Tuesday, May 26, 2015

POSTED: Tuesday, November 18, 2014, 2:39 PM

Pennsylvania's decision to site Philly's second casino in the stadium complex maintains the city's losing streak.

Generic, formulaic, and cookie-cutter,  the drive-thru 'Live!' complex looks like a strip shopping center in nowheresville and will add little more than traffic and parking spaces to the urban fabric. It's a bit like SugarHouse, Philadelphia's other, just-off-the-exit-from-I-95 casino, but less appealing. 'Live' looks dead.

A rejected propsal for a far better location -- 8th and Market, at the nexus of the region's mass transit system and adjacent to its tourist and convention destinations -- would have made better sense. It would have added energy to a street the city has been trying to revive for more than half a century.

POSTED: Friday, November 14, 2014, 6:07 PM
Sandy Burke Collison took this photo of a figurine she bought as a souvenir of the Medford's Indian Chief Tavern.

Sandy Burke Collison so loves the Indian Chief Tavern and Restaurant, a Medford landmark set to close Nov. 18,  that she bought a rather pricey souvenir.

"When I ate lunch there and heard they were closing, I asked if I could buy one of the Indian statues," says Collison, 63, of Southampton, Burlington County. "I paid $100 for it and carted it home. Now it's on my porch."

A retired real estate agent and former Playboy bunny,  Collison began eating at what was then a diner in 1959. She went to the Indian Chief with her parents and brother on Sunday afternoons, and when she moved back to South Jersey 11 years ago after living in Florida, the Route 70 eatery again became a regular stop.

POSTED: Thursday, November 13, 2014, 10:25 AM
Paramus Park mall in Paramus, NJ.

Two shopping malls in Paramus, NJ - a retail powerhouse despite its blue laws - will open on Thanksgiving, aka  Black Friday Eve.

Because shopping is America's most important product, the Friday after Thanksgiving has evolved. Spectacularly. For which we can thank the machinations of marketeers. Assisted, it must be acknowledged, by blanket coverage from the short-staffed, slow-news-day media.

Thus, a day when compulsive bargain hunters trample each other to snag rock-bottom 'doorbusters' has itself become a holiday. And what better way to celebrate a holiday than to start celebrating early? Particularly when the holiday is a big chunk of the biggest chunk of an economy that used to make, rather than charge, stuff.

POSTED: Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 10:07 AM
A 1960s postcard of Camden, from Cardcow.com

Another out-of-town reporter has parachuted into Camden and compiled a dispatch from America's most (insert adjective) city. And as is so often true of journalists generally and headline writers in particular, he's...searching for answers.

"Can you gentrify America's poorest, most dangerous city?" Peter Moskowitz wonders for Gawker, the website that takes gossip as seriously as news. 

"Can you pose a better question?" I wonder, reading Moskowitz's well-written, but paint-by-numbers, piece. The Brooklyn writer, who's working on a book about gentrification, insists that not one but two of the "narratives" favored by journalists should be combined to tell the city's story: Camden is profoundly poor and dangerous, but there are (simultaneously) signs of hope.  Stop the presses and hit send.  

POSTED: Friday, November 7, 2014, 11:34 AM
Trader Joe's logo

Woodbury, NJ boosters hope to persuade Trader Joe's to open a food store in a soon-to-close discount supermarket downtown.

City artist Jim McHugh's "Turn Woodbury's Bottom Dollar into a Trader Joe's" Facebook page went up Thursday, and by Friday morning had attracted more than 1,000 likes. And Ryan Morrison, who owns Tiki Tiki Board Games on Broad Street, is offering to get a Trader Joe's tattoo for the cause.

"It says how much demand there is for something like a Trader Joe's in the area," says McHugh, who with his artist wife, Erin, hopes to open a downtown studio and retail space. Adds Morrison, who was born and raised in the city, "I already have a tattoo in the shape of New Jersey, with a little heart on it where Woodbury is."

POSTED: Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 8:27 AM
Malala Yousafzai holds up the Liberty Medal she received October 21 in Philadelphia. Photo: National Constitution Center

Seems a song was stricken from the program at the Philadelphia tribute to Nobel winner Malala Yousafzai because it sounded much, much too patriotic -- too unapologetically  'pro-America' -- to some of her advisers' ears.

No worries.

I got this.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 4:04 PM
NJ Farm Bureau President Ryck Suydam campaigns for a yes vote on the state's public question # 2 Tuesday in Medford. Photo by Kevin Riordan

A picture-perfect day, a postcard backdrop and a bunch of cute kids in Medford Tuesday boosted the campaign for a yes vote on New Jersey's Public Question 2.

The sunny gathering at Johnson's Corner Farm -- a Burlington County landmark saved from development a dozen years ago -- was organized by a coalition of environmental and other groups called Keep it Green. The Nov. 4 ballot measure would dedicate existing tax and other revenues to replenish the Garden State's depleted farmland preservation, historic preservation, and open space and urban parkland programs.

Voters have approved such measures 13 times since 1961, and suppport traditionally has been bipartisan, said Kelly A. Mooij, vice president of governmental relations for New Jersey Audubon and the coordinator of Keep It Green.  Nearly 210,000 acres of farmland statewide has been preserved from development, but New Jersey Green estimates that another 350,000 must be protected in order to "maintain a viable agriculture industry -- the state's third largest."

POSTED: Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 3:09 PM
Justin Fornal, aka Baron Ambrosia, swam the Cooper River from Collingswood to Camden on October 8. Photo: Christopher Beauchamp

Urban waterway enthusiast Justin Fornal says he swam the Cooper River through Camden to make a point and get publicity -- about the city, not himself.

"Camden gets portrayed as this apocalyptic place, and there's more to it," Fornal says from the Bronx, where he runs a filmmaking company and has gained a measure of fame as a flamboyant 'culinary anthropologist' and Cooking Channel personality named Baron Ambrosia.

Fornal, 36, swam the Bronx River in 2013 and says he decided to try the Cooper after becoming acquainted with the emerging arts scene in Camden, as well as the fabulous cheesesteaks at Donkey's Place on Haddon Avenue. The Connecticut native swam perhaps four miles of the river -- which is far cleaner than it used to be, but rarely used by swimmers -- and made landfall at Petty's Island, just north fo the confluence of the Cooper and the Delaware.

About this blog
Blinq is a news commentary blog featuring contributions from Inquirer Metro columnists Kevin Riordan and Daniel Rubin.

Kevin Riordan Inquirer Columnist
Daniel Rubin Inquirer Columnist
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