New neighbor reflects on his return to the Falls
OK, so technically he’s a squatter, but Morgan Bound practically grew up in East Falls. He’s been gone over 20 years, but moved back to the neighborhood last August, buying a house on Merrick* Street.
Like many recent transplants, he’s got lot of thoughts about his new neighborhood. Unlike them, he has plenty of childhood memories about how it used to be.
We met with him to find out what’s changed about the Falls, what he likes about it, and where he hopes it’ll go.
NAME: Morgan Bound
PARTNER: Jody Hamilton
MOVED HERE FROM: Mayfair
MOVE-IN DATE: August 2014
Morgan, Electrician at Philadelphia Energy Solutions (The former Sunoco plant in South Philly by the Airport)
Jody, co-founder of Zivtech, a center city tech firm
4 cats (Tuffy, Maddie, Pogie, and Jamaal)
Why East Falls?
I grew up in Germantown, right on the border of the Falls. I spent a lot of time around here in the 80s and 90s. It was kinda my stomping grounds as a kid. I remembered how close-knit the Falls community was and had a lot of good memories of the place.
We moved back last August because we wanted a sense of community. We’ve lived in Mayfair and Northern Liberties, and both had their upsides, but in the end we just didn’t feel like part of something bigger.
In Mayfair we lived on a block with 70 houses and we only knew a couple people. Northern Liberties was a little better, but it was always new faces when you went to any of the bars or restaurants around there.
A very quiet, friendly place. It’s only been a year, but we’ve got almost as many friends now as we had in Mayfair and Northern Liberties combined.
We’ve got a great view of the Philadelphia city skyline from our back yard and it’s easy to walk everywhere in the neighborhood. Our dog Arya loves that of course.
Surprised it’s so hard to find space for a dog park in the Falls. I talk about it all the time but that’s only because it doesn’t seem like it should be that difficult.
I guess I’m kinda spoiled because one of the great things about Northern Liberties was their dog park. It’s private, you can buy beers there for $1 to support it, and people were volunteering all the time to help maintain it. It was a real neighborhood resource and a community effort.
Name something you wish the Falls had but doesn’t
I’m still learning about all the community groups around here, but my view is I don’t care who brings in business as long as it gets done. We’ve got plenty of potential here and it’s a shame we don’t have more places we can walk to.
Have you had to entertain houseguests? What did you do with them?
We entertain in our backyard which is one of my favorite things about the new house. We’ve got an outdoor living room, a great view, and lots of space to grill.
We’ve also just planted a garden and discovered wine grapes are growing out back. I’m not much of a wine guy but the grapes are pretty tasty right now and the leaves are nice to look at on the arbor we’ve got.
If we have to go out for dinner or beers, it’s generally Murphy’s. Jody loves the fish tacos.
Name three things you’re glad East Falls has:
- Places to eat and have a “few” beers within walking distance from home.
- A bicycle trail that goes from South Philly all the way to Ft. Washington.
- The scenery!
If you could change one thing about your neighborhood, what would it be?
I would like to see every storefront along the Ridge Ave. corridor filled with places like coffee houses, live music venues, takeout beer places, etc. Parking be damned – that’s a good problem to have.
Any things you’ve had to learn or adapt to since moving here?
When I first moved here, I could barely make it halfway up Midvale Ave on my bicycle in granny gear.
Now I can climb Calumet Street in a taller gear without stopping. My car is no longer central to my transportation needs, as East Falls is perfectly situated for bicycle commuting into South Philly.
It takes less than 40 minutes to go 11 miles, which is sometimes actually faster than driving when you consider traffic. And I never walked as much before as I do now.
What’s With the Tats?
I’m a big fan of music so I’ve got a couple album cover tattoos on me. I also dig old woodcuts, Hans Holbein and Albrecht Durer are favorites. Not really making a statement with the woodcuts, I just like the way they look.
I’m trying to get more involved in the community, meet new people. We’ve got some minor repairs to the house coming up but we’re really happy with the place. The plan is to stay here a while. Long term, I wanna pay this place off by the time I’m 50.
*Samuel Vaughan Merrick was a cofounder of The Franklin Institute in 1824, and he also donated the land for our Falls of Schuylkill library (along with the Warden estate). No relation to John/Joseph Merrick.
For more history about East Falls street names, click here.