All About Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Geographic Area
Philadelphia ( /ˌfɪləˈdɛlfiə/) is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth-most-populous city in the United States. It is located in the Northeastern United States along the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and it is the only consolidated city-county in Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 Census, the city had a population of 1,526,006. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural center of the Delaware Valley, home to 6 million people and the country's fifth-largest metropolitan area.The Philadelphia metropolitan division consists of five counties in Pennsylvania and has a population of 4,008,994. Popular nicknames for Philadelphia are Philly and The City of Brotherly Love, the latter of which comes from the literal meaning of the city's name in Greek (Greek: Φιλαδέλφεια ([pʰilaˈdelpʰeːa], Modern Greek: [filaˈðelfia]) "brotherly love", compounded from philos (φίλος) "loving", and adelphos (ἀδελφός) "brother").
In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as capital of Pennsylvania Colony. By the 1750s it was the largest city and busiest port in British America. During the American Revolution, Philadelphia played an instrumental role as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals during the Revolutionary War, and the city served as the temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. During the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. It became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration and surpassed two million occupants by 1950.
Philadelphia has shifted to an information and service-based economy. Financial activities account for the largest sector of the metro economy, and it is one of the largest health education and research centers in the United States. Philadelphia's history attracts many tourists, with the Liberty Bell receiving over 2 million visitors in 2010. The Delaware Valley contains the headquarters of twelve Fortune 500 corporations, four of which are in Philadelphia proper. With a gross domestic product of $388 billion, Philadelphia ranks ninth among world cities and fourth in the nation. The city is also the nation's fourth-largest consumer media market, as ranked by the Nielsen Media Research.
Philadelphia is known for its arts and culture. The cheesesteak and soft pretzel are emblematic of Philadelphia cuisine, which is shaped by the city's ethnic mix. The city has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city, and Philadelphia's Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. Gentrification of Philadelphia's neighborhoods continues into the 21st century and the city has reversed its decades-long trend of population loss.
Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape (Delaware) Indians in the village of Shackamaxon. Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey. The Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony. In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina (present day Wilmington, Delaware) and quickly spread out in the valley. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their military defeat of the English colony of Maryland. In 1648, the Dutch built Fort Beversreede on the west bank of the Delaware, south of the Schuylkill near the present-day Eastwick section of Philadelphia, to reassert their dominion over the area. The Swedes responded by building Fort Nya Korsholm, named New Korsholm after a town that is now in Finland. In 1655, a Dutch military campaign led by New Netherland Director-General Peter Stuyvesant took control of the Swedish colony, ending its claim to independence, although the Swedish and Finnish settlers continued to have their own militia, religion, and court, and to enjoy substantial autonomy under the Dutch. The English conquered the New Netherland colony in 1664, but the situation did not really change until 1682, when the area was included in William Penn's charter for Pennsylvania.
In 1681, in partial repayment of a debt, Charles II of England granted William Penn a charter for what would become the Pennsylvania colony. Despite the royal charter, 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 Fishtown section. Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for brotherly love (from philos, "love" or "friendship", and adelphos, "brother"). As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely. This tolerance, far more than afforded by most other colonies, led to better relations with the local Native tribes and fostered Philadelphia's rapid growth into America's most important city. Penn planned a city on the Delaware River to serve as a port and place for government. Hoping that Philadelphia would become more like an English rural town instead of a city, Penn laid out roads on a grid plan to keep houses and businesses spread far apart, with areas for gardens and orchards. The city's inhabitants did not follow Penn's plans, as they crowded by the Delaware River, the port, and subdivided and resold their lots. Before Penn left Philadelphia for the last time, he issued the Charter of 1701 establishing it as a city. It became an important trading center, poor at first, but with tolerable living conditions by the 1750s. Benjamin Franklin, a leading citizen, helped improve city services and founded new ones, such as fire protection, a library, and one of the American colonies' first hospitals.
