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New protected bike lanes in the works. Huzzah!

A big boost of funds means smooth sailing for local cyclists, as plans for new protected bike lanes comes into focus. PlanPhilly has the complete list of projects.

Thanks to $300,000 in federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) funds recently awarded by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) and another $200,000 expected to come from PennDOT, the Philadelphia Streets Department will soon upgrade and expand the city’s bike facility network with new protected and buffered bike lanes.

“Protected” bike lanes refer to lanes that use flexible plastic delineator posts to help physically separate automobile and bicycle traffic. “Buffered” bike lanes are slightly wider bike lanes that use a bit of extra paint to create a more visible buffer...

The goal of more and better bike lanes has already been approved in City Council through adoption of two iterations of the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, Philadelphia’s Complete Streets Design Handbook, the city’s comprehensive Philadelphia 2035 Citywide Vision city plan, and in all of District Plans completed so far—each developed after three rounds of public feedback meetings planned in conjunction with district councilmen and RCOs. There will be at least one more public feedback session per bike infrastructure project. And with each, another shot for opponents to shout the project down.


Original source: PlanPhilly
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Delivery app Favor lands in Philly

Favor is the latest app-based delivery system to come to town. How will it handle the competition? 

A Texas-based on-demand delivery app has come to Philadelphia, promising to deliver goods — including food from local restaurants — to residents in less than an hour, competing with companies already in the market like Instacart and Postmates.
Favor of Austin, Texas., launched in June 2013 and has since expanded to more than 20 cities across the United States with more than 10,000 so-called personal delivery assistants, or "runners."

"We've always been excited about Philly," said Ben Doherty, cofounder and COO. "I researched the market a long time ago, and I thought it was a really great potential place to launch."

"Overall, Philly is a dense market; it has lots of students and young working professionals," Doherty said. "That's generally who we focus on for our market."

Favor's runners will serve Philadelphia neighborhoods, including Temple University, University City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, Fairmount, Center City and Old City.

The app connects customers to a runner, who will pick up and deliver "anything from tacos, to groceries, to your laundry that you’ve neglected to pick up," according to Favor.

"We do deliver anything you want," Doherty said. "That's a strong value proposition. Because they're personal assistants, they can act on your behalf and purchase anything you need."

Delivery times average about 35 minutes, according to the company. There is a flat deliver fee rate of $5 in Philadelphia plus 5 percent of the cost of the item ordered, Doherty said.


Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Starr Restaurants hires high-profile new culinary director

Starr Restaurants has hired a new head honcho with a New York pedigree.

When Alex Lee resigned his pressure-cooker position as executive chef atDaniel in 2003 to become the executive chef at Glen Oaks country club in Old Westbury, N.Y., he may as well have gone to Mars. A high-profile star seemed to have left the picture.

Now he is back in the restaurant world as the culinary director of Starr Restaurants, Stephen Starr’s fast-growing group of 34 restaurants, most in Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Lee, who started last week, will oversee all of them and the other corporate chefs in the organization. Mr. Starr said he expected Mr. Lee to concentrate on the company’s new restaurants...

Hiring Mr. Lee is yet another example of Mr. Starr’s ability to attract marquee chefs. His roster already includes Masaharu Morimoto, Douglas Rodriguez, Justin Smillie, Jason Atherton from London and Daniel Rose from Paris.


Original source: The New York Times
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'Broad City' comes to Philadelphia

Well, the suburbs of Philadelphia. On the Comedy Central show, dynamic duo Abbi and Ilana take the train to 30th Street Station and then head to Abbi's (Jacobson's real life) hometown of Wayne. Tony Danza played her pop. Check out the episode here.

Original source: Comedy Central

Renderings and name released for huge townhome project replacing Mt. Sinai

The massive townhome project that is replacing historic Mt. Sinai hospital is moving forward -- check out the renderings.

Demolition is still continuing on Mt. Sinai at 4th and Reed. While the site isn’t ready for construction just yet, we have a new look at what to expect of this development. A total of 95 townhomes are set to be built in this project being called Southwark on Reed.

