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Philly named one of the world's most romantic destinations

In a list of the world's most romantic cities, Philadelphia comes in at No. 9.

While you may already be considering known romantic destinations like Paris or New Orleans for your next trip, the truth is there’s a lot of beauty out there just waiting to be untapped. Those places will always be there, but enjoy these below spots before they get on everyone else’s radar as well...
 
Amazing food in beautiful, historic locations makes this city perfect for a romantic weekend getaway and a few special meals, says Perrie Hartz, Associate Editor at Fodor’s Travel. Areas like Rittenhouse Square and Old City have a quaint feel to them, and during the summer, festivals along the waterfront and at the Ben Franklin Parkway make for beautiful nights out under the stars.

Original source: Bustle 
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Newly discovered Cezanne sketches to be displayed at the Barnes

Recently discovered sketches by a master will be displayed at the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway. 

A pair of previously unknown sketches by Paul Cezanne will be displayed in Philadelphia following their recent discovery on the backs of two watercolors.

They'll be on view at the Barnes Foundation in double-sided frames, with both sides visible, from Friday through May 18. One sketch is in graphite, the other in watercolor.

The art institution says the images were uncovered during conservation work on two Cezanne paintings depicting the landscape of southern France.

Officials say the sketches haven't been seen since at least the early 20th century.


Original source: The New York Times
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The Sixers woes are a story unto themselves; a reporter hits the road with the team

The Sixers' terribleness is almost a thing of beauty. A New York Times reporter hit the road with the floundering squad.

There has never been a professional sports team quite like the 2014-15 Philadelphia 76ers, a roster of basketball castoffs and drifters that could be the least capable assemblage of players ever to suit up for an N.B.A. game. The franchise — widely believed by those who follow pro basketball to be deliberately in “tank mode,” in order to lose games and get a top pick in this summer’s N.B.A. draft — has offended sensibilities, provoked curiosity, inspired bizarre mathematical theorems...

A Philadelphian, by birth and temperament, I followed the Sixers off and on for months this season, trying to understand how the team’s quixotic plan was progressing. Oddly, the basketball team the Sixers put on the court was not uninteresting. On their better nights, they were not unwatchable. At all times, they were illuminating. I felt as if I were looking in on a strange social-science experiment: Throw together a group of marginal, overmatched professional athletes and give them a shot at their lifelong dream. The results were both inspiring and heartbreaking. 


Original source: The New York Times
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Philly exports its culinary legacy: Cheesesteaks, water ice, Wawa and soft pretzels

A couple Philly mainstays -- Rita's, Tony Luke's, Philly Pretzel Factory, Wawa -- look to take over the world.

The man intent on taking the Philly cheesesteak global saw a familiar sight from home on a recent trip to Florida: a Wawa.
The hoagie-making, coffee-brewing convenience and gas chain from the Philadelphia area is pushing hard into the Sunshine State, opening more than 60 stores since 2012 with another 25 planned by the end of the year.

Albie Misci, sales director at cheesesteak chain Tony Luke's, knows the idea.

He's helping take Philly's most famous culinary treat to Florida, California and even the Middle Eastern nation of Bahrain.

Other staples from the City of Brotherly Love, including its beloved soft pretzels and water ice, are also going global, as their Philadelphia-based purveyors aggressively expand into national - and international - chains.


Original source: Associated Press
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Family takes epic journey from Argentina to Philly for Pope's visit

A family embarks on an epic journey from South America, aiming to arrive in time for the Pope's visit to Philadelphia. 

As many as two million people are expected to be in Philadelphia for the visit by Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families in September. But it’s unlikely any of them will have a journey as long — or as remarkable — as one family from Argentina.

Packed in a 1980 VW minibus are Noël Zemborain; her husband, Alfredo Walker (nicknamed ‘Catire’); and their four kids: Carmin, 2; Mia, 5; Dimas, 8; and Cala, 12.

“It’s a very big family,” says Noël. “A very intense family experience.”

That’s putting it mildly.

In March, mom and dad ditched their jobs, drained their savings, and told their three girls and one boy that they were about to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

“We are traveling all through the continents toward Philadelphia,” says Noël. “We are meeting people, we are learning things about them, and getting to know other ways of living.”


Original source: CBS
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Petty Island fantasy courtesy of the Better Philadelphia Challenge

Could an overlooked island in the Delaware connect Philadelphia and Camden?

Can an obscure, uninhabited, 292-acre island that sits in the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden be knitted into the urban fabric of those cities? One team of designers recently concocted a long-term development plan that would take rural cues — and also considers challenges such as food insecurity and rising sea levels — to do just that...