A number of important philosophical societies were formed, which were centers of the city's intellectual life: the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture (1785), the Pennsylvania Society for the Encouragement of Manufactures and the Useful Arts (1787), the Academy of Natural Sciences (1812), and the Franklin Institute (1824). These worked to develop and finance new industries and attract skilled and knowledgeable immigrants from Europe.
Philadelphia's importance and central location in the colonies made it a natural center for America's revolutionaries. The city hosted 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 (1787) after the war. Several battles were fought in and near Philadelphia as well.
Philadelphia served as the temporary capital of the United States, 1790–1800, while the Federal City was under construction in the District of Columbia. In 1793, the largest yellow fever epidemics in U.S. history killed at least 4,000 and up to 5,000 people in Philadelphia, roughly 10% of the city's population.
The state government left Philadelphia in 1799, and the federal government was relocated to Washington, DC in 1800 with completion of the White House and Capitol. The city remained the young nation's largest with a population of nearly 50,000 at the turn of the 19th century; it was a financial and cultural center. Before 1800, its free black community founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent black denomination in the country, and the first black Episcopal Church. The free black community also established many schools for its children, with the help of Quakers. New York City soon surpassed Philadelphia in population but, with the construction of roads, canals, and railroads, Philadelphia became the first major industrial city in the United States.
Throughout the 19th century, Philadelphia had a 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 Irish and German, 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. The city was a destination for thousands of Irish immigrants fleeing the Great Famine in the 1840s; housing for them was developed south of South Street, and was later occupied by succeeding immigrants. They established a network of Catholic churches and schools, and dominated the Catholic clergy for decades. In the latter half of the century, immigrants from Russia, Eastern Europe and Italy; and African Americans from the southern U.S. settled in the city. Between 1880 and 1930, the African-American population of Philadelphia increased from 31,699 to 219,559. Twentieth-century black newcomers were part of the Great Migration out of the rural South to northern and midwestern industrial cities.
In the American Civil War, Philadelphia was represented by the Washington Grays (Philadelphia).
By the 20th century, Philadelphia had become known as "corrupt and contented", with a complacent population and an entrenched Republican political machine. The first major reform came in 1917 when outrage over the election-year murder of a police officer led to the shrinking of the Philadelphia City Council from two houses to just one. In July 1919, Philadelphia was one of more than 36 industrial cities nationally to suffer a race riot of ethnic whites against blacks during Red Summer, in post-World War I unrest, as recent immigrants competed with blacks for jobs. 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.
In 1940, non-Hispanic whites constituted 86.8% of the city's population. The population peaked at more than two million residents in 1950, then began to decline with the restructuring of industry, which led to the loss of many middle-class union jobs. In addition, suburbanization had been drawing off many of the wealthier residents to outlying railroad commuting towns and newer housing. Revitalization and gentrification of neighborhoods began in the late 1970s 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 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 Old City and Society Hill were renovated during the reformist mayoral era of the 1950s through the 1980s. They are now among the most desirable living areas of Center City. This has slowed the city's 40-year population decline after it lost nearly one-quarter of its population. The city has attracted more recent immigrants: Hispanics from Central and South America, Asian refugees from Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Educated Asians from India have tended to settle in suburbs with other middle- and upper-class people.
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.
Under the Köppen climate classification Philadelphia falls in the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa). Summers are typically hot and muggy, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. Snowfall is variable, with some winters bringing only light snow and others bringing several major snowstorms. The average annual snowfall is 19.3 in (49.0 cm). Precipitation is generally spread throughout the year, with eight to twelve wet days per month, at an average annual rate of 42.1 in (1,070 mm).
The January average is 32.3 °F (0.17 °C), though lows at times reach 10 °F (−12 °C), not including wind chill, and highs may soar above 50 °F (10 °C). July averages 77.6 °F (25.3 °C), although heat waves accompanied by high humidity are frequent with highs above 95 °F (35 °C) and even higher heat indices. Early fall and late winter are generally driest, with October being the driest month by average daily precipitation, averaging 2.75 inches (70 mm) for the month.
