Remember way back when the G-Ho Revolution was just beginning? Before G-Ho was endorsed by PWD, Philebrity, Craig LaBan, Foobooz, TheIlladelph and Albert, and a story was written about it in the Metro? Remember when we said that part of -- a lot of -- the charm associated with the G-Ho name was that some day, Graduate Hospital would close, leaving a twisted irony to the name -- a contraction of the accepted "Graduate Hospital" area that was coined by late 90s realtors -- similar to the irony of the G's up hoes down implication when considering the clientele (WHITE YUPPIES) driving the costs of normal homes into the $200k $500k+ range?
Well, that time is upon us. As reported in today's Inquirer and as backed up by CNN, Tenet Healthcare has settled a dispute with the federal government on accusations that Tenet bilked Medicare. The settlement is worth $900M, part of the tab of which will be picked up by selling three of its five Philly area hospitals -- Roxborough, Warminster and Graduate -- and focusing instead on Drexel/Hahnemann. To whom will G-Ho's mothername be sold? Time will tell, but Philly Skyline is sticking to its prediction of a high-end residential developer, who will convert the hospital (at least the beaux-arts portion of it along 19th & Lombard) to condos with a name of "The Graduate."

Does Graduate Hospital's sale kill the G-Ho revolution? No, silly -- it justifies it. G-Ho: love all, serve all. Come visit us! Don't forget: The Name of This Neighborhood is G-Ho.

–B Love

29 June 06: Yank yank yankin' on YouTube


I'd like to begin this Thirsty Thursday, along with a large boilermaker from Ants Pants, with a warm, sincere, whole hearted THANK YOU to my friend and yours, the one and only Hackisack Girl. Who is she? She is a YouTube star, that's who. And I wouldn't be surprised if Brian Williams or your boss or even your Aunt Edna soon finds out who Hackisack Girl is. Why?

Because PSSSST, YouTube is a phenomenon or something. We've been yankin' on YouTube for a minute, and other web sites and blogs have been since YouTube launched in December. As with Napster before it, grassroots geeks YouTube got the corporate cease-and-desist thanks to its overwhelming success from someone uploading the Saturday Night Live "Chronic (What!) cles of Narnia" rap. It also reminded people that SNL still existed, so NBC is finally showing some gratitude in the form of attention from last night's NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. (As an aside and not to trivialize the flooding in PA, but NBC10's Tim Lake got high quality face time with Brian during the segment on the Schuylkill flooding, with amazing and saddening aerial footage of Main Street in Manayunk.) I can't find the YouTube clip on YouTube itself yet, but if you use Microsoft Internet Explorer (EW -- it's 2006, what is the matter with you?) and Windows Media Player (HELLO? Quicktime?), you can watch it on nightly.msnbc.com (until they change their homepage). Or if you're so inclined, you can watch this YouTube clip from the Today Show just before Katie Couric left to become CBS' news anchor (another EW for that).

Anyway, uh duh. If you don't know, now you know. YouTube is great. And Hackisack Girl is a star, because lovey uploaded the vid-yo I have been searching long and hard for since I found YouTube myself. In honor of calmer days for our friends in flood stricken communities in PA, but especially along the mighty Schuylkill and in New Hope, and in memory of a time when we were casually allowed to stroll through Independence Hall's Chestnut Street arches without having to hop bicycle racks and go through metal detectors, Philly Skyline brings to you the underappreciated (thanks MTV), ingenious collaboration of Spike Jonze and the Brothers Ween. Ladies and gentlemen, Freedom of '76.

–B Love

28 June 06: Before the flood

Monsoon season continues in the greater Delaware Valley, and more rain is on the way. Cecily Tynan told us last night that flooding should be expected along the Schuylkill sometime late this evening, perhaps more so if the rain continues. Usual flood spots include near Midvale Avenue and Kelly Drive in East Falls, Venice Island in Manayunk, and the area between Arch and Locust Streets along the Schuylkill Banks park. [6abc.] Moving on with our Happy Hump Day update then . . .
Brett Myers & the Phillies: The local and national media has done a good job holding Brett Myers to his wife beating charges, but we'll wrap it up in a nice, neat nutshell: 1. Brett Myers openly beats his wife on a busy Boston street after a Phillies loss. 2. Myers is arrested; his beaten wife posts his bond. 3. A day later, Myers pitches in his scheduled start at Fenway Park. 4. Sentiments from . . . Uncle Chuck: "I'm behind Brett 100%." Stand Pat Gillick: "[He's still pitching his start because] he's our best pitcher." Brett Myers: "I'm sorry it got public." Classy, guys. 5. Phillies mega-apology retraction shuffle begins with . . . A. Changing forthcoming Phillies promotion from Brett Myers Backpack to ShopRite Backpack. (See head graphic.) B. Brett Myers asking for leave of absence, to be taken from now until after the all star break. C. David Montgomery generally being a big fat idiot. 6. Randy Wolf's pitching hand is actually broken, so look for Ryan "The Steroids Don't Work" Franklin to perhaps fill Myers' vacancy. Further reading on Brett Myers can be found at: [The Inquirer's Pat Sheridan.] [PWD.] [Deadspin.] And for the record, spousal abuse is no laughing matter, but the Phillies' handling of Brett Myers, a 25 year old spousal abuser, is.

Politics local, state and national: The Man Smart Philadelphians Want To Run has made it official. Michael Nutter resigned from City Council, the legal precursor to officially declaring himself a mayoral candidate. [The Inquirer.] His staff wasted no time getting Nutter2007.com live. ||| Speaking of being back home in Steelers Country (as with MMLU), looks like the Weekly's Cassidy Hartmann and Jeff Fusco were there recently, too. Hartmann's story on western PA Congressman Jack Murtha runs in this week's Weekly. ||| On Rush Limbaugh: no need to post any links to any news stories; this is just a big, fat Nelson Muntz HA HA at Rush for being busted for Viagra. Because, you know, pretty is the picture when thinking about Rush's limp louie parading through the Dominican Republic.

Comcast Center at 300: Go Comcast Center go! Philly Skyline, your source for all things Comcast Center (as endorsed by the cable company themselves), has reached a milestone with that picture in the graphic above. That's construction photo #300 already, and the tower is not yet halfway done. By comparison, we had roughly 260 of Cira Centre's and The St James' construction combined. We don't plan on slowing down any, so be sure to bookmark our Comcast Center section for its history, progress and future.

This web site hearts buildings: Speaking of the future of this web site, we'd mentioned advertising. Expect it by the end of this week, and if you're a prospective advertiser, feel free to contact me. Also in the immediate future is an upgrade of the Buildings section which will include a new tribute to the Society Hill Towers and, of course, the oft-mentioned but not-yet-delivered architecture of Rittenhouse Square essay. Construction areas for The Murano and Residences at the Ritz (and oh hell, maybe even Symphony House) are coming, too. In the interim, old steady is over here.

Philly Skyline, red white & blue: Take a peak out yr window tonight, or set out with your tripod (and your hip waders), for tonight my friends, the skyline is a red, white & blue. Sunoco's Welcome America is under way, meaning the city's biggest buildings are gettin' patriotic wit it, and Lionel Richie is right around the corner. What you say? It's true! The Fourth came outta nowhere this year, it seems, and Lionel Richie is taking the stage most recently graced by Sir Elton John and Peter "Don't Download My New CD (Don't Worry We Won't)" Frampton.
–B Love

27 June 06: "Ma, I forgot my keys" / "Can I borrow a dollar?"

Live from the Philly Skyline Juniata Park Bureau, Jeff Lendzinski reports that former Councilman Rick Mariano is indeed back to life, back to reality with IBEW Local 98, wiring wires and breaking circuits. Seems he's also misplaced his keys. Them's jokes, people, jokes; that's not really Rick in Jeff's photo spread above, though there's no word if that 7th Councilmanic District constituent voted for Mariano, who will be sentenced in July on his conviction for corruption, money laundering, fraud and bribery. [For more on Mariano, go hit DMac.]

