30 November 06: At last: Green Party in City Hall

It's a City Hall double shot kinda day just like it's a double shot espresso kinda afternoon.

For all your environmental concerns and your love of open spaces, the good folks at Green Plan Philadelphia have prepared a fun presentation for this evening in the mayor's reception room (202) at City Hall (7pm?). There's a PDF preview in that linked page there.

Speaking of City Hall, that picture above was taken yesterday morning. As you can see, the scaffolding is nearly gone, and the Swedes, Indians and eagles by Calder are again basking in fresh air. Next thing you know, it'll be 2010 and all the scaffolding on City Hall will have been removed, just in time for the next round of cleaning to begin.

Some mailed in observations for your Thursday afternoon . . .
  1. ALBERT PUJOLS IS A WHINY LITTLE BITCH: Seriously, Poo-Hole. All that good guy schtick you earned in the last few years is out the window. First you say the Tigers aren't any good, then you hit .200 in the World Series, and now you're saying RyHo didn't deserve the MVP. Seriously: shut up, stupid. You won last year's MVP, you won the World Series, and you clearly don't understand "valuable." Pat Gillick went on record saying the Phillies' 2006 season was out of reach when he traded Bobby Abreu and Cory Lidle, yet Ryan Howard had a Triple Crown second half of the season, single handedly keeping the Phillies in contention. And when they fell short in the last couple weeks, it is solely because opposing teams pitched around Ryan Howard. Plus the dude hit 58 homers with 149 RBIs. For real for real, Poo-Hole: all those sour grapes make for some really nasty whine. He best believe he'll have attained Philly boos worthy of Barry Bonds.

  2. RETURN OF THE GOOD BURGER: On a lighter note, however, Fen Branklin is back up in the Skyline's area. Jeremy Burger's tour through University City is slated for debut here next week. On a related note, an RBM looksee of Southwest Philly's Eastwick neighborhood is on the horizon, too.

  3. WUTZISS ABOUT BRIDGEMAN'S VIEW TOWER? That's the subject of tomorrow's update, as a matter of fact. Tomorrow, the first day of December, First Friday, My Morning Jacket at the Electric Factory, and a BVT roundup. Sounds like a plan, Stan.

–B Love

29 November 06: I was just Frontin'

And we're over the hump, huzzah!

While we admit that most of our Philly Skyline construction attention has been turned on the behemoth du cable tv, we haven't totally ignored all those cranes that've popped up around town. The Murano section is finally taking shape, a Residences at the Ritz section will soon follow, and I swear on the Quran, an all inclusive construction section will be live soon. It'll somehow be folded into The Skinny, which too will be revamped and assisted by friend of skyline Michelle; all this and more in our 2007 resolutions.

But never mind all those empty promises! Let's deliver on a good'n here. Down in Old City, another parking lot has bitten the dust, and for the most part it's happened under the radar. Revolution Development's 22 Front, designed by Hans P Stein, is the type of infill project other vacant lot holders in Center City could learn from. Not massive, not small. Not expensive, but not cheap. 22 Front and 1352 Lofts have each found this solid medium ground, where a project like Kings Court is over the top and The National looks like it was pieced together from a Home Depot truck (which is really too bad because the actual National Building, the orange deco one, is fantastic).

Anyhoo, 22 Front. Big windows, actual masonry (as opposed to prefab panels one might find at, oh, Citizens Bank Park), underground parking, a private courtyard . . . it's not too shabby. These photos of current construction progress and the views from the units (of which there will be 42 spread out over seven floors, by the way) on Monday. Clicking that graphic will launch the gallery page (30 pics total).

–B Love

29 November 06: All quiet on the riverfront

For the moment, that is. A riverfront Hump Day Umpdate is under construction for an afternoon arrival.

–B Love

28 November 06: Adam's eatin, but the MVP's gotta be hungry

Sorry non sports fans, today's post is all Phillies.

Lawd have mercy . . . Pat Gillick's caught Ed Wade fever! Billy King and Chris Webber must have been in the room for contract negotiations with Adam Eaton. The righthanded former Phils draft pick has already had Tommy John surgery (just like Wolfie!), is fresh off a 5.12 ERA season. That's good enough for $8M in each of the next three seasons in hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, answering the question "who will fill the Cory Lidle mediocre filler void?" Meanwhile, the Phils staff is one lefty lesser, as Randy Wolf just signed with the Dodgers. In related news, David Dellucci went to the Cleveland, where the man will finally play every day.

This just in: Ryan Howard is scheduled to make $355K again in 2007, good for 14th on the team, behind Jeff Conine, Julio Santana (remember him?) and Ryan Madson. (Chase Utley is 12th at $500K.) Also note: Pat the Bat is #1 at $9.75M and Jon Lieber is second at $7.583M. [ESPN Team Salaries.]

Ryan Howard and Chase Utley aren't eligible for arbitration till 2008, but that doesn't mean the Phillies can't make like the Mets with Jose Reyes and David Wright and re-sign each of them to long term contracts. Phillies management has always walked on egg shells to keep everybody (but the fans) happy. Why can't we make a move to keep the two most obvious assets to the team happy? It's not like Chase and RyHo can't live on a couple hundred thousand a year with all expenses paid, but when Adam Freaking Eaton rolls up to spring training in a Bentley, some heads are going to turn. At least dude is young (29) and can still develop into a solid starter . . . right?

Here's another idea for the Phillies: let's try Burrell in the 3-hole with Howard 4th and Utley 5th. Howard will finally have some protection behind him, and Burrell will get tons of strikes to hit, which can only serve to boost his confidence (provided he actually hits said strikes). Pat's our man in leftfield; let's pull for the guy and give him something we can all work with. And let's use that money we didn't spend on Alfonso Soriano on our homegrown superstars. C'mon, Gillick. Do this thing.

–B Love

27 November 06: Happy Holiday Overkill!

We've given our thanks, so all that's left of 2006 is KONSUMER KRAZINESS!!! It's like kondo kra-zay only predictable and reliable, and we can only imagine (HOPE) that Nydia Han will do a consumer report on how busy stores are for the holidays. Kay Jeweler did the unthinkable and licensed a segment of It's a Wonderful Life for its nauseatingly corny new ads. With any luck, Burger King will run a spot with the king and those sunsabitches Bumpus hounds coming in and stealing a bunch of burgers, and then at the Chinese restaurant it's Brooke Burke who's in tears because the dude chopped off the goose's head. Who do we need to talk to to make this happen?

While it's still November and we're on the holiday subject, there are a few gripes we'd like to get out of the way before the real holidays kick in and we sound like a bunch of Andy Rooneys.
  1. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS: It has been, it is, and it always will be How the Grinch Stole Christmas, not The Grinch That Stole Christmas. Which Grinch is it? Oh, the Grinch that stole Christmas! No. There's only one Grinch. And he stole Christmas. This is how he did it.