The snowiest winter has been the 2009–2010 winter season, with 78.7 inches (199.9 cm) of snow The least snowy winter was the 1972–1973 season, with only trace amounts of snowfall. The city's heaviest single-storm snowfall (30.7 inches (78.0 cm)) occurred in January 1996.
The highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) on August 7, 1918, but 100 °F (38 °C)+ temperatures are uncommon. The lowest officially recorded temperature was −11 °F (−24 °C) on February 9, 1934, but temperatures below 0 °F (−17.8 °C) occur only a few times a decade.
Philadelphia's architectural history dates back to Colonial times and includes a wide range of styles. The earliest structures were of logs construction, but brick structures were common by 1700. During the 18th century, the cityscape was dominated by Georgian architecture, including Independence Hall and Christ Church.
In the first decades of the 19th century, Federal architecture and Greek Revival architecture were dominated by Philadelphia architects such as Benjamin Latrobe, William Strickland, John Haviland, John Notman, Thomas U. Walter, and Samuel Sloan. Frank Furness is considered Philadelphia's greatest architect of the second half of the 19th century, but his contemporaries included John McArthur, Jr., Addison Hutton, Wilson Eyre, the Wilson Brothers, and Horace Trumbauer. In 1871, construction began on the Second Empire-style Philadelphia City Hall. The Philadelphia Historical Commission was created in 1955 to preserve the cultural 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 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 and make Philadelphia one of only four American cities with two or more buildings over 900 feet (270 m); the other cities being New York, Houston, and Chicago.
For much of Philadelphia's history, the typical home has been the row house. The row house was introduced to the United States via Philadelphia in the early 19th century and, for a time, row houses built elsewhere in the United States were known as "Philadelphia rows". A variety of row houses are found 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 the housing is from the early 20th century or older. The great age of the homes has created numerous problems, including 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.
The total parkland amounts to about 10,334 acres (41.82 km2). Philadelphia's largest park, Fairmount Park, encompasses 9,200 acres (37 km2) of this parkland and includes 63 neighborhood and regional parks. The largest tract of Fairmount Park is on the west side of the city along the Schuylkill River and Wissahickon Creek and includes the Philadelphia Zoo.
The total expenditures of the park in 2005 were $164 million. Fairmount Park is the world's largest landscaped urban park.
Philadelphia is home to 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.
Philadelphia's major science museums include the Franklin Institute, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Mütter Museum, 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, as well as Fairmount Park, one of America's oldest and largest urban parks.
The city is home to important archival repositories, including the Library Company of Philadelphia, established in 1731, and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, founded in 1814. The Presbyterian Historical Society, the country's oldest continuous denominational historical society, is also located there.
The Philadelphia accent, which shares some similarities with the New York accent, is one of the best-studied dialects of American English.
The city contains many art museums, such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, which holds 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. Its long flight of steps to the main entrance became famous after the film Rocky (1976).
The city is home to the Philadelphia Sketch Club, one of the country's oldest artists' clubs, and the Plastic Club, started by women excluded from the Sketch Club. It has 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, generally considered one of the top five orchestras in the United States, and the Academy of Music, the nation's oldest continually operating opera house, home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Ballet. The Wilma Theatre and Philadelphia Theatre Company have new buildings constructed in the last decade on the avenue. They produce a variety of new works. Several blocks to the east are the Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest theatre and the largest subscription theater in the world, as well as the Lantern Theatre at St. Stephens Church, one of a number of smaller venues.
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.
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 2,800 murals by professional, staff and volunteer artists and educated more than 20,000 youth in underserved neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.
Philadelphia artists have had a prominent national role in popular 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 home to the world-renowned Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale, which has performed its music all over the world. Dr. Robert G. Hamilton, founder of the choir, is a notable native 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 and rap music. Hip-hop/Rap artists such as The Roots, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, The Goats, Freeway, Schoolly D, Eve, and Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes hail from the city.
