| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

In The News

844 Articles | Page: | Show All

The S.S. United States moves closer to demolition

At one point, the future looked bright for this massive ship -- currently docked in Philadelphia -- but now its supporters are scrambling to save it.

A Titanic-sized supership that once ferried presidents, Hollywood royalty, actual royalty and even the Mona Lisa has a place in the history books as the fastest oceanliner in the world. The owners are now racing to avoid having the ship, the S.S. United States, relegated to the junk heap.

A preservationist group, the S.S. United States Conservancy, saved the vessel from being scrapped a few years ago. Its members are working with a developer to give the mothballed vessel a new life as a stationary waterfront real-estate development in New York City, the ship’s home port in her heyday.

Their big dreams, however, now face a financial crisis: Short of money, the conservancy in recent days formally authorized a ship broker to explore the potential sale to a recycler. In other words, the preservationists might have to scrap their vessel...

The S.S. United States left service in the late 1960s. Today she is docked in Philadelphia, stripped of her interiors and rusting in the Delaware River across the street from an Ikea store...

The conservancy has explored many options for repurposing the ship. It discussed a hotel-and-event-space proposal in Miami, a mixed-use development and museum complex in Philadelphia, and redevelopment plans in Boston, Baltimore and Florida’s Port Canaveral. With a major cruise line, the conservancy explored the prospect of returning the ship to oceangoing service.

The preservationists even weighed the possibility, Ms. Gibbs said, of using the ship as an artificial reef — in other words, sinking it — in tandem with a museum and visitor’s center. But, she said, “I have spent over a decade trying to save the ship, not preside over her demolition.”

In recent days, as the board considered its dwindling finances, Hurricane Joaquin was threatening the East Coast, forcing the conservancy to take precautions to make sure their ship stayed safe. “A hurricane struck me as a perfect metaphor for what we were confronting,” Ms. Gibbs said.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here

Philadelphia leads the way in reduced soda consumption, a huge public health boon

Soda consumption is down nationwide, and Philadelphia is at the forefront of this massive change. The New York Times chronicles "The Decline of 'Big Soda.'"

Five years ago, Mayor Michael A. Nutter proposed a tax on soda in Philadelphia, and the industry rose up to beat it back...
It’s a familiar story. Soda taxes have also flopped in New York State and San Francisco. So far, only superliberal Berkeley, Calif., has succeeded in adopting such a measure over industry objections.

The obvious lesson from Philadelphia is that the soda industry is winning the policy battles over the future of its product. But the bigger picture is that soda companies are losing the war.
Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here

The City Paper is closing

With little notice and quite a bit of controversy, the City Paper was bought and shut down by Broad Street Media. The final issue came out this week.

You may have read this afternoon that Philadelphia City Paper had been sold and would cease publication as of Thursday, Oct. 8. 

This came as a surprise to us, too. We first heard about it via Broad Street Media’s press release announcing that they’d acquired the intellectual rights to City Paper (in other words they bought the name and the URL.) That was brought to our attention when people from other newspapers started calling us for comment or friends started texting their condolences, the result of a very unfortunate misunderstanding between our current owners and our soon-to-be-owners about the timing of the announcement.

We’re all obviously really sad. We’re intensely proud of the work we’ve done this past year — not to mention the past three decades...

So. At the moment, we're the only people here, playing maudlin songs on the jukebox. Somebody just said, "It might be really great to do a post chronicling what it's like when an entire staff gets laid off!" Someone else replied, "Dude, the clicks don't count anymore."

They don't, we guess. We'd like to think, though, that the clicks were never the most important thing. We did our best to do good journalism, to give a voice to the people and stories of Philadelphia that sometimes get overlooked.

From Philly.com: 

"It's heartbreaking," said Daniel Denvir, a multiple-award winner who covered criminal justice and public education for City Paper until this past spring. "Alt-weeklies everywhere are in a death spiral. And that death spiral has now consumed the City Paper, the last legit alt-weekly standing in the city. It leaves an enormous hole in the news ecosystem."

Fortunately, and effort is in the works to salvage the archives. From the City Paper:

We're happy to be able to update this post with the news that, while City Paper will not be publishing any new stuff after the 8th, Darwin Oordt, the CEO of Broad Street Media, has said he is committed to finding a "good steward" to keep our 35+ years of archives public and available — possibly Temple's Urban Archives, which has expressed an interest in helping with the project.

(For more on efforts to save the archives, check out this post from the Columbia Journalism Review.)

Speaking as someone who came up in the alt-weekly world and occasionally contributed to the City Paper, you will be sorely missed. 

