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Could 'America's Best Restroom' be right in our backyard?

Longwood Gardens is a finalist in Cinta's 'America's Best Restroom' contest -- vote now!

The public restrooms at Longwood Gardens, the most visited public garden in America, deserve a double-take as you walk by. That’s because the 17 restrooms themselves are part of the largest indoor "Green Wall" in North America!

The staff at Longwood worked with artist Kim Wilkie on an unprecedented feat of bathroom architecture. Take a look at the photos, and you’ll understand. Aside from the restrooms’ lush greenery, they also feature domed, naturally lit lavatory cabinets hidden within the "Green Wall." In addition, each restroom contains etched translucent glass at the top of the dome to provide natural light, reduce electricity and minimize the need for light fixtures.

Longwood Gardens traces its roots to the famed du Pont family and has become preeminent for its grand collection of plant life. Now, its restrooms also share in the spotlight.

"The restrooms at Longwood have become a ‘must-see’ for our one million annual visitors, and we even have docents nearby to share the story of their creation," says Patricia Evans, communications manager at Longwood Gardens. "To be named America’s Best Restroom would be a testament to our creativity and environmental stewardship."

Via Curbed Philly; check out their coverage of this amazing bathroom.

Original source: Cinta

Every bike shop in Philly, mapped

Hotpads has put every bike shop in Philly on a handy map. Check it out here.

Original source: Hotpads.com.

New York Times details transformation in Camden

The New York Times adds to the changing narrative about Camden, lauding increased security and community engagement.

It has been 16 months since Camden took the unusual step of eliminating its police force and replacing it with a new one run by the county. Beleaguered by crime, budget cuts and bad morale, the old force had all but given up responding to some types of crimes. Dispensing with expensive work rules, the new [police] force hired more officers within the same budget -- 411, up from about 250. It hired civilians to use crime-fighting technology it had never had the staff for. And it has tightened alliances with federal agencies to remove one of the largest drug rings from city streets.

In June and July, the city went 40 days without a homicide -- unheard-of in a Camden summer. The empty liquor bottles once clustered on the porches of abandoned houses as memorials to the murdered have disappeared. There are fewer killings to commemorate. The city is beginning to brush up its image...

“It’s absolutely a different place,” said Tim Gallagher, a social worker who works with students. “You feel safe walking the streets now. The police officers aren’t afraid to come out of their cars and interact with the community, and that’s changed how people feel about them...”

There are other signs of life. The county has put millions into park improvements. The state has paid to knock down some abandoned houses. Charter schools are rising, and a ShopRite, the city’s first new supermarket in three decades, is to begin construction next year.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Historic property where George Washington camped up for sale

A 9-acre property outside Philadelphia where George Washington and his troops are said to have camped during the Revolutionary War is available for $14 million.

The property is located on Lewis Lane in Whitpain Township, about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia. It includes a six-bedroom, five-bathroom house built in 1913 but extensively renovated and restored, according to owner Steven Korman, founder of Korman Communities, a Pennsylvania-based developer of hotels and apartments. Mr. Korman said he added about 9,000 square feet to the original 5,000-square-foot house, incorporating a century-old stone wall that had been in the garden and adding modern touches like a movie theater, gym, wine cellar, saltwater pool and elevator. Between buying the house and the renovation, he said he spent about $13 million. The house is being sold fully furnished.

Washington's troops camped in the Lewis Lane area in 1777 after the Battle of Germantown, on their way to Valley Forge, according to Marie Goldkamp, president of the Historical Society of Whitpain.

A self-described "history buff," Mr. Korman said the history of the property, which had been owned by the same family from the 1700s until Mr. Korman bought it more than four years ago, was "a huge thing for me." He added that one room in the house displays his collection of letters written by U.S. presidents, including Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. These aren't included in the sale price.

Original source: The Wall Street Journal
Read the complete story here.

High Street on Market named No. 2 new restaurant in the country

High Street on Market in Old City was named the number two new restaurant on Bon Appetit's highly anticipated national list.

I dare anyone who has jumped on the gluten-free bandwagon (without a doctor’s note) to eat at High Street on Market and still call himself gluten-intolerant. You don’t stand a chance. Know why? Because chef Eli Kulp basically built this restaurant around head baker Alex Bois’s superstar bread program.

Let’s start with the breakfast sandwiches, specifically the Forager: seared king oyster mushrooms, braised kale, fried egg, Swiss cheese, and black trumpet mushroom mayo piled on one of Bois’s cloudlike kaiser rolls. Hell, put a tofu burger and vegan “cheese” on one of those things and I would still—greedily!—order it again. The black squid-ink bialy stuffed with smoked whitefish may sound questionable, but I promise it will be something you crave for weeks afterward.

Abstinence won’t be any easier at lunch. The “Best Grilled Cheese Ever,” served on house-made roasted potato bread, delivers on its inflated claim. And no dinner here would be complete without more of Bois’s signature loaves: levain with vegetable ash, anadama miche (made with molasses and cracked corn), and buckwheat cherry, to name a few. If, at this point, you are wondering if the No. 2 restaurant on this year’s list got here on its dough alone, the answer is -- unequivocally and emphatically -- a very carby yes.