The city is known for its hoagies, scrapple, soft pretzels, water ice, Tastykake, and is home to the cheesesteak, developed by German and Italian immigrants. Its high-end restaurants include Le Bec-Fin and Morimoto, run by chef Masaharu Morimoto, who rose to prominence on the Iron Chef television show. Italian specialties have been supplemented by many new Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants, both budget and high-end.
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 broadcasting 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 non-commercial 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 NJTV (New Jersey). In September 2007, Philadelphia approved a Public-access television cable TV channel.
Rock stations WMMR and WYSP had historically been intense rivals. However, in 2011, WYSP switched to sports talk as WIP-FM, which 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 broadcast radio for satellite-based Sirius Radio.
Four urban stations (WUSL ("Power 99"), WPHI ("100.3 The Beat"), WDAS and WRNB) are popular choices on the FM dial. WBEB is the city's Adult Contemporary station.
Philadelphia's professional sports teams date at least to the 1860 founding of baseball's Athletics. The city is one of 12 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.
The city's professional teams went without a championship from 1983, when the 76ers won the NBA Championship, until 2008, when the Phillies won the World Series. In 2004, ESPN ranked Philadelphia second on its list of The Fifteen Most Tortured Sports Cities. The failure was sometimes attributed in jest to the "Curse of Billy Penn." However, as it turned out, the main reason for the failure was because the only years the city's teams played for championships were presidential inaugural years. The city's teams have lost championships in such years, beginning with the 76ers' loss in the 1977 NBA Finals, and most recently in 2009, when the Phillies lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. During the spring that followed the Phillies loss in the World Series, the Flyers unexpectedly reached the Stanley Cup Finals, where they lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, marking the first time since their loss in 1987 that the city's professional teams lost a championship in a non-presidential inauguration year.
Major-sport professional sports teams that originated in Philadelphia but ultimately moved to other cities include the Golden State Warriors basketball team and the Oakland Athletics baseball team.
Philadelphia is also the home city of the Philadelphia Spinners, a professional ultimate team that is part of the American Ultimate Disc League. They are one of the original eight teams of the league that began in April 2012 and play their home games at the University of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia is home to professional, semi-professional and elite amateur teams in cricket, rugby league (Philadelphia Fight), rugby union and other sports. Major sporting events in the city include the Penn Relays, Stotesbury Cup, Philadelphia Marathon, Broad Street Run, Philadelphia International Championship bicycle race, and the Dad Vail Regatta.
Philadelphia is home to the Philadelphia Big 5, a group of five Division I college basketball programs. The 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[vague] and at least one team has made the NCAA tournament for the past four decades[which?].
In February 2008, Philadelphia beat several other cities in competition for the 16th Major League Soccer franchise. The Philadelphia Union entered the league in 2010 calling PPL Park their home (a soccer-specific stadium) in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia bid to host the 1920, 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Olympics but lost to Antwerp, London, Helsinki and Melbourne respectively.
Philadelphia's economic sectors include manufacturing, oil refining, food processing, health care and biotechnology, tourism and financial services. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia area had a total gross metropolitan product of $347 billion in 2010, the seventh-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and several Fortune 500 companies, including cable television and internet provider Comcast, insurance companies Colonial Penn, CIGNA and Lincoln Financial Group, energy company Sunoco, food services company Aramark and Crown Holdings Incorporated, chemical makers Rohm and Haas Company and FMC Corporation, pharmaceutical companies Wyeth and GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, 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 also a legal center.[vague] It is home to the law schools of Penn, Drexel, Temple, Rutgers (Camden), Villanova, and Widener. The headquarters of the American Law Institute is located in the city as well as the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Ten of the 100 largest law firms in the US have their headquarters or largest office in Philadelphia.
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 Medical Center, 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 as 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.
Tourism is a major industry in Philadelphia, which was the 11th-most-visited city in the United States in 2008. It welcomed 710,000 visitors from foreign countries in 2008, up 29% from the previous year.
