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Photos: Old photos of Phillyâ€™s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Philly hosted the first Thanksgiving parade in 1920
Editorâ€™s note: This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with the most recent information.
The Macyâ€™s parade in New York often gets all the attention and credit on Thanksgiving Day, but not many people realize that the very first Thanksgiving Day parade took place in Philadelphia in 1920.
Led by Ellis Gimbel, a co-founder of Gimbels Department Store, the first parade consisted of just 50 dressed up employees who traveled from the Philadelphia Museum of Art down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, ultimately ending at Gimbels at Eighth and Market streets.
As the paradeâ€™s popularity grew over the years, Gimbels brought in some pretty epic floats, marching bands, and more, leading other stores to follow in their footsteps throughout the country. Macyâ€™s in New York hosted their first parade four years later 1924.
The Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade almost didnâ€™t happen in 1986, when the department store was bought by Sterns. Fortunately, ABC decided to take over and remains the main sponsor to this day. That year was also the first time the parade reversed its route. Now, the route starts at 20th and JFK Boulevard and ends at the art museum.
In honor of the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, take a look at some of the floats that have made their way up and down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, starting in 1954.
Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Phillyâ€™s proposed mixed-income housing bill, explained [Update]
Hereâ€™s a breakdown of the bill ahead of the public hearing
Update: This article was originally published on Tuesday, November 21 and has been updated throughout to reflect the most recent amendments made to the proposed mixed-income housing bill.
Next week, City Council will host a public hearing on a proposed mixed-income housing bill that has caused a spirited debate between housing advocates and developers over the past few months.
Bill No. 170678 was proposed in June, just before City Council dismissed for summer recess. It calls for a mandatory law that would require developers to include a certain amount of affordable housing units in any project that includes 10 or more units. As a perk, developers would be awarded certain bonuses to make their projects taller or bigger than the propertyâ€™s current zoning allows.
The bill has its backers, but for the most part the building industry is largely against it, claiming that the inclusionary housing law would hinder development.
Amendments have been made to the bill ahead of the public hearing, and on Tuesday the Philadelphia City Planning Commission said the bill wasnâ€™t ready for primetime and voted to put it on hold.
But the public hearing set for Monday, November 27 at 10 a.m. at City Hall is still on. Ahead of the hearing, here is a comprehensive guide to the bill.
Philly already has a similar provision in its zoning code that resembles this proposed law. In 2012, the city added a voluntary inclusionary housing bonus to its zoning code. It states that if developers reserved a percentage of their projects to below-market units, they would be granted a height bonus.
There are a handful of projects that have made use of this, including the recently completed Bridge apartment building in Old City. But not all projects have been proven successful.
In 2014, PMC Property became the first developer to sign up for this bonus with their project One Water Street. But in 2017, just as the finishing touches were being put on the project, with five extra stories allowed on the building, PMC announced that they wouldnâ€™t be including affordable housing units.
The proposed bill would make the inclusionary zoning provision mandatory instead of voluntary, thereby preventing future situations, what some called out as bait and switch deals, like that from happening again.
Who is behind the bill?
The mixed-income housing bill was put forth by Councilmember Maria QuiÃ±ones-SÃ¡nchez of District 7 and is also sponsored by Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. All of these council members represent districts that have a mix of both gentrifying neighborhoods and impoverished residents.
When QuiÃ±ones-SÃ¡nchez first brought the bill to City Council, she said it was time to reconsider the cityâ€™s current zoning codes and work with the private sector to increase affordable housing at a time when Philly seems to be in the middle of a construction frenzy.
But one of the most vocal critics of the bill, the Philadelphia Building Industry Association (BIA), argues that while both rents and house prices have increased in recent years, Phillyâ€™s housing and rental markets remain pretty affordable compared to other major U.S. cities.
Furthermore, it makes the claim that the bill would actually hinder development because developers would lose money. A recent study conducted by Kevin Gillen, Ph.D., of Drexel Universityâ€™s Lindy Institute said as much.
Passage of the bill would:
- Update Title 7 of the cityâ€™s housing code to include an amendment that would require private developers to build one unit of affordable housing for every nine market-rate housing units.
