28 September 06: Moira, J-Roll & the Cat Man



So I see Michael Smerconish strolling through Rittenhouse Square this morning and can't decide whether to throw something at him or introduce myself and say hi. I opted for neither, totally wussing out and continuing on my merry way to construction central over at 17th & JFK to bust out the new glass.
  1. PHILLY SKYLINE, YOU'VE BEEN CANONIZED: Effective 9:48am, the Philly Skyline photo staff has added a 50mm f1.8 and a 70-200mm f4L to the arsenal, BOYEEEE. Expect upgrades in construction photos (and the RBM photo essays). The test drive o'er Comcast Center way will be live by the end of the day.

  2. CIRA 2: COMING SOON? Maybe so, maybe not. Rumor has it that Brandywine wants an anchor tenant to get started on the next phase of Amtrak Village. (Just kidding -- it's not really called that, but oh how great it would be if it was.) Cesar Pelli? Check. Taller than the Cira Centre we've come to love? Check too. 30th & JFK, coming soon? Stay tuned.

  3. JIMMY ROLLINS: MY MAN IN THE CLUTCH. After the Phillies failed to get a SINGLE run in with the bases loaded in the ninth . . . after Tom Gordon blew another save . . . after Geoff Geary blew another save . . . after Jeff Conine went 0-for-7 with 9 men left on base . . . my second favorite Oakland MC (after Too $hort) ripped a triple into rightfield that plated two, a good thing since Fabio Castro nearly scored the third blown save of the game in the bottom of the 14th. High drama baseball, with the good guys finally winning. Those godforsaken trolley Dodgers keep pulling out their own wins, but the Phils are hanging on. Come on Rockies -- just one, maybe? Jeez!

  4. BILL THE CAT GUY: MY MAN ON VAN PELT: While G-Ho is home, there just can't be any better place in the city for a stroll than through the Rittenhouse Square and Fitler Square area. I'm a RitFit nitwit fo sho fo sho. And one of the nuances that has always struck me is the block of Van Pelt Street between Spruce and Locust. It's your typical "quaint" little postcard street, but the key is the cat posts. Bill the Cat Guy is a ceramic artist who has adorned two street posts with ceramic cat heads, and he always adds a tie, be it a necktie, bow-tie or plain ol' beads. And when some punk kids steal 'em? He just adds more.

  5. MOIRA MCFADDEN: MY GIRL IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Moira is my homegirl. We go wayback like web.archive.org. That's her in the frame up on the left. She's one of 20 patrons documented 23" x 23" wide on archival pigment print by Sarah Stolfa, the surly tattooed McGlinchey's barmaid of many years. She's graduated from McGlinchey's on to Yale, where she'll study in their graduate photography program. Stolfa's The Regulars exhibition is at Gallery 339 until November 11. Moira is on exhibit at McGlinchey's and Doobies indefinitely.

Go Phillies, go Rockies, go nuts . . . it's Thursday!

–B Love


27 September 06: Livin' in the lot of luxury



Down here on the other side of ye olde housing bubble, one has to wonder the status of the condo projects which haven't yet broken ground, much less those which have encountered opposition like the Barnes Tower and the Locust Club. Prep work continues at the Residences at the Ritz site (in spite of PECO's better efforts last week) as well as 10 Rittenhouse Square (at least we think that's what's going on with all that steel on the Rittenhouse Club side), the Murano is full steam ahead, 22 Front has installed its crane and is movin' on up, and as we reported yesterday, Symphony House is now installing its prefab paneling along Broad Street. (One of our better readers pointed out how similar it looked to the façade of West Philly's Domus project, prompting him to question whether there was a colony of castrated architects working locally.) Here at Philly Skyline, we're holding out our grandest of hopes for Mandeville Place's sheer beauty and Bridgeman's View Tower's inclusive prowess.

Over by the Medical Tower on 17th between Locust and Spruce, we may or may not eventually see the highest end luxury building of them all. Scannapieco Corporation's 1706 Rittenhouse has neither broken ground nor received favorable attention from its neighbors, but regarding the latter, it's come off as a "don't build this tower because I don't want to lose the views from MY tower" gripe. Whatever the case may be, 1706 Rittenhouse has not died off like some dodo or 1919 Market -- it has rather drawn more attention to itself. As seen in the photo above, they've installed billboards and banners on site at the surface parking lot, and 1706rittenhouse.com is live for your viewing pleasure. It's so luxurious, only Rolls Royces are allowed in their Euro-parking-robot. (Check the watercolor under "Parking.")

* * *

Nothing major to drop for a Happy Hump Day Umpdate, but in addition to other long-promised-and-still-not-live sections of the site (e.g. parking garages, Rittenhouse Square architecture and cheesesteaks), we're thinking about an ode to the TV Towers up on the hill in Roxborough. It's kosher . . . it's Philly Skyline!

Oh, and fire Charlie Manuel. Boy did that run in the 8th off of over-worked Geoff Geary ever hurt. And where has Fabio Castro been? Chase and RyHo ain't gonna hit em out every time in the 9th; Chuck's gotta help us out before it even gets there. Oof. Go Phils, go Rockies.

–B Love

26 September 06: The first morning after does not stink



It's pretty great. Yes, Mayor Street went into all out bonehead mode by saying the smoking ban would be enforced immediately, with no thought to consequence like, say, HOW it would be enforced, what bar/restaurant owners are supposed to do with their ashtrays, and so forth. The law's author, mayoral hopeful Michael Nutter, even realizes there needs to be an ease-in period. From KYW:
"I don't know why it's being handled this way, other than to really piss some people off in the city about the smoke-free ban. There's a lot of different ways to do this the right way. It seems that the administration at times goes out of its way to do things the wrong way."
Our favorite commentary on the right-now-it's-on smoking ban so far has got to be by our boys at TheIlladelph.

As we've said a hundred times, we don't like the cramping of the personal freedom, but all the same, it is AWESOME to not stink when coming home from the bar. Last night after the Phillies game (a horrible disappointment if ever there was one), we said happy birthday to Tai down at the Pub on Passyunk East. (Do we really have to say "Pope"?) We were greeted with a sidewalk full of smokers. Inside, the only thing permeating the air was the sound of Motörhead. Ergo, this morning, the only scent penetrating our noses was not that of last night's smoky clothes, but instead the fresh scent of La Colombe in the pot (and the fumes of a 40 bus passing down South Street).

So, on this smoke free Tuesday, let's have a look see around town.
  1. COMCAST CONCRETE, GOIN' UP: After a month off during which the steel was allowed to more or less catch up to it, the concrete core of Comcast Center is back in action. The slip forms have already gone up a floor, and from here forward the concrete and steel will rise at roughly the same pace. Height wise, we're a little past halfway up. Picture wise, we'll have our Comcast Center section updated this afternoon.

  2. SYMPHONY HOUSE PANEL PREVIEW: In case you'd wondered what a prefab pink stucco skyscraper would look like, you've got your answer. The South Broad clunker's got its lipstick on now, from arch to porthole. Pucker up, buttercup.

  3. NUMBER TWO IS NUMBER ONE: Congrats, America. Jackass 2 is the #1 movie at the box office this week. I can get down to anything that pisses off the establishment, especially when the establishment is a Hollywood that cranks out remake after overbudget remake, and sixty-three versions of the same horror film. Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera et al: even better on the big screen. [Yahoo Movies.]

