There is a small bakery on a corner in center city Philadelphia. Each morning, its shelves are filled with warm, fresh croissants, most of which are gone by the afternoon. Unmarked black awnings extend out from the windows. Above the door sits a large black sign with ornate, gold letters that follow a gentle curve.
One block north, there is a square that is named for a family of German immigrants who became some of the first papermakers in the United States. One of the city’s original public squares and one of its finest public spaces, the park is dotted with quiet, shaded, peaceful places to sit and enjoy a croissant. Tall, aged trees shelter six acres of wooden benches, fountains, sculptures, and gardens.
On the wide street between the bakery and the park there are two large apartment buildings and an alley of blue sky that slices between them. Apartments whose windows, when open, pull in the smell of freshly baked breads and the sounds of people sharing a city.