The most rancorous presidential election in modern history has left voters in the Democratic stronghold of Southeastern Pennsylvania stunned and the country bitterly divided. But just how divided? We wanted to know what would happen if we got people with different opinions together in the same room just to talk — and listen — to each other. Could there possibly be any common ground? We sought out a few more-or-less-average voters representing a wide swath of our readership, demographically and politically, and asked them to speak frankly about what was important to them as they went to the polls and how they felt in the aftermath. In early December, Kecia Hilliard, 51, manager of an LGBT-friendly senior apartment building in Mount Airy, Michelle Mattus, 41, a Ridley Park insurance broker, and Roger Chu, 27, a Collingswood researcher, agreed to sit down with Philadelphia magazine editor Tom McGrath to test the waters. Their conversation has been edited for space and clarity. — Edited by Brian Howard Read more »
The Proposal: Deny Federal Funding to Sanctuary Cities
In Philadelphia, as in other sanctuary cities, police won’t honor requests by the feds to detain undocumented immigrants who aren’t facing other charges. Trump has said he’ll withhold all federal money from such cities. That could mean the immediate loss of some $400 million a year in federal grants and operating revenue, and more if Trump tries to strip funding for SEPTA, the Housing Authority, and other semi-public agencies.
Is it realistic? Cutting funding to the nation’s biggest cities could have political consequences. The Kenney administration has said that Philly’s policy is a commitment to the Fourth Amendment, suggesting it might take legal action if Trump follows through. Read more »
Joe Sacco, a 74-year-old retired police officer, always knew Donald Trump would take Pennsylvania: “Talking to people, you could just feel that everybody was for him.” During the campaign, even churchgoers in Sacco’s hometown in rural southern York County got behind Trump. “That shocked me in the beginning,” he admits. “They told me, ‘We have a preacher. We need a president.’” Union guys in town — another group that was supposed to be anti-Trump — liked him, too: “They were all wearing Trump hats.” Read more »
My name is … Erin Maryn Elmore. It’s pronounced like the county near San Francisco where Sausalito is. My parents were there when they were pregnant and said it was the most beautiful place they had ever been. Read more »
I wake up at 6:30 a.m. to work out. I get to my studio by 8:30. The first thing I do there is boil water for pour-over coffee. I only drink single-origin varieties from Central or South America. ReAnimator Coffee is the office favorite. Read more »
Twenty minutes to go until a brand-new Five Below is scheduled to open its doors, and the line is already 30 people deep.
It’s a cold Friday morning at the beginning of November, and on the drive to the Roosevelt Boulevard shopping center where this grand opening is scheduled, I have a pretty clear picture of what the store is going to look like. I’ve been to a handful of these stores in the past few weeks, and I know the new one will be rectangular and fluorescent and packed with merchandise, like the chamber of one of those claw-machine games at the bowling alley. Read more »
Baby Aria: The Perfect-Timing Labor
Delivered at Virtua Voorhees
As a teacher in Princeton, Amanda Hartstein has an hour-long commute. Her first child — Paul, now 16 months — was a July baby. “With Aria, I was working up until the day of,” says Amanda, 31. “I was terrified I was going to have to drive from Princeton to the hospital in Voorhees.” Luckily, her contractions started way before the school day did. Amanda is on maternity leave for three months and will rely on family for childcare. When Amanda’s husband, Paul, a Cherry Hill firefighter, is on one of his 24-hour shifts, her mother, who lives in the next town over, and her mother-in-law, who lives in an attached house, will pitch in. “My brother is having his first baby in February,” Amanda notes, “so my mom will have her hands full with my kids and his!
Baby Ronan: The Speedy Delivery
Delivered at Lankenau Medical Center
When Kaitlyn Darrach had her first child three years ago, she had a C-section because her daughter was breech. This time, she was determined to have a vaginal delivery — one, it turned out, that happened much more precipitously than anyone anticipated. “The nurses seemed surprised that he was out so quickly. The doctor wasn’t even in the room yet,” Kaitlyn, 29, explains. “It was quiet, and then all of a sudden everyone came running in like, Oh my God, the baby is here.” Just 48 minutes after she started pushing, Kaitlyn had a son. “It’s a whole new experience, and we’re all so happy,” she says. “My daughter is so proud to be a big sister. She loves him.”
Baby Josephine: Boy or Girl?
Delivered at Pennsylvania Hospital
“Everyone was convinced I was having a boy,” says first-time mom Alexandra Dowling, 31. “But when I was pregnant, I only had dreams I was having a girl.” Turns out Alexandra was right. Her husband, Stephen, 35, was the one who announced their baby’s sex during the C-section, and the two were so overcome with joy — after all, the only name they’d agreed on was Josephine Tess, for Alexandra’s grandmother and for Stephen’s — that both parents broke down in tears in the operating room. Alexandra observed Josephine’s first moments with Stephen from the operating table. “She wrapped her tiny hand around his finger, and I just saw his heart melt,” she says. “Mine melted, too.”
Baby Gabriel: The Smooth-Sailing (This Time) Birth
Delivered at Lankenau Medical Center
Compared to the delivery for David and Megan Pomante’s first son, Dominic — 36 hours of labor, an emergency C-section, a blood transfusion — this time was a breeze. “We dropped Dom off at daycare, went to the hospital, and they wheeled me in for the scheduled C,” says Megan, 33. “It was pretty seamless.” Still, she felt sick from the drugs after surgery, so while she recovered, David stepped in to provide skin-to-skin contact with Gabriel. It’s something more and more parents are clamoring for — and hospitals are accommodating; skin-to-skin boosts baby’s mental development, promotes bonding and reduces stress, according to studies. “You do what you need to do for your kid,” explains David, 35. “I couldn’t wait to hold him.”
Baby Christopher: The Unexpected C
Delivered at Temple University Hospital
Maritza Badillo Cruz, 28, was nervous when she found out — after her contractions started, after the doctors broke her water, after she got an epidural — that the baby was in the wrong position (face first) and she was going need a C-Section. “My first two kids were natural, so I wasn’t expecting it,” says Cruz. “It didn’t hurt as much as when you give birth, but it hurt a little afterwards. I’m managing well though.” The baby is named after her husband, Christopher Torres Rivera, 28.
Meet More Philly Babies Born on 11.14.16
Published as “Babies” in the January 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.