Guess we could take this time to remind you that Rick's favorite respite, the City Hall observation deck, is the only public observation deck in the city. (There are private ones at Mellon Bank Center's Pyramid Club and the Loews Hotel's boardroom, a semi-private one at Bell Atlantic's Top of the Tower, and one is rumored for the forthcoming Bridgeman's View Tower, for which Philly Skyline will soon have a dedicated section.) Be advised, though, the City Hall observation deck's hours are limited -- weekdays only from 9:30am to 4pm -- and the tickets go fast, but they are free. Call ahead to make sure your slot is open (heh heh heh): 215.686.2840. Did you know that clicking William Penn in our header graphic takes you to our City Hall section?

Your regularly scheduled Happy Hump Day Update will be along a little later today. Holla.

–B Love

26 June 06: Some weather we're having

It's always nice to escape the city for the serenity of home . . . but I'm this close to henceforth doing it exclusively via Amtrak. Between 76, the PA Turnpike, the Harrisburg cluster and seriously insane drivers, it's just worth it to spend the extra bucks and enjoy the extra hour with headphones on, a beer in hand, and the comfort of NOT driving. Does no one understand the concept of "safe driving distance"? No, safe driving distance does not mean I am not close enough to the guy in front of me and you pass on the right. You try to pass on the right, and I speed up just enough for you to not pass me, and with any luck, someone behind me caught on, caught up to me and left you further back than you started. (This happened three times on the Turnpike alone.) Also. When there are two lanes heading the same direction and a high volume of traffic including trucks, getting way up on my ass and flashing your high beams at ME will not get the guy in front of me to drive any faster to get out of YOUR way. If 80 isn't fast enough for you, STOP DOING METH. Finally, when the conditions are as they are in the base picture above (taken near the Harrisburg East interchange), it would be nice if we could all stop being a-holes and just drive safely, e.g. slowly, until we can all see again. Oh Dwight Eisenhower, did you know what you were getting us into???

This has been How You Should Drive, by A Guy Who Doesn't Even Own A Car. Now that that's settled up and with a check of the weekly calendar, it's Monday Morning Looking Up, yo.
  1. A market rate web site update: Philly survives. It's our MO. And Philly's real estate market keeps surviving, and by most measures, improving. The Inquirer, with a front page philly.com image of Symphony House's slooooow construction (not the one in the above graphic; that one's ours), reports that home sales are still strong, though finally starting to plateau. This is good for new buyers, especially those in the market for condos. Because doll, we got condos. Mad condos. There are so many condos coming on the market and more are being converted that it worries us when questioning the need for newly constructed ones. Two Liberty is happening now, South Bridge is happening now, the state wants to sell the State Office Building for conversion, inside sources tell us Locust Point is imminent, the Architects Building and the St James seem inevitable . . . it makes you wonder where the better ones like Mandeville Place and The Murano fall into line. (We'll offer Bridgeman's View Tower a pass from this discussion since it's a true mixed use tower and is in a location that could probably pull it off without much trouble.)

    On the bright side, check out the map graphic (it's a PDF) illustrating median housing prices throughout the city. The median of both Bella Vista and Fishtown increased by a ridiculous 51%, though the end figures have a wee gap between them (a median difference of $228k). G-Ho's reprazentin too -- looks like the influx of self righteous entitled yuppies has upped our median by 25%.

  2. Hershey's Symphony Bar is still better: One new condo construction project without any questions (that aren't design or schedule oriented, that is) and which stands to bump up 19102's median is Symphony House. Philly Skyline's not been a real fan of the forthcoming pink monster, but it's nice to see the pace finally picking up now that they're well above the parking garage. Sooner or later we might think about maybe getting around to possibly putting together a construction progress dealio, but for now there's always The Home of Beethoven's 5th.

  3. Phillies.com has not yet reported sales increase in wife beaters: Oh, Phillies. Remember all those times we said we love Chase Utley and Ryan Howard? We still do! We still love Cole Hamels too. Flash Gordon? He's cool. J-Roll? If he was hitting in the 7 spot, we'd like him better. Sal Fasano? Sure -- our options are Chris Coste and a never healthy (and not great anyway) Mike Lieberthal, plus Sal is a lovable dude. He's not what's wrong with the Phillies. Everything else besides the guys above (and perhaps Geoff Geary and Rheal Cormier and the entire outfield, even you Pat the Bat) is.

    Where we've devoted plenty of keystrokes to Uncle Chuck and Stand Pat, Brett Myers has finally stepped up to replace them in the spotlight for a few. The one reliable starter in a horrific rotation; the young fireballer with the junk to rack up lots of Ks; Brett Myers is now the face of the Phillies (and by "face" we mean "mugshot," as seen above). The one positive in the starting rotation now has a black eye. Or well, his wife does, after he beat her in public on a Boston street. The Boston Globe has a fun account of that, and Beerleaguer has a fun discussion about Myers. Brett's take? "I'm sorry it had to get public, that's it. Of course, it's embarrassing." Stand Pat's take? "He's our best pitcher and [his pitching despite this embarrassment] in the best interests of the club." The Phillies, where our priorities are always straight! [Via The Inquirer's Jim Salisbury.]

    ***Bonus Phillies Coverage!*** A fan was hurt by a foul ball and wants the Phillies to pay for her medical expenses. How about that. It took one inattentive (and dare we say stupid) woman to bring us back to the side of the Fightin Phils. It says it right there on your TICKET: "Holder assumes all risk." Has she never been to a ballgame before? Is this news? [Inquirer.]

  4. MORRIS ARBORETUM: This might not be extremely exciting or even newsworthy, but we think it deserves mention. Ed Rendell announced that $4.65M in state grants was going toward expansion of the Morris Arboretum, up Chestnut Hill way. While it might come across as another Philadelphian thorn in the side of Pennsylvania taxpayers (particularly so in a re-election year for The Guv), it's a good reminder that it, Morris Arboretum, is the official Arboretum of Pennsylvania. So there. [PBJ.]

  5. SOUTH BRIDGE: As promised, South Bridge. Sam Switzenbaum, David Waxman and their associates brought on themselves the enormous undertaking of what to do with the Kennedy Vocational Center, a.k.a. the war munitions depot, a.k.a. that massive brick building on Schuylkill Avenue you probably never paid much attention to. What to do? Why, hire world renowned and locally grown architect Robert Venturi to spruce it up for a condo conversion, of course. The size of the conversion really cannot be understated; the six story building between the Trigen plant and the South Street Bridge has 760,000 sq ft of space between its walls. Tack on two more floors and you've got enough room for 232 units with inside parking on the same floor, a fantastic rooftop terrace with nearly unbeatable views of the skyline, a sculpture garden, attention to the southward expanding Schuylkill River Park and, eventually, Schuylkill Avenue detailing in the form of cafes and such. The rear of Toll Brothers' Naval Square property is directly across the street, so here's hoping they seize this new chance to fix up their side of the street as well. Our only question/fear -- which comes from the excellent architectural renderings -- is what will happen to Springfield Beer Distributor? In the renderings, it's been replaced by a park. Where will G-Ho get its beer??? Ahhh! [SouthBridgePhilly.com.]

  6. What's up with these new Philly Skyline graphics?: Dunno . . . just seemed like the thing to do at the time. But while we're here, let's touch on a couple things in our immediate future. The architecture of Rittenhouse Square essay is about five minutes from being complete. Dominic Mercier, who brought to us his excellent series of Eastern State Penitentiary photos, is branching out beyond those same walls to cover the oft-requested Fairmount neighborhood, so check back for that soon. Mayfair's just around the corner too, and at some point this summer we're gonna try to knuckle up and see what's going on way down in Southwest Philly. More news at 11.

