Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) Original Office
2247 Germantown Avenue
Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) was founded and incorporated in 1971, when it moved into the building that used to reside on this plot¹. Before APM moved in, this row-home style building housed a small hat factory², a restaurant³, and residences⁴ for about a century after being built in the mid to late 1800s. APM has had incredible impacts on the surrounding community, first opening as a social service organization for Puerto Rican immigrants in the neighborhood. APM’s name translates to “Association of Puerto Ricans on the Move,” which captures the spirit of activism and emerging political consciousness of the Puerto Rican community in the 1960s and 70s¹.
A Growing Neighborhood
This neighborhood was marked by disinvestment in the post-WWII era⁵. APM recognized the need to organize as a community to approach different challenges. Over its 50 year history, APM has worked to revitalize abandoned properties and deteriorating infrastructure. Examples include bringing in a neighborhood grocery store and developing housing units on 475 vacant lots⁶. APM works with partners like the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to keep vacant lots well-kept⁶. This keeps the neighborhood clean, while also providing neighbors with nearby green spaces. APM’s programs have worked to stabilize this neighborhood by providing families with quality homes and neighborhood services.
Many of APM’s programs are focused on strengthening this neighborhood and nurturing the sense of community to regrow. One example can be found through the community connector program. Residents who choose to become connectors are challenged to interact and organize with their neighbors⁷. Through this program, APM has given the responsibility of the park Rainbow de Colores back to the community⁸. A community connector is responsible for opening and closing the park each day, in addition to cleaning the playground and looking out for any maintenance needs. Examples like these show APM’s dedication to working closely with their neighbors.
APM For Everyone
Over APM’s lifetime, the surrounding neighborhood has seen many changes. For example, demographic shifts have expanded diversity in the area⁹. APM recognized the need to make it known that their resources are available to everyone in Philadelphia, regardless of race, ethnicity, or location¹⁰. In the 2000s, they rebranded as ‘APM for Everyone’ to communicate their dedication to providing quality resources to those in need¹⁰. Today, APM provides services out of 13 locations throughout North Philadelphia¹¹. Their continued expansion enables APM to act on its mission to serve everyone properly.
On the Move
Records show that APM was in this building until at least 1981¹². Today, the parcel is kept as a green space for nearby residents, featuring a garden and outdoor picnic area¹³. Market pressures forced APM to move its headquarters several times. After living here, APM moved to 2137 N 6th Street. The organization had a series of row homes on this block. APM was again forced to move when this building collapsed¹³. Their 6th Street and Diamond Street location served as an interim headquarters for several years while APM worked on expanding their footprint. In 1995, the Community and Economic Development Department moved to the 6th and Diamond Field Office to support the recently completed Jardines de Borinquen¹³.
In 2013, APM completed construction on its newest office at Paseo Verde: a triple platinum LEED certified, mixed-use development on 1900 N 9th Street¹⁴ ¹⁵. This building features 53 apartments, a pharmacy, community space, and offices for PHMC Health Connection, in addition to space for APM¹⁴. This year (2020), APM is celebrating its 50th anniversary. APM’s long-standing history is a testament to the will of this neighborhood and their passion for fighting for equity in community development. APM’s total impacts on the families in this neighborhood are immeasurable. Their stories only begin to tell us about the long-lasting influence that APM has had and will continue to have in the Eastern North.
¹ “History,” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha, accessed March 23, 2020, https://apmphila.org/about/history/.
² James Campbell. Ninth Annual Report of the Factory Inspector of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (WM. Stanley Ray, 1899), https://books.google.com/books?id=NsdNAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA184&lpg=PA184&dq=2247+germantown+ave&source=bl&ots=hNz0Iak1tY&sig=ACfU3U2JqWYrlv0KRo5ZtwsKmEMSxTLI5g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjq282EmpDoAhVOmuAKHSdpBd44ChDoATABegQICRAB#v=onepage&q=2247%20germantown%20ave&f=false.
³ "November 13, 1902 (Page 12 of 16)." Philadelphia Inquirer (1860-1934), Nov 13, 1902. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1827107718?accountid=14270.
⁴ "December 13, 1902 (Page 12 of 16)." Philadelphia Inquirer (1860-1934), Dec 13, 1902. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1827107733?accountid=14270.
⁵ Crossney, Kristen B. “Redlining.” Last modified 2016. https://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org/archive/redlining/.
⁶ Patrick Kerkstra, “Special Report: Vacant Land, Focused Plans,” last modified September 21, 2010. https://whyy.org/articles/special-report-vacant-land-focused-plans/.
⁷ “Sustainable Communities Initiative (APM SCI).” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. Accessed March 25, 2020. https://apmphila.org/services/community-services/sustainable-communities-initiative/.
⁸ “Our Philly Do Gooder Video of the Rainbow de Colores Park.” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. March 20, 2014. https://apmphila.org/2014/03/20/rainbow-de-colores-park/.
⁹ The Philadelphia Research Initiative. “A City Transformed: The Racial and Ethnic Changes in Philadelphia over the Last 20 Years.” (demographic report, Philadelphia, PA, 2011). https://www.pewtrusts.org/~/media/legacy/uploadedfiles/wwwpewtrustsorg/reports/philadelphia_research_initiative/PhiladelphiaPopulationEthnicChangespdf.pdf.
¹⁰ Patrick Kerkstra, “Special Report: A New Face on Race Relations,” last modified October 21, 2010. https://whyy.org/articles/special-report-new-face-race-relations/
¹¹ “APM Celebrates 50 Years and Counting.” Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha. February 10, 2020. https://apmphila.org/2020/02/10/apm-celebrates-50-years-and-counting/.
¹² "May 7, 1981 (Page 26 of 68)." Philadelphia Inquirer (1969-2001), May 07, 1981. http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/1849413371?accountid=14270.
¹³ Iliana Dominguez-Franco (APM worker), interview by Bianca Panunto April 15, 2020.
¹⁴ “About Paseo Verde.” Paseo Verde. Accessed March 25, 2020. https://www.paseoverdeapts.com/.
¹⁵ “Paseo Verde,” Jonathan Rose Company, accessed April 8, 2020, http://www.rosecompanies.com/projects/paseo-verde/.
¹⁶ Untitled. Photograph. Philadelphia, PA.: Halkin Mason Photography, n.d. https://urbanland.uli.org/industry-sectors/mixed-use/uli-case-study-paseo-verde-philadelphia/.