Sunday, March 30, 2008

It's Official: Awesomest Sequel Ever, Transformers 2, To Film In Philadelphia This June

Optimus Prime from Transformers 2Oscars — look out.

So the rumors have been around for almost a month. First, Sharon Pinkenson let it slip. At the same time, Director Micheal Bay (aka Mr. "Awesome") was seen scouting locations at Penn and Girard College. Then other scouts for the film were checking out the Masonic Temple.

And according to Mike Klein, it’s no longer an if, but rather a certainty:
“Scouts for the Transformers 2 movie - which will be shot here this spring-summer…”
And:
“Big, big-budget movie time will begin in June, when the sequel to Transformers will start shooting.”
No “will reportedly be shot here” or “will reportedly start shooting here.”

So we take that to mean he got the confirmation from the Philadelphia Film Office.

So there you have it.

Shia and Megan will reportedly both be back.

Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, Transformers StillAwesome.

So will Optimus. Doubly awesome.

And Megan.

Megan Fox in Transformers, still
Oh, right. Said that already.

And that awesome little whiny bitch Starscream too.

Starscream in Transformers, stillHopefully, John Turturro, Bernie Mac and Mr. and Mrs. Witwicky make it back too.

Probably time for a nice, collective OMG. O. M. G.

Oh yeah, and this guy.

<

Awesome, indeed.

Seriously, we smell Oscar.

Related:
Inqlings: Hollywood Comes East to Philly [ Philadelphia Inquirer, 1st Item ]
Inqlings: One Giant Leap For Wilson [ Philadelphia Inquirer, 1st Item, last sentence ]
Transformers 2 Filming in Philadelphia [ Tech Crunch ]
Inqlings: Transformers 2 Here? [ Philadelphia Inquirer, 2nd Item ]

Shia Labeouf and Megan Fox and Bumblebee in TransformersOh Shia…, you ladies' man, you.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Confidential to Charlie Manuel: Stop Taking Pat Burrell Out Of The Game In The Sixth Inning For "Defensive Purposes"

Our inaugural Phillies post of the 2008 season is a simple but specific managerial plea to Sir Charlie Manuel.

Please, please, Mr. Manuel — please resist the urge to take Pat Burrell out of the game in the sixth inning just because you’re used to doing so.

In the sixth inning, there is still a third of the game remaining. Pat is not such a significant liability in the field (he still has a rifle and his mobility is only somewhat limited) to justify removing his bat from the offense when there are still usually two at bats for him remaining in the game.
He got fewer swings because manager Charlie Manuel would bench him for spells when he struggled, and last season it became almost automatic that when the Phillies had a late lead, Manuel would pull Burrell for Michael Bourn for defensive purposes because Burrell doesn't have great range.

Burrell definitely would like a few more at-bats this year. He can make that happen by avoiding those notorious slumps and convincing Manuel he doesn't need to be replaced as often for defensive purposes.

"We've talked about that," said Burrell, who has been slowed at times with a bad right foot that required surgery in 2005. "The one thing he knows is that if I'm on second base in a tie game with two outs, I'll be the first to say, 'You might want to put somebody who has a little more speed in to score.' That's not an issue. But I'm missing some at-bats when I think I can help. We got into kind of a rut last year where it was kind of a two-way switch with third base and left field.
As the clubhouse knows, he's a machine.

So if you want to take him out in the eighth or ninth inning… when the Phils are already ahead by two runs or so… that’s more acceptable. But stop taking him out in the sixth. (Or the seventh.)

Seriously.

Ok? Good.

Pat’s going to have a big year this year. Just have a little confidence in the man.

See you on Monday.

Related:
The Left Fielder [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Pat Burrell Slideshow [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

[ Photo via Flickr user jakesg ]

Thursday, March 27, 2008

PLCB Debuts Its New Face — Surprisingly Not A Neanderthal Likeness

Remember back in late 2006 when Governor Rendell named a new PLCB CEO and then-chairman Jonathan Newman resigned, crying foul? (As did we.)

Well, after taking a year to regroup, the PLCB is just launching its new campaign intended to show that that whole ordeal was not as big a clusterfuck as it appeared… and that it has not, in fact, regressed back into the prehistoric times of alcohol sales.

To help, they hired “a new face” and Craigers has the deets:
Has the LCB reverted to the grim monopoly of dull, overpriced wines, as so many feared when Newman left? Are the Chairman's Selections doomed to disappear or suffer benign neglect? Or is the LCB in the midst of a revolutionary housecleaning update, as its new leadership suggests?

That depends, of course, on whom you ask.

"We are really in a major renaissance here," [Joe] Conti said, referring to the past year's overhaul of the LCB's infrastructure and retail systems.

Melissa Monosoff, a respected sommelier in the Philadelphia area, began her part-time duties in Harrisburg [in January] as the LCB's consulting sommelier. Her responsibilities will touch on wine selection, staff training and marketing.

"This is not back to the future. It's about going to the future," said Monosoff, a former Fountain sommelier who will also work at the soon-to-open Maia in Villanova. "So far, I'm really impressed."
So Melissa says the PLCB is going to be progressive. We hope so. And what's this “marketing” component of her new gig?
Monosoff knows she has a mighty challenge ahead as consulting sommelier. As wine buyer for the Four Seasons, she had her own frustrations dealing with LCB staff.

Improving service will be a big part of her job. Along with advising the LCB's buyers on Chairman's Selections, she will help develop training programs for the staff.

"This is a process," she said.

[Cory] Rice, the former clerk in Center City, said Monosoff was a smart addition, a sentiment echoed by many in the wine community.

"I think she's great, and she has the ability to bring that enthusiasm back," Rice said. "But who are they going to bring in to do it" in the stores?

"The rank-and-file clerks didn't care about wine."
Touché. An anecdote:
In January, Center City lost one of its most knowledgeable and customer-oriented clerks in Cory Rice. Rice came on six years ago in the excitement brought on by Newman. But early this year, Rice left his job as wine buyer at 19th and Chestnut Streets after clashes with coworkers over what he saw as a growing disregard for fine wine.

"They were cooking my wines!" said Rice, who arrived one December morning to find the heat turned up to nearly 80 degrees, a damaging temperature for wines. And it wasn't the first time.

