The oldest sections of Philadelphia—Society Hill, and the Independence Hall area—lie to the east, along and inland from the Delaware.

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Its place in history was secured by its role as the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the constitutional convention of 1787, and second U. The enormous industrial production of the city and the surrounding metropolitan area represents a continuation of Philadelphia’s early leadership in the Industrial Revolution and in American commerce and finance generally.

Lying in the midst of the vast urban community stretching down the Eastern Seaboard, Philadelphia is an integral part of the vibrant fabric of contemporary social and economic life as well as a tranquil oasis joining together the spirit of America, past and present.

In 1987, a change was signalled by the completion of the first of a number of new skyscrapers that redefined the skyline of Philadelphia and formed part of the construction boom that took place during the 1990s and early 2000s.

The long stretches of Philadelphia north, south, and west of the intersection of Broad and Chestnut streets, a city hub of sorts just below Penn Square, contain numerous distinctive sections, often identified for generations with various ethnic groups that have filled the city during its long history.

South Philadelphia contains sections, notably Italian and Irish, settled by European immigrants mainly in the 19th century as well as a large African American section.

Though Philadelphia has had most of the characteristics of an ethnic and racial melting pot nearly from its start, it lacks the steaming hurly-burly visible everywhere in its behemoth neighbour, New York City, about 90 miles (150 km) northeast.Those of its ancient and dilapidated houses that have escaped bulldozing for riverfront expressways resemble the edifices of Society Hill before its restoration began in the 1950s.This latter area contains some of the city’s finest old houses, taverns, and churches, though some high-rise apartment buildings strike a dissonant note in the hearts of many Philadelphians.South Street is a popular night spot with shops, restaurants, and theatres, connecting Headhouse Square, a renovated colonial market place, and Penn’s Landing.For most of the 20th century the major features of the skyline were the massive contours of the city’s many banking and financial institutions.Philadelphia, city and port, coextensive with Philadelphia county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U. It is situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. Philadelphia has been described both as the elegant but rather jaded great lady and as the overage and sickly spinster of American cities.