Editor’s Letter

When I was a kid, the arguments were endless. Who was better, Mike
Schmidt or Greg Luzinski? (My buddy Seth was a Luzinski fan: “Now,
there's a Philly athlete,” he'd say, nodding toward the Bull's portly
physique; for me, Schmidt's cool demeanor carried the day.) Larry Kane
or Jim Gardner? (I went for Kane, owing to his goofy, shameless
reminders that he'd once been John Lennon's friend. Ah, Philly: the
city where some things never change.) The Main Point (where my sister
discovered Bruce Springsteen before he was The Boss) or the Spectrum
(where, when I was 10, my parents took me to a Neil Young concert and
were into it, despite the wafting, oddly pungent smoke)?

Senior editor Sandy Hingston—with urging from the late, great public
relations maven Cliff Brenner—realized that in this town, these kinds
of debates are timeless. Maybe that's because hardly anyone leaves (so
many of the names in our Ultimate Philly Face-Off package on page 94
are evergreens: Eskin, Blavat, Cosby, ­Bacon … ), or simply because we
like to argue. But we thought asking for your all-time bests would
foment discussion, and maybe even a fistfight or two. So we polled a
random sample of Philadelphians, and encouraged readers to weigh in
online as well. In response to our query seeking nominations for the
Best Philadelphian of all time, we received hundreds and hundreds of
nominations, ranging wildly from the brilliant (Lucretia Mott!) to the
quizzical (Sam Katz!). The top 10: Ben Franklin, Ed Bacon (with four
times the votes of William Penn), Bill Cosby, Frank Rizzo, Grace Kelly,
Ed Rendell, William Penn, Allen Iverson, Will Smith, and John Wanamaker
and Richardson Dilworth (who tied for 10th). Following them, a grouping
of strange bedfellows: Julius Erving, Mary Cassatt, Wilt Chamberlain,
Frankie Avalon, Thomas Eakins, Edgar Allan Poe, John Coltrane and, yes,
the Dead Milkmen. You can see all the results at our website, phillymag.com.

It's a fun package that gets you thinking just how many quirky
characters have danced across our public stage. And because, just like
when I was a kid, I can't refrain from a good debate about a local
ranking, here's the injustice that jumps out at me from our Best
Philadelphian website results: What, no Dick Allen? You kiddin' me?
Other features this month dive into quintessential Philadelphia
from odd, revealing angles. Jason Fagone's profile of lawyer and
man-about-town Jimmy Binns, on page 90, captures the last of a dying
breed; he's a big personality who lives as though he's starring in his
own black-and-white movie. In her typically sharp, voyeuristic way, Amy
Donohue Korman unearths a timely trend—while the condo and restaurant
scenes get all the press, turns out Philly finds itself in the midst of
a high-end jewelry moment. Donohue Korman takes you into a world where
$80,000 canary diamond earrings are a “push present”—a husband's gift
to his wife for popping out a baby. Then there's the fun package on
page 78 exploring our shared freak-out at the mere thought of snow
flurries. Why do we stalk Acme shelves for bread and milk when Kathy
Orr mentions that the Poconos might get an inch?

Finally, we have a little fun imagining what's possible. As we've been
chronicling, we're gung-ho on the pursuit of the 2016 Olympics, and on
page 88, we fantasize about possible venues for the Games. Some of our
Philly Mag Olympic Dream is tongue-in-cheek; I don't think the Olympic
Committee would really go for a shooting competition at Dante &
Luigi's in South Philly, or wrestling on the floor of City Council
chambers. But other suggestions are dead-on; moreover, we want to get
you thinking. So hit phillymag.com with your suggestions as to where we
can hold the events of our Games—feel free to offer up your backyard
pool for synchronized swimming—and check out our online Olympics
archive. Enjoy.