West is Best: A farewell from Annamarya Scaccia

July 3, 2014


Photo courtesy of Annamarya Scaccia.

[Editor’s Note: This is the final post from our intrepid writer and Cedar Park resident Annamarya Scaccia, who brought her Brooklyn-born nose for news to West Philly seven years ago. Like many people in the neighborhoods this time a year she is moving on (in her case to graduate school). To her and to you we say goodbye and good luck. Thanks Annamarya.]

My fiancé, Dick, and I have this inside joke: If we find ourselves finally getting to know our neighborhood, we’ll find ourselves gone in a year or two.

It’s actually not as much of a joke as it is living truth. We’ve moved away from every community we’ve lived in within a short time after we’ve started to settle in — a process that would usually take months, if not years, after we’ve actually moved into a place. It’s not intentional in any respect; it’s an unconscious pattern we’ve just noticed. Maybe we have a serious case of undiagnosed wanderlust.

As of this week, we’ve found ourselves in that position once again. Even though we’ve lived in West Philly for seven years, we’ve really started settling down in the last two. And, like clockwork, we’re moving on, back to New York, where I’m from, so I could pursue grad school.

But this time, it doesn’t feel like just another moment in an inadvertent pattern. Instead, this time it feels like we’re leaving home.

For the first four and a half years of living in West Philly, the only place we’ve lived since moving to the city, Dick and I were dealing with the shock of what brought us here. Because of life’s circumstance, we found ourselves in Philadelphia in 2007 on a forced whim. Our distance from the community was a way of licking our wounds, of slowly accepting our reality.

I’ll be honest — I wasn’t always kind to Philadelphia. But, over the years, I’ve grown fond of our little notch in the city. Both of us came to West Philly when it was just beginning its transformation, and we’ve had the privilege of seeing it change. And, despite my defiance, I’ve come to feel like I was part of something special — something great.

Much of that has to do with my work as a contributing writer for West Philly Local. When I first reached out to cofounders Mike and Julija in early 2013, I was looking for an opportunity to both exercise my skills as a journalist and learn more about the area in which I’ve lived for years. For me, the best way to get to know your community is by reporting on it, and that’s exactly what West Philly Local offered.

So, for over a year, that’s what I’ve done. Through writing for the site, I’ve become intimate with West Philly. I’ve become familiar with its politics, its struggles, its needs, its developments, and its changing nature. I’ve profiled some of its most creative and interesting people, like JJ Tiziou, Yao Nunoo, and Jessica Meyers. I’ve gotten frustrated alongside residents at bureaucratic runarounds and shady political dealings, and excited over new businesses and local restaurants.

And I even reconnected with someone from my Brooklyn College past through my coverage—Zoe Cohen, illustrator behind The Garden of Time, was one of the M.F.A students from Brooklyn College who I interviewed in 2006 for an investigative feature on the school’s mishandling of artwork I wrote for the student newspaper, Brooklyn College Kingsman (to toot my own horn, the article won an award).

West Philly Local showed me how West Philly—how the world—can be both big and small at the same time.

Out of all the publications I’ve worked for while living in Philly, West Philly Local is by the far the best. The site may be small, but it has amazing heart, and is run by two of the most dedicated people I’ve had the pleasure to work for. It’s more than just your local outlet — it’s a place where you connect with your community on the most intimate of levels.

So it’s with great sadness that I write this post, my last for West Philly Local. For everything you’ve given me, West Philly, I hope I’ve at least given half in return.

West is Best,

Annamarya Scaccia

6 Comments For This Post

  1. David B Says:

    Best of luck in your next adventure, Annamarya — we appreciate all you’ve given to our community.

  2. Ben Mason Says:

    West is Best, about a year out from moving away my self this post has a lot to say to me. Hope your new adventure treats you well.

  3. Strongforu Says:

    Goodbye and good luck.

  4. Algernong Says:

    The story continues… Best of luck on the next page. AA

  5. Yao Says:

    All the very best to you and wish you great luck and adventure!

  6. Annamarya Says:

    I know this is very delayed, but thank you everyone for the kind wishes!

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