Cobblestones at the Merchants' Exchange (Instagram/@t.do___)

A big new development is revitalizing Market East

Philly’s newest public space is a sign of what East Market Street could become, stakeholders said at a ribbon-cutting last week — regardless of whether or not the Sixers arena moves forward. Jefferson Plaza is the second-to-last piece of the massive development at 11th and 12th streets, Ben Seal reports for Billy Penn, and its commitment to ground-level engagement could be a model for whatever happens at the Fashion District.

The pedestrian walkway through the East Market development, which connects with the new Jefferson Plaza at 12th and Chestnut. (East Market/Facebook)

Smoking bars face a hazy future in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the largest American city that still allows smoking in bars. But many old mainstays have recently quit; Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar and Dirty Franks are now both smoke-free. Publicans who operate Philly’s remaining smoking establishments know they’re a dying breed, Ali Mohsen reports — but they’re not willing to give up the habit quite yet.

“We’ve got ‘cheap’ and we’ve got ‘smoking.’ That’s why people come here,” said the owner of McGlinchey’s Bar in Center City Philadelphia. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Girls High denied four students their diplomas during the graduation ceremony, ostensibly for breaking rules about demeanor and dancing across the stage. School officials issued an apology after the news went viral. [6ABC/NBC10]

• Former Penn President Amy Gutmann, who left to become U.S. ambassador to Germany, was paid $23 million in her last year (likely a record amount). It was mostly due to deferred compensation and investment gains. [Daily Pennsylvanian]

• A new installation called “Steel Bodies” has joined the sculpture garden along the Schuylkill River Trail, supplementing the 17 classical figures with 10 large-scale metalwork vessels. [WHYY]

• Philadelphia, which was a training ground for many of the Black soldiers who in 1865 delivered the news, on Sunday hosted the country’s largest Juneteenth parade, with art, a wellness fair, and free food. [Billy Penn/WHYY]

• A Wilt Chamberlain jersey from his rookie year with the Philadelphia Warriors sold for $1.79 million at auction, setting a new record for any vintage game-worn item. [@SCPAuctions/AP]

• The rumors are true: A new Stephen Starr restaurant is coming to the former Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square. It’ll be 2x the size of Parc, but the concept hasn’t been announced. [Philly Chit Chat/Inquirer$]

We need to raise $30k by June 30. Help Billy Penn beat our high score and break even this year by making a donation now!


With the end of the academic year comes the launch of Philly’s Playstreets and free summer meals program for kids and teens, and Mayor Kenney joins anti-hunger advocates in McPherson Square to kick things off (1 p.m.). 

It’s World Refugee Day, and Kenney joins Welcome.US at a celebratory festival in Love Park (2 p.m.), then heads to Iglesias Garden in Kensington for an event commemorating the success of Philadelphia’s $10 million buyback plan to help community gardens avoid sheriff’s sale (4 p.m.). 


🌈 If not tonight, maybe later this summer: Fishtown Taps is a new weekly, neighborhood-wide happy hour at some of the River Wards’ best bars. Deals  include $5 beers, $6 wines, and $7 cocktails, plus food discounts. (5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Labor Day) 

🎶The Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square hosts “United for Immigrants,” a benefit concert for HIAS Pa. featuring musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra and elsewhere. Tickets are $25. (6 p.m. Wednesday, June 21)