- Require that all affordable units include the same finishes and appliances as market-rate units, and be scattered throughout the development instead of one floor or area.
- Require that the units be marked as affordable for 50 years.
- Incentivize developers with floor-to-area (FAR) ratio bonusesâ€”a factor of 1.3 to 1.8â€” as part of their agreement to include affordable housing.
- Allow developers the option to pay the Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund instead of adding affordable housing units, for $11,250 to $30,400 per unit. The HTF gives grants to non-profits that prevent homelessness, help with home repair, and support affordable housing.
- Philly needs more affordable housing, as it lost 20 percent of its stock from 2010- to 2014.
- Philly renters are cost-burdened, spending 53 percent of their income on rent.
- People who have been priced out of Phillyâ€™s gentrifying areas would have the opportunity to stay in their respective neighborhoods.
- Developers would be incentivized to build bigger and taller buildings, thus offering more housing density for the city.
â€”Philadelphia Real Estate Coalition
- Philadelphia doesnâ€™t have an affordability problem, according to a study backed by the Building Industry Association. A separate, more recent Econsult Solutions study found that 46 percent of the cityâ€™s single-family housing stock is affordable to households making as little as $30,000 a year.
- Developers and builders will have to subsidize the affordable units up front and potentially make up the costs from the market-rate dwellings. This could have an opposite effect and stunt development in general in the city if developers decide itâ€™s not worth the hassle.
- The bonus incentives offered to developers to build bigger and taller buildings may not go over well in certain neighborhoods that are already opposed to big developments.
Who supports it?
Councilmember Maria QuiÃ±ones-SÃ¡nchez, Council President Darrell Clarke, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson; the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations; Community Legal Services of Philadelphia;
Who opposes it?
The Philadelphia Real Estate Coalition, which includes the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia; Building Ownersâ€™ & Managers Association of Philadelphia; Development Workshop; Diversified Real Estate Investor Group; General Building Contractors Association; Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors; Homeowners Association of Philadelphia; and Pennsylvania Apartment Association.
Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Where to donate and volunteer in Philly this holiday season
Because itâ€™s always a good time to give back
The holiday season is typically the time of year when folks start thinking of the best ways to give back and help those in need. The good news is that the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection offers thousands of way to do good.
Tuesday, November 28 is Giving Tuesday, a global initiative that encourages folks to get involved in their communities. Combine that with the holidays in full swing, itâ€™s the perfect and right time to help those in need.
And in 2010, the city created the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, which is committed to helping Philadelphians help each other through community engagement. You can find countless volunteer opportunities all year long through their website, as well as on Giving Tuesdayâ€™s site, but weâ€™ve rounded up a bunch below, too.
We want to hear from you, too. Do you know of a local charity that deserves props? Have an idea of a way to donate, volunteer, or take action? Leave a comment below.
One Warm Coat: This organization collects gently worn coats all over the country, including nearly 20 locations in the Philadelphia region. Check the website for nearby places where you can drop off your coat.
Restore: This offshoot of Habitat for Humanity has been open for a little more than a year on Washington Avenue, collecting and selling all sorts of donated home goods, furniture, and appliances at a highly-discounted rate. All of the proceeds go toward building homes in Philadelphia. Canâ€™t drop off your couch? They do free pick-ups, too.
Covenant House: Philadelphia has one of the highest youth homeless rates in the countryâ€”about 1 in 20 Philly high-schoolers have experienced homelessness, and many of them are LGBT. Covenant house provides teens with shelter in their 51-bed house.
Philly AIDS Thrift: This non-profit accepts clothes, home goods, furniture, and more and sells it at a discounted rate in its S. 5th Street store. All of the proceeds are then donated to local organizations that support the fight against HIV/AIDS. If you canâ€™t donate, the store is always in need of volunteers.
Philabundance: Three-quarters of one million people in the Philadelphia region face hunger on a daily basisâ€”Philabundance hopes to fix that. You can donate food directly to their warehouses or host your own food drive.
