Set for a South Philly siesta (Instagram/@postcardsfromsouthphilly)

Harriet Tubman statue debate goes national

Friday is the last day to vote for your favorite of five designs for the Harriet Tubman statue planned for Philadelphia City Hall. The semifinalist artists were selected after the city reversed course on commissioning the statue from Wesley Wofford, whose temporary version inspired the idea.

But Wofford, a white man, was selected without any public process, leading to an uproar when the plan was announced. The New York Times just published a deep dive on the controversy, asking the artists involved: Does a statue of a Black civil rights hero need to be created by someone who is Black?

The five semi-finalist artists’ designs for Philadelphia’s forthcoming Harriet Tubman statue. (Courtesy the artists, via the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy)

Philly teens’ relationship with social media? It’s complicated

Teenagers in Philadelphia spend a lot of time using social media apps, often frustrating parents and teachers. But while there’s no “Luddite Club” like in NYC, where teens are ditching smartphones altogether, many in Philly seem to be aware of the potential downsides — and work to self-regulate. 

As their last project of the summer, Billy Penn’s trio of high school interns talked to their peers about the pros and cons of always being on their phone.

A student in WHYY’s Pathways to Media Careers program demonstrates social media usage for the teen reporters. (Vinella Jill Vinca, Nicholas Pompey, Essie Haverkamp for Billy Penn)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• Philadelphia’s unusual for-profit eviction process is dangerous and dehumanizing, tenants and advocates told state lawmakers at a hearing this week. The system faces renewed scrutiny after several deputy landlord-tenant officers shot people during evictions. [WHYY’s PlanPhilly/Billy Penn]

• Kensington building boom: At least seven residential projects are under development in a former industrial area along a railway line north of East Lehigh Avenue. [Inquirer$/@billy_penn]  

• The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Penn’s Landing was vandalized, and volunteers are fundraising for at least $15,000 in repairs. [BP/6ABC]

• Teachers and school administrators can get free Wawa coffee — any size — throughout the month of September. [WFMZ]

• Get out your rackets, or perhaps your earplugs: Pickleball’s world domination continues with the imminent arrival of two temporary courts next to City Hall. They’ll be available for reservation Sept. 7 through Oct. 21. [Billy Penn/City Pickle]

• There’s drama over the pending Jim’s Steaks opening — not on South Street, but in West Philly. An entrepreneur planning to revive the 62nd Street location has been hit with a cease and desist by the family of the original owners. [Philly Mag$]


Mayor Kenney speaks at a City Hall memorial service for former Philadelphia Managing Director Joe Certaine (11 a.m.) before joining alumni of CCP’s Octavius Catto Scholarship at the college for a reunion and welcome to new recipients (11:45 a.m.). Kenney then joins PennDOT officials at the site of the I-95 collapse for a ceremonial resetting of the steel beams on the overpass (12:45 p.m.). 


🍽️ The final Old City Eats of the season offers dining deals throughout the neighborhood. Pay as you go. (5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31)

🎤 Catch WDAS radio host Patty Jackson at The Dell alongside soul icons The Whispers, disco-funk rockers Heatwave, talk-box pioneers Zapp and more. Tickets start at $40. (7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2) 

🎷 Enjoy some final summertime jazz at the Barnes with emerging jazz masters throughout the museum. Free. (10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3) 

💸 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)