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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR YOU’RE OURS NOW Welcome to Philly, newbie. Oh, you’ve really stepped in it now. You see, the thing about Philadelphia is, it gets you. Whether you’re here for a minute or a lifetime, you, as Glenn Frey once sang, belong to the city. The moment you wander its hectic streets, soak up its buzzing energy, endure/join its hectoring sports fans, ponder its un-pretzel-shaped pretzels, you realize it. Philadelphia’s part of you. Its gritty charm. Its no-nonsense sensibilities. Its boundless possibilities. Its constant striving, struggling, building and rebuilding. But it can be kinda subtle. Lots of people don’t realize the extent to which this city has become them, and rightly that they have become Philadelphia, until they leave (or try to). Longtime City Paper contributor David Faris grew up nearby in South Jersey and earned his Ph. D. at the University of Pennsylvania. On the eve of taking a professorship in Chicago this summer, he penned this in a farewell ode: Sometimes people ask me what Philly is like. It has such a bad reputation, they say. And I want to say Philly is every step into the street to see if the trolley is coming, every First Friday on every summer evening, every knee-busting move to every third-ﬂoor apartment, every 2 a.m. bike ride on every hushed avenue, every Clark Park ﬂea market, every sweaty dance at the 700 Club, every box of Crab Fries at every Phillies game, every potluck crammed with the vegetable-studded quinoa of every drifting dreamer, every poker game laced with overeducated banter, every slurred come-on at every corner bar, every encore from the terrace at the TLA. It’s every bundle of chard bought from every Amish farmer, every potpie sold at every intersection by every dressed-up ideologue, every delicacy simmered in every reduction, every roar from every bar after every touchdown. Andy Dyson — a fellow who came here from London 27 years ago and for the last 14 worked at a program called Neighborhood Bike Works, which seeks to empower youth through bicycling — just recently relocated to Kentucky. He looked into the mirror to stare down the Philly in him: We’re living in a society where they really gave it a shot by creating this nation. They set in process, in an imperfect way, the democracy, which we really do enjoy. It’s not perfect, but I’m still very proud to have lived here where that happened, where people are trying to make things better all the time. … We’ve got a city that’s got wide streets and is a place where people’s ideas of what’s possible have been stretched. That’s what Philadelphia means to me. And then there’s artist Steve Powers, whose mural graces the cover of this magazine. Powers began his career as a Philly graffiti writer. He left Philadelphia some time ago but came back this year to tackle a project called “Love Letter,” a series of murals that read like a series of missives from a boy to a girl but also reﬂect the feelings of an artist for the city that nurtured him: I grew up at 63rd and Lancaster, and spent my childhood looking at the painted roofs, and then adding my name to the roll call of greats: Mr. Blint, Razz, Clyde, Credit, Estro, Ran and others. I moved to NYC in ’94, but even after painting there and a lot of other places in the world, the roofs [here] still held a totemic power for me, and I always took people back to town to look at them. At one point in the late ’90s, you could see 30 years of color, and then it was all painted brown by [the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network]. Anti maintained the chestnut brown appearance for 10 years, until I got my chance, thanks to the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, to paint a love letter for the neighborhood and for the expression that gave me my voice all those years ago. You can see Powers’ complete mural project — more than 50 in all — by hopping on the Blue Line (the El) toward Frankford Avenue and looking out the window.
PUBLISHER Paul M. Curci
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Nancy Stuski
EDITOR IN CHIEF Brian Howard
BAJ Design, bajdesign.com
MANAGING EDITOR Carolyn Huckabay
PHOTOGRAPHER Neal Santos
DESIGNER Adam Sivel
E. James Beale, Shaun Brady, Jeffrey C. Billman, Emily Currier, Felicia D’Ambrosio, Molly Eichel, Lauren F. Friedman, K. Ross Hoffman, Elisa Ludwig, Natalie Hope McDonald, Josh Middleton, Holly Otterbein, Patrick Rapa, Isaiah Thompson, Char Vandermeer, John Vettese, Julia West, Monica Weymouth, Carolyn Wyman
ADVERTISING ART DIRECTOR Reseca Peskin
Alyssa Grenning, Evan M. Lopez, Allie Rossignol
SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGERS
Robb Allison, Yasser Hussain, Sharon MacWilliams, Stephan Sitzai
Sara Carano, Robert Crain, Natalie Diener, William Newns, Donald Snyder
In a way, this magazine is City Paper’s love letter to Philly; it’s our guide to what we love, hate and love/ hate about the city we devote most of our time writing about, thinking about, going crazy about, from every idiosyncratic neighborhood to every lush green space erupting from the concrete.
