Inside the Increasingly Rough-and-Tumble Philadelphia Quidditch Scene

Photo | Isabella Gong Photography

Photo | Isabella Gong Photography

They hurtle toward each other, six per team, cleats sloshing with mean vigor on the ground still wet from the morning sprinklers. The quickest, most audacious head toward midfield where an under-inflated volleyball and three dodgeballs await. They jostle violently for the balls but only with one hand. The other must always – always – hold on to the broom.

Unfortunately, magic broomsticks do not exist on earth. So they carry three-foot-long PVC pipes between their legs instead, one hand latched with the desperate clasp of a bull rider.

A few minutes before the match began, a small swarm of dragonflies circled this field on 31st and Chestnut next to the train tracks. But in the minds of the athletes playing competitive Quidditch on this warm afternoon in July, they may as well be flying too. Dodgeballs are now caroming off people so hard that spectators wince from the sidelines. Hit in the face? No matter. Get off your broom and touch your goalposts. Play on. If you have the volleyball, you sprint toward your opponent’s three plastic hula hoops, spinning, juking, jumping, passing. Avoiding tackles and dodgeballs, all with one simple goal: shoot that volleyball through the hoop. A few minutes in, the red team scores. Seconds later, an agile speedster wearing a baby blue North Carolina jersey and a white headband takes the volleyball and runs the length of the field. He weaves through a sea of red, a cheetah with tunnel vision, now only 20 feet away from goal. He’s unstoppable. Until he crashes into the meaty outstretched arm of a red player and crumples to the ground.

“Brooms down!” The whistle of the referee fills the summer air. PVC pipes drop.  Read more »

What Happens When a Cemetery Dies?

Photograph by David Huisken

Photograph by David Huisken

Paulette Rhone dared the truck to run her over. She watched the white pickup pull through the front gate at Mount Moriah Cemetery, the trunk overflowing with landscape debris. The two drivers were looking to dump their trash bags, which was not an uncommon occurrence after the cemetery closed its doors. But on this warm spring day in 2012, Rhone, president of the Friends of Mount Moriah, was having none of it.
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Following Paul Ryan’s Intern Selfie, Comcast Posts Its Own

Photo via Twitter

Photo via Twitter

Two selfies. Two classes of summer interns. Two entities, Comcast and Congress. There can only be one winner.

This isn’t an official competition, but we are here to deliver a verdict.

First, some background.

Last Friday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan posted a photograph of the Capitol Hill summer interns to Instagram. The picture drew immediate backlash for the very apparent reason that nearly everyone in the selfie is white.

 

Three days later, Jasmin Senior, Comcast’s intern program manager tweeted a very similar photo, featuring Comcast’s chief executive officer Brian Roberts. The one difference? We’ll let the selfie speak for itself.

 

The Most People Ever Visited Philadelphia In 2015

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Skyline | R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia.

Visit Philadelphia released Philadelphia’s tourism statistics today, and the numbers are record-breaking: 41 million people visited our city last year, up from 39 million in 2014.

But to some extent, the results are unsurprising — this marks the sixth year in a row that Philadelphia has broken the previous year’s tourism record. And with the city playing host to marquee events like the papal visit in 2015 and the Democratic National Convention this year, why should we be surprised? Philly’s a city on the rise. (The New York Times shouted us out in its “36 hours” series in May).

And while Philly rises, its economic fortunes do, too. According to Visit Philadelphia, visitors to the city generated $10.7 billion in economic impact, or, put another way, $29 million every single day. 

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