"I've had my fill of the PLCB," he said. "The enthusiasm [for wine] is just not there anymore… We've just gone back to being State Stores."
So there’s that…

And then there’s the whole problem of finding someone to tell you what type of wine to pair with your cheesesteak!?! (Monosoff recommends champagne because it’s "bubbly, fresh, refreshing, and tart… and spritzy." Aww… kinda like Monosoff herself. No, seriously, after watching this interview of Monosoff on CBS3, she seems genuinely competent and nice — we wish her the best of luck.)
If nothing else, Monosoff knows the agency is counting on her to reconnect the public to "a person they can understand and know.

They're looking for me to become the new face of the PLCB."
Literally. Melissa’s face is front and center all over the Food and Wine section of Philly.com. The PLCB have the blanketing display-ad tactics in effect.


PLCB Melissa monosoff ads on philly.com
On the whole, not poorly done ads. (Although, upon click-through, the landing page could use some help. Confidential to the PLCB: Google Analytics, dog — shit is free and, applied judiciously, can make bounce rates drop like Colon Blow. But eff that… this is an image campaign, right?)

Marketing is one thing. But in-store experience is entirely another. Get a few enthusiastic and knowledgeable wine buyers or so per store and, then, we'll say you're making some progress.

Related:
Pa. liquor board trying to keep wines fine [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
Wine Expert On The Holidays [ CBS3, Video ]
Food & Wine [ Philly.com ]
Previously:
Ed Rendell, Captain of Cronyism

Monday, March 24, 2008

Breaking (Green Alert): This Phillies Season at Citizens Bank Park, Your Beer Cups To Biodegrade Along With Your Liver

beer at phillies game citizens bank parkRemember how impressed we were when we learned about all the Green stuff the Eagles were doing to minimize the environmental impact of their team, their games and their fans at those games?

And how we wondered when the Phillies would jump on the green bandwagon??

Well, no word on whether the Phillies organization had anything at all to do with it (we’re guessing not
), but Citizens Bank Park will be significantly greener this season regardless.

That’s because food-services-provider-to-the-stars-masses — Philly’s very own Aramark — is introducing several environmentally friendly practices for the 2008 season at ten of the Major League Baseball parks it services.
Practices will include recycling glass, plastic and cardboard generated from game-day preparation; use of biodegradable utensils, cups and napkins made from post-consumer fiber; and recycling of frying oil to be used as biodiesel fuel.

The practices will be instituted at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; Coors Field, Denver; Fenway Park, Boston; McAfee Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.; Minute Maid Park, Houston; Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore; and PNC Park, Pittsburgh.
If you’re thinking, “big deal — biodegradable cups, napkins and utensils? So what??” Think again.

Greenware cups biodegrade in 50 days instead of a couple centuries.

Plus — we, meaning Phillies fans, are a bunch of Fatty McHugeLargeFattingtons:
On OPENING DAY, fans [at CBP] are expected to consume:

15,000 Hot Dogs
6,000 Soft Pretzels
5,000 Philadelphia Cheesesteaks
4,000 Pounds of French Fries
4,000 Sausage and Pepper Sandwiches
3,000 Slices of Pizza
3,000 Bags of Peanuts
2,000 Orders of Chicken Tenders
2,000 Bags of Cotton Candy
2,000 Bags of Popcorn
1,500 Ice Cream Helmet Cups
1,200 Orders of Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab Fries
1,100 Bull’s BBQ Sandwiches
1,000 Orders of Nachos
1,000 Hamburgers
800 Bags of Cracker Jack
700 The Schmitter sandwiches from McNally’s Tavern
500 Hoagies and Sandwiches from Planet Hoagie
400 Gallons of Ice Cream
That’s a lot of food. Which means a lot of napkins and utensils as well.

And that's just from one game.

Multiply that by 81 (or 70… if you want to account for the opening-day binge/sell-out factor) and you have a veritable shit-ton of food.

And so, by using extremely biodegradable napkins, utensils and cups with said shit-ton of food, Aramark is, in fact, making a big difference.

Which is further reason for you to pass on the crappy light beer in a plastic bottle and instead enjoy a delicious local craft brew on draft, which will come in a biodegradable cup. Yards, Sly Fox, Flying Fish, Troegs and Victory are all on draft at CBP — it's the best beer-drinking ballpark in the country after all.

What about that “recycling glass, plastic and cardboard generated from game-day preparation” bit?

Good question.
At Fenway Park, Coors Field, Minute Maid Park, PETCO Park, Safeco Field and Turner Field ARAMARK Facility Services runs the ballparks’ recycling programs, which include collecting, separating and removing recyclables.
Aramark can only recycle what they control. And, unfortunately, other than during preparation, Aramark will not be recycling that stuff in Philadelphia because they’re not in charge of concourse waste disposal here, i.e. the stuff fans throw away.

Which likely means 10,000+ plastic water, soda and beer bottles will be shamefully thrown away instead of recycled each home game.

And that crime is on the Phillies organization.
On OPENING DAY, fans [at CBP] are expected to consume:

5,000 Bottles of Water
3,000 Gallons of Soda
(They don’t account for bottles of beer… which we figure to mean it’s at least 5,000.)

There’s absolutely no reason why the Phillies can’t contract with Blue Mountain Recycling (as the Eagles do) to take care of recycling all of their waste.

By not doing so, the Phillies organization is simply disrespecting their fans and their city. About whose future well-being, they apparently do not care.

(Not exactly surprising.)

Prove us wrong, Phillies ownership. We'll be happy you did. Tell us you recycle plastic bottles.

Our spirits are buoyed, however, by the fact that Aramark left the Mets' Shea Stadium out of the greening project entirely… probably because they astutely concluded that Shea was simply already too giant a dump for any amount of recycling to help.

Oh, and one other piece of good CBP-related news — again, thanks to Aramark — that should have Team Philebrity/Phoodie pretty psyched:

the ridiculously long line for crab fries at chickie's and pete's at the phillies citizens bank parkThe Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab Fries stand (above) is going to double in size and capacity for 2008. So hopefully that will cut down on the inning-and-a-half wait time that was standard in ’07.

Oh, disgustingly-white-thick-and-gluey-cheese-sauce — how we miss thee…

Related:
Aramark has environmental agenda for Phillies' field [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]
Food Service Facts: Citizens Bank Park [ Ballparkfoods.com, Aramark ]

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

[ Photos via Flickr users Okaypro (top) and gohlkus (bottom) ]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Urban Dispatch: Converting Underused and Blighted Commercial Alleys into Vibrant Urban Assets/Livable Streets

center city alley philadelphia[ From time to time, we’ll post a dispatch from another city that could serve as an example of how Philadelphia might accomplish something similarly smart. ]

We were leafing through last month’s Metropolis when we came upon a nice little article by Ms. Design-Phan — Philly’s very own… — about reclaiming urban alleyways.

