The song goes, “It's very fawncy on old Delancey Street”—but it is New York City's street that the song celebrates. Philadelphia's Delancey Street west of 17th Street alternates between large city residences where it runs midway between Spruce and Pine streets, and a service alley when it is paired with Cypress Street to subdivide the block into thirds. This had the happy effect of moving traffic off the street while providing service space for carriage houses and servants on the smaller blocks. Most of the large houses of Delancey Street were built by the Civil War–era builders, but some have been further modified, attaining architectural distinction in the process.
The Rosenbach Museum was one in a handsome row of houses that looked back to the color and character of the eighteenth century, though in the large scale of Victorian building. It was modified in 1940 with Colonial Revival windows and doors for the city's great book dealers and collectors, the brothers Rosenbach. The house is now a museum of their spectacular collection, including the original manuscripts for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and James Joyce's Ulysses as well as a host of other treasures that make this house a must-see, and a visit provides a view of a classic Philadelphia city house as well.