  4. WASHINGTON NATIONALS: THEY REALLY ARE A TRAIN WRECK: Huh, whattaya know about that? It's fantastic that Major League Baseball teams in the Northeast corridor like the Phillies, Nationals and Mets forego pointless, annoying short flights for Amtrak, but it sure gives the concept a black eye when, oh you know, the train DERAILS with a team on it! Yeah yeah, it was minor, no one hurt and it happened in Delaware, but still. It's after midnight and you're falling asleep on the train when SCREEEEECH, your train's off the tracks and you gotta stand there till they can get you another one to be on your way. Not fun. The Phillies need to capitalize on their fatigue and turn around last night's disgusting loss to the Astros. [CBS Sportsline.]

  5. YO PHOTOGRAPHERS: The call is out. Uncle B Love wants YOU. You take-a da pictures? You like-a da neighborhoods? Got something you wanna share with a bigger audience? Send us a note at photos AT phillyskyline DOT com with your idea and a link to examples of your work. You will get preferential treatment if you use one of these.

  6. MMJ COMIN' OUR WAY: Philly Skyline Chestnut Hill correspondent Dan Carr reports that Kentucky's finest export since Jim Beam, My Morning Jacket, will be making a stop at the Electric Factory on December 1. Tickets aren't on sale yet, so keep an eye out for that, but catch a preview with Okonokos, the live CD and DVD released today. We'll yank it home with a performance of "Golden" from Austin City Limits.

–B Love




25 September 06:


You've got a Flickr account, but who sees it besides your family and Myspace friends? You're paying for a PBase account but you can't believe how few people see it. You've got a Philly vision that you need to share with a bigger audience. Well we've got your platform.

Whether it is a neighborhood familiar to you, a building you love, some people you know or whatever you like, as long as it's good, Philly Skyline wants to share your photo essay. The Fairmount and Kensington neighborhoods crave an online show. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts at Broad & Cherry could keep a photographer busy for days. Frankford Avenue rolls fifteen miles through the city from the Delaware to the Poquessing.

All these things and more need your creative attention. You'll get your name on the marquee, you'll get a link to your site/gallery/Flickr/etc, and you'll see your photos on a site that gets over 80,000 hits a day. Can you dig it? Email photos AT phillyskyline DOT com with your idea and a link to examples of your work.

Happy Monday and go Phillies go!

–B Love


22 September 06: Fall in Philadelphia


Yo that Philadelphia River City thing yesterday . . . bananas, innit? Here's the thing. It's a fifteen year idea. It's not like you're going to wake up a couple days from now and see twenty-three cranes looming over you as you head toward 76 on JFK Boulevard. There are multiple phases, phases that would be funded incrementally. If you look back fifteen years, you wouldn't believe that Chestnut or even Walnut Street would be desirable, that there would be sidewalk cafes in every part of Center City, that the Schuykill River Park would even be a concept, that Comcast Center and Cira Centre would be real. With Penn already coming eastward, why couldn't Philadelphia River City work? Sure, we and a lot of people would like to see a refinement here and a tweak there, but on paper, it's a hell of a concept.

Philly Skyline's West Philly bureau chief Steve Ives likens the concept of Philadelphia River City to a weird, wild World Trade Center sprung onto the public's conscience in the late 60s. It's that big. And after years of deliberation, planning, arguing and building, it was a major success until some religious zealots went apeshit. Philadelphia River City has an army of obstacles ahead of it, but far be it from Philly Skyline to pose any of these in a major manner. We'd offer up some advice if we were asked, but as it exists, we like the ambition.

Speaking of Steve, it's been a minute since he dropped some hometown science, the Haddington neighborhood essay, and he keeps talking about Philly green space. But bigger than the green on his list is the Gallery and Market East -- why their integrity must be kept. In light of Center City District's report on the face of Market East retail, many people interpreted it as a call for the whitewashing of Market East, when that was not necessarily so. It is a fine line to distinguish between what is urbanistically attractive and what is exclusive, where exclusive carries an unspoken but underlying classism or racism. A friend of Philly Skyline agrees. She writes:
I think the debate over the Gallery has two distinct components that are sometimes conflated: urban design and 'retail offerings'. The Gallery is just not good enough and CCD's recommendations for Market East improvements are almost all (if not all) about improving the quality of the ground level environment: Turning the Gallery inside out so that it meets the street like a storefront, not a mall, lightening the hulking cross walks so that Chinatown is connected to Market Street, filling in the surface parking lots, dealing with Girard Estates and adding some serious office space. I agree 100% with all of these recommendations and think they benefit all people who frequent Market East.

The second issue is what type of stores exists in Market East and who they are catering to. This is where I think race and class start to become a coded part of the conversation in pretty gross ways. Me, I love the south side of Market East. Well maybe not love, but I think it is pretty great and it works and it cheers me up. I love that there's a Staples and a CVS I can walk to, I love that I get to hear Public Enemy from way back, I love the watch guys' ever improving bark, I love giving a couple bucks to the drill team and drum corps in front of the K-Mart who make me cry they are so fierce. It is vibrant and it is working and it is successful (at least until 5:15). And I don't think it needs changing.

Lots of people disagree with me. People want to see high end retail in the Gallery. I think this is silly. Me, I'd like to see a Target and a movie theater. People want to see suburbanites take the train to the Gallery to go to Gucci . . . not gonna happen. They are going to get in their car and drive to KOP for their fancy items. There is concern that tourists don't feel comfortable walking down Market St. I don't really know how to solve this (other than the above urban design fixes) without turning Center City into a Disney world. I think that the market (excuse the pun) is doing a fine job on the south side of Market and it doesn't need messing with (except Girard Estates . . .). Vacancy is very low and stores seem to be doing well. I would prefer it if they didn't pull down the gates at 5:00 or if there was a little more mixed use, like night clubs or a movie theater on Market East (like on the 3rd floor of the gallery, currently a vast wasteland of retail square footage), but I think it is doing okay.
Her thoughts are the perfect segue, I think, for Steve Ives' essay on the Gallery and Market East. Steve has called Market East "69th Street East," and it ain't far off. But it ain't an all out bad thing. To see what he's all about, click HERE or just check the graphic below.

* * *

Heading into the autumnal equinox, we'll rattle 'em off rapid fire stylee with a first order big time congrats to MARK and JEN on their Saturday nuptials. To Jen and the Shippensburg freshman class of 1994, I offer no fuckin' cornflakes. To Mark, I offer gratitude for allowing me to stop off and refuel at Crimson Moon in summer 2000; by the time I finished that hot black coffee in the hot white sun, our feet were kicked up in Fitler Square and six plus years later now I'm still chillin' by the bear. Oh snap!
  1. BOOMSHAKALAKA: yo here come the chief rocka, PECO Energy burstin' into flames over by the Graham Building. Thousands of evacuated workers later, we were on CNN and MSNBC's ticker. Way to go, Philly -- we got explosions that got nothin' to do with terrorists! [Phillyblog.]

  2. YO SMERCONISH: Homie. All those rock stars you listened to in the 70s? Bleeding heart liberals whose music is more powerful than the people its listeners could ever elect. Don't worry, your people are in power. If Roger Waters -- who, by the way, owns a loft just blocks from the World Trade Center -- wants to rail against Gee Dubya, let him! You're none the wiser. He's a Brit and he was mad about 9/11 too. Dylan? Neil? Sabbath? Come on man, you're gonna have to look to Nugent for your musical, political ilk. [Daily News.]