Shopping options in Center City include The Gallery at Market East, The Shops at Liberty Place, Jewelers' Row, South Street, Old City's 3rd Street Corridor, and a wide variety of standalone independent retailers. The Rittenhouse area, known as Philadelphia's outdoor shopping mall, includes Rittenhouse Row, a four-block section of Walnut Street, which has higher-end clothing chain stores and some hipster-inspired clothing stores. The parallel streets of Sansom and Chestnut have some high-end boutiques and clothing retailers. Old City, especially the 3rd Street corridor, has locally owned independent boutiques and art/design galleries. Midway between Old City and Broad Street is the Reading Terminal Market, with dozens of take-out restaurants, specialty food vendors, and small grocery store operators, a few of which are operated by Amish farmers from nearby Lancaster County.
Philadelphia has a few eclectic neighborhood shopping districts, which generally consist of a few blocks along a major neighborhood thoroughfare, such as in Manayunk or Chestnut Hill. The Italian Market in South Philadelphia offers groceries, meats, cheeses and housewares, historically from Italy, but now from many nationalities. Two famed cheesesteak restaurants, Geno's and Pat's, are located nearby.
There are several large shopping malls and strip malls in the region, including Franklin Mills in Northeast Philadelphia, and many in the suburbs, most notably the King of Prussia Mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, 19 miles (31 km) from the heart of the city. The King of Prussia Mall is the largest shopping mall on the U.S. East Coast and the largest in the country in terms of leasable retail space.
During the 20th century, the city was a focal point of retail innovation. Suburban Square in Ardmore, Montgomery County, is sometimes considered the first modern shopping center in the world. Built in stages from 1927 to 1931, it was one of the first institutions to define the Pennsylvania Main Line in the 1920s.[not relevant] More importantly, it contains one of the oldest surviving department store branches in the country, a Strawbridge & Clothier, now a Macy's as of recently[when?]. Since then, large malls such as Cherry Hill Mall and King of Prussia Mall have opened nearby.
Some of the first modern discount stores followed. Much of Kmart's earlier growth was in the Philadelphia area during the early 1960s. Defunct chains such as Bradlees, Caldor, Jamesway, Ames, Woolco, Two Guys, Hills Department Stores, Zayre, Richway, Korvettes, Nichols, Gaylords, Murphy Mart, and later Value City were concentrated in Philadelphia and other East Coast markets. This growth occurred largely during the 1950s–1970s, before the national growth of Wal-Mart and Target in the 1980s. Another was Strawbridge's own, Clover.
Philadelphia was the home of many pioneering supermarket chains during the same period, many of which had trademark architecture. The longest-running of these is Acme, formerly known as American Stores and Super Saver. Other examples are long-defunct Food Fair (Pantry Pride) and Penn Fruit, but Acme has closed many stores and was sold to Albertsons. They have however acquired many stores from their failed rivals. A&P, based in New York City, once had Philadelphia as a core market. After many previous store closings, the company shuttered its entire Philadelphia division in 1982. Due to a union outcry, it built some new stores and reopened others as Super Fresh from 1982 to 1985. The A&P name lives on in the nearby New York/New England market. More recently,[when?] the company acquired established Philadelphia/New York chain Pathmark. Many of these stores that have closed were replaced by franchises such as Shur-Fine, Supervalu, IGA, and Thriftway/Shop 'n Bag. Many other former supermarkets have become off-price stores such as Big Lots, Family Dollar, and Dollar General. Current major players in the region today include ShopRite, Save-a-Lot, ALDI, Giant-Carlisle, and local chain Genuardi's. Failed family-owned chains are Clemens and Giunta's. Newer upscale chains include Whole Foods, Wegmans, and Trader Joe's. There are few Wal-Mart Supercenters in the immediate area.[not relevant] In nearby markets, Safeway, Stop & Shop, Giant-Landover, Kroger, Food Lion, and formerly Grand Union operate.
