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Independence Mall Rises from the Dead

Independence Mall in 2011. The mall’s redesign brought people back to it and has stimulated a wave of redevelopment that has given new life to the buildings that surround it. | Photo: Courtesy National Park Service

Even as the Center City District (CCD) and its parent, the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC), sound warnings every now and then that Center City’s current good fortune remains vulnerable to economic shifts, the organizations still find plenty of cause for celebration, or at least tub-thumping, in the space between the rivers from Vine to Pine.

At the most recent CPDC meeting at the Union League on June 27th, the tub-thumping concerned the subject of reattaching Independence Mall to the city that surrounds it.

Center City District Executive Director Paul Levy opened the meeting by describing the wound opened by the mall. “The mall was the creation of the urban renewal movement of the 1950s,” he said. At the time, the area around the mall was the center of the city’s garment industry: “Today we call it the maker community, but back then we called it sweatshops,” he added. Many of the 500 buildings that were razed to create the mall housed garment-industry firms, some of which were moved to the Callowhill Street area by the brand-new Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation starting in 1958.

What took their place, Levy continued, was a space that was “symmetrical but not well used.” Part of the reason for the lack of use was the mall itself, but another main contributor was the government, corporate and institutional offices that rose on its edges. Read more »

Beer Garden Madness Continues as Independence, PHS Drop Opening Dates

Photo by Neal Santos

Photo by Neal Santos

It’s the time of year when the deets on soon-to-open beer gardens fly fast and furious. Today, Independence Beer Garden in Old City dropped its start date, drinks list, and menu. And the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society announced its plans for two pop-ups: its flagship near 15th and South and a new University City spot at 36th and Filbert.

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Where to Find the Best Food During Center City Sips

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving potato pancakes, brats and pretzel sticks

We are now a little over a week into Center City Sips. The drinks ($3 beer, $4 wine and $5 cocktails) are flowing and when the threat of unyielding downpour subsides, the weather should be great.

The true beauty of this event though is not just the drinks, but the endless half-price appetizers to soak it all up. While it is easy to find snacks to accompany the booze, it can be hard to track down the places with great appetizers. Nachos, mozzarella sticks, and wings are a dime a dozen during Center City Sips. It takes time and dedication to weed out the duds.

We’ve helped you out by narrowing down the list of a few places that are going to give you more than a warm plate of mozzarella sticks for your hard earned dollars.

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