Friday, May 20, 2011

Starr's Secret Garden

I had the pleasure of dining at one of Stephen Starr's newest restaurant creations, Talula's Garden, last week. Tucked away in narrow alley overlooking Washington Square, the intimate garden retreat's menu highlights garden-fresh ingredients and fresh preparations. Upon entering this cached urban oasis one is instantly enchanted by the manicured wall-plants, whimsical trickling fountain and rustic outdoor seating. Kudos to Starr for transforming an underutilized back alley into one of the best outdoor urban spaces in the city.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The British are Coming! The British are Coming!

Following the announcement that Doc Marten's will open it's fifth U.S. location at 1710 Walnut Street, yet another British retailer has laid claim to a property on Rittenhouse Row. Jack Wills, the preppy-collegiate British apparel and homeswares brand will open its first US store location outside the New England market in the fall of 2011.

The Philadelphia Jack Wills store will occupy 6,800 square feet of 1617 Walnut and will also restore the greek-revival facade to its original early-twentieth century appearance.

The Church of the Assumption Lives for Another Day

Yesterday, the Board of Licenses and Inspections Review voted in support of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association's appeal to save the nineteenth century gothic-revival Church of the Assumption. The five members of the L&I Review board voted unanimously to uphold the appeal, which consequently overturned the Philadelphia Historical Commision's grant to allow Siloam Wellness to raze the building.

More good news...

According to a board member of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association, the Clay Studio, the non-profit ceramic arts organization located at North 2nd St., is seeking to expand its headquarters into the historic structure.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Urban Jungle

This was taken from the rooftop of a friend's apartment building. Philadelphia truly possesses a remarkable collection of diverse architectural styles ranging from colonial row houses to glass skyscrapers, which together create one of the most unique and beautiful cityscapes in the country.

Demolition at 1215 Walnut

Yet another turn-of-the-century neo-classical facade fell to the wrecking ball last Tuesday thus clearing the way for a proposed 29 story modern mixed use tower. The former Jewish Federation building has been vacant for more than a decade and while it is unclear whether the demolition was due to renewed interest to develop the site or if the building itself was structurally unstable, it is for certain that another relic of the city's brick and stone past has been lost to us forever. It only takes the demolition of a few historically significant buildings a year for a city to lose it's classical aesthetic and historical appeal in a century's time.