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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: September, 2012

POSTED: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 4:34 PM

It's a bummer that Philly has yet to launch a bike-sharing program, which looked promising two years ago but today, well, not so much.

So it'll be fun to see a way-scaled-down program in action starting Wednesday, when Dranoff Properties launches its own bike-sharing program, which will allow residents of Dranoff buildings the free use of a fleet of bikes.

This is from the press release:

POSTED: Monday, September 10, 2012, 2:46 PM

My favorite extortionist pleaded guilty today (Monday) to extorting the Philadelphia Parking Authority for $500.

South Philly shakedowner-wanna-be Rocco Martinez, 30, had shot a video in September 2011, using his cell-phone camera, of a hinky-looking interaction between a PPA ticket-writer and a bootleg-movie seller who called himself "The Movie Guy." Rocco said it depicted the PPA ticket-writer cancelling a parking ticket in exchange for two free, bootlegged movies.

Rocco attempted to sell the video to the Daily News, but we don't pay for that kind of stuff. He did let me see the video, though, which was just too blurry and garbled to confirm, unequivocally, that it showed what Roco said it did. When I called the PPA for comment, no one would comment on the video, either. So I didn't pursue using it.


Plea Memo - Martinez, R
POSTED: Thursday, September 6, 2012, 6:21 PM
Bicycle cops guard the free view from harm

Reader Brendan Flannery read my colleague Stu Bykofsky’s column this week about a die-hard Eagles fan who has been ordered not to peer through a fence to watch the the Birds practice at the Novacare Center on Pattison Ave. 

And he has his own tale of viewer frustration to share.

He says he was denied the chance to be a peeping Brendan at last weekend’s Budweiser Made in America Festival.  His frustration went down near the ramp that leads east from the Spring Garden St. bridge. He was standing near theclosed-off  entrance to the Vine St. Expressway – located to the right of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and flanked by the Park Town Place complex. Attached here is the fuzzy photo which, presumably, no one prevented Brendan from snapping.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 4, 2012, 1:15 PM
The "Rocky" stage at the "Made In America" music festival is seen on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by (CHARLES SYKES/INVISION/AP)

Just got off the phone with Jim Trachtenberg, who wanted to add a different perspective to my column today about last weekend's Budweiser Made in America Festival. For 35 years, Trachtenberg has lived on the 2300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., in view of the Art Museum’s front steps. So he’s long been in the thick of every event staged on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

He says he has never, once, moaned about the disruptions the activities cause. Instead, he embraces them for the vitality they bring to the place he calls home.

So it means something that Trachtenberg says the festival was “obscene” for its lack of regard for area residents. The reasons he’s steamed:

  1. Friday night, neighbors were ordered to move their cars from Pennsylvania Ave., which runs parallel to the Parkway.  The spots were then promptly taken by concert vendors.
  2. The music was scheduled to begin at 2pm, but Trachtenberg says the blaring sound checks started at 8am. That means the noise, which mayor Nutter said wouldn’t be heard beyond the fabric-lined fences, boomed from 8am to 11pm, nonstop. Trachtenberg says he needed earplugs, four Xanax and two pillows over his ears to get to sleep.
  3. Trachtenberg’s house sits at the corner of Pennsylvania and Judson, a skinny little side street, which became a gigantic urinal for music fans who didn’t attend the concert but wanted to be close to the action.
  4. The concert lights shone all night long, right into neighborhood bedrooms.
  5. The festival ended Sunday night, but the noise hasn’t abated as workers toil around the clock to return the Parkway to normal. Tractor trailers and trucks have destroyed vast swaths of grass the grounds, including patches of Von Colln field, where kids will soon  play fall sports.
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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