Hole in the Clouds

Tag: (Image credit: Steve Ives)

Urban Pioneers

Mar 22, 2012

Philadelphia is a city of brick row houses, block upon block, mile after mile. But this house on Lawrence Street in Northern Liberties looks a little different; for one thing, it's detached from all its neighbors, set back from the street in a large fenced yard. And for another thing, well, it's a log cabin. Two stories high, a citified height, but still, unquestionably, a log cabin.

It doesn't date back to the "real" log-cabin age, however. About a quarter-century ago, in the mid-1980s, an artist named Jeff Thomas put the cabin together from a load of logs trucked in from West Virginia; its stylistic allusion, we're told, is to the back-to-the-landers of the 1960s and early '70s. In the 1980s, Thomas and other artists then settling in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia were recolonizing a city landscape of abandoned factories, decrepit warehouses, vacant lots, and boarded-up, blighted homes. Their pioneering spirit, embodied in Thomas's house, succeeded only too well, and the cabin is now surrounded by renovated homes that cost way too much for a struggling artist.

streetscape   Philadelphia   houses   neighborhood   Northern Liberties   (Image credit: Steve Ives)  

Eagle Eye

Sep 12, 2012


Five years ago, when the Comcast Center skyscraper was nearing completion, a lucky photographer had a chance to go 974 feet up into the open superstructure and see what he could see. He saw that the Comcast tower was already more or less as tall as the tippy-tip-tops of the Liberty Center towers that appear to be right smack behind it, thanks to the magic of a telephoto lens. When complete, the Comcast building would be the tallest in the city, about thirty feet taller than the taller of the two Liberty Center spires

Way far away near the top of the picture is the Delaware River, and way down below and all around is lots and lots and lots of Philly.

(Image credit: Steve Ives)  

Two-Way Parking

Nov 2, 2012

Odd thing about Broad Street in South Philadelphia: people park in the middle of the street.

Between the northbound and southbound lanes, there is pavement marked with diagonal yellow stripes, the kind of striping that, in all other parts of the world, says to drivers: "Keep your car out of this area." But on Broad Street, at least on the part of Broad Street that runs through South Philly, the empty space between lanes calls out, "Hey, right over here–park your car! Right here in the middle of the street."

Facing north, facing south, doesn't matter. Free parking is free parking.

cars   streetscape   skyline   South Philly   Broad Street   parking   local knowledge   (Image credit: Steve Ives)