Monday, May 16, 2011

Old-ass Building of the Week-- May 16th

The Drake (formerly the Drake Hotel)

1512 Spruce Street
Fear me.
                The Drake, known to tourists as the Holy Shit What The Fuck Is That Building, was built in 1928 as a super-luxurious Hotel by some architectural firm called Ritter and Shay, who must have built this with their huge dicks as cranes. Yes, it's fucking awesome. This 375-foot tombstone of a Norse god is one of those buildings that outsiders remember when they visit. Art Deco plus Spanish Baroque equals Crazy Delicious!
                 People love to make up rumors about this thing. They always point it out to their friends and say goofy things like "Ghostbusters was filmed there" or "it was once the tallest building in Philly", which are both a bunch of bullshit. Even the building's website claims it was the tallest. City Hall started being the tallest structure on the skyline when William Penn's statue was installed in 1894, so fuck you for lying. The Drake was built 18 years after City Hall's completion date of 1910. As for the Ghostbusters thing... the building in the movie is a fucking matte painting, dumbasses.

Not the fucking Drake. 55 Central Park West with a matte painting on it, assholes.
                 But really, check this motherfucker out. It really looks great at all angles. This is one of those buildings that was designed to be seen from the air as well as the ground. From the ground it looks like a giant Juggernaut looking down at you, about to kick your ass:

I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!!!
                From the sky, you can start to notice how intricate and detailed all the little balconies and outcroppings and shit are. It's shape dominates the skyline even when you're looking down at it.

Sexy motherfucker. Photo by Duncan Pearson

                    From the side, it becomes a sliver of 1920's elegance, there to remind you that there was once a time when architects knew what the fuck they were doing.

Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful, you dirty bastard! Photo by Christy
              What a great building. A little street called Hicks Street runs alongside this Great Wall of Habitual Badassery. It would be renamed Drake Street if that useless Streets Department had any balls. In 1998, the Drake was renovated and made into moderny condos. I guess they ran out of dough or something because they did a great job on the inside but didn't do much to clean the outside. It still remains one of the dirtier buildings on the skyline. Fix that shit.



  1. I love you! My grandfather lived here in the 60's and I loved the building too! My hubby is an architect, are you? I love the way you love my Philadelphia! I was just telling a woman at the nail salon yesterday though I love many cities, Philadadelphia has my heart. My architect is enjoying your entries, I'm reading them aloud, Sunday morning style. I want to be your best friend, your knowledge of the history is soooooooo impressive! Shame about the Atwater Kent, I hope they don't screw it up, look what happened to Barnes. What a lot of PIG SWILL they sold the public. Corrupt assholes, loved the Foundation in Merion. Greedy politicians ruin everything. Anyway we live in Bucks County.

    1. Thanks. No, I am not an architect.

      If you like my old posts, wait til the blog re-launches in the next few weeks. I will officially announce the Great Return of Philaphilia this Thursday.