  3. CHESTER CHARIOTS: DANGEROUSLY CHEESY! Yeaaah. So Chester, right? Chester's on the comeback. It HAS to be. Pennsylvania's oldest city seemed to hit rock bottom a couple years ago, and given its location location location, it seems only natural that people will become interested and invested in Chester again. Like . . . Harrah's, who recently opened their race track which features Ben-Hur style chariot races and which will most likely soon feature one of PA's six slots licenses. Like . . . the Chester Co-op, who is selling fresh food to a community devoid of a simple supermarket. Like . . . ChesterYes and FairDealChester, two non-profits established in the greater interests of the city's development, the latter serving as watchdog to the slots developments. Philly Skyline feels you out there, Chester. Luck be a lady tonight.

    • [Harrah's Chester.]
    • [chestercoop.com.]
    • [chesteryes.com.]
    • [fairdealchester.com.]

  4. LET'S GO PHILS: Ten games left, half game out. We can do this. MVP-to-be Ryan Howard and best supporting role Chase Utley lead the Phillies for the final four home games of the regular season starting tonight against the rival Marlins and ending Monday against the Astros. This is it, people; get out and support 'em. The playoffs are right there. [phillies.com.]

  5. COMING ATTRACTIONS: in the coming weeks, we are gonna re-up The Skinny. Then we're gonna finish our Bridgeman's View Tower section. Then we're gonna launch the Great Cheesesteak Debate. Then we're gonna consider (blog) software that makes it easier to categorize topics of discussion. And so forth.

  6. FALL IN PHILADELPHIA: Daryl Hall & John Oates, Temple's most successful musical duo export, once wrote about fall in Philadelphia. It wasn't a cheery tune, so Hall revisited his adopted home years later on "I'm in a Philly Mood." We know you are, Daryl. We also know that Johnboy wasn't all backing vocals -- dude had some pipes back when he rocked the stache, so it's tough to stomach that he took such a back seat in all the 80s success and excess. But "She's Gone"? The quintessential duo song. This live performance that'll yank us home is from Tokyo in the early 1990s.
We're peace out. See yous on the flips, skips.

–B Love




21 September 06:
THE CITY WITHIN THE CITY


click me
Look! Up on JFK! Is it an academic study? Is it a modernized version of the "plan for Center City" study that sits in the halls of 30th Street Station? Is it the lame duck big ticket in Mayor Street's legacy building exercise? Is it for real?

It's Philadelphia River City. An ambitious name for an ambitious project named after Mayor Street's initiative; a master plan that will take years and billions to be recognized. At this point in the game -- the arguable wrong end of the bubble with only a year left in Mayor Street's eight year reign -- it's a challenge to even wrap one's brain around a vision so large. But it's a vision Daroff Design has spent months formulating for World Acquisition Partners and Patriot Parking Corporation.

The conceptual master plan approximates 10-15 years and $3.5 billion for the construction of nearly 12 million square feet of space -- residential space, retail space, office space, hotel space, media space, parking space, public space, people moving space -- on the land that right now is either green and unused or gray and used by unmanned cars. The area along JFK Boulevard between 20th Street and the Schuylkill River, turning northward at the River across the Septa tracks and employing the two big parking lots along 23rd between JFK and Arch Street: this 10 and a half acre hockey stick may one day be home to Philadelphia River City.

It stands to reason that a massive project would come to Philly's other river. The Delaware Riverfront has one five-tower project (Waterfront Square) already partially complete, a handful of condo towers on hold (Marina View Tower, 700 North Delaware, World Trade Square), some that are still very seriously proposed (Bridgeman's View Tower, Trump Tower Philadelphia), a few more that exist in concept (Piers 49-50, Penn's Point), and four slots parlors of which only two may or may not ever see the light of day. All this along a river that, though historic, has for years been rusting away with the city's industrial endeavors.

The other river, though, is where Philadelphians play and relax and observe. And still, despite the Schuylkill serving as centerpiece to Fairmount Park, only in the last 3-5 years has the Schuylkill in Center City been anything more than a dumping ground or an illicit rendezvous. The Schuylkill River Development Corporation has done an excellent job seeing to fruition the completion of the first phase of its own ambitious master plan that will create parkland along the Schuylkill from the Fairmount Dam to the Delaware River: a river city. Development wise though, the Schuylkill has seen a single project, Edgewater, grace its banks. (With Edgewater, "grace" might even be the wrong word.) Mandeville Place is without question a beautiful proposal, but whether it makes it past the proposal stage remains to be seen.

As is true, of course, for Philadelphia River City. Ten towers is a lot to expect of any city outside of New York and Chicago at once, much less within a single project. Factor in the costs and risks involved in building over TWO separate railroad tracks (Septa's and CSX's) and it gets that much trickier. Factor in over 15,000 users (residents and visitors) a day. Factor in parking (much of which could be robotic). Factor in the challenges of Philadelphia bureaucracy and the abominable NIMBY. It's a big, big IF.

As of now, that bureaucracy is in motion. The developers and architects have already submitted the project, as one big master plan, as opposed to several little plans, to L&I for review. With so many assets -- retail where there is currently nothing, public access to the Schuylkill River Park where there is currently controversy with CSX, a muffler over CSX's noisy, stinky trains, two hotels in a city that is sorely underserved, an Olympic sized pool, a skating rink, a Jetsons-age people mover from River City across the river and to 30th Street Station, and a totally changed skyline -- one would think it could clear those hurdles.

Actuality is the biggest hurdle staring down Philadelphia River City right now. A 60 story office tower when Comcast Center just down the street is not even complete and at least five residential towers of over 50 stories . . . they seem a bit much. But fifteen years is a long time, and Penn's got the other side of the river already planned. University City is coming eastward, and in fifteen years time there might only be a river separating the contiguity of urban, central Philadelphia. No more seas of parking. No more wasteland. No more excuses. Just positive, embracive growth. We shall see.

For more images of Philadelphia River City, click the image above.

* * *

That's pretty big news for Philly Skyline to be breaking, so we'll keep the rest brief today.
  1. SYMPHONY HOUSE FOLLOW-UP: After the tragic death of construction worker Jeff Martin yesterday at Symphony House, Channel 6's Chad Pradelli reports for Action News that Martin worked for Fabi Construction, an Egg Harbor based company who has been cited by OSHA for safety violations at Symphony House, and for the collapse of the parking garage which killed four workers at Atlantic City's Tropicana expansion in 2003. [6abc.]

  2. MORE PHILA DUNKIN: Because 420 locations in the Delaware Valley is not enough, Dunkin Donuts announced that it will be adding 250 more locations to the region by 2010. That reminds me, I wonder if the people mover at Philadelphia River City will eternally have the donut smell 76 just below does. [PBJ.]

  3. STEVE AND THE GALLERY: TOMORROW. As promised, Philly Skyline contributor Steve Ives has taken on a different, and needed, look at the Gallery and Market East in general. His comments and photos go live here bright and early tomorrow.

  4. THE PHILS ARE TIED FOR THE WILD CARD! Go Buccos Go! Sweep those Dodgers and drain that Nomar Mojo! Woooo! Bring on the Fish! Let's go Phils! Woooooooooooo!

–B Love

20 September 06: 10 Ritt and a logo-slumpin' Umpdate


Before all else on this gorgeous Wednesday afternoon, we'd like to express our sympathy and condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of the young construction worker at the Symphony House who fell to his death today. Not many people realize how dangerous building skyscrapers is, and the risk that is involved on a day-to-day basis. Philly Skyline may goof on the Symphony House's design now and then, but we never question the integrity of its, or any building's for that matter, construction and craftsmanship. Godspeed, fella.

