Archive for June, 2005

Lame 8

Normally, when I read the Philadelphia Weekly, I assume all insanity will be coming from Ms. Liz “OMGWTFBBQ I have a mental illness and obsess over it” Spikol. I don’t normally expect such gems as this, which is why I had to scan this bit from the Live 8 coverage. (Please forgive the poor image quality.)

Maybe it’s an activist joke, but the irony is so brutal it’s painful.

Good try, PW. This little mis-step aside, you had a great issue this week. (Props to Solomon Jones for a really well-written cover story, too.)

Location, Location, Location (and better PR)

Our fine urban city must do a better job when it comes to public relations. When someone move to this area, whether it be for a job or school, the city must flex its muscle to attract residents to settle within its confines. When a friend of mine moved here in 2001 (recruited, no less), his company did not even show him Center City or any parts of Philadelphia, but whisked him out to the far flung burgs of Wayne and Paoli. As a gay man, accustomed to the niceties of midtown Atlanta, he promptly retorted “Where the hell are the sidewalks and stores not in strip malls and”….well you get the point.

There are many wonderful neighborhoods – – I even found a site dedicated to the Historic Northwest Neighborhoods of Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, and Germantown. When I tell people I live in the Mt. Airy/Germantown area, they don’t have clue where it is, although the neighborhoods have the highest concentration of historic buildings in SE Pennsylvania outside center city.

Perhaps, we should follow the ways of Paris and divide the city into arrondissements and each year slate one for a major renewal project – – one year it could be Frankford and Girard Estates the next. This could be a novel idea in American urban planning…these could public works, a botanical garden or state of the art library. Residents of the neighborhood (or shall we say arrondissement) would have input into what would have a positive impact…each project could be underwritten by a local corporation such as GlaxoSmithKline or Vanguard (this is America, after all, and Philly isn’t exactly flush with cash).


Cities Dying Again

Just read the following article on Yahoo: Out-migration cools talk of inner-city resurgences.

The following paragraph refers to Philly:
“The notion of the resurgence of the inner city was being overstated,” he says. “In Philadelphia, for example, Center City is better than it’s ever been. But the rest of the city is losing jobs and population.”

True enough.

Little Pete’s

About an hour ago, a friend sent me a link to an article in the Inquirer. I glanced at it five minutes ago, and what I read caused me to sit up straight in my chair, in surprise and regret.

Little Pete’s on Chestnut St. is closing.

Radio Free Philadelphia

Philly radio is, kinda, well, horrible. A barren wasteland. A no man’s land. A dry desert, soakin’ up rain, soakin’ up sun, where the few oasis to be found are not only insipid, but so similar that you can barely tell one from the other.

Unless you listen to hip-hop… or have discovered 91.7 WKDU.

Light Up My Night

Tonight at 9 PM is the scheduled relighting of Boathouse Row.

Latin Rhythms

Live 8 isn’t the only game in town this weekend. For those interested in something with a little more rhythm this weekend, there is also Salsa on the Parkway. This event happens right after the big spectacle (i.e., Sunday, July 3) and host the likes of Frankie Negron and other salseros…just an option to spice up your holiday fete if a million people is a bit too many to handle….

the cappuccino kid

Episcopal Hospital

So yesterday, The Cory and I took a (thrilling) field-trip to Episcopal Hospital’s ER.
But that’s not the point.

Point is, afterwards, as we were walking back by the hospital on the other side of the street, I noticed the original building. It’s one long, skinny spire that doesn’t even look all that big! That’s all the hospital used to be! My research is proving me wrong, but I’m still impressed by the smallness of it. (You should see where this is going by now…)

Being a dork who’s all about history and architecture, I had to stop. Had to look. Had to comment. (Had to research like mad for a really boring blog entry.)
(Cory had this to say about it: “On nice days, they used to do surgery on the roof!” Don’t buy it; Cory’s a liar.)
According to Philadelphia Architects and Buildings, there used to be all sorts of cool stuff on the campus like Harrison Memorial House of Incurable Patients and Episcopal Hospital Isolation Ward. Fascinating stuff. I wish I could find more about the campus and the original hospital. (Someone might be heading off to the UPenn library and the Free Library for more info…) According to the Library of Congress’ Historic American Buildings Survey, the original hospital looked like this:

Free Image Hosting at

The one of the earliest dated references to the hospital is from a short biography of Thomas Neilson, which notes that the hospital was around in 1880 (because Dr. Neilson did his residency there, it seems); and A Short History of the City of Philadelphia, From Its Foundation to the Present Time (1880) by Susan Coolidge notes, “Hospital of Protestant Episcopal Church, south-east corner of Lehigh Avenue and Front Street, occupying a square of ground. This fine building, whose doors are open to patients of all creeds and nationalities, has a capacity of three hundred beds.” (No date.) But the real winner is Rudolph J. Walther’s Philadelphia timeline; it gives this entry in 1860:
“May 24. Cornerstone of Episcopal Hospital, Lehigh Avenue and Front Street, laid.”
BINGO! So this hospital is only something like 145 years old. (Only?)

All this stuff about creepy old hospitals reminds me of an old hospital legend that Cory’s friends taunted me with: Byberry.
I’m thinking field-trip. Everyone should spend at least one night in an abandoned asylum filled with the ghosts of mistreated, ignored, and outcast mental patients. (Anyone wanna join me?)
I figure, before I really take on Byberry, research must be done. I want to fill my mind with every sordid, scary detail about this horrific piece of Philly history that I can. Every story of abandon, neglect, and terror? Want it. Every murder, death, and abuse? Want it. Every haunting, nightmare, or terror? Want it. I want to know exactly why this massive old campus scares the bejesus out of kids in NE Philly.
Then I’ll take it on. For a whole night.


No, this is not an entry about getting arrested.

This morning I indulged in on my of my favorite, before work treats. I stopped at Mugshots, at 21st and Fairmount and had coffee with a friend for 45 minutes before work. The sun was beaming and it wasn’t yet to humid outside, so we sat at a table on the sidewalk, drank coffee and caught up on our lives. Less than an hour doesn’t seem like a lot in the course of a day, but as a special treat of minutes, carved out of a busy work day, it makes all the difference.

Live8 in my hood

Hello to all on this new Philly Blog! It’s been a long time coming and now I feel like I am part of a real city ;)

So speaking of Live8, I found out this morning that I will be trapped in my nabe, unable to leave as the lockdown moved north. Orginally the border north was Fairmount, but alas it’s all the way up to poplar, which means unless I show proof I live here, I won’t be allowed to drive in.

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