Scenes From an Occupation: The Amtrak Crash Media Frenzy

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Along Frankford Avenue, lined up like antennaed Chiclets, are the white news vans from all over. Some of the names and logos are recognizable — CNN, for instance, and MSNBC. Others are less familiar, like 15up Media LLC from Raleigh, NC. Video cameras, tripods, light deflectors, umbrellas are all set up outside The Clown House Restaurant and Tipsy Bar and Grill across the street. This is where Mayor Michael Nutter and other officials come to give press conferences.

There are reporters everywhere, even on the roof of the Philly Auto Tag building. An enormous NBC News van sits in front of JJW Tires Shop, whose mascot chihuahua/poodle mix, roughly the size of a grown man’s outstretched hand, barks at all comers. CBS News This Morning set up early on a resident’s porch, where Norah O’Donnell read from a teleprompter. Spanish-language TV and radio stations interview Latino residents, while on-air talent sweats through pancake makeup.

Area residents sit on stoops and get approached by reporter after reporter or open their doors to enormous cameras. Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was on one of the derailed cars, spends the morning within the media staging area to answer questions. Current Senator Pat Toomey goes to the home commandeered by CBS News for an interview. A box of Philadelphia soft pretzels sits in front of where the news teams gather for each press conference, like an offering to the gods. “Treat us kindly, please.”

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Calling All Artists! The Ideal Studio Loft Awaits in Port Richmond!

Photo by Rich Walker.

Photo by Rich Walker.

“The location is superb” says Tom Gallagher, the owner of this property in Port Richmond. “It’s easy to get to I-95,” he says, and a closer look at the neighborhood shows bikers and public transit commuters would be just as happy as drivers: WalkScore gives an above average 66 score on its overall bike lane-friendliness, while two bus routes are within a two block radius. Several restaurants and bars are also in the neighborhood.

According to Gallagher, he’s had the property since 2006, during which time he did some repair work and updated it. He went so far as to add a loft space with a kitchenette and full bathroom, an addition that proved useful for days when he’d stay overnight working on boat sculls (Gallagher started Sykes Racing North America, the U.S. branch of the Australian boat racing manufacturer.)

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Postgreen Offers Peek At Its Next Project

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Trenton Avenue, which begins in the triangle where Fishtown, East Kensington and Port Richmond overlap, is a broad thoroughfare that once was a bustling industrial corridor. Now, save for one day a year, it’s mostly a quiet residential street.

Chad Luderman, CEO of Postgreen Homes, believes this transformation was a mistake. Not that he wants to bring back industry, but rather, it’s that a street this wide makes for a natural commercial corridor. (It certainly makes a great setting for an arts festival and kinetic sculpture race.)

It may be too late to add commerce to the rest of the street, but Luderman’s going to at least try to salvage a little stretch of it.

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5 Children Left in SUV in Port Richmond Parking Lot

Five children were found in a locked car in a Port Richmond supermarket parking lot today. The three toddlers and two infants were spotted in an SUV at the ShopRite at Aramingo Ave. and Butler St.

The fire department, police and medics were able to free the kids from the car.

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Nun Assaulted in Port Richmond

A man on Sunday assaulted a nun in Port Richmond, before driving away in a car.

The nun, 65, was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car — which was left running while the friend was in a Shop Rite. A man jumped in the door and a struggled for the keys ensued, upon which the man began repeatedly punching the nun in the face. To make this even worse, she was wearing her habit at the time.

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Dana Spain and Partner Launch New Development in Port Richmond

port-richmond-openerNow that South Kensington bids fair to become an annex of Northern Liberties and Fishtown has been hipstered beyond recognition, where’s a young gentrifier with more taste than money going to go now?

How about the next neighborhood upriver from Fishtown?

One of the first new construction projects in years in Port Richmond stalled when the housing market bubble burst in 2008, and it’s now being revived in a new and improved form, bringing well-laid-out, extra-wide townhomes to an attractive but modest block close to Allegheny Square Park and the Richmond branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

The six-unit development at 2989-99 Livingston St., which will complete the planned 12-unit project, is the first for McSpain Properties, a development firm formed by two veterans, Dana Spain and Sean McGovern. McGovern has been active in developing housing around the Temple University campus, while Spain has rehabbed commercial properties and designed private residences for individual clients. “McSpain Properties allows Sean and I to meld his skills of budgeting and onsite construction management with my design and finishing talents,” Spain said.

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Morning Headlines: Kenpor L.P. Backs Out of Property Rehabbing Over a Year Later

An agreement to demolish / rehabilitate the former properties of slumlord Robert Coyle has come to naught. The deal, made in September 2012, was between the city and Kenpor L.P. It involved the holding company getting 98 of the properties in exchange for paying the city $300,000 with $630,000 added overtime.

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Philly Love Note No. 206: Graffiti Pier

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Detail of a photo by Emma Fried-Cassorla.

The website Philly Love Notes — a treasure trove of urban revelation — published a paean to the Graffiti Underground written by Property’s editor, aka, me. Love Notes editor Emma Fried-Cassorla took some beautiful photos of the spot, and respected my wishes to be as un-photographed as possible when photographed. Check the whole thing out right here.