Philadelphia Metropolis

May 2011 Archives

Los Mexicanos

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Weed It And Reap

By Faith Foyil» One late spring evening in 2006, a few months after I first moved to Bucks County, my friend Beatrice came over to share an after dinner glass of Australian Shiraz. We took advantage of the warm temperature by watching the sun set from the comfort of my 2nd floor deck. My gaze fell to the colorful blooms in the garden below. The flowers were slightly overshadowed by a growth of bushy greenery that had sprung up willy-nilly in thick clumps. An ivy-like vine wove in and out of the perimeter fence's vertical wooden planks, providing a background frame for the thick green growth. "Your back yard looks like a jungle," said Beatrice matter-of-factly. (Comments)

Los Mexicanos de Filadelfia Part Two: Work, Family and Fear

For Philadelphia's growing Mexican community, life is defined by work, family and fear. The Mexicans are hard workers say those who know them and hire them. Young men will sometimes work two jobs, the better to save money for the oft-stated (but often unrealized) goal of returning home. One estimate is that 80 percent of the city's Mexicans work in the restaurant or food trade. (Comments)

Pretty in Pink

By Roz Warren» I was born in the 1950s, when gender roles were rigidly enforced. If you were a girl, you wore a dress and played with dolls. Your color was pink. If you were a boy, you wore pants and played with trucks. Your color was blue. If you resisted these ground rules, you were in for plenty of trouble. Half a century later, I baby sit for a two-year-old boy who loves the color pink. Too young to know about its role as a gender marker, he's just drawn to the color. He likes to wear pink clothing and to color with the pink crayon. We browse storybooks at the library, looking for what Josh calls "pink boys" -- boys or men who happen to be wearing the color he loves. There are very few "pink boys" in children's literature, but (Comments)

The Age of Austerity

Whenever Michael Nutter begins talking about leadership you should duck.  It means he is about to increase taxes. He did it when the city was in the midst of the recession.  Nutter said tough times called for tough decisions and... (Comments)

Nutter's Second Term: How to Succeed by Really Trying

What should Michael Nutter do in his second term? With the primary over, Nutter can begin to plan what he wants to do in his next four years as mayor. Metropolis polled smart politicians and public policy makers and asked them to offer a critique of Nutter's first term - and the prospects and challenges facing him in his second term. Read all about Nutter 2.0 (Comments)

Invitation to a Wedding

By Rich Rubin» As states begin the trickle-up to "domestic partnership" for gay couples, I can't help but think of a moment years ago. It was a day like any other, and as the mail came shooting through my slot, I plowed through bills and restaurant offers and assorted other garbage. As I slit open one envelope, however, I found inside a wedding invitation from my friend Mike. I immediately felt something odd. Was it the fact that I, a gay man, was being asked to participate in a ritual I would never have the chance to celebrate for myself? At the time, it seemed a fantasy that a state would actually make gay marriage, or anything similar to it, legal. (Comments)

The Hippies Made Us Do It

It wasn't the devil that made Roman Catholic priests chase after altar boys; it was the 60's that made them do it. So concludes a study done for the U.S. Conference of Bishops by researchers at the John Jay College... (Comments)

The End Is Near!

By Rebecca Bernstein » We all know its coming. But just in case you haven't been handed the pamphlets, read the billboard over the Walt Whitman Bridge, or heard the radio, let me inform you: Judgment Day is coming. As I have been told, by countless people handing out Bibles on various city street corners, May 21st is Judgment Day. Being a Jersey native, I never thought that moving to Philadelphia meant moving to the Holy Land. If you had asked me before I moved, I would have told you that Philly was a very liberal, non-religiously affiliated city. Now, after living here two years, I am not so sure. (Comments)

An Annotated Guide to the May Primary Election Results

Updated May 23   By Tom Ferrick Jr. The mayor wins, but is embarrassed by the strong showing of Milton Street. Marge Tartaglione and Frank Rizzo lose. Turnout among Democrats was less than 150,000, which means that 4 out of... (Comments)

An Annotated Guide to the May Primary

By Tom Ferrick Jr.» Philadelphia voters entering the booth on Tuesday will be confronted by about 100 names of people seeking seats for 11 offices, many of them judgeships of one kind or another. How to sort out this confusing mass of candidates? Metropolis is here to help with an annotated guide to the key races. We offer suggestions on who to vogte for an who to avoid at any cost. (Comments)

Who Will Tie Their Shoes?

By Kat Richter » By the time I reach the coffee shop in Mt. Airy on Friday afternoon, I am exhausted. I've spent the past week administering band aids, untying shoelaces, retying shoelaces, chaperoning bathroom breaks and trying to convince one of my students--an unusually well-dressed five year old-- that dancing will help him feel better about the fact that his mother has left again. Technically, I'm a teaching artist at a preschool for low-income families in Germantown. But "creative movement" doesn't even begin to describe what goes on in my classroom. It's part Tchaikovsky indoctrination, part Michael Jackson impersonation, part therapy, part recess and part contact improv, the name I decided to give to my students' numerous collisions). (Comments)

Bullet Ballot

If you vote Tuesday, here is the most important phrase to remember: bullet ballot. Pick the handful of candidates you really like and vote for them --and only them. It is a way to help them without also helping their... (Comments)