Drug chains CVS, Rite Aid, and formerly Eckerd and Drug Emporium are common in the region. JCPenney also for many years operated the leading Thrift Drug chain. All these chains often anchored shopping centers along with a supermarket. Acme for many years also owned "Rea & Derick" drugstores under this arrangement, in partnership with the Rexall chain. In recent decades,[which?] supermarkets have added pharmacies of their own. At the same time, drugstores have relocated to corner locations or "inherited" obsolete supermarkets. Similar trends have occurred in other cities. Food Fair/Pantry Pride and Stop & Shop also shared many shopping centers with subsidiaries J.M. Fields and Bradlees, often with the stores directly connected. In fact, both divisions were acquired the same year, in 1961. Several J.M. Fields stores gave way to Bradlees as well. There once were many small enclosed malls in the area with a similar style, such as MacDade Mall.
Pennsylvania is also unique in that it has a "State Store" system for non-beer alcohol sales. Wine and spirits are only sold at stores operated by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which are ubiquitous[neutrality is disputed] in Philadelphia. For many years, these stores were called "State Store", only had "counter" service, and were strictly closed on Sundays. Many of them were and still are small but important anchors[editorializing] in shopping centers. In the 1970s, all but a few "urban" locations were made into conventional stores with aisles. Later, their hours, selection, and square footage have greatly been expanded. To this day, however, the stores lack a consistent name and logo. Some are called simply "liquor store", while most have some variation on the words "Wine & Spirits" or "Wine & Spirits Shoppe". The state also allows winery retail stores.
Also important to the local economy are Wawa, Comcast, Citizens Bank, Sunoco, and Lukoil. These companies all have many major sponsorships.[vague] Philadelphia has had its share of local retailers as well, many of which have been bought out or closed. Many national big-box and mall retailers have arrived since the 1980s.
Philadelphia was the location of the first examples in the United States of a number of institutions, including:
According to the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,526,006 people residing in the City of Philadelphia. This represents a 0.6% increase since the 2000 Census and the first time since the 1950 Census that the city's population showed an increase. The average population density was 11,457 people per square mile (4,405.4/km²). The 2010 Census Redistricting Data indicated that the racial makeup of the city was 661,839 (43.4%) African American, 626,221 (41.0%) White, 6,996 (0.5%) Native American, 96,405 (6.3%) Asian (2.0% Chinese, 1.2% Indian, 0.9% Vietnamese, 0.6% Cambodian, 0.4% Korean, 0.3% Filipino, 0.2% Pakistani, 0.1% Indonesian), 744 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 90,731 (5.9%) from other races, and 43,070 (2.8%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 187,611 persons (12.3%); 8.0% of Philadelphia is Puerto Rican, 1.0% Dominican, 1.0% Mexican, 0.3% Cuban, and 0.3% Colombian. The racial breakdown of Philadelphia's Hispanic/Latino population was 63,636 (33.9%) White, 17,552 (9.4%) African American, 3,498 (1.9%) Native American, 884 (0.47%) Asian, 287 (0.15%) Pacific Islander, 86,626 (46.2%) from other races, and 15,128 (8.1%) from two or more races.
The Census reported that 1,468,623 people (96.2% of the population) lived in households, 38,007 (2.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 19,376 (1.3%) were institutionalized.
There were 670,171 housing units, of which 599,736 (89.5%) were occupied and 70,435 (10.5%) were vacant. Of the 599,736 households, 149,193 (24.9%) had children under the age of 18 living with them, 169,587 (28.3%) were married couples living together, 134,648 (22.5%) had a female householder with no husband present, 36,119 (6.0%) had a male householder with no wife present, and 259,382 (43.2%) were non-families. 204,714 (34.1%) of all households were made up of individuals and 62,506 (10.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.20.
The population was spread out with 343,837 (22.5%) under the age of 18, 203,697 (13.3%) from 18 to 25, 434,385 (28.5%) from 25 to 44, 358,778 (23.5%) from 45 to 64, and 185,309 (12.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.5 years. For every 100 females there were 89.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
In the 2000 United States Census, the top 5 largest ancestries included Irish (13.6%), Italian (9.2%), German (8.1%), Polish (4.3%), and English (2.9%).
