Friday, September 29, 2006

The Ritz Carlton wants some hipster too

First it was the Bellevue. Out was Founders. Gone was the Library Lounge. In was Nineteen, a new restaurant/bar/café/lounge/roller-disco.

Then, mere weeks ago, Le Bec Fin relayed the news that it was ditching the menus printed in French and the snooty waiters — among other things — and adding a $90 tasting menu (down from $138, duh) with hopes of drawing a younger, more attractive, less dead-looking clientele.

Now comes word from our man on the inside that none other than the revered Ritz Carlton is getting in on the act. You heard us right — the Ritz fucking Carlton is axing its stalwart restaurant, the Grill. Why? Apparently, too stuffy. Even for the influx of empty nesters that are, if you believe the news, buying any and every Center City condo they can get their mitts on.

Supposedly, the Ritz wants their restaurant to more closely emulate the vitality and buzz that occupies their Rotunda lounge. (Sounds promising, we know.)

What’s next? PBR pounders at the Fountain?

Pour. It. On.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mayor Street attempts to sabotage smoking ban with worst, most totally clusterfucked implementation scheme imaginable

In the months leading up to the beginning of the New Jersey smoking ban earlier this year (the ban went into effect on April 15, 2006, 90 days after the law was passed), the state ran an organized information campaign on how the new law would affect both consumers and businesses.

We don’t even live in New Jersey (whew) and we heard and saw numerous commercials on the radio and on television informing the public about the upcoming ban.

Contrast that with Mayor Street’s sudden decision to begin enforcing Philadelphia’s new smoking ban today. The administration has not reached out at all to the businesses likely to be most affected by the law, i.e. restaurants and bars, or disclosed all the pertinent information about enforcement to them or consumers.

Why? We have no idea. One would think that our mayor would want to facilitate Philadelphia’s transition to a non-smoking city. But then again, we’re not sure that we’ve ever totally understood anything Mayor Street has done.

And this is only the latest example of Mayor Street displaying just how poor a leader he can be.

The resources offered on either side of the Delaware River:

In Philadelphia, well, there’s a phone number (215.685.7495) and email address (healthdept@phila.gov) for consumers to use to register a complaint.

In New Jersey, there was/is a whole wesbsite, smokfree.nj.gov, with FAQs, brochures, downloadable powerpoint slideshows, smoking cessation information and a whole lot more that addressed consumers AND businesses.

Hopefully, Street’s Health Dept. can copy it or, better yet, frame it into phila.gov.

Meanwhile, restaurant and bar owners in Philadelphia are left totally in the dark and are understandably confused/frustrated:
Mike Driscoll, co-owner of Finnigan's Wake and a past spokesman for tavern owners, said he was surprised by the city's decision to enforce the new law so quickly.

"We certainly want to comply fully and were told to get our act in order by the end of the year," he said. "I think for courtesy's sake, at least the city should let the industry know what they're planning so we can take corrective measures."
And another:
Especially surprised is Stacey who owns [Race Street Cafe]:

“They should at least give us notice. You know what I mean? I'm not against the smoking ban at all. I'm really not. But I mean they should at least give us time to prepare for it and prepare our customers."
We agree.

Related:
No ifs, ands or butts: Mayor Street is not smart [DN]

Phillies win, maintain wild card lead; Cole Hamels walks the plank

On Sunday, the Phillies completed a sweep of the Florida Marlins and in so doing remained a half game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the National League wild card.

In the sixth inning, Ryan Howard hit a fly ball that missed being his 59th homerun by 12 inches.

Monday night is the last home game of the season. We’ll be there. You should be too. And, sure, Burrell sucks right now, but as The 700 Level points out, booing him every time he steps up to bat is just stupid. Show some spirit.

In other Phillies news, that giant shattering sound you heard Sunday afternoon was the hearts of thousands of female Phillies fans breaking when they learnt that stud (muffin) rookie Cole Hamels had taken himself off the market.

The 22-year old southpaw recently popped the question and is now engaged to Heidi Stroebel, she of Survivor: Amazon Playboy fame. Aw, congrats. (Stroebel, 27, is a student at Drexel.)

Related:
Phillies sweep the fish, not done yet [espen]
Real smart Cole, you get one vagina for the rest of your life. Way to work it through. [Inky, second item]
Ryan Howard is The Greatest [NYTimes]

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Architects, urban planners and traffic engineers — oh my!

