Sexual Assault at Port Richmond’s Graffiti Pier Yesterday

A corridor at Graffiti Pier. | Photo by Liz Spikol

A corridor at Graffiti Pier. | Photo by Liz Spikol

Since Conrail moved its coal-carrying operations to Baltimore in the early ’90s, Pier 124 has been a hulking, abandoned ruin at the edge of Port Richmond. Yet graffiti artists from all over the region have given the concrete walls and passageways a second life, making it a vertiable museum of street art, sort of an unsanctioned version of Miami’s Wynnewood Walls. The post-industrial site has become so popular, it attracts sightseers as well as artists.

Perhaps the three people who were at the Pier yesterday were looking at the art; perhaps they were making it. Their names have not been released. But here’s what we do know: Read more »

There’s Good Cheating and Bad Cheating — Here’s How to Tell the Difference

ashley-madison-940x540

There’s been a lot of gleeful moralizing surrounding the Ashley Madison hack. I assume those who are gloating have never cheated on a lover, never struggled with temptations. If so, good for them. I suppose they’re entitled to a little schadenfreude. But given the puritanical, absolutist thinking (people who are on the website = bad. People who aren’t = good), I’m not sure they understand how websites like Ashley Madison are used. They may not, in fact, understand subtleties around sexual desire and romantic love. Relationships are complex. Monogamy is hard. There are many reasons people choose to have sex outside of their primary relationship, and they’re not all bad. In fact, I’d venture to say there’s good cheating and bad cheating, and it’s fairly easy to tell the difference. How do I know? Well, I’ve done both. So let me break it down. Read more »

Philly Police Cruiser Kills Dog, Devastated Owner Seeks Answers

Photos via Facebook

Photos via Facebook

Sidara Son, who lives with her father in Olney, got her dog Phoebe (above) for her birthday a couple years ago when the dog was just a puppy.

“A few years back I had surgery,” Son says. “I had my ovaries removed and my fallopian tubes removed so I wasn’t able to have kids. People who know me know that I love dogs, so my friend gave [the puppy] to me as a gift, and since then Phoebe has always been my baby.”

Son bought the dog toys and clothes and doted on her like a child. And she took her everywhere. “We did everything together. We went camping together, we went fishing together, we went to the beach together — there was never a moment that I left her. She woke up with me, she went to sleep with me, and every morning I would tell her that she was my sunshine baby. She was my only happiness.”

That happiness was interrupted on August 9th. Read more »

Notorious Obama Birther Philip Berg Now Driving UberX in Philly

Philip Berg is seen here in a stll from te self-published YouTube video promoting his ObamaScare book.

Philip Berg is seen here in a still from the self-published YouTube video promoting his ObamaScare book.

Conor Corcoran, a lawyer who lives in Philly and L.A., was bar-hopping a few weeks ago during one of his Philadelphia trips, when he had an experience he found profoundly unsettling.

“I was deep in my cups, as they say, having a few late-night cheeseburgers with a friend at Fountain Porter,” he recalls. “As you’re wont to do in the middle of the night, you call on Uber to go to the next place. And I ordered an UberX because I like to save my money for tipping bartenders.”

The car that showed up, Corcoran says, was a somewhat beat-up Mercedes, driven by a man in his 60s, who — within 60 seconds of normal passenger-driver chitchat — asked Corcoran and his friend what they thought of President Obama.

“That immediately started setting off bells. I gave my friend a look because my friend is black and here was this white guy at 3 in the morning asking us what we thought of Obama on a dark corner in South Philly.”

Corcoran and his friend said they liked Obama, and the driver suggested they check out his website. He then reached into the backseat and procured a business card with the site’s URL: Obamacrimes.com. It also had the driver’s name on it: Philip Berg. “I said to him, ‘I recognize your name from the newspapers,’ and he admitted that he was the Philip Berg behind all those lawsuits and news stories.” Read more »

Brigantessa Cook Taylor Hecht Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Taylor Hecht via LinkedIn

Taylor Hecht via LinkedIn

It’s certainly been a distressing few weeks for Philadelphia’s culinary community. Less than a month ago, Crow & Pitcher’s Alex Capasso was arrested and charged with one count of distributing child pornography. Now a former line cook at Passyunk Avenue’s Brigantessa is being charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child after being arrested in New Jersey.

According to a complaint filed on August 12th, Taylor Hecht, 28, allegedly possessed and distributed child pornography from his father’s home computer in Howell, New Jersey, last year using a personal email address that reads, in part, TaylorCooks. Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen set his bail at $125,000 and made three special provisions for his release: no phone, mail or other contact with the victim; no Internet use; and no contact with anyone under 18. Read more »

Philly Named Third Worst Large City in U.S.

Depressing screen shot from WalletHub's results.

Depressing screen shot from WalletHub’s results.

This week the personal finance website WalletHub released a report titled 2015’s Best & Worst Large Cities to Live in, and of the 62 U.S. cities with a population of more than 300,000, Philadelphia ranks 60. The only cities that fared more poorly were Memphis (61) and Detroit (dead last).

Now, normally, I’d look at a study like this and say, with characteristic Philadelphian brio, “Screw you, WalletHub! What do you know? You’re just pumping out content-marketing blather so that people will BuzzFeed you. Surely, your ‘study’ is slight, frivolous and easily debunked.”

Not so.

Read more »

The Philadelphia Rebound: Philly Politicians Don’t Stay Down Long

Former state Sen. Vincent Fumo leaves the James A. Byrne US Courthouse in Philadelphia, secure in the knowledge that he’ll rise again. (AP | Matt Rourke)

In May 1903, as part of a series about American cities, muckraking New York reporter Lincoln Steffans wrote in McClure’s that Philadelphia was regarded as the most corrupt city at that time. Other corrupt cities eagerly pointed the finger at Philadelphia, he noted, “as worse — ‘the worst-governed city in the country.'” Steffans himself acknowledged Philadelphia’s corruption, but felt what distinguished it was that it took place in a city that had access to and experience with reform. Other cities were just as corrupt, but their citizens might not know any better, while Philadelphians seemed to be making a choice. He wrote:

“The people” seem to prefer to be ruled by a known thief than an ambitious reformer. They will make you convict their Tweeds, Mc-Maneses, Butlers, and Shepherds, and even then they may forgive them and talk of monuments to their precious memory…

Some traditions die hard. Read more »

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