Original source: City Paper, Philly.com


Gawker claims Pope weekend led to 'the nicest Philly has ever been'

Gawker also got into the act of chronically the strange state of Philly over the course of the pope's visit.

This time around, many Philadelphians left town in the days before Pope Francis’s arrival, hoping to avoid what was lazily termed “pope-ocalypse” (or “pope-a-geddon”) altogether. Others vowed not to leave their homes until the madness passed—a staycation with a holy purpose, amen. A braver group of Philadelphians planned to venture out into the streets to check out the scene. What would Center City hold for these urban adventurers? Faith-based stampedes, perhaps. Overturned cars, alight with gasoline, testosterone, and the fire of the holy spirit—maybe. Lines, long lines, lines for everything, lines, lines, lines? Almost certainly.

The city was dead.

Wandering through the car-less and largely people-less Old and Center Cities in the early afternoon on Saturday, after Pope Francis celebrated mass at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, felt like a pleasant nightmare. Sure, in this post-apocalyptic world everyone I’d ever known had died, leaving me alone in search of the head of the Catholic Church, but the weather was pleasant and boy was it nice to stroll through the streets unbothered. Time enough at last.

It was a great weekend to be in Philadelphia, truly, unless you were a member of the service industry.

Original source: Gawker
Read the complete story here

Slate lauds Philly's car-free streets moment

Flying Kite contributor Jake Blumgart tells Slate readers about the magical Open Streets moment Philly experienced during the pope's visit. And he thinks other cities should try it, too. 

It was wonderfully, serenely, even disarmingly quiet in downtown Philadelphia this past weekend. At the order of the U.S. Secret Service, 4.7 square miles were cleared of automobiles for two days as Pope Francis, his entourage, and his devotees descended upon the city. While the expected massive crowds never quite materialized, the streets filled with local children playing, cyclists lazily pedaling about, and clusters of pilgrims wandering between events—all without a car in sight...
The fact that cities are nicer when cars aren’t zipping around is obvious once it’s been experienced. In recent years many metropolises across the world—from New York to Jakarta, Indonesia, to Bogotá, Colombia—have been experimenting with contained and short-lived “open streets” days, where automobiles are banned and the city blocks returned to the people. What made Philadelphia’s experiment stand out is that its car-free moment was so extensive and so incidental. Most cities that actually plan for open streets only select a small area for the festivities, but the experience of a huge swathe of Philadelphia being reclaimed created a lot of converts to the cause. The fledgling group Open Streets Philly started a Change.org petition earlier this week that quickly exceeded its goal of 2,500 signatories. The buzz around Philadelphia’s carless weekend may not have convinced anyone that city centers need to be permanently car-free, but it certainly demonstrated a hunger for occasionally experiencing a city without the danger and distraction of automobiles. It’s a hunger more cities should sate.

Original source: Slate
Read the complete story here

PlanPhilly takes a close look at the fate of our beloved Toynbee Tiles

The Toynbee Tiles -- linoleum text squares embedded in pavement across the city -- are a Philadelphia institution, and they're in danger of disappearing.

The city’s paving agreements stipulate that paving contractors must halt resurfacing and notify a Streets engineer if they come across a Toynbee Tile, those strange mosaic messages embedded into the pavement across Philadelphia.

The Tiles are at once part of our local lore and art known the world over, the product of a South Philly man with a tenuous grip on reality and a tremendous amount of creativity. The tiles have inspired imitators and thieves alike, not to mention numerous news pieces and one award-winning documentary. And with all signs suggesting the mysterious Tiler has left the city for good, the tiles are becoming ever more rare and in danger of extinction in their native habitat, Philadelphia.

The Streets Department wants to save a few for posterity, before their slow resurfacing process destroys the few left remaining that have managed to survive years of city winters and SEPTA buses. For Tonybee fans, that’s reason for hope.

Want to know more about the Toynbee Tiles? Check out the awesome, award-winning 2011 documentary Resurrect Dead. Here's an interview Flying Kite did with director Jon Foy.

Original source: PlanPhilly
Read the complete story here

Pope visit creates car-free utopia on Philly streets

What a weekend! The pope's visit transformed Philadelphia, giving pedestrians and bikers the run of the town. This editor spent three days tooling around the open streets, luxuriating in the car-free experience -- and even cruising on the Ben Franklin Bridge.

The Inquirer's Inga Saffron raved about the experiment, and encouraged the city to incorporate the lessons learned into everyday life.

When Pope Francis spoke about joy this weekend, he probably wasn't thinking about the ecstasy that comes from being able to stroll down the center of Walnut Street without a car at your back. Or the rapture of skateboarding the wrong way on Pine Street. Or the bliss of biking 20 abreast on Broad Street. Or the pure, giddy fun of playing touch football in front of the Convention Center on Arch Street.

