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Say It Ain't So: Vintage departures board at 30th Street to be replaced

Time stops for no one and nothing, but that doesn't make the thought of losing the flipping departures board -- and its iconic flapping sound -- at 30th Street Station any less sad.

The ticking departures board at Philadelphia's main train station could make its own exit soon. Just how long the letters will continue to flip and signal passing trains at 30th Street Station remains in question.

Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert says the plan to swap the Solari board with a digitized model is in its early design phase with no replacement timeline. A flipboard has directed station travelers for at least 35 years.

Tolbert says the model has grown obsolete, making it difficult to find replacement parts.

Amtrak wants to improve the passenger experience with easier-to-read displays and says a digitized board with synchronized audio and visual components would comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Original source: Associated Press
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West Passyunk food festival feeds South Philly on September 10

Move over East Passyunk -- the western stretch of this diagonal avenue is coming into its own with a growing restaurant scene. This fall fest will celebrate its evolution. 

West Passyunk's culinary establishments will come together on Sept. 10 from 12-8 p.m. for the second annual SausageFest, taking place along the corridor between South Broad and 15th streets.

One of the purposes of the festival is to highlight West Passyunk Avenue's growing restaurant scene, which has fallen behind its burgeoning eastern counterpart that's seen restaurant openings like P'Unk Burger and Filipino BYOB Perla, and upcoming additions like Manatawny Still Works out of Pottstown, which will open a tasting room.

“After many years of watching East Passyunk Avenue blossom into a regionally significant restaurant district, the residents of Newbold and West Passyunk in South Philly are now getting their chance to experience an explosion of fine dining," said Timothy Lidiak, president of the Newbold Community Development Corp.

First came Chaat & Chai in 2015 by Anney Thomas and Margie Felton just off Passyunk Avenue on 16th Street and Snyder Avenue, followed by La Mula Terca — or The Stubborn Mule — on the 2100 block of Snyder by Israel Nocelo andArturo Lorenzo, who also own Café y Chocolate across the street.

"These new restaurants are now beginning to attract new residents to the Newbold and West Passyunk neighborhoods, which in turn is developing an increased demand for more new eateries," Lidiak said.

Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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Obama coming to Philadelphia on September 13

The President will join Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in the City of Brotherly Love. 

[Obama's] appearance in the city is scheduled for Sept. 13, the Clinton campaign said Friday. The time and location of the event haven't been announced, though people interested in attending can sign up online.

"At a public event, President Obama will lay out the high stakes of November's election for Pennsylvania families and encourage Pennsylvanians to register to vote ahead of the October 11 deadline," the campaign said. "He will urge Pennsylvanians to support Clinton and her vision for an America that is stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top."

Original source: Philly.com
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Curbed Philly catalogues the '15 ugliest buildings in Philadelphia'

We don't agree with every entry on this list, but it's still a fun look at some of Philly's quirkier structures. Check it out here. 

Original source: Curbed Philly

UberEATS looks to feed Philadelphia

The on-demand delivery service continues its expansion, landing in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Talk of the ride-sharing company bringing its UberEATS service to Philadelphia has been around for months now, following an earlier job opening posted by Uber indicating Philadelphia was in line for the service. Uber quickly squashed any talk that it would be coming to the city.

Uber, however, has ended that months-long wait. UberEATS will [made] its official Philadelphia debut at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

UberEATS will be separate from the Uber app, so new users must download the dedicated UberEATS app. Users can use their existing Uber account, including home address and credit card information, for UberEATS when they get started.
The app is available on iOS and Android devices, and online.

Philadelphia is one of the first 25 cities to receive the standalone app after it launched in 2015 in Toronto, Canada. Other cities that have it include San Francisco and London. A select few beta users already got a peek at the app, which had a soft launch in Philadelphia on Monday.

Original source: Philadelphia Business Journal
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17 Philadelphia region groceries get OK to sell wine under new law

Under new legislation, some Pennsylvania grocery stores and restaurants are now eligible to sell wine. 17 regional establishments are moving towards that goal, but only one in Philadelphia proper (Port Richmond Thriftway, 2497 Aramingo Ave., Philadelphia).

Wine aficionados — or those looking to buy wine along with their other grocery items — will be able to do so at nearly 20 Philadelphia-area grocery stores and other food-and-beverage establishments.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board this week approved up to 84 wine expanded permits, following a bill that expanded wine and beer sales in grocery stores, licensed restaurants, hotels and bars went into affect on Aug. 8...

Each permit was approved after verification that the applicant met all statutory requirements and provided information required for the permit to be granted, according to the Control Board, which said a wine expanded permit can't be granted unless the licensee is certified through the Responsible Alcohol Management Program.