There are three different home layouts being offered in this development. These options are called the “Dickinson,” “Jefferson” and “Columbus.” Each housing layout includes between three and four bedrooms and a varying number of bathrooms and storage space in each. The largest of the home options, the Jefferson, also includes a two car garage. You can check out the full housing layouts here.

Plans for the site include 95 townhomes and green courtyards that are also accessible to the public. Previous concerns about this development included a lack of greenery, which seems to be addressed by the addition of street trees.

According to the website, the pre-construction cost of these homes in this project from the Concordia Group and D3 Real Estate Development is somewhere in the range of $400,000.


Original source: Passyunk Post
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A couple more big projects come to Washington Avenue East

Two new mixed use projects have been announced for the stretch of Washington Avenue east of Broad Street -- one at 12th Street and one at the triangle where Passyunk Avenue meets 8th Street. (These are in addition to the proposed building at 9th and Washington.)

Naked Philly on 12th and Washington: A post on the Washington Avenue Associates Facebook page tipped us off that the City has issued a zoning permit for the demolition of the building and the construction of a five-story project with 48 apartments, 15 parking spots, and a sizable commercial space. Remember, when we shared the listing, it came with a recommendation for a similar project, albeit with an additional level of apartments. The Facebook post also included a very simple elevations drawing of what we can expect to see built here. This property is zoned CMX-3, and the project is being done completely by-right.

On 8th and Washington: You probably don't remember, but we told you about this property way back at the end of 2011. Yikes, we've been doing this awhile. The property was available for sale for a couple years for $3M, but had come off the market at that point. While any 8,000+ sqft parcel near Center City sounds exciting, a $3M price tag was a little too dear, especially back then. Earlier this year, the property came back on the market at half the price, and was unsurprisingly snatched up in short order. Like the folks at 12th & Washington, these developers appear to be pursuing a by-right project. According to their zoning permit, they're planning a five-story building with ground-floor retail and sixteen apartments...The building will have a rear yard on its southern side, but will also have an open courtyard in the middle of the building. Not only will this provide for additional windows for the units, but it will also allow the project to meet its open space requirement. Whoever thought this project through has designed something pretty clever on a uniquely shaped property. Good for them. And good for the people who live nearby, who will see this long-underused property get redeveloped. And to think we thought they already had it made, living so close to the Center City Pretzel Company.

Original source: Naked Philly

Philadelphia Zoo welcomes lemur babies! Lemur babies!!

The Philadelphia Zoo is now home to four new residents -- but we have to wait a little longer for their public debut.

They're not quite ready for their public close-up, but four black-and-white ruffed lemur babies are off to a good start at the Philadelphia Zoo.

They were born last month to 9-year-old Kiaka and 10-year-old Huey, weighing in at a combined one-third of a pound.

Kiaka is proving to be a good first-time mom. She carries the fluffy siblings in her mouth from one nest box to another, since they cannot move around on their own for a few months.


Original source: Associated Press
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Atlas Obscura takes a hard look at "jawn" -- "unlike any word, in any language"

Atlas Obscura examines the Philly-centric linguistic phenomenon -- and analyzes why it's so special.

Taylor Jones, a Ph.D student at the University of Pennsylvania, was unfamiliar with the bizarre stew of linguistic quirks in Philadelphia when he first started school there a few years ago. An army brat, it seems like Jones grew up everywhere but eastern Pennsylvania. But one of his first interactions with legendary Penn linguist Bill Labov started him on the road to understanding his new city.

"My introduction to graduate work was being asked about jawn," says Jones...

The word "jawn" is unlike any other English word. In fact, according to the experts that I spoke to, it’s unlike any other word in any other language. It is an all-purpose noun, a stand-in for inanimate objects, abstract concepts, events, places, individual people, and groups of people. It is a completely acceptable statement in Philadelphia to ask someone to "remember to bring that jawn to the jawn..."
 
So let’s start at the beginning: Where does “jawn” come from?

Read the complete story here
Original source: Atlas Obscura
 

Transformation at the Pennsylvania Ballet

The New York Times profiles Ángel Corella, the man who hopes to "reinvent" the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Mr. Corella, 40, seems to be having a very good time these days as he works to reinvent the Pennsylvania Ballet, where he has made top-to-bottom changes since becoming artistic director in 2014. He has brought on new artistic staff, new administrative leadership, new dancers from all over the world and a new approach to programming.

