Friday, July 6, 2012

Cool-ass Stuff Over at Philly Sports History!

              Johnny Goodtimes has been posting some great shit at Philly Sports History lately. I don't know the first thing about sports, so having someone post about Philly's illustrious sports history makes for a great counterpart to Philaphilia. He even gets into architecture too! Here's some of the great content being posted down there:

Johnny does his own version of Dead-Ass Proposal of the Week, showing unused designs for the Vet.

 A great photo essay cataloging the best photos of the Baker Bowl found on the internet-- Part I and Part II

                 ...And don't forget that awesome model recreating Shibe Park down to every detail

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Philaphilia on Friday Arts!!!!!!!!!!!!

So this was filmed about a year ago for WHYY's Friday Arts. It got edited out of the tv show but the video is on the web version. It looks pretty good considering it was the hottest day of the year and I was sweating my fat ass off. Check it out!!!!!!!!

Watch Blogging about architecture on PBS. See more from Friday Arts.

Butt-Fugly Public Art of the Week-- July 5th

Class of '62 Walkway Markers

37th and Walnut, 37th and Spruce

Pictured: crap.
                    When I first saw this, I thought it was yet another crappy Penn public art piece from the 60's, but no... its from this year, 2012! This is one of the newest pieces of public art in the city and its t-rash. Yet another shitty "modern" obelisk like so many others in our fair city.
                    These new penis-rocks are the latest gift from the 427 living members of Penn's class of 1962. 25 years ago, they were the ones that spawned the famous Ben Franklin on the Bench sculpture that everyone associates with Penn. Well, for their 50th anniversary, they added one more Ben Franklin-related thing for the Class of '62 Walk, aka 37th Street through the Penn Campus.
                   The two sculptures, one at 37th and Walnut, one at 37th and Spruce, are placed in order to mark the two termini of the Class of '62 Walk in the same way that old-timey obelisk-shaped location markers did in Franklin's time. Supposedly, those markers were integral to Franklin's Post Office, even though the vast majority of them in this country were installed well after Franklin's death.
                  The marker near Walnut Street points to Albany and Paris, the Spruce Street one points to Boston and London... all locations that were significant to Ben Franklin. As if we need more shit dedicated to Ben Franks in this city. Its enough already
                   What is it with these Penn classes that still want to make a name for themselves like they're still in college? Class of '23 Ice Arena, Class of '47 Meeting Room, Class of '49 Auditorium, Class of '68 Seminar Room, Class of '79 Africana Studies Resource Room... the list goes on. Maybe I went to a crappy college or something, but I couldn't name a single member of my Class of '02, let alone see myself donating in order to build some kind of bullshit on the campus. Class of '02 Asshole Center maybe? 
                    Anyway, back to these shitty "obelisks". I put obelisk in quotes because as you can see from the crappy picture above, these motherfuckers could barely classify as such, because they're yet another modern take on obelisks. If they wanted to commemorate the old obelisk-shaped location markers, why didn't they just recreate some and install them here? That would be way more appropriate. 
                   Did I mention that these shitbelisks cost $500,000?!??!? 500 goddamn stacks... how much disposable income does these 427 alumni have? Maybe if they spent a few more bucks, Penn would actually acknowledge the markers' presence... their public art map doesn't care about them (check "Public Art" at the top).
                 The markers were dedicated as part of the Class of '62 50th Reunion on May 12, 2012, as if it wasn't enough to have an entire pedestrian street named after them. Expect these stone phalluses to be standing for the next 200 years. It pisses me off that these brand new obelisks will probably get way more respect than the 175-year-old Newkirk Viaduct Monument that sits under a bridge alongside shitty rail tracks, covered in graffiti. 
A better obelisk. It only cost $1100 to build... $21,400 today.
                         What garbage. The Class of '62 raises money for other more noble shit than crappy public art, but these two markers were a big waste of half a million bones. I guess we'll just have to wait for their 75th reunion to see what other bullshit with their name on it they have installed. Fuck.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- July 4th

Philadelphia Parking Authority Olde City Autopark

125 South 2nd Street

Its long!
                       Where were the NIMBYs and historic preservation nerds when this dirty motherfucker was built? Despite holding a movie theater and some restaurants, this ugly pile of fuck should've never been constructed. This 695-car parkzilla has spent the last 33 years fucking over one of the oldest blocks in the city. Fuck!
                      The site that this garage sits on was first plotted by Thomas Holme on November 29th, 1682... one month and two days after the founding of the city. The first occupant was the grand estate of some guy named Christopher Taylor, whose property filled the area between Front, 2nd, Walnut and Chestnut Streets. Later folks would split the block with small alleys...Laylor's Alley (now Ionic Street), Gray's Alley (later Gatzmer Street), and Norris's Alley (later Gothic Street, now Sansom Street). Citizens would build out the entire area with small commercial buildings and small houses. After a big fire in 1840, most of the property was replaced with commercial buildings.
                     The majority of the old commercial buildings facing 2nd Street would survive all the way into the 1970's.

