Category: Photo Essay

Philadelphia’s Hotel Monaco Is One of Fodor’s Top 100 for 2013

hotel monaco

Photo by Laura Kicey

The Fodor’s 100 Hotel Awards is pretty much what it sounds like: a contest honoring the best 100 hotels around the world. And Philly’s own Hotel Monaco, in operation for just one year, has made the cut in the Sleek City Addresses category, which acknowledges “glossy city hotels that offer high style and first rate amenities.”

In case you haven’t seen the glorious Monaco, here’s a gallery of photos by Laura Kicey:

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Gallery: Singing the Blues Amongst Dozens of Old Pianos on Allegheny Avenue

bronze foundry suitcase

Photo by Laura Kicey

Property photographer Laura Kicey went to a 20,000-square-foot dilapidated building last week and found herself in a strange world of seemingly unrelated objects, all of them in storage at an old bronze and brass foundry. Philly bluesman Shakey Lyman serenaded guests while shooters toured the space along with Mike Piersa from the National Museum of Industrial History. Philadelphia Salvage Company got in on the act too, offering beer and burgers at their new foundry site nearby.

The photos, this-a-way…

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Exquisite: Laura Kicey’s Photos of Former Lace Factory

scranton lace

Photo: Laura Kicey

“Get out of town,” said Cole Porter. “Don’t fence me in,” he said, also. The guy had serious wanderlust, and when it’s nice out, so do we. This weekend Property photographer Laura Kicey went to the former Scranton Lace Factory for another Abandoned America photo workshop. The photographs she got are absolutely gorgeous, but she also learned a bit about what’s happening to the building–which is more than to the SS United States, the subject of her last extensive photo gallery of this sort.

Though it looks abandoned, the building–which was featured on National Geographic’s Abandoned program–has had some recent good fortune: The current owners, Lace Building Affiliates, who purchased it in 2007, have been granted permission to repurpose it, and they have seriously grand plans.

Abandoned America Tours Keep Selling Out. Photos By Laura Kicey

st. peter's church

Photo: Laura Kicey

Matthew Christopher is a photographer of decrepit, abandoned places who shares his technical expertise with other photographers in weekend workshops. The Abandoned America series took Property’s Laura Kicey to the SS United States and more recently to Germantown’s St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Built in the 1870s and designed by Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt, the church closed in 2005 and will soon undergo renovation to become a school, so this venture was the last chance to photograph it in its in-between state. How photographers love decrepitude! And how Philadelphians love to look at it as evidence of our own present and past. But enough philosophizing (level 101): Check out Laura’s beautiful (as always) photographs.

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Beautiful Photos of Hidden City Festival Installations (Tomorrow Is Free!)

hidden city festival

Photo of Hawthorne Hall installation by Laura Kicey

The Hidden City Festival brings contemporary art and performance into forgotten and forbidden sites across the city for music lovers, urban explorers, ruin festishists, art enthusiasts, history buffs and, most especially, The Philadelphia Obsessive, that strange breed of person who gets flushed talking about the Sameric (sorry, the Boyd).

Property’s staff photographer Laura Kicey went to three Hidden City Festival sites to take photos now that the installations are in place. For some of the sites before, go to “Inside Some of Philadelphia’s Most Extraordinary Forbidden Buildings.

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Public Gardens: Morris Arboretum

morris arboretum

Turtle Pond at Morris Arboretum. Photo by Virginia C. McGuire

Judging by my Facebook timeline, half of Philadelphia went to the Shore this past weekend. The other half was at Morris Arboretum.

Before I started gardening, I preferred hiking in the woods to taking a stroll through a manicured arboretum. Now I love seeing what professional gardeners and arborists have managed to grow in the Delaware Valley. I go to Morris Arboretum to get ideas. When I get bored with my plants–how many purple hellebores do you need, really?–I like to check out the sheer variety at Morris.

I also like that the place is well cared for but it’s not all necessarily perfectly groomed. The rose garden is laid out in a formal pattern but the beds are a bit of hodge-podge, with many other plants growing in among the roses. There are gazebos and pergolas and posh-looking water features, but there are also scruffy herb gardens and butterfly gardens, and even a woodland walk along a bend of the Wissahickon Creek that runs through the grounds.

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Gallery: Skaters Deflower the New Franklin’s Paine Skatepark

Photo by Laura Kicey

Photo by Laura Kicey

The city’s new skate park may be hosting its official ribbon-cutting this evening, but things got unofficially underway last night at Paine’s Park. Skateboarders like pro Chris Cole (who was teaching his young daughter a thing or two) showed off their skills on the park’s brick half-pipes and metal railings. The ubiquitous Ed Rendell was even on hand to laud the opening.

The park is the happy ending to years of dissension between public skateboarding advocates and city officials who were especially upset about years of skateboarding in Love Park. Adjacent to the Museum of Art along the Parkway, Paine’s Park offers skateboarders and pedestrians lovely river views.

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Philly Ghost Signs Being Repainted / Gallery By Laura Kicey

philly ghost sign

Photo: Laura Kicey

The AP’s Kathy Matheson wrote a piece about a new project for Philadelphia’s ghost signs–those faded remnants of business names once brightly painted onto a building’s side. The timing of the piece coincides with a Temple University-Mural Arts Program partnership dedicated to revitalizing the signs, including the first one: “Est. 1898, H. Henssler, Expert Locksmith. Any Lock, Any Key” on the side of fifth-generation locksmith John Henssler’s building.

Naturally, the approach is not without controversy. Some who study distressed places–who indulge a fondness for “ruin porn,” let’s say–prefer to let nature take its course and see time refracted through the prism of erosion.  More →

Inside Some of Philadelphia’s Most Extraordinary Forbidden Buildings

Photo: Laura Kicey

Photo: Laura Kicey

Yesterday tickets went on sale for the Hidden City Festival, which opens nine buildings to the public for the first time. The Festival runs for just six weeks with limited hours each day. Each space will have artistic or musical projects within, but it’s the buildings themselves that are the real draw. Property photographer Laura Kicey went to three of the venues this week and discovered their magic.

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