Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has been at the helm of the City of Brotherly Love since 2016, but his roots here run much deeper. His great-great-grandfather—who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg—hailed from Philadelphia, as have many generations of his family ever since.
Kenney grew up in the 2nd Street area of South Philly, and he has fond memories of his childhood there. A lot has changed for Kenney since those days, but some things—like his passion for Philly sports and his pride in the city—are as strong as ever.
We caught up with Mayor Kenney recently for an exclusive Q&A.
I remember riding my banana bike up and down the construction site at Veterans Stadium and eating bologna sandwiches with yellow mustard and potato chips on white bread (my own concoction). I used to love playing sports at Burke playground and going to Wildwood for a week every summer. I’ll never forget the smell of burnt wood on my dad’s fireman uniform because it meant he made it home safely.
I’ve always been a huge Philly sports fan. I followed all Philly sports teams.
My father worked at the Spectrum for a while, so he would take me to work with him during Flyers games when there were open seats. Sometimes I was allowed to take home slightly cracked sticks and use them for street hockey.
I still follow our teams closely and go to more games now than I did when I was a kid.
It’s hard to put into words just how incredible it felt in the days and weeks after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win. People would start singing the Eagles fight song on the street and passing strangers would join in. The fans waited decades for that win, and when the Eagles won, our whole city joined together in celebration.
The Sixers. I trust the process.
Our people—their grit, determination, and resilience. And our history—we’re the birthplace of America and democracy.
Everything. Our residents, our food, culture, public spaces, how we celebrate the holiday season, and our close proximity to the shore.
The Reading Terminal Market.
Race Street Cafe, Pastificio’s Hoagies, Panorama, and Chickie’s & Pete’s.
Diversity and race relations.
Unleashing the unlimited potential of our kids through a stronger, improved school system.