Skating at City Hall (Instagram/@lavishnawaab)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Wildfire smoke hazes Philadelphia

Philly was overwhelmed by the stream of smoke funneling down from Canadian wildfires, at one point notching highest-in-the-nation AQIs of nearly 450 (here are some tools to measure it yourself). The pollutant haze disrupted the first night of Center City Sips, led to a temporary suspension of trash pickup, and forced schools into virtual learning — though only on Friday, after the worst was over. Skies are looking brighter now, but bad air quality is threatening to become a trend. So is reality worse or better than one of these nine disaster movies based in Philadelphia?
[Billy Penn/CBS3/Billy Penn x 3]

• Trooper shoots teen after drag racing

An illegal middle-of-the-night drag racing meetup near Penn’s Landing — one of several around Philadelphia last weekend — ended when a Pa. State Police trooper shot and killed an 18-year-old. The family of the teen, Anthony Allegrini Jr., has called for an investigation into exactly what happened. [Inquirer$/Billy Penn/WHYY]

• Sixers show new renderings as protests continue

The debate over the 76ers’ proposal to build a basketball arena in Center City is likely to drag on for years. That’s a message from anti-arena activists, who drew thousands to a march through Chinatown on Saturday. The demonstration happened just days after Sixers leadership presented new renderings at a Wash West Civic Association meeting and firmly stated, “We will not be playing in Wells Fargo Center when our lease is up.”
[Billy Penn/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/OCF Realty]

• Philly wins big at James Beards

It’s a good time to love food and live in Philadelphia. Restaurateurs from the city took the two most prestigious prizes at the 2023 James Beard Awards: Friday Saturday Sunday was named Outstanding Restaurant and Ellen Yin of High Street Hospitality was deemed Outstanding Restaurateur. Also notching wins were Chutatip “Nok” Suntaranon of Kalaya and cocktail author Toby Malony, who bartends at Hop Sing. 
[Billy Penn]

The Drake at 1512 Spruce St. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• Dealing with a collapsed I-95

Did somebody say disaster movie? Another calamity befell the region Sunday morning when a tanker truck reportedly caught fire beneath a Northeast Philly overpass and caused an entire section of I-95 to collapse. The cave-in, which took out all the northbound lanes, is near the Cottman Avenue exit. It’s unclear if there were any injuries, but this won’t be fixed quickly. “I-95 will be impacted for a long time,” said city Managing Director Tumar Alexander at a press briefing. “A long time.”
[Billy Penn/@PhilaOEM/6ABC]

• City Council to vote on budget

Philadelphia City Council is expected to approve the FY24 budget on Thursday, after it passed out of committee last week. Lawmakers used the city’s unusual cash surplus — thanks to COVID relief funds and slightly higher-than-expected revenues — to increase Kenney’s proposed cuts to the wage and business taxes, with Councilmembers Gauthier and Brooks voting against
[WHYY/City Controller/PHL Council/City & State]

• Riverfront cap park groundbreaking

More than a decade after plans started forming and over half a century since the idea was first considered, a groundbreaking is scheduled Wednesday for the park that will cover a portion of I-95 — miles south of the collapse — and reconnect Old City with the Delaware River waterfront. The $329 million project will bring nearly 12 acres of parkland, play areas, recreational paths, and an amphitheater to the stretch that’ll arc over the highway between Walnut and Chestnut.
[BP 2017 x 2/WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Hidden City]

• ‘Albie’s Elevator’ premieres on PBS

Monday brings the debut of “Albie’s Elevator,” the newest PBS kids show, to YouTube and broadcast TV. Produced right here in Philly at WHYY, the show stars a young elevator operator working in a magical lift her family has stewarded for generations. It was created with tons of local talent, including puppet-makers, set designers, musicians, and other artists. 
[PBS/YouTube/Billy Penn]

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...