To the logos:
  1. 10 RITTENHOUSE HO! The 25 truckloads of steel promised last month never arrived, but there's a lot of steel nevertheless on site at 10 Rittenhouse Square. As seen in the base photo above, it's being used to shore up the façade of Frank Furness' Rittenhouse Club, which will eventually serve as the Rittenhouse Square entrance to the new condo tower. We all anxiously await actual construction on the building that will fill the hole at 18th & Sansom. [10rittenhouse.com.]

  2. COMCASTIC EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: Speaking of skyscrapers, the biggest of the biguns, Comcast Center, is highest on our list not only because of its impact on the Philly Skyline (noitch), but also because of its impact on the city. Yeah yeah, everyone has their opinions on the pricing and customer service of Comcast (believe us, it's not like we enjoy paying $120+ a month), but you cannot discredit the corporation's growth, continuing to this day and to the near future. When Comcast signed on as anchor tenant to what was once known as One Pennsylvania Plaza, it promised jobs. The PBJ brings us news today that, mostly because of the success of its triple-play promotion, Comcast is now expecting to hire 4,000 new employees this year alone. [PBJ.]

  3. PHILLIES, BLUNTLY: Ok look, if you've followed Philly Skyline at all this summer, you've inadvertently gotten drilled with lots of Phillies commentary. If you dig it, you know the Phils are a mere game out of the Wild Card race with 11 games left. If you don't dig it, then you're a baseball hating unamerican who oughta get off the internet and go read some Longfellow by the fireplace. The Phillies need a little help from our friends on the west coast, but the playoffs are yet again within our reach. If the Phils DO make the playoffs, Ryan Howard is a shoo-in for the MVP. If they don't, he should still get it, but it's understood that Albert Poo-holes will get it. The Phils are at home tonight through Monday, and after that your only chances of seeing them live in South Philly will be IF they make the playoffs or, well, in 2007. Go now. (Plus Roger Clemens is back on Monday, so go watch the Phils beat up on a Hall of Famer.)

    A quick aside about the Fightins: yesterday afternoon, Michael Bourn and Chris Roberson headed out to Parkside for the official dedication of the Negro League Mural at Belmont & Parkside, which the Phillies generously contributed to. [phillies.com.]

  4. SEE THERE'S THIS ALL NEW THING, RIGHT, CALLED MYSPACE: Q: Yo Philly Skyline, why don't you have a Myspace? A: I dunno, cos we already have a web site? Whether or not this answer is correct, we don't have a Myspace. Should we have one? Some say yes, others say no, we say we don't care. We do get a kick out of some Myspace pages, while we get totally annoyed when a Myspace page crashes our browser because of some stupid, glittery, rockem sockem templates one might find in Nydia Han's hard hitting consumer reports. Why are we all on Myspace right now, of all times? Well, it seems like everyone is, so why not?

    Some graffiti writin' kids up in Bensalem got bussssssted because they were braggin' bout their taggin'. Jeez, from watching the news you'd think you'd know that the cops read Myspace. And of course all the news reports about creeps hanging around Myspace looking for vulnerable young girls and boys.

    And then there's this week's Philadelphia Weekly cover story by Cassidy Hartman about the influence of Myspace and YouTube on aspiring local entertainers making music and film. Speaking of the latter, we'll yank on YouTube in just a few.

    But the thing that gets us most about it is how our photos are being used on Myspace. A few of the photos being used are those from our wallpaper selections which have the Philly Skyline watermark on them, but others (like the "North Philly, where shit happens" picture, seemingly popular with Temple students) just suck up our bandwidth. Whatev, we ain't mad at cha. Unless you're up to no good, to which we say: we know what you're up to, whippersnappers! Some of our favorite selections . . .

    • Red Hot Chili Peppers fan djdrewdj
    • Nydia Han fan ca5p3r81
    • Iron Man danbrown23
    • Bikini clad oookristine
    • You're beautiful phillyinjax

    A couple users have their profiles set to private so we can't even see what the hell is up . . .

    • "Earth to Kelly" gooutside
    • "Triangle and two" coachash5

    And finally our favorite, making use of our photo on a page full o' bouncin' titties (is that even allowed on Myspace?) . . .

    • Representin' Boogie Down Boothwyn DELCO, cmacsw

Be advised that we are responsible for neither the trouble you get in for looking at a page full o' bouncin' titties at work, nor for the shame we bring upon ourselves for talking about bouncin' titties on a site devoted to Philadelphia goings on. Oh, we are? Eh, our bad. Like you don't want to look anyway.

To yank it on home, we're looking to our favorite Scientologist Beck Hansen who, in support of his new album The Information coming out next month, is touring the country with a forthcoming stop at Upper Darby's Tower Theatre. The tickets go on sale tomorrow morning, so make sure you're already logged into your Ticketbastard account if you want good seats at 10am.

–B Love





19 September 06: East of the western river, on the west end of South


. . . resides the latest mural by David Guinn for the Mural Arts Program. The 27th & South intersection is slowly but surely shedding its ugly clusterfuck for something a little nicer. The row of homes on Schuylkill Avenue at the foot of South Street Bridge sandblasted its white-and-black colonial look in favor of a more colorful row. Southbridge's vinyl ad on the unused warehouse abutting the Bridge looks better than the broken windows behind it, and work continues on the Soutbridge project itself. (You might have noticed all the windows are now gone, unveiling the massive interior support columns.) And now, coming east off of the Bridge, we're treated to this improvement over the previously blank wall.

David Guinn is the artist responsible for the 'seasons' murals (autumn and winter on Bainbridge at 9th & 10th, spring at 13th & Pine, summer at 3rd & Queen), as well as a number of other murals that include the skyline mural at the Airport and the one with all the dogs at Morris Animal Refuge (13th & Lombard). This new South Street mural is G-Ho in technicolor: the Naval Home, the rowhome, the kid from the Pocket checking you out, and a look back toward the Schuylkill River with an image of the Schuylkill River. Dig it.

Check out more of David's work HERE. Thanks to Steve for the info. A Philly Skyline exclusive, the state of the South Street Bridge, will debut in the next month or so.

* * *

As advertised all last week, the Capitol Years rocked it out upstairs at Johnny Brenda's on Saturday night. Click that thing there for photos of the show, and do the band and your city a favor by purchasing the new album Dance Away The Terror, won't you? Until you can make it to the record shop, you can listen to it FREE on this week's Philebrity Player.

* * *

We might be back a little later today, and if not we'll hump it up with tomorrow's umpdate. Till then, sorry about Jevon Kearse, go Phils, stay tuned for Steve's Gallery show and other big Philly Skyline events, and go check the updated Comcast Center and Murano sections.

–B Love


15 September 06: Dance away the terror

... as the Capitol Years dance their way to the end of Johnny Brenda's Week on Philly Skyline. From Monday's photo essay preview to Wednesday's Micah Night premiere, to tonight's Mazarin gig, to tomorrow night's dramatic conclusion, Johnny Brenda's Week has been full of fun, falafel and Philly Pale Ale at Frankford & Girard. We don't mind the el ride to JB's, but the $15 cab ride from Fishtown to G-Ho sacks the wallet a little.

