Archive for the ‘Philly Landmarks’ Category

Zanzibar Blue to close

The first time I went to Zanzibar Blue was the summer of 2004. Three friends and I had spotted a deal in the Philly Funsaver that was offering a half-off concert at that landmark jazz club and thought it would be a fun change from our normal Saturday nights. We got together early at my apartment to dress and do our make up together (it was like being back in high school) and walked down to Broad Street. We got there early enough to have a drink at the bar before the show. The atmosphere was sophisticated and made me feel adult in a way that going to the North Star or the Tin Angel never seems to accomplish.

I’ve been there quite a few times more since then and I always really enjoy the space, the food and the people who frequent it. I was stunned and saddened to learn this morning (via Michael Klein’s Table Talk column) that they will be closing on April 29th. Philadephia will lose something special when they close their doors.

Do not pass go; go directly to the Penitentiary

37982862_d961d4e6fe_o One of my favorite tourist-y places in Philadelphia, Eastern State Penitentiary, officially opens for the 2007 season next Saturday, March 31st!

The season opening features Tunnel Escape Weekend, commemorating the 1945 escape of twelve inmates, including Clarence Klinedinst and Willie Sutton, who both take credit for designing the tunnel and who give conflicting accounts of its use in the escape. Visitors can question the gentlemen in a Living History tour on Saturday, while Sunday’s guests can participate in a reenactment of the historic jailbreak.

Don’t forget your camera! Eastern State encourages visitors to take photographs, and it is one of the most fascinating landmarks—decaying and in ruin, but still amazing and beautiful.

If you’d like to tour the grounds and get a sneak peak at this year’s exhibits, ESP will have free admission on Friday, March 30th during regular museum hours from 10AM to 5PM.

Is Fort Mifflin haunted?

A better question for many people might be, what is Fort Mifflin? Commissioned in 1771, Fort Mifflin or Mud Island Fort was built by the british, then taken over by the colonies. In early October of 1777 400 soldiers held off a siege by 2,000 redcoats, allowing General Washington to escape to Valley Forge. The fort was rebuilt between 1798-1800 and remained a military post until the 50’s. For more of the dry historical details, check out wikipedia.

Now, the good stuff. The longest reported ghost is that of the “Screaming Woman,’ Elizabeth Pratt. It is said that the officer’s wife hung herself after her daughter died of typhoid fever, and her screams still haunt the Officer’s Quarters.

Halloween Weekend Fun


The fact that my friend was part of the performance motivated me to engage in a different form of Halloween fun. We went to a the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown for a haunted mansion on Saturday. It was like a live version of Clue–each room had a different character, all of whom had reasons why they had nothing to do with the disappearance of the head of the household. It was a great way to tie into the season as well as raise the profile of the mansion. I have to go back to Tulpehocken Street during the daytime–at first we had difficulty figuring out which house was the Maxwell Mansion, as all of the houses lining the street were such absolutely stunning houses.

Goodbye, with a Sigh

I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it. Twice. I had gone past Silk City this summer and noticed the lights dimmed, but it didn’t compute. No, it can’t be. Silk City? It can’t be closed. This is a Philadelphia institution. The fabulous banana walnut pancakes at the diner. The cool-yet-unpretentious vibe of the lounge. Sure, there were articles bidding adieu to this long-time staple of Philadelphia nightlife. Yet somehow it went quietly.

The owner of N. 3rd has purchased the former Silk City. I have nothing against N. 3rd. I actually quite like it. But he certainly has big shoes to fill.

A room with a view

Ever since my office moved to the 22nd floor of our building, I have been lucky to have the most spectacular view of the city to the north and the east. Every now and then I gaze out the window behind my desk to get a look of the bustle below and spy on my friend in the adjacent twin building–he freaks out everytime I comment on the blue/green/striped or whatever type of shirt he’s wearing that day.

But when I’m not playing voyeur, I’m usually just scanning the skyline and and often check upon the progress of the Comcast Center. I really wish I had thought to take weekly photos of its construction since we got here in July. The crew has been pretty busy this summer–they’ve added 7 or 8 stories since we’ve been up here and they’ve added a whole lotta scaffolding to it all recently. It’s pretty cool to watch the transformation of brick and iron into a towering building.

Ah–the sky is so sunny and bright right now–I’m sure I’ll be admiring the view outside for a good portion of the day. Look up and wave hello!

A Drive That’s Always Great

I typically pass Kelly Drive on my way to or from work. And each day I love peering at the families, bikers, rowers and joggers that gather on this stretch of Fairmount Park. We are so lucky to have such a gorgeous expanse of nature in our city. I never tire of viewing the curves in the road, the grass, the boathouses, the way the sun almost makes the Schuylkill look clean (ahem). Kelly Drive turns even the most hard-core city dweller into a nature lover, even if just for a few minutes. Quite simply, I love Kelly Drive. Now, getting out there and joining the joggers is an entirely different matter. I’ll save that for another time, another blog. Ahem again.

Braving Franklin Square

So Franklin Square is supposed to be “nicer” and “redone” and have some kind of amusement park ride or something. The square really is located in no-man’s land at 6th and Arch and personally, I don’t know who would brave the traffic eager to get to the bridge to visit this place.

Well I’m going to visit it today because it’s my day off of work and it’s nice outside. I will snap pics. I will throw them on Flickr. I will let you know how awful/awesome it is.

Friday randomness

Friday afternoons–it’s like being in purgatory; between the hell of another couple hrs @ work and the heaven of the upcoming weekend. I do believe it may be time to pack up and just go forward into the light.

Updates to some previous posts:

Last night I noticed the PECO Building’s scrolling message board is back on again. No more wondering if the time is actually 3am or 4am.

Also, the front doors at the Penn Center House are flanked by two off-white (read: not pink) planters. Thank the lawd.

Lights out?

Has anyone else noticed that the PECO building has been dark for at least the past 2 days (& maybe more as I was out of town this weekend)? No intermittent flash of the current time, no announcements of special events around the city, nothing. This is a bit saddening for me to report as the PECO building provides a little late night entertainment for me from time to time. Boo.

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