April 6, 2013 |
Bugs and blossoms - it must be spring! Flowers first: More than a decade ago Adelaide Ferguson, cofounder of the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, stood in Fairmount Park pouring sake on the roots of a cherry tree. In the event's early years, the two-day "festival" featured a black-tie fund-raising dinner followed by this ritual, centered on the 1,600 trees given to the City of Philadelphia by the Japanese government in 1926. As Ferguson and dozens of others splashed alcohol on the budding trees, she looked around and said to herself: "This needs to be a lot more fun. " So she and Kazumi Teune, then newly appointed executive director of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, got to work, and 11 years later the festival has grown into an extravaganza that attracts upward of 20,000 visitors each year.
March 28, 2013 |
The 2013 Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic will start and end at the Manayunk "Wall" but skip the Art Museum and Benjamin Franklin Parkway in favor of a more compact course. But at least the June 2 race will actually happen, surviving a threat to its existence when previous organizers could not find a corporate sponsor. U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and other civic leaders organized to save the event, recruiting Parx Casino and New Penn Financial as sponsors. The race, famed for its leg-burning ascents up Manayunk's hills, will end atop Lyceum Avenue, part of the climb known as the Wall, which organizers hope will provide dramatic finishes for the crowd.
February 1, 2013 |
ON A HOT June day nine years ago, I met up with an architect and an historian at LOVE Park and we spent the next few hours slowly making our way up Ben Franklin Parkway on foot. By the time we got to the Art Museum I had not only a sunburn, but also a new appreciation for just how much work this grand boulevard needed. While imposing institutions lined both sides, the spaces in between were, for the most part, unplanned and inhospitable. With no places for people to convene, expanses of dead space, no food offerings but a Subway sandwich shop, and constant car traffic that made crossing the street an obstacle course, the Ben Franklin Parkway fell far short of greatness.
January 8, 2013 |
A COUPLE OF YEARS ago, Strawberry Mansion activists successfully lobbied SEPTA to remodel, rather than demolish, the old Trolley Depot on Ridge Avenue at 33rd Street near Fairmount Park. Both the Strawberry Mansion Neighborhood Action Center and the Strawberry Mansion Community Development Corp. won a Community Action Award last April from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia for persuading SEPTA to preserve most of the old depot and to use salvaged bricks from the old shed for a new shed.
December 23, 2012
Andy Leshik first saw it at a fitness expo: a man riding around the showroom floor, standing up, on what looked like an oversize scooter. "I had to see what it was," said Leshik, director of sales and marketing of Leisure Fitness in Newark, Del. That was 2008, and now you can see that thing - an ElliptiGO - zipping through Fairmount Park. It's becoming an option for runners who want to continue training while injured, or who don't want to pound the pavement as often anymore. The ElliptiGO is an elliptical machine on wheels.
December 20, 2012 |
Boathouse Row would expand northward if Temple University gets city permission to build a new rowing facility on the east side of the Schuylkill near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Philadelphia's Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday announced plans to review Temple's proposal, which calls for building a 23,000-square-foot boathouse and an adjacent dock on Fairmount Park land. Change comes slowly to Boathouse Row. If the plans are approved, Temple's facility would be the first new boathouse on the historic stretch of the river since 2002, when St. Joseph's University and St. Joseph's Prep put up a $3 million home for their rowing teams.
November 20, 2012 |
From the Schuylkill's west bank, Bartram's Garden offers evocative views of Philadelphia in all its glory and grit. Standing in scruffy grass at the water's edge, you can see Center City skyscrapers stretch toward the clouds, while farther south, massive oil-storage tanks loom like metallic moons. Not many people get to see the city this way, but that may be about to change. Mayor Nutter and Parks Department officials are proposing a 1.1-mile trail to be known as Bartram's Mile that would link the east side of the river to the west and continue on that side of the Schuylkill.
November 19, 2012
DEBORAH CAMPBELL Age: 57 Where she's from: Carroll Park, in West Philly, a short walk from The Mann Center. How long in Philly: Her entire life. "I was born in South Philadelphia, raised in North Philadelphia, and reside in West Philadelphia. " After graduating from Overbrook High, she worked for an insurance company. She went back to school, but shortly after decided to get back into the insurance business, where she has been since. What she likes about Philly: History and charm.
November 10, 2012 |
It would be the second-largest Whole Foods Market in the region - just smaller than a suburban behemoth at Plymouth Meeting Mall. It would have an enormous underground parking garage. And, most strikingly, it would be a stone's throw from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. But principals in the hoped-for $100 million project for downtown Philadelphia remained tight-lipped Thursday about where, exactly, the lavish new store would be built, even though what they had in mind was a whopper on par with the mammoth Whole Foods on Columbus Circle in Manhattan.
October 2, 2012 |
Bert Collins loaded his ATV into his pick-up truck in July, hauled it all the way to North Philly from rural Maryland, and pretty much lost his faith in humanity on West Huntingdon Street. Collins unwittingly delivered his ATV to thieves he met on Craigslist. "I remember he asked if he could run it down the end of the block. He went down the end of the block, hung a right and disappeared," Collins, of Frederick, Md., told the Daily News about the man he thought he was selling his ATV to. "Ever the optimist, I thought he was just going around the block, but I never saw the quad again.