But that's the kind of effort we're putting in to support the new stage upstairs at Johnny B's, and you should too, because two of Philly's greatest bands are taking the stage this weekend. Mazarin decries the new American Apathy around 9ish tonight, and tomorrow night, Los Años de Capitolio take the spotlight at 10. The new album, Dance Away The Terror, is available now. If you're too cheap to head to Johnny Brenda's, you can catch them for free on the Parkway on 9/30 for College Day.

•[myspace.com/mazarinband]
•[capitolyears.com]

Heading into the weekend then, a few thoughts on . . .
  1. MICROSOFT HIGH STUDENT SUPPLIES: In a public service announcement to muggers and stickup kids across West Philly, NBC 10 has described who to look for, what they carry, and the response they'll get when said muggers and stickup kids attack them. And all during our Parkside Lovefest. Gee, thanks a lot NBC 10. That Microsoft High has coached these kids on what to do in a dangerous situation is commendable; that NBC 10 would make it news, thereby saying "hey look, free laptops from kids who won't fight back!" is just . . . disgusting. [NBC 10]

  2. THE SMOKING BAN: Mayor Street signed the smoking ban after all. But uh, it barely bans smoking. The mayor's biggest concern is for people sitting INside of a cafe with outdoor seating, when outdoor patrons are smoking cigars and the smoke wafts inside, choking you as you try to eat your panini. THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME! Our stance on this has always been that we don't have a stance. We would love to come home from the bar and NOT smell like a three day old ashtray, but we also don't want to tell people in a BAR to not smoke around us. Restaurants? Understood. Outdoor cafes? Ehhh, could go either way. Bars? C'mon. Whoever shot a game of pool on a table that didn't have the haze of smoke above it? [Inquirer] [KYW1060 (mp3)]

  3. KEITH PRIMEAU'S RETIREMENT: (B Love speaking on this one) Despite my lifelong Pittsburgh Penguin affiliation (don't gimme too much guff, I love the Phillies and like the Eagles and Sixers), I can't help but like Keith Primeau. How can you not like a guy who drops his gloves to fight his brother during a game? Like any fan of hockey, my most vivid memory of the captain is his fifth overtime wrist shot against the Penguins in Game 4 of the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. My buddy Curt and I had front row seats at the Igloo for that. His team won, my team had its heart torn from it and lost its momentum in the series, even though Ron Tugnutt totalled a ridiculous 70 saves. We sat through every faceoff for the third longest game in NHL history and still drove back to Shippensburg, watching the sun rise over the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Have a nice life, Primeau. [philadelphiaflyers.com]

  4. TOLL BROS' CITY LIVING: Though we've (generally speaking) always taken umbrage with the look, feel and overall symbol of the sprawling McMansion that Toll Bros helped make popular, we've been impressed with their work in our neck of the woods. The people living in Naval Square seem to genuinely enjoy their digs and lifestyle, and in preparation of the forthcoming 2400 South Street project, Paul Committo and his team has done a great job of listening to community concerns, particularly in adding a setback to its upper floors, and keeping the area clean in the interim. While the 24th and Bainbridge Street sidewalks aren't the most inviting (I mean there's a massive, empty parking garage hulking over you), they've had a crew cleaning up litter and removing tags off the property. We're looking forward to seeing this project make G-Ho's South Street that much better. [navalsquare.com]

  5. WHY THE GALLERY IS IMPORTANT: Philly Skyline's Assistant VP of Operations, West Philly's Steve Ives, is on the beat. After Center City District's report on Market East (PDF), a study they did with Cope Linder Architects, a lot of people are talkin' Gallery blues. Is the Gallery ugly? Yes. Is it an abomination to the appearance of Market Street? Most definitely. Should we tear it down and start over, as a lot of people seem to want to do? No way, Jose. The CCD report doesn't suggest as much; just that it needs a facelift to make it more inviting. What isn't being said explicitly (except by Philebrity) (or necessarily implied by CCD) is that, at the bottom of this lies race. Steve has often called Market East "69th Street East" because of its penchant for Nail Salons and Funk-O-Mart and what not. But these stores are active and do have a place, just as the City Blue and Modell's and NET inside the Gallery would indicate. It's not like the Gallery is never bumpin' or is dilapidated. It's a popular, active space. It's just that a majority of its patrons are of a darker shade than most of the conventioneers and tourists roaming the Hard Rock upstairs. Philly Skyline agrees with Paul Levy and CCD that, collectively, we can do a better job of making the City Hall to Liberty Bell corridor . . . I dunno, less ugly (think concrete parking garages, surface lots and unused buildings), but it doesn't have to be at the expense of the demographic which keeps it lively now. And for anyone to suggest Center City is devoid of good shopping options is to admit idiocy, considering what Walnut Street and South Street and even Chestnut Street have going on. Who cares about King of Prussia and Cherry Hill? (I mean besides Nordstrom's, Apple and Crate & Barrel.) Steve reports back next week with commentary and photos. [The Gallery]

  6. SOMETHING THAT'S BIG, REAL BIG: Next week, we'll also be reviewing a really, really big thing that ain't on the public's tongue as yet. Like, so big you won't believe it. We kinda don't. Stay tuned.

  7. THE GHOST OF TONY GWYNN: In the interim, keep rootin' on them Fightins, and for god's sake, could the Padres lose already??? How does that scrub ass team of San Diego washups continue to lead the NL Wild Card race? They're locked for four with the division leading Dodgers as the Phils head into traditionally unfriendly Houston. Tony Gwynn can get bent, and Mike Scott can go with him.

–B Love

13 September 06: Ambitionz as a Micah


Wednesday September 13 2006, Happy Hump Day Umpdate go!
  1. YO CENTER CITY: The residential report put together by the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation and Center City District (Ed. note: which we accidentally dropped the ball on on Monday -- MY BAD) is now publicly available as a pdf HERE. For everyone asking "who's buying all these new residential units?" Well . . . CCD has provided the best answer you're going to get.

    The survey was sent in May to Center City residents (over 2,000 of which participated) and completed over the summer. Some interesting notes include:
    • 40% (of participants) are 25-34
    • 49.6% are single
    • 27% make under $50k; 25% make $100-200k
    • convenience to shopping, dining & entertainment was most important
    • the 10 year tax abatement was least important (of the 16 available criteria)
    • access to transit was more important than access to highways
    • 63% work in Center City
    • for those buying homes, the $150-300k range (40%) was most common
    • for those renting, $501-1000/mo was most common
    ... and so forth. It's a great read. CCD and Paul Levy continue to be great assets to the city.

  2. MICAH NIGHT AT JOHNNY BRENDA'S WORLD PREMIERE: Tonight's the night Fishtown's starting point goes next level. A benefit for JB's favorite son, Micah Danges, opens the brand spankin' new upstairs venue at Johnny B's. Show Micah some love, show JB's some love, show Fishtown some love. The War on Drugs headline the show that also includes Meg Baird, Bardo Pond and Jack Rose; $10 at the door.

  3. TUPAC SHAKUR, 10 YEARS LATER: While this has nothing to do with Philly, I think it's interesting that it's been ten years to the day since Tupac was killed, lifting him to hip hop martyr status. I was our university radio station's hip hop director in spring 1996 and, after pulling the plastic off the 12 inch and putting "Hit 'em Up" on the turntable, thinking that Tupac was going to die. (This was about as fierce a prediction as thinking Layne Staley would OD on heroin or Steve Irwin would be killed by a wild animal.) Still, when it happened in Las Vegas, a hip hop fan couldn't help but be saddened by the news. Harsh reality? Life imitating art? Whatever the case, Tupac had a voice that went Jekyll and Hyde good and evil. He had far more introspect and vision than 90% of modern commercial rappers, but he had all the misogyny and irrational violence of them as well. Notorious BIG's death six months later brought a weird sort of closure to the east coast-west coast beef, and no feud since it has ended so tragically. Whatever your thoughts on Tupac, it's hard to dispute his legend status. We'll yank it on home with one of my favorites, from 1992.

