Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The New York Times listed "52 Places to Go in 2015." Philadelphia was their #3 spot.

Spruce Street Harbor Park | Philadelphia

Wow ... #3 ... yo!

I think a lot of Philadelphians were taken aback recently by the high-praise we received from The New York Times (of all media companies, and of all places) which named our great city the third city you have to see in 2015 ... oh and I forgot to mention, in the entire world (just behind Milan and Cuba).

That's one h*ll of a list to land on, and even more so when you're at the top of the pack. Way to go, Philly!

The title given to Philadelphia's spot was "The making of an outdoor oasis." I believe once most people read that part, they saw why we were listed so high (or why we were even listed at all). Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love this town; and I think it has unbelievable assets, aside from our green space esteem.

But the focus of NYT choosing us was that they looked specifically at our recent outdoor projects and showed tourists why they need to come and see our beautiful city today.

Now, Philadelphia does have some other large assets that most big cities would kill for: Compact design, great public transportation, and lots of urban green space. Put all 3 of those things together, and it encourages both locals and tourists alike to traverse Philadelphia outside (and on foot). The winters can be tough, but spring, summer, and fall make up for the few cold months we have learned to live with.

Need a reminder about how large and expansive our urban green space actually is (and I'm not just talking about Fairmount Park)? Check out these locally filmed drone videos for a better look: Philadelphia 1 (with natural sounds), Philadelphia 2 (with some other local shots of New York), and Philadelphia 3 (all different shots of the city).

So as you can see from these well done videos, Philadelphia has great green space. Not only that, but its tied directly in with its local neighborhoods (e.g. Wissahickon Valley, Pennypack Park, etc), as well as with Center City (East Fairmount Park), University City (West Fairmount Park), and the Navy Yard (FDR Park).

The article also goes on to compliment Philadelphia on some of its new and ongoing projects: Dilworth Park, Spruce Street Harbor Park, Race Street Pier, and the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk. All four projects started out as grand ideas to connect the city with more green space, and today they are all big success stories!

Thanks for the kudos, NYT.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Is Michael Nutter Philadelphia's greatest mayor ... like, ever?


As the title of the article states, "Under Nutter, Philly Became Awesome ... Sorry, Rendell. You've been left in the dust."

Those are some pretty strong words from Philadelphia Magazine, and obviously, no offense to Rendell. Ed Rendell was one of the main reasons Philadelphians started thinking big, and thinking differently, over 30 years ago.

The dude literally started "cleaning up" City Hall by picking up a mop and bucket back in the early 90s. Good man, Eddie.

I may be a bit biased writing about this subject, because I've always been a big supporter of Michael Nutter, but I'm going to talk about it anyway. What else can I say, he's the man. But, as someone who was raised outside of the city's limits, and has lived within the city's limits since 1997, I can say with confidence that Philadelphia's national (and international) reputation has improved by leaps and bounds.

As I have said before, and will repeat again, Philadelphia (as a big city) still has some major items to address (e.g. public schools, business taxes, property tax enforcement, etc). That's not the point of this post. The point is to show locally concerned citizens all of the positive changes Mayor Nutter has made (in less than 8 years, mind you), and the need to keep that momentum and energy moving forward; past the 2015 mayoral election, and into the future.

As for the local urban climate, here are some fantastic "Nutter Numbers":
So needless to say, Nutter has made some serious improvements in almost all of Philadelphia's Quality of Life metrics. Does that mean our city's work is done? Not even close. Philadelphia still has high levels of crime, poverty, and litter; which can stunt the progress we've made.

But my personal feeling is that local residents (as well as local suburbanites) are more on board with Philadelphia than they have been in many years, and we are now all working toward making our city even better in the years to come!

2015 is a big election year for the "City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection," the list of Mayoral candidates (as well as city council candidates) is growing by the day, and more Philadelphians are realizing how important it is to vote. Since Philadelphia is a city where organized special-interest groups have majorly influenced mayoral elections for the last 50 years (umm ... we have not had a party change in our mayor since 1952 ... yup, seriously), you know there is a problem in the local political system.

So not only do we need to think long and hard about Philadelphia's next mayor, we need to also do the same for our city council members. Remember how the PGW deal fell through? Yup, city council has great power in our city too.

If you don't vote, you don't have a say. If you don't have a say, then you cannot help move our city forward. If you cannot help move our city forward, the status-quo will remain. Philadelphia's primary election is on May 19th, and the official election is on November 3rd.

Nutter has inspired others to run for mayor and city council, so please show your support and vote in 2015!

If you would like to read more about the Nutter Administration's accomplishments, known as "Tale of the Tape," the full report is here.