  2. BEE 101, OFFENSIVELY UNOFFENSIVE: Come on now. Do people really listen to this ALL DAY LONG in their cubicles and stuck in traffic on 76? Pam on The Office is a character, not a real person. (Philly Skyline staff would like to apologize for dropping an American sitcom reference just then.) If you really DO listen to B101 all day, how do you honestly stomach hearing the same songs 3-4 times a day? Do you believe in love after love three times a day, seven years after the first time you heard it three times a day? We may listen to Bob Dylan every day, but he's got 40some albums and it could be a month between "Like a Rolling Stone"s.

    Ah well. At least now that it's all xmas all the time, you'll get some variety, right? "Last Christmas" by Wham? "Father Christmas" by the Kinks? "If We Make It Through December" by Merle Haggard? "Merry Muthaphukkin Christmas" by the late, great Eazy E? Who do we need to talk to to make this happen?

    (As an aside, props to Johnny Goodtimes for turning up in a google image search for 'Eazy E'.)

  3. PHILLY, SPARKIN' MAD TREES: But seriously. Now that it's (soon to be) Christmastime, the city is kickin' into gear. Rittenhouse Square had its lighting ceremony on Friday and maaaan, they went all white this year. Classin' up the joint, are we? It doesn't look bad, but next year we want our candy land lights back. Actually, let's roll with these white lights at least for a night -- can we have a foot of snow drop sometime between now and New Year's? Who do we need to talk to to make this happen?

  4. COMCAST AT CHRISTMASTIME: Also: that picture up top there is of course from the plaza at the Art Museum. You can see Comcast Center bustin' up against the Bell Atlantic Tower (and you can see more pictures like it in our Comcast Center section, now up to 80 November pictures). The concrete core is just inches below the roof of the BAT, and this week when they raise the slip forms, it'll take it over as the fourth tallest building in the city. Comcast Center is now solidly a part of our skyline, and before you know it, all the local news outlets will run stories on how Comcast Center is now solidly a part of our skyline. You can tell 'em DUH, I've been watching the whole thing on Philly Skyline! (See how this works? Philly Skyline? The Philly Skyline?) Really doe: we've enjoyed covering Comcast Center since before it was a hole in the ground, and we'll be watching it climb even higher, even if it means taking trips to Paoli or Collingswood for fresh new views of the new skyline.

  5. PHILLY SKYLINE PROMISES FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Prolly oughta make that new years resolutions, but whatev. We've been promising a Rittenhouse Square architecture essay, an essay on garages, a portrait series, and the Great Cheesesteak Debate for a long time now . . . and they're gonna happen! But not before we get our 2007 calendar out the door. That will be ready in the next couple weeks, but 100% without fail mos def before Christmas. That's the priority right now. We're also in the proocess of replacing the "news" section in the header graphic with a "store" section since that news ain't news any more. These things, plus The G-Ho House of Bad Karma, an updated Skinny, a CREI perspective, and our continuing thoughts on cabbies and the Frankford-Tacony-Tookany Creek, this December on da skyline.

Speaking of Eazy-E, WOW check out this video. I remember playing Baseball Stars at my boy Gus's grandma's house in 8th grade listening to this song. Check out the minivan, the running man and Ice Cube's background demeanor. The flashback on the fast track, peace out and happy Monday.

–B Love

24 November 06: A Friday so black:
Philly Skyline goes down the toilet

What's that smell? Why, it's only the latest technology embraced by City Hall! If you've been backed up for the last month, DMac has all the back story you need on this, the CITY TOILET.

The city has at last embraced an idea Ed Rendell has supported and installed a public pay toilet -- right next to half a dozen port-o-potties. But for 25 cents, you have the option of bright lights and dance music that you've only dreamed of inside a Johnny on the Spot.

Modern. Automatic. For profit. This is not your grandaddy's loo. Suck down the rest of that soda and come along for this latest Philly Skyline review: the City Toilet. (Click that image there to launch.)

–B Love

23 November 06:

Who doesn't love a good Schuylkill turkey, even in the driving, windy, cold November rain?

It was six years ago this Thanksgiving day that I stepped off of the now-defunct Three Rivers train, up into 30th Street Station and my life in Philadelphia. (I headed straight to Dalessandro's for a cheesesteak and then to the Electric Factory for a Roots show before I even went to sleep that night.) Six years in, I gotta give thanks -- thanks to my friends, thanks to the things I love about this city, and thanks to you, the good community of Philly Skyline.

So, thanks. Eat, drink and be merry!

–B Love

21 November 06: Steady as she goes

With the glass installation, anyway. Can't say as much for the photographer, who could either use a new tripod or less coffee.

What we have here, on this 21st day of November, is the installation of the 4th floor of glass at Comcast Center. By our count, the steel is on the 41st floor and the concrete core is at #46, making the tip-top of of the massing 732', or 7' shy of the top of the Bell Atlantic Tower. So, next time the slip forms rise, Comcast Center will be the city's 4th tallest building, with Mellon Bank Center next at 792'.

As Comcast Center grows, so does the only web site officially endorsed by Comcast which tracks its construction: Philly Skyline! Check the progress out HERE.

And, you can compare the 50 tallest buildings in the city HERE. Revamping the buildings section is near the top of our current to-do list, so check back for that let's say after Thanksgiving.

Let's also say that after Thanksgiving but before Christmas, the 2007 Philly Skyline calendar will be ready for action, perfect for your stainless steel refrigerator or cubicle partition or Widdy brand dartboard (Kenzo reprazent!).

Steady as she goes, indeed. (Props to All Proper for that, by the way.) Speaking of the Raconteurs, we're gonna Yank on YouTube to relive one of the concert highlights from the weekend, their cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang". (The video below is from a performance in England but you get the idea.) Their sound translated surprisingly well to the basketball arena venue, and Bob Dylan . . . I've seen the old boy four times, and this was far and away the best of them. "Masters of War" really hit the spot.

A few shouts that need to be made on this Tuesday, usually the best day of the week . . .
  1. YO BEN HEROLD: We mentioned yesterday the doc flick coming out on Cornbread and Philly graffiti. This month, the Greater Philadelphia Film Office's filmmaker spotlight belongs to Ben Herold's forthcoming First Person documentary, which follows six Philly public high schoolers as they reach for their goal of making college. [First Person Documentary.] [GPFO Spotlight.]

  2. YO SUSANNA FOO: A single day after her assault charge was dropped in exchange for community service, Susanna Foo cut the ribbon to her new Daroff-designed space next door to the Radnor Hotel, Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen. [Su Foo.]

  3. YO RYAN HOWARD: Aw shucks big guy. Just one more bigup for winning the National League MVP, dude. Check the Phillies' ceremony courtesy of photos by the Inquirer's Charles Fox. [Inquirer.]