–B Love





13 September 06: The 15 Trolley Shuffle



Heynow, this here's gonna be real short and sweet, and we'll get back to spoutin' off just as soon as we have a chance.

  1. IT'S PARK THE VAN DAY: Philly's favorite New Orleans transplant record label drops two releases from Philly's favorite bands TODAY, Dr Dog's 'Takers and Leavers' and the Capitol Years' 'Dance Away The Terror,' which they will be playing songs from TODAY, 6pm at AKA Music (2nd St between Market and Arch). Support local music, buy these records. [parkthevan.com]

  2. JOHNNY BRENDA'S: Tomorrow night's the night Johnny Brenda's kicks out the jams upstairs. Peep some preview pictures by clicking below. [johnnybrendas.com]

  3. WEST PHILLY: PARKSIDE. This tough but attractive neighborhood is the latest neighborhood feature on Philly Skyline. Check it below.

  4. POOR PAT: Is this an excuse to run that picture of Pat the Bat above? Probably. But, the Daily News' Marcus Hayes has a well written piece about the apathy plaguing our underachieving, overpaid leftfielder. C'mon Pat. You hear 40,000 boos every time you pick up a bat, but mine ain't one of 'em. I don't wanna hate the guy -- in fact I'm proud of 'im that he lives in Center City -- but he just doesn't care. He said no to Mike Schmidt's offer of help, he doesn't heed Uncle Chuck, and he just keeps striking out. Damn. Get it together, big fella. [philly.com]

  5. HOLLA BACK: It'll happen, promise! Philly Skyline appreciates your comments, and will get back to you as soon as humanly possible, so if you'd like to send a lil some-some our way, git-r-dun right over HERE and we'll get back atcha asap.
–B Love



11 September 06: On the World Trade Center



Saturday, April 4, 1998 was a night of firsts for me. I'd gone to New York with some friends for the weekend, and after cruising the beaches in Long Island for the day, we headed into the Manhattan evening looking for something to do. Coming from Brooklyn, the twin towers of the World Trade Center seemed like a good enough destination for some broke-ass college kids with nowhere to be. We didn't want to fork out the dough to just go to some observation deck, so we decided instead to spend the money on happy hour while still enjoying the view. At Windows on the World's 107th floor bar, I had the best vodka tonic I ever tasted.

We didn't have any Thai restaurants in my hometown or college town, so when I saw one after leaving the World Trade Center, I insisted we eat there. I had a calamari soup that had a heavenly taste but the consistency of rubber bands. From dinner, we headed to the legendary (and now closed) hippie bar the Wetlands Preserve, where I saw Yuengling Lager on tap, the first I'd seen it outside a college environment and indeed Pennsylvania. We stayed at the Wetlands until about 3, when we realized we had a long drive back to Shippensburg ahead of us, since we could only afford the previous night's hotel room.

As we exited the Holland Tunnel and ascended up onto I-78 (the Tunnel-Turnpike connector) in Jersey City, I had trouble keeping my eyes on the road because of the distracting presence of the twin towers to my left. It was so easy to pick out the lights of the bar we'd been at just hours before. Knowing it was still a good three and a half hours to go, I got my first ever cup of coffee -- black, from a Sunoco at 4am -- and I was still wired when the sun came up as we pulled into Ship.

In January 2001, now in Philly, I was still squatting on my friend's couch in Germantown, and I decided it was fair to leave a weekend without me to her and especially her roommates by heading to New York to hang with friends. Remembering the taste and the view, I recommended sunset with vodka tonics at Windows on the World. They were even better the second time. As were the bathrooms; I have to say, the toilets at WOTW were likely the most exquisite I ever saw.

On August 17, 2001, Radiohead played Liberty State Park along the Hudson River in Jersey City. The orientation of the field and stage allowed for a panorama of the Statue of Liberty, the concert stage for The Greatest Band In The World, and the sunset's reflection on the Manhattan skyline, most commanding of which was the World Trade Center. I took the base picture above after the show. (Pardon the low-res quality; my scanner was crappy, but the print looks nice.) Three weeks later, the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Everybody's got a story from that morning. Everyone knows exactly where they were, and everyone remembers concisely the ball of fear, confusion, anger and sadness they felt. Jeroen Morriën, a visitor to New York from the Netherlands on the morning of September 11, 2001, certainly does. He had gone to the World Trade Center early to be on the first trip to the observation deck at 9:30. Obviously that never happened, but he still managed to capture his experience on film, and it is intense. It is HERE.

So here we are on the fifth anniversary of the worst ever attack on America. Osama bin Laden is still not caught. Al-qaeda is more motivated than ever. The Taliban is back. The war in Iraq, unrelated to 9/11, shifted the public's -- and much of the military's -- attention away from Afghanistan, and it shifted the world's trust of America with it. Nearly as many American soldiers have died in Iraq as people died in the 9/11 attacks, and the civil war we're not allowed to call a civil war rages. The American voting public elected George W Bush to a second term, thanks in part due to Rudy Giuliani's endorsement at the Republican National Convention, conveniently held in New York, where the World Trade Center site still sat empty.

Nearly immediately after 9/11, talk of rebuilding began. Several world famous architects volunteered their designs for a bigger, better WTC while remembering the dead. Others (such as Donald Trump) called for the rebuilding of the twin towers. Personally, I'd love nothing more than to see the twin towers rebuilt, rotated 90° to allow the footprints of the original towers remain as a memorial, while restoring the familiar New York skyline.

Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the twin towers, said:
"I feel this way about it. World trade means world peace and consequently the World Trade Center buildings in New York . . . had a bigger purpose than just to provide room for tenants. The World Trade Center is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace . . . beyond the compelling need to make this a monument to world peace, the World Trade Center should, because of its importance, become a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness."
He died fifteen years before he could witness the exact opposite destroy his creation. People always say "never forget 9/11." Who the fuck that lived through that would ever forget? I don't mean just New Yorkers, or just people who visited the WTC, but Americans, or at risk of admitting my world vision is seen through red white & blue goggles, even the entire world. Nobody is ever going to forget. And though the Pentagon was hit, and though a courageous band of passengers helped thwart another attack (such that Hollywood made a movie about it even before Nicolas Cage and Oliver Stone could team up for the supermega blockbuster 'World Trade Center'), the lasting image that will accompany that memory no one will ever forget will be of a burning twin towers. The World Trade Center, standing, burning and collapsing, the symbol of war, the exact opposite of the vision of its architect.

So now, in time for the five year anniversary, the world's most famous hole in the ground apparently has a new green light. Silverstein Properties last week unveiled the designs for 2, 3 and 4 World Trade Center, by Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Fumihiko Maki respectively, which will attempt to complement David Child's cheesily named Freedom Tower, which rises cheesily to 1,776'. All of these will join the already finished 7 World Trade Center to form what might possibly be the world's most sterile, boring campus of glass. Childs has been accused of recycling one of Bob Stern's discarded Comcast Center designs. Foster's 2 WTC isn't bad on its own, but there's something familiar about it. Rogers' 3 WTC is also not hideous on its own, but it's pretty reminiscent of the currently-under-construction New York Times Tower. Maki's 4 WTC, though . . . it's just awful. The best things about the project are the realization of Santiago Calatrava's PATH station and Michael Arad's memorial and reflecting pool to the victims and the original WTC.

