While 5th Street is home to many diverse groups of people, one aspect seems to be valued among everyone – a close-knit and long-lasting community. These five places have served multiple generations and remain at the heart of what makes 5th Street tick.
North 5th Street and Lehigh Avenue
Centro Musical has been drawing in residents for more than 50 years, providing customers with more than just music. Co-owner Christina Gonzalez has emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong connection with the surrounding community by supporting local music artists, advocating for youth education, and creating a place where everyone is welcome.
“It’s a cool hang out spot,” said Gonzalez. “It’s a safe haven.”
With open-mic nights and community blood drives as goals for the future, Centro Musical shows no signs of skipping a beat.
4919 North 5th Street
This family-operated Italian bakery has been cranking out their famous homemade cakes and cannoli for more than 50 years. Recently featured on TLC’s Bakery Boss in 2013, Oteri’s Bakery underwent a modern remodel without losing its signature charm.
“We have been here so long, the community has a connection with us,” said owner Lisa Oteri. “The customers have become a part of this family.”
1020 North 5th Street
Family-owned and operated since 1885, Riehs Florist has maintained a loyal customer base by providing locals with affordable prices and quality products throughout the years. Selling more than 18,000 roses for Valentine’s Day last year alone, the shop has continued to thrive, serving as a centerpiece for the community.
705 South 5th Street
Fleishman Fabrics is a family-run business that has been serving the South Philadelphia community for more than 90 years. The shop specializes in retail sales and wholesale of fabrics, dry cleaning supplies and trims, while supplying these materials to the city’s famous Fabric Row. Over the years, Fleishman Fabrics has also worked with numerous local universities such as University of the Arts, Drexel University and Moore College of Art & Design.
“We have spent years developing relationships with teachers and the schools,” said Tricia Fleishman. “We really try to foster these relationships with them.”
4535 North 5th Street
Specializing in authentic Colombian and Cuban cuisine, Tierra Colombiana has been serving the North Philadelphia community for more than 20 years. It hosts monthly events featuring local music artists and operates as a nightclub on weekends, while also celebrating Spanish holidays and culture. It has remained a stable fixture despite changes in the neighborhood throughout the years, providing a familial atmosphere that has made Tierra Colombiana a place where the community has felt at home.
– Text and Images by Caitlin Cowan and Joanne Caruso