Archive for the ‘Landmarks’ Category

Remembering the good old days…

I was just searching for more information about a beer drinking event* in Fairmount tomorrow that one of my classmates was touting on Wednesday night, when I stumbled across an even more intriguing tidbit. This Sunday, April 29th, Eastern State Penitentiary will be hosting a reunion for both former innates and guards. The ESP alum will be there for most of the day (although the Philly Fun Guide website says 2:30 pm) to greet the public and answer questions. So, if you’re curious about the “good” old days of Eastern State (touted as America’s Most Historic Prison), you might want to swing over there on Sunday.

*If anyone has details about a beer and music event that starts at 10 am tomorrow in Fairmount and costs $10 to get into, we’d love to hear from you.

On April 26th, the TLA become Fillmore Philadelphia

Clear Channel, that vast blight on the music industry, has decided to change the name of long-time Philly institution, The Theater of the Living Arts. They are going to call it Fillmore Philadelphia. A name that is bland, blah and says so little about our city that they have to name us in the title.

I find this so infuriating. The TLA is a landmark. My mom used to go to shows there in the 1960’s. How can you change the name of a institution? They are stripping this venue of it’s uniqueness, giving it the same name that theaters in San Francisco, New York and Denver have. Why is it important to them have venues with similar names? It’s not going to change what shows come or how people view the space.

I’ve never been a big fan of renaming, although I’ve come to accept that it happens more frequently than I’d like (West River Drive to Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive for instance). But this seems to me to be totally unnecessary.

The Theater of the Living Arts Rebranded [Inquirer]

Still Saving the Boyd

On my way to meet at Grocery Cafe (they always have soups) for lunch today, I spotted activity across the street at the SamEric/Boyd. As you may know, Live Nation, the group that now owns the space, is considering either selling it or developing it. But nothing has been decided yet, leaving the area’s last great movie palace at risk.

All I could tell was that there were a few people standing around the side entrance doors to the theater, talking and briefly consulting some rolled up plans. They looked like they were waiting for a few more people to join them. The rear door of the theater was also open, so that you could look straight through to Sansom Street.

Friends of the Boyd is encouraging all Mayoral and City Council candidates to support the saving of the Boyd. They are also urging all Philadelphians to call or write City Hall in order to voice their support for the preservation of the theater. If you are interested in offering your support, you can reach the Mayor’s office at 215-686-1776. Alternately, you can send a faxed letter of support to 215-686-2180.

Thomas Mill

If you and your date are up for a walk in the snow on Valentine’s Day, check out the very romantic and historic Thomas Mill Bridge. It’s the only covered bridge in Philadelphia, and it happens to be red! You can find it in Wissahickon Valley Park towards the northern end of Forbidden Drive, a very easy walk south from the parking area on Bell’s Mill Road. For more information check out the Friends of the Wissahickon web site.

If your romantic walk in the snow makes you hungry, I strongly recommend continuing south on Forbidden Drive to take in a meal at the Valley Green Inn. They have a special Valentine’s menu, very tasty warm drinks and a crackling fireplace to keep you nice and toasty.

No ugly fence!

Remember when everyone found out about the gigantic fence proposal for Independence Hall and agreed it was a terrible idea? Maybe not, but here is the good news anyway: they scrapped the idea. Now they will install something called “bollards” linked with chains. Unfortunately, they will also put up a tent for visitor bag checks. In the end, though, one tent is a heck of a lot easier on the eyes than a 6 foot fence cutting independence square in half.

Seven Wonders of the Tri-State Area

Good Morning America is running a series, naming a new set of the Seven Wonders of World. Our own 6ABC news team is taking a page from their book and compiling their own Seven Wonders list that will feature buildings or locations from Pennsylvania, Delaware or New Jersey. They are asking for suggestions for their list and say in their solicitation,

Don’t think on the grand scale of Victoria Falls, or Mount Everest, or the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Think of what is impressive around here. It may be man-made, it may be natural. It may be anything we choose. But it has to have gained a great deal of noteriety and attention in the region.

So, if you have any suggestions, go on over to the 6ABC website and let them know.

Reading Terminal Market: Now Open Sundays

If you’re like me and can’t seem to make it on Reading Terminal Market on Saturdays, here’s some good news for you: For the first time in the Market’s history, it will be open on Sundays. It won’t be quite as good as the Saturday market, however, as the Reading Terminal’s Amish vendors won’t be participating in the Sunday hours. The move comes as a third of the Market’s vendors feel that doing business 7 days a week will make them more competitive. Reading Terminal will be open on Sundays on a trial basis from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Farewell to the Elephants


The Philadelphia Zoo announced last night via an email to its members that the four elephants that live at the Zoo, Dulary, Petal, Kallie and Bette, are going to be sent to other homes. Dulary will move to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and the other three, who are African elephants will be moving to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

I visited the zoo last May with a friend who, after living in Philly for four years, was moving back to Texas, and wanted to see America’s Oldest Zoo before she left town. Standing in front of the elephants, I was moved by the aura of sadness that seemed radiate from them, and took several pictures, all the while worrying about their state of mind (I realize that this might make one think I’m a bit of a crazy person. I swear, I’m not). I’m a little sad that the Philadelphia Zoo won’t have elephants anymore, but I’m relieved that they will be living someplace that will give them a little more space to roam and hopefully a lot more joy.

Care for a peek at the Union League?

The Union League, the formidable institution on Broad Street at Sansom Street, where only portraits of Republican Presidents hang, is opening its doors to the public for the first time since 1899.

They’re doing this because they are hosting an exhibition by Philly area portrait artist Nelson Shanks from now until December 17th. The League will offer free tours of the building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Better take advantage of this offer because it might be another 107 years before they open their doors to the hoi poloy again.

Inqlings | Shanks exhibit spurs Union League to open its doors

Fancy-Schmancy Loews

elevator bank hallwayA friend of mine was in town this weekend and stayed in the Loews Hotel at 12th and Market inside the PSFS building. What a visual treat! They did an incredible job with the restoration. The black and red marbles in the lobby are polished to slick, modern perfection. They kept some interesting details, such as the safe at the back of the reception area and original elevator banks. The new elevator banks on each floor (pictured) continue the black and deep orange color theme and combine well with the funky colorful carpet.

The upper floors have spectacular views, and the location is center city perfect. The convention center, Reading Terminal, Market East and The Gallery are right across the street. The historic sites, Old City, Broad Street and Rittenhouse Square are all walkable. Another plus: it’s pet friendly! For a nominal fee, your furry friend can come to with you.

If one is to travel to Philadelphia and willing to splurge a little, this is absolutely the place to be. It’s another world in there, adding an element of artsy luxury to the tourist experience.

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