A Translation of Carl Dranoff’s Main Line Times Editorial

Photo credit: Laura Kicey

Carl Dranoff, above, is a diplomatic guy. Photo credit: Laura Kicey

In response to claims that the project has been opposed by many in the community, Carl Dranoff wrote an editorial for the Main Line Times today, in which he attempted to clarify some aspects of the plan that seem to have been lost in the bickering. Of course, he puts everything quite delicately, but as someone who was once in a PhD program for Translation Studies, I feel qualified to at least attempt a rendering into regular-person talk, i.e., the kind of thing I imagine he says at home, head in hands, when the frustration gets to be too much.

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Inga Saffron vs. Mural Arts: The T-Shirt Edition

mural arts t-shirt

A t-shirt made by Mural Arts in the wake of a column by Inga Saffron. Modeled by Emily Goulet.

This year marks the Mural Arts Program (MAP)’s 30th anniversary, and it should surprise no one that the Inquirer‘s Inga Saffron — a longtime critic of the city arts agency — would have something to say about it.

In a recent Changing Skyline column, the architecture critic did indeed take the opportunity to say a few words about MAP, some of them almost kind:

During those three decades, the city agency has left its mark on some 3,600 walls, mostly in the bleaker corners of the city where a little paint isn’t the worst thing that can happen.

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Suit Corner Is Engulfed By Fire

suit-cornerFirst it was Shirt Corner, the iconic clothing retailer at Third and Market. The retailer went out of business, the building was slated for redevelopment, the redevelopment was scrapped due to structural issues, then it (unexpectedly?) collapsed during demolition. Fans of historical buildings and classic type mourn.

Now, across the street, Suit Corner — which also had a similarly iconic facade, but was still serving customers after 50+ years — has gone up in flames. The fire started this morning, and has apparently destroyed the business, according to news reports.

For more on this story and for updates as it develops, head over to Philly Mag News & Opinion: Suit Corner Fire Is Under Control (Updated)

Image of Suit Corner via Google Street View.

Get a Home Makeover From IKEA

home-tour-squadIKEA calls itself the Life Improvement Store, and it’s now expanding its services to make good on that moniker. Taking a page from the book of home-makeover shows that have become so popular, the Swedes have launched the “grassroots” IKEA Home Tour, which will send a team of experts to different cities to work with desperate homeowners (design-desperate, that is. This ain’t no Extreme Makeover).

The IKEA “Home Tour Squad” is composed of five IKEA employees (pictured, left) who are leaving their store-bound jobs and going on the road to provide two makeovers in each city they visit. So far the cities on that list include Atlanta, Charlotte, Baltimore/D.C., New York and Philadelphia.

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AQ Rittenhouse Breaks Ground Tomorrow

A rendering of the project by architect BLT.

A rendering of the project via Aquinas’ website.

Aquinas Realty plans to break ground tomorrow on AQ Rittenhouse, a 12-story mixed-use building at 2021 Chestnut. There’ll be restaurant/retail space on the first floor and 110 residential units, with plenty of amenities: a sky terrace, secure covered parking, a fitness center and a “dog washing room.”

The previous building on the site, the YWCA annex, had been vacant since the early 1990s and was seriously blighted by the time it was torn down to make room for something new.

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You Can Now Own a Chunk of the City’s Website, Basically

Chris Sawyer over at philadelinquency has performed another of his data dumps (in a good way) this year by releasing three files that you can download and own. Here’s what he’s got:

1. OPA RECORDS.csv – contains all the basic characteristics of each property in Philadelphia, its owners, the OPA mailing address, and summary information from the Department of Revenue

2. REVENUE RECORDS.csv – contains the full entire listing for every OPA account number in the OPA RECORDS file as you see it when you browse the Department of Revenue’s property tax website.

3. VALUATION RECORDS.csv – contains a history of valuation changes for all OPA accounts that are listed in the OPA RECORDS file, including tax exemption codes and historical assessments.

Once the files are downloaded, they’re yours to keep, so you don’t have to go digging around phila.gov to get the info. Which can be exhausting.

Downloads are here.

Why Do Former Wawas Always Look Like Wawa?

former wawa

The ultimate insult: a Wawa on Mystic Island that’s been turned into a 7-Eleven. Photo via Google Street View.

It was one of the great sadnesses of my life as a native Center Cityan when the Rittenhouse Square Wawa closed. I’d done so much growing up there — bought countless packs of to-be-regretted-later cigarettes, hidden from my parents in the depths of my backpack; giggled with my friends over the Playboys and Penthouses in the very back rows of the magazine racks; stocked up on Butterscotch Krimpets and Jolly Ranchers before the daylong vigils by the fountain in the park, waiting for the boys to walk by.

And then, in 2008, it closed and became  (gasp!) a 7-Eleven. What fresh hell was this? Every day my Center City childhood disappears a bit more, crumbling into Burberry or Cole Hahn ash. But come on, people! Some things are sacred! (At least it didn’t become a Sheetz.)

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For Those Who Want to Know Ahead of Time What Their Roommates’ Arguments Sound Like…

two women arguingThis Craigslist ad to assemble a friendly crew for a group housing situation includes a lot of information about the couple who are organizing it — including what their fights sound like. They’ve been together five years (at just 21 and 22 years old) and are “basically married” and “don’t do drama.” As proof of this disinclination, the ladies break down a sample argument:

“Did you feed the cats?”
“No, you went to work so I assumed you fed them.”
“I didn’t.”
“Well I’m not a mind reader.”
“THEY’RE GOING TO STARVE BECAUSE- oh wait no, they got into the trash, lousy brats. I take it back, they deserve a late breakfast.”

Be warned, however, that while the fights are brief, they may get repetitive in terms of content as the pair has the two cats, five fancy rats, a guinea pig, and a border collie — all of whose nutritional requirements will need remembering.

Looking for future roommates! (Philadelphia) [CL]

Photo via hercampus.com

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