June 29, 2015 |
The Liberty Bell sat across the street, the symbolic copper-and-tin companion to the stately red brick of Independence Hall. But celebrity chef Michael Schulson wasn't wowed by the historic backdrop. In fact, as he listened to a business pitch imploring him to open a restaurant inside the forbidding concrete walls of the nearby Dow building, he was stunned by something more pedestrian: the lack of pedestrians. "It was dead," said the Sampan and Buddakan New York maestro, recalling that September 2013 evening in the heart of colonial Philadelphia.
June 28, 2015 |
John Speer rested a rainbow flag - the same one Mayor Nutter ordered Friday to fly at City Hall - on one shoulder. Speer, 72, came out in 1976. Before that, he sneaked into gay bars. "I really didn't think I'd live to see this day," said Speer, one of hundreds who convened on Independence Mall to celebrate a Supreme Court decision declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right. Nutter, less than an hour after his flight from Italy landed in Philadelphia, read from the Declaration of Independence.
June 21, 2015 |
Standing on Independence Mall on Friday afternoon, Mannwell Glenn doused two Confederate flags with lighter fluid and stood back to watch as the flames licked at the fabric. "If you burn a Confederate flag, to some people, that's painful," he had said earlier to a small cluster of TV news cameras. "But whatever you're feeling about us burning your sacred flag, we feel that about 100 times more when nine people are killed. " The deaths of nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, S.C. - killed by a white gunman who reportedly told police he wanted to start a race war - had been weighing on him, he said.
June 20, 2015 |
The plan for a $325 million remake of the sagging Gallery mall sailed through City Council on Thursday, and the package of enabling legislation was quickly signed by Mayor Nutter. Now all they have to do is build it. "This is, quite honestly, a once-in-a-generation investment in the city of Philadelphia," Nutter said, adding that the project would help "restore Market East as Philadelphia's Main Street. " Demolition is expected to start in August, with the mall closing in two phases.
June 9, 2015 |
Long wallowing in deterioration and neglect, Philadelphia's East Market neighborhood is on the verge of becoming a lively bridge between City Hall and Independence Mall. Though grateful for the corridor's upward momentum, the city should not be so desperate as to accept whatever is offered by developers who also stand to benefit from the transformation. Plans to refurbish the dowdy Gallery mall are vague so far, though the developers, Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust and California-based Macerich, promise a better flow of foot traffic between the street and shops, as well as more glass and other architectural flourishes.
May 9, 2015 |
T. Milton Street Sr. had blown off an early-morning mayoral forum at Independence Mall and could not care less. The perennial political striver strode through a North Philadelphia supermarket in blue jeans a few hours later, unapologetic about being a no-show to talk tourism. He had never played by the conventional political rule book. At 76, he wasn't about to. Progress Plaza was home turf, in a neighborhood near Temple University, where, four decades earlier, he had begun his transformation from farmer's son to radical activist and larger-than-life public persona.
April 20, 2015 |
Before he decided to reinvent the grim Gallery at Market East as a fashion outlet, Joseph Coradino considered converting it into a standard, suburban-style mall. The CEO of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust also thought about making it into a giant restaurant-and-entertainment venue, or even a full-price high-fashion mall. But none seemed right for a Market East corridor that had grown decrepit, but now bloomed with new money, construction, and hope. Coradino combined elements of all three to create a vision for the Fashion Outlets of Philadelphia, a $575 million development whose unveiling last week ended years of speculation about the future of the property.
April 18, 2015 |
Turns out there's a truck tunnel beneath the Gallery at Market East. It's been there since the structure was built in the 1970s - a huge, hidden space defined by loading docks and trash bins, used as a means to deliver merchandise, food, and supplies when the mall was in its heyday. "It actually is pretty cool," said Brian Abernathy, executive director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. "Like a subterranean cavern. " The question of who controls it and who may use it in the future stood among a half-dozen complex matters considered and resolved Thursday, as the authority took the first official step toward placing control of the rundown mall into the hands of a developer who plans a complete remake.
March 17, 2015 |
With a host of new apartments and retail stores planned for the Market Street East area, the dumpy stretch between City Hall and Independence Mall may be on the verge of becoming Philadelphia's next great neighborhood. But there's still a huge question mark hanging over the future of the Gallery mall, that dull fortress where stores are shutting down to make way for a redesign whose details have yet to be revealed. The Gallery, after faltering for years, recently was listed among the nation's "dead " malls.
March 6, 2015 |
THE ELECTION is 20 months away, but retired Navy Admiral Joe Sestak is already clocking miles. Sestak, a former Delaware County Democratic congressman who ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2010, kicked off his 2016 Senate campaign yesterday vowing to close the "trust deficit" between middle-class Pennsylvanians and the politicians they send to Washington. Wearing his trademark bomber jacket and a pair of vintage Reeboks worthy of their own mix tape, Sestak took the stage at Independence Mall as the Proclaimers' 1988 hit "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"