The group won the annual Better Philadelphia Challenge, which is presented by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture and open to university-level students. The competition looks for a solution to an actual urban-design issue in Philadelphia, with the hope that the resulting ideas could be applied to other cities. This year, applicants were asked to imagine ways to develop Petty Island, which most Philadelphians aren’t even aware exists but which claims a colorful history.

Hanifin and his teammates Akshali Gandhi, Li-Yu Pan, Chen Sun and Lishutong Zhang — all master degree candidates in either landscape architecture or regional planning — came up with a thoughtful vision for both short-term and long-term development of the island and the facing Philadelphia waterfront, with a focus on addressing issues of food insecurity, urban farming and agricultural education. The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger estimates that in 2013, 22 percent of city residents experienced food insecurity.

The team’s winning multiphase proposal, dubbed “Delaware Valley Foodworx,” includes an agricultural college, seed bank, sky farm, discovery center and farmers’ market on the island. 


Original source: Next City
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Big drama on the Eagle Cam: Eaglets are born!

An eaglet is born live on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's wildly popular Eagle Cam. Check out video and images here!

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine


 

Philadelphia continues to gain population after decades of decline

The city continues to gain population, a promising reversal after years of decline -- but there are still big concerns. 

Philadelphia's population grew for the eighth year in a row in 2014, and surrounding counties were mostly stable, according to new census data, but the picture was not quite as rosy at it may have seemed in the nation's fifth-largest city...

While Philadelphia's increase was undeniably good news, the uptick was fueled by an increase in births, rather than an influx of residents, which raised demographers' concerns.

More people left Philadelphia for elsewhere in the country than moved in last year. Had it not been for a high number of births, and an influx of immigrants, the city's population would have fallen, the data showed.

And given people's tendency to flee the city once their children reach school age, Thursday's numbers were all the more sobering, especially in light of ongoing turmoil surrounding the chronically underfunded School District.

"We still have more people leaving the city," said Temple University demographer David Elesh. "It suggests that as people have children, they may be likely to consider a suburban home instead of a city home."

The data underscore the need to repair Philadelphia's public schools. Failure to do so could counteract what has become, in recent years, a younger population.


Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
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Paste Magazine drinks its way across Philly's craft beer scene

Paste highlights 10 Philadelphia breweries, including some of our favorites. 

Philly Beer Week is swiftly approaching, but if you cannot wait until May, quench your thirst at the storied pillars of Philadelphia’s craft brew scene any time of the year. Philadelphians are as proud of their beer as they are of monuments like the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross House and the Rocky Steps. Nothing could possibly go better with a Philly cheesesteak than an ice-cold brew.

Original source: Paste Magazine
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Could the Broad Street Line extension to the Navy Yard finally happen?

As PlanPhilly reports, PIDC is pushing forward with the idea of extending the Broad Street Line into the Navy Yard.

The Navy Yard is booming right now, adding about 1,000 jobs per year. New buildings are fully leased before construction on them can even begin. Plans for adding 1,500 residential units over the next few years are in the works. And the streets connecting the Navy Yard to the rest of the city are reaching capacity. According to Agate: “You have to find ways other than by strictly automobile to bring 1,000 more employees per year into the Navy Yard.”

“Frankly,” said Agate, “it’s a race against time to make sure that the infrastructure … is keeping pace with the growth the Navy Yard wants to experience.”

Right now, the BSL ends at AT&T Station near the sport stadiums. PIDC hopes to extend the line another 1.5 miles and to add one or two stations in the Navy Yard.  


Original source: PlanPhilly
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Grab a Cold One: PA beer distributors can now sell 12-packs

In a boon for partygoers everywhere who don't want to haul a whole case of brewskies, the state's beer distributors will now be allowed to sell 12-packs. 

The PLCB’s Office of Chief Counsel issued a legal advisory today “informing brewers that they may sell ‘original containers’ as long as the container contains at least 128 fluid ounces — for example a 12-pack — to distributors that may be resold ‘as is’ to consumers.”

For years, beer distributors have been able to sell beer only by the case or keg, while groceries, bars and convenience stores have gained the ability to sell six-packs, 12-packs, and individual bottles for consumption on premises.  

State Rep. Paul Costa, D-Wilkins and ranking minority party member of the House Liquor Control Committee, called the PLCB opinion “a step in the right direction to provide consumer convenience.”


“By allowing these 12-packs to be sold at beer distributors, customers get another choice in their beer selections,” he said. “It provides family-owned distributors more options in their product line [and supports] our breweries in Pennsylvania, so it’s a win-win situation.”

