Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sweet Fancy Moses — The Phillies Are The Fucking Truth

All we can say, really, is: Go Phils. Go Phils. Go Phils.
Somehow, it was the Phillies who had a chance to become one of those teams that people talk about for years, for decades, for centuries.

"I know that," said closer Brett Myers on Friday. "And it gives me chills to think about it. I mean, not to sound like a wimp or anything, but just seeing the fans and the way the town is lighting up, it makes you tear up, man, I mean with happiness. It's just really cool to see this happen."
"This is the best team I've been on. I know that," said Myers. "I know the past couple of years, we've come close. But -- and I mean no disrespect to the guys who used to play here -- it's just that now, as a unit, we're a better team. Our mentality, the way we go out there and attack the game, is: just have fun. There's no pressure. Nobody has to be a hero. We feel like you're going to be a hero if you go out and play relaxed.

"Hey, I know there's pressure, man. But we just take it as, let's just go out there and have fun, and see what we can make of this."

Huh? See what they can make of this? Heck, they can probably barely even comprehend what they have a chance to make of this.

They can make an indelible mark on baseball history, for one thing. But that's not all.

More important, at least for that town they play in, they can make a whole lot of ghosts disappear -- the ghosts of all those seasons that ended just the opposite of this one: The ghosts of 2003. And 2005. And 2006. And, especially, 1964.

In 1964, the Phillies were the team on the wrong end of the Greatest Collapse in History. Now, 43 years later, they could be just a win or two away from being the team on the right end of somebody else's Greatest Collapse in History.

In Philadelphia, life is not supposed to work like this. Everybody knows that. But apparently, this team never got that memo.
Word, broseph. Word.

Come on Phillies. J-Rock. Chase. RyHo. Patrick. Face. Gooch. The Natural. Los. Victorino. J-Dubbs. Cole. Brett. Flash. Cooler Pants. JC. Adam. Jamie. Et al.

Every single one of you.

Do it for your city, man. Do it for your goddamned city.


PS - We fucking LOVE you.

Phillies finally on the right side of history [ESPN]

[ Photo via Flickr user throwinrocks ]

Monday, September 24, 2007

Eagles Go Green for the Environment, give us a reason to write about them during a week when we care exclusively about baseball

Corn-based compostable cups by GreenWare at Lincoln Financial Field in PhiladelphiaSo here's one from the Department of We-Had-No-Fucking-Idea…

It turns out that the Philadelphia Eagles (yes, your Philadelphia Eagles) are the greenest team (in terms of environmental consciousness, not uniform color) in the entire National Football League and, quite possibly, all of professional sports.

Listen to some of the shit they do.

- The Eagles are the largest buyer of renewable energy in the state, when companies are measured by amount purchased per employee.

- The Eagles reimburse team employees who buy wind energy in their own homes up to $7.50 a month (PECO only lets you buy like $6 a month anyway) — something apparently not replicated by any other company in the country

- “Last summer, atop the Eagles' corporate headquarters, workers finished installing an array of solar panels that track the sun, producing 30 percent more power than a fixed system.”

- Tickets and programs are all printed on recycled paper — totaling more than 40 tons a year.

- The 100,000 or so clear plastic cups that fans go through every game? They’re actually not plastic but Greenware, a corn-based plastic, which takes 50% less petroleum to make than a regular plastic cup. “And instead of taking a few centuries to break down, the cups biodegrade in as little as 50 days.”

- Meanwhile, on the jumbotron, an Eagles player reminds fans to Go Green: " ‘Hey, this is William James,’ he said. ‘Carpool with your friends or take public transportation when you're headed to the game. And fill up your gas tank at night to reduce harmful vapor emissions. Be a playmaker, and Go Green.’ " Ok, William, we'll listen to you expound the virtues of going green. But, come on, that name change thing didn’t fool anyone.

- "For the plastic water and soda bottles, the Eagles place recycling containers every 46 feet throughout the concourse. Experts who study such matters have determined that a typical person, not finding an appropriate receptacle within 23 feet, will just drop an item." For the mathematically challenged among you, that means that fans in the concourse are never further than 23 feet from a recycling bin.

workers separate trash from plastic to be recycled at lincoln financial field in philadelphia- For the things that do get dropped, the post-game debris pick-up is now geared to recover every piece of recyclable waste. “Jerome Belo of Philadelphia has been working Philadelphia stadiums for 27 years. They used to put all the refuse in one bag. Now they work in pairs, the first guy picking up the recyclables.”

- And perhaps best of all:
"Last week, the players drove to the game. Next month, they will fly about 1,000 miles to take on the Minnesota Vikings and release a lot more carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.

So they've been planting trees, which consume carbon dioxide, to offset it.