Holy shit, somebody on city council has a brain. Philebrity crush Jim Kenney wants to put experts on the Zoning Board of Adjustments and the City Planning Commission. EXPERTS.
Councilman Jim Kenney says there should be trained experts on two key city panels -– the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the City Planning Commission. He says each panel would have to have an architect, an urban planner, and a traffic engineer:

“It's not that the people there are not qualified, they’re just not trained in particular areas that involve development and development decisions. Obviously having an architect that’s involved in his or her community would be a plus in making a decision.”
Yea, that’s all well and good… but it’s not like this is a new problem. It was evident in ’03 when Tom Kelly and his predilection for sheet metal variances left the ZBA and in ’04 when Gary Hack, “one of nation’s most respected city planners,” resigned from the planning commission because nothing he did mattered. Inga Saffron has been preaching the good word at the Inky since ’02.

But, yes, we are happy this is finally on City Council’s radar. We just wish someone in the vicinity of City Hall could be a little more proactive about issues like this, instead of reacting, say, three years after the fact.

Related:
Jim Kenney is off to see the wizard [KYW1060]
Already effectively emasculated, Mayor Street takes the planning commission down another peg, forbids planning chief from doing interviews with the press [Inky]

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Breaking: Myspace propels Philly-area teens to fame and fortune… or lots and lots of juvie?

There are conflicting reports out today on the propensity of Myspace to catapult local youths to success, fame and fortune.
Alex Favin is a filmmaker on the verge. He's now ironing out the final kinks in a deal with a cell phone carrier looking to use his short films featuring skateboarding, breakdancing and parkour…

Favin's also working on his first feature-length film XYZ, which has already generated interest from a private investor based on the quality of his music-video-like shorts.

Favin, 17, is a senior at Germantown Friends School.

Asked about the deal that stands to propel him to a film career, Favin cites one source: MySpace.

Turns out, an independently owned entertainment company was looking for material to use in a series on extreme sports for play on cell phones. A representative of the company stumbled across Favin and his friends' MySpace page, which featured photos of the high schoolers performing various athletic stunts. They contacted him, and the rest is history. Or, more accurately, the future.
[…]
Thanks to MySpace, YouTube and lots of lesser-known new media channels, anyone with an idea now has the ability to communicate it to millions of people around the globe. And as technology improves and the popularity of these new media grows, independent artists and entrepreneurs are increasingly able to make connections with likeminded individuals who can transform their ideas into real-world dollars. The Internet has gone a long way toward leveling the playing field.

Add to that the proliferation of technology like digital video and photography, recording equipment and computer editing software—all of which have made it possible to create a fully realized product for little cash—and you have all the makings of a revolution.

And an increasing number of Philadelphia artists are leading the charge.
A few “artists” from Bensalem got “discovered” as well.
The Bensalem Police Department, along with the Bucks County district attorney's office, were announcing the arrest of 27 individuals -- three adults and 24 juveniles -- who were responsible for more than 1,500 acts of vandalism encompassing 34 different graffiti signatures in which 67 individuals were victimized.

These arrests come from a four-month investigation by the Bensalem Township Police Department, which said that detectives obtained Information after some of the vandals boasted about their acts on the MySpace.com web site.

Undercover detectives posed as a "tagger" on MySpace and befriended those allegedly involved. The investigation led to the arrest of the 27 people and at least 783 counts of criminal mischief -- ranging from felony to summary offenses.
Related:
Undercover cops bust local vandals by using a totally hip (and fake) Myspace profile “Tagger” [KYW]
Teenage creativity/stupidity + Myspace = muchos dólares [PW]

Phillies are one game out of the Wild Card; get your ass down to Citizens Bank Park already

Kids. It's time to loosen up.

The Phils are just a game back of the wild card. This is fucking big time now. There’s less than two weeks left in the season.

Stop crying about the Eagles and their gasbag head coach and start rooting for the team that you can actually help.

The Phillies have documented trouble at CBP. In fact, they’re the only team in the league to have a winning record overall and be sub-500 at home.

Over the next six days, we can change all that. We have five chances to rock it South Philly style and help the Phils erase the gap. (The last five chances you’ll have to see them at home in the 2006 regular season.)

Last night, barely 30,000 made it to the game. Surely, now that it’s hump day, we can do better than that.

The Phils are even offering a $7 discount to make two of the five games easier on the wallet: Friday against the Marlins and the last home game of the season Monday against the Astros. Both are College Nights.

So get there early and grab a good spot in Ashburn Alley… you might just get a beat on Ryan Howard’s 60-something-th donger of the season.

Because, call us crazy if you must, but October baseball with the Phillies is an idea we kinda dig.

Related:
Philadelphia fans have mind-fucked the Phillies worse than usual this year [Inky]
It's cool, because they're are still five home games left, two of which are going to be overrun by drunk, half-horny, half-belligerent, underage coeds [Phillies.com]

Philly Cops respond to rising murder rate, vow to show Old City ‘what Rodney King is all about’

Philebrity has a fairly disturbing video.