And since we had heard that the Center City District was already evaluating related policies to implement here, we knew we’d probably want to share.
Stereotypically dark, narrow spaces heaped with trash and left to the jurisdiction of rats, stray cats, and sometimes drug dealers and prostitutes, alleys are finally having their day in the sun.

Residents worldwide have flocked back into town centers over the past decade, putting urban real estate at a premium.

Now Baltimore and Melbourne—following in the foot-steps of Copenhagen, which has pioneered the return of street space to citizens since the 1960s—are embracing planning policies that encourage the use of alleyways for shops, dining, and communal gardens.
It’s true. Center City is small. All of the real estate is precious. And not to be wasted by surface parking lots, parking garages and/or dumpsters.
A bustling alley in melbourneIn Melbourne, business owners have been reclaiming laneways since the mid-1990s, but the city only passed an amendment formalizing the phenomenon last March.

The north-south network of lanes and arcades sprang up in the nineteenth century to forge passages through a dense grid of extralong blocks.

As population growth created a demand for services, restaurants, bars, and boutiques opened in these low-rent spots.

When urbanist Jan Gehl, who spearheaded Copenhagen’s public-space movement, was brought in as a consultant in 1994, he recommended revitalizing this network; by 2004 the expanse of active alleys had increased from 328 yards to more than two miles. “The lanes,” he says, “went from utilitarian—let’s get from A to B—to peopled environments filled with creative and enjoyable street life.”
“Creative and enjoyable street life,” folks. That’s what livable streets, i.e. successful cities, are all about.

The tireless urbanists at the Center City District recognize as much. They’re already working on a bunch of potential solutions to use here in Philadelphia:
Unlike successful alleys and small streets in residential areas of Center City, commercial counterparts downtown are underutilized due to neglect and unsavory conditions. But other cities have shown that these intimate spaces can be reclaimed as pleasant pedestrian links or as destinations on their own.

The CCD surveyed 43 alleys and narrow streets within District boundaries in May [2007]f, identifying 27 east of Broad Street and 16 west of Broad. Most are service corridors for the backs of buildings and are used for deliveries and dumpsters. Conditions at 11 alleys were found to be particularly bad, with homeless individuals encamped among overflowing dumpsters.
They say:
Enforcement is key — but it must focus on both irresponsible businesses and on the anti-social behavior of those who rummage through dumpsters and sleep in the alleys.

A more cooperative or centralized system of dumpster management among multiple owners could help, as can new compactor technology that reduces the amount of space needed.

New restaurants should place compactors inside. The CCD is currently examining best practices from other cities. Downtown Vancouver, for example, has developed a plan to eliminate dumpsters altogether.
[…]
Ultimately, this isn't only about aesthetics. As several cities have seen, adjacent building rents can rise and the assessed value of real estate improves when alleys are reclaimed for public use.
No. Doy.

Yo Nutts — you and Rina Cutler et al. got somebody on this??

Cuz, livable streets man… livable streets are where it's frickin' at.

an alley in melbourne
Related:
Back-Alley Breakthroughs [ Metropolis ]
Commercial Alleys: Turning a Liability into an Asset [ Center City Digest - PDF ]

[ Photos via Flickr user martypants (middle right) and Darrian Traynor (bottom) ]

Monday, March 17, 2008

Breaking: Center City To Finally Get Its Sexy On (Architecturally Speaking) Via Awesome Winka Dubbeldam-Designed Unknot Tower of Condo/Hotel Hotness

The Unknot Tower designed by Winka Dubbeldam, Developed by CREI
Folks, this is big news — big news, we tell you — and on a number of levels.

So let’s ease into it.

- One: the location.

For a while now, we’ve been high on the virtues of Midtown Village, especially for a boutique hotel project. And rightly so — it’s ripe for a cool property. It’s one of the most vibrant areas of the city. And while 12th and Chestnut may not be, say, 13th and Sansom just yet — it’s only a block and a half away. I.e. it’s a very smart place to invest in, as it will be thoroughly rad in no time.

So this development looks to be the catalyst that Market East has been waiting for… the development that kick starts the extension of the vibrancy of 13th Street further east.

- Two: the building. (Duh).

Are you kidding? It’s going to be unreal. We just wish we had more renderings to show you just how sexy this thing is. Oh wait, we do.
The Unknot Tower designed by Winka Dubbeldam, Developed by CREIBang.

27 stories of boom-city. It rises to its highest point as it moves back from Chestnut Street toward Sansom Street.

Three views of The Unknot Tower designed by Winka Dubbeldam, Developed by CREIWe love bold architecture. But we love it even more when it seamlessly fits into the urban streetscape
… and in Philadelphia, accomplishing as much is no small feat.

And the fact that it is going to hold retail, a restaurant and a hotel in addition to condos means it is going to be readily accessible to the people. How refreshing. This could be the best highly accessible new building in Philadelphia in decades.

- Three: the architect.

You may not have ever heard of her before but that’s all about to change. Winka Dubbeldam is for real. Men’s Vogue recently said of her, “Winka Dubbeldam redefines architecture for the digital age.”

And Unknot is one of her hottest buildings yet.

Lucky for Philadelphia, she’s a Professor of Architecture at the Penn School of Design. And the progressive local development firm CREI has taken a liking to her skills and subsequently hired her to design two of their residential condo towers they’re building in Northern Liberties. One, American Loft, is almost complete. The other, Q, has yet to break ground.

Regarding American Loft, a little illustrative anecdote about how Winka designs and deals with problematic (read bullshit) zoning, as she faced in Philadelphia.
The [American Loft] building, by architect Winka Dubbeldam of New York City's Archi-Tectonics, looks most distinctive close to the ground, because the sloped base appears to hover in the air.

This aspect came in response to a major design challenge. The zoning envelope mandated that the structure stand on concrete columns over an open parking area. With ground-level parking, passers-by would have glimpsed unattractive views of cars, rather than feeling any sense of connection to the building.

Dubbeldam therefore sloped the parking area; cars enter the space at street level, proceeding downhill until they're one storey below grade. As they go, they pass over a grassy carpet sprouting from porous pavers. Dubbeldam thought greenery would make the concrete look friendlier.
We’d think so too.

