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  #261  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2009, 5:10 PM
McBane McBane is offline
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VZ - you hit the nail on the head.

1. I agree 100% that this building is atrocious - and its biggest flaw is its orientation to the street. Sadly, the only protests will be people still arguing against the move; instead of just accepting the move and trying to improve the inevitable. When will Philly and more specifically, the Parkway, get another world-class museum built from scratch? Instead of seizing the opportunity to build something beautiful - not necessarily Gerhy-esque crazy - but something that has some wow factor to it. Another grand civic building...squandered.

2. And I also agree with your overall assessment of Philly architecture and I've mentioned this many times over my posts - that Philly lacks exciting architecture. The Cira Centre was great but in the grand scheme of things, most of our architecture is boring. Some want to call it "classy" or "understated" or worse, "perfect for Philly"; why is everything that is boring in design perfect for Philly? Why don't we strive for something with a little flash or pizzaz? Even the Comcast Center - it's nice, very classy but is it really that awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping signature tower that defines our city? No, it's just nice and somehow just being nice or okay is all Philadelphians want for our staid city.

VZ you have many many intelligent, well-thought out posts, but this one, for me at least trumps them all.
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  #262  
Old Posted Oct 7, 2009, 11:28 PM
PhillyVegan PhillyVegan is offline
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Originally Posted by Londonee View Post
I'm trying to understand your overall point and what you're contributing in terms of the context of this thread?
I responded on this thread because hammersklavier was expressing confusion as to why members of the Chinatown community were not as supportive of turning the viaduct into a park as he thought they should be. I was merely saying that promoting the idea of gentrification of the neighborhood as reason to develop the viaduct into a park would not go over with members of that community.

Instead, hammersklavier took it the wrong way and started lashing out, as well as labeling those who don't hold his same view of gentrification as ignorant.

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Are you suggesting that other residents of the city, region, and world should not get to enjoy the unique and wonderful benefits of an urban highline park like this because it may increase your property taxes?
No; I don't make nearly enough to own a house or condo, and rent my apartment. What I am saying is that the fears of seeing Chinatown eliminated by gentrification should be addressed in discussions surrounding the development of a "highline" park. People here are worried; this community has one of the lowest average incomes in the entire city.

My point of view appears to be much different than most of the others on this board; that doesn't mean it matters any less.
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  #263  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2009, 3:32 AM
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Making any sort of improvements whatsoever to a neighborhood is likely to result in an increase in property values. Great for owners, who receive the benefits of the increased value, terrible for renters, whose landlords want to charge rents commensurate with the property values.

If we are to prevent this process, then that means removing any sort of investment from impoverished neighborhoods - no new parks, new schools, repaved roads, new transit service, or anything else. Or a complex calculation of how much investment is "acceptable" - which is a huge waste of resources.

My personal preference would be to foster the growth of condominium structures in poor neighborhoods. Residents with an ownership stake in their building benefit financially from increases in property value and therefore have a financial incentive to favor maintenance and improvements to their building and the surrounding neighborhood. As the remaining rental units shift to other ethnic groups under the pressures of property value forces, the property owners stay and preserve a kind of diversity. Eventually they move away or die off and the neighborhoods transition more gradually and painlessly.

On the other hand, landlords aren't evil money-grubbing bastards, for the most part. Like the IRS, they may be people we'd prefer to avoid, but being a landlord is a significant means to success for many immigrants and others, who see the building as a status symbol and use it as a tool (a small business, essentially) through which to move into the middle class and then themselves attend, or send their children, to college.

When poor people make the decision to rent, they agree to a definite set of drawbacks. On the whole, it may be cheaper than owning, but it implies a kind of transitory lifestyle, where their income, not their personal preference, determines their location. Renters must move frequently to find apartments that fit within their budgets.

