5 big Philly mistakes in the New York Times and the Washington Post

They make hilarious mistakes about Philadelphia, inventing neighborhoods that don’t exist or claiming major institutions moved away when they’re still right here.

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You’d think the New York Times and the Washington Post would get Philly right. We’re located within about three hours of each of them, and they write about us all of the time. But they make hilarious mistakes about Philadelphia, inventing neighborhoods that don’t exist or claiming major institutions moved away when they’re still right here. It happens relatively often, too. 

These are some of the funniest instances in which the WaPo and the NYT have botched important details about Philadelphia.

1. The Ben Franklin Statue

This one happened in a review for the movie Creed. The WaPo‘s film critic was trying to explain how the movie captured the real Philadelphia, going deeper than just background shots of the city, but his knowledge of the city clearly lacked some depth.

Ben Franklin statue

The NYT has made the same mistake.

2. Love Field

It was 2001, and Mayor John Street was pushing for Philadelphians to exercise more and eat healthy. The NYT decided to cover it. Writer Sara Rimer observed some office workers exercising at LOVE Park, but she called it Love Field.

Love Field

To top it off, the correction still didn’t get the name 100% correct. It referred to the park as Love Park, no caps. The proper title for it is LOVE Park.

3. The agonizing loss of the U.S. Mint

One common strategy for articles about Philadelphia is to paint the city as a down-on-its-luck underdog. These articles will mention how Philly has lost so many great things, such as its industrial economy or the United Nations to New York. And to make things even more melancholy sometimes they’ll make up something we lost. Like the WaPo did with the U.S. Mint in an article about Donovan McNabb.

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The U.S. Mint, of course, is still here. You can take a self-guided tour. It lasts about 45 minutes. As the WaPo acknowledged in a correction, many cities throughout the country have mints. New York is not one of them.

4. The DNC fail

When Brooklyn lost the DNC sweepstakes to Philadelphia last year, the NYT came out with a short guide of the city’s highlights. It had some glaring omissions and errors (cheese steaks, for instance). We’ll use Allie Ilagan’s illustration to explain:

5. Little Italy

The NYT was highlighting some of the major events around Philadelphia before Pope Francis visited and mentioned something happening at the restaurant Maggiano’s Little Italy, a chain with locations all over the country. The NYT didn’t quite understand, and an odyssey of errors ensued.

In the original article — as nationally known, Philly-based blogger Atrios captured — the restaurant was described as “Maggiano, an upscale restaurant in Philadelphia’s Little Italy.”

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There were three errors in that one sentence. The name of the restaurant, the description of a neighborhood that doesn’t exist and the adjective of upscale. So the NYT decided to correct it. But it still screwed up.

This is the original correction:

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A couple days later, the NYT came to the realization that Philadelphia has no Little Italy. This is how the correction looks now:

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We’re still waiting for the NYT to correctly call the restaurant Maggiano’s, call it a chain, and remove the ‘upscale.’

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