A Tufts University study has pooh-poohed the idea for individuals who pay some company they don't know to plant trees in a location they will never see. Will the trees even live?

But the Eagles have picked public spots right here. Donating $125,000 to Philadelphia's TreeVitalize program, they planted 332 oaks, cherries, plums, ginkgos and more around 25 Philadelphia public elementary schools - 16 of which had no trees. More were planted at newly renovated Franklin Square."

We are literally dumbfounded.

We had no idea. Who would have thought?

We totally forgot that local corporations could actually choose to do things like this — voluntarily.

It’s enough to make you want to go out and don some old Kelly green Eagles gear out of sheer pride. (Oh wait, we’re already doing that.)

Regardless, Eagles, you fucking rock.

Please let the letter-writing campaign for similar actions to be taken at Citizens Bank Park commence. (And go Phils! Fuck the Mets. And the Padres.)

And thank you Christina Weiss Lurie — you have reaffirmed our faith in for-profit America, not to mention an Eagles organization, with which we were rapidly becoming disillusioned.

One Way The Eagles Can’t Lose [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Go Green - Philadelphia Eagles [Official Site]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

J-Press strikes back, gives Silk City the Boîte treatment in Sunday Styles

And deservedly so.

Ex Philly-Mag’er Jessica Pressler may have shipped off for alleged greener pastures, ahem,
in NYC, but there’s no doubt she still has love for the streets — in the P - ILL - E.

And we knew she did.
THE vibe here,” said Shawn Hennessey, “is the jawn.” The 27-year-old musician gestured at the neon sign for Silk City, a club-cum-restaurant housed in an old dining car in the gentrifying Northern Liberties neighborhood.

“The jawn is a Philly word,” said Brian Nadav, Mr. Hennessey’s friend and bandmate. “It means ‘a good thing.’ It can be a noun, like you can say, ‘Yo, pass me that jawn’ or ‘I’m the jawn.’ ”
Silk City was not always so enticing. After years of being, in Mr. Hennessey’s words, “a greasy, gritty diner” adjoined with a “dirty, awesome bar,” Silk City reopened in June after a face-lift and has been crowded ever since, especially on Thursday night for “Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems,” a dance party featuring pop and hip-hop hits of the 1990s. Once, its late-night scene was made up of truckers, blue-collar workers and drunk 20-somethings being served omelets by cranky waitresses. Only the 20-somethings remain.
Read it. Love it. Share it.

(Well done, Ms. Pressler. Good looking out.)

The Bar Car is Rocking [New York Times]
When Sunday Styles pieces write themselves, for realsies

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Plastic Bags in Philly to go the way of trans fats; city’s awesome factor to reach unprecedented levels

fuck plastic bagsCity Council… we gotta say it… just when we thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself!

Because, let’s face it, plastic bags are god-awful.

We’ve talked about this previously (and we’d like to think we had some influence on the Dicicco brain trust, but lets not get carried away…), and we are even more sure of the rationale of a plastic bag ban now than we were before.

The idea, as with any ban, is that a simple tax on the banned object is not enough to obtain the desired change in public behavior. And that’s what this comes down — changing public behavior for the better.

San Fran has led the way, and we should definitely be following their lead.
Paper or plastic? It is a question that has long dogged grocery shoppers. But the debate may soon be settled for [Anapolis], where a bill aimed at protecting marine life would ban plastic bags from all retail stores.

San Francisco enacted a ban in April, but it applies just to larger groceries and drugstores. Similar measures are being considered in Boston; Baltimore; Oakland, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Santa Monica, Calif.; and Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Add Philadelphia to that list.

But what’s even more awesome about this ban is that it gives Philadelphia a great opportunity to get a head start on the about-to-begin, radly progressive, uber-industrious Nutter era, in which Philadelphia makes the leap from the international perception of “whatever” to one of “holy shit, Philadelphia is the new San Francisco, a totally legit and authentic city, with all the best traits of Chicago, New York, Paris et al.” We kid you not.

We are feeling really, really good about Philadelphia these days. Tom Ferrick’s column this week was dead on. Philadelphia is at a crossroads and just needs a few good men (and women) to lead us to the promised land.

Baby steps have already been made (read PhillyCarShare, the in-the-works PhillyBikeShare, RecycleBank — which we hope to god Nutter contracts to serve the entire city and replace the Streets Department operation, Food Trust, Green Plan Philadelphia, PlanPhilly, etc.), which is good, but now it is definitely time to raise the stakes and go all out.

