NYT Features Old City, Celebrates DesignPhiladelphia

The same day the Times did its fourth writeup of Fishtown, the newspaper’s website covered Old City in a scroll-y interactive fashion that induces almost as much motion sickness as iOS7. The Four Square Blocks feature, written to coincide with DesignPhiladelphia, calls the neighborhood a “cradle of artisanal and manufacturing culture.” It also offers an idiosyncratic description of Old City that’s a nice summary:

Old City dishes up thick slices of a history, layering muscular industrialism and modern loft living on its Colonial origins. This is no neat terrine, and the mixture can be surprising. When the Betsy Ross House screened a movie the other evening, it wasn’t “1776.” It was “Night of the Living Dead.”

Local urbanist and author Nathaniel Popkin, co-editor of Hidden City, is quoted, which — along with the celebration of DesignPhiladelphia — is very lovely for our town.

Four Square Blocks: Philadelphia [NYT]

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  • Nice of the Times to show more love for Philly, but maybe they should consider hiring a local Sherpa to guide their reporters through the local intricacies, for they keep blowing the details. First they do a portrait of 13th Street that made it sound like it sprang full-blown out of the minds of Valerie Safran and Marcie Tunney when they had lots of help. Now they don’t even manage to deliver the “Four Square Blocks” they promise. Yeah, those little alleys confuse things just as they do in Lower Manhattan, but in Center City Philadelphia, a “square block” – or as some old-timers might call it, a “square” – is easily defined: it’s bounded by four major through streets – two numbered streets and two “tree streets” (Market, Arch, Race and Vine being “trees” for purposes of this explanation). Arch to Race, Second to Fourth, covers only half the territory. That they found so much to go on testifies to just how rich in things to see and do Old City is.