I hate to be a Glenn Beck, but I really don't see any way to stop this bugbear of "gentrification" without either doing away with the entire process of renting (as I mentioned above) or some sort of socialist land control and centralized planning. Smaller-scale efforts like rent control and direct subsidy have huge problems associated with them, which has been confirmed by numerous studies.
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  #264  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2009, 4:31 PM
Londonee Londonee is offline
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...

I always wonder the nuts and bolts of having the mentality that having your neighborhood dramatically improve is bad. If you're anti-gentrification (not saying gentrification is good or bad) and you walk down the street and see a huge pile of litter, do you think A) Bad, all of that trash adds to the ugliness of the neighborhood and should be picked up, thrown out, helping in whatever small way to beautify things; or B) Good, keep this place filthy and ugly so the rich people stay away and rent stays low..?

When you see what was formally an ugly, trash-strewn, run-down empty lot that now has a lovely 3 story brick row-home being built on it, do you think A) Great! A beautiful new home, new neighbors, new contributors and it sure beats that ugly eye-sore empty lot! or B) Darn it, those rich-people are coming in more and more now, how much did that house cost??-- next they're going to want a coffee shop nearby!

It's interesting to think that many people in Philly choose "B" for both those questions. A buddy of mine who lives in South Philly near Passyunk Ave, recently got yelled at by one of his neighbors for routinely picking up the litter on the street.
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  #265  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2009, 11:21 PM
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I'm sure that you actually do make enough to own a home, just not in the neighboorhood you desire. It is a trade off that we all have to make.

For Philadelphia as a whole, Chinatown is an underutilized asset. A neighborhood near downtown with great character and great bones. Should Society Hill have been left un-gentrified? Imagine how much less tourism that area of the town would see if it were not revitalized and gentrified. More money spent on tourism, dining out, shopping, higher wage taxes from higher income individuals all add up to more money for the city as a whole. I don't understand how discouraging wealthier individuals from relocating from outside of the city would benefit the city as a whole. This comes from a suburbanite living in Delaware County, where a good portion of the lower income individuals that are being pushed out of their neighborhoods are relocating.
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  #266  
Old Posted Oct 8, 2009, 11:49 PM
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Great posts...and I agree. However, I have to admit, I'm not exactly surprised. I was pretty much expecting a design of this nature; there's a real lack of vision lately. Lots of safe ideas are being proposed for everything, especially in Philadelphia. However, I'd still like to see this museum than get built. I had never even heard of the Barnes museum until this forum, and I'm a pretty plugged-in arts person as a musician with lots of friends in Philadelphia's choral groups, students at Temple and Curtis, etc. I think the exposure is going to go a long way because the arts need financial help, desperately, and if that means watering down the venue to increase people's interest and exposure to dying art, than I'm 100% for it.
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  #267  
Old Posted Oct 9, 2009, 2:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Don098 View Post
Great posts...and I agree. However, I have to admit, I'm not exactly surprised. I was pretty much expecting a design of this nature; there's a real lack of vision lately.
I was of the same opinion, i would have been blown away if this design broke new grounds.

For me, it's sad to think that i am now more excited to see the finished product of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, it's design, and how it interacts with Broad Street, more-so than this building, as it will be set so far back from the street--shrouded by greenery and trees--it will not even be noticeable for 90% of passsers-by.
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  #268  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2009, 9:34 AM
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Let's keep in mind that Dr. Barnes never intended his collection for a museum. In keeping with his will, this is a school. I'm not defending the design but it is restricted by its purpose or, I should say, function.

The Barnes Foundation’s promise to re-create the exact, unusual arrangement of artworks on the walls when the collection moves to a new site on Benjamin Franklin Parkway is based on the way the art has been used to teach Albert C. Barnes’ fundamentals of artistic composition and appreciation.

The galleries in Merion are not those of a traditional art museum, where artworks are grouped by individual artists or displayed to demonstrate a theme or chronological progression. According to John Baptiste Gatti, instructor of art and aesthetics at the Barnes, the walls are used as blackboards, as learning tools.

I can't wait to get inside.

