14 Things Philadelphia Needs for Christmas

Getting rid of dog shit, fixing burned-out streetlights and bringing back Borders top the list

The holiday season approaches. Bah humbug. My Christmas Scrooge emerges around this time. It’s not the decorating and baking and shopping that get to me; truth is, I like all that stuff. It’s the gift-giving. I like getting presents as much as the next guy, but I’m old enough to have just about everything a person could want, and certainly all that a person needs. So if I were pressed to give you a wish list for Christmas, it wouldn’t include stuff—it would include a few changes I’d like to see in our fair city. Ready?

Fix the kiosks. Come on, Santa, why can’t I find a parking kiosk in town that works? I stand there like a dope, pushing buttons and banging on the side of the thing while everyone behind me races to the one at the other end of the block.

And how about a little clarity on the street signs? Two-hour parking eight to five unless you have a sticker. Three-hour parking thereafter, unless it’s Tuesday or Thursday. No parking­ at all on every other Wednesday unless it’s leap year or your dog’s name is Winston. If the sign has more than three lines of script, it’s a pretty sure thing that no matter what the time of day, you’re going to get a ticket.

Here are a few more requests, Santa: How about replacing all the burned-out streetlights? I know it’s the City of Brotherly Love and all, but some better-lit streets would help. And while the Fixer Elves are at it, maybe you could ask them to repair the cracked sidewalks and fill a couple potholes.

How about reengineering the Expressway on and off ramps at South Street? You need focus and faith for that merge! Also, please give coal to the morons who put their trash out early so all the homeless people can rifle through it and to the jerks who don’t clean up after their dogs.

And lastly, Santa, I know I’m asking a lot, but could you please bring back Bonwit’s and Borders and Nan Duskin and the Christmas tree on the Connelly Containers tower? A few more theaters would be nice, and a couple more upscale restaurants.

Too much to ask, Santa? Okay, okay, I’ll be happy with economic recovery, good health for all, and a peaceful world. (And less dog shit, too.)

The piece originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of Philadelphia magazine.