Philadelphia Metropolis

November 2010 Archives

Looks Are Important

In late September, a high-level meeting was held at Philadelphia School District headquarters at 440 North Broad St. to deal with an emergency. Not an educational emergency, mind you, but a public relations one.  The state Education Department was about... (Comments)

City Strolling

By Kevin M. Korpics» As I stood staring at the stack of books I started feeling faint. I was in Barnes and Noble across from Rittenhouse Square surveying row upon row of parenting books as goose bumps popped out of my arms, a light... (Comments)

A New Wave of Street Gangs

Though law enforcement officials don't like to talk about it, there is strong evidence of a new wave of street gangs in Philadelphia, "greedy, better armed and more prolific" than the famous street gangs who made headlines in 1960's and 70's. In this special report, reporter Frank Rubino reveals the extent and nature of these new-wave gangs, beginning with the Six-O Posse that operates in West Philadelphia. (Comments)

New-Wave Street Gangs: Armed and Violent

Longtime anti-crime activist Greg Bucceroni wears a three-inch-long scar on his forehead, a souvenir from the June 5, 2008 evening when more than a dozen members of the heroin-dealing "Bart Simpson" gang - named after the brand of dope they peddled - backed him against a concrete wall in West Kensington. Bucceroni wore a blue polo shirt inscribed with the words, Philadelphia Police Youth At-Risk Program that night as he walked toward the home of a troubled teenage boy he was mentoring. (Comments)

Losing Nana

By Joanne Aline Mongeau» It is Sunday dinner, a time when most people are making memories with friends and family.  It's a time I knew as a child, for sitting at the dining room table beside my 'Nana', sharing special grandmother-granddaughter secrets.  Today... (Comments)

The Enemy of My Enemy

John Street and Sam Katz continue their Odd-Couple bromance in the latest (December) issue of Philadelphia Magazine. You may recall that Street had urged Katz to take on Michael Nutter in next year's mayor's race. Katz declined - at least... (Comments)

Knock on Wood

By Faith Foyil» As a Jewish girl growing up in southern New Jersey, I learned about Catholicism from watching The Sound of Music. I figured the local Catholic school kids were taught Arithmetic, Spelling, and "Climb Every Mountain" by nuns who reported to... (Comments)

Cultural Incompetence?

Does Arlene Ackerman lack the cultural competency to be superintendent of public schools in Philadelphia?  Is the fact that she is black hamper her in leading a district that, while majority African American, has many white, Asian and Latino employees,... (Comments)

Sam the Squirrel of Rittenhouse Square

By Melissa Metelits » Remember the tour Kay gives Jay of the MIB headquarters in Men in Black? He shows him this kitchen raided with aliens called "worm guys" - loud, obnoxious, short, thin aliens who drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and say things like... (Comments)

Before You Go Out to Eat, Read This

By Dawn Fallik» When it comes to safe food, officials at the city's Health Department say they have Philadelphia's 12,000 food establishments covered. The department has 35 inspectors who annually are tasked with inspecting city food establishments to be sure they meet the health code when it comes to proper handling, storage and preparation of food. An examination by Metropolis, though, found serious gaps in what the Health Department says and what it does. (Comments)

Running in Cycles

In 1906, the entrepreneurial owner of Mercantile Studios at 41st and Haverford Avenue hit upon a scheme to make money on the streets of Philadelphia.  Armed with his camera, he would visit newly constructed blocks of rowhouses and photograph them.... (Comments)

What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

By Dawn Fallik» In the third part of its series on city Health Department restaurant inspections, Metrpolis chronicles a missed opportunity by local officials to create a central database of all restaurant inspections. One was created in 2006 and then discarded. Now, the department puts virtually every record on paper, won't release information on fines, and declines to say how many restaurants are closed temporaily for violations. Reporter Dawn Fallik reports. (Comments)

How Not to Adopt a Dog

By Michael Burke» It is human nature to envy those around us. "The grass is always greener" is an oft-used cliché, but one that rings true. For the longest time in my life I coveted what many of my friends and family members... (Comments)

Bad News for Philadelphia

Excuse me for going all Tolkein on you, but these are dark times in the shire that is Philadelphia. I can almost feel the clouds descending upon the land. First to go was the city's flawed but brilliant senator, Vince... (Comments)

The Secret Room

In the building, there is a secret room. Within the secret room are millions of the dollars, piled in neat stacks.  The door to the secret room is locked.  In fact, it doesn't even have a door knob. To gain... (Comments)

How New York Gets Food Inspections Right

By Tom Ferrick Jr.» If you want to see restaurant inspections done right, travel to New York City. There you will see the results of an aggressive City Health Department inspection program that allows the public to tell at a glance the sanitary conditions in the restaurants they are entering. (Comments)

Craigslist Surfing Mama Seeks Job

By Christine Waldman» I've been waiting 10 years for this day and it is finally here. My three darling children are now all in school. That first day was spent drinking coffee for three hours with my fellow parents, jubilant in our freedom,... (Comments)

Paying It Forward

By Pamela Sodi»  I love springtime in Philadelphia. On the warms March days, I can sneak in an early clean-up day at my Hummingbird Garden at the Horticultural Center in Fairmount Park. Early in the season before the tulips and daffodils bloom, there... (Comments)

Making Chicken Broth

Journalism is like making chicken broth. As a reporter, you take our notebook full of interviews, a mound of clips and printouts and proceed boil these thousands of words into an 800-word story.  It's a reductive exercise.  The ability to take... (Comments)

Less Bad is the New Good

 Now that the fog of recession has lifted a bit we can take a look at how Philadelphia did during the economic downturn.  The short answer is: not so bad. We have lost jobs in the city since the recession... (Comments)

My Life As a Pauper Princess

By Heather Goldsmith» Nonprofit work is not volunteer work. At least not in my case. Though, coming from my background, it sure feels like it sometimes. I grew up in Voorhees, N.J., where parking between a Jag and a Hummer happens more often... (Comments)

Memories Lost and Found

By Sheri Ryan» Other than my irrational fear of flying, there is one thing that will put me into a complete state of panic in just a matter of seconds: getting lost in the city. I will admit, I do not like to... (Comments)

Fasten Your Seat Belts

What happened yesterday to the Democrats is called a whupping, which my Webster's defines as (1) beat, thrash; (2) defeat convincingly. No matter the level of government, no matter the office; the electorate tried its best to undo what it... (Comments)

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