And, please, enough about "staid" Philadelphia architecture.

What city has anything to compare with The Parkway, bookended by a stunning Greek palace on a hill and the world's most opulent city hall?

What by Furness is "staid?" What compares with The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts?

PSFS was the first international style building erected in the US.

When the city's height limit was lifted, what popped-up first; not one but two Liberty Places and they're not twins and certainly not staid.

The Cira Center is a very rare jewel.

OK, the Kimmel Center blows (in a bad way), but the community agrees on that and the need to fix it. It will be fixed. The convention center didn't get a green roof because it would have delayed construction and that would have jeopardized funding and some hotel projects. It will happen.

Has any other city challenged Gehry to create underground? Nope! Brilliant! And what he does here will not be dated, an embarrassment, in ten years. He says he will "create music" in his space beneath the museum's plaza and steps and I bet he succeeds.

Anyone care to criticize the ballpark? You can't! It's splendid. It works.

And could we get any more edgy in Northern Liberties and, now, Fishtown? Even Blatstein's (OMG, Blatstein!) piazza works. It's here. It's unique.

I'm never bored when I walk Philadelphia.

Last edited by bucks native; Oct 10, 2009 at 10:34 AM.
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  #269  
Old Posted Oct 10, 2009, 4:18 PM
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What city has anything to compare with The Parkway, bookended by a stunning Greek palace on a hill and the world's most opulent city hall?
Hey, I love Philly too, but you need to get out a little more if you're finding the Parkway and City Hall to be incomparable. That's sort of like my roommate that has never been above the Mason Dixon line saying, "As a pizza connoisseur, nothing beats Papa Johns." Of course this is coming from a guy that saw Baby Momma for the first time last night and only kept watching because of the wonderful MODERN expose of Philadelphia - I wish Rocky would just fade off into the distant past...but I digress lol...

The Parkway could be so much more than the tree-lined highway that it is now, and this museum had a wonderful opportunity to begin the pedestrianization (haha) of the Art Musem, Rodin and now Barnes complex. From this core you could easily connect with the library and the Franklin Institute. These establishments, like so many other places in Philadelphia, fail to engage the pedestrian which, in my opinion, is a major factor in why visitors and tourists largely leave the city with a bad taste in their mouth. You really have to know where to go in Philadelphia to experience it completely, and I think Philadelphians really like it that way. It's such a parochial city (I mean just look at the NIMBYs) which gives Society Hill and other places its charm, but when that attitude spills over into more civic spaces that need to be modernized, it becomes a chastity belt. There are a lot of bold, wonderful ideas that give me hope (the waterfront, the new rainwater plan , the transformations of Dilworth Plaza, Schuylkill Banks and the art museum) but other ones that make me worry that this city will never change (the casinos, the South Street Bridge design, the waterfront towers, increased taxes on arts patrons, and spending an extra million dollars on installing pipes in a 975 foot office tower that will never be used to appease unions). This museum proposal - largely because of its staging an orientation to the parkway - falls in the latter category for me. If Philly wants to the become "The Next Great American City" it must elevate the profile of its arts through better public relations outside of the city, create a drastically more inviting experience for pedestrian visitors (this can be kick started with lighting, signage, landscaping, and road-width adjustments in key areas), and announce itself more aggressively. It's all about elevating its profile because there are so many gems already in Philadelphia that you and I know intimately because we grew up here, but we fail to notice how hidden they are. If the Parkway wants to succeed, we need to turn this Museum around...as in spun 180 degrees.

But Philadelphia is a place that relishes in being the underdog, the red-headed step child of the NE, like it or not. We like that no one knows about the Curtis Institute of Music, or the castles of the main line, Fairmount Park, or even something as obvious as the INSIDE of the Art Museum. We don't want it to be like NYC or Washington. But based upon the criticism of this museum, maybe we do? That gives me hope. I just wish the rest of the populace in Philadelphia shared similar dissensions with this design. I strongly believe they will not.