  4. YO NATE WILEY: I'll forever be one of the pleased in the crowd. G-Ho's live jazz musical scene just suffered a major loss, as Bob & Barbara's legend Nate Wiley has passed at 83. [Philebrity.]

  5. YO TYRONE: God, I love my hometown. Where else would you have to kill animals to save animals? A chili cookoff is being held on Sunday to benefit the Central PA Humane Society. [Tyrone PA.]

    Using that as a segue, keep your eyes tuned to this 'ere site for details about our very own chili cookoff. Think: cold nights, cold beer and stone cold rock & roll. Coming soon, but not as soon as the 2007 Calendar.

–B Love

20 November 06: Happy birthday, you're the MVP

Yes, it's a cold, cold day in Philadelphia. The murder tally is up to 363, Donovan McNabb is done, Andre Waters is dead, Alfonso Soriano is a Cub, not a Phillie.

But WE GOT OURSELVES AN MVP! Proving that there actually is a god of baseball, the Phillies' Ryan Howard won the National League MVP. RyHo was the sole reason the Phillies were in the playoff hunt in August and September, and teams pitching around him down the stretch is the sole reason they didn't make the playoffs. There's no denying that value. Congrats, RyHo, and happy birthday too. (Yesterday was his big 2-7.) Seems like a great time to re-sign him, no?

Turning to our Monday Afternoon Lookin' Up then . . .
  1. SORIANO, REMINDING US OF THE REALITY OF PAT BURRELL: Did anyone honestly think the Phillies were going to sign Alfonso Soriano? Aramis Ramirez? Carlos Lee? Puhleeze. We're not even going to re-sign David Dellucci. Sorry Boobirds, but Pat the Bat is going to be our starting leftfielder on opening day. Let's give him a second third fourth chance at winning our hearts, ok? He may not protect RyHo in the lineup, and he may not energize a team like an Utley or Rollins, but until he and only he says otherwise, Burrell is a Phillie. Let's work with this. C'mon Pat, we know you can do it.

  2. JUST A FOOL IN LOVE WITH DARLING LORRAINE: The Divine Lorraine is without a doubt the It Building of Philly this year, and she always poses so pretty for the pictures. See Brandy's, RBM's, John's and now Michael Wirtz's spreads to accompany Joseph Slobodzian's Sunday Inquirer story on the building's rummage sale.

  3. CORNBREAD READ, NOW FILMED: Graffiti pioneer and legend Cornbread rose from the streets of Brewerytown to tag everything from the tops of skyscrapers under construction to a live elephant. Ridley Park filmmaker Sean McKnight found Cornbread's story so compelling that he's made a film tentatively scheduled for December release that is as much about the art-vs-destruction graffiti debate as it is about Cornbread's ups, downs and ups. [The Legend of Cornbread.]

  4. INGA, TOTALLY GROSSED OUT: Mayor Street has called, a week after its sale to Wal-Mart was announced, for historic designation for Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic, in hopes that it'll at very least extend the withering counteroffer period. That seems unlikely, considering the counteroffer period was written into the terms of service, but indeed, here's hoping. Inga Saffron's story on Jefferson's -- and Gross' -- place in the city is, as usual, excellent. [Changing Skyline.]

  5. A GRATUITOUS PICTURE OF OUR PRESIDENT IN A DRESS: Oh thank heaven for tradition -- it leads to photo ops like these. I'll leave the rest to Lady Wonk. [Wonkette.]

–B Love

19 November 06: Decisions, decisions

Should I stay or should I go? City or country? A common road or the path less traveled? The comfort and ease of the train or the freedom and rush of driving? Dylan or Raconteurs? Paper or plastic? The filet or the lobster? THIS IS TEARING ME UP, MAN.

Stay tuned for answers, or turn to page 63.

(Be back in a bit.)

–B Love

17 November 06: Zzzzzzzzzzooooooooooooom!

Life in the fast lane . . . buckle up, yo. Dig Cira Centre on the right of that picture there -- that's a 30 second exposure of stop-n-go traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway, begun while going under Spring Garden Street and exposing till right around the 676 exit.

It's another beautiful Friday so we're going to have to phone in another update here, but we'll be back on track after a capital weekend. You've seen Dylanology on Philebrity for the past two weeks and the Bob is at the Spectrum on Saturday, but me, I'm making it an excuse to head to DC and catch the show down there tonight. Bob will take us home with one of my favorite Dylan tracks ever, "Gotta Serve Somebody". It was the huge, Grammy winning smash from the beginning of his religified period, which was also the beginning of the end of his voice. You can hear the crackling sand in it, but how can you not love it? Jesus is just all right with me too, Bob.

Real quick then, check this stuff out:
  1. PORT RICHMOND LOVE: We've gotten a number of Port Richmond neighborhood tour requests, and we will indeed one day soon make a go of it. We've been meaning to have dinner at Syrenka for ages anyway. (Meat cakes anyone?) Until that day rolls around, Bob Feenan has a nice little sampler HERE, and a whole lotta Port Richmond exists at The Official Website of Port Richmond, InPortRichmond.com.

  2. SCHUYLKILL PUNCH ONLINE: Tell me this isn't the coolest background you ever saw on Philadelphia's water system, from creeks to streams to sewers to the stuff you shower yourself with every other morning. PhillyH2O.org.

  3. WEBBER: "TIMEOUT! I WANT OUTTA HERE": Joe Juliano and David Aldridge report this morning for the Inquirer this morning that the Sacramento Bee (user/pass: bugmenot/bugmenot) that Chris Webber wants a trade. #1: is it news when a newspaper writes a story about another newspaper writing a story? (I suppose it could be since blogs write blogs about blogs.) #2: Webber never explicitly says he wants a trade, just that "I don't like this role," he said. "So, you can take that however you want." #3: Why is the Sac Bee covering Webber? The Sixers don't play the Kings until after Christmas, and Webber was pretty much the only reason the "Queens" could never get past Shaq and the Lakers in the late 90s. #4: Ehh, whatever. If it's true, don't let the door hit you on the way out, C-Webb. $20.7M this year, and $22.3M next year on 33+ year old bad legs? Oof. Good luck getting rid of that salary, Billy.

Man, who cares about Chris Webber when there's a great weekend on the horizon? You enjoy yours now, wouldja?

–B Love

15 November 06: There's a bright yellow sphere in the sky and I don't trust it

Seriously, I thought this place was all rain all the time all of a sudden.

This Happy Hump Day Umpdate isn't going to be much of one at all, but we did want to chime in and remind everyone how wonderfully wonderful the Morning Glory is. Frittatas of love. Biscuits of heaven. Potatoes so savory with homemade ketchup so flavory. Coffee in a metal cup that never gets hot. The best grits in town. My man Ray with the tattoos. An undefeated track record. (The tofu scrambler is the only thing we've ever really not loved, but then that's what we get for ordering tofu.)

