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They’ve Gone Too Far: The Penntrification of Northeast Philadelphia


BUSTLETON AVENUE, PHILADELPHIA, PA – Hi Penn, I’m standing here outside of what used to be the “Broken Bones, Broken Hearts” Animal Shelter in Northeast Philly. And I have grave news. Just minutes ago, this building and all of the dogs, cats, bunnies, and other pets who lived here were blown up like helpless passengers on a plane crashing into a volcano. 

On Monday, Liz Magill hosted a behind the scenes meeting with senior leadership of our university. Under the Button was not granted a press pass, and neither was the DP, 34th Street, the Inquirer, Billy Penn, or any news publication. However, UTB does not give up as easily as those losers in the office next door to us. So me and my boy Zach carved a tiny little hole into the wall of Liz’s secret meeting room (the one reserved for death con 3 type stuff, as opposed to the comparatively trivial FFP chronology), which we then peered through.

Liz delivered a tough message to the executives. She saw an opportunity to continue “rehabilitating” urban space in Philadelphia, and she wasn’t going to be stopped – not by city council, not by the student body, and certainly not by her colleagues. They didn’t like it, but they didn’t really have a say in the matter either. At the end of the meeting, one thing was clear: Penn is boutta gentrify the fuck out of Northeast Philadelphia. 

Flash forward to today, and so far the consequences have been notable. 81 dogs, 124 cats, and 33 other animals have been reduced to dust. What used to be the pillar of a local community will be transformed into a research facility where graduate students and postdocs looking to enter the cosmetics industry can experiment with the effectiveness of various gels, goos, and slimes. The test subjects? Any dog found on campus without proper documentation will be done North by a tactical squad similar to the ones in the movies that catch stray dogs (Liz made this point very clear in her briefing – she was really tapping into a cartoonish level of evil). 

Moving forward, we can expect more of the same from Penn administration: they plan to revitalize 300 acres of Northeast Philadelphia by 2032. And hey, it’s not like Philly is going to do anything about it. One resident close to the demolished shelter said, “This place kinda sucks” when I asked her how she felt about Penn’s most recent expansion. “If they want to come up here and displace us, let ‘em do it. I’m dying to be displaced. Shit is boring as hell out here. Yesterday I applied for a job as a security guard at Home Depot and they told me I need a master’s degree. So yeah, I don’t see much of a future for anyone here except really smart, really poor 29 year olds who like torturing animals.”

Staff Writer and Quirked up White Boy Jett Flaxman Contributed to this Article.