Philly’s Biggest Winners of 2016

Clockwise: Outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Mayor Jim Kenney, state Rep. Martina White and actor Sylvester Stallone.

Clockwise: Mayor Jim Kenney, Villanova Wildcats coach Jay Wright, Olympian Nia Ali, actor Sylvester Stallone and outgoing U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger.

Believe it or not, a few people actually succeeded in the otherwise godforsaken 2016. Here’s to all the do-gooders, overachievers, strivers, thrivers, and folks who won so much they got tired of the winning. Read more »

Mayor Kenney Officially Ends Ban On Serving Food in Public Parks

A man holds a sign during a Philadelphia Department of Public Health hearing in reference to regulations banning outdoor food distribution Thursday, March 15, 2012 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A man holds a sign during a Philadelphia Department of Public Health hearing in reference to regulations banning outdoor food distribution on March 15th, 2012 in Philadelphia. | Photo by Alex Brandon/AP

Philadelphia has removed a dormant ban prohibiting serving food in public parks, the Kenney administration announced today.

The ban, which the city tried to implement four years ago, faced harsh pushback from both religious and secular organizations that offer food to the homeless and hungry in Philly’s parks. Many claimed the controversial ban targeted the city’s homeless population and attempted to hide or displace the homeless.

At the time, then-Mayor Michael Nutter said he believed all food could and should be served indoors, according to NPR. But multiple religious organizations quickly filed a federal civil rights lawsuit, which was followed by a court injunction in August of 2012. Read more »

Why Real Philadelphians Instinctively Hate Shiny New Things


Who could roll their eyes at this? The author could.

Not long ago a treasured possession of mine — an audio tape my dad made when I was about four — got ruined. Somehow the tape in the cassette disappeared and now when I try to play it there’s a vast nothingness where sound should be. On the tape, I am pretending to be a lecturer at the Academy of Natural Sciences, schooling my dad in all kinds of animal facts — some true, some invented, and some attributed to Mommy, who was giving me some seriously inaccurate information (the natural diet of the elephant is not, in fact, buttered popcorn). When I’d get off track, my dad would prod me: “And where do giraffes live, Elizabeth?” “Africa!” That kind of thing.

A lot of people have such keepsakes — childhood recordings and home movies. The fact of the tape itself wasn’t unique. But I kept this tape in a special box, so that I’d never lose it, for two reasons. First of all, one side is comprised, entirely, of my dad methodically repeating curse words — “Shit. Shit. Shit. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” — slowly, in a grave tone. He sounds like a serial killer, but it’s also weirdly hilarious. He used to leave the tape playing for his parrot, Miles, hoping the bird would pick stuff up. He never did.

The other reason I treasured this tape was because it contained absolute, touching proof of my Philadelphia origins — proof that was better than a birth certificate because it could be heard in one key exchange:

“Where does the hippo live, Elizabeth?” my father asks.

“In the wooder,” I say. Read more »

Kenney’s Massive, Costly Plan to Make Over Rec Centers, Parks and Libraries

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Mayor Jim Kenney just revealed his most meaningful proposal to date, one that could become the signature accomplishment of his first term if he pulls it off. According to PlanPhilly, which first broke the news, Kenney is going to propose selling $300 million in bonds in order to repair Philadelphia’s parks, recreation centers and libraries at his budget address next week. He hopes to raise another $200 million for the massive initiative from the state, feds and nonprofit organizations.

This is huge. For comparison’s sake, former Mayor John Street’s defining Neighborhood Transformation Initiative was paid for by a $295 million bond issue passed by City Council. Kenney’s proposal is so large that it could trigger a debate about whether this is the right time to pursue such an investment, given that the School District of Philadelphia and the city’s pension system remain deeply underfunded.

Kenney told PlanPhilly that his goal is to provide the city’s neighborhoods with the parks and rec centers that they deserve.

“When we have a football league in South Philadelphia where we have suburban people come into our communities and look at what our kids have to play with, and then our kids go out to the suburbs and play in pristinely manicured fields, it makes us feel like second-class citizens, and we’re not,” he told the website. “I think this investment will give people in every community a sense of equity and fairness, that we care about them and we value them as citizens.” Read more »

Waterfront Wishes: Bridesburg Neighbors Voice Desires For New Riverfront Park

Long-earmarked in city-wide and waterfront master plan studies as potentially viable for parkland or anything other than its industrial past, the 9.4-acre riverfront parcel at 3101 Orthodox Street in Bridesburg is now gradually materializing.

Image via

The site of the proposed riverfront park in Bridesburg | Image via

Sitting adjacent to the former coal-operating Philadelphia Coke Company facility, the property is now at the center of discussion at community engagement meetings headed by the Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

In case you missed it, Parks & Rec. acquired the site, which had once been part of a Dietz & Watson foundry, last year. As PlanPhilly reported then, the land went to the department upon the city reaching a land swap deal with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which owned the parcel at the time.

Now, equipped with William Penn Foundation grant funding for the community engagement process, DRCC and Parks & Rec. are in the midst of the “concept development” stage of the proposed venture. Neighbors, of course, are a crucial element to the unfolding plan: “We had a series of community meetings working with a consultant to develop what [residents] perceive the space should be used for and function as. This is all about getting the baseline concept in place to support the community,” Stephanie Craighead, Director of Planning, Preservation and Property Management at Parks and Recreation, told Property.

And what do Bridesburg residents want? Well, over the course of the neighborhoods meetings that have taken place, Craighead says a special interest has been expressed in Read more »

10 Best Picnic Spots in Philly 

Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Photo by Flickr user Rich Lee

Picnics are good for many things: soaking up some sun (with a layer of sunscreen on, of course!); avoiding a sad-desk-lunch situation; posting no-shoe, feet-on-blanket selfies designed to make all your Instagram friends green with envy, just to name a few. And, on top of all those very valid reasons to post up on a picnic blanket, studies show that getting out into a green areas is good for the brain. So below, our top picks for picnic spots in the city. We say grab a blanket, a basket of picnic-friendly snacks and some friends, and head to one of them today. Read more »

Love Your Park Week Schedule: Mother’s Day Events, Clothing Swaps, an Edible Bugs Dinner and More

love your park week

Philly’s Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation just announced the jam-packed itinerary for the third-annual Love Your Park Week, taking place May 10-17. Besides a host of service projects, like cleanups and other eco-friendly haps, the schedule includes a nice range of activities, including everything from Mother’s Day gatherings to arts and crafts fairs to even an edible bugs dinner.

Find some of Love Your Park‘s highlights below. These are just some highlights, though. To see a full schedule of all 75-plus events, go here. To register and find out more about park cleanups, go here.

Read more »

Tom Haverfoods: No Better Way To Waste A Day

I would’ve posted about this yesterday, but I actually spent so much time refreshing the page and laughing my dumb ass off that I ran out of time.

For those of you who missed it, on last week’s episode of Parks & Recreation, Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom Haverford, did an extended, over-the-credits riff on the bizarre names he has come up with for everyday foods and drinks. Chicken parmesan, for example, was “chicky chicky parm parm,” root beer was “super water” and noodles were “long-ass rice.”

It took all of three seconds for the internets to jump all over this, and the result?, which proves forever and for always that the simplest things are often the funniest. There’s nothing more to the site than a picture of Tom and a single new Haverfood every time you reload the page. Best of the last ten minutes?

Hot wings are… Li’l flapperz

Milk is… Cereal sauce

Shrimp is… Tiny-ass lobster

Lemonade is… LL Cool Ade