This Punch Bowl Tells the Story of Old Philadelphia

Rebecca Yamin displays blue and white bowl from the 1760s

Rebecca Yamin, the lead archeologist on the excavation of the Museum of the American Revolution site, displays a reconstructed bowl from the 1760s that was found in a privy pit. | Photo: Dan McQuade

Rebecca Yamin first stepped onto the future site of the Museum of the American Revolution, at the corner of 3rd and Chestnut streets, in July 2014. She was both excited and scared.

“When you start at an urban site, it’s an amazing thing,” says Yamin, a well-respected urban archeologist with Commonwealth Heritage Group. “We told the museum it’s going to cost a lot of money. And then when I get on the site, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m not going to find anything. It’s such an embarrassment.’”

When it was all over, Yamin did not end up embarrassed. Yesterday the museum, slated to open in April 2017, took possession of 72 boxes of artifacts, inside of which were 82,000 pieces recovered from the site.

“I’m always surprised,” Yamin continues. “Certainly we were surprised to find something that was so relevant to the mission of the museum.” Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: An Electrifying Old City Spectacle

2 Loxley Ct., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

2 Loxley Ct., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

Tucked away on one of those little alleys that help give Old City its character is a home with a connection to Philadelphia’s most famous scientific experiment. This charming colonial home was built in the 1740s by one Benjamin Loxley, who also bequeathed his name to the pedestrian court it sits on. Loxley, an early Philadelphia master builder and carpenter — in those days, carpenters were also architects — developed this small street and the houses along it. But that’s not what makes it significant. Loxley was also a friend of Benjamin Franklin and assisted him with his early experiments with electricity.

Loxley was also a friend of Benjamin Franklin and assisted him with his early experiments with electricity. Local lore has it that when Benjamin Franklin flew that famous kite in a lightning storm in order to capture the electrical charge, the key he used to catch the spark was the one to this home’s front door. Read more »

Nick’s Old City Rolls Out Brunch

Brunch is now served at Nick's in Old City

Brunch is now served at Nick’s in Old City

Once upon a time I thought the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar was one of the most ridiculous concepts out there. The reason I went out for brunch was because I didn’t want to be involved in the Bloody Mary process. I just needed the vitamins (and vodka) in my body ASAP. But as I’ve matured, I’ve come to enjoy the nearly endless possibilities of a well-stocked Bloody Mary bar. And there’s a new build-your-own Bloody Mary bar in town.

At the rebranded Nick’s Bar & Grille (formerly Nick’s Roast Beef) in Old City, you can get a custom-built start to your weekend for just $6. Nick’s is offering up the neighborhood’s newest brunch with their new in-house smoked meats, bacon-beef burgers and other twists to the brunch routine.

Read more »

Wister Opening in Old City

wister-fish-940“I’m writing the menu around ingredients that are exciting me,” said chef Benjamin Moore. “Right now, that happens to be late summer produce and seasonal fish.” Moore was a sous chef at Lacroix and before that was at Le Bec-Fin, Wister represents his first executive chef position.

On October 1st, the Old City BYOB will open to the public. Wister replaces 26 North at 26 North 3rd Street.

The restaurant will change its menu often. So if you don’t go until November, you will probably miss the heirloom tomatoes puff pastry ($14) and the melon with elderflower ($14). The good news, however, according to Moore, is “There’s always something new for our repeat diners.”

Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Contemporary History in Old City

149 S. Hancock St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Redfin

149 S. Hancock St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19106 | Images via Redfin

“Everything old is new again” is probably the best phrase one can use to describe this stunning renovation of a historic 19th-century commercial building on Hancock Street in Old City.

This building is the sole survivor of a row of similar buildings, and it has a pedigree: Cabinetmaker Michael Bouvier, the great-great-grandfather of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, bought the vintage-1816 structure in 1834 for use as his workshop. It came awfully close to meeting the fate of its neighbors before a couple bought the structure in 2010 and turned it into a super-spacious single-family residence.

While traditional in its details — crown moldings, classic baseboards, period doors — the home is at the same time thoroughly modern in its design sensibility and amenities. Read more »

That House Out There: Creative Class in Old City

20 N. 3rd St. #701, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106 | Photos by Theresa Stigale via MGC Real Estate Group

20 N. 3rd St. #701, Philadelphia, Pa., 19106 | Photos by Theresa Stigale via MGC Real Estate Group

What sort of creative-class type are you?

An artist looking for a blank canvas to paint on? A craftsperson who’d like to turn raw space into a one-of-a-kind atelier? Or maybe just a middle manager looking for a place with a fantastic view?

If you’re any one of these, or anyone else with the scratch who has a hankering for elegant living with the industrial touch, these joined-at-the-hip condo units may be just what you’re looking for.

As currently configured, these top-floor units in Old City’s Daniel Building are two two-bedroom, two bath units with totally open kitchens in the main living space. But they can be reconfigured to suit: one unit for you, one for guests; a single unit with an in-law or au pair suite; a place for you to live and an income property; or maybe just the biggest, baddest full-floor loft condo in Old City.

Be aware, though: even though both the hardwood floors and the kitchens with their professional-grade stainless-steel appliances and countertops all shine with that high-tech gloss, this is still industrial loft space that’s really ideal for someone who is looking for a place to work as well as live. You’ll be right on “N3rd Street,” in the heart of a still-lively community of creative makers and thinkers even with the relocation of nearby IndyHall to 399 Market.

Want this kind of space, but not so much of it? The units can also be purchased separately.




SQUARE FEET: 4,138 (divisible)

SALE PRICE: $1,699,000 (both units combined)

OTHER STUFF: Did we tell you that the owners/developers, who are licensed real estate agents, will be glad to customize these units to suit you? Keep this in mind as you view the photos below.

20 N. 3rd St., #701-702 [Nella Genovese | MGC Real Estate Group]


Pokémon Go Guided Tours Are Now a Thing in Philly

Photo provided

Photo provided

Mobile game Pokémon Go blew up when it was introduced last month, with an estimated 7.5 million downloads in the U.S. in just the first five days. A slew of articles about the dangers of walking around outside glued to your phone quickly followed — though that’s an old gripe — while businesses jumped to tie their locations to the game. Meet-ups for “trainees” and “trainers” formed and up popped online groups like PokémonGoPhilly, dedicated to discussing all things Pokémon, from tips to troubleshooting to bragging about rare catches. So it was inevitable that a Pokémon Go-themed tour of Philadelphia would be next, and where else would it be than the tour nucleus of Old City? Read more »

Archaeologists Find Thousands of Artifacts in Old Philly Toilets

Archaeologists excavate a privy in Old City

Archaeologists Kevin Bradley and Kathryn Wood excavate a privy at the site of the future Museum of the American Revolution in Old City. (Photo courtesy Museum of the American Revolution)

Workers excavating at the site of the future Museum of the American Revolution over the past few years found quite a few historical artifacts in a place you might not expect to look for them: In the toilet.  Read more »

Opening Date for Museum of the American Revolution Set

Museum of the American Revolution rendering at night

A rendering of the finished building, currently under construction. | Photo courtesy Museum of the American Revolution

The Museum of the American Revolution has an opening date.

Yesterday the museum, located at 3rd and Chestnut streets, announced it will open on April 19th, 2017. That will be the 242nd anniversary of “the shot heard ’round the world,” the date of the first battles in the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord.

The museum additionally announced that H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest — media entrepreneur, philanthropist and owner of Philadelphia Media Network — had donated $10 million to the museum. He had previously made gifts of a $40 million matching grant and $9 million in earlier commitments. Read more »

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