The Final Days Of Little Pete's: Photos of a Beloved American-Style Philadelphia Diner

The Final Days Of Little Pete's: Photos of a Beloved American-Style Philadelphia Diner

by Natasha Hulme, Michael Penn


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The Final Days of Little Pete's: This project documents the end of a way of life for a city whose blue collar population is marginalized by a lack of work, and the suburban migration as the the demographics of Philadelphia are inverted. The blue collar are pushed to the outskirts, and the rich, formerly suburban dwellers, move back into Center City.

In September of 2014, the rumors began. The site was going to be developed. Already six months into the project, it became even more vital as Penn witnessed a number of other independently-owned, affordable, and popular eateries be replaced by high-end dining or razed completely for a chain store or overpriced living. Little Pete's time was coming. By October 2015, Philadelphia's City Council voted in favor of the zoning change allowing for development on the site of Little Pete's.

Suddenly, the timing became more critical. As Little Pete's became the subject of news articles, Instagram posts, tweets, food reviews, and blog stories, everyone seemed to have their own spin on the impending changes, and shared the same sense of urgency.

Like so many trending topics before it, #SAVELITTLEPETES hit its crescendo in January of 2016, when the plans were released for a high-end boutique hotel and the unofficial countdown began.

A few of my iconic Little Pete's photos have been borrowed by a number of news outlets to accompany announcements, stories, and developments regarding the closing, as they break.

For the staff and loyal clientele of Little Pete's, life has gone on and will continue. But, it will look a lot different once Little Pete's is gone, taking with it the last affordable diner meal in the area. For the aging residents, students, and blue collar workers of Philadelphia, meals at Little Pete's served as important interaction with humanity.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546797968
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 05/24/2017
Pages: 202
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

About the Author

Michael Penn (Philadelphia, PA, born 1969) is a street photographer whose images are moody and intense. His black and white work is high contrast and timeless. The epic and highly dramatic aura in his color work lend the photographs a sense of humanity.

In 2005, Penn made a conscious decision to leave his career in hospitality after finding his father's 35mm camera. Focused on his historic Old City Philadelphia neighborhood that he's called home for the last 23 years, one image kept peeking through, between the brick facades of Georgian style homes and artist loft-style cast-iron buildings. It was The Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a structure that made ferryboat captains, of which his fraternal grandfather was one, obsolete. The completion of the Ben Franklin Bridge led Penn's grandfather into a new direction and it inadvertently became responsible for the launch of Michael's new career.

A long exposure night shot, taken under the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, caught the attention of a curator and led to Penn's 2007 solo show at The Silicon Gallery. The show featured his architecture photos with his new Benjamin Franklin Bridge series and began five years of representation by InLiquid and The Print Center of Philadelphia. Michael continued to play an active role in self-representation and inclusion in a number of national and global group shows around Philadelphia, New York City, and Santiago Chile.

Inspired by the Japanese Provoke Movement, Penn's street photography projects include the 1000 photo collection The Philadelphia Project, Out of New York, and Welcome to Market East.

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