Picture yourself walking toward City Hall. Traffic zooms past you and as you stroll down Market Street, you dodge rushed business people texting and walking clumsily. The first thought that runs through your mind: Gosh, I wish this felt more like Times Square!
No one has ever thought that in the entire history of Philadelphia.
But if a new proposal goes through, Philadelphia might just be one Naked Cowboy and a fancy New Year’s Eve party away from the bright lights of Midtown Manhattan.
Read more »
One of my favorite memories of attending a Phillies game was on September 4, 1999. I was a senior in high school, and a group of us traveled down I-95 to the game. It was a Saturday night. I probably had a cross country meet that morning. This was a chance to relax.
More than 14 years on, I’ve forgotten many of the details. I just remember being so excited. School must have just started, and I was finally coming into my own senior year. Or, well, at least I thought I was. I was eager for my final year of high school. That night at the Phillies, my friends and I goofed around in a mostly-empty 700 Level. We went to a friend’s house in Oxford Circle afterward and hung in her basement. I probably stayed out too late for a cross-country runner. You know, high school stuff. It is just a fond memory.
The Phillies did not have their best day. The Reds set a still-standing National League record for most home runs in a game (9!) in a 22-3 thrashing of the Fightins. (After the first inning, the Phillies were ahead 2-0.) When the Reds’ 9-run fifth inning finally ended, the fans erupted in a standing Bronx cheer.
It didn’t matter that the Phillies were 17 games back after the game. We had a good time. We had all grown up in Philadelphia, so we were used to the Phillies stinking. The Phillies were 68-67 after that 22-3 loss. That’s not so bad!
What’s nice about baseball is it’s a picnic. The Phillies may have given up three home runs to Ryan Braun in a 10-4 loss in their home opener, but I still had a good time at the game yesterday. I tailgated with friends in the parking lot beforehand. I met my uncle, a man who’s taken me to scores of Phillies games in my life, and we sat in his season ticket seats. I listened to him wax nostalgic on Phillies teams in games past — ”Since the Vet opened, I’ve only missed about three home openers,” he bragged — and we drank beers and sighed as the Brewers scored another run. I ran into friends I hadn’t seen in forever. I updated an old boss on my life. I actually walked back to downtown up 10th Street because it was nice out, and a friend suggested we walk. Why has no one asked me to do this before? I wondered aloud.
The Phillies lost, 10-4. Nothing especially notable happened; most of the things I did yesterday weren’t new. They were routines I’d done before and will do again. But it was just so great to do them all again. The Phillies don’t look like they’ll be very good this year. But trips to the ballpark seem like they’ll be just as good as ever.
Follow @dhm on Twitter.
You’ve already heard about the Joy Behar incident. There are a lot more golden tidbits in this week’s New Yorker profile of Chris Christie. Here are five of our favorite:
Christie owes some of his political success to New Jersey’s Democratic machine: That might sound odd, considering Christie’s a Republican. But the New Yorker article details how Christie’s relationship with two Democratic bosses — Joe DiVincenzo and some guy named George Norcross — has helped him to smooth sailing as governor. During Christie’s re-election campaign, in fact, “there seemed to be an informal non-compete agreement between (Norcross’s) organization and the Governor: Christie mostly stayed away from Norcross’s candidates, and Norcross mostly stayed out of the gubernatorial race.” DiVencenzo endorsed Christie outright. Christie’s ability to get along with Democrats — and thus appeal to centrists — was a rationale for his once-burgeoning presidential campaign. But as told here, the accommodations here seem less ideological, and more about power accommodating power.
Christie’s first political victory, election as a freeholder in the mid-1990s, was the result of a demonstrable lie:
This time, he was a reform candidate, promising to restore honest government, and he produced a TV ad charging that three of his opponents in the nine-person Republican primary were being “investigated by the Morris County prosecutor,” a serious accusation that happened to be false. Christie won the primary and then the general election, in part by assuring a more socially moderate electorate, “I am pro-choice.” But his victory was marred by the divisiveness of the campaign. The three victims of Christie’s false ad, including a freeholder named Cecilia Laureys, successfully sued him for defamation, and, after he lost an appeal, as part of the settlement he was forced to apologize to them in local newspapers.
