‘What if Northeast Philadelphia seceded from the city?:’ Philos Adelphos Irrealis submission

A submission I made to a book anthology out of the noted Kelly Writers House has been accepted.

The collection, called Philos Adelphos Irrealis, was meant to portray various states of Philadelphia that never came to pass — in 200 words or less. I focused mine on the aborted effort in the late 1980s for Northeast Philadelphia to secede from the city and form its own municipality.

After some discussion with a dear friend, I decided to show something that might not have happened if that secession occurred. I also decided to do what I knew best (and what I thought would be unique to the collection): offer a submission in traditional newspaper style.

See the submission below and head over to the University City staple to purchase a copy for $5 to get a variety of local writerly takes on the prompt.

Continue reading ‘What if Northeast Philadelphia seceded from the city?:’ Philos Adelphos Irrealis submission

District 172: John Perzel coverage for NEast Philly, funded by JLab

 

Though I took part in three of 14 JLab-funded Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund projects, first announced here last fall, I led one of them.

For Northeast Philadelphia hyperlocal NEast Philly, I helped lead the editorial direction of a project called District 172: the politics of change after state Rep. John Perzel.

Following the indicted former state Speaker of the House, whose corruption trial has been postponed until the fall, we covered what the impact the loss of a 30-year state leader would be on his district, particularly a small swath that had served as his political base.

 

Find all the coverage here.

I had the following roles:

Metro: Seth Williams stumps and Northeast Philadelphia Now

Two pieces I wrote for NEast Philly made their way into yesterday’s Metro Northeast Philadelphia edition.

First, as depicted above, a piece on Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams’s presentation at the Northwood Civic Association meeting during which he again outlined the four main objectives of his nascent administration.

Second, as depicted below, my coverage of the second meeting of Northeast Philadelphia Now, a fledgling attempt to coalesce various neighborhood groups to fight back against quality of life crimes plauging that part of the city.

Continue reading Metro: Seth Williams stumps and Northeast Philadelphia Now

Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Last month, the Devon Theater, a professional production house in a working-class neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, canceled the final half of its inaugural season due to state budget constraints.

In going through some documents of mine, I found, perhaps prophetically, a story that never was from back in March when the Devon first reopened. Originally planned for Philadelphia Weekly, its working slug title was ‘Can the Devon survive in Mayfair?’

Perhaps that hope now seems less likely. Below, I share the piece that didn’t run (for a variety of reasons) and some extras from the reporting.

Continue reading Stories that never ran: ‘Can the Devon Theater survive in Mayfair?’

Leaving Frankford

Frankford Terminal, taken in 1918, before the construction of the Frankford El. Obtained from the Philadelphia City Archives. Courtesy of Wikipedia.
Frankford Terminal, taken in 1918, before the construction of the Frankford El. Obtained from the Philadelphia City Archives. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Updated h/t

He was an ogre of man, slimy, rat-toothed and overbearing, with day old five o’clock shadow and a crunch of black hair falling out of a sun-weathered red trucker hat.

This man, maybe 45, was propped up on the aged bar of Quinn’s Irish Pub II, a neighborhood drinking establishment with so colorful a stable of regulars that they made this second one just up Frankford Avenue here in Philadelphia from the first. It was passed closing time, the lights were low and the rumble of the adjacently-running elevated train dutifully making its way back home to the Frankford terminal ended hours ago.

The bar maid, fair-skinned, with light-brown hair in a pony tail and a stain or two on a white t-shirt, had taken a seat and served another round on the house. She, the man, two other patrons, a buddy and I had fallen into a conversation of seeming interest to all those involved.

What do you do with Frankford?

Continue reading Leaving Frankford

Metro: Adding human color to a Northeast Philadelphia fire

Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire.  Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro
Naja Wigglesworth was happy to be alive after jumping from her apartment building during an early-morning fire. Photo by Rikard Larma for Metro

I was able to humanize a bit the standard spot news metro fire story yesterday, when I covered a five-alarm blaze in the Burholme section of Northeast Philadelphia for Metro.

It wasn’t the fire and it wasn’t the screaming but God who woke up Naja Wigglesworth early Sunday morning, the 23-year-old says.

She was on the second floor of the Austin Manor Apartment building in the Burlholme neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia when it went up in flames around 4:30 a.m. yesterday.

Read the rest here.

So often, because of time constraints, coverage of these tragic fires are just rehashing of deaths and times and places, without accounting for the people who endure a great deal. I was happy I got to hear from residents about their experiences.

Below, local TV news coverage of the fire and an interview that didn’t make it into the front page story.