And this is what Men’s Vogue had to say:
[Winka Dubbeldam] is a leading light among a new generation of digitally driven practitioners who came of age in an era of flowcharts and 3-D modeling software. "We're not into stylistic things," she says, "but deriving form from performance."

The culmination of this heady approach—which shifts the traditional emphasis of architecture from form to process—is seen in the emerging Unknot Tower in Philadelphia, a breathtaking triangular glass building (luxury downtown hotel combined with apartments and retail) that folds in on itself.
Yeah. That "Unknot Tower in Philadelphia"… that’s the building that going up at 1122-1128 Chesnut Street.

CREI asked Winka to pull out all the stops because they had their eyes on something special. And she obliged.

- Four: the hotel.

Did we mention that the 145-room boutique hotel is going to be operated by GHM Hotels? GHM Hotels, the International premier brand of hotels that currently has 14 ultra-luxurious properties around the world — in places like Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Phuket, and Milan — yet only one other location in the U.S, the ridiculously sexy Setai in South Beach??

Well it is. That’s how hot this building is. CREI could have never lured GHM to Philadelphia with just any development. It had to be amazing. And Dubbeldam delivered.

- Five: the restaurant.

Continuing with the very upscale and superior theme, the restaurant for the hotel has already been secured and it’s a five-star special. Monsieur
Joël Robuchon will be doing the signature restaurant: one of his L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants — his third in the United States (New York and Vegas have the others).

The l’atelier concept was at the forefront of the movement to reconnect the chef and the kitchen with the diner, a movement that is just now picking up mainstream recognition — thanks to, in large part, Sir David Chang and his Momofukin’.
Dissolving the boundaries between kitchen and dining room, L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, whose name refers to an artist’s studio, allows a dynamic interaction between chef and diner, yielding direct access to the creative process. Seats are arranged around a V-shaped bar that looks directly into the kitchen; what was once behind-the-scenes becomes center stage.

A kitchen opened on a circular bar with 36 seats that allows clients to follow the service, to watch the succession of dishes, and to compose their own meal according to their appetite, as the menu offers all the great classics to taste in small, tapas-style portions.
This is a shot of L'Atelier New York (left) and L'Atelier Hong Kong (right).

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon New York and Hong KongOk. To summarize:

1. The location is borderline perfect.

2. The architect is well on her way to being a veritable starchitect.

3. The building design is straight-up astonishing.

4. The hotel is an international luxury brand that doesn’t even have a hotel in New York, Vegas or LA and they’re going to open one of their hot-as-shit properties here, in the Illa…

5. The restaurant is slated to be not just any five-star restaurant, but one from a world-renowned chef and restaurateur, the seventh L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. #7 will be at this project in Philadelphia. The other six are located in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Las Vegas and New York respectively — exactly the type of metropolitan company Philadelphia wants to keep.

So in case you were wondering, yea… you could say the Dubbeldam-designed, CREI-developed, GHM-managed Unknot Tower and Hotel coming to 12th and Chestnut is a proverbial winner for Philadelphia.

This project is so good for the city’s image, City Hall should practically be subsidizing it.

future site of the unknot tower by winka dubbeldamAnd guess what?? No NIMBYs (to our knowledge) are standing in the project's way. Two buildings will have to be demolished (above), but they're totally expendable. Thankfully, the Preservation Alliance doesn't object. Either does the East of Broad Improvement Association. EBIA is actually all for the project. Moreover, parking is going to buried underground and CREI has already received approval to begin construction.

Does this all sound too good to be true? Actually, yes. Come to think of it, we very well could have dreamt all of this up… on account of smoking peyote for six straight days.

But shit — we sure as hell hope not. That would be heartbreaking.

CREI: Please go ahead and break ground on this project, like, immediately.

Related:
Approved Development Would Bring in Residential, Tourist Dollars [ Philadelphia Metro ]
Winka Dubbeldam Redefines Architecture [ Men's Vogue ]
American Loft Building [ Design Build Network ]
Archi-tectonics [ Official Site ]
CREI: Creating Real Estate Innovations [ Official Site ]
GHM Hotels [ Official Site ]
Joël Robuchon [ Official Site ]

Previously:
Hotel Hotwires on The Illadelph

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Holy Hell — Is That the Sound of Us Agreeing With Michael Smerconish?!?

Why, yes — yes it is.
It is ridiculous that governance of the nation's third-largest state is changing hands because two consenting adults swapped sex for money instead of the conventional cosmopolitan or margarita.

When the dust settles over this brouhaha, I hope we'll be ready for a long-overdue, realistic, adult conversation about prostitution. It's time to bring the world's oldest profession aboveboard in communities willing to allow it, clean up the trade, and clamp down on the exploitation. Let government share in the revenue, but otherwise stay out of the private affairs of consenting adults. Beyond the role of the tax man, prostitution doesn't warrant the involvement of federal authorities.

Instructive is the way in which Spitzer was caught. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the financial world has been required to alert the feds when evidence arises of conduct that could be linked to terrorism. Spitzer's suspicious money transfers were the thread that led to his discovery. Some functionary or other recognized that this was a case of titillation, not terrorism, yet nevertheless committed the resources that brought about Spitzer's public crash. What a waste of time, expertise, and the people's money.
[…]
With regard to the [Spitzer] investigation, [Alan] Dershowitz told me that "they used 5,000 wiretaps. They intercepted 6,000 e-mails. Every hour spent on going after prostitution is an hour that could have been spent on going after terrorists and going after people who victimize.
Uh… It’s true.
Dershowitz also said: "You have to remember that 30 years ago, it was a crime to masturbate or fornicate or commit adultery or to engage in homosexuality, and these stupid, stupid prostitution laws are a remnant of that old approach to private morality.

"Twenty years from now, people will look back at this and say, 'What? Somebody had to resign or be indicted because he went and paid for an adult prostitute who was making $5,000 an hour?' Where's the victim here?"
Amen.

Seriously.

What’s more — he was probably even a more effective governor after a little face time with that.

shley Alexandra Dupre is the petite brunette whom federal authorities say New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer paid thousands of dollars for sex last month at a swanky Washington, D.C., hotel. Dupre was known as Ashley Youmans growing up in Beachwood, a blue-collar town near Barnegat Bay at the Jersey Shore.Ridiculous.