Original source: Bon Appetit
Read the complete story here.

Taney's miracle run ends in Williamsport

Philadelphia fell in love with the Taney Dragons, and loved them even through defeat in the Little League World Series. We weren't alone.

This was my first Little League World Series, and the two-week event was defined by two great story lines: Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old girl from Philadelphia who struck out the boys, and an exciting team from the South Side of Chicago that validated Major League Baseball’s urban initiative and held the promise of a widening pipeline of young players from urban areas.

“We saw teams that we haven’t see around here before,” said Mike Mussina, a former Baltimore Orioles and Yankees pitcher. “To see them come here and succeed and do well — people loved them. People grab a hold of whatever the thing is and this year, they were the thing.”

The Times'
Frank Bruni also took the time to reflect on Mo'ne and the Dragons:

It was here, at the Little League World Series, that Mo’ne Davis captured the country’s hearts. A 13-year-old wunderkind from Philadelphia, she was believed to be the first black girl to play in the series. She was definitely the first girl ever to pitch a shutout. She landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated, exploded stereotypes about women and sports and did it with a poise and grace that most people twice or even four times her age struggle to muster.

The City of Philadelphia plans to hold a parade in their honor on Wednesday.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Diner en Blanc lures 3,500 diners to Broad Street

The pop-up dinner, a global phenomenon, was a big hit last week in Philly.

An estimated 3,500 people attended this year’s Dîner en Blanc on Thursday, gathering en masse (and en blanc) on Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts.

After a year of planning, anticipation and speculation (and a little help from Project Runway winner Dom Streater), the secret location of the pop-up soiree was finally revealed: Broad Street between Chestnut and Pine streets.

Since the event has a French theme, the Avenue of the Arts was a natural choice, given its Parisian-inspired architecture, from City Hall to the lampposts on Avenue of the Arts...

“Philadelphia isn’t that big of a city, but we’re so busy that we tend not to stray outside of our own neighborhoods or where we work,” Philly native Streater said. “It’s nice to have that surprise, and just not even knowing where it’s going to be — you show up and experience new surroundings and see a part of the city you never saw before, which is helpful.”

Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
Read the complete story and check out video here.

Actor George Takei versus Wawa

Actor George Takei took to Facebook with some questions for Wawa -- namely a perceived discrepancy between the dates on their cups. Fortunately, the Wawa-loving hordes were ready for him.

As it turns out, Wawa began its existence in 1803, moving into dairy production in the 1890s and giving rise to the notion that people have enjoyed their products "for over 100 years." 

The first retail store, located in Delaware County's Folsom neighborhood, wasn't opened until 1964, which gives us the whole "smiling 50 years later" thing. Tough to smile at someone without a storefront to do it in, it seems. 

So, at best, Takei's issue with Wawa's cup advertising ultimately can be chalked up to confusion—at worst, misleading language. However, it is good to know that someone is out there waiting, watching for the convenience stores of America to slip up on their disposables. After all, everyone needs an editor.

Original source: Philly.com
Read the complete story here.

Chef Michael Solomonov comes clean

Noted local chef and philanthropist Michael Solomonov opened up to the New York Times' Frank Bruni about his struggles with addiction.

People who don’t know the full truth about Mike Solomonov judge him by his fried chicken at Federal Donuts, a cult favorite in this city, and by his hummus at Zahav, an Israeli restaurant here of national renown. They’re the signposts in a career that has burned bright in recent years and seems destined to burn brighter still.

But they’re not his real success. They’re not what his wife and best friends look at with so much gratitude — and so much relief. Those closest to Mike realize that his crucial achievement is staying clean. And it’s measured in the number of days in a row that he’s drug-free...

Until now he hasn’t gone into detail about this publicly. But with two new restaurants about to open and a PBS documentary about his culinary love affair with Israel in the works, he found himself haunted by the sense that he wasn’t being wholly honest, wasn’t owning up to how easily all of this might have slipped away, wasn’t sounding the warning and sharing the lessons that he could.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Philadelphia schools will open on time after all

Despite budget woes, Philadelphia's schools will open on time.

After having warned that schools might not open on time in Philadelphia, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Friday that a series of temporary spending cuts would help administrators to close an $81 million budget deficit and that classes would start as scheduled next month....

In a news conference on Friday morning, Mr. Hite said he hoped cuts of about $32 million in transportation, school police, building cleaners, purchases from vendors and other areas would be temporary. Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a Philadelphia-only cigarette tax that would raise an estimated $49 million for city schools in the current academic year.

Cuts in transportation funding, totaling $3.8 million, will mean that high school students who live within two miles of their schools will no longer be entitled to get there by bus.
Helen Gym, who has three children in the public schools and who was a founder of the advocacy group Parents United for Public Education, said that about 7,500 students would be affected by the changes.

Mr. Hite said he decided in favor of the cuts rather than delaying the opening of schools because to do so “punishes students for the failures of adults.”

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

The success of urban baseball teams at the LLWS starts a conversation

Teams from Chicago and Philadelphia have brought exciting energy to this year's Little League World Series.