  7. ON ANN COULTER & HENRY ROLLINS: Maybe I don't watch enough television. Nine times out of ten, I find myself angry when sitting at the television, mostly because of commercials. It's not the commercials in concept that make me angry, it's the quality of the commercials. Off the top of my head, the only commercials that don't make me feel stupid from watching them come from Geico, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and Comcast. Almost every other company with enough money to pay for a 30 second tv spot doesn't have the wherewithal to dedicate a similar amount of money to a creative marketing company. Verizon? Horrible. Chevy? Kelly Clarkson. Ford? The gray-haired American Idol guy. McDonalds? Should we even talk about them? These commercials are so bad I want to throw my tv out the window like Comcast customers threw out their dishes on a narrow rowhome street a couple years ago. Oh, and the only reason I'm usually watching tv to see these commercials is . . . the Phillies. I guess I'm pigeonholed in with the demographic, and it's enforced when Chris Wheeler and Scott Graham awkwardly interview people like Rick Santorum and SCOTUS Justice Sam Alito (wearing a too-tight Phillies jersey) and the Drabek kid.

    So what about tv? Well, it sucks. But when Henry Rollins is on, it doesn't suck. The Henry Rollins Show on IFC is so good that it its only problem is not being on more often. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can pull it off on the daily, so what's up Hank? Ahh, can't fault the guy for an easy once-a-week. And for the Radiohead geek in all of us, here's your first heads up: Thom Yorke is on on 7/15. (The show airs at 10pm on Saturdays. [IFC.]) While on the topic, I'd like to disclose right here that I have never seen an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but I hear that I should. I'll try to right that.

    Oh yeah, Ann Coulter? I realize I'm propagating her agenda by even mentioning her name, and be sure that I'd throw a pie in her eye if I saw her, but this just has to be put out there. The Philly Skyline mailbag is generally quiet as kept -- and we genuinely appreciate the feedback -- but to the dude who keeps suggesting we read Ann Coulter's book, we suggest you watch the Henry Rollins Show. So much so, in fact, that we're Yankin' On YouTube in your honor.
–B Love

23 June 06: Gone fishin'

Please pardon the extremely abridged update here, but Philly Skyline is on pause for a long, matrimonial weekend. Until our return, have a look at these stories that help define the graphic above:

→ South Bridge sales office is open and boy is DiBruno's catering staff happy. [southbridgephilly.com.] Ed. note: a (p)review of South Bridge is coming next week to Philly Skyline.

→ The US is outta the World Cup. But I was just starting to think about maybe watching! [ESPN.] | [CIA fact sheet on Ghana.]

→ Philly Skyline's Jersey Lovefest infects Bill Cosby! [Inquirer.]

→ Suburban Merck killed city fish with its prescription-only cyanide. [PBJ.]

→ Hey Phoenix: you're still #6 and you're all gross and sweaty. You stink! [Yahoo News.]

→ Yo Rick Santorum! We really loved that thing when you showed up unannounced at Geno's to support the neon xenophobia parade, and we really liked that "we found WMDs" thing that you think supports the war, and oh Senator Man On Dog, why don't you come out to Ortlieb's on Friday night? It'll be a real hoot! [Philly Against Santorum.]

→ Hall & Oates? Oh, well . . . the album cover from H2O was really the best we could come up with for "sweaty" and there's no sense in using a picture of Phoenix in a Philly graphic, so let's Yank On YouTube and call it a week, yo.

We will return in time for your regular Monday Morning Looking Up. Enjoy the weekend and stay cool, brah.

–B Love

21 June 06: SUMMAHTIME

And the living is sleazy. (Don't front -- you love the graphic.) That's the way we're starting off the summer up in Philly's most beautiful Dickens-loved respite, the Wissahickon Park. For, for the second time in a week, the water is so crappy (in the literal, stinky sense) that it's tainted beyond safe swimming. And, for the second time in a week, it's a bunch of crap from the suburbs. Look. It's like Chris Satullo said in his whiny rant last week: we're all in this together, city and suburbs. Could we please stop shitting on each other? And if not, could we maybe dump it into the Delaware? (JOKES, Fishtown . . . JOKES.)

Quit picking on the Wissahickon. It's the most scenic and serene place in the city, despite what you'd think after Memorial Day weekend brings the a-holes who leave all their garbage and litter in the woods. Memo to once-a-year picnickers: stop being a-holes. Take only pictures, leave only footprints. Sure, I think it's awesome that you carried a grill deep into the woods and fired up some steaks, but really, I don't need to see proof in trimmed fat, busted styrofoam coolers and -- this is what says the most about you -- empty Coors Light cans. [Inquirer.]

Elsewhere in our happy hump day summer solstice edition . . .

Philly Skyline headquarters threatened with months-long shadow: AND WE LOVE IT. Toll Bros presented a follow-up presentation on its forthcoming 2400 South Street, this time to SOSNA and its followers, on Monday evening. They didn't really have much new to say, though the townhomes on the western end will be recessed a few more feet from the back of the Bambrey Street properties. A northern elevation can be seen in the graphic above -- this is looking from South Street, where new rowhomes line South and where the addition to the existing parking garage rise above it. (Ed. note: the new Toll development will not have the Camden skyline on its roof.) And, given that it was a civic association, the batshit crazies were out in full force. Where the last time it was Tubby Combover, this time it was Hypocritical Architect who stole the show for Stupidest Contribution. Way back at the meeting for 25th & South lot that City L&I is selling -- the one where the potential sound of children playing on a playground bothered a woman so much she started a petition AGAINST the Philadelphia School's expansion -- a proposal was made for a condo/apartment complex that would rise to six stories, which itself would require a variance. It wasn't bad looking or even bad in concept, but it had a parking grate along both South Street and 25th Street. That's just unacceptable in large scale neighborhood development in 2006. And, a six story condo/apartment complex would create a higher density than the neighborhood has, and it would put Naudain Street and even parts of Lombard Street in shadow. Big deal, right? Right. So why, then, would that VERY SAME ARCHITECT come to the Toll Bros meeting and complain about the potential for density and shadow? Why, because he lives right across the street, of course -- just like Philly Skyline central does. Not In My Back Yard, indeed. We at Philly Skyline don't stand for that kind of hypocrisy, and we don't stand for the idiocy that Tubby Combover spews, nor the idiocy of a woman's primary concern with the new development being how it affects her satellite reception (why isn't she supporting her hometown cable corporation, anyway?), nor the idiocy of a woman who doesn't like children.

Ergo, Philly Skyline -- a direct neighbor -- supports Toll's 2400 South Street development. Not quite 100% as yet, but we'll say high 90s. We're holding out hope that the sidewalks along 24th and Bainbridge Streets will have retail of some sort (even if it's a private gym or dry cleaner for the new residents) instead of parking grates and exhaust. The structure exists now as a parking garage and Toll is adding on four stories to the top -- why not put parking on the second and third floors and leave the first floor to the pedestrian? Don't get us wrong -- we really like what Toll has planned -- but a couple tweaks could make it perfect. If you can stomach it, have a look at what some neighbors are saying over at Phillyblog.

Beware the RyHo monster: This man is just unbelievable. Two homers and seven RBIs against the Yankees? Are you kidding me? In spite of Ryan Howard, Charlie Manuel blew another game by pitching 74 year old Arthur Rhodes for a third straight night, but leave it to the clueless and blameless Phillies organization to put it on Rhodes' shoulders. Yes, Rhodes is the one who blew the lead, but why was he pitching in the first place? Furthermore, he was replaced by Ryan "The Steroids Don't Work" Franklin. Oh, Uncle Chuck. At least you've got Stand Pat Gillick on your side. In one fell swoop, Stand Pat said Charlie Manuel's doing a good job as coach, and blamed pitching for being bad. Uh, Pat? We knew this rotation was bad before the season started, and we have five capable starting outfielders, yet you haven't done anything to trade ONE of them for any new pitching. We are strongly considering changing our broken record from Fire Charlie Manuel to Fire Pat Gillick. In the meantime, we can marvel at Ryan Howard, who is now tied with Albert Poo-holes for the Major League lead in homers, and offer a suggestion to maybe take a pitch against the greatest reliever in Major League history. We're most certainly not ungrateful for those 7 ribbies, we're just sayin' is all. We love ya, RyHo.