I wish I could say I liked the planned WTC redo. But I don't. Is it sentimentality? Familiarity? A subjectivity swing? Maybe it's all of these things. And, maybe in 2018 when I stand in the center of the memorial looking skyward, remembering my first visit from twenty years prior, I'll enjoy the view. Until I'm able to make that judgment first hand, I'll hold on to my memories of the twin towers and the vodka tonic sunset views.

There is a fantastic (and long) story in today's New York Times by Deborah Sontag detailing the personalities involved, helping to illustrate why five years later we're still talking about that hole in the ground. The story is HERE. And, it must be said, the architectural renderings of the new towers are all excellent. Whether you like the design or not, it's worth the time to check them out at WTC.com.

***

It's Monday September 11, 2006 in Philadelphia, too. Let's roll out a 9/11 Monday Morning Looking Up then.
  1. PARKSIDE 4-2: The 42nd Street Bridge, which connects the Mantua and Parkside neighborhoods across the Amtrak/Septa railroad corridor, is being dedicated today at 2pm, with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and her stepson State Representative Thomas Blackwell, likely to be in attendance. In addition to looking nice, it should finally help relieve some of the burden placed on 40th Street and Belmont Avenue in its absence. 41st Street is still closed to vehicular traffic, though.

  2. PARKSIDE SEGUE: Oh yeah, Parkside. A half-amazing, half-roughshod neighborhood in West Philly, home to the new Microsoft High School and Schoolly D. I spent the better part of Friday and Saturday exploring the neighborhood and talking to locals including Mr. James Brown of the Parkside Historical Preservation Corporation, for the latest installment of neighborhood photo essays. It is HERE. Or you can click the graphic below, the one just next to . . .

  3. JOHNNY BRENDA'S: If you've never been to Johnny Brenda's, then this week could not provide you a better reason if it fell in your lap. The best bar in Fishtown has already made arguments as the best bar in the city, and now it's opening the doors to its attic. The fine folks at Johnny B's gave me the almost-ready tour of the place on Friday, pictures of which can be seen HERE. Debuting on Wednesday with a benefit for Micah Danges headlined by The War On Drugs, Upstairs at Johnny Brenda's will more than double the size of the pub named for the Philly boxer who originally opened the place, and will feature live bands that would otherwise play the Khyber or North Star. If the premier week is any indication, it's going to smash. The Micah-War On Drugs throwdown, a Beatles-n-Stones party, Mazarin, and finally on Saturday . . .

  4. THE CAPITOL YEARS: Just like Johnny Brenda's, TCY is having its best week ever. Their new album, Dance Away the Terror, is released on Tuesday, when they will play a coinciding in-store gig at AKA Music. [We'll have a full-on review of the album up for the release this week.] Don'tcha know, that in-store jawn also features the recording of a video for "Mirage People," their Philebrity anthem-turned-first-single. Then on Saturday, they're headlining upstairs at Johnny Brenda's first Saturday night with the Dance Away the Terror release party.

    capitolyears.com
    johnnybrendas.com
    myspace.com/akamusic
    phillyskyline.com: upstairs at johnny b's

  5. RYAN HOWARD: AWESOME. MIKE SCHMIDT: AWESOME. RyHo RyHo rah rah rah. The dude kills, he does it legit, and he's a nice guy to boot. His dinger count's at 56, and since he's in Florida, Floridian transplant and former Phillies homerun record holder Michael Jack Schmidt (who also makes an appearance upstairs at Johnny Brenda's) thinks that's just dandy. MLB.com ran a nice little fluff piece by Ken Mandel about Schmidt's admiration of Howard, but Schmidtty seemed a little more candid with Comcast SportsNet. Here's hoping RyHo's season can continue along as Schmidt's did in his MVP 1980 season: with clutch hits, with a playoff berth, and with an MVP trophy.

    But the real reason Schmitty is awesome today is his use of the word "ass" in Harry Kalas' presence on live tv. When Dontrelle Willis (who tossed a three hit shutout, dropping the Phils into a tie with the Marlins for 2nd in the NL wild card race) hit Shane Victorino with an 0-2 fastball, Victorino seemed to take offense, motioning and perhaps saying something to Willis. Kalas and Larry Andersen were commenting that it was unintentional, and Schmidt chimed in "there's no need for theatrics; you get hit by a pitch, you take it, you get your ass down to first base." To which, natch, LA and Harry had a good laugh. Mike Schmidt: Awesome. Losing to a team you're battling for the playoffs: not awesome.

  6. DONTE''S APOSTROPHE OR DONTÉ'S ACCENT? Yo, that was a solid win by the Eagles there. McNabb, Westbook, Trotter, Buckhalter, Stallworth . . . all played well. But I just have to know: is it an apostrophe or an accent? Donte' Stallworth (as it appears on telecasts) or Donté Stallworth (as it appears on philadelphiaeagles.com)? There needs to be a consensus. (Similarly, it drives me nuts that Dwyane Wade is spelled Dwyane Wade and not Dwayne Wade.) The é would make better sense, but given the lack of grammatical accuracy by the general population, an apostrophe is entirely possible. Honest, I mean no disrespect to Donte''s mama, but apostrophe abuse is a real problem. It's best to just forget the apostrophe altogether if you're unsure, is it not?

  7. OOPS: NEVER MIND. (My total bad.)

Sorry about the heavy load this Monday. It's 9/11 . . . roll with it. And then dance away the terror with the Capitol Years, who've just been yanked on YouTube, circa Carson Daly Show era.

–B Love





7 September 06: Yo



Boy I'll tell you what. I wonder if that J Mascis fellow ever had to bust tail at a day job to support rockin' out at night. (He might now that he and his bandmates' equipment was stolen in New York.) That's how we're feeling over here. Oh hey, that reminds us: speaking of the bands and the rockin' out at night, Philly's greatest rockers this side of the Dead Milkmen, The Capitol Years, have a new album coming out next week. And they're celebrating its release at the venue so new it's still not even open. Upstairs at Johnny Brenda's opens in Fishtown next Wednesday for a benefit for my homeboy Micah Danges. The Capitol Years are there on Saturday, 9/16, supporting Dance Away the Terror.

Elsewhere on the radar is . . . well, a lot.

  1. HANGIN' WITH SEXY MODELS: Our Comcast Center section just got a little spicier, thanks to Liberty Property Trust. Photos of the official Comcast Center models help to illustrate what the finished product will look like. They are found HERE.

  2. ROCKY WINS, ONLY ART COMMUNITY CARES: Prop! Art! Prop! Art! And so forth. The official dedication is tomorrow. Me? I don't care too much. It's in an unobtrusive location, and despite how sophisticated embarrassed the PMA may be, it is an icon of Philly. Keep it at the Spectrum? Ehh . . . it's kinda funny that there is a memorial to a statue there now, it's true, but I say leave it at the Art Museum, where the bottom of the steps is a perfect compromise. (They could even remove the plaque with Rocky's footprints from the top.) [Inquirer.]

  3. BUBBLES CLEAN UP LOVE PARK; BACON WOULD APPROVE: Best. Vandalism. EVER. Please, whoever added the soap to the Love Park fountain, keep doing stuff like this. Speaking of Love Park, a PA State Historical Marker will be dedicated to the memory of legendary city planner Ed Bacon at the northwest corner of the park he conceived while still in college. The ceremony is next Wednesday, 9/13 at 2pm.

