Pulse: Quick Takes
Guarino vs. the Weather Weenies
The criticism for FOX 29 meteorologist Rob Guarino rains down like cats and dogs on wright-weather.com, a website for the enthusiasts known as “weather weenies.” But when posters charged he wasn’t “a real meteorologist” after he said Philly might get a white Thanksgiving, the Emmy award-winner — or at least someone using the name “Fox29rob” — fired back. (Guarino won’t confirm or deny that it was he.) Fox29rob said he only hinted at snow’s possibility, and barked: “Did you get 9,000 e-mails thanking you for good forecasts the past few winters … I don’t need to justify myself on this board … I do it by getting signed for another 3 years at FOX through 2008!”
What’s Next for the Old Borders?
On a Walnut Street whose real estate is hotter than a SEPTA bus in August, why has the concrete-and-glass strip at 1723 through 1729 been vacant for over a year? Private investor John Usdan recently agreed to acquire the former Borders home for about $15 million; broker Larry Steinberg says, “We’re working with him to attract a great mix of tenants.” So feel free to let the rumors fly. Who will cut an exorbitant rent check to call Diesel and Knit Wit neighbors? Gucci? Wendy’s? Another Stephen Starr joint? After a fling with Barneys, local gossips are fixated on cosmetics force Sephora, but nobody can confirm or deny, since no leases have been signed. Steinberg assures us retailers are on the edges of their seats, so with luck the space will be filled before we’re stuck with Washington Square Midtown.
After inducting members — the Class of 2004 includes Ed Snider and Charles Barkley — the nomadic, not-for-profit Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is still house-hunting. New site feasibility studies are under way, and the Hall is in talks with the Navy Yard and the former Citizens Bank Park Preview Center at 7th and Packer to showcase its collection of 400-plus artifacts. Other locations are on the table, but according to president Ken Avallon, “The Sports Complex is the ideal spot.”
“I’m going to get some rest.”
Royersford resident Gene Rychlak, 36, on what he planned to do after becoming the first person ever to bench-press four figures. (He hoisted 1,005 pounds at the International Powerlifting Association Senior Nationals near Harrisburg in late November.)
Chickie’s & Pete’s & Jersey
Can sports-bar chain Chickie’s & Pete’s replicate its energy away from South Philly and the Boulevard? “We’re gonna bring it to Jersey,” beams owner Pete Ciarrocchi. That’s Bordentown, New Jersey, a Trenton ’burb, where a new 7,400-square-foot Chickie’s & Pete’s (the chain’s fourth location, not counting those inside the sporting venues) is slated to open in April. Ciarrocchi isn’t worried about the local sports fans. “The flavor of the restaurant will take on the flavor of the area,” he says. “If they like the Giants, that’s great, but the Eagles are gonna beat ’em anyway.”