Philadelphia Metropolis

March 2011 Archives

About a Boy

By Amanda Marie» He was a child in the Philadelphia foster care system, and almost 4 years old when I first met him. He was given an unfair start in life, to say the least. His mother was addicted to heroin, so he was born addicted to as well. Her physical and verbal abuse of him (and his siblings) as an infant -- until he was taken away from her at age two -- had stripped him of all innocence. When I met him, he was in blinding fit of rage -- a frequent occurrence, I would come to find out --knocking over books, toys whatever he could get his hands on. The other children in the class knew to get as far away as possible, otherwise they would get hurt from a thrown chair or an overturned desk. To see a scrawny little boy of below average (Comments)

Playing with Numbers

A strange thing happened during the 2007-08 school year in the Philadelphia School District. There was a sudden spike in violent and non-violent incidents in the schools. There were 14,743 incidents reported that year - the highest in the decade... (Comments)

Dogs in Tuxes at a Wedding

By Roz Warren» How do you feel about dogs being part of a wedding ceremony? If you're a dog person, you're probably thinking, "Great idea!" If you aren't, it's apparently like suggesting that aardvarks or squirrels be included in the wedding party. A likely response is, "Why on earth would anyone want to do that?" From personal experience, I can tell you why. My son and his girlfriend are crazy about Jack, their Bichon Frise, so when they told me they were engaged, I joked, "I can't wait to see Jack in a tux!" Little did I know that the kids wouldn't dream getting of married without including not only Jack, but Jack's (Comments)

Gov. Corbett Took An Axe...

Why did Gov. Corbett make like Lizzie Borden and give 40 whacks to the budgets for state-owned and state-related universities?  Temple, Pitt and Penn State had their state aid slashed by 51 percent and the 14 state-owned schools (think West... (Comments)

Philly Girls Don't Cry

By Amanda Wochele» I'm 20-years-old, yet I can already fill one wall of my bedroom from ground to ceiling with rejection letters. And e-mails too, if we're playing fair. Usually, the publishing companies I send to are forthright; Dear Amanda, the letter reads, I'm sorry, but we will not be accepting your piece, [Insert Failed Title Here] for our publication. I like it that way, because sometimes the publishers fail to make any effort to show they know my name - or have even read my piece. Dear Writer - Our deepest regrets, but we feel your piece is not right for...Do they address me as "writer" just to rub it in? And (Comments)

Revenue Neutral, My Ass

If you live in Philadelphia, get ready for sticker shock on your real estate tax bill.  Within the next two years, real estate taxes on several hundred thousand homes are likely to double. Some will go even higher. Part of... (Comments)

Bicycle City: The Revolution Will Have Two Wheels

By Elise Vider» Philadelphia is already considered one of the best cities in America for bikers, but that's only for starters. Writer Elise Vider looks at the steps being taken to turn Philadelphia into a true bike city -- and the resistance bikers meet from people behind the wheels of the cars that share the streets. (Comments)

Bicycle City: The War Between Bikes and Cars

By Elise Vider» Tension and even aggression between motorists and bicyclists has been a dirty little secret in Philadelphia for years, but it took the confluence of two, highly-publicized fatalities and the opening of two, new crosstown bike lanes to bring the ugliness to the public. Two pedestrians - Tom Archie in South Philadelphia and Andre Steed in Center City -died in October 2009 within days after being struck by bicyclists. (Comments)

One Day at the Nail Salon

By Linda Wisniewski» "Choose color!" the reception shouts, and I walk quickly to the wall of nail polish bottles behind her head. There must be dozens, frosted or shellac-bright, in shades from white through pinks and reds to browns and black. I grab a bottle of pinkish natural color and follow the manicurist to her station. This is my first time in the nail salon, and though I'm turning sixty, it will be my first manicure. I chose this salon out of more than a dozen like it near my home, all in little strip malls, all run by Vietnamese immigrants. The shop is busy on this rainy Saturday afternoon, and the workers chatter loudly to each other in a foreign language. Foreign to me, that is. The very young woman filing my nails smiles at me and tells me I've chosen a nice polish color. "Pretty," she nods her head at the bottle near our hands. (Comments)

Spectacular Growth

  City fathers had a celebratory moment recently when the official count of the 2010 U.S. Census was released, showing that Philadelphia's population actually rose in the last 10 years. They had a right to cheer. It was the first time in... (Comments)

