️-downtown-rebound-|-morning-newsletter

🏙️ Downtown Rebound | Morning Newsletter

The streak of mild weather continues. The sun should be out with a high of 70.

Pedestrian traffic may not be like it was in 2019, but our downtown is far from empty. Compared to most other cities’ recoveries from the pandemic, Philadelphia is doing very well.

Our lead story explains what’s behind Philly’s rebound.

— Taylor Allen (@TayImanAllen, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

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Philly’s downtown recovery

Thanks to a diversified economy and a robust residential population, Center City’s rebound from the pandemic is strong.

A new report from the Center City District compares populations in 26 downtown areas in the second quarter of 2019 vs. 2023. Philadelphia ranks fifth among downtowns studied in terms of the total number of people downtown today versus before the pandemic.

Trends: Cities where the tech sector dominated offices pre-pandemic, like Denver and San Francisco, have the worst total recovery numbers. Cities like these have the fewest people returning to officers and the most desolate downtowns. On the flip side, Nashville is thriving with more people downtown in 2023 compared to 2019. The city’s bustling strip of bars and concert venues on Broadway attract crowds every day of the week. Cities that rely on leisure, hospitality, and entertainment industries tend to be back with the highest numbers.

Read on the data breakdown of who’s returning downtown by sector.

Many LGBTQ+ renters are entering home-buying years

Real estate agent Nicole LaGreca describes herself as queer, masculine presenting, and genderqueer. She’s faced surprised and dismissive in-person reactions from people she first met online or over the phone.

There was one particular encounter when a potential client met her at a Port Richmond home during a tornado warning. LaGreca could feel the woman’s discomfort being in the house with her “to the point where she did end up running out into the storm.”

LaGreca works with a lot of first-time home buyers, including those who are LGBTQ+ with their own stories of bias.

The number of people who identify as LGBTQ+ is fast-growing and younger than the overall population, and many are reaching their prime home-buying years. Not much data exists about their experiences buying and selling. There’s not much about the gaps of home ownership, either.

Federal agencies, housing policy groups, and the real estate industry have begun gathering and sharing data about the LGBTQ+ population, but there’s more work to do. Researchers at the Washington-based think tank Urban Institute say much more is needed to identify, track, and prevent discrimination.

Continue reading to learn more about this need for data-driven evidence.

What you should know today

Forget wedding photos, try a wedding painting

For $3,000 to $7,000, artist Jessica Libor will paint a portrait of a couple that memorializes their wedding day in a way photographs can’t.

With an easel, canvas and oils, she’s also built-in entertainment as wedding guests can watch her process.

In her own words: “Guests will roam around to check on the progress of the painting starting with the cocktail hour,” Libor said. “They’re tipsy, happy, and appreciative of what I’m doing. They’re tipsy, happy, and appreciative of what I’m doing. And then I’ll be handing the couple an heirloom they’ll pass onto their children.”

Usually, the couple asks for a painting of the pair exchanging vows or their first dance.

Popularized by TikTok and old-fashioned word-of-mouth, live-event painting looks like it’s getting a new moment.

Click here to read more about Libor’s process, but stick around for the intricate works of art.

🧠 Trivia time 🧠

Which Philadelphia mascot just released a 2024 calendar?

A) Gritty

B) Phanatic

C) Franklin the Dog

D) None of the above

Think you know? Check your answer.

What we’re…

👀 Watching: President Joe Biden is moving forward with his second attempt at student loan cancellation.

📷 Perusing: The best pictures of September from our staff photographers. Relive the last days of summer, demolition derbies, and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

🧩 Unscramble the anagram 🧩

Hint: Expressway 🚗

VEST ENTIRE

We’ll select a reader at random to shout out here. Cheers to James Glass, who correctly guessed Tuesday’s answer: Broad Street.

Photo of the day

Have a great hump day. I’m off to start reading The Half Moon by Mary Beth Keane. See you next time. 👋🏽

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