Last edited by Don098; Oct 10, 2009 at 6:14 PM.
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  #270  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2009, 7:21 AM
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Don: Well said; thanks. And, for the most part, I agree with you; but something tells me that, if I lived in Society Hill, I'd be very protective, too. This was some time ago, but I recall reading how matrons came rushing out of their townhomes with brooms, ready to whack the street department guys who had come to put asphalt over Society Hill's precious cobblestones. The women won! Now, THAT'S Philadelphia. No tourist leaves Society Hill unimpressed.

Regarding the Parkway, from what I read, the city agrees with you, too. From The Center City District's website:

Center City District / Central Philadelphia Development ...
Transformation of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into an animated, pedestrian- friendly cultural campus has been an ongoing priority for the Center City ...
www.centercityphila.org
www.centercityphila.org/about/Parkway.php

CENTER CITY: PLANNING FOR GROWTH
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN PARKWAY. The proposals for enhancing the Benjamin Franklin Parkway ... The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is a 1.1 mile-long, diagonal ...
www.centercityphila.org
http://www.centercityphila.org/docs/...lan07-BFP2.pdf

Center City District / Central Philadelphia Development ...
Sep 29, 2008 ... “This marks another significant advancement in transforming the Parkway into an animated cultural campus and visitor destination,” said Paul ...
www.centercityphila.org
http://www.centercityphila.org/press...ease092908.php

Center City District / Central Philadelphia Development ...
As part of its ongoing work to transform the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a pedestrian-friendly, animated cultural campus for Philadelphia, CCD has bathed ...
www.centercityphila.org
www.centercityphila.org/about/Lighting.php

And there's more here: http://www.centercityphila.org/ Use "Parkway" as your search term. Exciting stuff.
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  #271  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2009, 7:39 AM
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.....and this museum had a wonderful opportunity...This musuem proposal.....based upon the criticism of this museum....
It's not a museum; by law, it's a school. And, eventually, it will be judged on how well it functions as such. If it doesn't work, the criticism is likely to fall on Barnes, as in: "Nice collection, but the guy was nuts."

Last edited by bucks native; Oct 11, 2009 at 7:55 AM.
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  #272  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2009, 1:59 PM
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It's not a museum; by law, it's a school. And, eventually, it will be judged on how well it functions as such. If it doesn't work, the criticism is likely to fall on Barnes, as in: "Nice collection, but the guy was nuts."
Very interesting...thanks for the links! I'll have to check them out now. I love the parochial attitude in Philadelphia that saves gems like the cobblestones, and I think that's the place where it needs to reside. I just wish we could compartmentalize that attitude. I used to have a very change-resistant, preservationist attitude that likely would have opposed the move of the Barnes, but I think it's necessary. My philosophy is what good is the art if no one sees it? The current Rodin is preaching to the choir because you have to know about it already and make an appointment. That only adds to the stereotypes of high art that drives people away (pretentious) when the arts are the complete opposite. They're supposed to bring people together. I sincerely hope this school will at least bring more people in because that's the principle goal of any display. I'll have to ask my cousin what she thinks...she's down here doing her masters in museum studies at GW.
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  #273  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2009, 2:17 PM
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Has anyone heard anything regarding the library expansion? How's their funding?
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  #274  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 3:05 PM
Londonee Londonee is offline
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But Philadelphia is a place that relishes in being the underdog, the red-headed step child of the NE, like it or not. We like that no one knows about the Curtis Institute of Music, or the castles of the main line, Fairmount Park, or even something as obvious as the INSIDE of the Art Museum. We don't want it to be like NYC or Washington.
Not sure if Philly "relishes" it...Philadelphia has never had the power of media behind it the way these other two cities have had, more specifically NYC--i would argue that the single largest driving force in present day NYC tourism is not draws like the Statue of Liberty or the MOMA--but "Sex in the City." The economic impact of that show is staggering--they simply mention that a muffin at Magnolia Bakery is delicious; guess what, lines are pouring out into the street and wrapped around the building with Tweens and College aged girls living the dream--I'll take my Brown Betty...