Wear a smoking band to show your support that smoking is not banned: People keep saying, "Yo Philly Skyline, I'm gonna stop going to bars if they ban smoking!" To which we say, "well, someone else who didn't go because of the smoke before will fill your vacated bar seat." Zing! Except, the zing is on us. The places we go will most likely have the exemption to allow smoking anyway. But there is hope! (Or wait, is it despair? This is so complicated.) Mayor Street still hasn't decided if he's going to sign the bill. [KYW.] Either way, the places we go will still be stinky smoky places and our clothes will still stink when we get home. That stinks.

Jersey Lovefest, week two.: Haddonfield and Collingswood, we got you too. Camden, AC and Cherry Hill have all been on the Philly Skyline radar lately, and now the Inquirer reports that -- ding! -- development happens around train stations. It doesn't take a Jane Jacobs to know that Transit Oriented Development works. But it's nice that Patco is spawning good things in South Jersey. It'll spawn even nice things if they ever expand the thing further. Maybe we could even take the train to go watch the new MLS Glassboro Phillies soccer team! [Inquirer.] Meanwhile, back in Camden and next to the now-under-construction new Ferry Terminal, another new development of retail and offices and good news for the Camden waterfront comes to us in the form of Cooper's Crossing. [PBJ.]

We're number five . . . still!: It's summertime for real now, and that means the Census spews out a bunch of estimates for a bunch of geeks to argue over. Hey, we'll take it. We're still bigger than Phoenix, but we'll always be better. Forecast for today and tomorrow out in ye olde desert? 108° and 110°. And it's only gettin' hotter. Uh yeah, no. You can keep your dry heat. And we can't wait till the Eagles play the Cardinals in that new spaceship. [NYT.]

The summer agenda: Um, well, I guess we could say we'll be going downtheshore or camping in Montana, but in all likeliness, we'll be staying right here in sticky, smelly Philly. That means loads of expansion: of the Buildings section; of a long awaited Architectural lineage series; of a cheesesteak debate; of looks at neighborhoods like Mayfair, Parkside, Eastwick, El Centro de Oro and East Falls; maybe even of a big Philly Skyline blowout party to which you'll be invited. We'll keep you posted. Till then? Cool off with a frosty mug of Philly Pale Ale at the Sidecar and then nightcap it with a Powers on the rocks at Doobies.

–B Love

19 June 06: Ain't no blues this Monday

Word up, that's no lie. It was a fine, hotasballs weekend here in the 215 (Hi Dad), with lotsa Philly Skylinesque activity. Why pussyfoot, let's get straight to Monday Morning Looking Up.
  1. Movin' on yo left: As we'd reported previously in The Skinny and via the Daily Pennsylvanian, the school of Franklin is a-movin' eastward. Patrick Kerkstra had a nice piece in the Sunday Inquirer about this University of Pennsylvania master plan with a picture and a diagram for reference. The diagram is found on the web site of the plan's architect, Boston based Sasaki, and is worth more than a glance. It could take twenty-five years and cost several billion dollars, but the end result will be invaluable and will eliminate the gap the Post Office created mid-20th century. Office, residential, classroom and lab buildings will meet the street along Walnut (across the street from XPN/World Cafe Live) as well as in the large area south of the Main Post Office (30th & Market) all the way down to South Street Bridge, which by then will have also been rebuilt. If money permits, Locust Walk -- the University's central artery -- will extend to the Schuylkill River itself, where there will be a new pedestrian bridge (like at 38th St, only above the River), physically connecting the campus with Center City and the Schuylkill Banks.

    And just in time for the announcement, Philadelphia's most forward thinking architects, Erdy-McHenry, have signed on for a new mixed use (with residences) project at 39th & Walnut, to begin construction next year. (PBJ.)

  2. Schuylkill Banks, now with free grass: But back to the Schuylkill for a second . . . we've always been in favor of and in support of the Schuylkill Banks development, and have always been patient in watching it come to. Well baby, it's here. The landscaping team has rewarded our patience with trees, benches, even grass, and now there are boat tours and DJs and movies. It's there -- it's silly of you to not get out and enjoy it. The Dam to the Delaware master plan has been elaborated since we mentioned it a year or so ago, and is now available for download in a 203-page, 8MB pdf found HERE. Seriously. Between Penn and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation, we've got half a century's worth of vision in a city known for having none. But before you get too excited, you can take off your future goggles because . . .

  3. Rendell tired of cranky old SOB: In a proposal that should have started with the mention of how much money taxpayers would save and THEN mention how much vacant office space there is in the city, Henry Holcomb reports for the Inquirer that Governor Ed Rendell wants the state to sell the H2L2 designed State Office Building at Broad & Spring Garden and move the state agencies elsewhere into Center City. Now, Philly Skyline, despite being avid Steeler fans, is 100% behind the guv's re-election this year, but we can't help but wonder what this is all about. Of all the things that are broke in the city, this doesn't seem to stick out as one of them, most especially if you consider that all of the agencies are in one place, as opposed to being split up into different buildings where there is available office space. Where was this idea before Two Liberty Place -- the barely sixteen year old office tower -- was bought out for conversion to condos where you can't even open your windows? The SOB is one of our favorite buildings in the city, and to see it put on the market with the intent to convert it to condos or worse, student housing, kinda makes us sad.

  4. Camden Riverfront is OK!: Two weeks ago, we had the Great Northeast Lovefest. (It's going to be expanded upon later this week or early next week when we go photo-shootin' through Mayfair.) Last week was the South Jersey Lovefest. Well, don'tcha know, the PBJ has gotten in on it too, with this sappy fluff piece on the Camden Waterfront.

  5. Up in the sky, it's a Place: Oh yeah, 'member this best-ever condo tower? The Richard Meier-designed, 41 story Mandeville Place by the Bedrock Group for 24th & Walnut? Well, our crack staff reports that plans are still moving ahead and that recently there has been spotted a promotional blimp (think Gary Barbera, only fashionable) on site. The rumor has groundbreaking in early 2007. We've got a Mandeville Place section o'er here, and they've got a whole web site o'er here.

  6. The only Comcastic reference in this post was that one. THIS JUST IN: Comcast is building the tallest building in the city! You heard right, even taller than Liberty Place, whattaya know? The 57 story, 975 behemoth is movin' right along, footloose and fancy free, at the corner of 17th & Arch (with an official address of 1701 JFK, since the entrance and grand atrium is on that side). Philly Skyline is coming up on 300 photos of this thing under construction (for perspective, we had 142 total for Cira Centre's construction and 126 total for the St James). Don't worry though, they're all nice and orderly, sorted by month, right over HERE

  7. Aria On Demand: Speaking of Comcast and buildings, d'you see this? I was nodding off during one of the Phils/D-Rays snoozefests over the weekend when I thought I heard something about Aria and On Demand. Peculiar, this. I investigated. Sure enough, you do Channel 1 (for On Demand) > Searchlight > Real Estate > New Homes/Condos > Aria The Condo, and there you are watching a two minute sales pitch for what was once known as the Lewis Tower.

  8. YOUR AD HERE: Since we're on the topic of advertising, it's probably fair to let you know that the free ride is over at Philly Skyline. Not for you -- for advertisers! Fret not, we'll never make you register or pay or suffer through popup ads or anything that makes noise that you don't want. We will, however, at long last start to pay some of the bills that have been piling next to our Phillies rants with some good old fashioned adverts. Google Adsense is up first, and your ad could be next. Interested? Contact me.

  9. Fire Charlie Manuel: Ok, this is reactionary, but let's be real here. Uncle Cholly, though probably the nicest fella you'd ever meet from West Virginnie, just ain't a good coach. We almost got swept by the freaking Devil Rays, the Yankees are next, and the Mets are up by nine point five, ok dear? (And don't forget clean underwear.) Dear Stand Pat Gillick, please . . . please . . . dump Chuck, promote Gary "Lil Larry Bowa" Varsho, trade Bobby, release Lidle, do something with David Bell, and let's make a go of it. The season isn't lost yet, but considering the Phils have played HORRIBLY on this homestand and they're taking off till just before the all-star break after this series, now is the time. Do something.

