SEPTA Wins Big Grant to Buy 25 Zero-Emission All-Electric Buses

Photo | Proterra

Photo | Proterra

U.S. Senator Robert Casey announced Tuesday that SEPTA will receive a $2.6 million grant to purchase 25 electric buses.

The buses will serve South Philly routes 29 and 79. The two routes had previously operated with trackless trolleys up until 2002, said Richard Burnfield, SEPTA’s Deputy General Manager. At that point the trolleys were over 20 years old and had to be taken out of operation. They then switched over to bus operations.  Read more »

What Spring Sounds Like in Windows-Open South Philly

Dickinson Square Park | M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

Dickinson Square Park | M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia

There are a lot of ways to measure the arrival of spring in Philly.

Technically, it began March 20th, before the last snow of the year, weeks after that deadbeat groundhog waddled out of bed. Easter isn’t usually a bad benchmark—although that, too, was followed by snow this time around. I used to welcome it the first time my cat delivered a dead baby animal to the doorstep, but ever since Saffron retired, I go by a more optimistic milestone: the first weekend that the windows stay open.

Which is to say, finally, happy spring.

Did it feel good? In true Philly fashion, it was almost too warm. Did it look good? Let’s just say there were a lot of jean shorts and tube socks walking down my block Saturday afternoon. Did it smell good? “Sweet” and “breeze” very rarely go in the same sentence around these parts.

But damn, did it sound good. From Friday night through Sunday evening, last weekend was a pitch-perfect snapshot of the finest season in the finest city. (Brief disclaimer: I’m from here and can’t distinguish the rolling tide of the ocean from the rolling tide of I-95.)

This is what spring sounds like in windows-open South Philly:  Read more »

Food Truck Fest Kicks Off Spring at Taproom on 19th

taproom 19th 940On Saturday, April 16th, Taproom on 19th and the Philly Mobile Food Association combine to celebrate spring with Tappin’ The Trucks, Brews n’ Bites Block Party. Five food trucks will head down to 19th and Ritner to sell food while Taproom on 19th pours $5 craft beers from local brewers.

The block party runs from noon and 7 p.m. with The Cow and the Curd, Oink and Moo BBQ, Foolish Waffles, Sweet Box, and Taproom’s neighbor and hoagie fryer, T&N Homemade Kitchen providing the food.

Read more »

So That Burnt Party Bus? Officials Say It Was Operating Illegally

It's not hard to see how this could have ended tragically. (Photo by Brian Howard)

It’s not hard to see how this could have ended tragically. Photo | Brian Howard

We’ve all been having some good laughs over the Double Dz party bus that was burnt to a crisp on Broad Street last weekend, because with a slippery, fast-talking guy like Double Dz owner Blake Harris and tales and photos from the bachelorette party that used the bus the night that it burned, it’s hard not to at least chuckle a little. But in reality, this is no laughing matter. Read more »

Bachelorette Says Party Turned Into a “Nightmare” Thanks to Burnt Party Bus [UPDATED]

Bachelorette Genine MacMullen (left) and friends party inside Double Dz party bus on Saturday night.

Bachelorette Genine MacMullen (left) and friends party inside Double Dz party bus on Saturday night.

UPDATE 3/15/2016 4 p.m.: Officials now say that the Double Dz party bus that burst into flames was operating illegally, and two Pennsylvania agencies are investigating. Go here for the full story.

ORIGINAL:

Every married woman has fond memories of her bachelorette party. There’s the puking, the girlfriends who inevitably get into a fight over something pretty stupid, the embarrassing Instagram photos of silly hats, sashes, and novelty penis cups, and, if you’re lucky enough to be Port Richmond bachelorette Ginene MacMullen, there’s also the party bus that bursts into flames. Read more »

We Call B.S. on the Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe

The verdict is in.

The verdict is in.

UPDATE: We got a copy of the video showing the woman who comes into the cafe and threatens the barista with a bottle of spray cleaner. To view it, click here.

ORIGINAL:

On Thursday, we told you about The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe in South Philadelphia. In short, B2 Cafe customer Francesca Depasquale took to Facebook to complain that a female B2 employee snatched a cell phone from the hands of her 3-year-old daughter, who was listening to Pink on it without headphones while other customers were in the cafe.