This month, he will return to New York, the site of his triumphs with Ballet Theater, to show off his revamped troupe at a run at the Joyce Theater (March 29 through April 3) featuring works made for its dancers.

“It feels like a whole new company,” Mr. Corella said the other day in his office here, which he explained had no desk because he still likes to do most of his work in the studio.

Mr. Corella came to Philadelphia after the collapse of a different kind of quixotic quest: trying to establish a dance company in his native Spain, first called the Corella Ballet Castilla y León and then Barcelona Ballet, during the country’s deep financial crisis.

The Pennsylvania Ballet was looking hard at what life after 50 should look like: At the end of its 2013-14 season, its 50th anniversary, its longtime artistic director, Roy Kaiser, stepped down. Mr. Corella signed on, and soon after his arrival he dismissed top artistic staff members who had decades of experience with the company and replaced them with his own team.

Now, Mr. Corella is throwing himself into all aspects of his new company, from leading company class twice a week to hiring dancers to bringing more contemporary choreographers on board to creating the new “Don Quixote,” which had its world premiere at the Academy of Music here on March 3.


Original source: The New York Times
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The New York Times relishes Colonial history in Philadelphia

Looking for Colonial history? You can't do better than Philadelphia, where a new museum and a treasure trove of sites beckon.

When walking the streets of the Old City area in Philadelphia, it’s easy to imagine being back in the late 18th century. A small 8-by-10-block section was where so many of the famous names of the period — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Betsy Ross, John and Samuel Adams, Dolley and James Madison and, nearly everywhere, it seems, Ben Franklin — lived and socialized.

Many buildings they passed by remain, the city having long ago taken to preservation. Philadelphia is a place where ideas, agreements, arguments, animosities and friendships were clearly part of the fabric.

“Philadelphia owns this story,” said Michael C. Quinn, president and chief executive of the Museum of the American Revolution, a $119 million edifice scheduled to open in April 2017, two short blocks east of Independence Hall. “It is an incredibly compelling story, and it created some of the most inspiring and lofty ideals the world has known. We have to keep telling it in as many ways as possible...”

“This is not Disneyland, but a real place,” said Meryl Levitz, president and chief executive of Visit Philadelphia, the city’s main nonprofit tourism promotion agency. “This is where America began. I don’t think you can have too much of that. The population keeps expanding, so there are always more people to attract, and from what we know, those people want more, better and newer.”


Original source: The New York Times
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Could a soda tax work in Philadelphia?

Mayor Jim Kenney has proposed a tax on sugary beverages. It would be one of the most ambitious such plans in the country.

The first skirmishes in a new soda-tax battle occurred on Tuesday. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, a Democrat, will seek a 3-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. Kenney, who took office in January, will put the tax in front of the city council on Thursday as part of his 2016 budget recommendations. If passed, the tariff would be three-times higher than the soda tax that residents of Berkeley, California, passed by ballot measure in 2014.

With 1.5 million people—far larger than both Berkeley and San Francisco, where a soda-tax ballot measure was narrowly defeated in 2014—Philadelphia looks significantly different than recent soda-tax battlegrounds...

While prior soda-tax battles have focused squarely on public-health issues, obesity doesn’t appear to be Mayor Kenney’s top concern. He needs more revenue to fund universal prekindergarten in the city, and the administration believes that the projected $400 million the special tax would raise over five years could go a long way toward making that campaign promise a reality. According to The Wall Street Journal, the mayor’s office would flag $256 million for pre-K, $39 million to help finance the opening of 25 community schools, and additional revenue to be funneled into Philadelphia’s pension and parks funds.

Original source: takepart

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The Atlantic spotlights Philly's criminal justice revolution

A story in The Atlantic focuses on the Kenney administration's efforts to revolutionize criminal justice in the city -- and undo decades of harm.