  10. Philly Skyline, your source for broad promises: Ok ok, "we're working on it." That's the proper and honest response for questions about: Rittenhouse Square architecture (this week?), portraiture (this month?), cheesesteaks (this summer?), Skinny descriptions (coming soon?), parking garages (for the love of god it's SO MUCH WORK), Philly bridges (why didn't we do this ages ago?), a search tool (ditto that), and a store in which you can buy photos and t-shirts and stuff. That'll do for now, yeah?
–B Love

16 June 06: Fire Charlie Manuel

I can't take it any more. Chuck has got to go, and when he does, I hope he takes Cory Lidle, Jon Lieber and Abraham Nuñez with him. Lidle is terrible, Lieber is no ace, and Nuñez . . . remind me again why he is batting in the bottom of the ninth, in a one-run game, when he's batting .167 with 1 RBI, and both David Bell and David Dellucci are on the bench. And no offense to Sal's Pals -- I saw Sal's clutch 2 out hit a couple innings earlier -- but Billy Wagner vs Salfa with 2 outs, bottom nine?
EARTH TO CHUCK: Willie Randolph is better than you and the Mets totally embarrassed your team with that sweep on your own turf. That series proved that, as long as the team has this management, the Phils just cannot hang with the big boys, and that the Mets' fans get the last laugh, even if they get punched in the face on the way out of the Ballpark. You can blame the Phillies for this site not being updated yesterday, by the by. After doing the BPS thing and leaving the Ballpark angry, we had to commiserate G-Ho style down Tritone way.

Smoking Ban: And this is what we missed while we were out. So, with exemptions to 'neighborhood bars', nothing has really changed then except for those fancy pants nights out at Stephen Starr joints. While the Official Philly Skyline Stance on the smoking ban has been one of no stance -- we are uncomfortable with government babysitting, see also foie gras -- we were really looking forward to a fantasy world in which we came home from Doobies NOT stinking to high hell. Because, of course, Doobies is a neighborhood bar (the best one in the entire city, to be dirty and frank about it).

This just in: the Schuylkill River is Toxic! Who'd thunk it? The Inquirer (via Philebrity, who by the way, is hosting their rescheduled and re-billed Beach House in NoLibs this weekend). Also, who knew that there was such a thing as Philly Rivercast, which keeps an eye on the Schuylkill's water quality? Did you also know: the source of the Wissahickon Creek is a spring under the parking lot of the Montgomery Mall in North Wales? All this and more at the Friends of the Wissahickon web site.

Picnics Against Cancer: The Great Northeast Lovefest continues at Philly Skyline! That Mayfair essay is right around the corner, and now we're trying to decide which side of the fence (literally) to take on the Burholme Park vs Fox Chase Cancer Center expansion. Say, that reminds us, we oughta make a Skinny entry for this thing. The nutshell is: FCCC wants to expand, which is good. It wants to expand into Burholme Park, which is . . . bad? That's what we're trying to figure out. It's a nice park, but to sacrifice public land for private enterprise -- even if its sole goal is to defeat cancer -- might be bad. Maybe it depends on current usage and how much of the park would be consumed by the expansion. For now, judge for yourself. Save Burholme Park vs Fox Chase Cancer Center expansion.

The Great Northeast Lovefest will continue at Pennypack Park's Wednesday concert series on June 28 with a Chickie's & Pete's sponsored double bill of Hot Rocks, a Rolling Stones cover band and Tuesday's Gone, a Skynyrd cover band. Come on . . . a Skynyrd cover band in the Northeast? Clutch! If you can stomach the comic sans, check the schedule at pennypackpark.com.

–B Love

14 June 06: A Jersey-friendly Happy Hump Day

Yo, Jersey! Philly Skyline's got love for you, too. We're looking your way, AC and Camden. A little suggestion for Atlantic City councilmen? If you're gonna promise hip hop stars and basketball players for your expensive parties, they'd better show up. And if they don't, give the people who purchased tickets to see them a refund. And if you don't give them a refund, don't go saying that the party was a success. This doesn't seem hard. (AC Pre-------excuse me, Press of AC.) AC's on the rise, though: the new Wind Farm is partially operational and is still being built, and the Borgata expansion will bring AC a new tallest building (eclipsing the first Borgata tower).

» Heading homeward on New Jersey Transit's AC line (which could soon be expanding), we'll make a quick stop off in Cherry Hill. The place is apparently blowin' up, cos we keep seeing the Wegman's bus wraps (note to Wegman's: people who ride Septa buses are not likely to go to Jersey for groceries), we heard that the former site of the Garden State Racetrack is now open(?) with a hideously designed "town center" style development (which makes two notable landmarks, the other the space-age 60s Cherry Hill Inn, that have met the wrecking ball in favor of gluttonous suburban development), and now? Now we've got the Cherry Hill Towers. This renovation has been going on for a few years, and this luxurious apartment complex is the best they could do? A plastic gold leonine crest and an enlarged Copperplate font? Yoi. Well, it is across the road from a shopping mall.

» Moving further along, let's check out the scene in Camden. The Skinny already heads up'd Dranoff's Radio Lofts development in the former RCA Building #8, Adventure Aquarium's expansion has been open for a year, and now it looks like Rutgers and even the RiverLink Ferry are getting in on the action. Rutgers-Camden is building a new facility for its law school, to be designed by Ayres Saint Gross. But the biggest development of the summer in Camden has got to be the new Ferry terminal. Naturally, the (formerly Camden, now Cherry Hill based) Courier-Post's angle of this announcement is "what about the parking?" The new building, which will include a ferry dock, new office space and plenty of retail in a place that could certainly benefit from it, makes two-thirds of the article about parking (with special attention to nights of coinciding concerts at the Tweeter Center and ballgames at Campbell's Field), and even includes the caption "With 80,000 square feet of office space, it may complicate the waterfront parking situation." Dear Courier-Post: A NEW FERRY TERMINAL IS A GREAT ADDITION TO THE WATERFRONT YOUR KIND HELPED KILL. Not enough parking on the Camden waterfront? Um. Take a gander at this picture and get back at me. In Philly Skyline's Camden staff opinion, the bigger issue is getting better service from the ferry. Right now, the hours are terrible and the service is far too infrequent. (Every half hour? During concerts?) We're holding our hopes high, though, because we have mad love for Camden. We'll probably even live there once we get priced out of Center City. Patco already goes there, the Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian walkway is great exercise with great views, Donkey's cheesesteaks are in the running for the best, and man . . . it's right there! Camden's location's on point; now let's just get the violence down and we'll talk. See also: Camden in photos.

» Back on this side of the river, or in other "previously reported on Philly Skyline" news, Byberry Mental Hospital in the Great Northeast is set to be developed by Brandywine Realty, the corporation who brought us the superb Cira Centre and Westrum, the developer who shat out Brewerytown Square. Sadly, though, all of the existing (and abandoned and vandalized yet still fascinating and charming) 23 buildings will be demolished. Byberry's getting a redo, with housing for seniors and five new office buildings. In short, Bensalem is creeping across Poquessing Creek and Philadelphia City is getting a brand new suburban office campus with its very own suburban office campus name: Eagle Point. Such whimsy. We're sure it will have a lovely fountain upon its completion. See also: The Far, Far Northeast in photos.

» A big middle finger goes out to our good friends at Ticketmaster for jamming the frequencies on Eagles tickets this morning. Not that, you know, the Philly Skyline executive board thought it had any chance in hell at acquiring Eagles/Cowboys tickets for the October return of TO, but it's still really annoying when you're told "Your wait time is approximately 3 minutes . . . your wait time is approximately 2 minutes . . . your wait time is approximately 1 minute . . . your wait time is approximately 9 minutes." Nine?! I'm no sudoku whiz, but I don't think that's numerically accurate. Needless to say, we got no tickets.