Looks like a certain officer forgot to take his Ritalin one night this weekend, which resulted in him taunting the crowd during an arrest, seemingly attempting to pick-a-fight/start-a-riot.

The most unsettling part of it all: none of the other ten+ cops that eventually come to the scene tell this greenhorned douche to cool the fuck down and/or shut the fuck up.

Related:
Caught on Cameraphone: Cops Issue 2AM Beat-Down on Old City Clubgoers [Philebrity]

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Mayor Street tries to reach levels of incompetence never before attempted by a local elected official

Today could be the day Mayor Street fulfills his destiny and becomes the most tragically useless public servant this side of Washington, D.C.

Yes, today is the day he decides whether or not to sign the smoking ban. (We're guessing his plan is to flip a coin around 8 a.m.)

But it’s cool — this will free up his incredibly strenuous schedule a bit. Which is great, because, from here on out, he can focus on other priorities, like:
But there’s good news: sometime circa November 2007, there’s a chance the city might be partially covered by wireless Internet.

(Ed. Note - Dear Mayor Street: Please sign the ban so we can stop being so critical of you. Pleeease. It's keeping us up at night.)

UPDATE: Praise Jesus. He signed it. Please diregard above negativity.

Related:
Provincialism? Here? No way Philadelphia’s City Hall has any of that… [Imky]

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Penn to West Philly: McPenn-what? No, seriously… we didn’t hear what you said. Repeat it — McPenntri-what?

There are decidedly less Penn-haters out there these days — at least ones concerned with the school’s effect on its surrounding environs — now that it has become abundantly evident how positive that effect has been.

That said, we couldn’t help but notice a little bit of “we-told-you-so” in the University's release boasting about being one of the best urban neighbor universities in the country.
The University of Pennsylvania has been ranked second among the top 25 "Best Neighbor" urban colleges and universities in the nation, recognized for a strong, positive contribution to their communities.

These institutions, dubbed "Saviors of Our Cities," use strategic planning and their resources to dramatically strengthen the economy and quality of life of their neighboring communities…
[…]
Penn was the only Ivy League university recognized.
Always good to see Penn try to stick it to both local and national haters (What up Columbia? You still trying to buy half of Harlem? Bitches) in the same statement.

That takes tact.

Related:
Penn to all comers: Who wants some “McPenntrification” now? [UPenn]
McPenntrification? More like exemplary urban development [DP]

Monday, September 11, 2006

Best. Commercial. Ever.

There’s been a lot of Rocky talk in the news recently, which is fine. It actually got us thinking about our favorite all-time Rocky homage.

We’ve been looking for it for years and Youtube finally came through. It debuted three years ago this October and we can’t think of a more appropriate time to put it back into rotation.

(What with Billy King realizing what a horrific idea trading him would have been, and the possibility that Ed Snider and the rest of the trainwreck ownership at Comcast-Spectacor might sell the team to some fresh blood… things are starting to look up for the Answer in 2006.)

Oh yeah — it’s probably the best commercial Philadelphia has ever had.



Chills everytime.

Related:
The Sixers are for sale and they’re worth every cent; someone please pull the trigger. Please. [Daily News]
Earlier:
Mayor Street’s propensity to lie exaggerate out there for all to see
Meet Billy King — dream-crusher and soul-taker extraordinaire
This is supposed to make you want to vomit

Inky Image section — dear God, someone please make it stop

Quite a doozie of a lifestyle piece this week. In fact, wow.
One by one, they pulled up in their SUVs and their minivans, unfolding strollers and producing sippy cups, wet wipes, and an armada of brightly colored plastic toys.

After a few minutes of talk about potty training and sleep patterns, Remi Tammaro settled the group - moms of all shapes in sweats, tank tops and T-shirts accompanied by babies dressed in the latest fashions - down to business.
Down to business indeed:
The hour-long workout isn't for wimps, but like other new-mom fitness classes such as Stroller Strides and Strollerfit, Baby Boot Camp is as much about getting out as working out.

"Lots of moms have friends who aren't married or don't have kids," Tammaro said. "When your friend didn't go to bed until 2 a.m. because she was out partying and you were up until 2 because the baby was crying, it's a whole different tired."
We bet.
A typical woman gains between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

But you'd never know it from celebrity magazines that laud superstar moms who start shedding baby weight as soon as they leave the hospital.

That's maddening to Tammaro, who advises moms to eat properly and take things at their own pace.
[…]
The social aspect is terrific, she said. But she never really understood how different her body would be after the baby, and how great she'd feel working on it.

"It's such a big deal," Scanlan said. "These little munchkins come and your whole body changes. Before, you don't have to diet or exercise."
OK, gross. We just threw up in our mouth a little.

