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Antique Row Keeps On Rowing

By Jenn Suh, Maya Miller, Erica Briggs

As the oldest antique district in the country, Antique Row, located in the Philadelphia, used to bustle with plenty of customers looking for antiques. Located on Pine Street in Washington Square West area, the antique shops have been less crowded with buyers because of the recession, one of the factors to the slow business.

The lack of such buyers are making the shop owners apprehensive about what the future may hold for the antique industry. John Christaldi, who is retiring after owning Albert Maranca Antiques for twenty-five years, says, "Well the recession really killed the business. I don't see any future in it, but I hope I'm wrong. I think someday it'll come back again."

Julianne Hastings, who has lived in the area for seventeen years, is more optimistic. "Just because the store is closing doesn't mean that they're going out of business. It's - online is the big deal right now. I think there will always be stuff here."

Despite the decrease in sales because of the failing economy, some of the surviving antique shops and other businesses continue to garner tourists and local residents. This well-known area is still one of the hotspots for visitors of Philadelphia.

Antique Row's name suggests that the majority of the shops are focused on antiques, but this is not true. Since its beginnings, the area has been developing as a residential area. Now, restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques have opened up along the streets.

MaryAnn Cardellino, the owner of Blendo, a boutique with new and old items, notices the recession's effect on the antique business. However, she believes that this is not affecting the atmosphere of Antique Row. "They're just neighborhoods that have a name, and our is just...Antique Row, whether there are five antique dealers here or fifty. It's Antique Row."

In addition to the shopkeepers who live in the area, student interns from nearby Thomas Jefferson University Hospital occupy many of the apartments around Pine Street and often visit the shops.

With or without the antique shops, the residents and other businesses will keep Antique Row up and running. According to Hastings, "All the time I've been here, something opens as fast as something closes. It's a pretty lively neighborhood. It's a neighborhood that doesn't die."