Archive for August, 2006

One patient driver in a sea of crazies

Courteous drivers are fairly rare in Philadelphia. I used to be one back when I lived in Portland, OR, but over the last five years, the driving norms of Philly have infiltrated my being and I now find myself running reds, cutting people off and oftentimes forgetting to give a polite wave of thanks when someone lets me in.

Tonight, while I was being a pedestrian instead of a driver, I happened to see an unusual event. There was a man in an early model GM sedan going west on Sansom Street, just about to cross 18th Street. The traffic up ahead of him was backed up, and so if he proceeded through the light, which was still green, he ran the risk of getting stuck in the middle of the intersection, frustrating oncoming traffic in the meantime. So instead, he waited and missed the light. The traffic was still backed up, so his fears of getting caught in the middle would have been founded, but this didn’t stop the woman in the car behind him from putting an elbow on her horn and leaning out the window to scream at him.

He was unfazed by it, and responded simply by saying, “I didn’t want to block the box. Will you please calm down?” I crossed in front of his car, and nearly stopped to thank him for his polite manner. I don’t know what stopped me, but I was momentarily struck mute.

So I’d like to take this forum to say thank you to the driver of this car, who was at the intersection around 4:55 pm this afternoon. I wish there were more drivers on the road like you and you inspire me to approach driving with patience and a calm attitude.

A new take on fast food

Was on my way home last night when I ran into an old friend in front of Tragos on 19th St. and noticed the new fast food joint, “Bootsie’s,” right next to it. My other friend grabbed a menu while I was catching up with my buddy and we discovered that this isn’t your ordinary late nite grub. Rabbit sausage? Ostrich burger? And it’s open til 4am on Fri & Sat. I usually go for eggs & hash browns after a night of drinking, but I’m up for scarfing down a couple bunny dogs to soak up the alcohol next time. Check out Foobooz’s and Aroundphilly’s write-ups on the place.

The Urban Jungle

This morning is perhaps the first day this year I’ve been sorry for my walking commute. No, the “welcome to your new job” Valentine’s Day blizzard didn’t do me in, nor did this summer’s blistering heat and tropical humidity. Chalk it up instead to what I call “the squeamish factor.”

This morning, I was wandering up Chestnut, my iPod playing, in my traditional pre-caffienated haze, when the feel of the ground through my sneaker changed. My toe had gently collided with something soft, and I looked down to see what it was.

What it was was a soft, feathery, decapitated bird. Some city cat did his hunting but good. And all I have to say about it is:


So much for good samaritans.

It’s wonderful when communities organize and encourage individuals to speak up without fear to fight local crime. This morning’s news, however, illustrates exactly why people are reluctant to intervene and take on the “I didn’t see anything” attitude. Seven people were murdered in Philadelphia last night, three of them all linked to one incident (article).

A couple went out for a walk in their Fern Rock neighborhood. They returned home and their motion sensor light went on, revealing a man raping a woman at gunpoint. They tried to help the woman, and now all three are dead. The only good news here is that police managed to arrest a suspect.

Photo of the Day: Urban Abstract

I really love urban abstract photography, particuarly when it’s monochrome. I thought from the thumbnail of this image on Flickr that this was actually sepia toned, but in the large version I see that it’s just that there’s no color other than the warm browns of the concrete buildings aglow late afternoon sunshine. (I can imagine that this same scene without the sunlight wouldn’t be nearly as interesting.)

Photo by lizamcrespo

Other than this being in Central Philly, I’m not sure where this is. But as an urban abstract, does it really matter?

Please add your Philadelphia photos to the Metroblogging Philadelphia Flickr group. Readers’ photos will be featured here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Walk This Way

Being a pedestrian in this city can be a dangerous undertaking. Crossing the street, even when you have the light, can be a life-threatening endeavor. Today while nearly being run over by a driver who couldn’t bother to look before making a turn, I realized that my upturned middle finger and chain of expletives achieved very little. Could I even be heard? This is why I propose a horn for pedestrians. Perhaps we don’t have the luxury of a car, but does this mean that we walkers aren’t also victims of bad driving? Why shouldn’t we have the joy of obnoxiously hanging on the horn to notify people of our displeasure? Pedestrians of Philadelphia, unite! Now, the only challenge is implementing a design that won’t make walkers look like morons hanging onto giant horns. If you have any ideas, be in touch. We could be on to something!

Pimp Your Lunch Truck

Waiting for my turn to order at the Oriental Food Truck at the NE corner of 36th and Market, I started listening into the conversations around me. Most were one-sided, the second person unheard on the other end of a cell phone. There was one worth slyly dropping in on though, a cluster of three, obviously work friends, standing two people behind me, talking about the spiffy new truck that had replaced the old one that used to be there. The truck disappeared this summer for about two months (we all missed them terribly), and when it returned, it was clean and shiny and mostly-new.

Woman 1: “Is it the old truck remodeled, or is it a brand new truck?”

Woman 2: “It looks wider than the old one.”

Guy: “It looks like they went on Pimp Your Lunch Truck!”

It got me thinking about the variety of lunch trucks and carts around the city. Lots of them are rusted, defaced and disgusting. I’m inviting all of you to nominate the most in-need to our fictional reality show, “Pimp Your Lunch Truck.” We have no budget, and no ability to do any pimping, but if we were actually awarding prizes, what truck or cart would you nominate? Let us know in the comments!

The Scent of Basil on South Street

giant basil plant at L2

Notes:     If any restaurant ever wanted to get my attention, all it would need to do is just put a big pot of basil out in front. I was walking past L2 on South Street recently, and stopped in my tracks – is that basil? And possibly a little rosemary too? And… are they offering it to me? Well, I decided that the mere fact that they had put a giant basil plant out in front was not exactly license to take some, even though I had already half rationalized to myself that I would be helping to prune the plant. Fortunately for L2, I was on my way to dinner elsewhere so my pruning fingers did not accost their plant.

But I have to say that I was intrigued by their exterior decor enough to check out their menu, and it looks quite good. I think I would start with the Pan Seared Sea Scallops appetizer. Maybe also split the Fried Tomatoes with whoever I was with. And then I would go for the Chilean Sea Bass entree.

Now that I’m all decided, I think I might need to go there sometime. Anyone actually go there in real life instead of just sitting at home imagining it?

Location:     L2 Restaurant and Bar, 2201 South Street
Camera:     Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel XT, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6
EXIF:     Aperture Priority, Pattern Metering, EV 0, 1/200 sec, F/5.6, ISO-100, 55 mm (88 mm equivalent)

Please add your Philadelphia photos to the Metroblogging Philadelphia Flickr group. Readers’ photos will be featured here on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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.

Saint Joe’s, YAWN

Well, I am back from vacation and tomorrow is my first day of class for the fall semester. This will be my third semester at Saint Joseph’s University and I still feel the same way about the school as I did when I started. It is totally boring! Now, the education is recognized around the world but the campus is like a creepy movie. There are statues of Saints everywhere. The halls of the school are filled with church pews and biblical paintings. I know I know, you may think I’m over exaggerating here but really, I’m not. Sometimes I feel like one of the statues may jump out and grab me! I attended Catholic school the majority of my life, so you think I would be use to it by now. I’m just a city girl attending a school that lacks life and culture. I can honestly say, out of all the schools in the city. This one gets a great big YAWN from me.

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