Best of Philly 2011: People & Power
Danny Watkins: The Birds’ first-round draft pick is a 26-year-old Canadian who used to be a professional firefighter, all of which we think is cool. (Unless it turns out you’re terrible, Danny, in which case we officially don’t give a crap about your background.)
Joseph Lozito: Lozito was commuting to his New York job when he subdued stabbing suspect Maksim Gelman on a subway, taking a knife to the head, arms and hands. He’s threatened to sue New York City and its cops for not helping him.
REASON TO WATCH CSN
Amy Fadool: The sharp SportsNite reporter even makes televised golf fun to watch.
SPORTS ROLE MODEL
Jrue Holiday: The 21-year-old Sixers point guard never showboats, has no tatts (that we can see), and brings his team together for off-season workouts. Imagine.
John Gonzalez vs. David Murphy: In April, Inky sports guy Gonzalez and his Daily News bro-in-arms Murphy went tweet-to-tweet in a vicious battle of words. Gonzalez’s death blow to his opponent: And there’s that time you failed to get a local female sportscaster to go home with you. You remember … she kicked you out of the cab and left you standing with your shriveled dick in your hand.
FUNNIEST MAN ON THE RADIO
Steve Morrison of WMMR’s Preston & Steve: It takes a special sort of talent to get us veering off the Schuylkill just because his neighbor tries to get him to look at the port-wine stain on his penis.
Mayor Josh Maxwell: Penn grad student Maxwell, age 27, is mayor of Downingtown and loves his job—except when snow emergencies interfere with his class schedule. (Hey, Philly City Council: Maybe you guys should think about an education, too?)
Dan McQuade: Why you should follow Philadelphia Will Do blogger Dan McQuade (@dhm) on Twitter, in 140 characters: Phillies screen grabs, live-tweeting, cat photos, the answer to Final Jeopardy!, headline aggregation, and Milton Street jokes galore. #doit
Vance Worley: He wears glasses, his nickname is Vanimal, he has a mohawk, and he gets guys out. You’re telling us you’re not already in love?
Steve Schiavo at Fond: He knows his stuff. He’s funny. He’s charming. He comes bearing awesome food and doesn’t stick his thumb in the soup. We’re thinking about setting him up with a friend.
1617 East Passyunk Avenue, 215-551-5000, fondphilly.com.
John Street: Now-defunct law firm Wolf Block billed the Philadelphia Housing Authority nearly $923,000 for work by its associates, including Sharif Street—while his father, John, was head of the housing board. Who’s your daddy?
POLITICIAN WHO’S AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Steve Sweeney: The president of the New Jersey State Senate has been pushing for shared municipal services for a decade, long before this became a buzz phrase in state funding crises. When will we listen?
REMINDER OF WHAT THE INKY USED TO BE
Trudy Rubin: In her column, the Inquirer‘s Rubin brings consistently cogent insight into and explanation of the Arab world at a time when most papers barely have a foreign budget.
February 16, 2011: Mayoral candidate/felon Milton Street announces his run.
ONLY-IN-PHILLY FOLLOW-UP MOMENT
April 7, 2011: The firefighters union endorses him.
Doug Collins: With an upbeat attitude you can’t help but admire and genuine concern for his players, the Sixers coach made us remember that there’s professional basketball in this town—and yeah, sometimes it’s fun to watch.
FLOUTER OF AUTHORITY
Vinny Vella: La Salle University student newspaper editor Vella, 20, under orders from the college to bury a front-page article on a skeevy prof hiring lap dancers “below the fold,” did so—and above the fold printed only the words “See below the fold.”
BEST WATERFRONT IMPROVEMENT
The new Race Street Pier: From the design team behind New York’s High Line comes this jewel on the Delaware. Whether you do yoga in its grass, read under its trees, surf its free Wi-Fi or cool off in its riverside breezes, just be sure to thank everyone involved for showing Philly what our Delaware waterfront could be.
PROOF WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS
The Orchestra: After years of low attendance, the Philadelphia Orchestra, one of the nation’s best, filed for Chapter 11 in April—the first major U.S. orchestra to go that route. (Yes, that’s philistine with a “Ph-“.)
Carlos Ruiz: In all the Four Aces fuss, it might have seemed we forgot the guy who stoically and gracefully and expertly calls and handles those 98-mph fastballs. We haven’t. Thanks, Chooch. Love you forever, Everyone.
