Showdown on Hurley Street

Events on what may be the city's worst block provide a stark glimpse into a Philly many Philadelphians never see. One former resident survived to tell the tale.

By Jeff Deeney
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 9 | Posted Aug. 22, 2007

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The whole block is now destroyed.

Six more houses had their windows blasted out, their interiors gutted and graffitied. Hurley Street looks like a war zone, now literally. Rough neighborhoods are compared to war zones all the time. You hear them called Beirut.

Usually it's an overstatement. This time it's not.

Hurley Street looks like tanks rolled past, firing at random. The destruction is inexplicable, a product of bestial rage. This is madness. This is a place forsaken by society, forsaken by its own people.

The hopelessness of it all is unbearable.

Jeff Deeney is a freelance writer in Philadelphia who covers urban poverty and drug culture. Comments on this story can be sent to letters@philadelphiaweekly.com



Epilogue

It's a month later, and Shawn says Ramon's still in jail. He was transferred upstate to Graterford because the county lockup is overcrowded. Turns out Lamar was grazed in the shooting. He bounced back and hit the streets again a couple days later.

Shawn thinks Ramon will be released after the charges are dropped. The likelihood of Lamar going to court and bearing witness against him are diminished now that she says Lamar got out of the hospital and went straight to prison a couple days later for beating up his mother. Lamar already missed a court date, causing Ramon's case to be continued. Shawn thinks Ramon will be home by December.

The rest of Lamar's family still lives on Hurley Street despite the fact they were evicted not long after the blowout. It looks like they intend to squat until the sheriff slaps a lock on the front door. Maybe then, once Lamar and his crew have moved on, Hurley Street will see some peace.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 9 of 9
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1. Allegheny Resident said... on Jul 5, 2008 at 10:16AM

“I live around Front & Allegheny and I can let any reader know that the 25th police district although they try very hard to keep the peace... They have the worst district in the city now. From anywhere near K&A (Kensington & Allegheny) all the way to 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and Allegheny all in between Allegheny and Tioga are danger havens. Every block is the same. Even mine. This is what we live. The city needs to help us...”

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2. Allegheny Resident said... on Jul 5, 2008 at 11:15AM

“I live around Front & Allegheny and I can let any reader know that the 25th police district although they try very hard to keep the peace... They have the worst district in the city now. From anywhere near K&A (Kensington & Allegheny) all the way to 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and Allegheny all in between Allegheny and Tioga are danger havens. Every block is the same. Even mine. This is what we live. The city needs to help us... ”

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3. otters21 said... on Jan 2, 2009 at 11:38AM

“What a heartbreaking shame.This block and many others around it used to lovely with solid hardworking families living in the neighborhood. Crime was almost unheard of until the early to mid 90s. People took pride of their block and kept it almost spotless. Now its just another victim of the evil cancer known as white flight and the decent manufacturing jobs drying up in the area.”

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4. 3221 said... on Dec 30, 2010 at 12:00PM

“I lived on Hurley Street in the late 60's to mid 70's. It was a great "Philly" street. Hardworking families that cared for their neighbors. My aunt, grandmother and other cousins lived on the same block. Elderly ladies would scrub their stoop every week. It was home and it was a great place to grow up. After reading about Hurley Street, I am disgusted by what has happened to my old neighborhood. What a shame!”

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5. 3222 said... on May 3, 2011 at 01:05PM

“Ahh, nice to see the old block doing so well. I was lucky only to be there a few years after it went into its downward spiral and get out of there in 97. I had so many great memories growing up there, playing stick ball at the end of the block and freedom with all the other kids. Too bad it went down so quickly, but I'm glad to be out of there.”

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6. Steve Lee said... on Dec 7, 2012 at 11:59AM

“This is a shame, brings tears to my eyes! I grew up on 3200 D street, 1969-1985 when I left for the USAF. When I was young, I LIVED on the 3200 block of Hurley street, all day every day. Was a decent neighborhood back then. I could probably name 20 people I grew up with that lived on that block, many I still stay in touch with. Don't know what else to say, people have ruined that block and ruined the neighborhood.”

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7. Anonymous said... on Mar 20, 2013 at 10:18AM

“All these years later, this story still brings chills. I learned the story as it unfolded, wrenching details hour by hour. It is incredibly hard for low income families to find decent and affordable housing in Philadelphia, and it is seldom in a safe and beautiful neighborhood. The comments about the story are a powerful message: it WAS a good neighborhood when there was economic opportunity; poverty is evil: it is not a definition of any person but it is an indictment of the priorities of our government on all levels.”

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8. Former Resident said... on Oct 23, 2013 at 11:11AM

“I remember reading this in 2007 and now again in 2013. I lived on the block from the 60's until the 80's. I never had a key to my front door. It was never locked as we never had any crime to speak of. Typical liberal rant from Anonymous blaming the government. We were just as poor in my time as now. Becoming enslaved to entitlements takes away respect for yourself and for others. Crime follows.”

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9. lamar lewis said... on Aug 1, 2014 at 12:49AM

“Yeah it's me y'all up here saying shit but don't no shit talking about the block this and the block that. Bitches'.pussy I had that block poping every body love me every body so fuck y'all and this haft ass newspaper talking shit but don't no shit .an I'm still out here I'm around get at me”

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