» So, we'll refocus our efforts on the Fightin' Phils. Oh wait, the Mets are in town, why bother? As long as the Phillies pitching starting rotation is comprised of players with names like Lidle, Madson and Brito and an ace named Lieber, they will never, ever get past the Mets. And if it wasn't bad enough, everyone's favorite alpaca farmer got over us -- got in our heads -- last night with a clutch two-inning save. Billy Wagner totally shut the Phillies down (with an assist by David Wright's stab at third); this following the performance last time they were in town when his replacement, Tom Gordon, blew his first save of the year with a homerun to Carlos Delgado with Wags watching on. Dear Pat Gillick: we have trading leverage in power hitting benchwarmer David Dellucci and El Comedulce, so could we please get some new blood for the pitching staff? And no, we don't mean bring Gavin Floyd back, and no, we don't mean Randy Wolf-the-injured, who further injured himself in a rehab start this week. Otherwise, we're staring down 86-76, oh-so-close-maybe-next-year. But on the bright side, at least Flash got to meet Patti Labelle! (Phillies.com.)

» Finally, three must-reads for your Wednesday. First, check out Nathaniel Popkin's ode to The Avenue, the not-quite-dying center of the urban area. It's here, at City Paper. We love us a good avenue, that's why we traveled down Passyunk a couple weeks back. Secondly, big ups back over to The Illadelph, one of our favorite Philly blogs and with whom we agree about the asinine-ness of Starwoods going trendy at . . . the Airport. Uh yeah, finger's on the pulse there, Starwood. Lastly but not leastly, welcome back Johnny. One of our favorite photographers and Philly Skyline contributors, John Yeomans, is back in town after a hiatus up in the Poke-a-nose. His return incluces a boatload of pictures up on his Myspace.

–B Love

12 June 06: What a G-Ho weekend it was

Odunde! That's happy (African) new year to you, sucka. Seemingly in honor of the neighborhood's biggest weekend, the Inquirer's food critic Craig LaBan paid us a visit for his review of The Sidecar. While he wasn't utterly impressed with its food, he was pleased with the fact that it was, well, there, and he recognizes the power that is the G-Ho neighborhood. The Sidecar can indeed be hit or miss foodwise (the mac and cheese has proven destination worthy, but yesterday post-Odunde it was perhaps a bit tired from all the activity). No matter, The Sidecar is essentially G-Ho's focal point and thrives on being a part of the neighborhood. Join Adam and Jen for dinner and a beer next time you're down our way, and check out thesidecarbar.com to have your order ready in advance.

Anyway, Odunde! Odunde was again a success, as evidenced by the thousands of visitors, the perfect weather, the celebrity sightings and -- this needs to be mentioned -- the city's cleanup efforts. Every year, Odunde starts packing up around 8pm and, no lie, by 11pm the Streets Department's cleanup crews have South Street, Grays Ferry Ave, and 22nd, 23rd and 24th Streets looking like there was never a festival there. They even had all the port-o-potties removed by midnight! Philly Skyline wishes continued success to Lois Fernandez and her organization, but we can't help wonder what's gonna become of the procession when South Street Bridge finally shuts down for reconstruction. Check check the photos photos; they're o'er HERE.

Oh yo, it's Monday. Gear up for yr Monday Morning Looking Up.
  1. Fire Charlie Manuel: Erm, well . . . it's just a normal reaction to say that and a 6-5 road trip isn't terrible, but he is still putting Ryan "The Steroids Don't Work" Franklin into crucial game situations. Let's use this day off to clear our heads and NOT PUT RYAN FRANKLIN IN to the Mets series. At ALL. The Phillies are six-and-a-freakin-half back of the Mets and they (Mets) are hot, so this series is huge. Go Phils.

  2. Bernard Hopkins. It's unanimous: Bernard Hopkins would beat just about anyone in the world's ass. The 41 year old made Antonio Tarver look like a little boy in AC over the weekend. North Philly reprazent.

  3. Comcast milestone: Just in time for the company's cable takeover of other local providers, the concrete core of Comcast Center's construction slipforms have surpassed 1650 Arch (a.k.a. Cigna Annex) in height, so Comcast Center's form will soon be visible from Old City, Northern Liberties, Camden, I-95 and all points north and east. As always, follow the construction with Philly Skyline at the Comcast Center construction area. Bring your hardhat.

  4. Geno's steaks: My GOD, could this news story go away already? Yahoo, Reuters, Chicago Tribune, MSNBC, London Times? Oi. Thanks a LOT, Philebrity!

  5. Malik B: People wanna know where Malik? He right next to me. The Roots' AWOL lyricist made an appearance at Odunde, the biggest party in ?uestlove's neighborhood. The big guy was nowhere to be found, but Malik was hawking a demo of his latest efforts. The Philly Skyline staff is still spinning it before giving an official review, but you can sample some tracks at his Myspace. Malik's Myspace is down with those of Guru, Talib Kweli, Immo Tech, KRS-One and other notable hip hop heads local and worldwide, but there's a certain band missing. Hmm. Not spreadin' rumors, just curious. Oh wait, there's Black Thought. It's all good . . . (?)

  6. Work it out with Sister Mo: What IS all good is Philly's number one DJ. Eat your heart out, Geator -- you ain't as cute as Monie. Today's Yankin' On YouTube goes back to 1990. What.

–B Love

9 June 06: The Schuylkill Stroke

Oh, Center City Weekly Press . . . you so crazy! After serving for months as mouthpiece of the failed attempt by SOS (same old shit) to block demolition of "Rindelaub's Row" to make way for 10 Rittenhouse Square (which is apparently quite stalled, considering nothing has been done since the demolition and there is no heavy equipment on site), this week's Toilet Reader pushes that wacky envelope with . . . cack-n-ballz! What's it been, 3-4 weeks, since the Toilet Reader has had nude men in body paint on its front page? They haven't updated the web site yet, (EDIT: yes they have!) but it'll be there as sure as Happy House and his trusty For Sale sign (and his cack-n-ballz!) will be. And like always, you'll be able to click a link to each story that will pop open a new window for each story -- just the way you like your internet! Anyway, it's no coincidence that this find-your-inner-self tome is just above the comic book convention coverage. And, of course, just a couple pages ahead of missing girl hoaxes. Toilet Reader, YOU SO CRAZY!
In other news . . .
→ In honor of his 4-for-4 performance that helped complete the sweep in Phoenix, City Paper has honored the Phillies' Sal Fasano with what is surely the longest (and sweetest) article ever written about him.

→ There's a(n all day) meeting at St Michael's Church at 4th & Fairmount this weekend about reclaiming brownfields, specifically with the PECO Power Station next to Penn Treaty Park and the Reading Viaduct in mind. The Power Station would be renovated and converted into a Calder Museum (a la London's Tate Modern). Now . . . while Philly Skyline would greatly love to see a Calder Museum come to fruition, seeing it anywhere else besides the Ben Franklin Parkway just seems . . . incorrect. Grandpa Calder's sculptures are the reason scaffolding has been on City Hall for two years (it will eventually come down, and rumor has it Billy Penn is next, again), Papa Calder's Swann Fountain is arguably the greatest fountain in the country (well, ok, Buckingham in Chicago probably has it beat, but not by much), and Junior Calder was the weird one who hung with Miro and Duchamp -- and the one with the sculpture garden at 22nd & the Parkway, the original planned site for the Calder Museum, to have been designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Said all of that to say that: all that stuff's on the Parkway. Three generations of Calders are institutionalized on the Parkway; seems weird that they'd honor them in some old power station in Fishtown. Meanwhile the Viaduct would be cleaned up and turned into our very own highline park. That would make a lot of people happy, but that would cost a lot of money, and a lot of people aren't going to spend a lot of money to make no money back. Here's hoping, though. The meeting is Saturday and the details are at Phillyblog.

Odunde ! It's that time of year again -- time to wish your fellow man a happy new year in the Yorba tongue (just don't order a cheesesteak that way) and piss off the gentry (who didn't realize Odunde has now been going on for 30 years before they plopped down $500k to reprazent G-Ho). Odunde is great -- one of the city's best traditions. Go eat some oxtail and take in the African dance. It's on South Street from 21st to 23rd, then it hooks down Grays Ferry to Christian or so. Good times.

→ Finally, the Schuylkill. The River, that is. You may not have known this, but long before "Schuylkill" became "Sure-kill" and thereby identified itself with a crappy, antiquated highway, the Schuylkill was a river. You may also not have known this, but it still is! In its honor, Schuylkill River Development Corp is hosting cruises on Thursdays and Saturdays all summer from its new interpretive trailer under the Walnut Street Bridge. You can learn all about them HERE, and you can check out this here photo essay, Cruisin' on the Schuylkill, taken a year ago on one of said cruises.

