Confession: I’m Black, and I Used to Be Afraid to Walk Around Fishtown

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This September marked the start of my 32nd year of residence in this city. And for all of those previous 31 years, I’ve treated this place as my oyster. It’s part of my nature: No matter what city I’m in, I want to take it all in, or as much of it as time will allow. Thirty-one years is a lot of time, and in that time, I’d set foot in every neighborhood in this city.

With — until pretty recently — one big exception.

Like most black Philadelphians, I had heard stories about Fishtown. It seemed that we weren’t welcome there. I’d read stories about blacks getting harrassed, and worse, when they moved into the neighborhood.

And I wasn’t alone.

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The Yachtsman Is Fun

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Adam Erace weighs in on the cocktails at the Yachtsman and happily reports, the tiki drinks are fun and good. But most importantly, fun.

Making cocktails has been elevated to such high art, at times they can elicit a why-so-serious backlash, but with Yachtsman’s menu of high-octane punches, sneaky frappes and colorful rum coolers, Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal have managed to weave together drinks that feel joyful as well as thoughtful. Like the Bird of Paradise, a frothy cross between a Clover Club and a Ramos gin fizz with a subtle orange blossom perfume, or the grass-green Missionary’s Downfall, a frosty, refreshing rum, peach-and-pineapple situation whose color comes from a jungle of blended-in fresh mint. The velvety Tree Frog, a Don Q banana daiquiri mix with an undercurrent of galangal, allspice and star anise, is flat-out delicious; I want to make it a part of my daily breakfast routine.

Also revealed in Erace’s review, his high school AIM username.

Review: Tropical breezes and tiki reimagined at the Yachtsman [City Paper]
Yachtsman [Foobooz]

Morning Headlines: St. Laurentius Decree Takes Effect Today

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Photo of St. Laurentius at Memphis and Berks in Fishtown: Google Street View.

For Philadelphia’s Roman Catholics, Sunday’s generally a day of prayer, but this week it was anything but for one Fishtown church, St. Laurentius, which Archbishop Chaput “decertified,” meaning it’s no longer a Roman Catholic church.

However, the decertification says the building can be used in the future for “profane but not sordid use,” according to the Inquirer — and that’ll be true even if it’s demolished and condos are put in its place.

Ken Gavin, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said the decree means that if the church is demolished or put to another use, the property could not be used for any purpose contrary to Catholic teachings. The order takes effect Wednesday…

John Wisniewski, a longtime member of St. Laurentius, said that a group of parishioners has hired a canon lawyer and that an appeal of the relegation was being sent to the Vatican.

While an appeal is in process, the church cannot be torn down, Gavin said.

Archbishop decertifies Fishtown church [Inquirer]

More headlines, this way…

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TONIGHT: Two Puffy Ducks at Sancho Pistola’s

PUFFY-duck-940Kris Serviss, who is justabouttoopen Blue Duck Sandwich Company at 2859 Holme Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia is showing off his taco making ability at tonight’s Fishtown Taco Exchange at Sancho Pistola’s.

The COOK Masters program alum is preparing “The Puffy Duck,” duck confit, traditional mole, plum, pear and daikon kimchi, red cabbage and charred scallion crema, served on a deep fried tortilla.

The tacos are available after 9 p.m. and come two to an order for $13.

Check out the video of Kris Serviss preparing the “Puffy Duck.”

Sancho Pistola’s [Foobooz]
Blue Duck Sandwich Company [Foobooz]

Morning Headlines: Redevelopment Plans for the Royal Theater

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It took about a year, but developer Carl Dranoff and JDavis Architects unveiled plans for the vacant Royal Theater at a South of South Neighborhood Association meeting last week. PlanPhilly has the details this morning.

Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies purchased the historic building in 2000 but it has been mightily neglected since then. Dranoff partnered with Universal last year when the group announced plans for a mixed-use building to replace the theater. Details on the proposed building were fuzzy until last week’s meeting. Thanks to PlanPhilly, we now know the proposal includes the following provisions.

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Here Are Some More Philadelphia Neighborhoods We Could Rename

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Earlier this week, Philebrity noted a particularly awesome posting on the Fishtown Spirit’s Facebook page:

Northern Liberties II! “The hysteria this caused was unbelievable,” a commenter wrote, “reigniting the ol’ oldhead vs. newbie debates.”

Though the rumor is ridiculous, the reasoning behind it certainly isn’t: Fishtown does feel more like Northern Liberties nowadays. And not even the Nolibs of 10 years ago. Fishtown has its cache of gimmick bars near Frankford and Girard — a better stand-in for the Nolibs area in and around the Piazza. Approximately 85 new pizza places have opened in the last year. (Note: The last time I made a joke like this, people asked me, “Wow! Eighty-five?!” Please note this number is an exaggeration for comedic effect. It’s actually 81.) Fishtown feels like it’s getting younger and hipper — occasionally, this means “douchier.” So, just like Northern Liberties!

Of course, no one wants to rename Fishtown. The people who just moved there who were scared of it five years ago want that mentioned-in-the-New York Times cachet that goes along with the Fishtown name! But we could rename it Northern Liberties II, if we wanted to be jerks. It got me thinking about other sections of the city we could rename if we were jerks, and I came up with a few:

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Huge Bike Swap This Weekend in Fishtown

Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Calling all Philly cyclists: This Saturday, Fishtown’s Bicycle Stable is hosting a huge bike swap meet, and you are invited. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the bike shop will be selling and trading tons of used bikes and bike parts. Plus for just $10, anyone is welcome to set up shop to sell their bike-related goods for the day.

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Reserve Your Philly Style Bagels for This Weekend

philly-style-bagels-400Philly Style Bagels have been operating as an occasional pop-up out of Pizzeria Beddia in Fishtown on Sunday mornings. This Sunday they’re offering order half and full-dozens of bagels that you order ahead of time. Choose the number and kind of bagels, your housemade spreads and your pickup time, all online. Please note, pre-ordering is the only way to get bagels at Pizzeria Beddia this weekend.

The reason for that is Philly Style Bagels will also be serving up bagel sandwiches at Hylo Labs 3rd Space event in Old City. That event runs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature Pilsner Urquell shandies.

More on Philly Style Bagels »

Beer and Burlesque Happening Tonight

bottle-bar-east-burlesqueBottle Bar East at 1308 Frankford Avenue is hosting their monthly Beer and Burlesque night tonight with dancing and sideshows. The show happens on the first Thursday of each month and the festivities begin at 8 p.m.

The fun comes with a $7 cover charge but where else can you mix your striptease with fresh bottles Yards Cape of Good Hope?

Bottle Bar East [Foobooz]

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