April 19, 2011 |
In his new book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy : Race and Civility in Everyday Life , Elijah Anderson tells of a rainy afternoon at Reading Terminal Market. He was doing what he does best - conducting a bit of folk ethnography. People-watching, in layman's terms. But anybody who knows this sociologist knows he's anything but a layman. Though he teaches at Yale now, Philadelphia is who he is and where he still lives. The ethnographer spent most of his professional life at Penn, where he did the research for two of his acclaimed books, Streetwise and Code of the Street.
March 28, 2011
Citizens create public spaces The disturbing plan to turn Dilworth Plaza into a "managed place" that will cost taxpayers $50 million is yet another bit of foolishness concocted by the people who do not understand the history of government attempts to "create" public spaces ("Dilworth Plaza plans get airing," Tuesday). Read Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities and you'll realize that government attempts to develop "nice" public spaces have been terrible failures.
August 26, 2008 |
The number of homeless people living on Center City streets was lower this summer than last, according to the most recent quarterly census of Philadelphia's street population. Project HOME, which conducts an overnight survey once a quarter for the city, reported yesterday that the census last Wednesday showed that there were 475 people sleeping on city streets or in parks - down from 621 people a year ago. In a broader area that included not only Center City, but also parts of West Philadelphia and Kensington, the street census was 572, down from 698 a year ago. The drop in the summer number followed a similar decline in the spring census for Center City - 261 vs. 429. Last summer's homeless number was the highest in 10 years, putting pressure on city officials.
November 14, 2006
Readers weigh in on Sunday's story "Stunned by sale, but not giving up. " Chris Bordelon Philadelphia email@example.com Little good will come of efforts to keep the Thomas Eakins painting languishing in its little-visited display. Although "many" may view the work as "the very heart of Philadelphia's cultural identity," how many Philadelphians have seen the painting? While it is an important work, it is unlikely that its departure would deprive the city of its cultural vitality.
November 3, 2005 |
Attention casino developers: Don't try to plunk a bland brick box topped with flashing neon lights into historic Philadelphia. And we want art, public spaces and landscaping, too, says a casino zoning ordinance that City Councilman Frank DiCicco is expected to introduce in City Council today. The ordinance is intended to let casino developers know what the city wants. It also is intended to send a message to state legislators that the city expects to have a say in what the two Philadelphia casinos will look like and where they will go. "We do not need the state legislature to tell us we're going to wind up with a casino and not have any say in it," DiCicco said.
November 2, 2005 |
MICHAEL SKLAROFF shares his limited and ultimately disdainful view of the planning profession in Philadelphia in his Oct. 25 op-ed in the Daily News, "Celebrate the success of city planning. " Sklaroff depicted planning as a necessary evil that is ideally consigned to an advisory role in an arena dominated by the lords of laissez-faire economics. Extolling the Hyatt at Penn's Landing and Dave & Buster's on Delaware Avenue as paragons of market-driven riverfront development, Sklaroff, chairman of the Philadelphia Historical Commission and a Philadelphia real estate lawyer, unwittingly illuminates the shallowness of his argument and the depth of the schism between planning and development in contemporary Philadelphia.
March 2, 2005 |
Any visitor to the Supreme Court can see it, high above the red velvet drapes and marble columns in the justices' august courtroom: a depiction of Moses, carrying the Ten Commandments. One might think the presence of Mosaic law in the nation's highest court would give lift to arguments that there is nothing wrong with the commingling of church and state. Today, when the court hears two blockbuster cases challenging Ten Commandments monuments at the Texas Capitol and in two Kentucky courthouses, the justices will be confronted with briefs that cite the high court's depiction - and the nation's history - as proof that wedded images of church and state are just fine.
October 10, 2004 |
From the street, Eric Berg's house is virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the 1900 block of Delancey Place. But when you walk through the front door and head up the stairs, you come face to face with one of the things that make this house different: Massa. It isn't all that surprising that Berg, whose bronze sculpture of the legendary gorilla has graced the Philadelphia Zoo for 24 years, would have a smaller version of Massa in his house. Berg's bronze menagerie includes copies of Philbert the Pig from Reading Terminal Market, the Drexel University dragon, the Bear and Three Turtles on Fitler Square, the Galapagos Tortoise at the Academy of Natural Sciences, a snail, doves, toads, and a giraffe.
March 22, 2004 |
Let me set the scene. You're sitting in traffic with your 4-year-old. Suddenly you notice she's watching with rapt interest something in the next car. You glance over and realize that the other vehicle is equipped with one of those DVD screens that are available on certain late-model cars. The option is usually marketed as a way of keeping kids quiet on long road trips. But what the folks over there are watching is more loin king than The Lion King. Because there onscreen, before your daughter's steadily widening eyes, is a pair of exceedingly fit people using their private parts in ways the child never imagined they could be used.
February 29, 2004 |
It hulks on a pedestal, demanding attention in a pedestrian hub. The rusty iron object veers east, then west, part triangle, part rectangle as it journeys 30 feet up. Each day the iron thing in front of Rowan University's Student Center requires a glance, maybe a head scratch. Last week, it sprouted an icicle that gave it still another dimension. But what is it? And why? Public art - whether it be Philadelphia's giant clothespin or Rowan's mystery sculpture - aims to put hectic lives on pause.