But Philadelphia may have reached a tipping point. The city is in the midst of what could be a pivotal phase of reform, now helmed by newly-minted mayor Jim Kenney. The magazine Philadelphia has called Kenney, “Mr. Criminal Justice Reform,” citing his record as councilman, which included championing the decriminalization of marijuana in Philadelphia, which he called a civil-rights issue, and campaign promises to eliminate cash bail for some low-level defendants and to give convicted felons a second chance. Kenney’s candidacy was compared to that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: Both are white, but ran on a populist platform preaching racial, economic, and criminal justice reform. On his first night as mayor in January, rather than celebrate with an inaugural ball, Kenney took the festivities to the streets with a block party. He aims to be a mayor of the people, addressing issues that have plagued the city for decades, including overcrowded jails and tense relations between police and residents...

Before even being sworn into office, Kenney promised to reduce the city’s jail population by one third in the next three years...

The city has a grant application for up to $4 million pending with the MacArthur Foundation. Elected officials have been tight lipped about the proposal’s specifics, but have indicated that it generally focuses on decreasing reliance on cash bail, bolstering diversion programs to decrease pretrial detainment, and enhancing mental-health services for defendants awaiting trial. The grant recipients are expected to be announced mid-March. Regardless of whether the money is granted, both Kenney and Clarke agree that the reforms are necessary and will continue—though perhaps on a slower timeline. “It’s all about priorities,” Clarke said. “If these are the things that we need to change, we’re going to change them.”


Original source: The Atlantic
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Toronto Star asks, Is Philly cooler than New York? (Yes!)

The Canadian paper reassesses the City of Brotherly Love, and likes what they see.
 
When you think of the city of Philadelphia, what pops into your head?

My impression used to be a mishmash of gooey meat-and-cheese sandwiches, Rocky Balboa running up some stone steps, a cracked bronze bell, and the intro song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But then I went to Philly for a few days, and that all changed.

What I discovered is an understated, historically rich city quietly going through a youth-driven cultural revolution that could propel it to the top of hip, urban U.S.-destination lists. Yes, I’m going to say it: Philadelphia might just turn out to be cooler than New York City...

Original source: Toronto Star
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Will patience pay off for the Phillies?

The New York Times takes a look at our upstart squad -- and makes the argument for some tentative hope after an abysmal 2015 season.

The Philadelphia Phillies hold the first overall pick in the draft this June. The last time they had it, in 1998, they chose outfielder Pat Burrell. Ten years later, Burrell doubled to start the go-ahead rally on the night the Phillies won the World Series.

Success in baseball is rarely so orderly. Today’s losing does not guarantee tomorrow’s parade. But as the Phillies rebuild a roster that staggered to 99 losses last season, they believe an upswing is inevitable.

“The teams that get themselves in the most trouble are the ones that try something for two years, it doesn’t work, so let’s try something different,” said Andy MacPhail, who will begin his first full season as the Phillies’ president for baseball operations.

If ever there was a time to ask for patience in Philadelphia, this is it. The city has been bruised by the failures of its professional sports teams, but smart fans accept that the Phillies’ previous strategy — clinging to highly paid, fading veterans — was failing. A full-scale renovation is underway, run by MacPhail — who has helped turn around the Minnesota Twins, the Chicago Cubs and the Orioles — and the new general manager, Matt Klentak.

“To understand where we want to end up, we need to understand where we are today and build the foundation appropriately,” Klentak said. “But a lot of pieces of the foundation are already here.”


Original source: The New York Times
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Travel + Leisure offers film-centric guide to touring Philly

With all the attention around Creed, this national travel mag tells tourists how to enjoy Philly like a movie star.

Yo Adrian! The city memorialized in the Rocky series and now the award-winning Creed has been home to a wide variety of movie plots and filming locations, including Philadelphia (which opens with a montage of famous sites), Mannequin, Trading Places, Twelve Monkeys, and In Her Shoes. Remember, “I see dead people”? The Sixth Sense was set and filmed in the City of Brotherly Love. The scene in Silver Linings Playbook where Pat and Tiffany kiss in the street under twinkling holiday lights? That’s Jewelers’ Row. Just in time for the Academy Awards, here is our guide to visiting Philadelphia like a movie star. 

Original source: Travel + Leisure
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358 Media Articles | Page: | Show All
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