Archive for the ‘Tourism’ Category

It looks like the faithful coming for the papal visit in September will be making a true, old fashioned pilgrimage. As in, they will have to walk for miles. It appears that the security will be even more stalwart than the faith of the followers with a “security perimeter” that will stretch for blocks. Which doesn’t exactly radiate a welcoming spirit…


As of now the security measures have not been carved in stone, but it’s not going to be any paradise for the locals. Roads, highways, and even bridges may be closed. Philly Mag thinks we should get some forbearance since this is such a colossal undertaking.

And our esteemed Mayor has even traveled to the Holy See to get some logistical pointers.

Perhaps the multitudes will not be as great as first thought – reports of disillusionment with the pontiff have been brought to light.

Regardless of the potential mess on the ground, it will be a rapturous time for many Catholics and an economic godsend for local businesses.

In terms of actual logistics, the devil may be in the details…

Stamp of the Inaccessible City

Let’s stamp out any appearance of ungraciousness!  (Translation: I’m tired of walking. How many more kilometers?)


Talk about an unholy alliance…If you google “ARAmark” and “evil” you get 29,800 hits. But perhaps the megacorporation has done some penance, as they are the chosen ones for official merchandise for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia.

ARAmark sure knows how to put the FUN in the profundo!  Let’s face it, piety and abstinence are sooo last millennium.  It’s the 21st century and even a pilgrimage by the Holy See has to be accompanied by a merchandising crusade. But we’re sure all the money will go to the poor…oh, wait…Anyway….take a look at some of these Biblically inspired bibelots!

Holy logos, look at all those fine garments! There are lovely vessels for drinking water AND wine; dishes for serving your daily bread; baby rosary beads; and don’t cross crucifixes off the gift list, there will be more of those than the loaves and fishes!

Don’t cut corners on your Pope-wear, get this “I Mitre Pope Francis” t-shirt now!

The only suggestion we might have is a few more “Phillycentric” souvenirs…Maybe silver bullets for killing local werewolves and protecting yourself from those residents who lack halos? Papal pretzels? Or maybe some other regionally inspired tchotchkes…


Get the whole trinity of plush toys — the Father, the Satan, and the history spirit!

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch…Yes, squirrels apparently did originate in North America about 36 million years ago, though in the western part of the continent, not in Philly.

If you read the comments on the squirrel article at, you realize that the average local detests squirrels.  But here’s a surprising tidbit for all you haters out there:  squirrels are cousins of groundhogs.

That’s right.  Those “bushy tailed rats” are not all that different than our beloved Punxsutawney Phil.  They’re both part of the same taxonomic family, Sciuridae.  So if you love Groundhog Day, you have to embrace Sandy Cheeks as well…

squirrel talk show

In a queer bit of totalitarianism, a Cuban sex educator has been barred from travelling outside a 25 mile perimeter of New York City.  Scholar, writer, educator, and gay rights activist, Mariela Castro will not be able to visit Philly to accept an award at Equality Forum.  Isn’t it nice that America believes in freedom!  And comforting that it also believes in curtailing the activities of crazy communists who are a threat just off our shores!   Yes, the current Cuban regime is no saint and arbitrarily arrests and imprisons people, but that’s what dictatorships do and something the US would NEVER do!  We do not detain or imprison foreign nationals unless they are fairly tried and convicted of a crime…right?


The New York Times Sunday Magazine had an interesting article about a privy excavation in the author’s back garden in Greenwich Village.  Greenwich Village is not unlike our own Queen Village — colonial neighborhoods of brick row houses, New Netherland to our New Sweden.  Both neighborhoods hold the subterranean remnants of generations of new Americans.  Privies are well known as repositories of historic rubbish (aka artifacts) and can reveal a good deal about our citizen ancestors.

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

Phound in Philly: bottle, marble, redware, blue & white ceramics, and oyster shells

There is one “artifact” that is ubiquitous in Queen Village — oyster shells.   They were a very popular street food back in the day, and any modern-day Philly gardener can confirm that.  They were sold as street food in Colonial times — sort of proto food trucks.


African Americans were often street vendors in Philly. This wheelbarrow full of oysters was one of the first food “trucks.” (I guess the shells were proto litter…)


I wonder just how many individuals thought, “Yo, Philly statue!” when they saw today’s google doodle?  Okay, so maybe most of the inhabitants of our fair city thought that, but then we’re not such deep thinkers…

Turns out some other folks might have thought it was a tribute to THEM as well.  Like the University of Louisville.  Heck, even Detroit and Cleveland have one of these sculptures.

Well, google missed a golden opportunity to pay tribute to a REAL Philly sculpture a few years ago during Rocky’s 30th anniversary.  Chumps!

We’re making up for that omission now…

Not content to sit on his laurels, Bart Blatstein is already conceptualizing his next development opportunity in Philadelphia. The brilliant cosmopolitan developer who gave us the Piazza, and soon The Provence (no, NOT Le Provence, that would just be pretentious) is eyeing up other world cultures to which he can pay homage with a dazzling world class urban resort.

Sure, Bart already has LOTS OF MONEY, but he cares about Philly and about making it a world capital by increasing his capital.  Tweaking world cultures and adding a little glam will turn Philadelphia into a real live Epcot Center, only better —  it’ll have GAMBLING!  Here’s a little global taste of what Bart has in store for us:

GdansKasino. With an underlying nod to the importance of General Kozckiusko as a Revolutionary war ally, and taking over the decaying USS United States, it will be a Polish-shipping-port themed hotel, casino and Polka dance club!  Look for an upscale branch of Syrenka as the resort’s premiere dining destination!

He’ll revitalize the Holmesburg section of Philly by creating the Great Wall Resort and Pachinko Parlor behind the great walls of the former Holmesburg prison.  A partnership with one of America’s finest Asian restaurants, P.F. Changs, will transport gamers to the Far (north) East!

A partnership with Caesars Entertainment and Little Caesars Pizza is in the works for the Navy Yard to create the ultimate South Philly destination!  And you thought the Piazza was the quintessential Italian experience?  This resort truly will be molto bene!

So who needs to schlep all over the world when the world is right here in Philadelphia?  Especially when places like Rome and Paris and Barcelona DON’T HAVE GAMBLING right in the middle of their downtowns.  Gaming makes the difference between an okay city and a great city.

Chris Christie does not seem to have very good vacation karma.  Last year when he was staying at the state-owned, governor’s summer house on Long Beach Island, there was an inconvenient earthquake.  This year his boardwalk stroll and ice cream cone buying was interrupted by some mouthy constituent who criticized Christie’s education policy.

Fortunately, he’s not yet Vice President, and there was no Secret Service detail to manhandle the free speech-abusing offender.  But, really, Chris doesn’t need any back-up when it comes to intimidation. He doesn’t hesitate to call you stupid or an idiot or publicly insult you all of his own volition.

Wouldn’t he be a welcome addition on the world stage as Vice President?  How better to burnish America’s sterling image than to have, for our second in command, a morbidly obese man prone to temper tantrums?  Just imagine what confidence that would instill…

Well, he did FREAK out on the boardwalk…