Related:
Inky Image section continues to satisfy your insatiable pinings for SUV-driving, stroller-pushing, image-obsessed soccer moms [Inky]
Earlier:
Inky Image section finally publishes article that doesn't make us embarrassed we read it

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Mayor Street’s propensity to lie exaggerate out there for all to see

Mayor Street either thinks we’re all idiots, or, conversely, he’s a giant one himself. Speaking at the Rocky statue dedication on Friday, he said:
"This will be a huge attraction for the city of Philadelphia. One that will bring jobs, economic development, and will be a huge impact on the city."
Whoa there, Johnny. It’s a fricking statue. One that has been around (in front of the Spectrum) for more than twenty years already.

Sure, the move is a plus for tourists who can now run the steps and pose next to the statue at once, and, yes, there could potentially be some related trickle-down spending, but let’s not go overboard here.

Why pretend that moving a statue a mile and a half is going to bring a windfall of economic prosperity to the city?

When you say outlandish shit like that, you make everyone sane who said the move was ok look as stupid and as misguided as you.

Related:
Mayor Street, others line up to give "Rocky" a tug job [Inky]

Saturday, September 09, 2006

National survey confirms: Eagles fans are extremely stubborn, annoying, loyal

Bizjournals.com, the online media division of the nation's largest publisher of metropolitan business newspapers including the Philadelphia Business Journal, just released the findings of their national study to determine the NFL’s best fans.
Not the ones who turn out in strong numbers for a winning team, but the ones who stay loyal even if their team is losing, the weather is frightful or their local market is small.
And, apparently, they were fairly scientific about it:
Each NFL team's performance was analyzed in seven categories for the period of 1996-2005, including average attendance, percentage of seats filled, fluctuation in attendance between good and bad seasons, on-field record, market population, local income levels and weather.

The study analyzed each team in two ways -- first for its level of fan support and then for the difficulty it poses to long-term supporters.
We all know Iggles fans are a passionate bunch. So how’d they fare in the study?


(No New York team? How sad. PSYCHE.)

While we admittedly can not stand hearing "E - A - G - L - E - S" chants at Phillies games with Wild Card implications during the months of August and September (when the Phillies are clearly the team in need of fans' support), it is without question that Eagles fans are Philadelphia’s best in-stadium fans. Phillies and Sixers fans could learn a lot from their dedication to noise-making.

It’s good to see a reputable national news source recognize as much.

As for the Business Journal’s description of said fans… cute:
Pick your adjective. Philadelphia fans can be loud, hostile and abusive. (You've heard the story about them booing Santa Claus.) But they're also incredibly loyal, hitting 99.8 percent of capacity since 1996, a figure topped only by Houston, where the team is much newer and the climate much warmer. [slideshow]
Related:
Eagles fans may be staggeringly obnoxious, but that’s just because they’re unwaveringly loyal. [Bizjournals]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

This just in: Philadelphia is on the verge… according to ESPN

In his preview of the upcoming NFL season, ESPN’s the Sports Guy has some kind words for the Eagles.
Meanwhile, everyone's counting out the Eagles, who absolutely REEK of Ewing Theory potential after T.O.'s departure and everyone acting like they were a 6-10 team last season, when the reality was this: Their defense was decimated by injuries; they lost McNabb in Week 7 and Westbrook in Week 8; and the T.O soap opera and residual bitterness from the Pats' Super Bowl destroyed what was left of their season.

Well, who has an easier schedule -- @Hou, NYG, @SF, GB, DAL, @NO -- over the first six weeks? With the exception of Dallas and Chicago, who has a better defense in the NFC? Why is everyone so willing to count out a team with a quality coach that's loaded on the offensive/defensive lines? Couldn't they do a reasonable impression of the 2005 Bears, only with a much better QB? I love the Eagles this season. More on this later.
Not bad, but here’s the real insight:
(Another reason to love them: After hitting rock bottom last winter, Philly seems to be in the middle of an under-the-radar resurgence, between Ryan Howard putting the Phillies on his back, the success of "Invincible" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Billy King somehow avoiding a mindless Iverson trade (although there's still time), the upcoming Rocky movie, the hysterical M. Night Shyamalan book … I mean, all we're missing is the reunion of D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince at this point. I'm feeling good things ahead for the Eagles. Can't explain it.)
He goes on to pick the Eagles to make it to the Super Bowl.

But more importantly, is he right? Is now Philadelphia’s time to shine? Not just in sports, but in everything?

Of course it is. Every year is.

It just never seems to work out.

Related:
Bill Simmons declares Philadelphia the new Williamsburg, South End, Wicker Park and Silver Lake all at once [ESPN]