Philadelphia Metropolis

August 2011 Archives

Power Outage

By Nadine Karel» I was sitting on my couch, computer on my lap, Phillies game quietly playing on TV in the background. The oven was preheating, a fan was vacillating to keep my living room cool on this late June evening. I had multiple pages open in my web browser: email, Facebook, Wikipedia. In an instant, everything went quiet and still. I heard the click of the fan as it stopped moving, the TV screen faded to black, my computer seemed to freeze. My head snapped up, alarmed at this sudden change in atmosphere. I laughed a little at myself when I realized that it was just the power that had shut off. I glanced outside, (Comments)

Joey Vento Está Muerto

I always cringe when someone says they are going to speak their mind, because it usually proves there's not much in it.  Joey Vento, who owned Geno's Steaks in the Italian Market, was a guy who spoke his mind.And... (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Lawndale

Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods and Metropolis is celebrating that fundamental Philly trait with six essays by some of our best writers about the places where they live. We also have collected work by local photographers, who live to shoot the city -- warts and all. Look for them at the end of each essay. My Philadelphia opens with Elizabeth McGinley writing about Lawndale, her adopted neighborhood in Northeast Philadelphia. (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Bella Vista

It's a bittersweet time for Jacob Lambert. He may be headed to a new job in New York city and leaving Bella Vista, the Philadelphia neighborhood where he has lived for 10 years. Lambert reflects on the his decision to leave, the changes he has seen happen in the neighborhood and the changes yet to come. (Comments)

Philadelphians Are Nice. Really, I'm Not Kidding.

By Emily vanSonnenberg» Philadelphians perplex me. I have lived in seven zip codes. Boston (my birthplace); San Diego (raised, 17 years); Galveston, Texas; Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Salamanca, Spain. For the past year and a half, my zip has been a Philadelphia code. I left LA to attend graduate school in Philly to study the 'Science of Happiness.' Thus, the virtue of kindness intrigues me. As a Philly-"import", I have come to believe that Philadelphia is the apotheosis of genuinely kind and friendly people, anywhere, though I know this perspective is atypical. If you're a Philly native, you are now doubt aware of your reputation. Philadelphians are notorious for being rogue and brash. Philadelphia is (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Spring Garden

We hadn't particularly meant to move to Spring Garden. In fact, we lived here for months--surrounded by drop cloths and buckets of joint compound and the implacable seepage into everything of the dust and grit produced when you demolish or repair walls made of plaster and horsehair, or so somebody said at the time--before we knew we had. (It's bounded by (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Kensington

By Dalyn Montgomery» I learned a new word; "Kenzo". This new word is even better when used in my favorite insider's movie title, "The Little Kenzo Who Could." Everyone else thinks Rocky was from South Philadelphia but now I know he was really from K&A. Lots of people are from Kensington. From, because they all left. (Comments)

The Queen Is Dead

Queen Arlene is gone and already the talk is about her successor. Leroy Nunnery, her No. 2 guy, has been named interim superindent and let me say he is exactly the right person for the job - as long as... (Comments)

Learning to Love

By Rebekah Henson» My parents made friends with a toll taker on the Betsy Ross bridge. The relationship began in 2007, when I was in college and my mother was in the hospital with a lesion on her lung the week before Thanksgiving. That November was the scariest month of my life. She was in her early 60s, and when you're a 20-something in college and your parents are in their 60s, you can't help but devote a few hours a week to wondering what might happen if their vices or genetics get the best of them before they watch you graduate college. My Mom's surgery day was the worst, especially when my Dad didn't call, as he had promised, to tell me that everything was all right. (Comments)

My Philadelphia: West Philly

By S.G. Grant» We continue our series of Cover Stories on Philadelphia neighborhoods with S.G. Grant's essay about West Philadelphia. It's not the buildings and the businesses that attracts her, but the people -- in all their varied forms, colors and origins. Read on for Grant's census of modern West Philadelphia (Comments)

In Love With the Distance

By Latrice Y. Melbourne» We actually started out in the same state. Twenty years old, both finishing up college, we were head-over-heels for each other. When he graduated and moved back to "The Big Apple," that is when the distance began. I stayed in Philly and finished up college. I can remember writing papers and text messaging paragraphs just as long as my assignments. We spoke every day, never missing a beat. Oh! Did I love him. I graduated and moved in with him over the summer, in hopes of finding work. He was a school teacher so we spent our summer strolling through the parks in Brooklyn, hopping on the 3 to 34th street, and just walking together. We were in utopia. We never really fought or argued. As summer ended he prepared for work and I prepared to head back to Philly. I decided to go back to school to be a nurse, so that meant I would be in Philly for another two-years. (Comments)