According to the 2009 American Community Survey, the median income for a household in the city was $36,669 and the median income for a family was $45,842. Males had a median income of $33,311 versus $26,112 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,882. About 19.9% of families and 24.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.2% of those under age 18 and 18.6% 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 number of immigrants that arrived during the decade of the 1990s, of which today comprise 10.9% 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-American populations in the U.S. The city is also home to the fourth largest African-American population in the nation, which created the first black denomination, the African Methodist Episcopal Church before 1800. Philadelphia has the fourth largest population of Polish American residents. Philadelphia's Jewish population, the sixth largest in the nation, was estimated at 206,000 in 2001. Early Sephardic Jewish immigrants established a congregation and synagogue in the city before the American Revolutionary War, but most Jews are descended from the larger waves of immigrants from Germany, Russia, Poland and eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
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.
Philadelphia's 1952 Home Rule Charter was written by the City Charter Commission, which was created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly in an Act of April 21, 1949, and a city ordinance of June 15, 1949. The existing City Council received a proposed draft on February 14, 1951, and the electors approved it in an election held April 17, 1951. The first elections under the new Home Rule Charter were held in November 1951, and the newly elected officials took office in January 1952.
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 Mayor is Michael Nutter, who replaced John Street, who served two terms from 1999 to January 2008. 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 Mayoral primary is often more widely covered than the general election. The legislative branch, the Philadelphia City Council, consists of ten council members representing individual districts and seven members elected at large. Democrats currently hold 14 seats, with Republicans representing two allotted at-large seats for the minority party, as well as the Northeast-based Tenth District. The current council president is Darrell Clarke.
The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas (First Judicial District) is the felony-level trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia. It has 90 legally trained judges elected by the voters. It is funded and operated largely by city resources and employees. The current District Attorney is Seth Williams, a Democrat. The last Republican to hold the office is Ron Castille, who left in 1991 and is currently the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court.
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 misdemeanor criminal trials. It has 25 legally trained judges elected by the voters.
Philadelphia Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction that hears violations of traffic laws. It has 7 judges elected by the voters. As with magisterial district judges, the judges need not be lawyers, but must complete the certifying course and pass the qualifying examination administered by the Minor Judiciary Education Board.
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.
As of November 2008, there were 1,126,768 registered voters in Philadelphia.
As of December 31, 2009, there were 1,057,038 registered voters in Philadelphia. Registered voters constitute 68.3% of the total population.
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 (Philadelphia was chosen as the host city for the first Republican National Convention in 1856). 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 began to elect 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; 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 Mike Fitzpatrick; and the 13th, represented by Allyson Schwartz. All but Fitzpatrick 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, and Sam Katz ran competitive Mayoral races as the Republican nominee in both 1999 and 2003. Pennsylvania's longest-serving Senator, Arlen Specter, was from Philadelphia; he served as a Republican from 1981 and as a Democrat from 2009, losing that party's primary in 2010 and leaving office in January 2011. He was also the city's District Attorney from 1966 to 1974.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the largest landlord in Pennsylvania. Established in 1937, it is the nation's fourth-largest housing authority, housing about 84,000 people and employing 1,250. In 2006, its budget was $313 million. The Philadelphia Parking Authority works to ensure adequate parking for city residents, businesses and visitors.
Philadelphia's neighborhoods are divided into large sections—North, Northeast, Northwest, West, South and Southwest Philadelphia—all of which surround Center City, which corresponds closely with the city's limits before consolidation in 1854. Each of these large areas contains numerous neighborhoods, some of whose boundaries derive from the boroughs, townships, and other communities that made up Philadelphia County before their absorption into the city.
Like many American cities, Philadelphia saw a gradual yet pronounced rise in crime in the years following World War II. There were 525 murders in 1990, a rate of 31.5 per 100,000. There were an average of about 600 murders a year for most of the 1990s. The murder count dropped in 2002 to 288, then rose four years later to 406 in 2006 and 392 in 2007. In 2006, Philadelphia's homicide rate of 27.7 per 100,000 people was the highest of the country's 10 most populous cities.