We love you Sam's Morning Glory Diner, and we salute our morning glory to you. You'll always be #1. (10th & Fitzwater, seven days a week, but be prepared to wait if you go on the weekend.) [morningglorydiner.com.]

Chase Utley agrees, so here's hoping he gets to introduce Alfonso Soriano to a stack o' glory cakes. MLB.com says the Phils have offered Soriano a contract, the Inquirer says they have not, but may today.

Whatever the case may be, we hope the Phillies do something right (like let Scott Graham go and promote Scott Franzke), we hope that you have a lovely day, and we'll see you real soon.

–B Love

14 November 06: When the scaffolding goes down

Earlier this month, City Hall tour director Greta Greenberger declared that the scaffolding on City Hall tower will begin to be disassembled later this month, at last revealing the newly cleaned sculptures of Swedes, Indians and eagles created by Alexander Milne Calder from the 1870s to 1890s.

The city's new Director of the Public Art Office, Margot Berg, further described the job, saying "the job is done, but approval is pending." Illinois's Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio (CSOS) handled the two-plus year task, led by sculpture conservator Andrzej Dajnowski. The Philadelphia Museum of Art's conservation department was also involved, as chief conservator Andrew Lins oversaw the project locally.

What was actually done? Well, as one might imagine for sculptures with over a century's worth of Philadelphia weathering (half of which was infused with the soot and exhaust of Broad Street Station directly across the street), the bronze sculptures were suffering from severe corrosion. CSOS treated each sculpture and used lasers to remove the corrosion, so as to leave no residue (and to protect pedestrians below). Then, a clear lacquer coating was applied to drive out moisture and protect the sculptures from the elements. (Billy Penn himself has a similar coating from his 1987 cleaning.)

What is lost in patina is gained in longevity. The image on the right above will be no more, as the Swedes, Indians and eagles will again glisten that deep bronze hue. They'll also have new exterior lighting mounted below and on nearby buildings, similar to the current scheme for Penn.

Pew Charitable Trusts and the Getty Grant Program were among the contributors funding the project. Keep your eyes to the sky over the next couple of weeks and watch for the new-look old Calders. We will, and we'll report back with a new photo essay of City Hall once the tower scaffolding is gone.

[CSOS.] [Virtual City Hall.]

* * *

Why Dr. J? Because Dr. J is pre-Curse. Dr. J is a champion. (It's not that we think Allen Iverson can't be a champion -- he definitely can -- but he needs a team that does NOT include players like Chris Webber and Kyle Korver.) Dr. J is a Philadelphian philanthropist. (We wish he'd be given a shot to buy the team too, Illadelph.) And because it gives us an excuse to yank on YouTube to bring this ass kickin' Dr. J/Stevie Wonder mashup. Just please don't ask me about my great-uncle Bob Love up above -- he got a knee to the chest as the good Doctor went airborn en route to the '77 NBA Finals there.

–B Love

13 November 06: Nothing lasts forever, even cold November rain

Most especially, rotting post-industrial riverfronts and JEFF's sense of place and loyalty to Philadelphia culture. These things and more are the meat and potatoes in your Monday Morning Looking Up stew. (Brought to you, yeah yeah we know, at 3:37 in the afternoon.)
  1. STROLLIN' ON THE RIVER, V. 3: All right, I swear that's the last time I'll use that phrase, with the exception of every single time you click the photo essay of the event, since it's all up in the graphics and what not. (As an aside, CCR's is good and Ike & Tina's was great, but is there honestly a better version of "Proud Mary" than Elvis' from the 70s? No, there isn't. More on this below.)

    Anyhoo, the walk on the river. To Harris, Michael and the Penn Praxis posse: nicely done. To the Mayor: nice to meetcha. To Chris: the spread on the PECO generating station is dope, and apropos for the riverfront discussion.

    If we may borrow from planphilly.com:
    Along the miles-long trek, this group of people from just about every walk of life heard from experts about the history, demographics, ecology and commerce of the parcels of land that border a river that works hard and plays hard.

    As cormorants and double masted sailboats passed in front of oil laden barges, we listened as our "river bards" defined past problems and solutions and challenged us to come together with the city leaders to develop a comprehensive design and development plan for the riverfront, one that will hold up to the test of time.
    Right now as we speak, the first day of public hearings on (mostly riverfront) casinos in Harrisburg is underway and NABR's got a bus full of people in attendance, courtesy of Councilman Frank DiCicco. And tomorrow at the Union League, the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation is putting on a forum entitled Reclaiming Center City's Waterfront. While Philly Skyline is partial to the Schuylkill (and we already miss Schuylkill River Development Corp, who has moved its offices from across the street from our G-Ho offices to the shiny digs of unlucky floor 13 of Cira Centre), we do love the Delaware and we look forward to SWIMMING in it. (No kidding -- swimming in the Delaware.) The Riverfront is the it topic of civic discussions, and it figures to stay there for a while.

    Here's to moving it forward positively and hey, not for nothin', let's crown it with a sparkly jewel like . . . oh, let's say Bridgeman's View Tower! Images of the walk are HERE (or via the graphic below). They're caption free for now, but if there is a clamoring for captions, we'll add 'em when we have ten more seconds to think straight.

    [planphilly.com.] [philaplanning.org.] [Bridgeman's View Tower.]

  2. ALICE WALTON: YOU'RE A RICH GIRL, AND YOU'VE GONE TOO FAR; or, FU, JEFF U: Oh, Thomas Jefferson University. You are a fine, fine hospital and you employ lots of nice Philadelphians and good doctors. But is it your namesake's disdain for the squalor that was 1790s High Street living conditions that lead you to act as you act toward the city you call home? A hulking monstrosity of a parking garage on Chestnut Street? A giant water chiller on Walnut Street? Selling off a world renowned, locally grown artist's masterpiece to WAL-MART? For the love of god, Jefferson, hello?

    The Gross Clinic is widely considered to be the masterpiece of Thomas Eakins, the world renowned, locally grown artist who earned his fame in the 19th century and for whom the traffic oval in front of the ART Museum is named. Up until a couple days ago the 1875 painting, whose detail was so shocking in its time that it was rejected for the Centennial Exhibition, was the prize possession of Thomas Jefferson University, whose alumni banded together 128 years ago to purchase it. It has quietly resided in Jefferson's Alumni Hall on Locust Street for years, where few see it but for determined art connoisseurs. Moving it to a gallery where thousands would see it is not inherently a bad idea, but it's important to consider the stakes.

