Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

Book Jacket Of The Times

Larry Robin – owner, Robin’s Books and, for the last god-damned time NOTSanta Claus, kids

Robin’s Books, the last vanguard of independent bookstores, is closing its doors on January 31st, says the Philadelphia Inquirer:


The death notice appears in the front window of Robin’s Bookstore in Center City, sandwiched between Chopin – A Life and Our Dumb World.

Par for the course in the provocative world of proprietor Larry Robin.

His display philosophy has always been to mix the obscure with the best-seller, pairing “things you’re going to look at because you’re interested and things I think you should know about.”

In this case, the death notice is the thing he wants you to know about. Robin’s, started by his grandfather in 1936 and believed to be Philadelphia’s oldest independent book seller, is calling it quits at the end of January.

He can take the stomach-churning world of declining sales outpacing rising expenses, the unlevel playing field of single owner versus national chain, the predictions of further economic deterioration with no immediate end in sight no more.

Sales dipping as much as 15 percent in recent months, his salary not even $30,000, Robin said his beloved business had gone “from bad bearable to bad unbearable.”

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General Tso’s Slot Machines

Foxwoods wants to build a casino at The Gallery. Some people are opposed to it because of the je ne sais quoi that a casino might bring to the area – like traffic.

Other people are opposed to the casino because of the “shady elements” and “crime” and “prostitution” that a casino “would bring” to the area. That reason always make me chuckle because – if I recall from my eleventeen years – isn’t Chinatown the place where kids go to get fake ID’s and nunchucks and chewing gum that gets you high?

Still others are are opposed to the casino, for, well, batsh*t crazy reasons.

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Easy-to-use SEPTA

Broad and Walnut

Have you seen the new SEPTA signs? I noticed this a few weeks ago; the signs in the photo here are located at Broad and Walnut Streets (the first one I spotted) but there are also posted at 13th & Market, 15th & Market, 18th & JFK, 19th & Market, and 15th & Locust.

The first thing I thought when I saw the sign was “T? Like in Boston?” but the lines of the T do look a bit like rail lines, so I guess it’s an interesting design choice.

What I like more than the huge posts are the signs on the stairwells, explaining the lines and connections that can be made at the station, and the exit orientation signs, giving directions and street intersections. Have you ever come up from the subway feeling disoriented? Well, maybe not if you’ve been riding for years, but occasional riders and tourists probably don’t know which is the northeast corner of Broad and Walnut just standing around in the concourse.

If you’ve seen the signs and have any comments about them, there is a survey for SEPTA and PATCO users to submit.

Do you think these signs will be useful? What would you do differently, or do you think the city’s had a good idea with these?

Orchestral Snub

The Philadelphia Orchestra didn’t make Gramophone’s Top 20 list of the world’s best orchestras. I guess that’s the led-by-a-guy-dressed-like-a-penguin-music world’s BCS standings or something. I guess Philadelphia was knocked out by Boise State or didn’t win enough in-conference Vivaldi concertos.

Maybe it’s the Curse of Riccardo Muti or Eugene Ormandy?

Don’t fret, woodwinds. None of the other cities listed in the Top 20 won the World Series this year.

Suck on those fermatas, Vienna.

– AP

Don’t Call It A Comeback (Well, You Can, I’ve Been Gone For Eight Years)

Hello, everyone!

I’d first like to tip my hat to Frazgo over at Los Angeles Metblogs for getting the hook up for me here at Philadelphia Metblogs.

My name’s Aaron Proctor. Otherwise/formerly known as “The Noticeable One“, “The Proc“, or “The Most Electrifying Man In Pasadena” and generally known as a damned handsome man. I like long walks on the beach, “Arrested Development“, corporate slang, vodka tonics and house cats that sound like they’re meowing with a “Brrrrrrrowww” instead of Meow. You know what I’m sayin’?

I moved back to the Philly burbs – Delaware County, right in the Chichester area – after living in Los Angeles for the past eight years. You can read about my exploits, triumphs and tribulations in Los Angeles by going here. It’s wiki-accurate.

I grew up in various parts of the Philly area. Was born in Chester. Moved to Mt. Airy to attend the first part of grade school. Moved back to Chester for a short period of time up until around 5th grade and then I finished out my middle and high school experience in the Marcus Hook/Lower Chichester/Upper Chichester area.

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Green means go, no light means… what again?

Philly drivers are crazy to begin with, but what happens when a traffic light ceases to be a traffic light?

There’s been a signal at Broad and Jackson for who knows how long, but last Friday on my way to the subway I noticed that the light was out, and the intersection was a free-for-all. The cars on Broad Street seemed to think they had the right of way (being on a wide four-lane state highway with parked cars for a median), while the cars on puny little one-lane one-way Jackson Street just tried to sneak through across the intersection. The ones turning right from Jackson onto Broad had it easier. Woe to the driver insane enough to try a left turn onto Broad!