“Hire me, Krispy Kreme”: Braden Young, whose beseeching Twitter and Facebook campaigns got the doughnut megalith to contact him in just four hours, was hired as the local sales and marketing manager in January.
Tom Ferrick Jr. and Chris Satullo: The brains behind the news sites Metropolis and Newsworks, respectively, these two former Inky staffers are helping invent the future of Philly journalism. Both sites are on the wonky side, but there’s enough there there that we’re convinced daily reporting won’t perish as the Inquirer continues its death spiral.
Philadelphia Union: We know, we know, we’re immature—but we still snicker every time we see those Union shirts with “BIMBO” across the chest.
Stu Bykofsky: Okay, he might have undermined his credibility with all those years as a gossip hound. But for point of view, voice, honesty … who’s better?
Pennsylvania Horticultural Society: To the extent that our city is occasionally viewed as a grimy, gritty craphole of Rocky-esque proportions, PHS is working hard to kill that image, one pop-up garden (see: the veggie plots at 20th and Market), a few amazing topiaries (see: the carousel animals stationed around Logan Square) and a whole bunch of greenery (see: the million-tree project) at a time. Thanks, Drew Becher and crew, for making life prettier round here.
The Inquirer‘s Kate Fagan: We’ve been waiting forever. And finally: game stories with the insight and energy to give us a real feel for a locker room.
Emmanuelle Delpech: The local arts scene was a bit perplexed when this lauded, Paris-by-way-of-South Philly Barrymore-winning actress and former Swarthmore teacher decided to go back to school a couple years ago. Now, with a new MFA from Temple, she’s on the scene again—and we can’t wait for her pieces due to debut in the coming year—including one involving a clown striptease.
MOVIE BUFF’S REVENGE
M. Night School: As of press time, this website had collected $693.49 in its campaign to fund local film director M. Night Shyamalan’s remedial education at NYU’s film school.
Stephanie Singer, candidate for City Commissioner: A mathematician and professor turned political analyst, Singer’s done more to shed light on city elections than anybody but the Committee of Seventy. Now she’s a shoo-in to be one of three commissioners charged with overseeing Philadelphia voting, replacing ancient power player and DROP poster girl Marge Tartaglione.
Camille Barnett, former managing director: Barnett was hired to bring Philly’s bureaucracy into this century. Instead, she frittered away endless hours with meetings and maps, instructed aides to walk her beloved Yorkshire terriers, and—on her way out—exploited a pension loophole to collect $50,000 a year for life from city taxpayers after just two years of service. Good riddance.
HOPE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Duong Nghe Ly: Before graduating from South Philadelphia High School in June, Nghe Ly won Princeton University’s Princeton Prize in Race Relations for his work to find solutions to racial violence at the school. It’s the second straight year the prize has gone to an Asian student at South Philly High.
USE OF EMPTY SPACE
The old Leehe Fai space: Dunkin’ Donuts! Yesssss!
133 South 18th Street.
EXAMPLE TO PHILADELPHIA
Chris Christie’s overhaul of public worker pensions: Say what you will about Christie (we certainly have), but didn’t you get a rush when he overpowered the power unions to end the government-worker pension madness in that state? Dare to dream, Nutter. Dare to dream.
Craig Carnaroli: The executive veep of the University of Pennsylvania is the brain behind a 30-year plan for the campus and surrounding community that’s already boosted everything from retail to real estate to West Philly’s image. Next month, look for Penn Park—his pet project—to transform the former parking-lot wasteland along 30th Street into playing fields and green space for us all.
NEW THANKSGIVING TRADITION
Vetri vs. Garces Turkey Bowl: This year marks the third annual football showdown between the two superstar chefs and their crews. It’s just like your family game, except that when these guys are done, they eat way, way better.
MOVE TOWARD WORLD DOMINATION
The CHOP expansion: From the new $500 million research building to the million-square-foot mystery project on South Street to a big international medical-tourism initiative, the bigger CHOP gets, the better Philly’s global positioning—and, more important, the more kids get healthy.
Jonathon Barach: Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, Prudential Fox & Roach’s Barach has your space (and your deal), and he’ll sweat every detail, so you’re free to sweat paint colors. He’ll even introduce you to the neighbors.
530 Walnut Street, suite 260, 215-254-0633, prufoxroach.com.