Best of Philly Snapshot: John Goldthorp, Best Running Coach

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400To make me a better runner, John Goldthorp is making me roll around on the floor. Curious daytime gym-goers are staring as I struggle—truly, truly struggle, like a two-month-old—to roll from a supine position over to my belly without using my legs. This is a core reawakening, Goldthorp tells me. It’s much harder than I expect.

Of course, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Goldthorp, the spiky-haired, 36-year-old running coach and personal trainer at Optimal Sport Health Club, a gym in the basement of the Curtis Center. Goldthorp’s become something of a miracle worker for clients suffering from chronic stress fractures or personal records that haven’t budged in three years. His devotees run the gamut, from a 66-year-old who wanted to win his age division in the Boston Marathon (he came in third, but isn’t done yet) to a woman who worked her way from limited post-surgery mobility to a half-marathon training plan.

I was curious about his lauded techniques, but didn’t really think I needed his help. I’ve been running consistently for the past dozen years, and while I’m not picking up the speed I once did, I figured my fundamentals would be fine.

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What to Wear to the Best of Philly Party

BOP-DressPerhaps the most frequent question I get asked each year around this time is: So what do I wear to the Best of Philly party? Here are some of my rules for women:

1. Don’t wear an overly fancy, floor-length gown. I’ve seen it before, and it looks out of place. We’re talking cocktail party attire, not black-tie.

2. But change out of your work clothes. A pencil skirt and button-down is too casual.

3. Leave the second-skin bandage dress for another night. Actually, why don’t you just ditch these entirely? Hervé has had its moment. That moment is over.

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Best of Philly Snapshot: Brian Lawlor, Best Scavenger

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400There are two dozen people standing outside a nondescript Kensington warehouse at Cecil B. Moore and North 2nd Street, sweating it out in the sun. They aren’t lost, or part of a pub-crawl or flash mob. They’re here because they know a secret.

Twice a month, Brian Lawlor, owner of the Mid-Century Furniture Warehouse, holds vintage furniture sales, and these people know you have to queue up early if you want first dibs. Inside, there’s stuff everywhere: walnut credenzas refinished to their original splendor in the back, teak dining tables from the ’60s pushed against the wall, a hot pink splay-leg love seat on top of a dresser. Each piece here is not only stunning, but also so flawless that you’ll wonder if it’s even been used. For mid-century-modern hounds, this place is Mecca.

Finally, at noon, Lawlor opens the door, and the crowd stampedes. “I love this,” he says with a wide grin. “We find things and give them new life.”

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Best of Philly Snapshot: Nicholas Elmi, Best Celeb Chef

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400There was this moment, shortly after the finale of Top Chef: New Orleans had aired, shortly after Nick Elmi had been named the winner, when another chef walked up to him at one of the big food events in town, shook his hand, congratulated him, and asked him what the hell he was thinking, opening a 22-seat restaurant.

Because, seriously? When you win Top Chef, you suddenly become one of the most famous chefs in America. At least temporarily. Shoot, even losing on the show can be enough to raise you up out of obscurity and turn you into a brand — a known name who can draw down the dollars just by having been featured on the jumping box for a few hours. Cookbook deals, product endorsements, cruise-ship gigs — it all comes to you. And a big-ass restaurant with high-volume turnover on the floor? Of course. That’s just a given.

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Get Your Tickets to the Best of Philly Bash

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Celebrate Best of Philly and summer with the Best of Philly Bash set for Tuesday, August 12th. The event is being held at Citizens Bank Park and will feature past Best of Philly winners serving up their summer favorites. There will also be summer-inspired cocktails, live music and outdoor games.

Tickets are $90 for general admission, $150 for VIP tickets which get you in an hour-and-a-half early.

Get your tickets now.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Arts and Culture

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Best Art Gallery: Fleisher/Ollman

This unassuming gallery near Chinatown is a gem for connoisseurs and nascent collectors alike, with a fantastically diverse selection that ranges from contemporary mixed-media pieces to the 20th-century masterworks that put the place on the map. Plus, prices are reasonable. 1216 Arch Street, Center City, 215-545-7562.

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Best of Philly Snapshot: Janet Monge, Best Museum Curator

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400You’ve caught Janet Monge at a rare moment when her purple reading glasses are down. They’re dangling from a lanyard right now, a telltale sign she’s on break from the clay and dust, which doesn’t prevent a colleague from interrupting her at the cafe of the Penn Museum:

“I was just asked a question on Twitter about a fellow who might be in the Morton Collection — a man by the name of Alexander Pearce?”

Like a human Rolodex, Monge mentally cycles through the 10,000 people she works with under the roof of the museum, all ranging in age, ethnicity and general put-togetherness. Some have spines; others don’t. The vast majority are dead. Pearce is one of those, and super-famous. “Oh yes, we have Pearce,” Monge says. “He was executed. He was a cannibal.”

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Best of Philly 2014: Behind the Scenes

best-of-philly-2014-logo-400x400One recent afternoon, associate editor Joel Mathis — who covers media, politics and other Important Stuff for our website, Phillymag.com — had an experience most investigative reporters would undoubtedly relate to: He met a confidential source at a restaurant in town for a secret exchange of materials. The handoff went well — the package Joel received led to a nice scoop for us — but there was one part of the encounter that was maybe not so All the President’s Men.

Joel arrived at the clandestine meeting having just gotten a chest wax.

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Best of Philly 2014 Preview: Health and Fitness

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Best Gym: Haverford YMCA

This isn’t your grandma’s YMCA. The gorgeous 75,000-square-foot Haverford Y, on the old Swell Bubble Gum Factory campus, includes three indoor swimming pools (hello, water slides), an indoor track, palatial cardio and weight-training facilities, and more than 100 fitness classes a week. No wonder that in less than a year, it’s attracted 21,000 members and counting. 891 North Eagle Road, Havertown, 610-649-0700.

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