Last night I met up with an old friend for the first time in years. We drove from Narberth to the Schuylkill River waterfront, climbed a large hill and sat in the thin woods behind Manayunk above the traffic of one of the drives.

It’s far enough into autumn that it got dark earlier than I would’ve liked, so we walked back to the car through Manayunk rather than climbing back down the hill.

Manayunk is one of those neighborhoods that feels timeless to me. Its old working class ethos seeps into the character of even its newest residents. Its homes and streets are tight enough in an elevated enough area to make the place seem like some natural redoubt on Philadelphia’s northwest fringe.

In this redoubt a whole, distinctive village community exists whose inhabitants disperse each morning to do their part of their families and city.