The El is great if you're trying to get from place to place. It's not so great if you have to live or work underneath it. That's at least part of an explanation for why Front Street under the El has traditionally been somewhere between kinda crappy and totally awful. But times are slowly changing. With the explosive growth in Fishtown and South Kensington, development pressure has come to bear on Front Street and we're starting to see some real changes on this depressed street. Last month, for example, we told you about a new building that's under construction on the 1300 block that will hopefully give other developers good ideas in the years to come. New restaurants, like Front Street Cafe, are on the horizon. And an existing business has come up with a creative way to use a formerly vacant lot.

Fenced-in area

Coming down Front Street recently, we spied a fenced-in area where Amber and Norris Street intersect. Looking a little more closely, we realized that this is an outdoor space associated with Five Sisters Ice Cream Parlor, a place that opened earlier this year. According to the Spirit of the Riverwards, the family that opened this business also owns the three-year-old Liberty Choice Market immediately to the south. The store sells Middle Eastern pastries and also serves twenty flavors of ice cream. And they have a sweet outdoor area too!

Five Sisters Ice Cream Parlor

Another view of the outdoor space

Sure, it's not as exciting or as upscale as a pop-up garden, but it goes without saying that this umbrella-laden space is a big upgrade over the vacant lot that was here before. And with another newer business, Fusion Tumbling and Fitness, located just a few steps away, we start to see an emerging pattern on Front Street.

Fusion Tumbling and Fitness

Front Street has many more changes in store, it will be fascinating to watch them come to fruition.