We’re talking about making it illegal for delivery trucks to let their engines idle in Center City (a completely archaic practice that needlessly ruins air quality locally not to mention environmental warming globally); blanket Center City and the burgeoning neighborhoods surrounding it with recycling bins next to every trash can; convert the city’s entire fleet of taxis to hybrids; devote unprecedented funds to greening public spaces and streets (e.g. as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s amazing PLANYC, New York plans to plant a tree in "every single place where it is possible to plant a street tree" by 2017, totaling more than 1 million trees); revive the potentially unbelievable reading viaduct dream; completely overhaul SEPTA, getting it the expanded dedicated funding it needs and converting its entire fleet of buses to hybrids; … and everything else on the Next Great City’s acutely intelligent 10-Action Plan.

we heart reusable bagsSo yea, plastic bags… they suck. We don’t need them. Philadelphia already kicks ass in regards to one BYOB trend (what up Melograno, Zento, Clementine’s — we fucking love you all); let’s rock out another: Bring Your Own Bag.

(Reusable bags are so fucking hip, they’re infinitely cool almost in spite of themselves.)

Because Philadelphians are that smart. Because Philadelphians do care that much. And because Philadelphians are finally prepared to expect the absolute best from their city and to do whatever it takes to ensure its leaders deliver exactly that.


(Meanwhile, who knew Frank Dicicco was such a detractor of Kevin Spacey films / American Beauty?

Frank, we hear ya.)

Dump the Plastic [Philadelphia Daily News]
Greening Up By Cutting Down on Plastic Bags [New York Times]
Pressure Builds to Ban Plastic Bags in Stores [New York Times]
Move Philly Forward Via Optimism [Philadelphia Inquirer]
US Retailers push reusable bags to save money and the environment [International Herald Tribune]
PLANYC 2030 [Official Site]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

PhillyCarShare, Say Hello to Your New (and Arguably Doper) Baby Brother, PhillyBikeShare

Vélib Bike-sharing in ParisIt’s time people. Enough dicking around. Philly needs to get off its ass and become mad bike-friendly. In fact — what the hell — let’s become the most bicycle-friendly city in the country.

Why? Why the eff not? Oh and also because a more bicycle-friendly city is a more livable city, a healthier city, a more economically viable city, a more business- and visitor-friendly, a cleaner city, etc.

Earlier this summer Paris introduced a bike-sharing program that is already, in two short months, the envy of progressive municipalities around the world.
The program, Vélib (for “vélo,” bicycle, and “liberté,” freedom), is the latest in a string of European efforts to reduce the number of cars in city centers and give people incentives to choose more eco-friendly modes of transport.

This is about revolutionizing urban culture,” said Pierre Aidenbaum, mayor of Paris’s trendy third district, which opened 15 docking stations on Sunday. “For a long time cars were associated with freedom of movement and flexibility. What we want to show people is that in many ways bicycles fulfill this role much more today.”
Hot damn. And there’s more. It’s cheap as hell and makes so much sense that it just blew your mind.
10,600 bikes (scaling up to 20,600 by the end of the year) available at 750 “docking stations” situated every 1,000 feet. With a swipe of a credit card and a modest fee, Parisians (and tourists) can now pick up or drop off a bike in any neighborhood in the city.

Riders no longer need to worry about storing their bikes in tiny apartments. The program’s high-tech stations make theft virtually impossible. And with about twice as many bike stations as Métro stops, a free bike is pretty much always within reach.

Users can rent a bike online or at any of the stations, using a credit or debit card and leave them at any other station. A one-day pass costs 1 euro ($1.38), a weekly pass 5 euros ($6.90) and a yearly subscription 29 euros ($40), with no additional charges as long as each bike ride does not exceed 30 minutes. (Beyond that, there is an incremental surcharge, to make sure that as many bikes as possible stay in the rotation.)

The outdoor advertising company J. C. Decaux is paying for the bicycles, docking stations and maintenance in return for exclusive use of 1,628 urban billboards owned by the city. The city receives the rental income, and city officials say they are hoping the program will bring in millions of euros.
Imagine something similar in Philadelphia. Oh wait — the New York Times has already taken the liberty… albeit for Manhattan.
Once the Paris program demonstrates that bike-sharing can get people out of their cars and off the transit grid, Mr. Bloomberg should grab a page from the Parisian playbook and transform New York into the most bike-friendly metropolis in America.

Take Manhattan south of 86th Street (the exact parameters of the proposed congestion pricing zone). Imagine introducing 10,000 bikes, with stations at every avenue and every four streets. Now imagine taking a bike, at virtually no cost, from the Metropolitan Museum to the Metropolitan Opera, from Union Square to Chelsea Piers, from the Upper East Side to Wall Street, or from Times Square to Battery Park City.

