Morning roundup

Healing Chinatown with a highway cap; Farewell to the alien mural; Philly pools start closing | Morning roundup

Did the butterfly heist really happen? 🦋

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

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The Vine Street Expressway cap moves forward in Chinatown

As the proposed 76ers arena stirs development concerns in Chinatown, a plan is moving forward to reconnect the neighborhood’s two sides.

  • Capping I-676, which cuts the Chinatown in half, could reunite the neighborhood across Vine Street. The city is applying for a federal grant to start making it happen.

“There’s no public space within the neighborhood,” one resident told BP’s high school interns, who explored the past and future of the highway divide.

Chinatown is full of retail and commercial activity, but many people also live there — on both sides of I-676

Chinatown is full of retail and commercial activity, but many people also live there — on both sides of I-676

Tiffany Rodriguez / WHYY

So long, Second Street mural of the sexy, irreverent alien

Fans are saying their farewells to a much-admired mural in Northern Liberties of a well-endowed amphibious creature chillaxing to music.

  • Painted in 2018 by Juanjo Surace, the headphones-wearing monster is being demolished to make way for a mixed-use building that will bring more apartments and retail to the neighborhood’s central corridor.

Asha Prihar has more on the “big boob frog monster” that has some folks feeling sentimental.

The alien mural by Juanjo Surace is being demolished to make room for new construction in Northern Liberties

The alien mural by Juanjo Surace is being demolished to make room for new construction in Northern Liberties

Asha Prihar / Billy Penn

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

  • An estimated 280k houses in Philly need repairs, and state Sen. Nikil Saval is cosponsoring a new bill to establish a state fund to help pay for fixes. If you or someone you know is in that situation, here are existing affordable home repair resources in the city. [PhillyVoice/Kensington Voice]
  • A Megabus on the way Philly crashed on the NJ Turnpike Tuesday night, killing one passenger and injuring five others. The cause is still under investigation. [KYW]
  • New Philly teachers started orientation this week — and for the first time ever, there are mandatory sessions on racial equity. [Chalkbeat]
  • Summer is far from over, but Philly public pools start closing for the season on Friday. Check the schedule if you want to visit your local pool before it shuts down. [Phila Gov]
  • Financial troubles, ongoing lawsuits, bankruptcy and a mysterious “heist” some say never happened. How did the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion reach an inflection point? [WHYY]
  • For decades, 102-year-old Ilse Korona never talked about what it was like to flee the Nazis and survive the Holocaust. Now, after living in Philly the last 76 years, she’s ready to tell her story. [Inquirer$]
  • Raising Cane’s, the Louisiana-born chicken chain that already draws long lines in University City, opened a second location near Temple in North Philly. [Daily Pennsylvanian/6ABC]


Looks like there’s progress on reactivating the former Cipriani Family Court building on the Ben Franklin Parkway: Mayor Kenney joins officials from the Free Library and African American Museum to announce something coming to the historic property and the huge lot behind the library’s Parkway Central Branch (11:30 a.m.).


🎰 BP Quizzo lands at the South Philly sports complex in Live’s Sports & Social bar, where cohosts Danya and Sakeenah will quiz you on 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)🎭 “The BOX” — a traveling play about the aftershocks of mass incarceration — lands at Eastern State Penitentiary. Tickets are on a sliding scale from $20 to $50. (7 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 13-14)

🐚 TikTok famous foodie and Billy Penn contributor Noah Tanen takes over The Lunar Inn for a New England-style clam roll pop-up. And yes, there will be beachy cocktails. (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14)

🦐 Early heads up on the Swedish Historical Museum’s summer Crayfish Party, because RSVPs are due by Aug. 12 for the dinner, which costs $55 per person for all you can eat — meatballs included. (6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19)

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