    Alice Walton is Sam Walton's only daughter. The Wal-Mart wench, the second richest woman on Planet Earth, has more money than she knows what to do with, so she does things like establish horse ranches whose logos are a merger of boobs and the Wal-Mart smiley, donate money to Trent Lott, Gee Dubya Bush and Committee for the Preservation of Capitalism and, well, hire starchitects like Moshe Safdie to design a world class Wal-Mart Museum (fancy name: "Crystal Bridges") in world class Bentonville, Arkansas. She already pissed off the New York art community when she purchased Asher Durand's Kindred Spirits, and now she's added Philadelphia to her blue state pilfering repertoire. Three days after conservative star Rick Santorum was sent a message by voters of the great state of Pennsylvania, the drunk driving neocon Mrs Walton sent a message of her own: I'll take that. But, learning from New York's mistakes, Jefferson offered up a 45 day period in which we piddly locals can match the offer. Gee Jeff . . . THANKS! Let me reach into my own family's big box store fortune and get right on that.

    Again: we're not against Jefferson making and spending money to become the best medical college in the universe, but they really seem to have no clue about being a good neighbor or a good Philadelphian. Oh wait, yes they are -- they have Vince Papale in a Jeff ad. VINCE PAPALE!!!

    This painting represents forward thinking Philadelphia, in medicine and in art, in the city of the first hospital in America. To move it from Philly is tragic; to move it to Bentonville Arkansas is a fucking joke. Here's hoping the next 42 days reveal some magical Philly windfall in which $68M will keep The Gross Clinic in its home city.

  3. SPEAKING OF MR INVINCIBLE: How about that blowout at The Linc yesterday? The all-American Eagles scalped those dirty Redskins to the tune of 27-3. The terrible Titans are the next gametime practice before the primetime trip to Indianapolis two Sundays from now. In other news, the Sixers just went from undefeated to last place in one week. On a related note, this just in: Chris Webber is old and overpaid and is actually playing like it now. [Inquirer.]

  4. G-HO, THE FOREFRONT OF RECYCLING PROGRESSION: This is a personal shout to the city's recycling crew patrolling South Street every Monday morning: you rock. I noticed very early this morning on my way to a hot cuppa coffee that the all-night-long rain had deteriorated a double-paper-bag full of a neighbor's beer bottles, placing them all over the sidewalk. Before I even returned, the always-punctual recycling guys came through with their kevlar gloves and took care of the whole thing. Couple that with the every-other-Saturday plastic recycling at Trinity Church (22nd & Spruce, which is okay, more Fitler Square than G-Ho) and we're doing all right all right.

  5. YANKIN' IT TWICE: Okay, I lied . . . one last time, let's go strollin' on the river with a double shot of Yankin' On YouTube. The first is a video put together by the nice lady whose name I never got at the Penn Praxis river walk on Saturday. (At 4:33, pause it to check out your average Saturday afternoon of B Love chillin' with the mayor on a pile of dirt in Port Richmond.)

    The second one finds The King in Madison Square Garden in 1972 with a classic back-to-back of Proud Mary and Never Been to Spain. Is that Dave Wayne Daniels on bass?

–B Love

13 November 06: No wait, don't meet me at the Clothespin

Clothespin plaza reconstruction people: thank you for your candor, and good luck with the project.

It's way too early and way too rainy for way too much to be happening on this Monday, but well, we just gotta strap on the galoshes and trudge on through.

PHILLY SKYLINE WILL RETURN ON OR ABOUT LATER THIS MORNING (with thoughts on walking the post-industrial waterfront with the mayor, The Gross Clinic, recycling in G-Ho, and more about the City Hall scaffolding).

–B Love

10 November 06: TGIF. F'n A!

Oh BABY what a Friday. For real for real, there is no need to be sitting in front of a computer. Shut it down and read this post later.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

There are a number of items kickin' around da Skyline heading into the weekend, so let's have a look, shall we?
  1. ED BRADLEY, RIP: Peace out, Ed. We like Morley Safer well enough, but 60 Minutes just ain't gonna be the same.

  2. THE SANDS, RIP: 6AM Saturday marks the end of an era in Atlantic City, as The Sands will close its doors forever. Pinnacle is closing it down and tearing it down to make room for a new mega-casino on par with the Borgata, which changed the game in AC. As we said back in September, we think it has everything to do with the fact that Pinnacle will NOT be awarded one of the two Philadelphia slots licenses. Our, uh, bets are on Sugar House and Trumpstreet, but we're pretty sure Pinnacle wouldn't go planning one of AC's largest casinos and then build some dinky slots parlor on the Delaware Riverfront.[Press of AC (registration required).]

  3. GAYBORHOOD, RIP: SIKE. "The Gayborhood" ain't going anywhere as a name, and quite frankly that is what the business owners who thought up "Midtown Village" should stick with. Julie Stoiber reports in this morning's Inquirer that at very least "B3" is dead. But Midtown Village?
    "Midtown Village connotes exactly what you've got here: a midtown location, a village unto itself," said Andre Stephano, who sank $3 million into the area, turning a 1915 Classical Revival office building at 13th and Locust into the Gramercy condos, with prices around $700,000. "It's not just a bunch of individuals pitching their own businesses. You've got a bona fide neighborhood here."
    No duh you have a neighborhood . . . it's called The Gayborhood! Sure, making 13th & Sansom into a genuine destination is a good idea -- who doesn't love Capogiro and El Vez? -- but spending money to throw up signs that read "Midtown Village" just seems so . . . midtown. But hey, it could be worse. Like:

  4. SOHA, GOT YOU ALL IN CHECK: Chestnut Hill, we need to talk. SoHa? No no no. You are Chestnut Hill. You have one of the coolest names of any neighborhood in the city, and no offense, you're not even that cool. Living well? Sure. Amenities and safety? Top notch. Cool factor? Yeaaaah, let's meet at the Melting Pot and commiserate over some coq au vin. It's okay, we're not offended by your mom jeans.

    But SoHa? A concerted effort to bite off of SoHo? See, that's the difference between G-Ho and SoHa. G-Ho is, erm, a satire, a not-really-knockoff of SoHo that realtors actually do tend to knock off. (I concede, G-Ho is complicated.) But come on, we didn't even have a name. You have CHESTNUT HILL. South of Hartwell? Why not move the criterion up to Highland Ave, because you've got to be SoHi to actually roll with SoHa.

    Ah well. At least The Hill is rocking public art in the biggest way. Remember Chicago's Cows on Parade? Now you got the Giraffes on Germantown. AbZOOlutely Chestnut Hill (no really, it's called AbZOOlutely) has fifty animal sculpture installations up and down Germantown Ave and Bethlehem Pike.

  5. PRETTY FOR PREMIES: This month's awareness comes from the March of Dimes, Prematurity Awareness Month. Look up yonder and you'll see One & Two Liberty Place, Mellon Bank Center and the Inquirer Building lit up in pink and baby blue. Just don't expect ALL of One Liberty's neon to work because, as you can see in the picture above, it hasn't since like 1999.

