Philadelphia Metropolis

June 2012 Archives

Something Blue

By Vickie Fernandez» It's been six months since I put on that white dress. It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Never really, felt like a bride. Not even as I walked down the aisle all sweaty with nerves and pretexts. My father's face beaming with the glow that parent's shine on normal kids who do the right things. I started drinking too early. A blur of chaos dressed up as happiness danced around me. There were ghosts in the halls of the clubhouse; friends of my dead mother hugged me, smelling like her, wrapped in furs and weeping at the sight of me. Family members I rarely see all smiles and tears. Me, I stood numb from my heart to the tip of my red satin shoes. (Comments)

The Program

By Christopher Malo» Most poor, inner city kids are doomed when it comes to getting a good education. The numbers tell the story: half drop out of high school. Of those who do graduate, only a handful go on to college. We decided to track the fate of one sub-group of kids: the members of the 2006 Gratz High School basketball team. They won the city championship, but were they ready for the real life challenges to come? Reporter Chris Malo went looking for the teammates and came away with a remarkable story - one that defies stereotypes. (Comments)

The Program

By Christopher Malo» Normal 0 0 1 3578 16104 236 80 25050 11.1539 0 0 0 By Christopher Malo It wasn't the final buzzer in the 2006 Philadelphia Public League championship that signaled the game was over.  It was over moments after...

The Shift or the Shaft?

One interesting thing about Mayor Nutter is that he talks like Mayor Rendell and he acts like Mayor Goode. Like Ed Rendell, his public comments reflect an understanding that lower taxes means more jobs and economic development for the city. ... (Comments)

Pay As You Go

By Eric Rivera» I was single, broke, and lying face down in a New Jersey bowling alley. I didn't mind: a stack of free pizzas awaited us extras after the filmmakers perfected the shot. I played an actor who passed out, drunk. The "Producer" wants to know what's wrong with me. The star of the film says, "He's a method actor." I suggested they change the line to, "He has issues with his father." No one got the joke. I'd just been through a bad breakup, and owned a $10-pay-as-you-go phone. It was the cheapest one available. I worked at the TLA Video on Locust Street, but could barely break 20 hours a week. To make extra money, I'd work local film shoots. (Comments)

The Truth About AVI

Who are the winners and losers under AVI, the city's new property tax assessment system? The answer won't be known for sure because City Council this month delayed enactment of AVI until next year. But, Metropolis has done analysis of the plans before Council and measures their potential impact on neighborhoods - and the impact varies widely, depending on how the tax is structured. Read the details about AVI in our latest Cover Story. (Comments)

Listen to the Metropolis Podcast

PRESENTING THE NEW METROPOLIS PODCAST, 20 MINUTES OF STORIES AND CONVERSATION THAT FEATURES ORIGINAL MATERIAL AND RECENT CONTENT FROM METROPOLIS, THE IN-DEPTH NEWS AND INFORMATION WEB SITE. (Comments)

Why I Have to Find a New Coffee House

By Joe Trinkle» It was about a month ago, while I was sitting in a small coffee shop that I frequent on South Street, when the girl behind the counter, Lauren, finally got the nerve to ask me about all the books and flashcards I carry with me. "Hey, can I ask you something?" "Sure," I said, incorrectly expecting upon those words, as many men do, a romantic query. "Why do you carry around all of those books? You don't seem like a student?" I laughed in the way I do to show people I'm uncomfortable. And then I said, "No, not right now. But I am studying, I suppose." "Oh, cool. Are you learning a language or something? It's just that, you know, you come in here a pretty regularly and a few of us, the baristas, have tried to figure out what you're studying. But you always have all these different books stacked up on the table. It's funny." (Comments)

I Screwed Up

So much for my political prescience.  In this space recently, I wrote that AVI was going to pass.  It did not. City Council yesterday [Thursday] pulled back from passing the controversial real estate assessment programs and decided to punt.  It put... (Comments)

Missing Hopscotch

By Jamila Harris» I opened up my window and smelled the summer breeze. I see the trees turning green, and the weather feels great; perfect for the beach. All this reminds me of my childhood days of summer. There is one problem however. I do not hear any children outside my window playing. My neighborhood of Parkside is filled with kids. Yet, besides the birds all I hear is silence. Where did everyone go? Then I thought about how I, a mother of four, do not see my own children go out and play. I had managed to provide all the electronic devices to keep them content in their rooms. That was not my intent. Sure it's perfect for the winter, but what is summer with no one on the streets? (Comments)

The Facts on the Real Estate Tax

  Get out your calculators.  It is time to talk once again about AVI. That's the acronym for the city's real estate re-evaluation program currently underway. By the end of the year, every property in the city will be re-assessed... (Comments)

Inside the Magic Garden

By Jim Tatalias» As my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter gazed up at the stuck-out broken bottles and painted-on old man genitals, I second-guessed my judgment. Maybe everyone was right when they said I was too young to be a parent. It was too late for thoughts like that. Already she had stumbled down the shallow staircase and into the great big belly of Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. And it looked like she was about to meekly charge headfirst into those nice-looking old women and ruin their day out. I caught her by the arm and told her to hold my hand. I was 23. I still am. That's not too young. Before life expectancy was what it is now blahblahblahbrabrah. But (Comments)

Billboard City: Part One

Does Philadelphia has too many big billboards? The billboard industry doesn't think so -- and it is aggressive in getting bigger, brighter signs in new locations. Reporter Ryan Briggs examines the city's long history of accommodating the industry, even agreeing to look the other way with illegal signs. A story about how Philadelphia's public spaces are being compromised by commercial interests. (Comments)

Billboard City: Part Two

In a bid to reduce the clutter of outdoor advertising, the new zoning code includes proposals to get companies to take down more of their billboards. Or does it? In Part Two of our series on billboards, reporter Ryan Briggs learns that the proposed changes in the code may lead to bigger, brighter boards on the main highways of Philadelphia. (Comments)

Crust Punk 101

By Dusty Hinz» A new friend of mine in Philadelphia, whose name is Wes, recently invited me to go to an underground crust punk (yes, you read that correctly) show in West Philly - a unique sect of sub-culture that fuses mainstream rejection, radical politics, scavenger if not vagabond lifestyles, and varying degrees of heavy metal music. I had previously been aware of crust punk, so I jumped at the opportunity. Wes got into this style of music - and to a lesser extent this culture - when he was younger, and continued following it into adulthood. There are many in the crust punk community that fit the stereotypical mold better than he does, but I definitely see shades running through him, especially in the realms of trying to get by without working, his interest in and knowledge about bikes, and his radical Anarcho-primitivist (Google it) tendencies. (Comments)

X +Y x Z = Huh?

  The great thing about the debate over the city's Actual Valuation Initiative (AVI) is that it allows me to write an entire piece using the future conditional. For those of you who have had brushes with grammar, you know... (Comments)

A Man With a Gun

By Brendan Schaller» I moved to Philadelphia on March 3. On April 12, I had a gun pointed at me inside the front entrance to my building. I live on the edge of Fairmount, and always hear about how safe the area is, but the reality of such situations is that they can happen anywhere, to anyone. My friend Alyssa was visiting from Canada, and this was her first time in Philly. I have never lived in a city before, and I have a tendency to observe my surroundings and stay alert. This guy was walking down my street at the wrong time, and the time it took to unlock the front door was enough time for him to form a plan. Once we got in the entrance, he was standing in the doorway before I had time to close it. (Comments)

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