Philadelphia Metropolis

December 2012 Archives

Trawling for Cash

Myron Berman may be about to realize a decades-long dream of putting a giant wall wrap on the office building he owns on North 7th Street, just north of Callowhill Street. Council has passed a bill letting Berman erect a... (Comments)

Living in the Darkness

By Jamila Harris» Every day I felt the same. It did not matter what the weather was. The sun could be shining brightly or it could be storming. It could be summer or the winter. I could live in the South Pole or under the wonderful skies of Miami, but internally I felt the same way all the time. I couldn't seem to find any joy. I was living under continued darkness. I was a prisoner of my mind and my days all seemed to be bleak. I am suffering from depression caused by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress syndrome). Until my diagnosis I assumed depression was just a temporary state of mind that people (Comments)

Day in the Life: The Funeral Director

By Ada Kulesza» The story of violence in the city can be told many ways. First, there are the numbers: 320 killed so far this year, many of them young, black men. In each case, someone must enter the scene to tend to the burial of the body, the grief of the family, the simple logistics of death. As part of our Day in the Life series, we visit one such person, Khaijah Alderman, a funeral director who works in North Philadelphia. (Comments)

Easy as Riding a Bike

By Beth Moulton» I'm afraid to lift my feet. They say once you know how to ride a bike you never forget, but they don't say what to do if you're sitting in the driveway on your bike but you're afraid to lift your feet off of the ground. I thought I was prepared. At the bike store I didn't let them sell me a bike with gears and handbrakes because I didn't want to have to think too hard about riding. "It's easy," the teenaged salesperson said. "You just squeeze the handbrake when you want to stop." "No, that's OK. I don't want to have to learn anything new. I learned to stop a bike by peddling backwards, and I learned to ride uphill by peddling harder. That's the kind of bike I want." (Comments)

Our King Canute Moment

In the unfolding drama called "The Fate of Philadelphia Public Schools," one group has decided to play the role of King Canute. For those whose English history is a bit dusty, Canute was the 11th century Danish-born king of England... (Comments)

More Than Tears

When I heard about the slaughter of the innocents in Connecticut, I headed to my basement to look through my archival collections of various reports, studies, task-force reports and other miscellany dealing with Philadelphia. I was looking for a study... (Comments)

Sugar, Spice, Slugs and Snails

By O.K. Pham » My youngest son started kindergarten this year, so the other neighborhood parents and I rallied at the bus stop on the first day of school. A mother who was sending off her firstborn cried as the bus drove away. I tried to console her by saying it does get easier, and that by the time she sends her third kid off to school, there would only be tears of joy. This cynicism is a hard-earned by-product of the fierce love I have for my four children -- two girls, aged 15 and 12, and two boys aged 10 and five. None had to endure the regimen of daycare, all because my husband and I have never been able to trust our kids to anyone else' care. The cord wouldn't be cut until they went to kindergarten. Instead I took a pay cut to stay at home with them during their formative years. I can tell you that full-time parenting offers its own crash course in sociology. (Comments)

Man of Mystery

Allow me to introduce myself. I represent men of great wealth and fame. You may know me as a reporter, columnist and bon vivant, but I confess I have had a secret life. I am the local representative of the... (Comments)

Public Schools' Reality Check

Saying the Philadelphia School District was "out of time and out of options," Superintendent William Hite released his school close-and-merge list to howls of protest from parents and advocacy groups. The district plan, which still must be approved by the School Reform Commission, calls for the closing of 11 district high schools, 5 middle school and 23 elementary schools. In addition, another 13 elementary schools will be restructured, a move that will require the transfer of fifth and sixth graders. In most cases, the schools are going from K-6 to K-4. (Comments)

A Day in the Life: The Teacher

With the fall semester underway, reporter Connie Langland visited two Philadelphia high schools to take a measure of how the schools and teachers were doing early in the semester. The two schools -- University City and Gratz -- have undergone major changes in recent years, each taking a different approach to the same end: improving student performance. The story opens with a day in the life of UC teacher A.J. Schiera. (Comments)

A Day In The Life: The Teacher II

A new school year is underway in Philadelphia and we sent reporter Connie Langland to oberve the work of two teachers at two different schools. Gratz High School is a former public school that was turned into a charter school by the district. JacQueline Palmer has taught there for three years -- both before and after the change was made. We look into the classroom of Palmer to get an insight into the everyday life of a teacher in an urban school..... (Comments)

Eggs in A Broken Basket

By Katie Bambi Kohler» The mirror which reminded me daily I was not the fairest in the land started to tell an even grimmer tale. My face became moon shaped, the wisps of upper-lip hair -- an Italian rite of passage -- became darker. Acne speckled my face. Most noticeably, I got fat. Like when people pretend to be pregnant and put a pillow under their shirt. Eight years ago, I was 24. Like most people in their early twenties, thought I was immune to any type of disease or catastrophe. I went five years without medical insurance, only visiting the doctor for severe colds and forgoing the important annual OBGYN appointment required for women of a certain age. "We are going to be married this year, and then I will be on your health insurance," I reasoned to Tom, my fiancĂ©. (Comments)

The #@%& Joys of Library Work

By Roz Warren» I've worked behind the circulation desk at a suburban Philadelphia public library for over a decade and I'm happy to report that most of our patrons are pleasant, reasonable people who are a joy to deal with. And then there are the others: The mother who admonishes her kids, at the top of her lungs, "Be quiet, you little turds. This is a library!" The man who refuses to pay the overdue fine for returning a DVD late because he didn't enjoy watching it. The dude we catch trying to steal a Bible. (God doesn't want you to steal a Bible from your local public library. He wants you to check it out properly and return it on time.) The guy who approaches the reference librarian, hums a few bars of a song, then asks, "Does the library have that CD?" (Comments)

Ringing His Bell

When the distance between your beliefs and the facts become extreme we can suffer from what psychologists call cognitive dissonance, the mental equivalent of the tines of a fork scraping across a blackboard. I am beginning to have cognitive dissonance... (Comments)

A Random Act of Kindness

By Ada Kulesza» It was a January night and the coldest night of the year when I first met Eren. I was walking south down Second Street, glad to be moving in the frigid air. I was already late and my boyfriend was waiting at the Ritz movie theater. I could see its lights when I saw a man with a grimy outstretched hand and a feeble voice that said: "Please, can you help me out with some change?" I stopped and pulled some change from my pocket, and noticed that the face, snot-nosed and bearded, looked very young. "Here. Hey, I hope you don't mind me asking, but how old are you?" (Comments)

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