Kensington, colloquially known locally as “Kenzo,” is a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that belongs to or divides Lower Northeast and North Philadelphia. As with all communities in the city, the lack of any official designation means the boundaries of the area vary between sources over time and are disputed among locals. Kensington, as most long-term residents view it, generally refers to the region consisting of Kensington, East or Lower Kensington, West Kensington, and Harrowgate; the adjacent Fairhill and Norris Square neighborhoods are more separate but may be included in Kensington; Fishtown and South (Olde) Kensington were previously included but have developed new identities with gentrification. The most conservative boundaries of the neighborhood, shown in the map below, are Front Street and 5th Street to the West, the Amtrak train tracks to the North, Trenton Avenue, the Trenton Avenue train tracks, and Frankford Avenue to the East, and Cecil B. Moore Avenue to the South.
Kensington is a primarily low-income area after the loss of its industries in the 1960s during deindustrialization and the subsequent loss of much of its working-class population to the suburbs. Disinvestment and general neglect have led to high abandonment in some sections of the neighborhood, catalyzing several grassroots actions from its residents. Kensington is still considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Philadelphia, PA for its gun violence and illegal drug market.
Kensington is home to many Hispanic Americans, mainly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and African Americans. Groups of Irish Americans, Polish Americans, and Asian Americans also make up the neighborhood. Additionally, there is a large population of unhoused or homeless individuals. The neighborhood also recently has seen a large influx of primarily white young urban professionals and gentrification, particularly in Fishtown –no longer considered to be Kensington – and in Olde Kensington, Norris Square, and East Kensington.
Recreation Area and Parks
Kensington has several medium and small-sized parks and playgrounds that offer various uses for visitors. Parks adjacent to the neighborhood include Harrowgate Park, McPherson Square, Hope Park, Fairhill Square Park, Norris Square Park, Mascher Park, Frankford Avenue Garden, Arcadia Commons, Trenton, and Auburn Park, Letterly Green, Emerald Park, Konrad Square, Palmer Park. Kensington has many playgrounds within or adjacent to its boundaries, including Nelson Playground, Waterloo Playground, Hissey Playground, McPherson Square Playground, Heitzman Recreation Center, McKinley Playground / McVeigh Recreation Center, Scanlon Playground and Ice Rink, Harrowgate Park Playground, Fairhill Square Park Playground, Eric Casiano Field, Mascher Park / Maguire Playground, Black Coyle and McBride Playground, Pop’s Playground, Pop’s Skatepark, Hagert Street Playground, Shissler Recreation Center, and Towey Playground. Bed Bug Exterminator Philly
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