Philly Mag’s Best Teacher Award: Meet the Finalists

Back in April, Philly Mag asked for nominations in our first-ever Best Teacher Award, dedicated to recognizing the most outstanding K-8 educators in the Philadelphia region. After being inundated with nominations, we’ve narrowed down the field to five finalists.

You can vote now for the teacher you think is most deserving. The winner will receive a $5,000 gift for their school, along with a book donation, both courtesy of Subaru. Read more »

Behind the Stunning Fountain Makeover at Longwood Gardens

Photo by Jess Fusco.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Pierre du pont had a thing for water. And gardens. The former kicked in when he was only six and found himself mesmerized by the fountains at the Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park; as he got older, the successful industrialist was enthralled by the gorgeous gardens of Italy and France. Eventually, du Pont did what any über-rich dude with an obsession might: He made his own magical place, establishing Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square and creating what has long been one of the Philadelphia region’s aesthetic jewels.

In May, du Pont’s masterpiece caps off a three-year-long face-lift with the unveiling of a completely redone Main Fountain Garden. The project, with a price tag of $90 million, was all about finding balance — between physics and aesthetics, between the gardens’ European influences and their American ones, between what du Pont built in the 1920s and ’30s and what he might have conjured up if he were alive today. (Turns out Pierre was an innovation sort of guy, so Longwood’s current leaders felt free to embrace the future.) Read more »

We Want Answers: Jake Tapper

Photo by Adam Jones.

Photo by Adam Jones.

“You’ll be sure to note that the Eagles mascot is by my side,” Jake Tapper says as we grab seats in his cluttered office inside CNN’s D.C. bureau, just down the street from the Capitol. Tapper, wearing blue dress pants and an open-collar pale blue shirt, holds up a small plush stuffed bird, decked out in Eagles gear, that normally sits off to one side of his desk. Right next to it: a spot-on replica of the Six Million Dollar Man lunch box Tapper had as a kid growing up in Philly. “Some Twitter follower of mine sent it to me,” he explains. “It’s not my original one. But it is what I had when I went to the Philadelphia School at 25th and Lombard.”

CNN’s 48-year-old chief Washington correspondent is having something of a pop-culture moment these days thanks to his aggressive coverage of the Trump administration. He found himself a guest on Bill Maher’s HBO show (Maher lauded him for “speaking truth to crazy”); has turned up as a character on Saturday Night Live; and saw his face — with the incredulous expression he wore while interviewing Kellyanne Conway in February — become an Internet meme. Read more »

The Biggest Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Airbnb’s Success

Leigh Gallagher photo by Christos Karantzolas

Leigh Gallagher photo by Christos Karantzolas

How did three young guys disrupt the hotel industry and create a company that’s now worth $30 billion?

That’s the question at the heart of Leigh Gallagher just-released book, The Airbnb Story. Gallagher, a Media native and editor at Fortune (she’s appeared twice at Philly Mag’s ThinkFest), tells the behind-the-scenes story of how the company’s founders, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, took the germ of an idea and, in less than a decade, built a corporation that has millions of passionate fans and a valuation that’s now larger than that of Hilton and close to that of Marriott. Gallagher, whose first book was 2013’s The End of the Suburbs, chatted with me about the Airbnb phenomenon – and what entrepreneurs and business execs can learn from their success. Read more »

Squires: The Last Boys’ Club


He never said it in so many words, but here’s something I learned from my dad when I was a kid: Act like you own the joint and everything will be fine. Exhibit A from my childhood was our annual excursion to West Point to see a college football game. My father — being my father; it would take days to explain — had absolutely zero interest in parking on a giant field among the masses, preferring a more secluded spot he’d discovered on one of our previous trips. But how to get past the MPs who generally blocked the entrance? No worries: My dad would simply speed our Ford LTD past the men in uniform, offering a crisp salute and channeling his inner three-star general. We never got stopped. Not even once. Read more »

How Oblivious Elites Missed the Trump Revolution


If you’re a longtime print subscriber to Philadelphia magazine, I can probably make some assumptions about you.

These aren’t just guesses. They’re based on subscriber surveys we’ve done. I know, for instance, that many of you are in your late 40s or early 50s (hey, just like me!) and that you’re more likely than not to live in the suburbs (also just like me). Odds are, you’re well educated, possessing not only a bachelor’s degree but potentially a graduate degree, too. (You have me there; I ditched grad school after a semester). And you’re most likely affluent, with a household income many times the median Philadelphia income. (No, I’m not telling you how much I make.) Read more »

A Note About Our October Cover

Tom McGrath, Philly Mag editor, here. We just posted the online version of this month’s magazine cover story on how to choose a school for your child. Given the controversy the cover image has generated in the last 24 hours, I wanted to make a few comments.

First, simply put: We blew it with the cover photograph (which we’ve chosen not to republish here). To include not even one African-American child on the cover fails to reflect not just the diversity that exists at the Greenfield School (where the photo was taken), but also that within the city of Philadelphia. I’ll offer no excuses here about process, etc.; at the end of the day, I chose this photo for the cover, and it was without question the wrong choice. I apologize for my failings in judgment and for our insensitivity. Read more »

Pope Says Those Responsible for Sex Abuse Will Be Held Accountable

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Photograph by Tom McGrath

Saying he had just come from meeting with childhood victims of sex abuse, Pope Francis this morning spoke out strongly against the abuse by the clergy. “God weeps,” he said.

Speaking emotionally and with sympathy for the victims, the Pope said sexual abuse can no longer be covered up. “I hold the stories and the suffering and the sorry of children who were sexually abused by priests deep in my heart. I remain overwhelmed with shame that men entrusted with the tender care of children violated these little ones and caused grievous harm. I am profoundly sorry. God weeps.

“The crimes and sins of the sexual abuse of children must no longer be held in secret. I pledge the zealous vigilance of the church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.

“You survivors of abuse have yourselves become true heralds of hope and ministers of mercy. We humbly owe each one of you and your families our gratitude for your immense courage to shine the light of Christ on the evil of the sexual abuse of children.”

The Pope made the remarks before 300 bishops and cardinals at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary on the Main Line.

At the very beginning of his remarks, the pontiff announced that he, along with Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput, had met with the abuse victims before this morning’s gathering of bishops and cardinals, most of whom were on hand for the World Meeting of Families.

Francis focused the remainder of his remarks on a critique of consumer culture, the reluctance of many young people to marry, and the pastoral role bishops should play.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the following account of the Pope’s meeting with victims this morning:

This morning between 8 and 9 a.m., at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Pope Francis received five adults —three women, two men — who experienced sexual abuse as a minor by clergy, family members or teachers. Each was accompanied by a family member or support person. The group was accompanied by Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and chairman of the commission set up by the Pope for the protection of minors, Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Fitzgerald, head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s commission for the protection of minors. The Pope spoke with visitors, listened to their stories, greeted them individually and prayed with them. He told them that he shared in their suffering, and he had pain and shame in particular in the case of injury caused by clergy or church workers. He renewed the commitment of the Church to the effort that all victims are heard and treated with justice, that the guilty be punished and that the crimes of abuse be combated with an effective prevention activity in the Church and in society. The Pope thanked the victims for their essential contribution to restore the truth and begin the journey of healing. The meeting lasted about half an hour and ended with the blessing of the Holy Father.

Pope Francis’s prepared remarks from the meeting with victims are below:

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

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