–B Love

7 June 06: Hump Day Rapid Fire

  1. 6/6/6: You might have noticed that Philly Skyline was barely updated yesterday. Blame The Rapture. I could not have been less interested in the Old Gray Lady's story that 666 was actually 616, or that some movie with stupid billboards opened, or that Ann Coulter has unleashed her latest hate manifesto, but I did take with great interest a brief history of Debbie Harry after Yankin on YouTube. Did you know: after Debbie moved to New York and before she was Blondie's megastar, she was a Playboy Bunny? Google (image) it -- it's true! Feels a little icky, though, to think someone who's 61 is such a fox. At any rate, today's rapture recovery is dedicated to Richard.

  2. TRRRRRRRRRRUMP: Donald Trump is yet again up in the Philly news. Frank DiCicco says -- and we agree, as NLNA surely does -- that the company who's purchased The Donald's name hasn't done enough to reach out to the neighborhood to ensure that Trump Tower Philadelphia will fit well within its context. From our standpoint, it's a pretty bland tower and it sits on a glass parking podium. The Daily News and KYW have the scoop.

  3. BRIDGEMAN'S VIEW TOWER: But just across Delaware Avenue, Philly Skyline's favorite homegrown waterfront project moved along to the next step. KYW reports that, in addition to being approved by City Council's Rules Committee, the project now registers at 915' to the tiptop. (It doesn't mention an observation deck though -- the Philly Skyline staff will volunteer if that lobby needs a spokesperson.) Also remember: BVT is on the non-riparian-rights-needing side of Del Ave, and TTP isn't.

  4. BUT HERE WE CALL IT SOCCER: The World Cup apparently starts on Friday. Well . . . ok. I'd love to say I'm all geared up for it, but why lie? I had a good enough time in the UK in 2002 watching both England and the US get eliminated. It was the summer after my senior year in high school ('94) when the World Cup was here, so I was more concerned with whatever it is kids between high school and college are concerned with (e.g. the OJ chase and trial). I'll try to watch it, but I can't make any promises. Is it because of the World Cup that there is a push to bring an MLS team to Philadelphia Glassboro? I dunno. But I think it speaks volumes about Philadelphia's interest in soccer that the proposed MLS team would play in Glassboro. Not to be persnickety, but if this happens, would you mind calling the team the Glassboro Somethings? Thanks. More info HERE.

  5. WILD BOYS & SAL FASANO: I'm not a soccer hater, I'm just a Phillies celebrator. Like Dontrelle Willis before him, King Cole Hamels is the young buck it-child of left handed phenoms. Finally got that W (since Ryan Madson's back in the rotation instead of in the pen to blow it for Hamels). Can't wait to see Cole pitch (if he can stave off injury that long) at the Ballpark. Meanwhile, the Fightins are stacking up the future with Kyle "Let's Get Fucked Uuuuuuuuuuuup" Drabek. (Link via PWD.) Err, all righty then. His curveball does look pretty sick, and his pop's passed on some good genes, but let's hope the OC drama stays in OC places. Oh, and congrats to Sal Fasano on the shot heard 'round the BOB last night.

  6. A TEAR FOR ERIC: As reported pretty much everywhere yesterday, the plump ump has passed on, and at such an early age. RIP, old fella. The Metro's got some big shoes to fill now.

  7. CHOP -N- KIDS: This just in: Penn is expanding their hospital again! Globe St.

  8. BIGGER FISH TO FRY: Finally, dear Councilman Jack Kelly: could you please stop with the ban foie gras nonsense? Duck liver is buttery and delicious just like corporate farm raised chickens are delicious when breaded, deep fried and served with biscuits and gravy. I don't wish anyone pain, but if these ducks don't want pain they should stop being ducks. This is less about duck cruelty and more about government babysitting. If we start with the foie gras, surely we must move on to scrapple, right? Pffft. Meat is food. This is a meat-eatin' town, and foie gras is meat regardless of how it got that way. City Paper has more on Councilman Kelly's foie gras hard-on and a link to his Myspace, but Philly Skyline's got what you really want to know: where to find it! Oh sweet irony, I serve you pan seared with honey and a side of roquefort potatoes. Compliments of our good friends at Ban Foie Gras Philly, a list of restaurants with foie gras on the menu can be found HERE. I'm calling in the reservations tonight.

–B Love



  1. Logan Circle makes Hall of Shame? Project for Public Spaces has got it wrong. They can say that the Ben Franklin Parkway has traffic; no one will dispute that. But, the pictures are loaded, and from before the multi-million dollar makeover at that. The beautiful Chinese paulownia trees have been removed (though young ones will soon be planted), leaving the Circle bald, but with clear sight lines to the institutions surrounding it (Central Library, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Science). The bigger problem with including Logan Circle as the city's Hall of Shame candidate in a 'competition' that is worldwide is, um, that Penn's Landing is nowhere to be found. Nobody who doesn't work for Penn's Landing Corporation would tell you with a straight face that it is not the worst public space in the city. Even Franklin Square is getting a makeover, and it's been destroyed by traffic a hundred times more than Logan Circle ever was. PPS is wrong on Logan Circle, only because it missed Penn's Landing. (As an aside, Penn's Landing's Great Plaza is truly great -- the breezes and steps are nice -- but all the parking lots around it and the 12 lanes of traffic one has to cross don't exactly make it a destination one goes to other than for planned events.)

  2. Chase Utley > Ryan Franklin: Check the picture above. The dude plays HARD. And we thought Shane Victorino's plow job (that's PLOW job) of Paul Lo Duca was tough. The Dodgers' Russell Martin is prolly still seeing stars. That play helped salvage a split in LA, but now the Fightins are stopping off in Phoenix to play the first place D'backs. Memo to Ryan Franklin: SHUT YOUR CAKEHOLE. I'm not sure how he managed it, but in between the loud sucking noises he usually makes, he told the press he's the Phils' man for the starting rotation. Uh, no you're not. You're not our anything, Mr The Steroids Don't Work. Take your goatee back to Seattle.

  3. And the nomination for 2006 gentrification buzzword goes to . . . Francisville! Not to be confused with nearby Franklintown, itself a mini sect of Spring Garden, itself a defined sect of the larger 'Art Museum Area' that also includes Fairmount. I suppose it's not unlike G-Ho stretching from Broad to the Schuylkill. But yeah, Francisville. It's the small area with the diagonal streets off of Ridge north of Spring Garden and South of Girard. Lots of dilapidation and urban grrrit, boy. Well, it was only a matter of time before people (New Yorkers) would want to live between the Divine Lorraine and Eastern State Penitentiary, right? The Inquirer reports that a house that appraised three years ago for $30k recently sold for $400k. Sort of gives the g-word some gravity, no? We'll see -- let's keep an eye on Francisville this year to see how many people move in and stake their claim as a new Art Museum Area resident.

  4. Barnes Tower: Speaking of Art Museum Area residents, remember the Barnes Tower? No, not the Barnes Museum, which is sitting on $70M of free money only to watch Councilnut Jannie Blackwell blackball her colleagues and Mayor Street because she allegedly doesn't want a (NEW AND IMPROVED) Youth Study Center in her district. No no, the Barnes Tower. The mostly ugly, mostly underhanded tower that's lined up to replace the Best Western at 22nd & Pennsylvania will eliminate one terrible use of a large parcel and create another. That's Philly Skyline's beef with the Barnes Tower -- its footprint. The block between Pennsylvania and Spring Garden, and between 22nd and 21st has a ton of room. Why not build out to the street with new town rowhomes? These Fight the Tower people are going about it wrong. Never mind the pastel-happy Frontpage-looking web site and the suburban mcmansions they use as illustrations for scale of the neighborhood and the all-caps "GHASTLY MONSTROSITY" drama and the typos (pssst, I think you meant 125 feet, not 125 stories -- the Empire State Building is 102 stories, for reference) . . . they've simply chosen the wrong battle. Gonna lose your views? Aww. Lots of people lost their views when the Parkway House and the Philadelphian and City View and One Buttonwood Square -- the other tall towers already in the neighborhood -- were built, too. It's a city. Big things happen in big cities. Deal.