Related:
Michael Smerconish: "It's time for prostitution to be legalized" or "I'm pretty sure this is the most sense I've made in, like, 14 years" [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yards Debuts New Look Labels in Anticipation of the Opening of Their New Brewery

Yards Brewing Company beers, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaA few weeks back, Yards celebrated the launch of their new website with a little shindig at the always awesome Ansill.

In a few short weeks from now, they will hopefully be celebrating the launch and opening of their new brewery in Northern Liberties.

Right now, they are putting the final touches on the new spot at 901 N. Delaware Ave (Delaware and Poplar) for an expected April opening. You can check out construction photos here.

For the second coming, they’ve also gone ahead and tweaked the designs of their bottle labels, four of which are displayed above.

And they’re bringing back some old brews too, including Old Ale, Trubbel de Yards, and Brawler.

Godspeed Yards. We can’t wait to tour the new digs. And to enjoy our first Saison of the spring…

Yards Brewing Company, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaMeanwhile, it’s abundantly clear that the inaugural Philly Beer Week was a huge success. (And how.)

Hopefully, you all enjoyed yourselves thoroughly. (It was kinda hard not to
)

Related:
Yards Brewing Company [ Official Site ]
Three Cheers for Beers [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
It doesn't take beer goggles to see how hot Beer Week is [ Philadelphia Daily News ]

[ Hat Tip to Rickety Cricket on the new labels ]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Philadelphia’s Roast Pork Sandwiches Score Some Love From The Washington Post

The roast pork italian at tony luke's in philadelphiaIt’s always nice to see Philadelphia’s peerless sandwiches receive attention from the national media. And they haven’t exactly been wanting for attention recently… after being lauded in mags like Maxim, Esquire, etc.

But it was nevertheless great to see a little feature about Philadelphia’s sublime roast pork sandwiches in the Washington Post this past weekend.
What a concept! You have roast pork piled inside a sub [sic] roll, of course, but it is leavened with sharp provolone cheese and, wonder of wonders, broccoli rabe or spinach. The whole mixture is usually topped with pork juices, making for a delightful combination of varying tastes. It's filling and tasty, like a cheesesteak, but the subtle interplay between the pork and the tart greens, between the provolone and the spices in the juices, is heaven compared with the sledgehammer-like cheesesteak. (Sharp provolone vs. Cheez Whiz? Please.) And you don't go away feeling as if you've ingested a grease bomb.
[…]
The sandwiches at Tony Luke's are a bit spicier than the ones I've had at John's Roast Pork in South Philly and at DiNic's in the Reading Terminal Market. Tony says his version is a direct descendant of the roast pork sandwiches his father used to serve at their South Philadelphia home. Today's version has exacting standards.

The meat is a ham that has been slow-roasted for eight hours. Once cooked, it doesn't rest in its juices; "that makes it dry and stringy," Tony says. The provolone is not your usual fare: "We're talking about a very hard, sharp cheese, with some snap." As for the greens, broccoli rabe gives bite, as it were, to the sandwich; spinach is milder. You can order pork sandwiches without greens at sub [sic] places, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't want that interplay of ingredients.

And the bread, so important in any Philly sub, must be soft on the inside but crispy on the outside, to hold the cup of juices that is added when the sub [sic] is made.
The writer did a pretty good job. (That is, aside from calling the sandwiches “subs.”) He hit the trinity of roast pork institutions. If someone asked us where to go to do a roast pork Italian taste test, we’d definitely send them to Tony Luke’s, DeNic’s and John’s Roast Pork.

Although, John’s is probably our #1. Regardless — they are all insanely fricking delicious.

Related:
Gee Whiz, Cheesesteak Isn’t Philly’s Best Sub [ Washington Post ]

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eating/Drinking The Illadelph: Shot and a Beer Special at Doobies

The Shot and a beer special at Doobies[ In honor of beer week we have a special Eating The Illadelph feature, another menu item of particular note… ]

Everybody knows about the special at Bob and Barbara’s. You get a shot of Jim Beam and a can of PBR for $3. Not a bad deal for when you’re looking to tie one on. Or on those occasions when you had $10 to your name and you kinda needed to find the bar where that amount would still allow you to catch a buzz. (We’re just sayin’…)

However, not as many are aware of the virtues of the bump and a beer special at Doobies — a huge upgrade in one regard (the beer) but unfortunately a downgrade in the other (the shot).

Doobies pairs one of the best beers that you'll ever find available in a can, one Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale, with one of the cheapest whiskey’s that you’ll ever find in a glass bottle, Heaven Hill Kentucky Bourbon.

But regardless, the beer more than makes up for it. Sly Fox is fast becoming our favorite local brewery other than Yards (what can we say — we're first and foremost Philadelphians). Their Pikeland Pils rivals Victory’s Prima Pils and their Royal Weisse rivals Yards Saison for our favorites in their respective categories.

And the Sly Fox Phoenix Pale Ale is flat out the truth.

Next time you have the means, we highly recommend you pick one up from your local barkeep. And if they don't carry it — ask your bartender to stock that shit.

And for $5, we are always more than happy to imbibe with one or two of the specials at Doobies.

We just wish someone would go ahead and team up the Sly Fox Pale Ale with a more respectable bourbon, say like Knob Creek, for a special that we could truly get down with. POPE, we’re looking at you. Hell, you could charge us $7 for that and we’d still be some pretty happy campers.

Fucking sweet nectar.

But for now, it’s Doobies. And that aint bad.

Happy Beer Week everyone. American’s #1 beer city indeed.

Related:
Philadelphia Makes Its Case As Nation's Best Beer-Drinking City [ USA Today / AP ]

[ Photo by Rickety Cricket ]

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hotel Hotwire: Deciphering the Deal Between Stephen Starr and The Sofitel (and What It Means For Philadelphia)

The rounded bar at the Sofitel, La Bourse, in the renovated stock exchange building.Our post last week about Stephen Starr’s involvement with The Chelsea — the boutique hotel project in Atlantic City — got us to thinking about his upcoming partnership with The Sofitel Philadelphia.

Starr has signed a letter of intent to take over operation of the Sofitel’s restaurant (currently Chez Collette) and its lobby bar and lounge (La Bourse, [above via the New York Times]). The deal is not official, but it nevertheless suggests certain calculated movements in the city’s hotel industry.

So we’re going to offer a little analysis about what this means for Philadelphia and said hotel / hospitality industry.

First, some background.

