Editor's Note: City Paper staff photographer Neal Santos has tens of thousands of followers on Instagram, giving him the opportunity to share stellar images of Philly and the people who live here with folks from all over the world. In this space, once a month, he’ll pick a favorite shot and offer a little insight into what motivated him to click it.
Date: Feb. 6, 2013, 11:11 a.m.
Location: Brown, near Preston
The Story: An all-too-common sight in a city with 40,000 vacant lots, the row-home ghosts of Philadelphia’s past reveal patterns in plaster, studs and beams and provide a literal brick outline of previously occupied interiors. Architectural archaeology can be seen on a walk through almost any Philadelphia neighborhood. Each façade is visually intriguing, but when you peel back the layers and analyze the reasons why they exist in the first place, these mystifying shapes on the sides of buildings serve as metaphors for a complex puzzle of land ownership, tax delinquency and policy hurdles that plagues the city and its inhabitants.