Brian Howard Editor in Chief, Philadelphia City Paper
CITYPAPER PRIMER 2010 - 2011
OFFICE COORDINATOR Mark Burkert
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C O N C E R T
s e a s o n
S C H E D U L E
SEPTEMBER 24/26 GUEST ARTIST: MARINA SIRTIS, STAR OF “STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION,” NARRATOR Osvaldo Golijov, Last Round Osvaldo Golijov, Lullaby and Doina Richard Strauss, Enoch Arden
NOVEMBER 6/7 GUEST ARTIST: WU MAN, PIPA Jay Reise, Lunahuaná (premiere) Jennifer Margaret Barker, Nyvaigs Beags May T’Chi Chen, new work Tan Dun, Circle, with Four Trios, Conductor and Audience Tan Dun, Concerto for Pipa and Strings
MARCH 19/20 GUEST ARTISTS: JULIANNE BAIRD, SOPRANO LORI BARNET, CELLO MARCANTONIO BARONE, PIANO Paul Hindemith, Kammermusik no. 2 Paul Hindemith, Kammermusik no. 3 Roberto Sierra, Cancionero Sefardi Luciano Berio, Folk Songs
A P R I L 8 / M AY 1
(participating in the PIFA Festival)
GUEST ARTIST: MADELINE BLOOD, HARP Igor Stravinsky, Concerto in D for Strings Sarah DuBois, new work Claude Debussy, Danses, sacreé et profane Gerald Levinson, new work for string orchestra Henri Dutilleux, Mystère de l’instant (Please note: all dates and times are subject to change.)
TABLE OF CONTENTS OPENER
The Complete Hoods Map
Old City/Washington Square West
Rittenhouse/Center City West
Society Hill/South Street East
Bella Vista/Queen Village
Graduate Hospital/Grays Ferry/
Letter from the Editor: You Belong to the City
THE BASICS 10 PHILADELPHIA
You are welcome.
12 DEMOCRACY NOW (OR LATER)
Philly’s government may not be a model of efficiency, but it gets the job done — eventually.
13 BOOZE CLUES
What do you mean I can’t buy beer at the grocery store?
14 THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF BICYCLE MINDFULNESS
In Philadelphia, the alert cyclist pedals the lonely path to enlightenment.
16 BICYCLE SHOPS & RESOURCES 18 THE PARTY LINE
Philadelphia: Hosting killer festivals since 1776.
20 PHILLY IN FOUR MEALS
photo by Neal Santos
Our resident expert on local cuisine dishes out her top recommendations.
21 BUMPIN’ THE NIGHT
How to play it fast and loose till last call.
22 SEPTA/REGIONAL RAIL MAP
A complete visual guide to Philly’s public transit system.
24 THE SPORTING LIFE
If we don’t win, it’s a shame.
25 INTO THE WOODS
Take a hike and ﬁnd your Zen in Fairmount Park.
26 GROWING STEADY
Farmers markets, CSAs and container gardens encourage a more sustainable Philly.
28 TRICKS OF THE TREK
The city’s hidden treasures trump its most obvious traps.
30 TANK UP
It’s all you’ll need to get out of town every season of the year.