The mom’s post was shared hundreds of times, and an irate vigilante squad went on Yelp and other sites in an effort to tank B2’s ratings. One concerned citizen even showed up at the cafe, grabbed a bottle of spray cleaner, and threatened to bleach the barista’s eyes out. The enraged, bleach-toting woman seemed to say that the barista punched the girl, an accusation that was alluded to in some of the social media posts. But now that we’ve secured video footage of the mom’s entire visit to B2 Cafe, we can safely say that this was blown way out of proportion. Read more »

A Toddler, a Cell Phone, and One Big South Philly-Style Brouhaha

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia's B2 Cafe.

A scolding server (left arrow) and troublesome toddler (right arrow) clash at South Philadelphia’s B2 Cafe.

UPDATE 2/12/2016 1:50pm: We watched the entire surveillance video of Francesca Depasquale’s 45-minute visit to B2 Cafe, and we call bullshit. For our full report on that video, click here.

We also got a copy of the video showing the woman who comes into the cafe and threatens the B2 Cafe barista with a bottle of spray cleaner. To view it, go here.

ORIGINAL:

In most places in these United States of America, an unpleasant experience in a restaurant is forgotten by the next morning. Maybe it leads to a bad Yelp review. Maybe. But in South Philadelphia, where shoveled-out parking spots are protected by an unspoken promise of bodily harm and where conflicts sometimes take the form of the “I’m funny how … like I’m a clown?” argument in Goodfellas, things are handled much, much differently. And so we bring you the story of what heretofore will be known as The Cell Phone Incident at B2 Cafe. Read more »

A Brief History of the SS United States’ 20 Years in Philadelphia

SS United States - Skyline

A view of the Philadelphia skyline from the SS United States in South Philadelphia. (Photo: Dan McQuade)

The SS United States has been “saved” before.

In 2010, Gerry Lenfest donated $5.8 million to the Washington-based SS United States Conservancy in an effort to preserve the ship. “At first I said it’s impossible to do it because it costs too much money and then I thought, ‘Well it’s worth a try because it’s a great ship,’” Lenfest told the Inquirer at the time. “It was a great achievement for the United States to build this vessel, she’s worth saving.”

Search Philadelphia magazine’s SS United States tag and you’ll find lots of stories from the past few years about the ship’s fate. Two years ago, the SS United States Conservancy began a plan to clear out the inside of the ship in order to sell materials and prepare the ship for sale. “It’s a great fixer-upper,” Conservancy executive director Susan Gibbs said.

In July 2014, the ship looked like it was headed to Brooklyn. The New York Times reported the ship could be moving to Brooklyn “within four to six months.” Then in December the Conservancy entered into a preliminary agreement to renovate the ship.

Last October, the SS United States announced it was exploring the sale of the ship for scrap. “We will have no choice but to negotiate the sale of the ship to a responsible recycler,” the Conservancy said in a statement. (Susan Gibbs, the Conservancy’s director, is the granddaughter of ship architect William Francis Gibbs.) Then, last week, the Conservancy announced it would on Thursday make another announcement, this time in Manhattan, about the future of the SS United States.

Though several proposals, including a casino, had been floated for the future of the ship in Philadelphia, a 2011 report from the Conservancy “concluded that it’s not likely to work [in Philadelphia] for a variety of reasons.” So the 20-year stop of the SS United States in South Philadelphia is likely to end. But how did it get here? Read more »

WATCH: Cyclist Chased, Threatened By Angry Driver After Knocking Over Loading Zone Cone

Screen capture from a video by YouTube user Cheekflapperer.

Screen capture from a video by YouTube user Cheekflapperer.

[UPDATE, 1 p.m., January 27th]: Cameron Kline, spokesman for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, says that after the cyclist inquired about pressing charges, the police contacted the D.A. “In terms of the evidence available, we decided at that point that we weren’t going to charge,” Kline said. The driver of the minivan, says Kline, faced potential charges of simple assault and harassment.

After first being turned down by the D.A., the cyclist said that he attempted to press misdemeanor charges against the driver himself, but was again refused. Kline acknowledged that the D.A.’s office decided against pursuing the case a second time. The cyclist finally appealed the D.A.’s review of the complaint to Judge Marsha Neifield, who ruled in favor of the District Attorney.

[ORIGINAL]: By now, you’re all aware of the Philly Police’s #NoSavesies movement, but what happens when people get territorial over a loading zone?

The video below, which was made public yesterday but filmed about nine months ago, shows what a cyclist says is him intentionally knocking over a traffic cone in front of the Monti-Rago Funeral Home on South Broad Street, and that the cone was one of several being used to save a spot in a 20-minute loading zone. The video had more than 89,000 views at the time of writing.

Read more »

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