Philadelphia Metropolis

December 2011 Archives

Whose Willie Was It?

My favorite story of Christmas week was about the Philadelphia Traffic Court judge escorted off the premises because he allegedly showed photos of his genitals to a female court employee. The appropriately named Willie Singletary was relieved of his judicial... (Comments)

Riding Their Bikes

Best of VoxPop» There are two kinds of bicyclists in South Philadelphia. If you think I am over-generalizing, go to the corner of Ninth St. and Washington Ave. and try to find a third variety. You'll be standing there a long while. Let's call the first kind -- my kind --the South Philly Cyclists. Let's call the second kind the Passyunk Pedalers. These names aren't terribly descriptive, but what's the point to life if there's no alliteration? We South Philly Cyclists are new to the neighborhood. We are interlopers. We are the educated types, or the creative ones, or occasionally even both. We are young, or despite appearances we pretend to be. We are female as often as male, but uniformly white. By no means are we rich, but we care about reducing our carbon footprint, and a certain material comfort is required of those who care about their carbon footprint. (Comments)

Philadelphia 2012

On the week of Mayor Nutter's inauguration, Metropolis takes an in-depth look at Nutter's leadership and the prospects for this second term. In Part Two, we examine the larger trends that define the state of the city in 2011. Read on about the good, the bad and the ugly forces at work in Philadelphia. (Comments)

My Declaration of Independence

Best of VoxPop» It is no coincidence that I now live only a few blocks from Independence Hall. When I was a toddler, I was determined to do everything by myself, so my grandfather dubbed me the Declaration of Independence. The name still suits me. To appreciate this, you need to know that I am legally blind. That means that I have minimal sight in one eye and none in the other, and no depth perception. While I can get around without the assistance of either a guide dog or a white cane, I can't read street signs or facial expressions, and I hold printed matter inches from my eyes to read it. You will be relieved to learn that the state of Pennsylvania, in its wisdom, will not grant me a driver's license. (Comments)

Public Is the New Private

Best of VovPop» Remember Steve Martin's line when people asked if he would mind them smoking? He smiled politely and replied: "Mind if I fart?" Today, though smoking is banned in most public places, no one would bother to ask permission to fart; they would just break wind. That's because private is the new public. Functions, which used to be performed in homes, beauty salons, doctor's offices and even bathrooms, have now become spectator sports. Nowhere is this more obvious than on public transportation where people are crammed together like galley slaves for the duration of their trip. When I lived in the Bronx and commuted to Manhattan on the subways, people were content to read their newspapers or books in relative silence. Occasionally, I encountered a groper, a loud talker or a nose picker or an annoying straphanger who hung too close to a seated commuter. These days, no matter what form of public transportation I take, someone sitting next to me is either eating something incredibly stinky from a (Comments)

Scandal at Traffic Court

What a shock.  It seems there is politics involved in Traffic Court. If you are politically connected you get treated one way; if you are not shut up and pay your fine. Did money change hands as part of the... (Comments)

Never Thrown a Punch

Best of VoxPop» When I say I have never thrown a punch, I mean I have never even been in a playground scuffle, not growing up in Salt Lake City, nor later when I moved around the country. I have lived my life avoid troubling situations and employing what I tell myself is wit and charm in situations where trouble seems unavoidable. Five years ago, after moving to Philadelphia from South Carolina, I decided this needed to change. Perhaps it was one too many runs up the Rocky steps, or the fact that I stand six foot one and 240 pounds, but the City of Brotherly Love got me wondering how I would hold up standing toe to toe with another man. I opened my journal and scribbled a goal in ink, "Have two official fights, judged by an official referee." I figured I needed one fight, (Comments)

Diary of a Teenage Eater

By Ada Kulesza» Everyone talks about what poor teenagers eat. At Metropolis, we decided to take it a step further: We asked them what they eat. For two weeks, two 18-year-olds texted details of their daily intake to reporter Ada Kulesza. The results are illuminating and surprising. So, sit down with a piece of chocolate cake, a Coke, a half-dozen cookies and a bag of Doritos and read: Diary of A Teenage Eater. (Comments)