Continue reading Metro: Adding human color to a Northeast Philadelphia fire

NEastPhilly.com: an introduction, a City Controller debate announcement and more

Banner advertisement design by Brian James Kirk for TechnicallyPhilly.com

Here’s introducing one of the first regionally-focused community news portal in Philadelphia: NEastPhilly.com, home to anything and everything that happens in Northeast Philadelphia.

In a true testament to its rapid growth in its first few months of existence, tonight it is partnering with WHYY, Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, to host the third and final primary debate for Democratic city controller candidates. If you’re in the Philly area, I welcome you to come see a down and dirty triumph of a small media venture.

This could be the future of news coverage.

Last fall, Shannon McDonald, who is now on the tail end of a media firestorm, began plans to launch a quarterly print publication called NEast magazine, covering Northeast Philadelphia. I pushed her to think of beginning online — even if her core demographic was a working class community not heavily entrenched online. I thought it was an opportunity to begin a brand for cheap, making her known to what potential advertisers, readers and sources she could.

Continue reading NEastPhilly.com: an introduction, a City Controller debate announcement and more

Live, from the Northeast – it’s theater (Philadelphia Inquirer: 3/22/09)

Devon artistic director Michael Pickering oversees a rehearsal of "Nunsense," the inaugural show for the new theater. AMANDA CEGIELSKI / Staff PhotographerDevon artistic director Michael Pickering oversees a rehearsal of “Nunsense,” the inaugural show for the new theater. AMANDA CEGIELSKI / Staff Photographer

By Howie Shapiro and Christopher Wink | Philadelphia Inquirer | March 22, 2009

About 400 people, dressed for a gala, will take their seats Friday evening in what once was a dilapidated Frankford Avenue movie house. Three women in nun’s habits will pop up, administering parochial-school demands: Get rid of the gum! Flip off those cell phones!

The lights will dim, the loopy musical Nunsense will begin – and Northeast Philadelphia will have its first professional live-performance theater, in an area where many people (those in the Northeast included) may not expect to find one.

The opening of the sparkling Devon Theater is an example both of neighborhood tenacity and of a professional Philadelphia theater community whose growth – against the economic odds – seems unstoppable.

“I welcome them to the theater community,” says Margie Salvante, executive director of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. “The theater industry, on a national level, is really focused on Philadelphia as a hot spot right now.”

Continue reading Live, from the Northeast – it’s theater (Philadelphia Inquirer: 3/22/09)

Live, from the Northeast – it's theater (Philadelphia Inquirer: 3/22/09)

Devon artistic director Michael Pickering oversees a rehearsal of "Nunsense," the inaugural show for the new theater. AMANDA CEGIELSKI / Staff PhotographerDevon artistic director Michael Pickering oversees a rehearsal of “Nunsense,” the inaugural show for the new theater. AMANDA CEGIELSKI / Staff Photographer

By Howie Shapiro and Christopher Wink | Philadelphia Inquirer | March 22, 2009

About 400 people, dressed for a gala, will take their seats Friday evening in what once was a dilapidated Frankford Avenue movie house. Three women in nun’s habits will pop up, administering parochial-school demands: Get rid of the gum! Flip off those cell phones!

The lights will dim, the loopy musical Nunsense will begin – and Northeast Philadelphia will have its first professional live-performance theater, in an area where many people (those in the Northeast included) may not expect to find one.

The opening of the sparkling Devon Theater is an example both of neighborhood tenacity and of a professional Philadelphia theater community whose growth – against the economic odds – seems unstoppable.

“I welcome them to the theater community,” says Margie Salvante, executive director of the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. “The theater industry, on a national level, is really focused on Philadelphia as a hot spot right now.”

Continue reading Live, from the Northeast – it's theater (Philadelphia Inquirer: 3/22/09)

Six days from now

By Christopher Wink | May 08, 2008

One week from yesterday three strangers riding beside me on the 3 bus will be dead.

But I can’t know it. It hasn’t happened, and I’ve never spoken to them before and won’t in the future. To tell you the truth, I didn’t even like know they were there, except for the boy, and that was only because his iPod was playing so loud I heard the bass of his trashy hip hop.

In just six days he will die on the same day as two others he doesn’t know.

I just want to get home without listening to what’s left of the music in some teenage boy’s ears.

I work at my uncle’s deli near Wissinoming Park. Normally my boyfriend picks me up after his afternoon class at Holy Family and has dinner with my dad and me in Port Richmond, but he has some group project. So I’m on the 3 with Jimmy Quinn.

Continue reading Six days from now