Ever since 2004 or so, Stephen Starr has had hotels on the mind, in varying degrees and concepts… from opening his own independent boutique hotel here in Philadelphia or New York to doing the main restaurants at hotels like the W, the Chelsea or, indeed, the Sofitel.

In 2005, the Starr Restaurant Organization formally created its Starr Restaurant Hotel Group which has been fairly aggressively pursuing opportunities for hotel projects ever since. The results are impressive.

1. The restaurant at the W Fort Lauderdale, to be a sibling steakhouse to Barclay Prime.
2. Two restaurants at The Chelsea, another Prime sibling and Teplitsky’s
3. The main restaurant at the W Philadelphia, set to open in 2010
4. The Sofitel Restaurant and Lobby Bar, concept and timing TBA.
5. A potential restaurant at the W South Beach (Miami) Condos + Hotel

So it’s likely that SRO is becoming more appealing to hoteliers since a) they are no longer greenhorns in the biz and b) they continue to have a track record of success with their non-hotel restaurants.

So bully for them, we guess.

Ok, now let’s look at the specifics of the prospective project at the Sofitel Philadelphia.

First, we probably should come out and say it… The Sofitel is Philadelphia’s best hotel.

Don’t look so surprised.

The ultra-friendly service is pretty close to impeccable. The location is perfect. Seriously. Great for basing a stay in the Illy. Bustling corner. Nice block of 17th with trees. Center of Rittenhouse. And with the Kimpton set to open a new hotel property across the street, the corner of 17th and Sansom is only going to get doper.

The Sofitel at 17th and Sansom is among a number of hotels in a re-energized Philadelphia that have brought a new sense of style to the city.Also, the Sofitel is rated #1 out of 77 Philadelphia hotels on Trip Advisor for a reason. Sure, the Four Seasons and the Rittenhouse Hotel are fancier, but really, they’re not exactly cool. And it’s not like we’re their target demographic. (If we are, it’s their bad because they certainly haven’t made us feel that way.)

And as anyone who’s ever had friends visit from out of town knows, the only place to recommend for them to stay is the Sofitel. It’s simply cooler than anything else Philadelphia has to offer.

The Ritz is fine. So is the Park Hyatt.

But the Sofitel combines all of it assets best and comes out clearly on top: the service, the location, the style, the rooms, the beds, the price, la bourse, et al.

Ok, that said, what about this deal… If they’re already #1, why hire Starr?

Well, honestly, because Philadelphia’s hotels are finally getting cooler and the Sofitel is finally going to have some competition in this regard.

The Ritz Carlton is getting Eric Ripert to open a new restaurant in its awesome Rotunda.

Kimpton is opening two properties in the city (thank Christmas) — one of which, as mentioned above, will be directly across the street from the Sofitel in the Architects Building. The Park Hyatt has its relatively new XIX, which, while still a little under-the-radar for most, nevertheless boasts a pretty great bar and lounge.

Then there’s the forthcoming W Philadelphia, which is going to bring its brand’s reputation plus a Stephen Starr restaurant; the forthcoming Le Meridien, which has a European-inspired influence like the Sofitel (and is on a slightly higher tier); and the inevitable independent boutique hotels that are sure to open in Center City and the surrounding nabes in the next year or two. The first of which could be a Bart Blatstein/Tower Development production at Second and Poplar in NoLibs.

(If there is one thing we are surprised about regarding this deal, it’s that it means that SRO was saavy enough to not have non-compete clauses included in his contract with Starwood, the Sofitel, etc. because his restaurants and bars are obviously going to be competing with each other for business. But, ideally, they’ll be plenty of business to go around…)

Moreover, the Sofitel brand in general is moving into the luxury end or the market.

Their Philadelphia property is already there
at least in our minds at least in awesomeness.

The lobby bar and lounge, La Bourse, is currently a gem — that, like XIX, is kinda off the radar of most locals — for a laid-back drink after work or a few relaxing cocktails a little later in the evening. We’ll almost be sad to see it go. But we’re comforted by the fact that the greater good will be served.

Because a vibrant dining and nightlife scene are critical to a strong hospitality industry. And Philadelphia needs to continue to nurture its strong hospitality industry if it wants the city’s overall resurgence to continue. The relation between it and new residents and new businesses is symbiotic. Additional visitors will draw new residents. (And vice versa.) And more businesses too. If the city appeals to visitors, it will be a desirable place to live and work as well.

As for Chez Colette, the Sofitel’s three-diamond restaurant, we have had a few delicious meals there over the years. We haven’t been in a while, but it certainly held its own in the past. (And again, excellent, uber-friendly service. And by the French no less!?!)

So, again, it might be sad to some of its regulars to see it go, however the prospect of bringing a new, original Starr concept to the space is too appealing to really get all that choked up about it.

Because Starr teaming up with the Sofitel is just plain good for the hospitality industry here. It will only incite further investment from other existing hotels and, ideally, even make Philadelphia more appealing and ripe to new hotels considering entering the fray.

So Steve-O, SRO and Sofitel: go ahead and finalize that deal. We’re looking forward to seeing what you all cook up.

We do, however, expect it to be something special. Don’t disappoint.

Related:
Starr in the Sofitel [ Food and Drinq ]
Starr expands to hotels [ Philadelphia Business Journal ]
The Sofitel Philadelphia [ Official Site ]

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Inga Saffron Is Boss

[ Note: Originally, this was part of a longer South Street Bridge post, however, we now realize it should have been its own. ]

BIG UPS go out to our homegirl — the inimitable Inga Saffron — for her nice profile in the March issue of Philadelphia Magazine. (Yes, she’s our homegirl… even if she doesn’t know it.)

Be sure to give it a read. Saffron has been nothing short of a godsend for Philadelphia (and, ahem, the Inquirer) — not so much because of her critiques of buildings like the Symphony House or Citizens Bank Park (although those are great too), but rather because of her tireless advocacy for a better Philadelphia, a better quality of place and built environment, from the ground up.

Philadelphia would be a frickin' mess (even more so than it is, if you can believe that) if it weren’t for her continually lambasting the dire state of urban planning, zoning, and develop-mania here for the past however many years.

We know we are definitely much smarter having had the privilege of reading her for these past half-dozen years or so.

So thank you Inga Saffron. Please don’t stop anytime soon.