In 2004, there were 7,513.5 crimes per 200,000 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. Camden, New Jersey, a city across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, was ranked as the most dangerous city in the United States.
In 2008, Camden was the second-most dangerous city in the country, lower than its 2004 ranking, but still high for a city its size, while Philadelphia as ranked 22nd.
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 163,064 students in 347 public and charter schools.
Philadelphia 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; and the city is home to five schools of medicine: Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Other institutions of higher learning within the city's borders include:
The Philadelphia Suburbs, especially those along the Main Line, are home to a number of other colleges and universities, including Villanova University, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, Cabrini College, and Eastern University.
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.
In 1981, large sections of the SEPTA Regional Rail service to the far suburbs of Philadelphia were discontinued due to lack of funding. Several projects have been proposed to extend rail service back to these areas, but lack of funding has again been the chief obstacle to implementation. These projects include the proposed Schuylkill Valley Metro to Wyomissing, PA and extension of the Media/Elwyn line back to Wawa, PA.
SEPTA's Airport Regional Rail Line Regional Rail 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. In 2010, Philadelphia International Airport was the 12th largest airport in the world measured by traffic movements (i.e. takeoffs and landings), and is also a primary hub for US Airways.
Interstate 95 runs through the city along the Delaware River as a main north-south artery known as the Delaware Expressway. 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.
Roosevelt Boulevard and the Roosevelt Expressway (U.S. 1) connect Northeast Philadelphia with Center City. Woodhaven Road (Route 63), built in 1966, and Cottman Avenue (Route 73) serve the neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia, running between Interstate 95 and the Roosevelt Boulevard (U.S. 1). The Fort Washington Expressway (Route 309) extends north from the city's northern border, serving Montgomery County and Bucks County. U.S. 30, extending east-west from West Philadelphia to Lancaster, is known as Lancaster Avenue throughout most of the city and through the adjacent Main Line suburbs.
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: Bieber Tourways, Capitol Trailways, Martz Trailways, Peter Pan Bus Lines, Susquehanna Trailways, and the bus division for New Jersey Transit. Other services include Megabus 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, the PATCO Speedline subway system and New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line operate successor services to southern New Jersey.
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[when?] reintroduced trolley service to the Girard Avenue Line, Route 15.
Today, Philadelphia is a regional hub of the federally-owned Amtrak system, with 30th Street Station being a primary stop on the Washington-Boston Northeast Corridor and the Keystone Corridor to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. 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.[dated info]
A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Philadelphia the fifth most walkable major city in the United States.
Southeastern Pennsylvania was assigned the 215 area code in 1947 when the North American Numbering Plan of the "Bell System" went into effect. The geographic area covered by the code was split nearly in half in 1994 when area code 610 was created, with the city and its northern suburbs retaining 215. Overlay area code 267 was added to the 215 service area in 1997, and 445 was added to the 610 area in 1999. A plan in 2001 to introduce a third overlay code to both service areas (area code 445 to 215, area code 835 to 610) 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.
The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Philadelphia. The main Philadelphia Post Office is at 3000 Chestnut Street in the University City district. The facility here became Philadelphia's main post office on September 29, 2008, after the closure of the former main post office at 30th and Market Streets.
Philadelphia has seven official sister cities, as designated by the International Visitors Council of Philadelphia (IVC):
Philadelphia also has three partnership cities:
Philadelphia has dedicated landmarks to its sister cities. Dedicated in June 1976, the Sister Cities Plaza, a site of 0.5 acres (2,000 m2) 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 Toruń 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. In addition, the Triangle contains the Copernicus monument. Renovations were made to Sister Cities Park in mid-2011 and on May 10, 2012, SCP was reopened and currently features an interactive fountain honoring Philadelphia's ten sister and friendship cities, a café and visitor's center, children's play area, outdoor garden, and boat pond, as well as pavilion built to environmentally-friendly standards.
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. The IVC of Philadelphia has participated in the U.S. Department of State's "Partners for Peace" project with Mosul, Iraq, as well as accepting visiting delegations from dozens of other countries.