We Want Answers: Sally Elk, CEO, Eastern State Penitentiary

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

Photograph by Claudia Gavin

For years now, you’ve witnessed the phenomenon of people paying money to be petrified by other people. How do you explain this strange desire? It’s amazing to me. I guess it’s the unknown, it’s going around the dark corner, it’s somebody getting close to you and breathing on your neck and touching your cheek. I don’t know. It’s so crazy. But it’s been good for us.

Have you ever been sued by a visitor? I mean, there must be liability issues. The place is like a haunted torts case. Ummm, sued … We have had injuries. We have a lot of people going through, and it’s at night, so we have had some injuries. But the thing is, we’re classified as an amusement by the state, so the state comes to inspect, and the city also inspects. We’re very aware of safety issues for people going through.

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“Playing Angels” Sculpture Returns to Kelly Drive

Yesterday a beloved sculpture was restored to its proper place in Fairmount. Carl Milles’ “Playing Angels” have danced and played in the grass above Kelly Drive since 1972 and recently received a long-awaited makeover.

The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (Creative Philadelphia) had the “Playing Angels” fully restored and reengineered their anchoring system, so now they can be enjoyed for decades to come. The angels were cast from a group of five originals created by the famous Swedish sculptor around 1950, which currently reside in Millesgården, overlooking Sweden’s Stockholm harbor.



According to the Association for Public Art, the five casts were originally headed for a private site in Philadelphia. When plans fell through, one angel headed to Kansas City and another to Virginia. The Association for Public Art (then called the Fairmount Park Art Association) bought the other three in 1968 and installed them four years later.

The playful bronze casts sit lightly atop concrete pedestals – similar to those at Millesgården – giving them the appearance of flight. Now the “Playing Angels” can once again be seen frolicking in the sky while they make their music where Kelly Drive meets Fountain Green Drive, overlooking the Schuylkill River.

Photos courtesy of the Association for Public Art.

Parkway Corner Deli Opens

parkway-corner-deli-940-hughe-dillon

Parkway Corner Deli Opens | Photo by HughE Dillon

The Parkway Corner Deli is opening today at 22nd and Spring Garden. The deli will be open from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, as well as from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Sundays.

The deli will offer signature sandwiches such as the London Broil and Horseradish Cheddar and hot paninis such as the Apple, Smoked Ham and Brie. The menu also includes handcrafted burgers, a variety of breakfast dishes, kids items, and other classic deli options.

But perhaps more importantly, Parkway Corner Deli will be serving tons and tons of beer including draft beer via growlers.

more photos from Parkway Corner Deli

Saffron’s Take on the Fairmount Bike Lane Wars

Photo of N. 22nd Street via Google Maps.

Photo of N. 22nd Street via Google Maps.

If there’s one thing in town guaranteed to produce loud opinions and complaints, it’s bike lanes. If there are two things, it’s bike lanes and City Council. Which makes the latest bike lane showdown in Fairmount the perfect shouty storm. Fortunately, Inga Saffron is here to lay out the facts in the Inquirer.

North 22nd Street was repaved in August. Since then, Saffron says, it has been without traffic markings of any kind. When the Streets Department proposed including a bike lane when it finally painted the lines, at-large Councilman Bill Greenlee (of Fairmount) got involved. His concern? That adding a bike lane will cause traffic backups by limiting cars to just one lane. Now everything is on pause.

Saffron says this is an important development because Greenlee is the first councilperson to exert his relatively new right to control segments of the city’s growing web of bike lanes. Naturally, the legislation giving Council said right was drafted by Greenlee himself. The Streets Department is waiting for consensus before moving forward.

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House of the Week: Green Street Brownstone Beauty

2139-green-street-openerOne of the prettiest streets in Philly, the 2100 block of Green Street in Fairmount, has a condo unit up for sale in one of its prettiest buildings. This apartment in this four-unit condo brownstone is the corner unit, with windows facing north, south and west. There are multiple skylights for yet more light, including one that looks down on a built-in water-fed planter. The living room’s glass doors lead to a deck, but on cold days, the same room also has a word-burning fireplace.

Between the light coming in and the current decor, the home has a distinctly Central American feel, augmented by the plethora of Mexican tile throughout. The unfinished basement was previously used as a craft studio, so creative types will find it hospitable for that purpose.

Parking includes one indoor garage space and one driveway space. Check out the gallery. It’s a beautiful space—and that pretty flower garden in front doesn’t hurt either.

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Fairmount Hosts a Bar Crawl

It's Saturday the 6th, not Sunday the 7th.

It’s Saturday the 6th, not Sunday the 7th.

The Great Philadelphia Craft Beer Crawl is this Saturday in Fairmount and it’s a pretty good deal that you might want to hop on if interested.

With over 1100 tickets already sold, remaining spaces are limited. The Crawl is from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and supplies you with a custom craft beer mug, complimentary craft beer samples and discounted beer specials for only $20. The Crawl also offers a discounted group rate ($15).

Bars listed for the Crawl are London Grill, Fare Restaurant, The Green Room and Urban Saloon, among others. There are 14 locations in total included for the event.

The Great Philadelphia Craft Beer Crawl [Facebook]

Converted Bakery in Fairmount’s Pig’s Alley

2310 Aspen St, Philadelphia, PA ,19130

2310 Aspen St, Philadelphia, PA ,19130

Despite being in the old Pig’s Alley section of Fairmount (which some say got its name from the butcher shops that used to line the blocks), this circa 1860 rowhouse served a different kind of culinary purpose prior to becoming a residence: It was a bakery. We imagine the bulkhead door that faces the street was suited to the business.

Today, however, any aroma of fresh baked bread is likely come from a wholly residential kitchen, which features a skylight and stainless steel appliances, and opens into a dining area with a bench. Custom woodwork and flooring is featured throughout, but restored wood floors cover the expanse of the living room, which has a coffered ceiling and decorative mantle.

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So Much Lobster at London Grill

image002Lobstah. Lobstah and more Lobstah.

August in Fairmount means lobster galore at London Grill, and there’s plenty of drawn butter to go around. The bar and main dining room will offer a special menu celebrating summers favorite crustacean. From the kitchen you can expect a lobster bisque garnished with crème fraiche ($8), the classic New England lobster roll with hand-cut fries  ($20) and a savory lobster cheesecake ($14), a cream cheese spread of lobster, peppers and seasonings served with crostini.

If you’re in the mood for something more akin to what they’re serving in Maine, sit down for the three-course New England dinner. Guests start with a house salad, followed by a 1 ¼ pound steamed whole lobster and corn on the cob (with drawn butter of course) and finish with a house-baked berry buckle. The dinner is $32 per person.

London Grill [Official]

Sample Prison Food… Without Prison

Prison

The popular event is back this year, featuring a dish that most likely won’t end up having you beg for the recipe. This Saturday and Sunday, June 14th and 15th, from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting Prison Food Weekend. And on the menu this year is the controversial Nutraloaf, an item that is served as a punishment for many American prisoners today. The event is giving participants a sample of Nutraloaf that was made using the official recipes from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Maryland. Visitors will also be able to check out sample menus, prison reports and more.

Nutraloaf is generally accepted in prisons as a form of punishment, though the issue does remain controversial. After you’ve sampled the product, you can write your thoughts on a taste card and decide for yourself whether or not it is cruel punishment. So while it may not be the tastiest event we’ve ever written about, you’ll get a sample of something you’ve wanted to know about, but hoped you’d never have to.

Prison Food Weekend [Official]

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