South Street West
East Passyunk/Italian Market
West Philly/University City
Germantown/Mount Airy/Chestnut Hill
Olney/East Oak Lane
H S BUS STOP BOUTIQUE 750 S. 4TH STREET, PHILADELPHIA 215.627.2357
WWW.BUSSTOPBOUTIQUE.COM Photography by Reagan Lam
WHERE FOOD AN D A RT COME TOGET H E R WWW.CHABAATHAI.COM 4371 MAIN STREET. PHILADELPHIA, PA 19127 TEL. 215-483-1979
BASICS WELCOME TO PHILLY
location Broad Street photo by Neal Santos
words by Patrick Rapa & Brian Howard
1854 Consolidated! Up till this point, Philadelphia proper was simply the area between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers and Vine and South streets. During the act of consolidation, 30 surrounding townships, boroughs and districts were carefully selected and cobbled together to form the precise shape of a pork chop.
YOU ARE WELCOME.
In the Beginning Aliens came to Earth and got married to monkeys and had little caveman babies. As time went on, our posture improved somewhat and we got a bit less hairy. We spread out in teams across the planet like it was a scavenger hunt, which it kinda was back then. 1682 Billy Puts a Ring on It Step aside, Lenapeeps, Finnzies, Dutchwives and Swedeypies — Penn got a permission slip from Charles II to found Philadelphia in the name of England! The charter called for a “greene country towne” full of parks and trees. Philadelphians instead subdivided their lots and began gathering in unsanitary crowds in Old City, a tradition that continues to this day.
Pre-Colonial Before the old-school New World had Philadelphia, it had Shackamaxon; and a Leni Lenape Indian village stood in the place we now call Kensington. The residents hunted, gathered and farmed. Same kinda stuff still goes on there. According to legend, Chief Tamanend signed a treaty with William Penn under an elm tree that later blew down in a storm. You can visit the Lenape today in Oklahoma!
1706-1790 Ben Franklin: Inventor’s Inventor Besides founding the continent’s first newspaper, hospital and library, ol’ Ben invented the lightning rod, the iron furnace stove, odometer, bifocals and, when he was a kid, flippers. Heard he was a kind of a perv, too.
1799-1848 Let’s Get It Started For a while there, Philadelphia was the one-stop shop for a young nation on the go. We had the nation’s first water works, daily newspaper, art institution, carbonated water, abolition act, insurance company, public bank, you name it. Still living off the royalties, too.
1793 You give me fever This was the summer Philadelphians started barfing up blood clots. Spread by mosquitoes, yellow fever claimed 5,000 victims. Many of them are buried in Washington Square Park. They rise up one night a year to haunt the crap out of us. You’ll see.
1774-1781 Down with the King No offense to our Brit papas, but after all the unrepped taxes and flavorless food — it was time to cut the cord. So we had a big fight. Philly was the epicenter for colonial dissent, hosting two Continental Congresses (a record!) and vanity-pressing Common Sense, the Declaration and the Constitution. After the war, we were the capital of the United States, until we got bored of it.
1981 and 1985 A Series of Unfortunate Events The moments that continue to define and haunt modern Philadelphia are two instances of violence involving AfricanAmericans and the police. On a December day in 1981, fate’s crossroads were at 13th and Locust; so were Mumia Abu-Jamal and officer Daniel Faulkner. In 1985, Mayor Wilson Goode and the PPD made the curious decision to drop a bomb on the Osage Avenue compound of anarcho-primitivist organization MOVE. Since then, race relations have been great and our cops are gentle as Beanie Babies. Also in ’85, we broke ground on our first skyscraper thus ending the city’s “gentlemen’s agreement” not to build taller than the Billy Penn statue on City Hall. After that, our sports teams stopped winning and everybody was saying we were cursed for a while there. Turn of the 20th Century Don’t Do Me Like That Once the most important city in the universe, Philadelphia started getting a rep for political corruption and resistance to change. The mob was everywhere, Prohibition was openly mocked and our cops were crookeder than our hockey players’ noses. A real live brigadier general, one Smedley Butler was brought in to clean up the town by militarizing the police force and declaring war on speakeasies and hookers. Dude lasted about a week.
1876 A Century Under the Influence 100 years after juking the Brits out of the colonies, the United States, like some overcompensating nouveau-riche douchebag, threw a massive rager — the Centennial International Exposition! The first World’s Fair! — in Fairmount Park. We all gazed at modern marvels and, when everyone finally went home, we left some of the buildings standing cuz everybody loves a party but nobody wants to clean up.
