Kensington’s low rents have led to a profusion of hip bars, as well as a flourishing brewery scene. The neighborhood’s first craft brewer, Philadelphia Brewing Company, is set in a restored 19th-century brewery site. Frankford Avenue is a thriving hub of art galleries and performance spaces. Showcasing quirky parade floats, the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival is a popular spring event.
Generally accepted boundaries are the triangular area bounded by the Amtrak train tracks and Castor Avenue to the north, Front Street (and sometimes Fifth Street) to the West and Trenton Avenue and Trenton Avenue train tracks to the East. Within these boundaries, sub-neighborhoods include East Kensington, Harrowgate, Lower Kensington, West Kensington, Fishtown, and Olde Richmond. Due to colloquial changes in the boundaries of the area since the Act of Consolidation, 1854, no clear definition is possible. The U.S. Postal Service designates Kensington as zip code 19125 (Kensington Station).
Traditionally, Kensington is known for its large working class Irish Catholic community. Kensington was the location of the Philadelphia Nativist Riots in the 19th century. Kensington is also the birthplace of the K&A Gang, (currently known as the Northeast Philly Irish Mob), an Irish American organized crime network. Kensington was also home to a large, and largely invisible, English American community. For example the five Episcopal parishes in the neighborhood (Emmanuel, Free Church of St. John, Good Shepherd, St. Ambrose, St. Luke’s, and St. Nathanael’s) were founded by 19th century immigrants from England.
Along with Irish Americans, Kensington is also home to a large population of Hispanic Americans (mainly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans), African Americans, and Polish Americans. The neighborhood has also recently seen a large influx of young urban professionals and gentrification.
In 2016, Philly.Curbed.com called Kensington one of the Top 5 neighborhoods “everyone should be watching.”
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