Archive for the ‘Urban Blight/Bling’ Category

That miserable blighter Anthony Byrne is in the news yet again.  He’s the publisher of the well-established “Irish Edition,” so that likely gives him strong local connections.  Though if he is connected, his political donations are well hidden.  The house he owns has been an eyesore for years.  But it’s really city hall that’s the ultimate bad guy here, because there is no enforcement of laws reining in slumlords and tax deadbeats.

The recently published book, “Irish Philadelphia,” (which has a foreward written by the (dis) Honorable Seamus McCaffery) has an entry waxing eloquent about Mr. Byrne.  If only our judiciary were so accommodating to neighbors whose lives are adversely affected by scofflaws  like Tony Byrne.

tonybyrneknoxstreet

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Nobody would ever accuse our boys in blue of being Meek, but what are they going to do with all those motorized vehicles…?

Actually, it doesn’t seem all that difficult…  There are absentee landlords all over the tri-state area who specialize in blight in our city.  The pathetic thing is we do almost nothing about it.  Though, hopefully that’s changing with “Blight Court.”

Robert Coyle is such an egregious example of a slumlord that you couldn’t make him up.  One of his attorneys describes him as a “lunch pail, blue collar kind of guy,” which implies he’s not all that smart or savvy.  And if that’s true, how does he go from bus driver to highly leveraged real estate mogul in just a few years?  Any connections aren’t obvious and he doesn’t appear to be much of a political contributor, though he (and his son) have given to John Perzel (another upstanding citizen).

Maybe John can tell us how Polonia, a bank, ostensibly, based in Huntingdon Valley (with several branches near Pt Richmond), ended up having a 49% stake in this mess.  Does Mr. Perzel’s  connection to the bank’s president have anything to do with this?  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but do we really believe this scofflaw had no friends in local government?  Dat ain’t how Philly works…

 

[Full disclosure:  we thought Slumopoly was an original…oh, well]

Clearly it’s hot, or Bart would not want in on the action (but his desire to stake a claim in this development opportunity is not new “news”).   But, clearly Bart cares about the city and all the revenue he can generate for our poor schools.  And if the competition heats up too much, they can all cool it at Bart’s private swim club.

 

Umm…on another issue maybe we should start calling our town Phire-delphia, what with all the recent incendiary activity.

Between absentee landlords in Brooklyn sitting on dangerously derelict properties, to sadistic sociopaths torching animals, to our own high profile businessman whose decrepit building practically took out a major public transportation artery – this town is SMOKIN’! And not in a good way…

Maybe he’ll call it SPARX Casino…

Yesterday’s Metro had a pretty interesting quote from the Honorable Mr. Nutter….

When you google “crazy ass,” you get 6,920,000 results!  That’s CRAZY!  At least the mayor should get props for using popular slang in analyzing our current crime conditions.  Hey, what about his crazy ass offer of $20,000 for witnesses to put their lives on the line?  I know we like gambling in this town, but the odds of surviving snitching are a little too long without true witness protection….

How about pointing the finger at some other crazy ass people – like the rube politicians in Harrisburg who won’t let us make our own gun laws?  I realize that does nothing about wackos who have a “right” to carry loaded firearms, but maybe we could control things just a little bit better with locally sensible gun laws.

We think The Atlantic may be a bit harsh in it’s summation.  They’re actually revisiting a post by Dan McQuade in Philadelphia Magazine.  In an attempt to sound edgy, Dan just seems peevish.  Please!  Can’t he give us JUST ONE justification for his total disdain?  Because it’s just whining otherwise. 

We acknowledge that artistic tastes vary hugely within a population, but you can’t possibly hate EVERY SINGLE mural in Philly!

As a tourist attraction, the mural tours get high marks online so it may be safe to say that the murals are, in fact, worthy of some love.  Mr. McQuade’s colleague, Victor Fiorillo, acknowledges this in his own entry into the mural frey. 

With a price tag of $1.5 million a year, it goes without saying the mural money could be better spent.  Though, in our corrupt system that’s just a drop in the bucket. 

One good thing has come out of this brouhaha – an explanation of the weird mural on Dirty Frank’s.  They’re all Franks!  Get it?  How many times have we walked past and wondered…?  DUH!!

Philambivalence?

So now we know why Market East is not as fabulous a shopping district as the Rittenhouse area — there are NO GIANT SIGNS.

Nothing brings in shoppers and tourists like enormous digital, light-up signs (have you heard of Times Square!?!).  There is evidence to support this in Philadelphia.  The crowds increase exponentially on east Market Street during the holidays.  WHY?!  Because of the giant holiday light board in Macy’s (formerly Lord & Taylor, formerly Strawbridge’s, formerly Wannamaker’s).  Large planar surfaces with lots of lights increase property values and lure hordes of urban dwellers.  Who wants to stay home when you can bask in the glow of a million LEDs!

The Gallery (one of the first inner city malls in America) is also slated for a makeover.  One of the first steps is a better food court, because lord knows there are no unique food locations near the gallery (Panera Bread, HELP!!!)

Nobody denies that Market East is sort of shabby, but we’re a little vague on exactly how giant billboards are going to improve things.  Maybe that 2-acre parking lot is going to be transformed into a lighted disco dance floor?  Now THAT might bring a crowd…

Light Fever?

Today’s Metro has a front page re-imagining of Philadelphia in the year 2050 (okay, it’s really New York, but let’s not quibble).  It’s quite a lovely vision – shiny solar glass towers with green roofs and powered by the wind.  It’s clear Philly is on track to become a sleek, green, urban utopia in just 40 years!  We’re well on our way with Philadelphia2035.  And within just a couple of years we won’t even be using metal subway tokens and maybe have citywide WIFI — how modern is that!?!  By 2050 we’ll be totally FANTAS-FUTURIS-TIC!

We realize there are some cynics out there ranting about our economic problems, crumbling infrastructure, shale fracking, and violent crime.   But, hellloooo?  We’re talking about the future here, and the future is always bright!  Maybe you should educate yourselves and read some Aldous Huxley or George Orwell so you can see just how amazing the future can be.

We know people can have different visions of the future and  things may not be so great right now, but it can only get better….right?

Our utopian future is right down The Road...