Don’t Eff With Family, Part One: This has nothing to do with Christie, really, but is a great story about Norcross — and his mid-80s attempt to get State Sen. Lee Laskin to stop blocking the appointment of Norcross’s father to the New Jersey Racing Commission:
Norcross went to see him. “Senator, I come here as a son asking for a favor for his father,” Norcross said. “I don’t want my dad to know I ever came here to see you. This would mean the world to him. It would mean the world to me, and I would be forever indebted to you personally if you did this for my dad.”
Laskin leaned over his desk. “Fuck you and your father,” he said, according to Norcross. “All you corrupt Democrats.”
Norcross bided his time for six years — then took out a $430,000 personal loan to launch a blitz of negative ads againt Laskin’s re-election campaign. “We blew him away,” Norcross said. “It was the most exciting night I’ve ever had in politics in my life to this day.”
Don’t Eff With Family, Part Two: The New Yorker profile opens with former Gov. Thomas Kean, a mentor to Christie, seeming to withdraw his support. It’s not until the end we find out why — Christie was part of an attempted “coup” to remove Kean’s son, Thomas Jr., from his position as Senate Minority Leader.
On Wednesday, the night before the crucial vote to elect leaders for the new session, Christie’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Dowd, who had been a prosecutor under Christie in the U.S. Attorney’s office, asked Kean, Jr., to come to the Governor’s office the following morning. There he told him that Christie wanted him to step aside. “I don’t think I’m willing to step aside,” Kean replied. O’Dowd disappeared to talk to Christie. When he returned, he told Kean that the Governor didn’t want to see him. Kean, Sr., didn’t expect his son to prevail. “I know how tough Chris is on people, and if you cross him he never forgets,” he said. “I didn’t think people were going to have the courage to take on the Governor after his reëlection.” Nevertheless, Kean retained his role as senate minority leader.
Tom Kean, Sr., felt betrayed by Christie’s move against his son. “I thought at some point the Governor would call me and say, ‘Hey, you gotta understand this, I had to do this for this reason or that reason.’ Whatever. But he never called me. The last time I talked to him was Election Night.”
The Watchdog Senator’s Investigative Background: Here’s how the Bridgegate scandal got started:
The bridge scandal might never have been revealed if not for the sleuthing of Loretta Weinberg, a seventy-nine-year-old self-described nosy Jewish grandmother who is also a Democratic state senator from Teaneck, New Jersey, just northwest of Fort Lee. “I bungled into the Port Authority issue, just out of my curiosity,” she told me.
In September, Weinberg read an item in the Bergen Record about the traffic jam. A commuter told the paper, “Other than after the 9/11 attacks, I’ve never seen such a fiasco of delays at the inbound, upper-level part of the bridge.” A senior official at the Port Authority promised Weinberg that he would “get to the bottom of it,” but when she didn’t hear back she became suspicious. “My training comes from having raised children through their adolescent years,” she told me. “ ‘What do you mean you didn’t have a party? You weren’t even smart enough to put the beer cans in someone else’s back yard.’ That’s my investigatory background.”
And yeah, that makes us kind of love Loretta Weinberg.
Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.
Photo | Shutterstock
To all women: Yes, you are paid less than men.
There is no doubt. I see this with my clients. I see this at other companies I visit — both large and small. You are being discriminated against. You are being treated unfairly. You are still not considered equals in many workplaces — not everywhere, but in many, many companies. Why is this still the case, even in 2014? From my observations of the business world, I can list these six common reasons cited:
Read more »
An observation: The Willie Brown of 2014 is not the Willie Brown of 2009.
Don’t misunderstand: They’re similar enough that it won’t really be a surprise if Brown eventually leads his union, TWU 234, on a strike that ends up shutting down SEPTA and inconveniencing tens of thousands of commuters sometime in the next couple of weeks.