  5. Sports Complex: Natalie Kostelni reports in the PBJ that Comcast-Spectacor is mulling the idea of developing its portion of the South Philly Sports Complex. Gee . . . thanks! Sorry, kneejerk there. Chairman (and Flyers/Sixers fan #1) Ed Snider calls the area the "city within the city," which could be true if something really were to be developed there. Come on! Philadelphia needs a Hi-Tops and a new Houlihan's and some wacky new nightclubs where overtanned girls get sprayed with foam and groped by dudes from Jersey. Jason Michaels and Freddie Mitchell would hang out there and it certainly wouldn't hurt our chances at the 2016 Olympics.

  6. New Jersey Transit: NJT, the local transit organization who both gets it and gets it right, has announced tentative plans to extend its Atlantic City line (which ends at 30th St Station) to Newark or Hoboken. This would give Philadelphians loathe to drive the Jersey Turnpike another option to New York, but it'd still require some hopping around (in either Newark or Hoboken, since it still wouldn't drop you off in NY). It would also finally give New Yorkers a (reeeeeally loooong) direct rail route to AC, in the interim before the Manhattan-AC shuttle is open. More in the Inquirer.

  7. Radiohead: The Friday night show hasn't surfaced yet, but Thursday night's Tower Theater show is available in a zip file of mp3s from the show HERE, should you be so inclined.

  8. Philly Skyline: As promised, more stuff's on the way. Right now, the current to-do list is something like: Rittenhouse Square architecture (it's graphically intensive so it's taking a little while), archives, The Murano, a search, the Garages, a store. So uh, sytick around, we'll be right back.
–B Love

4 June 06: NoLibs washout / The thing about Radiohead

Worldwide Northern Liberties Day was postponed on account of pouring rain, but that didn't stop Art Star from hosting its Bazaar. Other than Dhani Jones, there weren't a whole lot of attendees when I was there, but it was worth the trip for Johnny Brenda's cornmuffin delight. Huzzah. Rumored rescheduled date is Saturday 6/24. But never mind all that . . .

People who like music like to talk about music to other people who like music. Except Radiohead, usually. It might be a combination of 'critical darling' overkill and denying admission that you're a part of the overkill by liking Radiohead as much as you do; it might be the embarrassment of liking a band so much that you don't think anyone else gets them as much as you do. Or maybe it's all of this and the Beatles-aren't-in-Liverpool phenomenon -- that you've liked them for so long and now, phooey, so does everyone else.

Well I'm your huckleberry: I'll own up to all of the above. I am that jackass I described, and I can bother you with my Radiohead cred by whipping out the "Creep" cassingle and the Memorex copy of The Bends my college roommate made me. I can tell the story of the all-nighter I pulled in summer '97 when OK Computer changed how I listened to music, the story of "Treefingers" from Kid A being the soundtrack to a snowy drive in the mountains with deer all over the road . . . There are probably stories for Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief, and stories for the three previous times I saw them live (Tibetan Freedom Concert in '98, Liberty State Park in Jersey City three weeks before 9/11, Tweeter Center on me and the missus' anniversary in '03) . . .

But it's all just a waste of time because it's only one point of view and you either get Radiohead or you don't. And if you get them, you get them in your way and sharing it with someone else is overstepping your bounds, since that someone else gets them in his/her way. So in order to shelf all this so-gay-for-Radiohead-ness, I will simply say that Friday night's show at the Tower Theater was absofuckinglutely amazing, despite my being in the next-to-last row and it being 240° in there. Every one of the new songs is great; every performance of an old song just rocked. There just isn't anyone any better anywhere at making music.

Last thing I'll offer on Radiohead is this ep of Yankin' on YouTube: the wisdom of Radiohead by two Radiohead experts:

–B Love

2 June 06: Yesterday's news . . . today!

Yeaaaaah, can't say I was real thrilled the 31 times my internet flaked out on me yesterday, prompting all my updates to be saved server-side as '.bak.1', '.bak.2' and so on down the line. So the update I was trying like heck to post all day is further below. But first, here's the Cantina!

I took that Comcastic opportunity to check out The Cantina down on Passyunk and complete the Passyunk Ave ex-po-zay. In case you slept, it's HERE. Also bothered to sweat it out on The El to go check out the scene at the Tower pre-Radiohead. I'm going tonight, but Jonathan Valania's got last night's scoop o'er Philebrity way.

I'll be there tonight so a wrapup may or may not come tomorrow. It all depends on . . .


That's right folks, it's that time of the year again, time to get shitty in NoLibby. Just like Wednesday's Events Calendar announced, Saturday is the time to be up NoLibs way. Apparently, someone officially declared Saturday Northern Liberties Day. Philebrity's rockin a Beach House Party (POSTPONED) to go along with the already mentioned Yards drink-a-thon and music festival and the Art Star Bazaar. Well, why not make an entire day out of it and start at 9am (ha ha) with the Neighborhood Tourism Network as it shows you its NoLibs. Oh come on, don't act like you didn't know that the Neighborhood Tourism Network existed. Oh wait, you didn't? Me either. Go HERE for a discounted ticket. And put it in a lanyard, because it's supposed to rain.

I reckon that'll do for right now this second -- yesterday's read is below, and I gotta put May in a May archive (and try to put the previous stuff in the previous stuff archive).

–B Love

1 June 06: The Car and the City

Heads up, urbnerds -- this video's made for you. Also, heads up South Street heads like Philly Skyline -- this video is also for you. Center City District just continues to publish quality content like these new bus maps and now this video about The Car in the City. It's got amazing footage of 76 after it opened, 676 and 95 under construction, and has a segment on South Street being saved from Ed Bacon's disastrous Crosstown Expressway. Philly Skyline (dot com) would literally not be where it is today if Ed Bacon'd have had his way. (And we support Ed Bacon's memory!) Civic geek heroes Paul Levy, John Gattuso, Denise Scott Brown and others all make cameos. Check the video HERE. (It's a WMV file, so if you're on a Mac like me, you gotta have the Quicktime plugin jawn.)
Elsewhere, let's hit up this week's Thursday Throwaways with the quickness. Ready?
  1. 1441 Chestnut: Tim Mahoney's Mariner Realty has put the still-proposed 1441 Chestnut up for sale while Craig Spencer's Arden Group has broken ground next door on its Residences at the Ritz. Why? Why is a good question to ask, but let's speculate based on absolutely nothing but speculation. A cooling condo market? Not likely, considering how much stuff is still proposed and under construction around town. (You can see exactly how much by clicking on The Skinny graphic below.) Natalie Kostelni of The PBJ reports that potential investors from around town have made unsolicited offers on the property. Are any of them named Craig Spencer and/or The Arden Group? If site prep is already happening there, how much trouble would it take to extend that all the way to Chestnut Street and make one giant project? Say . . . Center City Tower sized? Just a thought. For all the trouble both developers have gone through, it seems very strange that either would walk away at this point unless something major -- really really major -- were to happen.

  2. Schuylkill is spelled wrong: on the Schuylkill Banks' web site. Come on, guys. It's right there in your organization name! (Look at the page's title in your browser HERE.) Not pickin', just sayin' is all. Anyway, never mind the misspell and check out the boat rides. We took a Schuylkill cruise last summer and it was just fantastic. You should too.

  3. Monica Malpass: Finally, I'd like to dedicate today's Philly Skyline update to Monica Malpass who, like anyone, loves a good bargain at Dollar General Store. In honor of buying the nine-pack of Scott for $5 instead of the four-pack across the street for $4, I'd like to channel the brothers Gene and Dean, who dedicated this song to our favorite Channel 6 anchor this past Sunday.

–B Love

May 2006 archive
April 2006 archive
March 2006 archive
February 2006 archive
January 2006 archive
(more to come as I get to it)