Philadelphia tour book includes Gayborhood chapter

Philadelphia tourists and current citizens can take a guided tour of the city with the help of a handy guidebook. “Walking Philadelphia: 30 Walking Tours Exploring Art, Architecture, History, and Little-Known Gems” takes readers through the city’s diverse neighborhoods while showcasing information about the buildings and history.

One chapter entitled “Market Street East: The Gayborhood and Reading Terminal Market” takes tourists through some of the city’s spots featuring LGBT history, nightlife and shops. Natalie Pompilio, who co-wrote the book with her sister Tricia, conducted her own background research while compiling information for the book. Pompilio said she learned new information about Camac Street, specifically.

Citing the Gayborhood Guru blog, she learned about a customer who frequented Tavern on Camac, then known as Maxine’s, in the 1920s.

“She lived across the street and on rainy nights, she would call a cab and get in one side of the rear passenger door and then get out of the other and be at her door,” Pompilio said. “And then she would tip the driver $2 and the driver would give that money to the bartender.”

Pompilio also takes readers through Gayborhood staples such as Woody’s, 12th Street Gym and landmarks like a mural honoring Gloria Casarez, the city’s first director of LGBT Affairs, who died from complications of cancer in 2014.

Incorporating historical aspects is what Pompilio said she enjoyed most. In a section devoted to Barbara Gittings Way, Pompilio wrote about the street’s namesake and Frank Kameny. Gittings and Kameny challenged the American Psychological Association’s position on homosexuality as a mental illness, prompting the association to change the classification in 1973.

“It was fun to add the history of the gay-rights movement with Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings,” Pompilio said. “Those are common people here. [Philadelphia residents] know who they are but [others may not know] if they are coming from out of town.”

Pompilio noted that Philadelphia was “accepting of the LGBTQ community before a lot of the country.”

“I think Philly often gets overlooked. We get overshadowed by New York and Washington. People who read this book will learn not only our history, but our current times. I’m proud of Philadelphia.”

Visit to purchase Pompilio’s book.