  6. ONE LAST TIME, STROLLIN' ON THE RIVER: Our friends at Penn Praxis are on Saturday offering up the third of their three Delaware Riverfront tours, and this time, they mean business. Mayor Street and a film crew will be in attendance. Bring your hiking boots to Penn Treaty Park at 11AM and be ready to hoof it on up to Allegheny Ave in Port Richmond. This is the grimy, post-industrial "before" to an "after" that, with all hope a decade or so down the road, will at long last be an active, developed green space. [planphilly.com.]

    And when you're finished hiking, head down to Northern Liberties for:

  7. THE GRAND OPENING OF NEW FASHION IN NOLIBS: 2nd Street in Northern Liberties officially welcomes its newest tenant at high noon on Saturday. The lovely ladies of Conspiracy Showroom unveil their kickass new store with original clothes, accessories, jewelry, light fixtures, artwork, and general stuff that you should buy for your girlfriends -- and yourself! 910 N. 2nd Street, directly across the street from North Bowl, go holler at the girls. [Conspiracy Showroom.]

Speaking of 2nd Street, we're still gonna bang out an exposé therein, but it's been pushed back to next week, in the name of being complete about it. (And uh, getting a new tripod since the old one broke into twenty little pieces.

You know, it's so dang nice out it oughta be another Wissahickon weekend. If you haven't been out there this fall, now is the time to do it. But for god's sake, DON'T LITTER. And while you're out there, if you see a veteran, give him (or her) a big ol' hug and tell 'em how much you love your freedom. For the weekend, how 'bout a little Flavor?

–B Love

8 November 06: It is a great day in Pennsylvania

Now even greater since RUMMY HAS CUT AND RUN!

Don't let this nasty weather get you down -- open a window and embrace it, for that smell is victory. Congressman Weldon, Congressman Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Swann, and especially, especially you, Rick Santorum: BUH BYE.

Mad props to Ray and the Philly Against Santorum crew for their GOTV that contributed to nearly half a million voters in Philadelphia alone. Bob Casey's victory was such a landslide that it makes you wonder how much better it would have been if the Democrats had a desirable candidate. Still, these election results reflect a mindset that Pennsylvania is tired of the hate and tired of the lies, and that when you play with Bush, you get burned. (Also note: Pennsylvania was a blue state in both 2000 and 2004.)

So, congratulations to Casey, the Gov (who again held his victory party at the Warwick), Patrick Murphy, Allyson Schwartz (guess those DUIs and disgusting abortion phone calls backfired on Raj), Joe Sestak and Chaka Fattah. Jim Gerlach: congrats on your win, but Philly still gets the Barnes, chump.

That's your generic political roundup, the perfect segue for a Happy Hump Day Umpdate of Victory.
  1. RYHO-SAN, EMPEROR OF JAPAN: The dream team of baseball ended their domination of the Japanese All-Stars with a walk-off homerun by Jose Reyes in Fukuoka early this morning, sweeping the Nippon Professional Baseball club. But screw Reyes, this was the international RyHo show. Our big man in 6 Ryan Howard hit .558 with 4 homeruns, 8 RBIs and 8 runs scored. The National League MVP is handed out on November 20, and if Albert Poo-holes wins, there will simply be no justice in baseball. I mean after all, the Oakland (formerly Philadelphia) A's are moving to Fremont. Just as Connie Mack would've had it? [MLB.com: RyHo is disrespectful to dirt. (Thank Mark for Mr Sparkle ref.)]

  2. PAULOWNIA, EMPRESS OF THE PARKWAY: First the scaffolding of City Hall tower is promised removal, now the pretty purple trees are coming back to Logan Circle. Man, we are on a winning streak. Longwood Gardens provided twelve "empress" trees (paulownia tomentosa, for those keeping track of genus, species and so forth) which will replace the ones dying of old age and removed earlier this year. [KYW.]

  3. LOOKING DOWN FROM ABOVE ON YO FUNKY ROOFTOP: Just like our pals at The Illadelph and Green Plan Philadelphia, Philly Skyline is an advocate of going green. We're also big nerds so we're addicted to Google Earth and Sketchup and have been impressed by Microsoft's counter with Live Local. So now they have this 3D program everyone says is amazing. But guess what . . . you need Internet Explorer to run it. Nice try, Microsoft. New and improved or not, ain't no IE ever gon' find its way onto this Mac.

    Anyhow, I bring this up because there is a great article by Christopher Hawthorne in the LA Times about architects embracing and including rooftops in new projects. The article attributes a lot of this awareness to the ease of rooftop analysis thanks to programs like Google Earth. The whole concept is fantastic, really.

    John Litz and I had this discussion on a rooftop five stories high and under the shadow of the original G-Ho at 19th & Lombard. From there, it was 360° of inspiring fresh air; a skyline rising above the trees of Rittenhouse Square, an autumnal view of Naval Square, St Matthews Church and the Trigen station and on down to the refineries, the construction of Comcast Center and Symphony House, and . . . so many unused rooftops. Yes, the zoning structure requires in most cases a ridiculous variance to build on your own house, but after the red tape is cleared, shouldn't everyone do it? Outdoor space in large urban areas comes at a premium, and small ground floor back yards are more often than not used for storing garbage and a grill you use ten times a year. Rooftops are above the grind. Build up. Enjoy the great outdoors with a view of the skyline under the shade of a non-stinky gingko tree.
    [MS Live Local, now with 3D.] [Google Earth 4 (beta).] [LA Times.]

  4. CONSPIRING IN NOLIBS: Ladies, you've been waiting for this. Opening this Saturday, November 11, Conspiracy Showroom will be a unique collective of local designers, spearheaded by Suzie Morris (clothing), Rachel Breeden (accessories and tees) and Typhaney B (jewelry). A number of co-conspirators are lined up to showcase other clothing and bags and artwork and so forth, and it's going to have the coolest storefront in the Libs to boot. It's on like Donkey Kong at Conspiracy Showroom, 910 N. 2nd Street (directly across the street from North Bowl and within spitting distance of the Tap's lamb sandwich), this Saturday. AND! This will be the first time this has gone to print, so we'll really have to knuckle down and do it: the 2007 Philly Skyline calendar will be sold exclusively at Conspiracy Showroom (though you'll be able to buy them here online too -- availability late November to early December, in time for the holidays). [ConspiracyShowroom.com.] [Myspace: Conspiracy Showroom.]

    We'll be running a feature on 2nd Street later this week, so stay tuned for that and get ready for the great Northern Liberties Conspiracy.

