Philadelphia Metropolis

January 2012 Archives

My Philadelphia: Icons

  Through our stories and essays, Metropolis serves as a chronicle of modern Philadelphia. Over the summer, under the title My Philadelphia, we ran a series of essays about five city neighborhoods. In another series, we profiled young Philadelphians who... (Comments)

Sleight of Hand

It's early in the year, but I feel confident in predicting that the biggest political train wreck in Philadelphia in 2012 will be the AVI, the city's plan to reassess all properties to more closely reflect market value. AVI... (Comments)

My Philadelphia: Faces

In the second installment in our series of Philadelphia images is by photographer Alan Barr.  Barr is a born street photographer, traveling the city's neighborhoods, camera in hand, waiting for the right face and the right moment.  Thiis is slideshow represents a... (Comments)

My Philadelphia: The Past

  We continue our series of Philadelphia photo essays with one on faces from Philadelphia's past, compiled from city and Free Library and Philadelphia photo archives.   &amplt/object... (Comments)

This Old House

By Rachel Levy Lesser» I grew up in a house built my grandparents. The new construction was complete in 1967, and it was distinctively theirs. The 6-foot bathtub and extra high counter tops were designed by and for my 6-foot-4 grandfather. The art studio complete with a science-like lab sink and oversized slots for canvases was what my grandmother, the budding artist, had always wanted. It wasn't their house for as long as they would have hoped. After my grandfather died suddenly, my grandmother wanted nothing more of their dream home in Yardley. She moved to New York City where she could be near the art and culture that she craved. This left my young parents in a precarious position. They had outgrown our small ranch (Comments)

Wretched Excess

We all end up with adjectives attached to our names.  Penn State football Coach Joe Paterno had a number of them -- beloved and legendary are two. He added another on Sunday, when he died at age 85.  He is... (Comments)

The Reluctant Park Mom

By Kate Wright» I recently attended a birthday party for my son's two-year-old friend. I knew only a few of the people there -- namely, the hosts and their extended family -- but that afternoon I met other moms, dads, and kids who live in my neighborhood. I settled in, keeping watch over my son, who was not yet one, as he played with the big kids. The sun was out. I had a cold drink in my hand. It was a beautiful day. A woman approached. We introduced ourselves and she asked me where I lived. When she found out I was from the neighborhood, she seemed surprised and said: "Oh. Are you a park mom? I've never seen you at the park before." I stood there, staring at her, until our hostess explained: "She's a friend from before the park." "Yes," I said, suddenly feeling awkward. "I do go to the park from time to time, but we do other things as well." The truth is, I don't want to be a Park Mom. (Comments)

Murder, Inc.

Just when you think you have a problem under control, it slips from your grasp. Mayor Nutter is probably regretting his rhetoric over lowering the homicide rate, At least he is getting frustrated at the trend lines, using the word... (Comments)

Harder Than I Thought

By Debra Bourdeau McLoughlin» It was harder than I thought. We had joked about it - "Promise you'll pull the plug," my mother would say. "Sure, no problem, " I'd answer. And we'd laugh. As time went by it was less joking and more promising. I promise I won't let you suffer. I promise no life support. I promise I won't let you lay there with tubes coming out of you. As I watched her sleep - at least I hoped she was sleeping - I looked at all the tubes. And I thought about broken promises, and the phone call. "You have power of attorney, will you consent to surgery? Without surgery, she will not survive the night." My brother, who was there with her, pleaded for her life. And so I consented, against the thousand promises, against my better judgment. It was harder than I thought. My siblings and I fought over feeding tubes and respirators and extra measures and what she wanted and what she didn't want, over medical care and nursing homes. Over life and death. Because one did not have the heart to stop treatment and another did not have (Comments)

Born to Boycott

By Janet Golden» Not so long ago I emailed a close friend an article that revealed her favorite line of yoga wear, Lululemon, came from a company that promoted the works of Ayn Rand. I expected her to be grateful for the news and, since she is a good left political activist, to thank me for alerting her so she'd never shop there again. Instead she asked: "Why did you have to tell me that?" I was shocked at her response. But then, I come from a boycotting family. Growing up in Southern California we boycotted all things John Birch Society. No Russell Stover candy ever passed my lips. As my mother taught me, Mrs. Stover gave money to the Birchers. (Comments)

Management by Dithering

One of the lessons to be learned in the forced closure of dozens of Catholic schools in the region is the danger of institutional drift. For decades, Catholic schools had a fixed and firm role in the world: education and... (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)

Reading the City

By Samantha Kirk» My father, a Navy veteran and contented suburban Maryland home-dweller, has trouble understanding why I love the city. When I talk about the row house I'm moving into in North Philadelphia, with its bathroom window offering an unobstructed view of the neighbor's bedroom, its crumbling drywall, its nightly chorus of stray cats, he waxes poetic about the Jeffersonian virtues of the countryside and the joys of homesteading. He knows I love the wilderness and the country; so why, he asks, have I spent most of my adult life seeking out the experience of the city? It's true that I am quite the nature lover. I hike, I climb rocks, I garden; plant identification is one of my hobbies. Being able to read a forest or meadow by the leaf shapes hidden within it is a wonderful thing. Much, in fact, like walking down a city (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)

He's Baaack!

Now comes Rick Santorum's 15 minutes in the limelight. His showing in Iowa this week guarantees that.  With little money and no organization to speak of, the former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania placed second in the Iowa caucuses, just eight... (Comments)

Guess Where I Am

Best of VoxPop» The other day when I was on the SEPTA R5 everyone was on the phone but me. The train car was filled with the cacophony of blather. All my fellow passengers were talking at once, each one-sided conversation more insipid than the last. Some typical remarks: "I'm on the train!" "The second apartment we saw was even smaller, but I loved the kitchen." "I'm on the train!" "You found the document? Great! Now make five copies and give them to Mark." "I just got on the train!" "The podiatrist was out of the office, but when the nurse saw my bunion, she..." "I'm on the train!" Okay. So you're on the train. Now, can you possibly shut up about it for two seconds? (Comments)

The Custodial Mayor

Michael Nutter will be sworn into a second term as mayor of Philadelphia this week. In this Cover Story, senior editor Tom Ferrick offers an appraisal of Nutter's first term and looks forward to the next four years. In Part Two, we examine the broad forces at work that will define Philadelphia during Nutter's second term. (Comments)

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