Confessions of a Bill Collector

By Rosemary Reeves» Imagine spending eight hours a day on the phone being yelled at, called names, lied to and hung up on. Meanwhile, you are under constant pressure to go faster. You must make at least 140 calls a day and do paperwork as well. You are on a computerized system that dials phone numbers for you, one after the other, and you have no control over who it calls. Your job is to persuade people to give you money when most of them are unwilling or unable. You're the last person they want to hear from. Many feel it's their God-given right to swear at you, throwing curse words galore into the conversation, because after all, everyone hates you. This is the life of a bill collector. (Comments)

The Incredible Shrinking Toilet Paper Roll

By Patricia McLaughlin» I clawed my way into the new 20-pack of toilet paper, pulled out a roll, popped it into the vintage (pat. pending 1931) Scott Paper holder on the bathroom wall. Then an odd thing happened: The new roll wobbled and fell out. This Scott paper holder was firmly affixed to the wainscot in the second-floor bathroom when we moved in 25 or so years ago. Judging from its many layers of chipped paint, it had been there for some time, maybe even since 1931, when Scott Paper, a local Philadelphia company, was making such holders to popularize their newfangled rolls, so much handier than old-fashioned single sheets. For 80 years, more or less, it had been exactly the right size to hold a 1,000-sheet roll of Scott toilet paper. (Comments)

How Importent is Edukation?

The person I wouldn't want to be today is state Sen. Jake Corman. Corman is a Republican and a powerful one.  He is chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.  He is also a fiscal conservative -- a let's-get-government-off-our-backs guy who will... (Comments)

The Fine Art of 'Mom Dating'

By Rachel Levy Lesser» I thought I had said goodbye to the dating scene. Farewell to random set ups, drinks after work, coffee at the conveniently located Starbucks and catching the politically correct date movie of the month. My husband and I had been together for nearly seven years, and I wasn't looking for anything or anyone. Then we moved to the suburbs and had a baby. My days were soon filled with feeding schedules, diaper changes and mastering the art of bouncy seat assembly. Although I continued to work outside of the house on a part-time basis, I felt isolated when I was home. My husband worked long hours, and I missed the female companionship that I (Comments)

The Post-Recession Blues

Philadelphia is having a case of the blahs. I'd call it a post-recession depression. The latest Pew poll calls it a "downward drift" in Philadelphians attitudes about their city and its government. It's easy to pinpoint why if you look... (Comments)

Shoes on a Wire

By Dalyn Montgomery» If one moves to Philadelphia from anywhere not in the Northeast, or even possibly just from the suburbs, there is one detail of the city that most ignore, and no one ever thinks of beforehand. Wires. Wires are everywhere. They not only line the streets but cross over them. When city life is described as electric, no one thinks it is due to the electrified spider web cocooning the entire metropolis. Yet there it is. As with most webs, this one also catches things that are meant to move, it catches shoes. (Comments)

The Lost Generation

There is no greater at-risk population in this city than young Latino males. They are dropping out of school and getting into trouble with the law in record numbers. This Cover Story, a joint project of Metropolis and the Spanish-language newspaper Al Dia, chronicles the life and times of Philadelphia's young Latino men. It's title describes their state: GeneraciĆ³n Perdida. The Lost Generation. (Comments)

Sources for Data Used in This Story

Sources for Data   Arraignments on criminal charges: First Judicial District, as of December 31, 2009 Juvenile Dispositions, Juvenile Justice Commission, 2009, 18 year olds only. Author's analysis.                                                               State Prison, Pennsylvania Corrections Department as of  1-31-2009    City Prisons: Philadelphia.... (Comments)

Three Latino Males

By Gustavo Martinez and Ana Gamboa» One is them is a former high school drop out who decided to return to get his diploma. Another is a former drug dealer, struggling to stay off the streets. A third is a Miami-born 23-year-old who never finished high school and doesn't regret it. We continue our Cover Story on young Latino males by offering profiles of three men in their teens and early 20's who are working and living in Philadelphia. (Comments)

Feeding Audrey

Mayor Nutter is beginning to look more and more like Seymour Krelborn. Does the name ring a bell? Seymour was the nerdy floral clerk in the musical Little Shop of Horrors who had the great misfortune to come into possession... (Comments)

One Night at Tria

By Dan Zubrzycki» My studio, lodged in one of the few crappy buildings in the Gayborhood, sits just across the street from one of my favorite bar: Tria. Cooped up in the cold months, hunched over my laptop, I spend most of my time writing and reading. For an easy escape I usually grab a friend and a drink over at Tria, right across the street. A beer snob, I get into brew. I ruminate on flavors, debate pairings, and chat with the bartenders about different styles and brewers. (Comments)

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