Philadelphia Reads: This city organization provides local teachers with up to 100,000 books each yearâ€”about 350 per teacherâ€”through their book bank. You can donate picture books, chapter books, and more for the bank, which serves educators who teach in pre-school through 12th grade.
Philly Parks and Recreation Department: Love Phillyâ€™s parks? They need your help to stay that beautiful. The parks and rec department has a whole list of friends groups for every city park. You can reach out to them directly to see how you can help.
PAWS: There are plenty of animal shelters in Philly where you can volunteer, including PAWS, which has four sites in the city as well as plenty of adoption events that also need help. But you can also do more than feed and clean the fluff balls: PAWS partners with Monster Milers, a running organization that takes dogs out for runs throughout the city.
Rebuilding Philadelphia: This non-profit started in Philadelphia in 1988, and has helped rebuild Philly homes for low-income owners with the help of volunteers and staff. Theyâ€™re always looking for volunteers, especially those with home repair skills.
The Food Trust: This organization has been around for two decades, encouraging healthy eating all around Philadelphia. You can volunteer at a local farmers market or at the office.
JRAid: There are a lot of families and elderly people in Philadelphia that need help just maintaining their home. JRAid, a project of the Jewish Relief Agency, has an ongoing list of volunteer opportunities that range from painting someoneâ€™s living room to weeding or up-keeping anotherâ€™s garden.
Run for office: Hungry for change? You donâ€™t have to have to law degree to run for local office. Becoming a committee person is the first step in party politics in Philly, and elections are coming up in May 2018. Philadelphia 3.0 and the Committee of Seventy can help you get going.
Join your neighborhood civic association: To get involved on an even smaller level, see how you can join your neighborhood association or registered community organization. Philadelphia Citizen has a helpful primer.
Help make Phillyâ€™s streets safer: If you are worried about the quality of Phillyâ€™s streetsâ€”pedestrian fatalities, bike infrastructure, etc.â€”, the cityâ€™s Vision Zero Task Force and new Office of Complete Streets are here for you.
Patronize local businesses: We get itâ€”online shopping and big box retailers are quite convenient during the holidays. But donâ€™t forget about the cityâ€™s important mom-and-pop shops that keep Philly flavor alive. One easy way to shop local? Head to the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market at Dilworth Park for handmade goods made by local artisans.
Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Where to go ice skating in Philly
From outdoor rinks by the water to indoor spots that are entirely free
Editorâ€™s note: This article was last published in December 2016 and has since been updated with the most recent information.
Ready to work on your double axel? Ice skating season in Philly has arrived, and we've rounded up all of the great places to hit the rink in the cityâ€”indoors and outdoors. And good news: Plenty of them wonâ€™t even cost a penny.
Know of another Philly-based ice rink? Leave a comment or send us a tip here and we'll add it to the map.
Wed, 22 Nov 2017
Charming Bella Vista Trinity on tiny side street asks $254K
Itâ€™s the definition of charming
A Trinity hiding away in Bella Vista is on the market with a smaller price tag after undergoing a recent price chop, packing in plenty of charm and character into 570 square feet.
The tiny home sits on an equally tiny, pedestrian-only courtyard off S. Darien Street that doubles as a community space, so youâ€™re bound to get to know your neighbors. The two-bedroom, one-bath home itself is a true Trinity in that it has one room per floor.
Immediately behind the homeâ€™s blue front door is the updated yet rustic kitchen, complete with a farmhouse-style sink and white-painted exposed brick and beams. Up the Trinity-style spiral staircase is the second floor, where thereâ€™s a second room with a brick fireplace and the homeâ€™s one full bathroom. And as expected, the master bedroom takes up the third floor.
Like with any Trinity, storage may be an issue here. But the basement, complete with laundry, should help out with that. For extra breathing room, thereâ€™s a small back patio off the kitchen, with its own mural.
After originally listing for $259,900 in October, the asking price of the home is now $254,900, coming out to $447 per square foot.
- 756 S. Darien Street, #8 [Kimberly Miller, Very Real Estate]
Wed, 22 Nov 2017