1992 Mayor Ed In 1991, Ed Rendell, a nondescript former DA, made his second run for mayor, this time defeating Frank “billy club in my cummerbund” Rizzo, who by that time was deceased. Ed’s voracious appetite is considered the driving factor behind Philadelphia’s economic turnaround, which saw once-decrepit Center City blossom into one huge restaurant district. He’s gone on to become governor and a bigwig Democrat.
1973-83 We Win! A Lot! Between 1973 and 1983, Philadelphia was the toast of the sports world. The Flyers won two Stanley Cups, the Phillies won a World Series, the Sixers won an NBA title, and the Eagles lost in the Super Bowl.
Post-WWII Anybody Else Want to Drive? Philly’s population peaked at more than 2 million in 1950. Then came white flight: Caucasians flocked to the suburbs, led by Connie Mack’s Philadelphia A’s, who ran all the way to Kansas City.
2008 We Rule/You Drool Concluding a 25-year sports championship drought that had steadily eroded the city’s self-esteem, the Phillies won the World Series. Team leader Chase Utley celebrated by dropping the F-bomb — World Fuckin’ Champions — on live television. If we could have elected him emperor at that moment, we would have.
words by Jeffrey C. Billman photo by Neal Santos
DEMOCRACY NOW (OR LATER) PHILLY’S GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE A MODEL OF EFFICIENCY, BUT IT GETS THE JOB DONE — EVENTUALLY. First thing you need to know: This is a big city, and it has big city problems. Drugs, crime, poverty, urban decay, unemployment, racial tension — you name it, we’ve got it. If you have basic cable, you know that the Philadelphia Parking Authority is vicious to the core. (You probably don’t know that it’s a Republican patronage machine; the GOP controls about 500 PPA jobs. Neat, huh?) If you’ve had the displeasure of trying to open an account with the city’s water department, then you’ve gotten but a taste of Philly’s byzantine bureaucracy. If you’ve received your ﬁrst paycheck, you’ve realized that you’re living in a high-tax city: wage taxes on top of state income taxes on top of an 8 percent sales tax on top of property taxes on top of fees for everything imaginable. (Have a dog? The city would like you to register it: $8-$16 per year, please.)
CITYPAPER PRIMER 2010 - 2011
in the right place. And heck, if the economy bounces back, maybe his goal of making Philly America’s greenest city will actually materialize.
Despite that, this city is perpetually broke, suffocated by an out-of-control pension fund and a diminishing tax base. And we’ve not yet touched on the city’s scandal-plagued police force, or the screw-you-got-mine mentality of the municipal and transit unions, or the fact that this state’s legislature breeds corruption like swamps breed mosquitoes.
And you’re here just in time for the fun: Next year, the mayor and the entire City Council, all 19 seats, are up for election. A helpful hint: Register as a Democrat (do it at the DMV, which strangely enough is quite efficient here), no matter your ideological leanings. Since Dems outnumber Republicans seven to one, the real elections come in the May primaries.
But chin up, newbie: It’s not all bad. City government has its redeeming qualities. We’re fairly progressive on social issues, and about as gay-friendly (officially, anyway) and anti discrimination as cities not named San Francisco come. We’ve got some good watchdogs in the Committee of Seventy (seventy.org), some bright lights on City Council — Bill Green and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, to name a couple — and in Michael Nutter a mayor who, though he hasn’t had the best of luck these last few years, is at least honest and has his heart
There’s more weirdness in our system: Of those 19 Council seats, 12 belong to speciﬁc districts; the remaining seven are at-large, meaning the entire city votes on them. The top ﬁve Democrats make it; so, too, do the top-two Republican votegetters, who, though they always earn fewer votes than every Democrat on the ballot, are guaranteed spots on Council by the city charter. Follow City Paper’s news, opinion and sports blog, The Clog (citypaper.net/clog), for reports from City Hall’s trenches.