It's a beautiful day, rain or not. Enjoy it. We're headin' to the hilltop on the acknickulous tip for the freshest half-fro in late 80s Fairmount Park, THREE TIMES DOPE.

–B Love

7 November 06: Duh: VOTE

–B Love

6 November 06: Wissahickon good, Wawa bad

Okay okay, just kidding about the Wawa diss, but you don't see any Sheetz coffee cups littering the Wissahickon, do you?

Seriously though: what the hell is wrong with people? "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." Is this phrase not taught at the elementary level to students on field trips to natural places? I understand that litter is going to exist in large urban places, but some of the shit lying around in the Wissahickon is straight up disgraceful. Those two empty coffee cups above were far enough removed from entrance points to the park that I can only picture a young, ignorant couple starting their morning at Wawa and sipping their coffee as they hiked from the Valley Green parking lot to this point only accessible on foot. Now done with their coffee, they didn't know what to do with their empty cups and they didn't bring backpacks. Well nobody wants to carry trash with them a mile and a half through the woods, so this spot on the ground will surely do! Idiots.

Littering is not okay anywhere, but littering in the Wissahickon is even more not okay. If your dumb and determined ass is willing to carry a hibachi deep into the woods, can't you have the decency of bringing a garbage bag for the styrofoam on which your steak came and for the empty cans of Coors Light you hauled in too? (This could lead into a related discussion on recycling, but we'll leave that well enough alone for now.) And if you do have that decency, could you please also take that bag OUT of the woods with you?

Nearly four years ago, the first photo essay went live on Philly Skyline, entitled Filthadelphia. It was one of those cold, windy, depressing days when the city (in that case, G-Ho) gives off the feel and charm and resemblance of a landfill. This past summer, Steve and I went for a short hike in the Wissahickon and for me, it turned into an unintentional part two of Filthadelphia. I never posted those photos because I don't want to let those images override the usually peaceful and positive image I have of the Wissahickon. These new pictures, taken on Friday with Mark & Reese and Saturday on the solo tip, maintain that peace and positivity . . . but litter remains a problem. If you're reading this web site, you probably aren't littering in the Wissahickon. But if you know someone who is, would you kindly punch him or her in the face, compliments of your friend B Love? 'Preshiate that.

–B Love

4 November 06: It's about to get a lot Calder out

It's the Saturday Night Special on ye olde skyline! This bit of news could not be a bigger relief: City Hall loves its Calders, and it's setting them free. After over two years of 500' scaffolding marring the city's most central and important tower, the job is finished. City Hall tour director Greta Greenberger says that the painstakingly detailed laser cleaning of Alexander Milne Calder's sculptures -- a pair of Swedish settlers, a pair of Natives and four eagles -- is at last complete and that they will return to sunlight beginning later this month.

It's not looking like the football Eagles are going to be lighting City Hall up in green again this January, so how's about we pull for those undefeated Sixers instead and hope for a red & blue June. And don't forget December's holiday lighting spectacular put on by the Center City District.

Mark this down in penn (GET IT?): just as soon as that scaffolding is gone, your friendly Philly Skyline will pay a visit to our civic citadel for a detailed photo essay. Until then, the city's official web site for City Hall is actually pretty rad: Virtual City Hall.

–B Love

3 November 06: Looking out from the center of the center

Hey hey, whattaya say? That's the current view from way up Billy Penn way. As you can see, Comcast Center is "this close" to surpassing the Bell Atlantic Tower in height. As it's November, there's a new month of photos, including a larger version of the above, at our Comcast Center section. We realize our obsession with this project, the tallest building in all Pennsylvania, seems like it's at the expense of The Skinny and other significant projects in the city . . . we're doing something about that. Something very very big. The Skinny will be updated to reflect correct statuses and new projects this weekend, but within the coming weeks, it will have a new feature that we are certain will be bananas, so stay tuned for that.

It may be chilly out, but it's still looking like a Wissahickon weekend, so we'll be back next week with photos accordingly, but real quick, you should check these things out:
WALKIN' ON THE RIVERFRONT: Speaking of the Delaware Riverfront, Penn Praxis is tomorrow putting on the second of its three waterfront walks, this one from Penn's Landing to Oregon Avenue. New Planning Commission Director Janice Woodcock will be in attendance. The final one will be the following Saturday and will go from Penn Treaty Park north to Allegheny Ave. [PlanPhilly.com.]

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: Seriously, who knew college kids were still this ambitious? Penn State senior Cynthia Milinichik is doing her thesis on . . . Comcast Center! The architectural engineering major has her thesis, a work in progress, online HERE, and it already has far more technical info than Philly Skyline could wish to present. Go Cynthia go!

OKILY DOKILY, NEIGHBOROO: Like stats? Like maps? Wanna break it on down? Yes, you do. Go to Neighboroo.com, plug in yr info, and don't stop till you get enough. WOOOOOOOOO!

–B Love

2 November 06: Bridgeman over troubled waterfront

Less than three weeks ago, Mayor Street issued his executive order that basically handed over his oft-touted riverfront initiative to Penn Praxis, the think tank based at the School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. Nearly simultaneously, he appointed architect Janice Woodcock as the new head to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. And lo, it was good.

Harris Steinberg, Penn Praxis' head, wrote a nice editorial in last week's Daily News announcing "here we are" and that together, we the people, can help to make Praxis' undertaking of the riverfront a truly great thing. In the past, Praxis has teamed with the Inquirer to put on public colloquiums for Penns Landing and the forthcoming casinos.

* * *

Bridgeman's View Tower is a proposed Northern Liberties project comprised of a tower and a parking garage and is named for the laborers who built the Ben Franklin Bridge. It has the potential to become a new landmark, an icon for the new mindset of the city if you will. And rightfully so, we think, as BVT is an entirely home grown project. The developers, 2945 LLC, are led by Marc Stein, a longtime Philadelphia steelworker, and some of its staff even lives in Northern Liberties. The two primary architects (Agoos Lovera, tower, and H2L2, garage) are based in Philadelphia. The general contractor (Turner Construction) is based in Philadelphia.

BVT would stand at the corner of Delaware Avenue and Poplar Street, rising 66 stories, or 915' into the sky, making it the third tallest building in the city (after Comcast Center and One Liberty Place). The lot is bound by Delaware Ave to the east, Poplar Street to the south, and to the west and north, Canal Street, the gritty cobblestone street that winds from Poplar up to Laurel. The tower would feature two floors of retail at ground level, 3-4 office floors above that, roughly ten floors of hotel space above that, and condos the rest of the way to the top, where we are strongly hoping there will be an observation deck open to the public.

[Philly Skyline feels that BVT deserves a thorough analysis and section, which is why our link over there under Quick Links is still a "coming soon" page.]

