Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historically significant U.S. cities. It was the nation's first capital. At the time of the American Revolution, it was the second-largest English-speaking city in the world, after only London. Into the first part of the 19th century, it was the country's most populous city and eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance. Benjamin Franklin played an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.
The Italian Market is the popular name for the South 9th Street Curb Market, an area of Philadelphia featuring many grocery shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries, cheese shops, butcher shops, etc., many with an Italian influence. It is generally considered to extend along 9th Street from Fitzwater Street at the north to Wharton Street at the south. The term Italian Market is also used to describe the surrounding neighborhood that's nestled between South Street to the North and Wharton Street to the South running a few blocks to the east and west of 9th street.
At the top of the list of tallest buildings in Philadelphia is the 57-story Comcast Center, which rises 975 feet (297 m). Comcast Center is currently the 13th tallest building in the United States. Philadelphia's history of tall buildings is generally thought to begin with the 1744 completion of Christ Church, which served as one of America's first high-rise structures. In the early 20th century, a 'gentlemen's agreement' existed that prevented buildings from rising higher than the 548 foot (167 m) Philadelphia City Hall. Despite this agreement, Philadelphia amassed a large collection of high-rise buildings. The completion of One Liberty Place in 1987 broke the gentleman's agreement, and since then Philadelphia has seen the construction of seven skyscrapers that eclipse the City Hall in height. Philadelphia has twice held the tallest habitable building in the United States, first with Christ Church and then with the City Hall. The Philadelphia City Hall was the world's tallest building from 1901 to 1908. Like other large American cities, Philadelphia went through a massive building boom in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in the completion of over 20 high-rise buildings. The city boasts 10 skyscrapers that stand at least 500 feet (152 m) tall.
"Socially, Philadelphia was still a fairly provincial city, its business community governed by the mores of the Main Line. Politically, it was a cauldron of ethnic rivalries, dominated by competing Irish and Italian constituencies."