18 June 08: "Sbarro this is not," or,
the market down below

OK, I guess this means Comcast Center is complete now. Of course if we wait till the Arch Street Presbyterian Church's entrance is finished in July, only then it will be finished . . . we can have multiple endings, a collectors edition DVD of Comcast Center!

The above photo was the scene at the Marketplace at 20 past noon today, nearly all shops in heavy lunchtime action. I had a slice of sirloin, portobello and caramelized red onion pizza from La Scala, while the missus had a crab cake and a scallop cake(!) from Under the C. (Get it?)

Brothers DiBruno and Termini were bumpin', and Tokyo Sushi had a line practically into the lobby. My own first impression was that, for everything included in the physical space beneath the plaza, it felt small. That could have had more to do with the amount of curious patrons than with a single area shared between sixteen retailers.

Some actual quotes from the court:
"It's mad nice, but they will have to work on congestion and circulation issues in the dining area; maybe lord some tables."
— A Philly Skyline contributor

(Ed. note: This quote was from Monday, the first day the Marketplace was open. I actually did not see any circulation issues today at the height of the lunch rush.)

"At least at Liberty Place, you're not underground. Down here, I feel a little trapped."
— A businesswoman in line at Sookhee's Produce.

"This is upscale, baby. Sbarro's this is not."
— An investor looking fellow in line behind me at La Scala.

"This place is so nice, I feel like it's not in Philadelphia . . . I love those moments!"
— A fashion designer.
Susanna Foo is opening another location, this one called her Dumpling Kitchen, to be open this summer. Bucks County Coffee, Govberg Jewelers and L'uomo clothier are among the other tenants in the new Marketplace.

I also noticed that the new headhouse closest to 18th & JFK is also open, so if you really wanted to, you could go underground at 18th & JFK, keep walking and not come back above ground until 12th & Locust or 7th & Market, depending on your directional fancy.

–B Love