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Philadelphia launches new campaign to lure LGBT travelers

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) is making a pitch to LGBT tourists using a saucy new commercial.

The new video builds on the city’s memorable 2003 “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay” campaign by showing the flamboyant female impersonator Miss Richfield 1981 touring some of Philadelphia’s best-known sites, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Dressed in a red-and-white striped skirt and a tight blue bodice, Miss Richfield poses with Betsy Ross — the Betsy Ross House is in the city — and runs the “Rocky Steps” at the art museum but is distracted by the muscular torsos of a quartet of young male joggers on the banks of the Schuylkill.


Original source: The New York Times
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Legendary Philadelphia clockmaker profiled in new book

Peter Stretch, a renowned and visionary 18th century clockmaker, is the subject of a new book by Frank L. Hohmann III.

Peter and Margery became role models for Philadelphians. They gave advice to unmarried Quakers about maintaining "moderation or modesty" in budding love affairs. The couple donated money to widows, orphans and victims of house fires and kidnappings by Indians. For elite customers, Peter Stretch built brass clocks with multiple dials that tracked the time and moon phases. The dials were surrounded by metal cherubs and crowns. The carved wooden clock cases mostly came from the Philadelphia cabinetmaker John Head, a fellow English Quaker émigré. (Head’s account books, rediscovered in a Philadelphia archive in 1999, have page after page listing transactions with Stretch.)

The clockmaker’s workshop was so renowned that its address, at the intersection of Second and Chestnut Streets, was known as Stretch’s Corner. His buyers flaunted the clocks in their finest parlors, and the survival rate is high. A few of the antiques still belong to his clients’ descendants, and two-thirds of perhaps 200 made in Stretch’s career have been identified, sometimes with handwritten notes attached describing their travels over the centuries.


Original source: The New York Times
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The Economist praises foot patrols in rough Philadelphia neighborhoods

Foot patrols can be an effective tool in neighborhoods with high crime rates, forcing young officers out of their police cars and into interactions with the community.

Such patrols work best if officers return to the same street several times in each shift, says Jerry Ratcliffe, director of Temple’s Centre for Security and Crime Science. A good officer will soon know everybody on his beat. It is important to "spend time just standing on a street corner, chatting to people, getting a feel for the tempo and rhythm of a place." Foot patrols work best in dense neighbourhoods, says Mr Ratcliffe, where many people cannot afford air conditioning and so socialise on the street. Drunken disagreements beget violence. “Half the people shot in Philadelphia are shot within two blocks of their address,” he says.

Original source: The Economist
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Technorati talks Philly's uptapped tech talent

Rich Gorman talked to Technorati about the great potential for startups in Philadelphia.

You can get a lot of bang for your buck in Philadelphia. It’s considerably less expensive to start a company in Philly versus NYC or San Francisco. Rent, salaries, vendors, shopping, and entertainment are a fraction of what you would pay in more common tech start up areas. cost of living among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas in the 3rd quarter of 2012, according to the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association.
 
"In Philadelphia, there’s a TON of talented people that are competing for a great career," Gorman continues. "In places like Silicon Valley, it’s the exact opposite; it’s cut throat in competing for talent." This, he explains, is why Silicon Valley startups are forced to take outside capital. In Philly it’s easy to bootstrap a company with no outside capital, preserving your shares early in the game.

Original source: Technorati
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Mt. Airy named among best big-city neighborhoods

CNN published a list of the best big-city neighborhoods, and northwest Philly's Mt. Airy made the list.

Mount Airy pairs a racially and religiously diverse population with a neighborhood packed with historic homes and leafy streets.
Germantown Avenue, which divides East and West Mount Airy, is the backbone of the nabe and home to shops, art centers, and restaurants. Houses here start at about $200,000, roughly 30% lower than in neighboring Chestnut Hill (though you can easily pay $500,000 in the tonier parts of West Mount Airy).


Original source: CNN
Read the complete list here.

The New York Times highlights Philly school woes

The Philadelphia School District's financial crisis has drawn national attention, including a front page feature in the New York Times.

