Long-Awaited Change Coming To Italian Market

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighti...

English: Map of Philadelphia County highlighting South Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s 30 degrees and an icy rain is falling, but as Michele Gambino stands in the center of the Italian Market, she’s feeling surprisingly warm.

Not from the flames snapping in the fire barrels.

But because in 10 days, a change four years in the making comes to the venerable market, one that Gambino and others believe will enrich shoppers and enliven the assembly of grocery stores, butcher shops, and restaurants that line Ninth Street in South Philadelphia.

On Jan. 1, the business-district association takes control of the market’s iconic, outdoor rows of wooden stands.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131223_Long-awaited_change_coming_to_Italian_Market.html#xkxhQzitABLg2xCv.99

Scranton’s Burgeoning Indian Community Putting Down Roots And Sharing Culture

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The chanting of a Hindu prayer could be heard faintly on the streets of Petersburg Corners in Scranton.  Inside a former Presbyterian church on Prescott Avenue, they lit candles made of hardened butter, sweet-smelling incense and sat with their legs crossed before Shiva and other deities of the Hindu pantheon, chanting in unison a prayer in Gujarati, a language of India.

Years ago, the cross of Christ was the symbol of faith here.  A nearly 70-year-old organ played the hymns of the Christian faith.

That is all gone now, serving as another reminder of the shifting demographics of the city as it continues on a new path than the road taken by the Italians, Irish, Polish and other European immigrants.  During the immigration waves of the 19th and early 20th centuries, they built the churches and laid the foundations of the city.

Petersburg Corners and the surrounding area reveal a new direction, a community undergoing change, where another wave of immigrants is now building a place they, too, can call home.

Today, the growing Indian community in this neighborhood, the surrounding Hill Section neighborhood and nearby parts of the city flock to the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Hindu temple at 933 Prescott Ave.  Harikrisna Patel, 57, is a spiritual leader at the temple, where roughly 300 adherents of Hinduism gather for prayer and meals.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-s-burgeoning-indian-community-putting-down-roots-and-sharing-culture-1.1556987

Don’t Give Up On Reading, Albert Boscov Tells Crowd

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsyl...

A 1947 topographic map of the Reading, Pennsylvania area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It was a different Reading back in the day when Albert R. Boscov, then just a child, would go to work at his father’s store on North Ninth Street.

“When I was growing up, Penn Street was the most vital area you could go to.  It had five movie theaters,” the Boscov’s Department Stores chairman recalled of the city in the first half of the twentieth century.  “When I look at Reading today, it’s not what I would like to see.”

“It’s not the Reading I know,” Boscov told a crowd of about 100 at Alvernia University on Friday night.  “And it’s not the Reading it has to be.”

Boscov came to Francis Hall on Friday for the kick-off of Leadership Berks’ “Leaders, Legends, and Visionaries” series.  The discussion was moderated by David Myers, director of Alvernia’s O’Pake Institute for Ethics, Leadership and Public Service.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=510966

Rise Of Latino Population Blurs US Racial Lines

WASHINGTON (AP) — Welcome to the new off-white America.

A historic decline in the number of U.S. whites and the fast growth of Latinos are blurring traditional black-white color lines, testing the limits of civil rights laws and reshaping political alliances as “whiteness” begins to lose its numerical dominance.

Long in coming, the demographic shift was most vividly illustrated in last November’s re-election of President Barack Obama, the first black president, despite a historically low percentage of white supporters.

It’s now a potent backdrop to the immigration issue being debated in Congress that could offer a path to citizenship for 11 million mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants. Also, the Supreme Court is deciding cases this term on affirmative action and voting rights that could redefine race and equality in the U.S.

Read more:  http://www.timesherald.com/article/20130318/NEWS04/130319547/rise-of-latino-population-blurs-us-racial-lines#full_story

Annual First Night Celebrates City’s Diversity New Year’s Eve In Downtown Scranton

picture-0571The tradition of kicking off the new year with a bang – not to mention a little music, magic and more – remains alive and well in the Electric City.

For the 14th consecutive year, First Night Scranton will draw visitors to the city’s downtown, where a slew of venues will host activities and live performances on New Year’s Eve.

This year’s family-friendly event will bring attention to Scranton’s diversity through the theme “New Year’s Eve Around the World.”

“What we kind of focused on was how the ethnicity of the city is evolving and changing,” First Night project director Paige Balitski said.  “And we thought, you know, we should revisit what ethnicities were in the beginning of Scranton and what it’s changing into and adding to all of that.”

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/lifestyles-people/annual-first-night-celebrates-city-s-diversity-new-year-s-eve-in-downtown-scranton-1.1421404