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Vendor City Guide: Philadelphia

Street secrets revealed by the people who know them best. This week we head to Philadelphia with One Step Away vendor Sylvia Williams

Our guide this week: South Philadelphia born and raised, Sylvia Williams, 57, spends her days selling One Step Away, a street paper based in one of the most historically significant cities in the US. “When I started doing it, I liked it a lot,” she says. “It really helps me. It keeps me busy, hopeful, powerful, and stress free – it keeps me calm.”

Why I like living in Philadelphia

Everything is right here

As soon as you walk out of your door there is something there for you to do. Reading Terminal Market is the best place to go. That’s where I sell my homeless paper. I meet a lot of people from across the world. They might have struggles with homelessness or addiction. The struggle is real right now. The food stamps are about to be cut. Reading Terminal Market is free to explore and inexpensive if you want something to eat.

I also like to go to the waterfront. You can look out of the windows and see the water. You can window-shop around there too. You can meet people and talk to people.

My favourite cafe/restaurant

Ruby Tuesday

The all-you-can-eat buffet at Ruby Tuesday is my favourite. Also, at Reading Terminal Market, you can get any food you want. You can get a drink, watch the games, everything you desire is there.

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Everyone should visit

The Rocky Steps off Benjamin Franklin Parkway

You can take pictures there, run up and down the steps and see the statue of Sylvester Stallone from the Rocky movies. There are a lot of places down there at The Parkway. The steps lead up to the Art Museum, the Roman Catholic Church is right there too as well as the Rodin Museum. The Parkway will have parties, festivals, and concerts throughout the year, including fireworks during the Fourth of July.

To escape city life

South Philly and the Poconos

I ride the city bikes from Center City to South Philly, which is where I come from. If I get tired, I’ll put the bike on the bus for the rest of the way. It is relaxing, peaceful. Or people can visit the Poconos – go gambling, see a show and there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet. My favourite time of year is the summer because you don’t have to wear heavy clothes. I can flex and sell the paper. It is nice out, and there are a lot of people out and about.

Only locals know about

Bingo

I go to bingo at 18th & Chadwick with the seniors. Then there’s Rittenhouse Square, an old spot where you can people-watch.

My favourite song

Just Like You by Keyshia Cole

This song talks about growing and teaches me not to be stagnant, to keep moving and pushing. The song talks about looking into the mirror and finding out who and what you are in life. When I was using drugs, I couldn’t look in the mirror. I used to run past, back and forth, back and forth, I couldn’t look because I looked like a hot mess. But now that I look good and feel good – spiritually, physically, and mentally – that song helps me to grow.

READ ALL OF OUR VENDOR CITY GUIDES HERE

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