The unprecedented shutdown of the five-square-mile heart of Philadelphia was driven by the need for security (or rather, the perceived need for security), but it inadvertently created the kind of car-free city that urbanists dare imagine only in their wildest dreams. The virtual absence of vehicles in the sprawling secure zone, from Girard to Lombard, was a revelation. Instead of locking us in, it turned out that the much-maligned traffic box liberated us from the long tyranny of the car.
Philadelphia has always claimed to be a walkable city, but this weekend we saw walkability redefined...

While no one would advocate making the traffic box a permanent feature of the city, this carless weekend has opened our eyes to the possibilities of closing streets and limiting traffic. We've seen that closing Center City streets, far from paralyzing the town, can make it a more joyful place.

Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
Read the complete story here

Pope Ride draws 3,000 cyclists

The Pope Ride took advantage of car-free streets and drew thousands of cyclists -- from weekend warriors in spandex to kids in cargo bikes. Philadelphia Magazine compiled their favorite social media images from the event.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
Read the complete coverage here

Fall means exciting new restaurants across the city

As the fall leaves turn, long-anticipated restaurants are opening across the city. Are there any future neighborhood institutions in the bunch? Any trends worth tracking? Philadelphia Magazine runs down almost a dozen of the spots they're most excited for.

Restaurant Neuf
943 South 9th Street, Bella Vista
Joncarl Lachman of NOORD is opening his second restaurant, this one with a bar and the French influenced flavors of Northern Africa. Lachman is especially excited about the bouillabaisse which will be a dynamic experience with the broth presented first and the fish added. The chef, who has spent lots of time researching in North African neighborhoods of Paris is also looking forward to the braised goat leg with sweet potatoes, dried apricots, roasted vegetables, crushed mixed nuts and spiced tomato broth....The bar will be the focus after 10 pm with a menu of bar snacks and a Cornell especially wants people to try VP Chartreuse. The aged chartreuse will be available for $20 during happy hour. Half-carafes are another way to enjoy time at the bar. A bar specific menu will be offered after 10 pm as the lighting gets darker and the music is turned up.

1200 South 21st Street, Point Breeze

The team behind Café Lift, Prohibition Taproom, Bufad and Kensington Quarters is adding another name to the list with Buckminster’s—a French-Asian concept going into the space at 21st and Federal in Point Breeze. And the chef they’ve got on board? Rob Marzinsky, who did his time at Pub & Kitchen and Fitler Dining Room before taking off to wander around Asia.
Now that he’s back, he’s using the food he ate there as an inspiration for the menu at Buckminster’s. And as a bonus, he’ll be working with Kensington Quarters butcher Heather Thomason, so we know he’ll be getting his hands on some good meats to start things off.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
Read the complete list here

Eight Commonwealth breweries triumph at Great American Beer Festival

PA continues to grow its reputation as a brew-happy state with victories at this national competition. Winners include:

Belgian- and French-Style Ale
Silver: Grisette, Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pottstown, PA

Belgian-Style Fruit Beer
Gold: xReserve Ale 05-15 Peach and Ginger Saison, Saucony Creek Brewing Co., Kutztown, PA

Belgian-Style Strong Specialty Ale
Silver: The Cannibal, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA

Belgian-Style Tripel
Bronze: Millennium Trippel, Church Brew Works - Lawrenceville Brewery, Pittsburgh, PA

Imperial Stout
Silver: Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant - Lancaster, Lancaster, PA

Munich-Style Helles
Bronze: Goldencold Lager, Susquehanna Brewing Co., Pittston, PA

Specialty Beer
Bronze: Pack Dog Peanut Butter Ale, Marley’s Brewery & Grille, Bloomsburg, PA

Vienna-Style Lager
Silver: Oktoberfest, Stoudts Brewing Co., Adamstown, PA

Via Foobooz.


LEGO Vatican wows at the Franklin Institute

It's Pope madness -- and the Franklin Institute is getting into the act.

The city's science museum was hosting a blockbuster exhibit of Lego sculptures and preparing to unveil a huge display of Holy See treasures for the pope's upcoming visit when administrators got a serendipitous inquiry.

Would they like to see a model of the Vatican that a priest built entirely of Legos?

"It's amazing," said Larry Dubinski, president and CEO of The Franklin Institute, where the plastic brick structure is now on view in downtown Philadelphia. "People are in awe."

The Rev. Bob Simon spent about 10 months constructing a mini St. Peter's Basilica out of a half-million Legos. His architectural feat includes a Lego pope on a balcony overlooking the crowd in St. Peter's Square, which itself is made up of about 44,000 Lego pieces resembling cobblestones.