Original source: NBC 10
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Strength of U.S. Women's Field Hockey team born in PA

Though they've since been knocked out, the U.S. field hockey team had an impressive run in Rio. And the squad's Pennsylvania roots run deep. 

Take a glance at the Olympic roster for the United States women's field hockey team, and you'll notice a recurring theme — 12 of the 25 players on the undefeated squad are from Pennsylvania.
The state's success in the sport goes back decades. Beth Anders, the leading overall women's scorer at the 1984 Olympics, is from Norristown. Ten of the 16 players on that bronze-medal winning team were from Pennsylvania...
"To a large degree, it's self-fulfilling," USA field hockey executive director Simon Hoskins said. "The elite players become elite coaches in that area, and they help develop the next generation of athletes. It's been a virtuous cycle of ever-improving hockey, and now we're at this level that — we can compete with anyone. We're world-beaters right now, which is great to see."

...Pennsylvania's success prompted the national program to move its headquarters to Lancaster in 2013. U.S. coach Craig Parnham said the training site was moved from Chula Vista, California, so the players could train together and build camaraderie while being close to family and friends. The facility, about a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia, is appropriately named the "Home of Hockey."

Original source: Associated Press via The New York Times
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A fight to save Jewelers Row

Toll Brothers is planning to demolish five properties on this historic commercial corridor. Can the city rally to save an essential piece of Philly's urban fabric? 

A day after city officials confirmed Toll's moves to clear five properties from Jewelers Row and replace them with an 80-unit tower, a pall of uncertainty has settled over the street.

Retailers and craftspeople who have operated on the row for years - if not decades - huddled on sidewalks sharing information, wondering how they'd been kept in the dark about Toll's plans.

"I'm so angry, it's unbelievable," said Frank G. Schaffer, proprietor of FGS Gems in one of the Jewelers Row buildings eyed for demolition. "You don't just uproot a business like this and move."

...The Sansom Street jewelers weren't the only ones distressed by Toll's plans.

An online petition posted late Thursday asking Philadelphia planning and development director Anne Fadullon to intervene against the development had attracted more than 1,000 signatures by late Friday afternoon.

Fadullon said in an statement that she welcomes the historic preservation community's input on the proposal and hopes the situation leads "to a broader conversation of how we can meet both our historic preservation responsibilities and our economic development needs."

Original source: Philly.com
Read the complete story here; to sign a petition to save the buildings, click here

A development with 'social impact' at 8th and Race?

One of the city's largest and most central vacant lots -- Race Street between 8th and 9th -- is the subject of an RFP from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. They are looking for an impact that goes beyond profit.

Later this month, PRA will release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the lot. For the first time, the Authority will require developers to describe the “social impact” of their development proposals. The social impact component is open-ended, including anything from affordable housing and minority-business participation to healthy food access, job creation, or even simple cash donations to nonprofits or community groups. Greg Heller, the director of the PRA, says he’s just hoping to be convinced that a particular proposal will be the best one for the neighborhood and the city.

“PRA’s mission is to return publicly owned land to active use in a way that benefits people and communities,” Heller wrote in an email. “Scoring projects in part based on their social impact is a way of making sure that we are fulfilling that mission and our responsibility to the public.”

...The lot at 8th and Race has 80,000 square feet of buildable area, and PRA has been assembling it since the 1980s, according to Heller. It’s zoned for commercial use and doesn’t have many limits on the scale of development, so a developer could potentially put something very big on the site. The property is one of several, along with the Police Department’s “Roundhouse” and several federal buildings, that form a weird borderland between Chinatown and Old City.

Original source: Philadelphia Magazine
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Cutting-edge cancer treatments showcased in NYTimes; Philly leads the way

An exceptional series in the New York Times shines a light on immunotherapy and cancer. Some of the big advancements are happening right here in Philadelphia.

Dr. Rosenberg, Dr. Carl H. June of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Michel Sadelain of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have been at the forefront of this research for decades, laboring in separate labs in an intense sometimes-cooperative, sometimes-competitive pursuit to bring to fruition a daring therapy that few colleagues believed would work. Now, versions of the therapy for a limited number of blood cancers are nearing approval by federal regulators, and could reach the market as early as next year...

“We’re in the Model T version of the CAR now,” said Dr. Levine, now the director of the cell production facility at the University of Pennsylvania. “What’s coming along are Google CARs and Tesla CARs.”

In February, the Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics opened on the ninth floor of a Penn medical building, paid for mainly by $20 million from Novartis. It has gleaming new laboratory space, clean rooms with the capacity to manufacture therapy for 400 patients a year, and a great view of downtown Philadelphia. On the wall are photographs of patients with success stories, like Doug Olson running a half-marathon and, of course, Emily Whitehead.

Original source: The New York Times
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The Museum of the American Revolution sets sail with life-size ship

The upcoming Museum of the American Revolution will feature a seaworthy attraction to lure in visitors.

