I called up my landlord this week to discuss specific points in our contract. Philadelphia is saturated with renters due to a constant influx of Penn, Drexel and University of the Sciences students & employees. In our case, being two graduate students with verifiable acceptances was enough to be guaranteed an apartment. But we still had to pay an application fee and go through the application process.
My landlord patiently answered all my questions until I was satisfied. Enough for me to send in the most expensive check in my bank account history. “Okay, I am looking forward to living in a row house!”
“Um”, he replied, “This isn’t a row house.”
It’s not that row houses are difficult to identify architecturally. I didn’t realize this place was not a row house because I’ve never seen this place in person.
There is an entire Philadelphia Rowhouse Manual published by the city of Philadelphia. Among historic facts and classification of row houses, the manual goes through each component of the row house (windows, porches, garages) and suggestions for house modifications. I have been dreaming of living in a row house since I drooled over brownstones every day in Boston. And saw them in a music video I’m obsessed with. I get house envy like others do for purses or shoes. Sometimes I browse through real estate listings and floor plans...
Even if I’m not really living in a row house, I'll probably walk by seven of them every day in the city. Besides, this is probably the oldest building I’ve ever lived in. (Now let me go and rip up all my crayon drawings of me and my roommate eating cupcakes in our lovely row house.)