People know about Juilliard and not the Curtis because the former has been mentioned or the focus of dozens of pop-culture movies...New York has incalculably benefited from an unsolicited billion dollar PR campaign financed by Hollywood.

Everyone knows about NYC's famous museums because they are mentioned or visited in dozens of movies/tv shows. Philly? Everyone knows about 1 place, the Art Museum, and for the average tourist it ain't cause of Cezanne...it's Rocky...

It's not that we don't want people to know about our grand institutions, it's just that we have such a smaller vehicle or platform for getting word out about our stuff. I was slightly disappointed when i heard the sleek, urban and sophisticated James L Brooks film starring Jack Nicholson, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd that was shot entirely in PHilly; in the film will take place in DC. So when you see them sitting outside at Table 31 sipping cocktails, audiences around the world will think how cool and hip DC looks... Sadly, if you want to watch Philly take off, pitch a show to HBO about 4 women who love shoes, sex, and living a fancy lifestyle in Rittenhouse Square.

As it is, I view Philly as a very fine wine: if you know what you're doing it's an unforgettable experience.
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  #275  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2009, 3:07 AM
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Not sure if Philly "relishes" it...Philadelphia has never had the power of media behind it the way these other two cities have had, more specifically NYC--i would argue that the single largest driving force in present day NYC tourism is not draws like the Statue of Liberty or the MOMA--but "Sex in the City." The economic impact of that show is staggering--they simply mention that a muffin at Magnolia Bakery is delicious; guess what, lines are pouring out into the street and wrapped around the building with Tweens and College aged girls living the dream--I'll take my Brown Betty...

People know about Juilliard and not the Curtis because the former has been mentioned or the focus of dozens of pop-culture movies...New York has incalculably benefited from an unsolicited billion dollar PR campaign financed by Hollywood.

Everyone knows about NYC's famous museums because they are mentioned or visited in dozens of movies/tv shows. Philly? Everyone knows about 1 place, the Art Museum, and for the average tourist it ain't cause of Cezanne...it's Rocky...

It's not that we don't want people to know about our grand institutions, it's just that we have such a smaller vehicle or platform for getting word out about our stuff. I was slightly disappointed when i heard the sleek, urban and sophisticated James L Brooks film starring Jack Nicholson, Reese Witherspoon, and Paul Rudd that was shot entirely in PHilly; in the film will take place in DC. So when you see them sitting outside at Table 31 sipping cocktails, audiences around the world will think how cool and hip DC looks... Sadly, if you want to watch Philly take off, pitch a show to HBO about 4 women who love shoes, sex, and living a fancy lifestyle in Rittenhouse Square.

As it is, I view Philly as a very fine wine: if you know what you're doing it's an unforgettable experience.
So thank you for flushing out my point; it's all about PR and elevating the city's profile. And trust me, Philadelphia loves that it's the underdog. Relish is exactly the right word. Anyway, I didn't mean to derail the thread...
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  #276  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2009, 7:06 AM
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from here: http://ucreview.com/default.asp?sour...review&he=.com

58th Street Connector Greenway

By Haywood Brewster | 08.OCT.09

The Pennsylvania Environmental Council has announced that Michael Baker Jr., Inc. in association with Toole Design Group has been contracted to produce the conceptual and final design of the 58th Street Connector Greenway trail. The greenway segment in Southwest Philly will connect the Schuylkill River Trail and Bartram’s Garden to the existing Cobbs Creek Trail and become one of the links in the national East Coast Greenway.

“Once complete, this greenway might also become one of the most innovative urban greenway segments actually constructed in the region, incorporating innovative traffic design and sustainability solutions, and bringing sorely need green and economic development to this neighborhood,”said Spencer Finch, Director of Sustainable Communities for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

Michael Baker Jr., Inc., an engineering firm with offices in Philadelphia, has worked for PennDOT district 6-0 for over 40 years. Recent projects include construction management and inspection work on the $700 million SEPTA Market Street Elevated Line Reconstruction and the Schuylkill River Park Bicycle/Pedestrian Ramp.