Even a program as extensive as this would be much less expensive than any other transportation alternative on the table. One industry expert suggests that the cost to manufacture, install and maintain a program for 10 years comes to about $8,000 a bike. The program described above would cost New York about $8 million a year (which could be reduced depending on whether the city would be willing to allow advertising on the bicycles). In perspective: that’s a minuscule fraction of the estimated $2.1 billion cost of the 7 line subway extension now under way.
Vélib Bike-sharing in ParisSounds like a no-brainer. Perhaps that’s why Mayor “I Literally Kick Ass for Green Causes” Daley of Chicago is so smitten with the idea that this very weekend he’s meeting up with the popular Parisian Mayor Bertrand Delanoë to discuss the program to see how he can bring it to the Windy City.
Vélib is the brainchild of Mayor Bertrand Delanoë, a Socialist and longtime green campaigner who has set a target for the city to reduce car traffic by 40 percent by 2020. Since he took office in 2001, his administration has added about 125 miles of bicycle paths, at the expense of lanes for cars, prompting accusations from drivers that it has aggravated congestion in the city.”
See Daley is rocking out a Bike 2015 plan because he wants to make Chicago the most bicycle-friendly city in the country.

We think Philly should beat him to it.

So stay tuned. This is an idea we’re going to continue to push and support until we figure out just exactly how to bring it to fruition.

Councilman Nutter — we expect you to get on board. And to get on board QUICK.

A New French Revolution’s Creed: Let Them Ride Bikes [New York Times]
The Path of Least Congestion [New York Times]
You'll Look Sweet Upon the Seat of a Rental Bike [Chicagoist]
Bike 2015 Chicago [Official Site]

[ Photos via Flick users Comment vous dire? and t.o.l.i ]

Friday, September 07, 2007

The search for Philadelphia’s first LEED-certified restaurant

So Philadelphia’s a fairly big city — the fifth/sixth largest city in country — so it should probably have at least one LEED-certified restaurant by now. (“The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.”)

Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge (and, please, do correct us if we’re misinformed…), there are currently zero LEED-certified restaurants in the city of Philadelphia. And this is supposed to be a liberal, progressive, east coast city, right? It's time our restaurateurs get on board and lead via example.

Now obviously Judy Wicks is doing an amazing job at the White Dog Café and its eponymous foundation… but that can’t single-handedly make up for the fact that there is not a single LEED-certified restaurant in the entire city, it being almost 2008.

In a recent New York Times piece about restaurants going green, restaurants in Manhattan, San Francisco and Los Angeles were discussed as examples. None from Philadelphia.

Zagat Buzz, Zagat’s new national blog/enewsletter mashup, had a post last week about a variety of ways restaurants across the country are becoming more environmentally friendly, and what do you know? Restaurants in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and London, among others, were all cited for their efforts at making their restaurants more green (including rooftop gardens, eliminating bottled water, wind energy, etc.) — and again no Philadelphia restaurants were mentioned.

If Philadelphia truly wants to be a world class city and to completely and permanently shed the second-tier status, then it needs to be mentioned in the same breath / thought of in the same vein as these first-tier cities much more consistently.

And to do that, Philadelphians simply need to hold the city up to a higher standard across the board. There’s nothing wrong with constantly expecting the best from the city in which you live.

Like, if green restaurants are good PR for the city (not to mention its overall sustainability), then let’s get on the ball. If restaurateurs are hesitant to do it on their own, maybe it’s time for Mr. Nutter to step in and pass a tax abatement. Seriously.

But short of that happening, who will open Philadelphia’s first LEED-certified restaurant? And when?

What about Table 31, set to open next year in the to-be-LEED-certified Comcast Center. Sorry folks, the boys behind Table 31 allegedly didn’t think becoming LEED-certified was worth it and subsequently decided against it. Swell guys, thanks.

What about Stephen Starr’s new restaurant due to open on Rittenhouse Square next year, Parc — surely such a location abutting one of Philadelphia’s most prized public parks would be an ideal candidate? Alas, a LEED-certification is not on Mr. Starr’s list of priorities for Parc.

We hear Judy Wicks wants to get certified but is waiting on various energy efficiency upgrades, so we have no idea when the White Dog may achieve LEED certification.

Actually, we hear the first restaurant in the Philadelphia area to obtain a LEED certification will be an upscale organic pizza chain from Florida, called Pizza Fusion. Expected to debut in early 2008, it won’t even be in the city but in Ardmore instead.

Bummer, right? We love Philadelphia's restaurants and most of its restaurateurs
— we just wish more of them were willing to make bold progressive statements with their establishments.

It's kind of bollocks that they're not.

Somebody please prove us wrong.

It Takes More Than Veggies to Make a Restaurant Green [New York Times]
Five Paths to a Greener Restaurant [Zagat Buzz]
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) [Official Site]

[ Photo via Picnic ]