Black-eyed susans at the Navy Yard (Instagram/@yard_phauna)

Sixers arena timeline: Everything that’s happened so far

Earlier this week, 76 Devcorp held the first of several August webinars on its proposed Center City basketball arena, and another is set for tonight. The Tuesday Zoom meeting was largely a recitation of the Sixers’ projections and hopes for the project, with no crosstalk, though in-person discussions are reportedly planned for this fall.

Much about the proposed arena and Philly’s response has changed in the year since it was announced. Who said what, and when? What’s the state of things currently? Jordan Levy’s handy timeline has all the answers.

Anti-arena activists superimposed over an August 2023 rendering of the proposed 76 Place as viewed from Market Street. (Jordan Levy/Billy Penn; 76 Devcorp)

Get ready for a ‘sexy’ Gritty wall calendar

Gritty, the 7-foot-tall, googly-eyed orange creature whose day job as Flyers mascot hasn’t stopped it from also working round the clock as a beloved Philly avatar, is adding “pin-up model” to its repertoire. 

Yep, Gritty is making a wall calendar. Asha Prihar has the details about the charity fundraiser, which will “cover all the bases… cute, furry, and sexy” — and is available for pre-order if you register for the Gritty 5k.

Boardwalk Gritty singin’ in the rain, for the calendar. (@GrittyNHL)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Northeast Philly Councilmember Mike Driscoll plans to make a bid for Council president against likely competition from three veteran lawmakers. He won a special election in 2022 after his predecessor, Bobby Henon, was convicted on bribery charges. [Northeast Times/Billy Penn]

• Philly is seeing a small increase in COVID cases, and health officials say residents should start preparing for more disease transmission and respiratory illness this fall and winter. [WHYY]

• Students at Universal Vare Charter, one of six Philly schools shut down last year because of asbestos, will start the school year in another district building as remediation continues. [South Philly Review]

• Outgoing Center City District CEO Paul Levy is trying to help the city take control of the old Reading Viaduct so the popular Rail Park can expand, but the obscure movie theater development firm that owns it has been unresponsive to offers. [Inquirer/BP 2016]

• Bus-only lanes installed in 2021 have increased bus speeds 15% on JFK Boulevard and 7% on Market Street, even as bus speeds fell on other nearby streets. [Phila Gov]

• The Art Museum steps are temporarily painted with the Blue Beetle superhero, in a promo for the upcoming DC Comics movie. It’s a sign of changing times, as museum officials in the 1980s rejected commercializing the steps with the Rocky statue. [@JamesGunn/NYT archives]


Mayor Kenney has no events on his public schedule today. On social media he noted the city announced a third round of grant recipients from the Kensington Community Relief Fund.


🍹 Billy Penn event: This month’s BP Quizzo trivia night lands at annex. at the Divine Lorraine, in partnership with the North Broad Renaissance. We’ll have happy hour specials and prizes for the winners. Space is limited, so RSVP today. (6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24) 

🐻 Mural Arts hosts a dedication ceremony for artist Sean Lugo’s “The World is a Ghetto,” a building-sized installation in the Eraserhood featuring 32 hand-painted portraits of Philadelphians. (4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18)

🥫 Celebrate community with South Philadelphia Community Fridge neighbors at this 3rd anniversary bash full of food, games, and prizes. Free. (6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20) 

📖 Billy Penn is proud to headline the inaugural Philly Story Fest, joining journalists from media outlets around Philadelphia to tell the city’s best stories on stage at the Bok. Tickets are $25. (7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5)