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For NPR host Terry Gross, the City of
Brotherly Love’s charming parks and
neighborhoods are like a breath of
Fresh Air—even some 30 years after
she moved to her adopted hometown
When Terry Gross moved from Bu alo, N. Y., to Philadelphia in 1975
to host a radio show called Fresh Air, the gritty neighborhood around
Third and Market streets was a hodgepodge of wholesale hosiery
shops and used record stores. More than 30 years later, galleries, patisseries and upscale boutiques have rejuvenated the Old City district.
“It’s been a remarkable change,” Gross marvels.
Gross’ show has undergone some big transformations, as well. Once
a strictly Philly program, Fresh Air now broadcasts on more than 500
public radio stations across the United States. Millions of listeners tune
in to hear her coax life stories, insights and an occasional soul-baring
revelation from guests ranging from actors Mike Myers and Julie
Andrews to New York Times Baghdad bureau chief James Glanz.
Gross concedes that her demanding schedule and rigorous
preparation for interviews leaves her little time to enjoy
Philadelphia’s diverse neighborhoods. But she does
savor the city’s compact, charming green spaces.
“Around Independence Mall, you can walk from
one park to another,” she says. “There’s Washington Square Park, Independence Park, all these
Gross and her husband live near enough to
WH YY to make her commute an easy one. “It’s
easy to live in Philadelphia and feel like you’re
living in a little village,” she says. She regularly
runs errands on foot and strolls with her husband to a nearby deli for dinner.
When she lived in Chestnut Hill about a
decade ago, her home was five minutes from the
Morris Arboretum, 92 acres of fountains, mead-
ows, rose gardens and a serene swan pond. “You
can go there and you feel like you’ve completely
escaped from the city,” she says.
These days, most of Gross’ escapism occurs in
movie theaters. She’s a regular at advance screenings
so she can stay savvy about new releases, though she
favors independent films and art-house features. You
might occasionally spot her at The Bridge: Cinema de
Lux at 40th and Walnut streets.
“They have really comfortable seats,” she confides in
that familiar, knowing voice.—JUNE D. BELL
PROWL FOR MUSIC
27 N. 2nd St.; 215- 922-
3855 • Old blues tunes
from the early 1920s, punk
bands, obscure jazz and
experimental music all share
space at this 4,000-square-
foot independent music
store. With more than
35,000 titles, AKA Music has
what you didn’t even know
you were looking for. They
also buy and sell used CDs
and, yes, even vinyl.
GAWK AT ODDITIES
19 S. 22nd St.;
215- 563-3737 • Created
more than 150 years ago to
help medical students better
understand the functional
and freakish in the human
body, the museum today
houses more than 20,000
medical objects and
curiosities. Look for a
plaster cast of Chang and
Eng, the Siamese twins.
BYOB FOR DINNER
501 S. 45th St.;
215- 222-3699 • Southern-
inspired cuisine in West
Philly? Under chef Erin
O’Shea, all things are
Try the quick-smoked
salmon with fried green
tomatoes and yellow
squash at this 40-seat
BYOB restaurant. Launched
in 1934 as the Marigold
Tea Room, it’s going strong
under O’Shea’s capable