In her Friday column, Philadelphia Inquirer architecture critic Inga Saffron ripped a Queen Village lemonade stand a new asshole—calling it “shamefully thoughtless” and “structurally abysmal.” “Not only does [the stand] block six square feet of sidewalk, creating a daunting pedestrian bottleneck, it is terribly out-of-balance with the block’s historic, well-kept rowhouses,” she wrote of the stand, set up by April Hutchinson, 7, of the 300 block of Fitzwater St. “Even worse, it seems to have been made from an overturned cardboard box—reflecting a wider local trend towards distressingly substandard materials.”
But the piece, titled “Nightmare on Fitzwater Street,” didn’t end there. “If the stand’s slapdash construction weren’t problematic enough, its signage carries all the charm of a beggar’s placard,” she wrote. “Scrawling ‘lemonn-aide [sic] 50¢’ on a piece of neon oaktag is an insult to the meticulously-planned exteriors of nearby Cochon and James. I might even advise Licenses and Inspections to look into the matter.” She added, “While they’re at it, L&I might do well to also address Hutchinson’s scandalous lack of suitable customer facilities.”
Hutchinson, a 2nd-grader at Meredith Elementary School, seemed wounded by the critical scalding. “I just wanted to make lemonade, and sell it when it was hot out, ‘cause lemonade is fun,” she sniffed, squinting at a copy of Saffron’s column. “I don’t even know what she’s talking about. What’s ‘the unlearned lessons of Le Corbusier’?” While Saffron could not be reached for comment, her 3,000-word condemnation offered plenty of grist. “If [Hutchinson] thinks she can build without the slightest nod to aesthetics or neighborhood character, she has plenty of company,” she wrote, referring to Philadelphia’s notoriously imprudent developers. “But you’d think that she would know better—especially considering that her dreadful storefront directly abuts her parents’ otherwise elegant trinity.”
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