I Wanna Know

PW exposes the tricks, scams and truth about the powers that be.

By Sammy Mack
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Mar. 31, 2004

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Q: What's with the billboard on I-95 southbound just before the Callowhill exit that says, "I HATE STEVEN SINGER"?

A: The sign is part of Steven Singer Jewelers' new ad campaign. Inspiration came from local voice actor Dennis Steele, whose vocals have sold everything from Wawa to the Pennsylvania Lottery. As the story goes, Steele bought a ring from the jewelers for his wife of 23 years. The rock was extremely well received. Nine months later the Steele family included a baby girl. Steele dropped by the shop to share his success story and blame Steven Singer for all the sleepless nights associated with a baby. Singer took the backhanded compliment and made it the focal point of the new reverse-psychology ad campaign. "Children's 'I HATE STEVEN SINGER' T-shirts will be given out in the store beginning in April," says Laurel Fairworth, a spokesperson for the jeweler. The marketing plans also include another billboard on I-95 north at Pattison Avenue.

Q: What's the deal with the tiles that read "Gimbels" in the Eighth Street pedestrian walkway between the SEPTA and PATCO stations?

A: That walkway is right below where the Gimbel Bros. department store was once located at Eighth and Market streets. The store was founded in 1894 by Jacob and Isaac Gimbel, two entrepreneurs from Milwaukee. It survived there under various owners until it shut its doors for good in 1979. In the late '90s Disney and its mouse-eared crew of quitters started excavating a hole at the old Gimbels location for a proposed DisneyQuest complex. After the project was abandoned, PATCO raised concerns about the stability of its Eighth and Market station. Engineers laid plans to tile the walls to protect the infrastructure against potential water damage. While they were down there, workers discovered the old columns that once marked an entrance to the Gimbels store. "We saved two of the columns and we connected them with the wall," says PATCO spokesperson My Linh Nguyen. The original tiles from the entrance now serve as a little daily nostalgia for PATCO customers who remember the old department store.

What do you wanna know? Send queries and complaints to Sammy Mack at smack@philadelphiaweekly.com

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