A Bold, Brazen Item

To use a phrase favored by my nuns, Myron Berman is a bold, brazen item. In 1999, Berman, a New York real estate guy and principal owner of an office building at 7th and Spring Garden Streets, had crews erect... (Comments)

Make 'Em Laugh, Make 'Em Laugh

Best of VoxPop» I am single. I spent five years in college with nothing more than a few awkward drinks and "hook-ups" that got me nowhere. I'm sure there are plenty of reasons (excuses) for my chronic single-ness. It could have been my lack of enthusiasm for the Drexel crowd. Light-wash denim shorts and tube socks combined with greasy pony tailed hair just didn't do it for me. Or it could be that God has spited me and placed a giant neon sign above my head that says "Run away! She'll chop your balls off!" only visible to those I find myself even mildly attracted to. There is, however, one answer that holds up. One of my best guy friends once told me at a party, "Guys don't date you because you're too funny." At the time it seemed ludicrous, but it buzzed around in my head, like a pesky fly caught between two windowpanes. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true. (Comments)

Tales of the Freegan Dumpster Divers

Why pay for food when so much of it is free -- if you are willing to go diving for it. Meet John and Samantha, the Philadelphia couple who get most of their food from the dumpsters of area markets It's not easy. And it can be slimy. The couple say they are doing it for a higher cause. Reporter Ada Kulesza reports on a night in the life of dumpster divers. (Comments)

You Believe It

Best of VoxPop» got off the train this morning and started walking towards my first class at Temple University, but something in one of the upper floors of a building caught my eye and my heart began racing. My mind plays tricks on me. Though I knew it to be completely absurd, my brain still said that there was a sniper up there, and that I should move to a safe place. I didn't, and that's an improvement. A year ago I may have run to a street corner and ducked down behind it. If a car backfires I am liable to do the same thing. It's frustrating for me. It's frustrating that something I worked so hard to be good at won't go away. I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was diagnosed with it in July, 2008, (Comments)

Goodbye, Mumia, Goodbye

The odds are that Mumia Abu-Jamal has made his last appearance on the front page and that it a good thing. The case of the man who shot and killed Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner 30 years ago today (Dec.... (Comments)

School Days: A Sub's First Day

Best of VoxPop» Anyone who has ever started a job has had the first day jitters. And why not? But eventually, that period passes: you fall in line, you get used to the way things work, and suddenly you can't remember why you ever felt so nervous. Unless you are me. I am a substitute teacher. For me, every day is my first day. In early January, on my very first day as a sub, I was assigned to a vocational high school in Philadelphia. I pulled up at 6:30 a.m., the sun still down, next to a sprawling one-story building. There were bars on the windows and chains on the door. The majority of entrances had signs with big red letters saying No Trespassing and Students Enter Side Door and Guests Enter Front So I entered the front. A woman at the front office greeted me and said, "You're here early." (Comments)

My Life as a Telemarketer

Best of VoxPop» It's your average grey January day in your average Philadelphia area neighborhood. Going about your daily business, you are interrupted by the phone ringing off the hook. Stumbling to answer it, your eye notices the I.D. displaying Philadelphia Direct. There is no holding back the bad feeling as you answer the call, "Hello?" "Yes, good evening Mrs. Smith. This is John calling from the Inquirer how are you?" answers the Telemarketer. You shout: "I've told you before, STOP Calling!" And you hang up. What is this company that seems to call a dozen times a day? It is Philadelphia Direct Call Solutions, a service of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. The purpose of the call, no matter how they disguise it, is to sell you a subscription to the paper. (Comments)

Fired for All the Right Reasons

Best of VoxPop» So I had a first-time experience the other day. For most of the spring and summer, I was working for a company in University City. It was an easy job. A trained monkey could have done it, aside from the occasional crisis (in which I imagine the monkey would have run about throwing feces, which is not very conducive to getting things fixed -- however rewarding it may be). (Comments)

Milton ♥ Arlene

If I had one wish, it would be that Arlene Ackerman hook up with Milton Street. I don't know Street's current marital status. I know at one time he had a long-term relationship with a woman who lived in... (Comments)

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