words by Isaiah Thompson photo by Neal Santos
WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T BUY BEER AT THE GROCERY STORE? Two years ago, when I was assigned my ﬁrst Primer magazine rant about Pennsylvania’s beer and liquor laws, I took on the challenge with a kind of lighthearted amusement. Two years and God only knows how many $13 six-packs later, there’s nothing funny about it: Philadelphians, we are blessed to live in a city full of good, cheap bars stocked with superb microbrews, but cursed — cursed, I say — to live in a state with such mind-bogglingly, nail-bitingly, drug-use-inducingly cockamamy booze laws as to give cause for outright revolt. Beer Party, anyone? But until that day comes, we must bear the yoke of oppression. Here’s the deal: In order to protect Pennsylvania’s citizens from good prices, convenience and the terrible efficiency of the free
market, the state allows the purchase of wine and liquor only from state stores, and the purchase of beer only in cases — because everyone’s got a car and 30 bucks on them, right? — from stateauthorized distributors, or in six-packs from authorized retailers (which sell at twice the cost). The newest twist in this bad joke is that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is testing new “wine kiosks” in a few select supermarkets. If the test goes well, you might be able to buy a bottle of wine in a supermarket — like you can almost anywhere else — before you die. Another twist: The PLCB has inexplicably allowed one — and one only, thanks so much — “wine boutique,” located in the Gayborhood’s Jose Garces Trading Co. It’s a scandal, an outrage,
and hypocrisy at its ﬁnest — but yes, you can buy wine there. Another good location: Reading Terminal Market’s Blue Mountain Vineyards Cellars Ltd. In terms of beer, there are a few options. Many bars around town offer beer for carry-out, and many have (relative) deals — South Philly’s Pub on Passyunk East, aka P.O.P.E., offers sixers of Philadelphia Brewing Co. beers for $10 — and the cheaper the beer, the easier it’ll be to get a decently priced six-pack. You can pay out the wazoo for good beer in small quantities at places like the Foodery in Northern Liberties and Center City; Best House and Garden Court Eatery in West Philly; Mulberry Market in Old City; and the recently opened Hawthornes (across the street from brews-in-bulk go-to Bella Vista Beer Distributors). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s only one legal way out of this mess, and it’s to brew your own. Go to Rittenhouse’s Home Sweet Homebrew or South Philly’s Barry’s Homebrew Outlet and get started. Visit City Paper’s food and drink blog, Meal Ticket, at citypaper.net/mealticket.
words by Patrick Rapa photos by Neal Santos
THE FOUR FOUNDATIONS OF BICYCLE MINDFULNESS IN PHILADELPHIA, THE ALERT CYCLIST PEDALS THE LONELY PATH TO ENLIGHTENMENT. Awareness of the Bike: On the road you must become one with your bicycle, connected at the feet, hands and (during carefree moments) the butt, so choose one that ﬁts you. Any merchant who can sell a bike should be able to help you ﬁnd one that matches your height and proportions, with seat and handlebar adjustments if necessary. After that, it’s up to you to keep the bond strong. Pump up the tires to cantaloupe-ﬁrmness every few weeks, grease the chain so it is a noiseless and frictionless organ, and purchase good strong locks — I prefer the two U-Lock system — lest your bike become one with somebody else when you’re not looking. As they do in all major cities, thieves prowl the sidewalks of Philadelphia with bolt-cutters in their hands and evil in their hearts. Vigilance! 14
CITYPAPER PRIMER 2010 - 2011
Awareness of the Body: Pedaling up the Parkway at 3 a.m. might instill in you a feeling of invincibility, but you don’t own the road. It owns you. Stay alert to the impermanence of your physical form. Wear a helmet, even on the harsh jalapeño days of summer. Subdue ﬂapping pant cuffs with tucking, rolling or tethering. Eschew blossoming bell bottoms, constricting skirts or anaconda-length scarves. Spokes and chains may be stopped suddenly by carry-ons and errant bits of wardrobe; your ﬂesh and blood, however, might continue the journey for a while. Awareness of the Road: Do not bike on the sidewalk. Philadelphia has made attempts to up its bike-lane quotient in recent years — like those supple, bumpy shoulders up Spruce and down
Pine. Still, some ancient hazards remain. Vintage cobblestones and trolley tracks (some of which haven’t guided a trolley in quite some time) are notorious for causing tires to slip and crotches to bruise. Certain sewer grates appear to be designed to accept your tires like a jukebox welcomes your quarters. Awareness of the Mind: Don’t bike with your earbuds in, or while texting, or while holding a phone to your head. The only thing keeping you upright on your two wheels is an uncorrupted state of alertness. Cars, buses, horses, delivery trucks, trolleys, other bikers, skaters, absent-minded pedestrians, cruel baby-sitters who test traffic with strollers, cops who run stop signs because they can, drivers who run stop signs because the cops aren’t around — your path is beset on all sides, righteous bicyclist. But if your heart is true, your body sound and your mind instilled with the wise, deep focus of the Hubble Telescope as you pedal toward your destination, then you will have done all you can do. The rest is up to the universe.
