Crammed inside the galley kitchen of a converted box truck, Robin Admana forms a mass of dough into a baseball-size wad and plops it onto a sizzling waffle iron. Her little truck fills with the aroma of caramelizing sugar and fried dough as globs of batter bubble over the sides of the press. It’s not the most elegant culinary process, but a minute later, out comes an airy golden-brown creation. Read more »
The allegations were shocking: mass killings of dogs, sadists abusing innocent creatures, maimed and ill animals suffering in squalor. They surfaced repeatedly on Facebook, on websites with names like Justice for Chester County Animals, and in mainstream publications like the Inquirer and the Delaware County Daily Times.
A puppy mill? A dog-fighting ring? Read more »
Inside a near-empty auditorium at Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School in South Philly, roughly 100 adults are sitting in a sea of burnt-red seats beneath a statue of the outstretched Christ. Standing before the group, Bruce Robinson no doubt hopes a divine presence is watching over him, too. Read more »
It’s 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday night at the barren 24-hour Melrose Diner in South Philly. I’m there alone. The hostess is hawkeyed at the cash register, as if I’m going to steal her silverware. She eventually moseys up to my booth. “Do you have a tan, or is that your natural skin color?” she asks. Natural, I tell her. “What are you?” I give her three guesses. “Hawaiian?” Nope. “Samoan?” Getting colder. At this point, a nearby server who’s been eavesdropping on the conversation decides to join in. “Puerto Rican,” he says. Wrong. “Dominican.” Wrong again. Then, five minutes after I’ve told them my ethnicity, a third member of the waitstaff comes up to me. “Hey, I like your skin color — what are you?”
Welcome to my world.
Read more »
Natalie Guercio lives in a funeral home. Carto, on South Broad Street. Her family has owned it forever, and until recently she was full-time there, doing hair for corpses. The day after Christmas, Natalie buzzes me in and tells me to ride the elevator to the third floor, where she rooms with her young son, Nunzio, and her 86-year-old grandfather, Nunzio, the patriarch of the funeral parlor. Natalie, wearing a black tank top, is doing her makeup. Her boyfriend London is on a Starbucks run. Grandpa Nunzio paces silently around the kitchen table. Even for a funeral parlor, the place feels sleepy. Apparently this will change the next time an episode of Mob Wives airs on VH1. “You get some haters that will call in,” she says. “‘Where’s Natalie? I hate that fucking bitch.’”
It seems an unlikely thing to be doing with Lynne Abraham.
On a cool, breezy Friday in New York in December, we’re at the Frick, looking at paintings. Vermeer’s Mistress and Maid is a favorite of hers, and we gaze intently; it depicts a servant handing her lady a letter. Abraham points out the lady’s ambiguous expression, either worry or hope over the letter’s contents, and perhaps the servant has already read it — we don’t know. “Vermeer was a great master of light,” Abraham notes. Sunlight floods the lady’s writing desk and picks out her pearl earring, bathing the moment’s tension. “What’s the message she’s getting?”
As is customary with Northeast Philadelphia natives, I have never lived more than a half hour from the house I grew up in. I went to college here, then looked for jobs here, then puttered away my 20s right here.
All signs point to lifer.
And yet as I celebrate — or, more accurately, as I icily acknowledge as only a Northeast girl can — the dawn of my 30s, part of me is surprised to find myself doing so in Philly.
If the taxi I’m in gets into a fender-bender, do I still have to pay the fare? — D.W., Northern Liberties
The Public Utilities Commission, which regulates taxis in Philadelphia, doesn’t have a rule for this particular situation. But assuming you’re unhurt, you’re governed by the same rules you always are in a taxi. In other words, has the driver taken you to your intended destination? If so, pay the fare. If you’re five blocks away and the two drivers are still swapping insurance info, dust yourself off, pay what you owe, and get another taxi — or just walk, for God’s sake. Not that I do, mind you, but I hear it’s good exercise.
Love can be hard. (Sigh.) But despite all of our modern day distractions — Tinder! Free Porn! Facebook Flirting! — it is still worth seeking out and holding onto. How do we know? You told us so.