Congressman Bob Brady’s District Office, 1907-09 S. Broad St. 215.389.4627. brady.house.gov
Treasure hunting doesn’t have to be void of testosterone, and when you’re looking to ditch the mundane Crate and Barrel crowd, Brian McLaughlin ’s ready to nerd out with you about all things salvage. Holding down the fort at Provenance, he is not the salvage yard’s owner but certainly its most valuable employee. He’ll walk you through the yard, pointing out recent deliveries (“we just got in this chicken wire glass”) and what a steal they are (“Old Goode things in N.Y.C. has this for quadruple the price”) and even spend the time brainstorming on how to incorporate their treasures into your own home. Establish yourself as a regular and you’ll start getting emails like you’re his salvage bestie; “I’m at an estate sale for the next three days, need anything?” You’ll be in good company. The city’s metal working artisans, set designers, and decorators all have him on speed dial.
Brian McLaughlin, 1610 Fairmount Ave. 215.769.1817. phillyprovenance.com
Remember when the Republicans used to run Philly? Neither do we. Now, after decades of somnolence, there are signs that the city’s Republican Party is starting to stir. The first big sign? Al Schmidt ’s run for city controller last year. Yes, he only got 28 percent of the vote, but that was better than the abject surrender by the GOP that’s seen most city races boil down to corrupt Democrats versus slightly less corrupt Democrats. Schmidt isn't done: With the backing of the Pennsylvania GOP, he’s leading a movement to put the city party in the hands of reformers who’ll actually try to win elections instead of settling for crumbs at the city’s patronage table. Even if you’re no fan of the GOP, bringing a little more competition to the city’s politics can only make the scene here more honest—and more fun.
It’s said that in 1683 or thereabouts, William Penn and leaders of the Lenape Native American tribe met under a stately elm tree along the Delaware River. There, they shook hands in friendship and brotherhood, exchanged a few gifts, possibly brokered some land deals and ate and drank themselves silly. More than three centuries later, the elm tree is gone (it was felled by a huge storm in 1810) but the seven-acre Penn Treaty Park —established in 1892 to celebrate that momentous meeting—is one of the city’s best and most underutilized parks. Located adjacent to Fishtown/Northern Liberties, it remains perfect for shaking hands in friendship (or, y’know, making out with someone on a bench), exchanging gifts, cutting deals, and drinking yourself silly. Aside from the historical significance, Penn Treaty Park is clean, placid, and boasts amazing views of the river and all the ships passing by, the Ben Franklin Bridge and the Philly skyline; even Camden looks somewhat inviting from this vantage point. For reasons completely unknown to us, the park is rarely crowded—sometimes damn near deserted—even on the most gorgeous summer day. Part of us wishes it would stay that way; another part of us hates to see such a lovely place go to waste.
Penn Treaty Park, 1199 N. Delaware Ave. penntreatypark.org
From the second it landed, NeeKo’s “ Ill State of Mind ” quickly shot to the top of the massive heap of locally branded Jay-Z adaptations. With rhymes like “Now that we got Vick/ I think we need the Vet back/ Tougher than a stitch/ On a Mitchell & Ness cap,” he seamlessly blends old Philly and new in verses that are smarter, more clever and funnier than anything in the original “Empire.” If he’d just adapted names and places, it wouldn’t have stuck. But NeeKo jumps through history that he clearly knows, checking Ben Franklin’s Almanac, Chase Utley, and just about everyone in between in what amounts to a master class on Philadelphia. Forget the GPTMC—this is all the promotion the city needs.
Tony Marino is a wrench turner from way back. He was brought up in his father's garage and has been replacing spark plugs since he was bumper high to a Buick. His South Philly garage looks like a typical gearhead's hangout complete with Maxim magazines but that doesn't mean Tony is your typical grease monkey. He's not only a superb mechanic but a trustworthy one. In an era where trust is a traded commodity, it's nice to know you can rely on your mechanic when you can't rely on your car.
Marino's Auto Repair, 1528 Alter St. 215.546.3954
Soonae Ko —that's Mrs. Ko to you—is a true testament to the success of American immigration. She left her small sewing business and came to the U.S. to live with her siblings in Wilmington, Del., because of what she refers to as "hard times" in her native South Korea. After a year of learning the dry cleaning business, she bought her own. The satisfaction she gets from her place in the world is evident as soon as you open her door. With a warm smile, she radiates a satisfaction that she attributes to being truly settled. The prices are reasonable and the tailoring work is that of a true artisan.
Deluxe Cleaners, 500 S. 23rd St. 215.732.3481