January 28, 2014
I LOVE LOVE Park. It's not perfect - few things are in Philly - but it is a gem. The iconic Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture frames a view up the Parkway to the Art Museum that could compete with any cityscape. It's a Philadelphia classic that attracts camera-toting visitors day and night. The main thing wrong with LOVE Park is not the design, but the people - the ones who litter (attracting rats), the ones who skateboard (scarring surfaces and cracking tiles) and the serenity-shattering panhandlers.
May 25, 2013 |
Philadelphia is a city that struggles with certain disadvantages. It is not easy being stuck midway between the nation's financial and political capitals. It doesn't regularly produce winning sports teams. We don't have enough corporate giants headquartered here, or enough of the philanthropists who trail in their wake. But the most inexplicable shortcoming, it's always seemed to me, was that there's no biography of Edmund Bacon. Bacon was not merely the greatest urban planner Philadelphia ever produced, he was also one of the greatest characters to figure on the city stage in the 20th century.
May 16, 2012 |
THAT SIX DEGREES of Kevin Bacon game is about to get a lot easier. The Philly-raised Bacon, who's famously worked with at least half the actors in Hollywood, will be tracking a vast network of serial killers in "The Following," a new drama from Kevin Williamson ("Vampire Diaries," "Dawson's Creek") that Fox's entertainment chief calls "our next ‘24.' " Premiering at midseason — where Fox is still at its strongest — it has Bacon playing a former FBI agent brought in to help deal with a death-row escapee (James Purefoy, "Rome")
July 3, 2011 |
In X-Men: First Class , one of the summer's box-office hits ($320 million worldwide and counting), Kevin Bacon stars as a maniacal mutant super-villain. Later this month, the Philadelphia born-and-bred actor can be seen with Steve Carell in the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love . "I've always mixed it up," Bacon says on the phone from Los Angeles, where his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, is shooting the final season of The Closer . "That's been my MO. I don't want to do one kind of movie.
June 3, 2011 |
Here's a little thought experiment to get you steamed: What if the celebrated urban planner Edmund Bacon had embraced the prevailing ideology of the 1960s and leveled Society Hill, replacing its blocks of outmoded, colonial-era townhouses with sleek modern high-rises for middle-class families? Would Philadelphia be a livelier, more successful place today? Frankly, it's hard to imagine that wiping out one of today's most desirable urban neighborhoods in the city, if not the country, could have benefited anyone, rich or poor.
October 17, 2005
THE LAST FEW WEEKS have been tough ones for Philadelphia, as a number of civic leaders have passed away. First, local ACLU head Stefan Presser, who devoted his life to the protection of civil rights. Then C. DeLores Tucker, the flamboyant advocate for equal rights for women and minorities. A few days later, Robert Montgomery Scott, the Main Line philanthropist and devoted exponent of the arts. It's as if an entire generation of Philadelphia's most impassioned leadership is disappearing before our eyes.
October 16, 2005 |
Edmund N. Bacon, who died Friday at 95, was a planning visionary who dragged a declining, smoke-blackened Philadelphia kicking and screaming into the modern postindustrial age. But he was also an ideologue so entranced by his own vision that he couldn't always tell when best to leave stodgy old Philadelphia exactly as it was. To understand Bacon's huge accomplishments and huge failings, it is worth remembering that he was born in 1910 and...
October 15, 2005
Greatness is not always cuddly. Edmund Bacon, the legendary city planner who died yesterday at age 95, was undeniably great. It's hard to imagine what Philadelphia would be today had Ed Bacon not made it his laboratory, his labor, his love for all those decades. Mr. Bacon was also undeniably stubborn and combative. He was always ready to fight the good fight, and some that were a little dubious. Few men harbor dreams for their city as grand as the ones he dreamt for Philadelphia; fewer still see so many of their ideas turned into glass and steel and concrete and macadam.
October 15, 2005 |
Edmund Bacon, 95, the brilliant, irascible city planner who spent much of the first part of the 20th century reinventing Philadelphia and the American city and much of the latter part defending his achievements, died yesterday of natural causes at his Center City home, according to family members. He suffered in recent years from a variety of what were, to him, mostly annoying ailments and infirmities that got in the way of doing things. Whether Mr. Bacon was pushing for the demolition of the city's infamous Chinese Wall to make way for the modern commercial downtown, arguing for selective redevelopment of a shabby river ward that became known as Society Hill, conceiving of a central city mall anchored by big department stores - the future Market East - or sketching out plans for what became iconic spaces such as Independence Mall and JFK Plaza, he kept one thing foremost in his mind: Philadelphia could be at the top of contemporary American cities, boasting a vibrant center, muscular public design, housing for the middle and upper classes, and rejuvenated green spaces.
December 19, 2004 |
Kobe's got another player gunning for him. Nas, the mono-named New York rapper, leaves little of the Lower Merion grad standing at the end of his new song "These Are Our Heroes. " In the cut from his new CD, Street's Disciple, the outspoken singer blasts Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers' tarnished star, for having abusive relationships with white women, disrespecting Shaquille O'Neal, and letting down young fans. Most of the lyrics don't pass the breakfast test, but here's a taste: While scorching O.J. Simpson, Taye Diggs and Tiger Woods, Nas calls the basketball player a "stupid spoof" and rhymes his name with Toby, the slave owner's handle for Kunte Kinte in Alex Haley's Roots.