The situation is not as dire yet as Detroit’s. There is no talk of resorting to bankruptcy. But the problem is so severe that the city agreed at the last minute on Thursday to borrow $50 million just to be able to open schools on time. Even with that money, schools will open Sept. 9 with a minimum of staffing and sharply curtailed extracurricular activities and other programs.

"The concept is just jaw-dropping," said Helen Gym, who has three children in the city’s public schools. "Nobody is talking about what it takes to get a child educated. It’s just about what the lowest number is needed to get the bare minimum. That’s what we’re talking about here: the deliberate starvation of one of the nation’s biggest school districts."


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

On the Ground Redux: Shining a light on an amazing Germantown renovation

Nicole Juday's jaw-dropping renovation of a derelict Germantown home is highlighted in a gorgeous New York Times feature. Click through the slideshow and prepare to drool.

It wasn’t abandoned, but it may as well have been. A fire had destroyed much of the second floor, and raccoons were living in the attic. In the backyard was the marshy remains of what had once been a swimming pool, a cesspool that parents worried their children might fall into...

So in 2010, she and her husband bought the seven-bedroom house and all of its contents from the elderly owner for $125,000.
Even at that price, it was no bargain. “I think the house was possibly condemnable,” said Ms. Juday, 43.

It took another $400,000 and thousands of hours of labor to make it habitable. That included rebuilding it from the studs out, with new wiring, plumbing, roofing and plaster, and installing historically accurate windows and millwork. Beams were added to shore up the structure, and the brick exterior was repointed. The swimming pool was filled in, and an old caved-in Chevy was hauled out of the side yard.


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

Green development Folsom Powerhouse comes to Francisville

Postgreen Homes is teaming up with Equinox Management & Construction LLC to build the Folsom Powerhouse, a 31-unit mixed-income green housing project in Francisville.

Postgreen and Equinox are also aided by ISA Architects, who designed the project, and Studio Bryan Hanes, who is responsible for the landscaping. The development will feature energy efficient design, with solar power, green roof technology and advanced storm water management practices. It’s proximity to public transit, nearby shops and the Francisville community center will give residents great access to amenities and necessities.

"Our proposal adapted Folsom’s fabric and the City’s best practices in urban planning," explained Chad Ludeman, President of Postgreen Homes. "The Powerhouse name is indicative of our commitment to extreme energy efficiency, giving residents the power to live with community and environmental consciousness in mind."


Original source: Inhabitat
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Stogie Joe's pies earn national praise

Passyunk Square's Stogie Joe's Tavern was included on Thrillist's list of the nation's 33 best pizzas. The sauce-on-top square pies have a loyal following. 

"Red-sauced bakery pies are as much a South Philly staple as being ejected from a Phillies game, and, just like Phillies fans, Stogie Joe's takes it to the next level, serving their square pies upside-down with their signature spicy-sweet tomato sauce floating above the cheese blanketing a Sicilian-style crust."

Original source: Thrillist
Read the complete list here.

School closings create strange bedfellows on the gridiron

The closing of Germantown High School sent players to rival Martin Luther King High School. The New York Times took a close look at the blended squad.

What was once unthinkable to many players had become intimate and binding. Most of King’s current roster played last season at archrival Germantown High School in northwest Philadelphia. Few could have imagined the schools merging, the teams playing as one.

When King last defeated Germantown in their annual Thanksgiving Day game, in 2010, the players brawled with fists and helmets. The police intervened.

But austerity has trumped rivalry. Facing a $304 million budget shortfall, the chronically troubled Philadelphia School District closed 23 schools in June. The closings included Germantown, one of the nation’s oldest high schools, which opened in 1914 and closed a year shy of its centennial. Most of its students would now attend King. The two schools were about a mile apart and shared a tense history.


Original source: The New York Times
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Chester County hamlet named nation's 10th best small town

West Goshen made CNN Money's list of America's best small towns to live in, based on green space, schools, economic opportunity and community. The Chester County hamlet came in at No. 10.

West Goshen Township has a lush, suburban feel, with quiet, tree-shaded residential areas, lovely parks, and a full slate of community activities.

Looking for larger-scale entertainment? The King of Prussia Mall, America's largest shopping center, is only 20 minutes away. Surrounding the town is store- and restaurant-packed West Chester, a hamlet that serves as the area's unofficial downtown.

