Cherry Street chillin' (Instagram/@taraszr)

Consultants selected for $650k Sixers arena impact studies

As the debate heated up this spring over the Sixers’ proposal to build an arena in Center City, the city announced it would commission independent impact studies to help clarify the situation. Contractors were announced yesterday for two of three analyses. They include a local firm known for community work in Chinatown, and a Minneapolis-based company that helped pave the way for other basketball arenas, including Boston’s TD Garden.

Also announced yesterday was the $650k price tag, Jordan Levy reports — and the news that the 76ers would be footing the bill.

The proposed 76 Place arena would extend to the corner of 10th and Cuthbert streets in Center City. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Enjoying South Street’s Magic Gardens, even when you can’t see

One of the most arresting sights on the famed South Street strip — and even in the whole city — is the glittering mosaic labyrinth known as Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Created by artist Isaiah Zagar, it’s a destination that attracts tourists near and far. And it turns out the immersive installation can be fun even if you can’t see the colorful riot.

Thanks to Philly Touch Tours, Lisa Bryant reports, blind visitors can experience the museum alongside sighted people — and perhaps have a greater takeaway.

A view of a large staircase outside at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens. The mosaicked staircase leads up and is flanked by flat tiled walls. At the top of the stairs the walls continue and become more sculptural, including bicycle wheels, bottles, and ceramic works stacked together.
A staircase in Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, featuring artist Isaiah Zagar’s mosaics of glass, bicycle wheels, bottles, and ceramic works. (Courtesy Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Democrats are losing their one-vote majority in the Pa. House as Rep. Innamorato resigns to run for Allegheny County executive. A special election can’t happen till Sept. 19, and the stalemate could complicate the state budget impasse. [Spotlight PA]

• Center City’s William Way Center will not be getting $1.8M in federal funding to help with expansion after all. House Republicans stripped earmarks for LGBTQ+-related projects, bringing a cultural battle to the budget negotiations. [@CongBoyle/Capital-Star]

• After another Philly resident was shot while being evicted, the courts temporarily halted all landlord-tenant officer evictions. [WHYY’s PlanPhilly]

• North Broad continues to pop off, with the latest planned development a Bart Blatstein 15-story, 345-unit apartment building behind the AMC Movie Theater near Temple. [Philly Voice]

• Philly is one of 16 cities slated to get a new Arena Football League team in 2024, five years after the league went bankrupt and the Philadelphia Soul folded. [@OfficialAFL/BP 2019]

• After the live camel eating its hoagie rolls went viral, Northern Liberties bakery Kaplan’s is offering free loaves of bread to the first 100 customers this morning, starting at 10:30. [Billy Penn/Wooder Ice]

• Philly Story Fest is a new event that’s kind of like Ignite Philly meets TedX, but for local news. At the Bok this October, Billy Penn will be on stage with journos from WHYY, the Inky, Philly Mag, Spotlight PA, Resolve, WURD and more. Early bird tix are $17. [Story Fest/Eventbrite]


Mayor Kenney joins President Biden at the southeastern tip of the city at the Philadelphia Shipyard to talk up clean energy projects in the region (12 p.m.).


🏀 The unveiling of a new mural honoring Sixers champion Wali “Wonder” Jones is cause for celebration in Mantua, where We Embrace Fatherhood hosts a party with music, food, art, and resource tables. (2 p.m. Friday, July 21)

🌃 West Philly artist and entrepreneur J.Taylor hosts “Art Under the Stars,” a soiree at the Sculpture Courtyard on Cecil B. Moore with music, art, food, drink, and dance. Tickets start at $25. (5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 22)