Along with a team from Philadelphia led by a phenomenal young pitcher, Mo’Ne Davis, Jackie Robinson West became an early World Series story line. A similar sentiment surrounded a team from Harlem in 2002...

Even as baseball preaches diversity, the game continues to spiral economically out of the reach of an increasingly larger pool of potential players after Little League. The cost of participation, especially with travel teams becoming the norm before players reach high school, can reach thousands of dollars a year.

To reverse the decline in black participation, Granderson said, Major League Baseball could copy the Amateur Athletic Union model in basketball, in which major shoe companies provide financial support that allows talented teams to travel to tournaments. Baseball also needs to do a better job of putting black players in front of young people, he said.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

RJ Metrics moves into larger space, extolls lean startup principles in New York Times

Robert J. Moore, founder and CEO of RJ Metrics, wrote about his company's move to a bigger office on the New York Times' 'You're the Boss' blog, reflecting on lean startup principles. 

We had learned years ago that company culture isn’t about perks. Ping-Pong tables, funny posters, and free lunches are outputs of culture, not inputs to it. If any of our team members ever say they work at RJMetrics because of the chairs, I should be fired.
I admire those bigger companies that have been true to their lean roots during periods of extreme growth. Amazon famously provided employees with desks made of old doors, even as its headcount grew into the hundreds. To this day, Wal-Mart has its traveling executives sleep two to a room at budget hotels.

Just like the perks, however, these lean-minded policies are only healthy if they are the outputs of culture, not inputs meant to shape it. A team that is aligned on a core mission and values will wear them as a badge of honor. A team that isn’t will go work somewhere else.

As we grow, the balancing act of “lean success” will only get more complex. After all, being lean is not the same as being cheap, and separating these two can be hard when you’re in uncharted territory. We will invest heavily in building an inspired and empowered team – but we will check our egos at the door. Easier said than done? Definitely.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Lenny Dykstra, out of prison and still talking

Oh, Lenny Dykstra, keep singing us your tales of woe and redemption. The erstwhile Phillies legend, fresh out of prison, spoke to the New York Times.

He started his website, Nails Investments, in 2010, selling subscribers on his formula for buying stock options.

Five years earlier, he began picking stocks on TheStreet.com, an astonishing career detour for Dykstra, an aggressive and often reckless former Met and Philadelphia Phillie.

The site continued unabated while Dykstra served a six-and-a-half-month sentence in federal prison for bankruptcy fraud and other charges in 2012. His partner and editor, Dorothy Van Kalsbeek, already knew his system and wrote his column and picked his stocks, with his oversight. They consulted about the market in letters and during her visits to the penitentiary in Victorville, Calif.
On the day of his release, he called her to pick him up rather than use the prison-issued Greyhound bus ticket. "I’d never been on a Greyhound bus before, and I had $5 to spend," he said...

Dykstra then shifted to the autobiography that he is planning with the author Peter Golenbockthe movie that might be made about his life, the present state of the Phillies and the book he read in prison, John Grisham’s “King of Torts,” which he claimed was the first one he had ever read.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Exercise equipment arrives at Philadelphia International Airport

As Flying Kite witnessed on a recent trip out west, Philadelphia International Airport is now home to exercise equipment for antsy travelers. When we walked through, many of the stationary bikes were occupied.

Sitting on an exercise bike in Terminal D on a recent morning, Ms. Donofree was cycling at a leisurely pace, wearing jeans and checking her phone as jets taxied outside.

Without becoming sweaty, changing her clothes or paying fees to an airport gym, she was able to exercise while remaining near her departure gate, thanks to a set of newly installed workout machines.

In late June, the airport became the first in the United States to provide three types of low-impact stationary bikes for travelers to use in the terminal, free of charge, while waiting for their flights.

Original source: The New York Times
Read the complete story here.

Philadelphia named 'best place to retire without a car'

Philadelphia named the top city in the country to retire in without a car.

If downsizing the empty nest, ditching the car and diving into vibrant, tightly packed city life are on a retiree's agenda, there's no time like the present to make that move. However, many of Walk Score's top cities -- New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington and Chicago -- are also among the nation's most expensive. With an eye toward cutting costs, we took a look at some of the less expensive options listed. They're still near some of the costlier locales, but aren't quite as spendy...

[Philadelphia's] most walkable neighborhoods in Center City, the Old City and along the riverfront near Penn's Landing are pleasant enough, but the combination of easy transit access and building amenities such as markets, shops, bars and restaurant are bringing folks into Fishtown, Northern Liberties and South Philadelphia. Except for the extreme northeast, southwest and northwest corners of the city, about 95 percent of the city is easily accessible by means other than a car.

Transit ridership still has a way to go before it catches up to other cities along the Northeast Corridor, but retirees are joining young newcomers in places such as Manayunk and Kensington to take advantage of a city where the options are growing and the options for getting there are ample. Oh, and as is the case in Pittsburgh, the lottery keeps all public transit here free for seniors.

Original source: The Street
Read the complete list here.
838 Articles | Page: | Show All
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