Holidays in Philly

11 free New Year’s resolutions for Philadelphia

Cleaner streets, fewer indictments and a modern fare system — is that too much to ask for 2020?

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Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
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No one’s exempt from that fresh, new beginning feeling that comes with flipping the calendar — not even the eternally grouchy city of Philadelphia. We’re ready to help.

Here are 11 essential New Year’s resolutions for the city.

Be nicer to kids

Just when you think Philly is a generally welcoming place for children, our parks and rec centers start playing a high-pitched ringing noise to keep them away after dark. Then some Center City stores ban unaccompanied minors, and then Mummers judges score them with literal zeroes for “just standing there” during the parade. The kids are our future, people!

Barrett playground is one of 32 Philly parks that contain the Mosquito devices.

Barrett playground is one of 30 Philly parks that contain the Mosquito devices.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Figure out how to clean the streets

From an incredibly dusty street sweeping pilot to the revelation that our sweeper trucks are too wide for our streets, we can’t say Philly nailed street cleaning in 2019. Early this coming year we’ll get an audit on how that pilot went — and hopefully a productive path forward to a cleaner city.

Go for your dreams, no matter how unrealistic

Enter 2020 with the confidence of the 24th Democrat to enter the presidential primary, without much name recognition outside Pennsylvania even after making a bid for U.S. Senate just three years ago.

Get a grip on the Key 

Outgoing SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel admitted earlier this month that he underestimated “how difficult in some ways [the Key] was going to be.” Indeed, the system has provided challenging for Philly’s transit authority, as it has been plagued by glitches and became obsolete within a few years of implementation. In 2020, let’s try to get modern fare payment working for once and for all.

Get in touch with your emotions

In 2019, we found out Mayor Jim Kenney’s office is equipped with a “feelings chart” — basically a key to understanding how the guy is feeling based off his current facial expression. “We use it to identify how we are feeling, as well as the mood of our boss day to day,” Deana Gamble, the mayor’s communications director, told Billy Penn in March.

Take it from our city’s top executive: when you accurately identify your feelings, you can productively manage them! Thanks for the hot tip, Jim.

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Courtesy Deanna Gamble

Get indicted less

Philly’s past year was bookended with federal indictments of our public officials.

In January, Local 98 leader Johnny Doc got slapped with a 116-count federal indictment, outlining alleged embezzlement of union funds, stealing services from the public and using union workers as errand boys. In December, West Philly state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell was charged with stealing $500k from her own charity. They’re among a slew of other indicted elected officials across the city and commonwealth in the past few years. Hopefully 2020 brings some better behavior.

Stop sending unsolicited dick pics 

Chances are, you know someone who has opened their cell phone to be unwittingly greeted by photographs of the male genitalia, aka “dick pics.” Sources say it’s not pleasant.

Keying off a recently implemented Texas state law, Philly state Rep. Mary Isaacson sent out a memo in September seeking co-sponsors on legislation that seeks to protect Pennsylvanians from unwanted sexting. Heed Isaacson’s advice, and only send an explicit image when someone asks you to.

Get a date with Idris Elba

… Or any number of the famous actors and musicians who flooded Philly this year. In 2019, everyone and their mother wanted to set their movie in our fair city — and starstruck crushes were abound.

Follow the lead of our neighbors in Strawberry Mansion, and shoot your shot with the concrete cowboy.

Strawberry Mansion residents (left) are abuzz about Idris Elba in their neighborhood (right)

Strawberry Mansion residents (left) are abuzz about Idris Elba in their neighborhood (right)

Left: Michaela Winberg / Billy Penn; Right: HughE Dillon / Philly Chit Chat

Register to vote

Voter turnout was uncharacteristically high in Philadelphia’s local elections this year, but some neighborhoods are still plagued by a lack of participation — and we’ve got a ways to go before we get full participation.

2020 is, obviously, a huge year in American politics. Want a say in the next leader of the free world? You’d better get registered.

Get vaccinated

Like any year, Philly saw equal parts triumph and disaster in 2019. Chief among them were the multiple outbreaks of preventable and previously eradicated diseases. See: the mumps spreading all over Temple’s campus in April and then a Hepatitis A outbreak in Kensington. This year, can we all agree to get our boosters?

Come together!

Fortunately, Philadelphia teaches us a consistent lesson each and every year: the ridiculousness of our city is matched only by our ability to bond over that ridiculousness. So when a random and confusing letter circulated in Brewerytown and Fairmount, Philly used it as an excuse to come together and party.

In 2020, let’s do it again.

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Michaela Winberg / Billy Penn