Builders working with the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia are crafting half of a ship — which at 45 feet can still impress in scope and scale — to invite visitors to learn a lesser known story of the Revolution through the lesser known 14-year-old James Forten.
The ship will act as one of the museum's primary immersive exhibits, explore maritime involvement in the Revolution and highlight Forten, a free African-American boy who served on a privateer ship and later became a prominent abolitionist and wealthy Philadelphia businessman. The museum is set to open in April just two blocks from Independence Hall...

So, to help the public learn more about the war effort and allow them to easily walk aboard a Revolutionary era boat, the museum asked for a ship that wouldn't float. Building such a ship was a bit counterintuitive for experienced shipwright Mark Donahue.
"We're building a boat that won't float. It kind of messes around with our minds some of the time," said Donahue, director of the Workshop of the Water at the Independence Seaport Museum.
Donahue led some 20 people tasked with crafting the $175,000 replica in a nearly yearlong process. About one-thousand pieces will be transferred to the museum in August to reassemble the ship on site.

Original source: Associated Press
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The war over dumpster pools

Philly residents are always looking for creative ways to cool down. Now a Cedar Street Block Party has led the City to push back against the innovative practice of turning dumpsters into summer cool-down spots.

Karen Guss, communications director for the Department of Licenses and Inspections, told [NPR] that it was "just another day for us":

"In view of the City's commitment to public health, safety and basic common sense, we will not issue permits for block party dumpster pools. And while you would think this decision would not require an explanation, three days of press requests have proven otherwise. So, Philly, here's why you shouldn't swim in a receptacle most often used for waste:
— First and foremost, this could reduce the amount of water available should a fire break out in that neighborhood. So if you would like to have water available should a fire break out in your home, don't illegally tap a hydrant.
—  There is also the potential loss of life by injury due to the hydrant water pushing a small child or even an adult into oncoming traffic.
— Finally, remember that the pressure of the water coming out of the hydrant is so strong, and so powerful, that if opened too quickly or closed too quickly, it could deliver a jolt to the main of sufficient force that could break the main ... and many blocks could lose water service until it is repaired.
— We are not screwing around, Philly. The Streets Department will not issue any future block party permits to the 2400 block of Cedar, and officials have contacted the dumpster rental company regarding its failures to obtain the proper closure permits and to take mandatory measures to protect the street during placement of the dumpster."

Bummer, dude. 

Original source: NPR
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National pubs weigh in on Philadelphia, host city

If Jennifer Weiner managed to irritate you in The New York Times, head to the Washington Post for a more nuanced, loving portrait of the city from Karen Heller. 

Philadelphia is a city of stoops and row homes and civic squares. Rittenhouse Square is our sumptuous shared living room and Washington Square our front garden. We’re all about the neighborhoods, fiercely championed, some of them very nice, indeed, and others so busted by poverty they will break your heart...

“I’m over ‘Rocky,’ ” says Mayor Jim Kenney, who took office in January but not before dressing up as Buddy the Elf for a Christmas event. “I love it, but we’re so much more than that. It’s got a younger feel. The rising immigration levels have given it a different tone...”

After years of fretting about the “brain drain” — legions of college students leaving after graduation — the city has attracted a vital new core of young adults. In recent years, it has become — there is really no other word for it — hip, not through any government initiative and certainly not reduced taxes (hah!), but because Philadelphia is absurdly affordable, sandwiched between cities like Washington and New York that are so woefully not. Says Kenney, “You can rent a three-bedroom house with a basement for what a bathroom rents for in New York.”

Original source: The Washington Post
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Vogue releases its 'Ultimate Philadelphia Travel Guide'

The fashion magazine uses the DNC as a hook to run down tips for a high-class visit to Philadelphia. Think shopping, snacking and cocktails.

Starting today, Philadelphia is hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention. The birthplace of America is an apt gathering spot for the politically minded conventiongoers—its historic core is present at every turn, but today, it exudes a fresh, dynamic spirit. Here, you’re just as likely to find yourself examining a centuries-old scroll as you are sipping a vegan cocktail or pedaling past a rainbow-painted crosswalk in the “Gayborhood.” Whether you come for the politics or opt for a less frenetic time to visit, explore Philadelphia’s world-class art collections, exciting food scene, verdant public spaces, and of course, storied past.

Original source: Vogue
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CBS News (and Mo Rocca) tour Philadelphia

Mo Rocca brought his zany humor to a tour of Philadelphia with Governor Ed Rendell (we endorse their cheesesteak choice: Dalessandro's), and CBS News also took the time to tell the story of the city through its murals

Check out the videos here and here

Original source: CBS News 
985 Articles | Page: | Show All
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