I feel a lot of connections to Lang (but none as

by Bob Kelley

deep as yours), more sentimental than rational.

20+ years ago, I used to park about a block from the Lang marker to walk to South Street on Sundays and take in the scene. For many years now (Alberta will know all this), South Street has been the city's top hipster/arts mecca (I have played more live shows there than anywhere), but in the time of Eddie and Joe, it would have been more of a mercantile district, with discount clothing stores and other shops. I would imagine it would have been where teenagers would have gone to window-shop for clothes or buy records or musical instruments or watch the scene ... aside from the Italian Market in South Philly (which I think was mostly food), it would have been the closest business district to where Eddie and Joe lived.

For many years, I played pool in an upstairs bar on South Street that overlooked the former home where Larry Fine of the Three Stooges was born (he was a violinist and boxer in his youth). That area is almost skirting the border of where I believe the true South Philly starts, and very many of the pool players came from South Philly. It's interesting that both Lang and Venuti were avid pool players -- it must be an obsession in that area that has lasted to this day. There are countless neighborhood bars there with their own pool league teams with satin jackets and gargantuan trophies.

You get the sense that the atmosphere in that area may not have changed all that much from the 19-teens, at least not nearly as much as most places. The streets are claustrophobic, parking is a nightmare, walking is easier, people hanging out will sometimes interact with strangers, the architecture is very old ...

Posted on Oct 24, 2010, 2:19 PM

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