But whereas the Willie Brown of 2009 seemed like he couldn’t strike fast enough — remember, TWU waited only until the World Series was over, then went on strike without any notice to the commuting public — the Willie Brown of 2014 genuinely seems like he’d like to avoid a work stoppage.
Read more »
How low can Atlantic City casinos go? The numbers for 2013 aren’t looking very good — for N.J.’s gambling resort, or for casinos across the country.
Last year, Atlantic City’s casinos brought in $235 million in gambling earnings. That’s bad — 35 percent less than 2012 —and even worse given the following:
- The 2013 number includes the introduction of the much ballyhooed Internet gambling that was supposed to be the latest and greatest thing to save Atlantic City. Apparently not.
- The 2013 earnings are still down 35 percent even when being compared to those of 2012, a year that included Superstorm Sandy. The storm shut down casinos entirely and slowed business for months after.
It’s not getting any better this year, either.
Read more »
Out at home? CBP attendance dropped last season. Photograph: Aero-Imaging, Inc./Newscom
The first 10 years of Citizens Bank Park, I think we can all agree, have been pretty great. Five division titles. Eight winning seasons. One magical night in October 2008. Many fans will claim 11th and Pattison as hallowed ground long after global warming turns it into a beach.
But do you remember when the decision to build in South Philly seemed like not just a defeat — but a complete failure of civic imagination? In the early days of the debate on replacing Veterans Stadium, folks were hot for a Camden Yards-style retro park smack-dab in the middle of downtown. Fans whimsically debated putting a new park at the old Schmidt’s brewery, near 30th Street Station, even on the waterfront. Politicians talked more realistically about two locations: North Broad at Spring Garden, and in Chinatown at 12th and Vine.
But each proposed site was eventually sunk by some combination of community or political NIMBYism and logistical or infrastructural clusterfuckery. So the new stadium arose in the shadow of the old one, in the expanse of parking lots and nothingness we call, as if it were an affliction, the “sports complex.”
When the Phils were the best team in town, it didn’t much matter where their stadium was. But last year, attendance dropped by half a million fans. And we may face another dismal August in South Philly. It’s worth asking: Did we blow it?
Read more »
The Thursday Styles section of the New York Times last week contained a big bloomingarticle on the fashion trend known as “normcore,” which the article helpfully defined in the following way:
A fashion movement, c. 2014, in which scruffy young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic (but still pretty ironic) embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire. (See Jeans, mom. Sneakers, white.)
Accompanying the article were a lot of photos of my clothes. Specifically, there were Nike sneakers, cargo shorts, t-shirts, a hoodie from a random college, Champion sweatpants … Well, hello, old friends!
Read more »
Over the weekend, a 2-year-old boy in West Philadelphia shot and killed his 11-year-old sister. The gun —a .357 Magnum — had been stored on top of a fridge; according to reports it was then moved to a master bedroom in the family home. One way or another, it ended up in the toddler’s hands. He fired it, of course. Now both of their lives are destroyed.
It’s a stupid, senseless tragedy. It never should’ve happened. We can all agree on this, right?
So I want to offer a proposal I believe might well reduce the number of gun deaths in Philadelphia. It’s also a provocative proposal. I suspect our gun debate is too polarized for it to become reality, at least for now. But I suspect it would reduce the number of stupid accidents we see — and, by teaching respect for the deadly power of firearms, might even lead to better behavior overall among this city’s criminal elements.
This proposal: Every junior-high student in Philadelphia public schools should take a gun-safety class.
Read more »
Chris Christie. AP Photo | Julio Cortez
Dear Governor Christie:
It is over. For the good of the Republican Party, the State of New Jersey, you, and your family, it is time to put to rest all speculation that you may run for president in 2016. Have one of your famous news conferences — call us all idiots if you’d like — but officially announce that you’ll not be running for president.
Read more »