12 of Our Favorite Philadelphia Magazine Long Reads of 2019

Grab a warm beverage, settle in, and read some of our top articles of the year.

philadelphia magazine long reads

Spend some down time reading through our top Philadelphia magazine long reads.

As 2019 comes to a close, you may be thinking about goals for 2020. We’d like to suggest a popular one: read more. Not only is it good for your brain, but it can reduce stress, expand your vocabulary, and, you know, teach you stuff. And don’t we all want to be smarter and less anxious in 2020?

That said, if you’re looking for great reading material, start here with the best long form articles we’ve published in 2019. Pull up a comfy chair, pour yourself something warm to drink, and snuggle up with the stories below. Happy reading!

People Laughed When This Philly Lawyer Sued Led Zeppelin. Nobody’s Laughing Now.

Francis Malofiy

Francis Malofiy. Photograph by Bryan Sheffield.

Brash Delco lawyer Francis Malofiy is best known as the guy who sued Led Zeppelin over the authorship of “Stairway to Heaven.” Although Malofiy became the butt of jokes when he filed his suit (printed in a druidic font echoing the liner notes of Led Zeppelin IV), Zep isn’t laughing now. Jonathan Valania goes on a wild ride with the brawling, trash-talking barrister who may be the most colorful — and hated — man in the Philadelphia legal community. Keep reading here.

Who Am I to Decide How Long My Ninetysomething Mother Lives?

end-of-life care

Author Robert Huber, with his mother, Betty Huber. Photograph by Michelle Gustafson.

Writer Robert Huber takes us inside his deeply personal struggle with an aging parent’s end-of-life care, asking the toughest of questions: “Who am I to decide how long my mother lives?” Keep reading here.

Acme Was Once the Dominant Supermarket in Philly. What Went Wrong?

acme philadelphia

The Acme in Haverford in 1977.

Philly’s once-dominant supermarket is fighting to stay relevant in the age of Whole Foods and Walmart. Steve Volk investigates the biggest challenge the grocery chain is facing: overcoming the dark changes to the American economy in the past 40 years. Keep reading here.

Trump, Sex, and G-Strings: The Juicy Story Behind Newtown Athletic Club

Photography by Christopher Leaman

Money, sex, sweat, power, Real Housewives, Donald Trump and G-strings: Emily Goulet explains how the Newtown Athletic Club became the most powerful — and controversial — institution in Bucks County. Keep reading here.

More Philly Hospitals Are Becoming “Baby-Friendly.” Maybe That’s Not a Good Thing.

baby friendly hospitals

In the past decade, Philadelphia-area hospitals have made a big push to get certified as “Baby-Friendly.” Turns out that’s not as great as it sounds. Regan Fletcher Stephens unwraps the downside of this medical trend. Keep reading here.

Independence National Park Is an Embarrassing Mess. Why Doesn’t Anyone Care?

Independence Hall

Photographs by Matt Zugale

The feds don’t care. The city doesn’t care. Philadelphians don’t care. Is it any wonder Independence National Park is turning into a shambles? David Murrell examines the institutional indifference toward the plight of an American landmark. Keep reading here.

Can South Philly Hold On to What’s Always Made It Unique?

changing south philly

The rapidly changing South Philly. Photograph by Adam Englehart

It’s our most famous neighborhood, defined by its immigrants and its characters, by intermingling (sometimes clashing) cultures — and by near-constant change. Writer Sandy Hingston asks: Where does it go from here? Keep reading here.

Inside Candace Owens’s Misinformation Campaign

candace owens

Candace Owens. Photograph by Ryan Donnell

With Blexit, Candace Owens is pushing black people to leave the Democratic Party. But is anyone buying in? Senior editor Fabiola Cineas gives us the inside scoop on the right-wing commentator. Keep reading here.

Fact-Checking All of the Mysteries Surrounding Donald Trump and Penn

Locust Walk: University of Pennsylvania; Trump: Tasos Katopodis/Stringer/Getty Images

Everyone knows President Trump graduated from Wharton — he talks about it constantly. So why is everything else about his time at Penn shrouded in mystery? Writer Jonathan Valania digs in to uncover the truth. Keep reading here.

Whatever Happened to Cutting People Some Damn Slack?

cancel culture

Illustration by Tim Gough

Granted, there’s plenty to be mad about these days. But somewhere along the way, people started turning everyday issues into sanctimonious ire, pitting Philadelphians against Philadelphians as never before. Writer Christine Speer Lejeune asks: Is there any way back to sanity? Keep reading here.

I Built My Identity Around Being Bipolar. Then My Doctor Said I’m Not Bipolar

bipolar diagnosis

Illustration by Jon Stich

For years, Liz Spikol has defined herself by her bipolar diagnosis, serving as a spokesperson and poster woman for the disorder. But what if the professionals were wrong? Here, Spikol grapples with what happens when what’s wrong with you isn’t what’s wrong with you. Keep reading here.

What Can Philly Do About Climate Change? A Whole Lot, Actually.

climate change philadelphia

Photo illustration by C.J. Burton

Staff writers David Murrell and Claire Sasko reveal the 10 ways Philadelphia should prepare themselves for the inevitable — an underwater airport, baking neighborhoods, Shore homes destroyed — before it’s too late. Keep reading here.