* * *

Way back in March, when Stein and his group started really putting things in motion for Bridgeman's View Tower, they came to the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association with the unenviable task of presenting their plans of building a 70 story tower to this civic group which, like any civic group, has its share of naysaying NIMBYs. (To be fair, we at Philly Skyline think the NoLibs neighbors are the best of the bunches we've seen. For proof, one only need compare the types of new developments there with, for example, Pennsport and, sadly, our beloved G-Ho.) Through this conversation, the developers and architects determined that an element of the original plan, a parking pedestal, was no good and that it should be moved unto its own structure. They did this, and in May, Agoos Lovera's new plans were presented at another NLNA meeting, at which a straw poll showed overwhelming support of the project, now a 66 story tower with an accompanying standalone parking garage. That same month, the parcel for the tower at Delaware & Poplar (not "Popular", KYW, jeez) was approved by City Council for rezoning to class C5 commercial.

They did not, however, get immediate rezoning for the garage. That hearing at the City Council Rules Committee was held yesterday, 1st November. A few major things have changed since May. On the BVT side of things, H2L2, whose founder Paul Cret designed the Ben Frankin Bridge, was brought on to design the fifteen story garage. Lead architect James Templeton described the garage as a "little brother" to the tower, clad in glass curtain wall, set back from Delaware Ave, and connected to the tower itself via a tall and handsome arcade. (For what it's worth, the only parking garage in the entire city on the same level of design is that of the Fresh Grocer in West Philly.) On the city side of things, Mayor Street's initiative was handed to Penn Praxis, who is putting together a process by which future development will be approached and analyzed.

The operative word here is "future". Heretofore, a bevy of projects have come a-knockin' on North Delaware Ave's door, like World Trade Square, Marina View Tower, Hoboken Brownstone's 700 North Delaware, 101 Sky, Penns Point, Piers 49 & 50, two casinos, and one from some fellow named Trump, nary a one of which is underway. Only one project, Waterfront Square, is truly moving forward, as two of its five planned, and gated, towers are complete. Now that Penn Praxis is working toward creating the policy by which the Central Delaware Riverfront -- Allegheny to Oregon, some seven miles -- will be developed, it only seems fair that these projects which have not yet begun should be subject to this process which does not yet exist.

But Bridgeman's View Tower seems different. Never minding the hometown bias for a second, the developers have done their homework and have engaged a public dialogue. Jeremy Beaudry, whose Neighbors Allied for the Best Riverfront group holds a spot at the table of Penn Praxis' riverfront discussion and who adamantly opposes the thrown together casino proposals, agreed that the community has had adequate input with regard to BVT, and that the meetings held were "the kind of input we're looking for, to break the status quo." He also says that it's irrelevant whether NABR likes or dislikes the project itself, and that it's the process that's important.

That process, the holistic merging of expert and citizen opinions, is at the very heart of Penn Praxis' entire involvement in the waterfront discussion. Ergo, it would seem that even though Praxis' riverfront initiative is less than three weeks old and that a hard copy plan is not yet in existence, Praxis would support the process by which BVT's developers have reached this moment, the rezoning hearing for the redesigned parking garage. But, Harris Steinberg testified on behalf of Praxis to request a postponement of the rezoning until they could sit down with the developers in attempt to fit BVT into the larger plan.

Given the hand it was dealt, 2945 LLC did everything it could do to be openly engaged with the public; this transparent approach and subsequent discussion improved the product, a fact that was repeated a number of times in developer testimony, and indeed by Councilman Frank DiCicco, in whose district BVT would reside: "The developer has done their best to address NLNA. If this was a new project, it would be no problem to postpone it, but it would be sad to delay this [BVT]." All the same, DiCicco suggested that "[2945 LLC and Penn Praxis] need to work together to fit it into the [Praxis] plan." And, in spite of Councilman Darrell Clarke's thought that "all council members would love to see a building of this caliber" and President Anna Verna's comment that "this really is a magnificent project," DiCicco and Verna ultimately thought that there were too many questions that remained unanswered.

And, those questions will hopefully be answered beginning Friday, when Penn Praxis and 2945 LLC get together for the first time. Pardon the presumption, but it would seem fair for a project like Bridgeman's View Tower, which has progressed further than nearly all the other riverfront projects, which has take all the possible steps to be a good neighbor, and which comes from actual neighbors here in Philly, to be grandfathered in beyond the Praxis concept which doesn't even exist yet. That is not to suggest that BVT should bypass Praxis, but in the name of keeping financing secured and moving the project forward, the rezoning of the garage should be approved, and quickly. As it was not approved yesterday, a continuation of the hearing was scheduled for November 28.

Let's hope all questions have in fact been answered by that point, and let's hope for a Bridgeman's View Tower that at last fulfills its iconic role and serves as a 21st century beacon to an old riverfront.

For further reading:

[Penn Praxis.]
[Plan Philly (of the Phila City Planning Commission).]
[Agoos Lovera.]
[Our May BVT review.]

–B Love

1 November 06: The Brewer's Art

At long last, Brewerytown. Jim Millisky took a couple of bike rides through this lower North Philadelphia neighborhood that was once home to the Philadelphia A's and to dozens of breweries which kept their beers cool in caves and with the assistance of ice cut from the Schuylkill River pre-refrigeration.

Brewerytown has had its ups and downs to be sure, but its location won't allow the occasional violence to keep it down. As we mentioned on Monday, Westrum's Brewerytown Square is, for better or worse, the large scale type of development that brings attention to a neighborhood that many might not have given attention, much to the chagrin of anti-gentrification campaigner Al Alston.

Anyhoo, clicking that graphic right there puts you onto the streets of B'town, compliments of our friend Jim. Go grab your favorite beer for breakfast and enjoy the show. (We're big on Harpoon's Munich Lager right now but Yards' Tavern Spruce Ale never fails.)

* * *

On an unrelated note, I gotta say that Google gets the TV BOZACK for its handling of Comedy Central videos on YouTube. Though I can't say I'm a fan of his basketball shenanigans, Mark Cuban has written some interesting pieces on the YouTube acquisition at his blog, Blog Maverick. Five years removed from the Napster debacle, you'd think that someone as savvy as Google would find a way to make clips of copyrighted videos work, because technology will always find a way around the legalities. I certainly understand why a SouthPark episode or Chappelle's Show segment or anything sold on dvd would be frowned upon, but the Daily Show and Colbert Report? They're current events, dailies, that will never be sold and will do no one any good sitting in a vault. Never mind all the fans of each that YouTube has made these shows. The whole thing is WEAK, I tells ya.

Did I say Chappelle? Let's yank it on home while we still can. Turn up the volume and invite your boss to watch. Drip drip drip.

We'll be back a little later today with some new thoughts on Bridgeman's View Tower. Also: to everyone who's written recently, thanks and keep 'em coming. We'll get back to 'em all as soon as humanly possible.

–B Love