Original source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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Inquirer publishes in-depth report on East Market development

The Inquirer takes an in-depth look at an essential section of Center City Philadelphia and its latest chapter.

If Philadelphia were a basketball court, Market Street East would be that inexplicable dead spot on the floor, the place where the ball just doesn’t bounce.

The eight-block corridor has four Dunkin’ Donuts and two Subway sandwich shops — but no outdoor cafe. A McDonald’s sits in what used to be a porn emporium...

For years, when people like Paul Levy pitched the route’s potential to developers, they answered, “Yeah, I get it, but nobody goes to Market Street.”

Now that’s changing — fast.

People involved in massive construction plans say that, finally, Market East is poised to become the worthy, prosperous connector of Center City’s two great icons, City Hall and Independence Mall.

“The pieces are in place,” said Levy, president of the Center City District, the marketing and planning agency. “’Inevitable’ may be too strong a word, but, ‘Very highly likely.’”


Want to learn more? Check out this Flying Kite feature from 2013.

Original source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
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The original Phillie Phanatic now trains future mascots

David Raymond, the original Phanatic, has become the go-to resource for teams, schools and businesses that want a mascot, or want to improve the one they have. Of course they want to learn from the best!

In the spring of 1978, a big furry green creature with a pot belly and a long snout appeared on a major-league baseball field in Philadelphia and forever raised the bar for the professional team mascot.

Beneath that Muppet-like exterior was David Raymond, who donned the costume as a young intern, stepped out on the field on a cool April night and began a career delighting crowds with wild, athletic antics unlike anything baseball had seen before. He spent 16 years as the Phillie Phanatic, the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies, retiring in 1994...

Mr. Raymond charges $399 a person for a three-day Mascot Boot Camp, like the one he will be conducting at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania from March 20 to 22. His private Mascot Boot Camps range from $3,500 to $5,000 depending on the number of days and performers the client wants. If a client wants him to create a whole new character and have a consulting contract, it will cost $20,000 to $75,000. (Mr. Raymond contracts out the actual construction of the costume.) And if a client already has a mascot that does not quite work, Mr. Raymond will do what he calls “mascot intervention” for about $2,500.


Original source: The New York Times
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Two Philly spots make GQ's top 25 restaurants list

Two local restaurants have earned a place of honor of GQ's list of the country's 25 best restaurants.

Laurel at #8: The room might well be a shotgun apartment: front door leading to a tiny area (seating twenty) leading straight back to an undersized kitchen. There's not much decor, save for a few black iron sconces and hanging lamps. The chairs are exceedingly comfy, the service attentive, the stemware pleasing—all enhancements to a BYOB dining experience with a style of cooking I loved back when it was called “modern French.” Yet the most stunning dish was pure Americana, catfish in a coconut-clam broth. Hard to imagine a kitchen in Philly accomplishing what the South has been trying to do for centuries: make catfish elegant. Chef Nicholas Elmi does it gracefully. His meat dishes are intensely flavorful, particularly duck magret and foie gras. Stylishness has come to East Passyunk Avenue, once ground zero for cheesesteaks, now fast emerging as Philly's premier dining locale.

Lo Spiedo at #24: Come here for a little history and a lot of meat. Lo Spiedo is located just inside the old navy yard, where the battleship New Jersey was built. Almost as sturdy is the reginette bolognese. “Too much meat,” I griped. “Marc Vetri knows what he's doing,” argued a friend. He always does. Here you'll find glorified Americanized Italian food, including a gutsy celery-root milanese sandwich. If vegetarians gave out medals, it deserves the Navy Cross.
 
Original source: GQ
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The Philadelphia Flower Show celebrates the movies

The Philadelphia Flower Show pays tribute to Disney and Pixar films with the theme "Celebrate the Movies." The show runs through March 8.

Meticulously landscaped exhibits have been inspired by more than a dozen features, from "Frozen" and "Finding Nemo" to "Cars" and "Cinderella."

Visitors enter through a huge, art deco theater facade as if they were attending a red carpet premiere. Palm trees, roses and lilies help recreate the ornate interior of a 1920s movie palace, while moss, jewels, fabric and other blooms cascade down from "chandeliers" overhead.

Billed as the nation's largest and longest-running flower show, it covers 10 acres and dates back to 1829. Organizers hope this year's family-friendly theme will help a new crop of gardening enthusiasts establish roots at the annual extravaganza, which runs through March 8.

"Introducing that new generation, that younger generation to the flower show is something that we want to do," said Drew Becher, president of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, which sponsors the show.


Original source: The Associated Press (via The New York Times)
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