A few of our favorite greatest hits from Inga over the years:
Related:
Why Are Men Who Build Skyscrapers Afraid of This Woman? [ Philadelphia Magazine ]
A Room of My Own [ Changing Skyline ]
Earlier:
Action Alert: The New South Street Bridge Is Not Completely Lost Yet

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Action Alert: The New South Street Bridge Is Not Completely Lost Yet

While we give the CCRA (or rather some of its NIMBY members) a bit of a hard time now and again, the CCRA does a pretty good job for the most part. For example, their ongoing efforts to fix the less than desirable design of the new South Street Bridge, even now at the last minute, while not ideal, are much better than nothing.

And this week you too can actually help.

There’s a two-part design charette for the bridge design open to the public. It’s a chance to possibly rectify some of the bridge design’s serious flaws.
The design forum, which comes about after a year of nagging by South Street community activists, does suggest a dawning recognition on the part of the city that this $54 million bridge project isn't primarily about moving cars efficiently. It's about forging a gracious, urban-scaled link between two vital neighborhoods, Center City and University City.

Neighborhood residents have argued for years that the new bridge should feel like the continuation of a city street, rather than a highway interloper in the style of the no-frills Walnut Street Bridge.

But it wasn't until November that architect James C. Campbell and former ward leader Terry Gillen were able to cobble together official support for a design charrette, an architectural-brainstorming session. Using state funds secured by Sen. Vincent Fumo, they've hired Wallace Roberts & Todd - the firm that assisted PennPraxis with its Delaware waterfront study - to guide the dialogue.
The good news — “Campbell already has a laundry list of changes he believes would be easy to implement.”

The bad news — “Though city engineers say they're willing to consider ideas that bubble up during the charrette, it's unlikely they'll take up any suggestions. David Perri, the Streets Department official responsible for the project, says there's too little time and even less flexibility.”

About that, we will defer to the indefatigable Ms. Saffron once more:
So the odds are that the South Street Bridge will stand as a monument to a lost civic opportunity.

Because it is the southernmost of the Schuylkill's Center City crossings, it could have been - should have been - an iconic entry to Philadelphia and a magnificent podium for admiring the city's growing skyline. But the Street administration saw it only as a routine infrastructure project.

Here's a perfect example of where political leadership and strong city planning could have teamed up to make a difference. Instead, the bridge was farmed out to a firm that specializes in highway projects, Gannett Fleming. After it designed the bridge according to federal interstate standards, Gannett Fleming hired an architect, H2L2, to decorate it.
[…]
The firm's architects say they are as disappointed with the look of the South Street Bridge as everyone else.

"It's essentially a highway overpass," designer James Templeton concedes. "We did a lot of sketches, but the city never saw them."
So the design charette is really our collective last stand. But a stand notetheless. So don’t give up just yet. Remember: this project was pushed through by the Street Administration. Fortunately, Mayor Nutter is pro urban design and has promised a New Day. Let’s hold him to it.

Meanwhile, the question still remains where Penn and their Penn Connects stand on this whole thing. They are supposed to be trying to make better and stronger connections with Center City. Um, duh
we can’t imagine a better place to start than with this project. (We seem to remember the University petitioning the city to make the nightmarishly unsafe Walnut Street Bridge more pedestrian friendly a few years ago…)

So we’re not sure why they haven’t stepped in to wield their clout and demand the city to make a better bridge. Penn Connects?? Hello??? We could definitely use a little help over here.

Regardless, you all should definitely come out this Thursday and Saturday and make it heard why Philadelphia needs something far superior than a cookie cutter highway bridge. Just look at the Walnut Street Bridge:
Third, let's remember that urban bridges are an integral part of the street grid which, though it serves cars, belongs primarily to pedestrians. The walk across the Walnut Street Bridge to a performance at the World Café should be just as pleasant—if not more so—than the walk down South Broad to the Kimmel.

The pedestrian scale lighting added to the bridges in 2000 was a move in the right direction, as are the new connections to the Schuylkill River Trail, but traffic-calming measures are sorely needed and narrower travel lanes, dedicated bike lanes and wider sidewalks would be good places to start.
And BIG UPS go out to our homegirl — the inimitable Inga Saffron
for her nice profile in the March issue of Philadelphia Magazine. (Yes, she’s our homegirl… even if she doesn’t know it.)

Be sure to give it a read. Saffron has been nothing short of a godsend for Philadelphia (and, ahem, the Inquirer) — not so much because of her critiques of buildings like the Symphony House or Citizens Bank Park (although those are great too), but rather because of her tireless advocacy for a better Philadelphia, a better quality of place, from the ground up.

Philadelphia would be a frickin' mess (even more so than it is, if you can believe that) if it weren’t for her continually lambasting the dire state of urban planning, zoning, and develop-mania here for the past however many years.

We know we are definitely much smarter having had the privilege of reading her for these past half dozen years or so.

So thank you Inga Saffron. Please don’t stop anytime soon.

A few of our favorite greatest hits from Inga over the years:
And deets on the charette:

"Thursday evening, March 6th, starting at 6:30 pm there will be a pre-charette meeting to discuss the status of the Bridge and the objectives of the design charette and what we hope to accomplish — in other words, to help set the agenda.

On Saturday morning, March 8th, starting at 9:00 am there will be visioning workshop looking in depth at certain aspects of the Bridge. Both the pre-charette meeting and the design charette will be held at the Philadelphia School at 2501 Lombard Street."

Ok. Good talk. See you out there.

Related:
Last hope for forging gracious link across river [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
South Street Bridge: Philadelphia deserves better [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]
CCRA Attacks South Street Bridge Design [ Changing Skyline ]
A pedestrian-friendly South Street bridge would benefit city, students [ Daily Pennsylvanian ]
Bridges should play a big role in Philly's waterfront development plans [ Philadelphia City Paper ]
Why Are Men Who Build Skyscrapers Afraid of This Woman? [ Philadelphia Magazine ]
A Room of My Own [ Changing Skyline ]

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Eating (Outside) The Illadelph: First Look at Stephen Starr’s New Atlantic City Restaurants, Chelsea Prime and Teplitsky’s, Both in The Chelsea

The Chelsea, a new boutique hotel to open in Atlantic City in 2008As Michael Klein would have you know, Stephen Starr has got quite a few projects in the works. A Barclay Prime offshoot at the W Fort Lauderdale; a concept-TBD restaurant at the W Philadelphia; his own micro-hotel at 7th and Chestnut… with an accompanying gastro-pub in the former Angelina space; Parc at the Parc Rittenhouse; a new Washington Square; the restaurant and lobby at the Sofitel Philadelphia, and that’s not even mentioning the two new restaurants he’s opening at the start of this coming summer season at Atlantic City’s first non-gaming boutique hotel since the 1960s, The Chelsea (above).

