The Final Days of Little Pete’s: This project documents the end of a way of life for a city whose blue collar population is marginalized by a lack of work, and the suburban migration as the the demographics of Philadelphia are inverted. The blue collar are pushed to the outskirts, and the rich, formerly suburban dwellers, move back into Center City.
In September of 2014, the rumors began. The site was going to be developed. Already six months into the project, it became even more vital as Penn witnessed a number of other independently-owned, affordable, and popular eateries be replaced by high-end dining or razed completely for a chain store or overpriced living. Little Pete’s time was coming. By October 2015, Philadelphia’s City Council voted in favor of the zoning change allowing for development on the site of Little Pete’s.
Suddenly, the timing became more critical. As Little Pete’s became the subject of news articles, Instagram posts, tweets, food reviews, and blog stories, everyone seemed to have their own spin on the impending changes, and shared the same sense of urgency.
Like so many trending topics before it, #SAVELITTLEPETES hit its crescendo in January of 2016, when the plans were released for a high-end boutique hotel and the unofficial countdown began.
A few of my iconic Little Pete’s photos have been borrowed by a number of news outlets to accompany announcements, stories, and developments regarding the closing, as they break.
For the staff and loyal clientele of Little Pete’s, life has gone on and will continue. But, it will look a lot different once Little Pete’s is gone, taking with it the last affordable diner meal in the area. For the aging residents, students, and blue collar workers of Philadelphia, meals at Little Pete’s served as important interaction with humanity.