Even though Chapter 2 of the PA Driver’s Manual, “Signs, Signals and Pavement Markings”, clearly states that “[a] non-functioning traffic signal should be treated as though it were a four-way STOP sign”, does the city of Philadelphia really expect that drivers remember those silly rules from their learner’s permit days? Apparently not! Sometime over the weekend, big bright red stop signs were installed at each corner of Broad and Jackson.

Did this help the situation? Watch and learn!
[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAQdjVvpGoY[/youtube]

The poor woman yelling “stop sign!” at all the drivers had been walking her dog and made several attempts to cross the street. She’d been waiting for about five minutes when she finally got fed up and marched right into the intersection. I myself did the same thing, because no one—seriously, no one—was stopping for pedestrians.

Save the libraries!

With the mayor’s announcement of budget cuts last week came the news that many branches of the Free Library will experience employee layoffs and reduced hours (like evenings and weekends), with eleven branches scheduled to close completely: Charles Durham, Queen Memorial, Kingsessing, Fumo Family, Logan, Ogontz, Fishtown, Haddington, Holmesburg, Eastwick, and Wadsworth.

Friends of the Free Library have posted about several meetings and rallies to help save the library, and will be holding a press conference at 12 noon on Monday (November 17) in front of the Haddington Library branch. The website also lists steps you can take if you would like to participate or donate.

The Kingsessing branch has started its own blog, Save Kingsessing Library! They are holding their own rally tomorrow, rain or shine, at 2 p.m. in the meeting room.

More news as it develops!

Andrea’s 30th Birthday of Karaoke Awesome

Japas House Rules

I had no idea where I wanted to spend my 30th birthday—this accomplishment required an impressive night of partying, right? I went through many suggestions before a friend of mine mentioned a place I’d never heard of before: Yakitori Boy at 11th and Race in Chinatown.

I decided to spend the extra money and reserve a 20-person private room for my party, which was great because some people who’d normally never get up in front of a crowd of people and belt out “Eye of the Tiger” did so that night. The system (as illustrated in a photo on my flickr) is somewhat disorienting to search through, and all songs in English are listed under “Foreign”. All songs are under Men, Women, or Bands, listed alphabetically… except when they are not. For the life of me, I could not find Hall & Oates, and believe me, I tried.

We discovered that standing, jumping, or dancing on the couches was allowed, so long as we removed our shoes first. (It astounds me that this has happened enough that a rule was made about it!)

Besides that, YB is amazingly awesome. The servers were quick and polite, even when we made a mess with my birthday cake. Drinks and food were all wonderfully tasty, but I must admit, I spent most of my evening with a Pom Lychee in one hand and the mic in the other. Most everything was offered in small plates (hence the upstairs lounge name Japas) so we all got to sample a few different things. Sweet potato tempura! Oh my, that was good.

I had a bit of a mix up with my credit card near the end of the night when we went to settle the bill, but our server was graciously patient with me as we figured it out. I just hope my tip was enough, because I can’t imagine how frustrating my party must have been. Oh, not that we were obnoxious or nasty, there were just so many of us! I’m used to having small gatherings for my birthday, but because it was my 30th, about 25 people showed up.

On the way out of the place, so many people told me how much fun the evening was, and most of us plan to go back sometime. Perhaps a Metblog Happy Hour?

Now I need a very large bat

Have any of you seen this huge piñata at Broad and Washington?

Piñata

I have no idea what it’s for, but I am highly intrigued.

(My apologies for the quick post and lack of R5 news for today… I’m gearing up for my 30th birthday! More on that after the weekend…)

Update: More information at Philadelphia Will Do.

La Prise de la Bastille

The “storming of the Bastille” at Eastern State Penitentiary has become such a staple of mid-July Philadelphia, complete with “Let them eat Tastykake!”, but were you aware that this is a full four-day French extravaganza?

The Fairmount French Fling Weekend begins on Thursday, July 10, with a bar crawl starting at 7pm with Belgian Café, then moving on to other local drinkeries like Bishop’s Collar, London Grill, Rembrandt’s, St. Stephen’s Green, and Urban Saloon.

On Friday, Fairmount restaurants host food and wine tastings and dinner specials. Starting at 7:30pm, Ratatouille, Pepe Le Pew cartoons, and Paris Je T’aime screen outdoors on the lawn behind Eastern State.

Saturday brings the entire Bastille Day Street Festival, including tours at Eastern State, crafts and treats for kids, vendor tents and French foods, and live music. The storming of the Bastille begins in front of Eastern State at 5:30pm, followed by twilight tours of ESP and after-parties at participating Fairmount restaurants.

But then there’s still more food on Sunday! London Grill, Rembrandt’s, Trio, Belgian Café, and Urban Saloon offer French Champagne Brunch, featuring brunch specials with crêpes, beignets and other French delicacies.

Full information can be found on Eastern State’s website.

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