Slated to open when the hotel opens just after Memorial Day 2008 are 1) Chelsea Prime, a steakhouse inspired by Barclay Prime, and 2) Teplitsky’s, a more casual restaurant named for the hotel's original proprietors.

Chelsea Prime (below) will be located on the Fifth Floor, “the hotel’s social scene and destination.”
Chelsea Prime, a new restaurant by Stephen Starr in Atlantic CityWhere else would the Chelsea locate its signature steakhouse, Chelsea Prime? Renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr dreamed up this restaurant and cocktail lounge, the focal point of the 5th Floor, with a setting evocative of a 1940s supper club. Chelsea Prime features indoor and outdoor seating, and a lounge with banjo-shaped bar and entertainment in the form of a suitably timeless white grand piano.

The restaurant is decorated with framed black and white photographs of 1940s Atlantic City and features elevated, Hollywood-style booths and sweeping ocean views, adding a touch of grandeur to every meal.
This is the first Barclay Prime spin-off or "sister restaurant" due to open, but as we stated earlier, Starr plans to tweak the "Prime" steakhouse concept and bring it to the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale as well.

We say "tweak" because Starr actually recognizes that chains suck and he has no desire to produce the next Cheesecake Factory or Morton's.
The company will offer "sister" versions of proven restaurants like Barclay Prime, adding to a track record of rolling out Buddakan, Morimoto and The Continental to new locations and markets.

"We're not stamping out exact versions of restaurants," said Howard Wein, chief operating officer of Starr Restaurants and president of the Starr Restaurants Hotel Group. "We are interested in multi-unit growth of strong restaurant brands, but not as chain restaurants. We want to grow, but we want to grow with soul. That's very important to us."
We actually do have to give him credit for acknowledging as much. (Even if we were the ones that originally warned him of the potential threat.)

And then there’s Teplitzky’s (below), a concept original to The Chelsea developed by the Starr:

Teplitsky's, a Stephen Starr restaurant at the Chelsea in Atlantic City
On the Chelsea's ground floor, guests can enjoy a dining experience at Teplitzky's, a Stephen Starr restaurant and mid-century-inspired diner which pays homage to the original hotel owner.

With both indoor and secluded outdoor seating, reminiscent of a Palm Beach garden café, locals and hotel guests have the opportunity to watch passers-by on Chelsea Avenue or enjoy a drink in the cocktail lounge in the back which opens out onto a heated salt-water swimming pool area of the Sea Spa complex.

[Teplitzkyy’s] serves diner-inspired food in a fun, classic setting that also houses a bar and coffee shop brought to life with original terrazzo floors, redwood walls, and cantilevered stools. Teplitzky's also provides the hotel's twenty-four-hour room service, and a poolside menu from its hideaway cocktail lounge.
Overall, we have to say the entire project — the hotel, the restaurants, the rooftop pool, the beach service, etc. — looks pretty sharp. The general style appears to be well done too.

The rooftop pool at the Chelsea hotel in Atlantic CityHonestly, this is the type of boutique hotel that we have been wanting somebody to open in Philadelphia forever — a sophisticated, designer hotel that is also an active participant in the city’s nightlife scene.

Obviously, it’s not for everyone… and it’s not for every occasion… but it would be incredibly nice simply to have it here as an additional option. You wouldn't have to patronize it every night or every weekend. It would just be another asset in the city’s repertoire for both residents and visitors.

Because as Philadelphia attempts to project a more modern and cosmopolitan image to the rest of the world, the hotel inventory here could really do a little more to help.

Incidentally, in tomorrow’s Sunday Styles, the Times profiles the efforts of The Chelsea’s owners to make the hotel even cooler by enlisting the services of Paul Sevigny (Chloe's brother) and Matt Abramcyk, the operators of the exclusive Beatrice Inn in the West Village, and having “‘the two men booking D.J.s, making a menu of specialty cocktails and bringing “a vibe,’ said Liv Odegard, a spokeswoman for the Chelsea. […] ‘They are going to be in charge of celebrity wrangling, including bringing Paul’s sister’s friends down,’ Ms. Odegard said.”

They’ll basically be in charge of overseeing the hotel’s nightlife offerings, centered on the aforementioned Fifth Floor.
“It will be SoHo House-y,” Mr. Bashaw said last week. “All on the fifth floor, you’ll have a library, a game room, an oval-shaped bar and a Stephen Starr restaurant, which connect like a big house and spill out onto an enormous pool deck.”

While overnight guests at the Chelsea will be welcome to roam at will around the fifth floor, there will also be a street entrance with doormen eyeballing nonguests hoping to pay their way into the party.


Will the doormen turn away people deemed unhip based on their clothes, haircuts or demeanor, just as Angelo, the doorman at the Beatrice in Greenwich Village, does nightly?


“We hope so,” Mr. Bashaw said by telephone from Cape May, N.J., where he has developed three hotels.
We don’t know about all that. But it is cool to see Atlantic City getting more all-around attractive, i.e. more non-gaming entertainment. (Especially since the rooms at the Borgata are the biggest rip-offs around. Seriously, the sheets at the Borgata are like sleeping on sandpaper
— we'd be surprised if their thread count broke 150.)

And it should also probably be noted that the Inquirer would still appear to be dropping the ball on potentially interesting Image pieces, i.e. the Starr angle of the Chelsea project.


Confidential to the Inky:
OK, the Times beat you to a story again — no surprise there — but at least they didn’t totally steal the Stephen Starr angle, considering he's from Philly and he should be your expertise.

They went with the "exclusive Manhattan nightclub du jour," angle. You could still take the idea and run with it, e.g.
"A new boutique hotel named the Chelsea is set to open in Atlantic City, and with the hotel comes the potential of a facelift for the area," as a non-gaming development tries to up the proverbial ante in the destination’s hospitality scene.

We're pretty sure it's the type of Image article that people would actually be interested in reading. At least the people that you should want reading your paper.

Related:
The Chelsea [ Official Site ]
The Chelsea to debut as non-gaming boutique hotel in Atlantic City [ Hotel & Motel Management ]
SoHo Meets HoJo in Atlantic City [ New York Times ]