Crimes & Misdemeanors

@font-face { font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }table.MsoNormalTable { font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Arlene Ackerman has decided to go down... (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Mount Airy

Mount Airy has a reputation as a liberal bastion of Philadelphia, a world unto itself with aging hippies, racial diversity, and beautiful homes. It is all that. Which is just fine with me. I have lived in the neighborhood since 1986, raising my son on a street of row houses built (Comments)

Confessions of a Flight Attendant

By Jaclyn Chilcote» I spent the year after my college graduation like many other post-grad's in their early 20's. I read furiously. I wrote essays. I asked a lot of questions. I involved myself in a lot of thought-provoking and heated discussions. I studied global politics and art from different cultures. I met intriguing people from all over the country, and all over the world. Only, in my post-graduate world, there were no professors, no tests, and the classroom was an Airbus A330. It all came to be in my final year of college. As graduation neared, my idealism gave way to panic as I realized I was now to join the masses of young people just like me with unbridled optimism, creativity, and an ambiguous liberal arts degree. All of them looking for work. I also had a mountain of debt, was from a lower-middle class family, and certainly did not have the financial means to go to graduate school. My spirit began to sink. (Comments)

Ackerman's Final Days?

The gossip about  Arlene Ackerman's fate is so much fun, I hate to step into the matter with some facts. For starters, it is clear that Ackerman is on her way out. Having worked assiduously over the last three... (Comments)

Growing Up at the Roosevelt Mall

By Tracey Levine» It's been a little over 10 years since I was a teenager in Northeast Philly. Most of the neighborhoods are laid out on a grid and, back then; most lawns were well tended and uniform. On a cloud-covered day, the grayish light would marry with the gray concrete, transforming it into a world of dull, lackluster gray, which I fancied an appropriate metaphor for my experiences there. But, there was an impressive camaraderie. Though a single parent, my mother had resources. There were genuinely kind and decent people, and it was a place where I learned some questionable, but mostly useful, values and a work ethic. But there are other things about the Northeast worth remembering when I was a teenager. In the mid-90's, before technology became invasive, being a teenager largely involved occupying physical space and finding a spot to socialize. For me, that was the Roosevelt Mall. I hung out there the summer before and after my senior year in (Comments)

An Uncomfortable Truth

In the early 1990's, when I was covering the poverty beat at the Inquirer, I was surprised at how many young black men were homeless. I had always associated homelessness with old winos, but these men were in their... (Comments)

How to Make a Jewish Mother Cry

By Ilana Vine» Last Thanksgiving morning, I found my mother crying in the basement. It's not a pleasant way to start the day, especially when you're expecting to wake up to the sounds of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade blaring on the TV and the smell of pumpkin waffles wafting through the air. But here it was. She was crying in the basement. The reason? Simple: I had brought home a boyfriend who wasn't Jewish. "I'm just heartbroken," she sobbed in true Jewish-mother style. "And what about your children? They'll lose their heritage." She erupted into another bout of tears as I went to the bathroom to get her a box of tissues. (Comments)

Like Father, Like Daughter

By Kat Richter» When I moved back home upon completing my masters degree, I began to worry that I was turning into my mother. We look alike, we dress alike (thanks to her seemingly endless supply of clothes-I-like-better-than-mine) and people mistake us for sisters all the time. It's not that I don't like my mom- she and my dad are both the youngest in their families so I usually tell people they're "52 going on 25"--but still, distancing oneself from one's parents is a rite of passage. Lately, however, I realized it's not my mom that I should be worried about. It's my dad. My dad is obsessed with dogs and enjoys few things more than striking up random conversations with complete strangers. This can make for rather awkward evenings out with my parents. (Comments)

How Hot Is It...?

...It is sooo hot that a friend emailed me a piece I did five years ago about how the media handles heat waves.  It was true then, it is true today. Here it is.... I don't get this weather. It's... (Comments)

Laughter Was Her Elixir

By Phyllis Mass» June 10th marked four years since my mother died in hospice at age 93. I kidnapped her from her Edgewater, N.J. residence in December of 2005 and moved her to an assisted -living facility near me in Philadelphia, one month after my younger sister died of lung cancer. We spent a glorious year and a half together, even as she struggled with congestive heart failure and I grappled with the loss of my kitchen due to a flood which morphed it into a three-foot high swimming pool. I would not have a working kitchen again for a year and a half. There are so many things I miss about my mother, but her laughter and her sense of humor are the primary ones. As I had engraved on her stone, "Laughter Was Her Elixir." The void of humor and (Comments)

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