Property’s Photo of the Week: Philly’s Beauty Is in the Most Random Places

A photo posted by Philadelphia 🍕 (@beansauer) on

We’d by lying if we said Chad Aaronson‘s cool City Hall drone video wasn’t still on our minds. So with that being the case, we went in search of yet another unique angle from which to view Philadelphia’s grand Second Empire construction. The #Phillyscape shot that won us over? This classic disorienting puddle capture taken by Instagrammer @beansauer.

Unlike the last reflection photo we featured of City Hall, this one showcases Philly’s recognizable building in the midst of late fall with some stray leaves sprinkled on the street. Its simplicity captures the season in Philadelphia perfectly (though of, of course, a mash up of the city’s foliage in all its glory is just as striking) and reminds us that for all our town’s flaws and difficulties, its got a whole lot of its beauty tucked away in the most random places.

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Mike Dunn on the Empty Desks in City Hall’s Pressroom

An old news clipping — provenance is unknown — about City Hall's once robust and now-depleted press corps. | Clipping courtesy of Mike Dunn.

An old news clipping — provenance is unknown — about City Hall’s once robust and now-depleted press corps. | Clipping courtesy of Mike Dunn.

(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from former KYW City Hall reporter Mike Dunn.)

Decades of history can be found in the press room at Philadelphia City Hall, Room 212: typewritten stories stuffed into rusty file cabinets, yellowed newspaper clips and editorial cartoons taped to the walls, a bulletin board crammed with buttons from political campaigns long past. One day I found a manual typewriter, still functional, and I set it aside in case the power goes out.

Then there was a fraying clip of a magazine article, date and source unclear — perhaps from the 1950s — about the reporters who covered City Hall in the ‘20s and ‘30s. The article included a photograph of the press corp that toiled in Room 212 in 1928.

It is no surprise that the reporters are all male and white; that was, unfortunately, the American workplace of the time. But what is most striking was the sheer number of reporters: 15 (with Administration officials mingled in), representing five newspapers. And while they’re smiling in the photo, its easy to imagine that they spent each day scurrying through the Hall, chasing elected officials, and competing among themselves to break stories about the mayor and City Council.

Competition, of course, has long been the engine of journalism. In my time covering City Hall, I was awed by the dogged, ceaseless competition between reporters posted here for the Inquirer and Daily News. Sure, they keep an eye on what those in the broadcast media were doing, as well the weeklies and, more recently, the bloggers and politically-minded websites like But for decades, the fiercest competition that drove the dailies was simply between each other. It was the Inquirer versus the Daily News. Read more »

WATCH: City Hall Drone Footage Captures Rarely-Seen View of William Penn

Credit: Chad Aaronson / JerseyDrone

Credit: Chad Aaronson / JerseyDrone

Don’t know about you, but we don’t remember ever seeing William Penn from this angle!

We’re talking, of course, about the Penn statue that sits atop City Hall. Thanks to Chad Aaronson, the guy behind Jersey Drone, we got a sweeping view of our city’s seat of government and its long-standing silent icon in a drone video that Aaronson filmed two days ago. Funnily enough, the cool vid wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for… well, we’ll let him explain.

“I actually did not go to Philly with the intention of filming City Hall,” he told Property. “My original plan was to get some footage of the SS United States, however I could not get permission from the security guards to fly there. So, the next best thing was a cool building.”

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Milton Street Finally Brought Porn to City Hall Yesterday — and It Was the Right Call

Yesterday the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women gathered at City Hall with several City Councilwomen to demand that District Attorney Seth Williams fire three of his employees: Frank Fina, Pat Blessington and Marc Constanzo. The three men, now prosecutors for the City of Philadelphia, were all involved in Porngate, the snappy name for the scandal that erupted after the discovery of a glut of pornographic, misogynistic, racist and homophobic emails written and distributed on state computers.

In reviewing the conduct of his employees, Williams has said that he will not fire them; rather, he’ll have them go through sensitivity training. The members of NOW and the five City Councilwomen feel this is not enough. The question, if you boil it down, is whether these men can perform their jobs responsibly, fairly and effectively — including prosecuting sex crimes — given the attitudes reflected in the emails. Williams says yes; NOW and the Councilwomen say no.

Yesterday one woman after another stood behind a podium to talk about the old boys network, the lack of judgment, and why women need to be respected. There was a lot of back-patting: I’d like to thank Cindy for this, I’d like to thank NOW for that, etc. Despite all the words, not much was said. One TV cameraman starting packing up to go even while one of the women was still talking. It was an earnest presentation, but it lacked impact. For a discussion of porn, it was really quite boring.

I don’t say that to be flip. I say that as a former hell-raising activist who spent many hours in meetings about the most effective tactics for making change. Standing behind a podium and talking in generalities was never on the list.  Read more »

City Settles Suit With Catholic Pediatrician Over Birth Control

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The City of Philadelphia has reached a settlement with a Catholic pediatrician who was fired after she refused to prescribe birth control options like Depo-Provera and the morning-after pill to the young women in her care, and part of that settlement includes the implementation of a policy that precludes the city from forcing healthcare workers to provide care that goes against their religious beliefs. Read more »

This Is City Hall’s Best Kept Secret

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown leading her Noonwalk group

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown leading her Noonwalk group | Photograph by Gina Tomaine

The light step of sneakers on tile corridors echoes over people sitting in the sixth floor corridor at City Hall as they wait to report for jury duty.

“If you walk a little faster you’ll get your heart rate up,” Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown says to the group of women behind her as she hefts a ten-pound weight in the air.

Blondell Reynolds Brown is currently serving her fourth term on Philadelphia City Council. She’s the only woman to serve as an At-Large Philadelphia Councilmember since 2000, the only woman serving in City Council Leadership, and the Majority Whip.

Oh, and, she also pioneered and leads a free midday walking group at City Hall twice a week.

And your excuse for not working out was … ?  Read more »

PHOTOS: Mayor Nutter Helps Raise New Philadelphia LGBT Rainbow Flag This Morning

flag raising

There were a variety of emotions this morning as members from Philadelphia government and the LGBT community met outside of City Hall to raise the City’s brand new LGBT rainbow flag for the first time.

In some regard, it was an event of remembrance for the late Gloria Casarez, the City’s first Director of LGBT Affairs, who was extremely passionate about the flag raising ceremony and carried out the tradition for five years. This year is the first year Ms. Casarez is not present for the celebration of the LGBT community after her untimely death due to cancer. Read more »

WATCH: Awesome Light Show Projected Onto City Hall

Over the weekend, local visual design studio Klip Collective projected an awesome light show onto City Hall for the opening of the “Red Bull Art of Can.”

According to a video Red Bull put on YouTube, the projection mapping was screened across all 300 feet of the west-facing facade of City Hall. “Via a custom control board, attendees were able to create audio-visual designs that were then projected directly onto the landmark building in real time,” the description read.

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Defiant Archives Exhibit on Trans Histories Transferring to City Hall

From the "Defiant Archives" opening at the William Way Community Center.

From the “Defiant Archives” opening at the William Way Community Center.

The William Way Center‘s Defiant Archives exhibit, which highlighted trans Philadelphia history and activism, is living on. The collection of materials, artwork, documents, and video will be transferring to a huge, new prominent venue: outside the mayor’s office at Philadelphia City Hall. Read more »

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