Debate over new Rittenhouse benches; Philly’s bad property assessments; Phillies add ‘Thor’ to lineup | Morning roundup
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After a two-year fundraising campaign, Rittenhouse Square has 160 new benches. They’re longer — and have a controversial central armrest built in.
- Helping people with mobility issues is the center bar’s purpose, per the park’s friends group. But when the centerpiece was intro’d back in 2008, the group said it was “to discourage the use of the bench as a bed.”
People involved with the homeless population are not fans of the new furniture, Angie Bacha reports. Meanwhile, a donation to Project HOME is in the works.
Noah Syndergaard, the pitcher acquired by the Phillies just hours before the MLB trade deadline, is quite a character.
- Nicknamed ‘Thor’ after his long hair (and his proclivity for the Norse god costume), the native Texan is known as much for his jokes as his stinging pitches, which softened a bit after a recent injury.
In advance of Syndergaard’s debut tonight at Citizens Bank Park, Jordan Levy runs down some fun facts about him, like that time he stole the Phanatic’s ATV.
$ = paywalled
- Over $6 million in Pa. state funding is going to Harrisburg-based anti-abortion nonprofit Real Alternatives, which helps fund crisis pregnancy centers. Another $1 million goes to the organization via TANF, the food and child supply funding. [Inquirer$/Billy Penn/Capital-Star]
- Pennsylvania has earmarked $45 million statewide to help counties administer elections, but contingencies attached to the money — like finalized ballot tallies a day after an election — has small counties worried. [WHYY]
- Philly’s property assessments are less accurate — too high or too low — in neighborhoods with higher proportions of Black residents or lower median incomes, per a new Inquirer analysis. This year property values increased by 31% on average, causing new tax worries. [Inquirer$/WHYY/Axios]
- A doctoral student at Penn explains why Pa. officials should start tracking use of algorithms, which already make important decisions about schools, funding, and criminal justice. [Billy Penn]
- Jose Garces is the latest “celeb” chef to open at the new club level at the Wells Fargo Center. The menu will be a greatest hits list from his restaurants — including the recently shuttered University City spot Distrito. [PhillyVoice/Daily Pennsylvanian]
- Around 65,000 people competed for a chance to win Wawa’s technicolor NFTs of cartoons eating a hoagie, which is exactly 64,999 people more than we expected. [Technically]
- Dick Vermeil, the beloved ex-Birds coach who led the team to their first Superbowl appearance, is excited to enter the NFL Hall of Fame as an Eagle. [NBC10]
Mayor Kenney joins Parks & Rec officials and reps from the local YMCA to announce this year’s Camp Philly, a scholarship that sends city kids to a week’s sleepaway camp in the Poconos (10:30 a.m.). Later he meets other scholarship recipients at a reunion of new and returning Catto Scholarship CCP students (1:30 p.m.).
🎰 BP Quizzo lands in South Philly at the Sports & Social bar, where we’ll swoop into the Live! Casino with fun trivia about all things Philadelphia. Prizes include gift cards and beach chairs, all free with RSVP. (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17)
👽 Kick it old school at the Betsy Ross House for a free First Friday screening of “It Conquered the World,” a campy 1968 alien thriller. (8:45 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5)
🍳 Add a new brunch spot to your rotation as Old City’s Amina debuts its weekend daytime offerings. Chef/partner Darryl Harmon’s menu features Southern cuisine that incorporates African ingredients. (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 6-7)