Now that Vox Populi has been forcibly vacated following a stairway fire, some tenants worry the owner will turn the building into condos, writes NewsWorks’ Peter Crimmins. Vox is one of the main and remaining hubs for Philadelphia’s emerging artists, but “the economy in that part of Chinatown North has been on the upswing.” Other collective spaces have offered to host the collectives temporarily.
The German passion for music remains alive at Columbia Singing Society at 2007 N. 2nd Street, Inga Saffron writes. Saffron describes the architecture of Kensington concert hall as “a rich layer cake of golden sandstone, marble, and brick, decorated with tiers of arched windows and topped with a dollop of sculpted tin.” Elaborate social halls were common in the 19th century while German immigrant neighborhoods dominated Philadelphia, and the Columbia Singing Society, while vacant, remains in excellent condition.
The President honed in on Pennsylvania’s coal and natural gas resources Thursday, the fourth day of “Energy Week,” the Post-Gazette reports. Trump highlighted in particular that “the Pittsburgh region is at the center of the energy revolution.” The president promised “to relax environmental regulations to allow more development” to take advantage of the region’s “near limitless supply of energy.”
Meanwhile in Huntingdon County, StateImpact PA’s Susan Phillips reports that the ongoing battle between property owners and the Sunoco Mariner East 2 expansion of its natural gas pipeline, may make its way to the state Supreme Court. The pipeline protesters had lost their local country court battle against Sunoco’s eminent domain taking.
In 1973, a quintessential Skid Row bar’s attempt to transfer across the street encountered “a newly organized Chinatown determined to end a coexistence with Skid Row that dated back to the late 19th century,” writes Steve Metraux contributing to Hidden City. The bar’s owner, caught “in the crosshairs of three urban renewal projects” raced against time to move the bar across Winter Street to avoid eminent domain and the impending Vine Street Expressway. The “barroom brawl” revealed the turning point in the neighborhood—the rise of Chinatown as the “community learned to mobilize effectively against urban renewal” and the “disorganized passivity of Skid Row” whose population had dwindled to a few hundred.
Lyft announced Thursday two new black car options for Philadelphians—Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV, PhillyVoice’s Marielle Mondon reports. Passengers can “specifically request getting picked up in a particularly nice car,” with fares “expected to cost 3x-5x more than a regular Lyft ride.”