West Goshen also boasts an array of local employers, including Comcast and QVC, and is an easy commute to the economic hubs of Philadelphia and Wilmington, Del. If your heart's set on moving into a brand-new house, keep in mind that some newer residential developments lack personality and are expensive compared with older homes.


Original source: CNN Money
Check out the complete list here.

The Atlantic Cities highlights Fishtown's 'Rust Belt Rising Almanac'

The Atlantic Cities chatted with Nic Esposito, urban farmer and founder of The Head & The Hand Press.

A small publisher and writers' workspace, The Head & the Hand Press, has just published Rust Belt Rising Almanac, a literary quarterly showcasing snapshots and essays on life in industrial American cities (including, of course, Philadelphia). The volume invites "Courteous Readers" to read about escapes, remains, and models of growth, and is at turns cheeky and earnest, with such section titles as "On Reverse Pioneering," "On the Anatomy of Coal-Fired Power Plant," and "On the Collective and the Communal."

Original Source: The Atlantic Cities
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'Game of Thrones' scribes pen 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' episode

David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, the showrunners behind Game of Thrones on HBO, have written an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia based on novella 'Flowers for Algernon." Sign us up. The episode was shot on-location in Philadelphia -- a small change from Benioff and Weiss' normal shooting sites in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia.

No matter what the title of the show promises, the skies over this location shoot for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” had offered only thunderstorms broken up by occasional periods of mugginess. Maybe that was typical weather for this recent summer morning, or maybe it was the influence of the authors of the scene about to be filmed, who were thousands of miles away, busy with their regularly foreboding duties...

In one of their few outside writing assignments, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Benioff wanted to split sides in the figurative sense, not requiring broadswords or battle-axes. They pursued “It’s Always Sunny” not only because they were fans of the show and its creator, Mr. McElhenney, but also because its humor and fast-paced half-hour format would challenge them.

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

The Times' Frank Bruni visits Vetri, temporarily reborn as Le Bec-Fin

Marc Vetri honored the recently shuttered Le Bec-Fin by transforming his flagship restaurant into a three-nights-only homage. Former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni made the pilgrimage.

Mr. Perrier opened Le Bec-Fin in 1970 and presided over it for more than four heady decades, a titan of the Philadelphia dining scene and a legend well beyond it. He was classic French cuisine personified, at least in America. The gold standard. The grand homme.

And for Le Bec-Fin’s first 13 years, before he moved it to larger, more regal digs just six or so blocks away, it occupied the brick town house that is now Vetri. That’s what gave Mr. Vetri the idea of briefly recreating Le Bec-Fin in its childhood and arguably its prime, so that food lovers who hadn’t been quite ready to bid adieu to it, himself included, could revel in its onetime glory as a way of saying a fitting farewell.

This took planning. This took preparation. In addition to the formal wear for the staff and the harp player for the vestibule, there was the matter of the sign: Mr. Vetri wanted to hang Le Bec-Fin’s original wood one out front. No one could find it. So he had a replica made...


Waiters practiced not only balletic movements and gestures but correct pronunciation.

"We've been sitting around repeating 'oeuf au caviar,' 'oeuf au caviar'," said Bobby Domenick, a sommelier and captain at Vetri, referring to one of the three amuse-bouches, an egg with caviar. He added that Mr. Perrier had linguistically tutored them, a Henry Higgins of haute cuisine.


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

Penn doctors examine the black-white divide in breast cancer outcomes

For years, scientists and doctors have puzzled over the disparity in outcomes between white and black breast cancer sufferers. A team at the University of Pennsylvania recently published a report on the subject.

The findings were striking. Over all, white women with breast cancer lived three years longer than black women. Of the women studied, nearly 70 percent of white women lived at least five years after diagnosis, while 56 percent of black women were still alive five years later. The difference is not explained by more aggressive cancers among black women. Instead, the researchers found a troubling pattern in which black women were less likely to receive a diagnosis when their cancer was at an early stage and most curable. In addition, a significant number of black women also receive lower-quality cancer care after diagnosis, although those differences do not explain the survival gap.

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