  4. NUTTER DISLIKES INDEPENDENCE FENCE TOO: Former City Councilman Michael Nutter has joined the voices of dissent for the park splitting Independence Square. "We cannot be free if we restrict our citizens from their most important symbols of freedom," Nutter commented (via his official press release). [nutterformayor.com.]

  5. HOWARD IS A HERO: And now the whole world knows it, since now errbuddy's askin' bout the roids and all. I don't buy it; I just buy tickets to watch RyHo crush, and crush he does. All together now: MVP! MVP! MVP! That reminds me . . .

  6. FIRE CHARLIE MANUEL: What can we say? It's our mantra. His bullpen decisions? Lord have mercy. Rhodes, Fultz, Madson . . . in high pressure situations . . . come on, Chuck. That pinch-hit-Thurston-to-bunt-for-Pat-Burrell in the bottom of the ninth thing is just unacceptable. If the Phils do not make the playoffs (and going into a road trip that includes consecutive stops in Florida, Atlanta and Houston, there is no guarantee), Chuck has got to be canned the minute the season is over.

  7. AC SANDS TO MEET VEGAS SANDS FATE: Like the Rat Pack's former stomping grounds before it (when Vegas had an underbelly that made it interesting), so goes the Sands resort in Atlantic City. Pinnacle -- the same Pinnacle with the Beast of South Philly plan -- will shut down the Sands in November and demolish it afterward, making way for a new billion-ish dollar resort of its own. Could this be because Pinnacle has an inkling that it won't be rewarded one of Philly's two slots licenses, which is to happen, oh, any day now? It would seem interesting that they would spend so much capital on not only a property in AC, but an existing one which must be demolished to make way for a new one, when they already have one of the biggest ones planned sixty miles west. Don'tcha think? Philly Skyline swami sez: Pinnacle is outta here. (And into AC instead!) [PressofAC.com.]

  8. SIX OF SANTORUM, HALF A DOZEN OF CASEY: Seriously. What a couple of clowns. No more than two hours after Meet the Press, each one's camp proclaimed victory to its mailing list base. Talking strictly debate, Santorum blew Casey away. Casey, whose agenda is a big fat questionmark and whose primary tactic is smearing Santorum (does that joke ever get old?), came off as utterly pathetic on Meet the Press, and it seems likely that he won't debate Santorum head to head again. Casey is so wrong a candidate that, unless he does something completely new and different between now and November, I doubt I'll even be able to vote for him as lesser of two evils (a la Kerry over Bush). Santorum, for all the wrong stances on all the wrong policies he has, should at least get credit as being straight forward and consistent. Who are the libertarian and green candidates again? Mickey Mouse? I'm writing myself in.

  9. YO WAWA: "Jeet yet?" Um . . . jeet yet is a colloquialism of Pennsyltucky, Pittsburghese if you will. "Gottahava Wawa" will suffice, ok? Given your track record, I don't gottahava Wawa, but for the integrity of the Great Cheesesteak Debate (whose progress is quite good, it should be said -- expect an October or November launch), we just might bring ourselves to it.

  10. YO NFL: welcome back, just don't get in the way of the RyHo Show just yet. Fear not devoted Philly Skyline readers, we shan't be devoting nearly the attention to football (or especially basketball and hockey) as we do our beloved Fightins, but this is indeed an announcement that the defending World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers kickoff the NFL season tonight. Ben Roethlisberger and his busted face and busted appendix will watch from the sidelines.

'preshiate all the feedback and patience while we tidy up around here.

–B Love


6 September 06: Why, right o'er here


We know, we know. It's not a matter of slacking; quite the contrary. We've been like Cathy over here, good little cubicle soldiers (only without the cubicles and sense of fabulousness/appetite for chocolate ice cream). Oh, and Dinosaur Jr o'er there? Not the biggest fan, but you have to sympathize with any band who has all their gear stolen right out of their van.

Like, for example, Philadelphia's leading purveyors of killer rocknroll, the Capitol Years. (Happened during their last UK tour.) TCY's new album Dance Away The Terror comes out next week, in time for both 9/11 five year reunion/anniversary hoopla and indeed for the opening of Upstairs at Johnny Brenda's. Keep it tuned right here for more on all three (the record, the reunion and the rock hall), target date Monday 9/11.
Some other things on the immediate horizon include a study of the Comcast Center model, which puts the entire complex into human perspective, and the next installment of neighborhood tours, historic Parkside in West Philly.

Finally, we hope to have a combo Monday Morning / Hump Day Umpdate ready for a Thursday Thought Bank (or make whatever cheesy title you like) later this afternoon. Lots has happened since we last spoke, so we've got some rapid fire catchin' up to do, nahmean? Keep it locked!

–B Love


4 September 06: In the evening of our independence



As you might surmise, it was a long, long Labor Day weekend at camp Philly Skyline. Lots of Ryan Howard homeruns, an opportune slump breaker by Chase Utley, lots of disdain for Charlie Manuel, lots of disdain for Ernesto (is he back???), some nighttime photography, some photos of models, some neighborhood location scouting, and lots of pint raising from G-Ho to Fishtown back down to Sow Filet.

A special thanks to everyone who made their concerns heard to Independence National Historical Park and the National Park Service. Not to start any rumors or anything, but we're of the mind that the Park Service's fence is not a definite thing.

Give us a few to get back on track, and let's go Yankin' on YouTube to set the mood of the week. Speakin' of G-Ho & Fishtown, and speakin' of the Phillies and their apparent target demographic (stupid men who buy cars and who need bank loans), this dandy gem couldn't have its tongue further in its cheek, tailor made for the 25-34 demographic but sold to Chevrolet, who uses the line "you've got a great car" in its ad but leaves off the next line "yeah what's wrong with it today?" Anyhow. Take it or leave it. [Parental/Boss Advisory, may contain nudity and/or adult situations.]

–B Love



31 August 06: Access: bold as love



This is it, folks. Speak now or forever hold your peace. Tomorrow is the deadline to tell the National Park Service what you think of their proposal to put up a seven foot fence around the back side of Independence Hall, splitting Independence Square in half and reserving that half of what was intended to be forever a public place for a privileged few. What can you do? Well . . .
NPS COMMENT FORM. The best way is to use the COMMENT FORM specifically set up for the fence debate. These comments will be collected, read, and made available to the public via request -- Philly Skyline will follow up on it when this happens. Again, it's THIS COMMENT FORM.

EMAIL THE PARK SERVICE. Independence National Historical Park superintendent Dennis Reidenbach's office may be reached directly via his assistant, Claire Rozdilski. Her email address is claire_rozdilski AT nps.gov.

FAX THE PARK SERVICE. If you're honoring the integrity of the founding fathers by writing in oak ink with a feather pen, you can fax your calligraphic results to the superintendent's office at 215.597.1003.

COSIGN WITH THE CULTURAL ALLIANCE. Not much of a writer? Not much of a problem. The Philadelphia Cultural Alliance hates the fence as much as you do, and has written a letter which you can cosign, and which will be delivered to the superintendent's office. You just need to add your name and location. The form is HERE.
That graphic above? Click it. The Independence Experience chronicles last Friday, 25th August, as I paid Independence Hall my first visit in several years. Things . . . are not quite the same. Click that graphic, or just CLICK ME.

–B Love






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