Begone with your Punxsutawney guesswork and horticulture-based projections — this super-beautiful weekend has me convinced that spring is precariously close to sprung. I base this not on unreliable barometers like ”scientific weather data” and “experts who know what they’re talking about” — instead, it’s the pure power of Philly observation that’s informed this airtight conclusion. After the jump, 20 excuses to check out mentally 20 reasons why I think we’re ready to leave this shitty winter behind, once and for all (more or less).
Philly doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to negligibly constructed rankings of American towns. For three consecutive years, we came up dead last in the “attractive people” category of Travel + Leisure‘s “America’s Favorite Cities.” (We’ve since risen a few spots — suck it, Anchorage.) Our airport stinks. We’re pretty dirty. Apparently, we suck at saving money — but we’re top 10 in infidelity!
It’s my hope that most people take these types of pieces for what they are — silly, link-baity barroom argument fodder, built with data collection processes that are easy to overlook in favor of the punchline. (Take The Echo Nest’s super-viral “most distinctive artist by state” roundup, which many have taken in passing to mean that Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros is Pennsylvania’s most popular band.) Still, regardless of their value, there are a number of city-list features that either low-rank or completely skip over Philly, and we should be damn happy about it. Here are just a few:
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As I recently discovered during an innocuous search for Thor GIFs, Tumblr can be a mind-altering place, populated by obsessive, combative Internet users who specialize in off-putting fan art, grainy photos of people drinking coffee in bed and ludicrously detailed theory writing about the CW show Supernatural. But it’s also a repository for some incredible stuff! Like adorable dogs who paint to raise money for animal charities and that’s all I’ve got at the moment. Perusing Tumblr is a bit like spelunking without a headlamp — for every awesome stalagmite garden you uncover, you’re bound to endure at least two to three flesh-eating troglodyte attacks.
There’s also some excellent local representation on the blogging site that might not be well-exposed to non-Tumblr users, since you can’t wade through the tags and archives without a login. Here are five Philly-centric pages to check out that, to my knowledge, will not chill you to your vulnerable core. Remember that this is just a small fraction of worthy local Tumblrs — don’t hesitate to link up more in the comments.
Most bags of beans feature their “roast date,” which is vital to your brew. “Under the two-week mark is the ‘Goldilocks zone,’” says Ultimo Coffee’s Aaron Ultimo. “After that, it starts to taste dirty and it starts to taste boring.” Never ask for your beans to be pre-ground unless “you plan on literally using all of that coffee within the same day or less,” says Lilly Vamberi of Federal Donuts.
Spend low on a brewer.
For home brewing, pros are fond of affordable pour-over tools, such as a Chemex, Bee House or Hario V60, that rely on gravity for quick brews; Bodhi Coffee’s Tom Henneman is fond of the classic French press. If you’re set on a dripper, One Shot’s Melissa Baruno suggests a Bonavita, which brews with multiple streams of water.
Spend high on a grinder.
I’d only lived in Philadelphia for about three years when The New York Times published the article everyone is still pissed about. Yes, the one that, despite its largely positive portrayal of Philly as an attractive urban destination, contained the phrase “sixth borough.”
I’ll take a brief pause here to allow you to dust off your pitchforks and light your torches.
That piece came out in 2005 and it’s still brought up in casual conversation, usually preceded or abutted by some half-muttered, bile-filled variation on “FUCK NEW YORK.” Though I’m of the mind that the statute of limitations on such traced-back hostility should probably be shorter than a near-decade, I understand why. Without using the R-word, it’s a byproduct of that locally cultivated chip on our shoulders, the same geographically granted spirit that motivates us to wear shirts like this and post that Coach Kelly clip on Facebook.
Rival Bros. Coffee Roasters
West Philly / Rittenhouse • “People are slowing down and enjoying coffee culture more than ever,” says Jonathan Adams of the industry-wide trend of consumers happily exchanging a few extra minutes for a quality cafe brew. Turns out this still applies when there’s no actual cafe in play—Adams, along with partner Damien Pileggi, proves as much with Rival Bros., which dispenses its line of coffee and espresso from the window of a glossy tricked-out truck. They’re adding a brick-and-mortar location at 24th and Lombard. 33rd and Arch streets and 500 South 24th Street.
Center City • California native and coffee fiend Evan Inatome introduced Elixr to Center City in 2011. He’s since relocated to a larger looker of a space, one as driven by the ambitious ideas of his staff as it is by his sharp coffee curation, which includes beans he roasts himself: “I give the baristas a lot of control to express themselves creatively,” Inatome says. Such expression manifests itself in the form of events like art openings and a recent coffee-focused cocktail competition attended by hundreds. 207 South Sydenham Street.
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Walking down my block this morning, I saw something beautiful. About half a dozen vacant parking spots, framed by piles of half-melted, salt-stained, tire-mushed brown-yellow-gray snow — not a crappy patio chair, dinged-up trashcan or stolen construction cone in sight.
While it’s impossible to say whether or not this phenomenon had any connection with the #NoSavesies campaign the Philadelphia Police Department rolled out on Twitter earlier this month, I’ve got to say that the sight warmed my usually spite-filled urbanite heart. City residents have been bitching and bickering about parking since the advent of the automobile — picture two Model T drivers engaging in a Queensbury Rules row over the last spot in front of the millinery shop — and inclement weather manages to bring out the worst in us.
Armed with an unflappable understanding of justice and a haircut you can set your watch to, Jack Ryan was already a movie hero the second the late Tom Clancy committed him to paper. Given its easy appeal, the successful Clancy-inspired film franchise, inactive since 2002′s The Sum of All Fears, has been overdue for a reup. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit takes very few risks with the patriot and the formula, but its action serves as an ass-kicking reprieve from all that awards-season indigestion.
Divvy up your 2014 theater visits with this movie-a-month guide, starting with computer love and running straight through to a nouveau hard knock life.
Release Date: January 10th
The most remarkable aspect of Spike Jonze‘s most-talked-about movie is its core of unremarkability. Yes, there’s a clinical mystery to the vaguely futuristic Los Angeles setting, and his cast, led by Joaquin Phoenix as a dejected writer of pre-fab love letters, cuts a fanciful view of the creative class. But the accuracy with which Jonze nails the spirit of new romance is so eerie that it’s easy to forget he’s chronicling a relationship between a man and a charismatic operating system (Scarlett Johansson). Those who look at Her as a commentary on our relationship with technology are missing the point. It’s a movie about humans, and a daring, touching one at that.
Currently thawing out in front of the small screen in post-shoveling mode? Here’s a selection of snow-centric cinema to go along with your cocoa and numb toes. If you feel we’ve missed any blizzard-based titles in this wintry mix, speak up in the comments.