Saturday, June 04, 2005

Philly is Where I'm From

grafitti- shows building

grafitti- both tags

graffiti crop

I hope that everyone had a good holiday weekend and a better week, as it was a beautiful time here in the city. Although I am writing this post at the end of a rainy, terrible day, I feel so focused and excited about this blog, the city, life. I want to take the last few days of this week looking exclusively at my city, Philadelphia, the place where I from, the place that I love, my heart and soul. Specifically, I want to use this post to introduce a visual element to Pound for Pound, as a means to bring Philadelphia, the cities of the world, the streets, and the people who live in these places into sharper focus.

It seemed most fitting to put up some graffiti pics, since it is an interest and such a fundamental part of the urban landscape. They come from the talented hand of MC, and I just hope that my words don't take away from her good work. These shots come from the buildings across from Rittenhouse Square, where MC and I spent our Memorial Day. I can't say that these are the greatest tags I've ever seen, but the sheer difficulty of getting them up gains these writers my props. I assume that they snuck in through the abandoned building slated for demolition next to the Barnes and Noble. No matter what, it took some balls and good planning to make this happen, as Rittenhouse Square is one of the poshest and most heavily policed areas in the city.

-The weather has been amazing this week, which is usually a sign of good things to come. Unfortunately, optimism goes to die at City Hall, where our esteemed mayor and City Council work. There are signs that they may wake up before Rome burns (Rome=Philly), but until I actually see good bills pass and become law, I will remain a pessimist. The latest disappointment came with the tabling of the smoking ban bill until next week, as obstructionist Darrell Clarke continues to strive to be remembered as the most meaningless and inept member of Council ever.

-Business seems to be picking up, as there has been some good signs of the city emerging as a business hub. First, the media have finally caught up with Pound for Pound, showing attention to BIO 2005 a few months after yours truly looked at it. This article takes a look at the boon that the convention will be for the hospitality industry. This article looks at recent survey that ranks the Philly region in the top 10 for the biotech industry. You can feel something big moving here, can't you?

-Here is a great item from one of the best blogs ever, Philadelphia: America's Hometown. Fuji Bikes has moved its world headquarters from North Jersey to Northeast Philly recently. While this is not like Nike or Microsoft moving here, it does fly in the face of pessimism and continues the momentum that the city has going. I have to highlight Friedman's last line, as it is perfect. "Fuji could have gone anywhere in the world, but chose the urban center that is rapidly becoming the center of the universe – Philadelphia – America’s hometown." Indeed, my friends, indeed.

-Another nice piece, this one about the Cira Center, the 30 story office tower being built near 30th Street Station. It is now 91% leased, bringing in companies from the suburbs and out of state. It's especially nice to see that McKinsey and Co. are opening up their first Philly office with this lease. It is another sign of the changing attitude towards the city, and another step in the direction of making the city a business center.

-Read this cover story from a recent Daily News, highlighting the growing international tourism to our fair city. While this might not seem like a big deal, it should. First, it means more money flowing to local businesses. Secondly, it validates the aggressive marketing campaign the city put together after September 11th, and should provide all of the evidence necessary to continue this venture. Finally, it is a sign that the city is becoming more open to the world, confident in what it has to offer.

Much more to come in the next week, as I am going to look at some groups in Philly doing good things, put some motherfuckers like our honorable Mayor on blast, and highlight some more positive news for Philly. Look out on Monday for the beginning of Booty Week at Pound for Pound, as we will get back to the mp3s grind.

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