John Adams

John S. Adams, 31, one of 12 Democrats running for one vacancy on Traffic Court, has several criminal convictions.  In  2003, Adams pleaded guilty to conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property in a case in Bucks County.  He received probation.... (Comments)

The Saga of Karen Brown

By Tom Ferrick Jr.» Karen Brown's life story is a melodrama, the stuff of a television miniseries. It is also a story that can be told in numbers -- most of them negative ones -- of mortgage foreclosures, taxes owed, gas bills unpaid, of bankruptcy and financial distress. We offer a profile of Brown, the endorsed Republican candidate for mayor, and her financial woes. (Comments)

Ten Things You Need to Know Before Primary Day on Tuesday

There are 140 candidates running in both parties in the May 17th primary election in Philadelphia, a hyper-crowded ballot that includes every office from Mayor to Traffic Court. It is hard to sort out who is running, let alone judge bona fides and qualifications. Metropolis can help. Before you vote, here are 10 things you really need to know about some of the candidates. (Comments)

Adventures of the Sign Guy

By Bill Fulton» I am The Sign Guy. That's what most people call me. It has to do with my part-time job. I put out open house signs for various real estate development companies on the weekends. My route is roughly the northwest section of the city. Every Friday night I load up the 2004 Ford Taurus with signs and make my way through the streets of Roxborough, Manayunk, East Falls and parts of Germantown. As far as part time gigs go it's actually pretty easy. I put directional signs on various corners of high traffic intersections and point weekend joy riders the way to brand new home communities. (Comments)

My Life as a Temp

By Matt Lettieri» In the past four months I've been a server at a wedding reception in Phoenixville, a law exam proctor at a local university and a booth attendant at the Philadelphia Convention Center, and I'm currently a data entry clerk at an office in Center City. At this point you might think I'm either an undercover spy or a lazy guy who can't keep a job. While these are both worthy attempts at an explanation, the truth is that I work for a temp agency. Perhaps the greatest thing I've learned from temping is how to interact with many types of people in varying situations. For example, at the wedding reception I spent some time serving water. My interactions would play out like this: (Comments)

Redrawing the Seventh District

Ten years ago, the powers-that-be tried to save Rick Mariano's council seat by redrawing the lines of the Seventh District.  The object was to dilute the Latino vote by adding more white people to the mix.  To do that, they... (Comments)

I Used to Be a Lawyer

By Philip Dryden» Before I open my eyes I hear the rain, steady and unforgiving. It's still dark out but I know I have to get up, up and out and make it to court without the help of an umbrella, which I know is rolling around somewhere, but certainly not within conscious access. I used to be a lawyer, worked here in Philadelphia, hewed the wood, got up early and worked late. I ran from courtroom to courtroom, prepped my cases like a mother, shouted out closing arguments into the uncomprehending air as I walked my dog. I also drank like a fish, snapped at my family, and went into psychotic rages when the Eagles (Comments)

A Poor Girl's Guide To Fun

By Lindsey Kemp» I am a poor girl. Not poor in the sense that my house is made out of a box that reads "Maytag." Poor in the sense that I am working at a private school for very little money and paying for the gas for my daily 50-mile commute eats half of my paycheck. My Honda died the other month and I had to buy a new car. Also, I am saving for a wedding that I have agreed to pay half for. So, at the end of the week, I am left with just enough to buy a Starbucks latte. I know this will change. I'm simply without funds at the moment. Though I find solace in the "at the moment" status of my poverty, sometimes it is hard. I wept so much today in a moment of self-pity that I nearly blew my sinuses out my nostrils. That is why I have, through trial and error, Kleenex after Kleenex, come up with some solutions to make poor girls feel like poor-but-fun girls. (Comments)

Walking Philadelphia

By S. Trinh» Walking around in Northeast Philadelphia at night is disconcerting. In the morning, it's quiet, filled by the sound of cars driving by. The blocks upon blocks of cookie cutter houses seem to be a mix between quiet suburbia and busy city streets. Fast food joints litter corners; barely visited stores stand their ground on the grey pavement. Walking in the morning is strange enough, as all you see is a strangely uninhabited, working city. I do enough of it. I walk for hours at a time; there's not much else to do for entertainment in this section of the city. Though Philadelphia has a million-and-a-half people, on my walks, I hardly see more than five to 10. They kneel on their dying lawns, trying to revive (Comments)

A Roll of the Dice

First , let me offer my congratulations to Warren Bloom, Christine Solomon, Marvin Williams and Sean Kennedy on their victories in the primary election. You say we haven't had the election?  That it is on May 17th, which is nearly... (Comments)

Change Comes To Lawncrest

By Elizabeth McGinley» By Elizabeth McGinley My mother once told me that people get friendlier as they get older. Or is it that the social filter that guards our tongues loosens as we grow older, and perhaps lonelier? Whatever the reason, many a senior citizen has chosen me as a confidant in many a waiting room. Today, as I sat in a small waiting room of a dentist's office in the Lawndale neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, a spry 80-something gentleman struck up a conversation with me. We had covered the weather (would the winter never end?), the patient information sheets (what a bother), and new procedures in the dentist's office (why did we have to show IDs?), when the gentleman asked me if I lived in the neighborhood. I told him I've lived in Lawndale for 22 years; he mentioned that he had worked at the nearby Lawncrest Recreation Center. (Comments)

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