosperous eras remain, albeit in a typically more dilapidated state. However, for as many that remain, just as many thousands of historic buildings have collapsed, either from neglect or demolition, and thousands more still lie abandoned. A handful have become protected historic properties. Several blocks, with numerous old mansions, have been re-zoned as the aforementioned historic districts. A great many extravagant churches were built over the years, as well. Some still stand, but all too often money is scarce to preserve their deteriorating architecture. The stately trolley lines which once criss-crossed the northern streets and connected the region with the rest of Philadelphia were shut down by SEPTA in 1992. Immense, abandoned factories sit idle; warehouses lie empty; and disused heavy rail lines scar the landscape. The names of the old industrialists, such as Gratz, Poth, Uber, Bouvier, and Schmidt, still adorn many buildings and street signs in the area but are otherwise foreign to many modern-day residents.

The Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, or NTI, was a City program launched by Mayor John F. Street during his first administration. The program called for the demolition of thousands of condemned buildings and the construction of large-scale, medium-density public housing, with restoration efforts to be employed on salvageable houses. Many blocks of old rowhomes have been bulldozed and replaced with suburban style tract houses. This program has radically changed some sections of North Philadelphia. Some charge that little effort was made to save a number of historic buildings, others that NTI was needed to change blighted neighborhoods. The lasting effects of the program remain to be seen.

Some areas, like Olney, Allegheny, and Erie, still have relatively active communities, but even they are often troubled by drugs, crime, and/or social underfunding. Allegheny West has advanced, mostly from the support of some of the last industries in North Philadelphia, Tastykake and Pep Boys, which are headquartered in the neighborhood. Temple University continues to try to restore its Lower North Philadelphia neighborhood; successes and failures have been mixed. The university has assumed control of several local public schools, it gives extra benefits and aid to local residents that are admitted as students, and it sponsors many student volunteer projects to help the surrounding neighborhoods. These efforts have had some impact on the surrounding community but lack the centralized strategy and funding of similar efforts, such as the West Philadelphia University City project. Some residents have accused Temple of either ignoring the wishes of local citizens in its moves to expand or being more concerned with its own projects than the viability of the surrounding area. Critics note the great many properties it has purchased, leveled, and redeveloped for university use, while much of the surrounding area still struggles. A private commercial development designed to spur a North Broad Street revitalization, but targeted at Temple students, has made rejuvenation of the area seem likely to occur solely by virtue of the school's existence, and not because of its particular efforts.

Several parts of North Philadelphia, especially those that border the Center City district, have recently been experiencing varying levels of gentrification. Once economically divested neighborhoods like Brewerytown, Francisville, Northern Liberties, Poplar, and West Kensington have seen large scale development break ground. Other regions have seen virtually no change, save the rising housing values that have accompanied increased attention in urban markets. Many residents of communities in North Philadelphia have voiced resistance towards these gentrifying forces, viewing the sudden investment as an invasion that threatens the traditional character of the neighborhoods. Some poor and elderly residents have been pushed out of increasingly valued neighborhoods adjacent to the dynamic Center City housing market, as speculative buyers push outward from the city core. Many fear this process will be repeated in North Philadelphia. Many buildings are abandoned. North Philadelphia remains a predominantly Black area with a population of 302,530 that is roughly 83% African-American.

In a 2007 Philadelphia Weekly article journalist Steve Volk states that anti-drug activists said that North Philadelphia has a lot of open air recreational drug dealing because the act is a tradition and because many areas have consistent poverty.

Notably, Broad Street roughly bisects North Philadelphia north-south. Broad Street is a six-lane arterial street that is designated as Pennsylvania Route 611. The Broad Street Subway, or 'Orange Line,' runs along Broad Street, directly connecting North Philadelphia with Center City and South Philadelphia, as well as with the rest of Philadelphia's public transit system: SEPTA.

YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, which is chartered by the School District of Philadelphia, is also located in North Philadelphia, just south of William Penn High School.

North Philadelphia also boasts a number of institutions of higher learning.

There are thirteen branch libraries of the Philadelphia Free Library located in North Philadelphia.

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Source : Wikipedia