City Life

This Is the Monster We Celebrate on Columbus Day

A version of this story ran in 2012. Imagine, if you will, that the man who murdered your entire family, raped your daughter, sister, and […]

City Life

Remembering the Great Charles Bowser on His 84th Birthday

A version of this story ran in 2010. Many prominent, as well as not-so-prominent, Philadelphians have important stories to tell about the preeminent Charles W. […]

City Life

Philly Brothels: 1849 and Now

Last month, Slate‘s Rebecca Onion unearthed pure gold from the depths of the Library Company of Philadelphia‘s digital stacks. Guide to the Stranger or Pocket Companion for the Fancy is […]

City Life

Nat Turner: Maniacal Murderer or Virtuous Visionary?

A version of this column ran in 2011. October 2, 2014 — or thereabout — will be the 214th birthday of Nat Turner. I say “thereabout” because […]

City Life

How Frank Rizzo Helped the Beatles Play Philly

XPN has a great piece up today about today’s momentous anniversary: The Beatles played Convention Hall on Sept. 2, 1964. The whole story’s worth a […]

City Life

American Slavery: Maliciously Born 395 Years Ago on August 20th and Markedly Raised in Philly

A version of this article ran last year. As you take your lunch break tomorrow in Center City, stroll over to Front and Market where […]

Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Walter P. Lomax
City Life

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr.

A version of this story ran last October. On October 10, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., 81-year-old Dr. Walter P. Lomax Jr. passed away. “So what?” […]

Things to Do

A Museum on Wheels

Philadelphia is a city rich with history. It has also been deemed “the city of neighborhoods.” But when’s the last time you actually had a […]

City Life

VIDEOS: 10 Cool Old British Newsreels of Philadelphia

From 1910 until 1970, the U.K.-based Pathé News produced newsreels and documentaries on events all over the world. Recently, a collection of 85,000 videos was […]

City Life

10 Things You Should Know About Thomas Jefferson* Before You Tour ‘Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello’

This week, the National Constitution Center opened the doors to Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello, its six month-long exhibition about Thomas Jefferson. And to my surprise, […]

City Life

Philly’s Octavius Catto Was the Hero of America’s First Civil Rights Movement

Tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 22, is the birthday of a great American who raised his voice against tyranny and oppression and led a people into a […]

City Life

End Black History Month Now

A version of this article ran in February, 2012. Despite being the self-described “Angriest Black Man in America,” I agree with many whites who argue […]

City Life

The First Known Ransom Note Was Written in Philly

Yesterday, it was squirrels. Now, ransom notes. One day last March, a Philadelphia school librarian called Bridget Flynn, found one such note in her basement. […]

City Life

Philly Was the First City in America to Have Squirrels

Philadelphia, squirrel pioneer. A paper by Penn’s Etienne Benson investigates the proliferation of squirrels in American cities, and finds that they are in no way indigenous […]


Of Course the World’s First Selfie Was Taken in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city of many national firsts. First zoo. First computer. First row houses. First stock exchange. First lending library. First volunteer fire squad. […]