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Drawing the line




Portfishington pride: A copy of the print created by Jessie Husband that is now available. PHOTO COURTESY OF JESSIE HUSBAND

What’s the area between Lehigh Avenue and York Street called?

When did York and Aramingo become Fishtown proper–the shopping center was renamed Fishtown Crossing from Port Richmond Plaza after a major facelift.

These questions and more have been at the heart of a neighborhood boundaries debate for years, with answers dependent on who is answering the question.

And, while the debate rages on, Philly-based illustrator Jessie Husband, 44, is taking her crack at it, or at least cracking a joke about it.

Husband released in February her print, Portfishington, a moniker used to describe the area that falls within the boundaries of Olde Richmond Civic Association.

“I wanted to make a visual statement about the neighborhood debate that I had experienced when doing research for the River Wards neighborhood maps, Port Richmond, Fishtown and Kensington,” she said. “I liked the idea of the cat having an opinion or a say, I just thought it was appropriate and cute.”

In May 2020, Husband had created a Kensington map and her work was featured in the Fishtown Neighbors Association coloring book.

The Ardmore-based illustrator spends time in the River Wards often with friends.

“I am in the area mostly to hang out and get dinner with friends,” she said. “When there I am always taking pictures documenting the changing landscape of the neighborhoods.”

Aside from Kensington, Husband has created maps of Fishtown, Northern Liberties and Port Richmond.

“When I was doing research for the maps I checked in with local residents on community Facebook pages about neighborhood borders and local areas of interest. I found that there is a huge debate on what residents consider to be Fishtown, Port Richmond and Kensington,” she said.

“On the Fishtown map I made, I used a different color to define Fishtown’s border as recognized by the Fishtown Neighbors Association,” she added. “But I also included an area up to Lehigh, which has been debated. Some say it is Fishtown and some say Olde Richmond or Port Richmond. But isn’t it all part of Kensington?”

The print is actually a detail Husband pulled from the Kensington map she previously created.

Drawing maps is a passion, and Husband hopes this particular project, which is available for purchase as a print or on a T-shirt, lets her capture an ever-changing landscape.

“This piece is sort of like a timestamp. I think it will be interesting to see how this debate changes over time,” she said. “Decades from now, the neighborhoods or the area might be called something completely different. Who knows.” ••

For details about the Portfishington prints, visit Jessiehusband.com or follow @JessieHusband on Instagram.

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