The stretch of trail along 58th Street was previously selected as the most desirable route linking the Schuylkill River and Cobbs Creek Trail during a 2007 trail study. During the design phase, the community will be invited to share their wants and needs for a greenway trail, including signage, sidewalk repairs, trees, and benches. The final design will guide the construction of the trail.

The conceptual design phase of the project will start immediately and run through January, 2010. The public was introduced to the project at a meeting on Thursday, October 1st at the Francis Myers Recreation Center in the Kingsessing neighborhood. The second public meeting will be held on Thursday, October 29th at 6:00pm at 5803 Kingsessing Avenue. Final design is expected to be complete by the fall of next year.

For more information: www.pecpa.org and www.pecpa.org/eastcoastgreenway
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  #277  
Old Posted Oct 22, 2009, 8:23 PM
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I thought the attitude always had to do with the 20th century history of the NE cities.

New York is knowing for being the financial epicenter. White collar
Washington is known for being the political epicenter . White collar
Philly was a blue collar city... Ship yard, westinghouse, boeing, etc
Boston... not sure... in my mind MIT, Harvard come to mind...
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  #278  
Old Posted Oct 23, 2009, 12:50 PM
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Yep, it's annoying to watch City Hall get busted in the Transformers trailer and having everybody think it's in Paris...it's because all these shows are set in NYC and LA that NYC and LA get all the, uh, yuppie tourism. Philadelphia is perceived as having a certain 'attitude' and that 'attitude' suits shows like Cold Case fine, but not something like Friends? WTF? You could have a truly transcendental TV show about a bunch of barflies at the Standard Tap but nobody'd watch it and realize it's set in Northern Liberties at first...

EDIT: Is 'Always Sunny' helping South Philly's cause in this way?
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  #279  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2009, 1:29 AM
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Yep, it's annoying to watch City Hall get busted in the Transformers trailer and having everybody think it's in Paris...it's because all these shows are set in NYC and LA that NYC and LA get all the, uh, yuppie tourism. Philadelphia is perceived as having a certain 'attitude' and that 'attitude' suits shows like Cold Case fine, but not something like Friends? WTF? You could have a truly transcendental TV show about a bunch of barflies at the Standard Tap but nobody'd watch it and realize it's set in Northern Liberties at first...

EDIT: Is 'Always Sunny' helping South Philly's cause in this way?
I work in the film industry here in Philadelphia. In fact, this year alone I worked on three productions that were shot in Philly but set in NYC. There are smaller films (The Nail, starring Tony Luke Jr., Cafe, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt) that are both shot and set in Philly. While these smaller films most likely will not have a great impact on Philly's image, it's a very good thing that bigger productions (How Do You Know? - the name of the Reese Witherspoon movie, Transformers 2) are bringing big name talent from LA and NYC into our city and showing them its potential. Philly is a much cheaper and easier city to shoot in. And the variety of looks you can get within a 15 minute drive from CC are simply unavailable in the two filmmaking meccas. As the film industry in Philly grows, as it has since 2000, I truly believe we'll start to see stories not only being shot, but being set in Philly.
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  #280  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2009, 3:37 PM
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Progress

Pa. Convention Center expansion ahead of schedule

Philadelphia Business Journal - by Peter Van Allen, Staff Writer
Thursday, November 5, 2009,

http://philadelphia.bizjournals.com/...l?surround=lfn

"Expansion of the Pennsylvania Convention Center is ahead of schedule on some aspects of construction, the lead building official said Thursday.

Mechanical operations, including a vast power plant, were delivered ahead of schedule and most of the major concrete work has been poured, Joseph Resta, who heads up construction on the $786 million expansion, said on a hard-hat tour with media..."
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