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BICYCLE SHOPS & RESOURCES BiciMundo 1500 S. Eighth St., 215-755-2001 Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1107, 215-242-9253, bicyclecoalition.org The Bicycle Network Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, 1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 1430, 215-686-6835, phila.gov Bicycle Revolutions 712 S. Fourth St., 215-629-2453, bicyclerevolutions.com
Firehouse Bicycles 50 and Baltimore Ave., 215-727-9692, ﬁrehousebicycles.com Frankinstien Bikeworx 1529 Spruce St., 215-893-0415, frankinstienbikeworx.com Human Zoom 4159 Main St., 215-487-7433, humanzoom.com Jay’s Pedal Power Bikes 512 E. Girard Ave., 215-425-5111, jayspedalpower.com Mexibike 1139 S. Ninth St., 267-886-8498
Bicycle Stable 1420 Frankford Ave., 215-634-0633, bicyclestable.com
Mikesbikes 1901 S. 13th St., 215-334-9100, mikesbikesphilly.com
Bicycle Therapy 2211 South St., 215-735-7849, bicycletherapy.com
Neighborhood Bike Works/Bike Church 3916 Locust Walk, 215-386-0316, neighborhoodbikeworks.org
Bicycle Club of Philadelphia phillybikeclub.org Bicycle Access Council Box 92, 465 Dairyland Drive, Dallastown, 717-417-1299, bicycleaccess-pa.org
Phila Bicycles Inc. 826 N. Broad St., 215-765-9118 Philly Electric Wheels 550 Carpenter Lane, 215-821-9266, phillyew.com
Bike Line of Philadelphia 1028 Arch St., 215-923-1310, bikeline.com
Philly Naked Bike Ride phillynakedbikeride.org
Bilenky Cycle Works 5319 N. Second St., 215-329-4744, bilenky.com
Quaker City Wheelmen qcwcycling.org
Breakaway Bikes 1923 Chestnut St., 215-568-6002, breakawaybikes.com
Sturdy Girl Cycling sturdygirlcycling.com
Doctor Cycles 3608 Lancaster Ave., 215-823-6780, doctorcycles.com
CITYPAPER PRIMER 2010 - 2011
Trophy Bikes 3131 Walnut St., 215-222-2020, trophybikes.com
Via Bicycle 606 S. Ninth St., 215-627-3370, bikeville.com Volpe Cycles 2559 E Dauphin St., 215-291-0363 Wissahickon Cyclery 7837 Germantown Ave., 215-248-2829, wiss-cycles.com Neighborhood Bike Works/Bike Church 3916 Locust Walk, 215-386-0316, neighborhoodbikeworks.org Phila Bicycles Inc. 826 N. Broad St., 215-765-9118 Philly Electric Wheels 550 Carpenter Lane, 215-821-9266, phillyew.com Philly Naked Bike Ride phillynakedbikeride.org Quaker City Wheelmen qcwcycling.org Sturdy Girl Cycling sturdygirlcycling.com Trophy Bikes 3131 Walnut St., 215-222-2020, trophybikes.com Via Bicycle 606 S. Ninth St., 215-627-3370, bikeville.com Volpe Cycles 2559 E Dauphin St., 215-291-0363 Wissahickon Cyclery 7837 Germantown Ave., 215-248-2829, wiss-cycles.com
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