A colorful cast of Lego characters populates the piazza, including a nun with a selfie stick and a bespectacled figurine of Simon. All told, the display measures 14 feet by 6 feet and weighs about 100 pounds.

Original source: Associated Press via The New York Times
Read the complete story here

On the Ground: Parkside Journal welcomes Flying Kite to the neighborhood

The local paper invited Flying Kite publisher Michelle Freeman to pen an intro to the program.

In 2011, Flying Kite Media deepened its coverage around neighborhood news and began to explore the possibility of transforming vacant spaces into pop-up community media hubs.

With very limited funds and a desire to connect directly with people across the city helping to move their communities forward, the On the Ground program was born.

The On the Ground program aims to dive deep into changing neighborhoods, uncovering the people, places, and businesses that contribute to its vitality. The Flying Kite team embeds itself in a neighborhood for a period of 90 days, bringing a currently vacant space alive by creating a temporary media hub that hosts meetings, events, art exhibitions, and open office hours...

Flying Kite’s team is thrilled to report that their On the Ground program is up and running once again, as of this summer, and has landed in Parkside. Made possible by support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Flying Kite will take its On the Ground program to four of the five neighborhoods that the Fairmount Park Conservancy is initiating their Re-Imagining Civic Commons initiative, which will activate some major public space projects over the course of several years.

Original source: Parkside Journal
Read the complete story here.

Taking libraries beyond books

The New York Times examines how libraries are looking to the future, and innovating along the way. That includes The Free Library.

Libraries aren’t just for books, or even e-books, anymore. They are for checking out cake pans (North Haven, Conn.), snowshoes (Biddeford, Me.), telescopes and microscopes (Ann Arbor, Mich.), American Girl dolls (Lewiston, Me.), fishing rods (Grand Rapids, Minn.), Frisbees and Wiffle balls (Mesa, Ariz.) and mobile hot spot devices (New York and Chicago).

Here in Sacramento, where people can check out sewing machines, ukuleles, GoPro cameras and board games, the new service is called theLibrary of Things.

“The move toward electronic content has given us an opportunity to re-evaluate our physical spaces and enhance our role as a community hub,” said Larry Neal, the president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association, which represents 9,000 public libraries. “The web is swell,” he added, “but it can feel impersonal...”

Last year, the Free Library of Philadelphia pulled together city, state and private funds to open a teaching kitchen, which is meant to teach math and literacy through recipes and to address childhood obesity. It has a 36-seat classroom and a flat-screen TV for close-ups of chefs preparing healthy dishes.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here

Philly's creative class produces Pope-tastic merch

With the Pope descending on Philadelphia, the city's shops and designers are creating some awesome threads and keepsakes. (Philadelphia Brewing Company is also getting into the act, producing "Holy Wooder" IPA.) 

When you attend a big concert or an event, grabbing a souvenir is a great way to remember the moment. And with the pope coming to our area there are plenty of unique items being created to mark the occasion.

You'll find a Philly-fied find inspired by Pope Francis' historic visit to Philadelphia on the shelves at Monkey's Uncle in Doylestown.

"The turning water into wine kind of jumped into my head and knowing that we love water ice - one thing led to another," said Dan Hershberg, President and Owner of Philly Phaithful.

The threads are the kitchy and creative work of homegrown Philly Phaithful.

The apparel company, based in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, wanted to welcome Pope Francis to the "Philavatican" with a sort of South Philly-esque, modern day miracle. 

Original source: 6 ABC
Read the complete story here

Philly schools make list of top spots for aspiring famous fashion designers

Business of Fashion has released Global Fashion School Rankings, and the New York Times parses the list.

...the BoF one, which has a pretty rigorous and transparen tmethodology, is worth reading — both because of what its sheer existence says about the importance of fashion education and how it may no longer be the sad stepchild of arts college programs, but also because of the schools that make the list.

Some of them may surprise you. They surprised me, and, it seems, even the editors at BoF who compiled the ranking. “Perhaps the most surprising outcome of our Global Fashion School Rankings was the outstanding feedback from students and alumni from schools off the beaten path, suggesting that prospective students may want to carefully consider a wider range of colleges when making decisions about higher education in fashion,” wrote the editors Imran Amed and Robin Mellery-Pratt in an accompanying op-ed.

So what were these unexpected institutions?

In the undergraduate list, Central St. Martins (C.S.M.) was top, as you might expect, but Kingston University, near London, was No. 3, and Drexel University in Philadelphia was No. 10. Philadelphia University was No. 16, and the University for the Creative Arts, in Epsom, England, was No. 17. Pratt, by contrast, was 21.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here
844 Articles | Page: | Show All
Signup for Email Alerts