The site of the parking garage in 1970 as seen from 2nd Street. The cool building to the right is the old Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, now the site of the unfortunate Welcome Park.
                     In 1976, the National Park Service demanded that more parking get built in the streets surrounding the Independence Historical Grass Lot Collection.,. specifically in this area, which the Park Service called Area F (Area Fuck?). The openly corrupt Philadelphia Parking Authority answered the call and demolished the shit out of everything between Ionic, Sansom, Front, and 2nd Streets. To be fair, there were only 7 buildings left within that area at that point. The new garage would eliminate Gatzmer Street and have large retail fronts facing Sansom. The frontage on both 2nd and Front would be purely ugly-ass parking garage. 
                     One archeological dig was done by Temple University in 1976/77, locating old privy pits and building foundations. One of the more interesting items from the dig was that only nine privy pits were found on the whole block from a time period when way more than nine families were living there... meaning these literal shitholes were being shared by many people at a time.
                     A second dig was done by the UPenn Museum in 1979 while the parking garage was being built. They were only able to dig in areas that were dug out for the garage's support structure. One of those areas was the site of a privy pit. Thousands of ceramic shards, beer bottle pieces, seeds from 18th Century feces, and remains from the 1840 fire were found. They were also able to uncover an old cartway and a wooden phone line conduit from 1900. The dig was rushed because the garage was being constructed while they worked, so plenty of other shit could have been found if they had the time.
                 Once built, the parking garage became (and still is) one of the most successful ones in its area... which means it will NEVER go away. People are probably gonna be parking bio-engineered hovercarriages in this thing in the 29th Century. This garage has a huge amount of exposure due to the popular Ritz Theatre at its base. I call that one the Ritz Pagoda because of how the signs line up on the top of the shitty garage.
                The Master Plan for the Central Delaware modifies almost everything around this garage but not the garage itself. The crappy Front street frontage of the garage will be visible from the river... if this plan ever comes to fruition, which is a slim possibility.

The waterfront in an alternate future that'll probably never happen.
                      Again, where were all the NIMBYs and preservationists when this was being built? I know this area wasn't quite the nice spot it is now when this shit went up, but who thought a big-ass brick-cladding parking garage was appropriate on one of the city's oldest blocks? Oh well... fuck this garage.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dead-Ass Proposal of the Week-- July 3rd ***300th Post!!***

Q Condominium

 622 North 2nd Street

                      Holy shit look at that crazy motherfucker!! This nutty-looking building was going to be a revolutionary killer-structure that would bring Philadelphia architecture into the 28th Century. Unfortunately, the building's own crappy developer was its downfall.
                     Read more at the Philadelphia Citypaper's Naked City blog!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mystery Building of the Week-- July 2nd

Evangelistic Temple of I Am

1026 Belmont Ave.

What a sad-looking building.
                     Check this shit out. Way out on the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue, this ancient ruin of a firehouse is just sitting there, looking like shit. Where the fuck did it come from? What the fuck happened to it? This one is ridiculously mysterious.
                     The building looks like it once kicked ass and boiled balls. The highly detailed facade has a great relief of the city seal along with a crazy arrangement of doors and windows. What's with those tiny little windows on the ground floor? Were they shooting arrows out of this thing? This old-ass motherfucker is nice enough to have its year in Roman Numerals written out-- 1895. The only reason anyone knows its a firehouse is because its labeled as such on some old maps of the city. Other than that, there's very little else out there about this little building.

                     From what I can tell, this place was known as Engine Company #16 or the Number 16 Fire House. Sixteen grew out of the Monroe Engine Company that used to be at 50th and 52nd/Lancaster. Though the building says 1895 on it, the official opening date of the Engine Company #16's new fire house on Belmont Avenue is officially recorded as June 17th, 1896.
                    That's pretty much it. This place is a total conundrum of a building. Its looks fucking awesome but sits there going underutilized and falling apart. The building is currently owned by the Evangelistic Temple of I Am. On their myspace page, they say that the building was donated by the city to a pastor in 1987. The tax records say that the building was given over on March 19th, 1981. They call it "the old firehouse", so the people using the place definitely have to know SOMETHING about this crazy motherfucker. On their page, there's pictures of their alterations of the interior.
                 Does ANYONE out there know anything about this building? The architect maybe? Similar firehouses from the same era elsewhere in the city or in other cities? SOMETHING? ANYTHIZNG? BAHH!!!!