Bring on Red October (Instagram/@liz_laporta)

RECAP: Looking back on the week that was

• Mayoral candidates chat with kids

100 students from Parkside community schools quizzed Cherelle Parker and David Oh last week in one of the first forums featuring both the Democratic and Republican mayoral nominees — each on stage separately, per the Parker campaign’s requirements. Little policy was discussed, though Oh did say he would split the Department of Parks and Rec so each could better advocate for resources. There are a few other forums coming up this week, including the radio broadcast debate on Thursday morning.
[YouTube/City & State/Billy Penn]

• Free Library rolls out later hours 

For the first time since pre-pandemic, the Parkway Central Library is now open past 5 p.m. on weekdays. Standardized Free Library schedules rolled out across the other branches last week, offering more evening options — some locations gained as many as 17 hours. The Saturday hours piloted over the summer, however, are temporarily on hold. It all comes down to understaffing, which continues to plague the system.
[Billy Penn]

• Bellwether District starts construction

For about 150 years, a massive stretch of land southwest of Center City was one of the nation’s biggest and most productive oil refineries. In recent years it was Philly’s top source of air pollution — until the big explosion in 2019 forced its closure. Last week construction officially began on its next phase as the Bellwether District, a planned $4 billion commercial and industrial complex that could employ upwards of 19,000 workers by the time it’s completed.
[Billy Penn]

• Wawa pizza gets a pass

The critics and food writers trashed it, but what do regular folks think about Wawa pizza? It’s actually the convenience store’s third foray into the pie game, but this time they may have hit on a formula that lasts. We traded slices of pepperoni for people’s honest opinions. Results of the informal survey in Center City were pretty even: Is it great? No. Will it serve as a shareable snack or late-night munchies solution? Most tasters agreed: absolutely.
[Billy Penn] 

The Schuylkill River at twilight with a view of 30th Street Station, the Cira Centre, the former U.S. Post Office, and Aramark HQ, October 2023. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead

• SEPTA contract negotiations ramp up

With the contract for more than 4,500 transit workers set to expire at the end of the month, the union and SEPTA management are expected to hole up this week to try to hash out an agreement. TWU Local 234 has already voted to authorize a strike if talks break down — SEPTA is one of the nation’s most-struck transit agencies. Workers are seeking increased pay, while the agency is dealing with a looming “fiscal cliff” when pandemic relief funds run out.
[Tribune$/BP 2021]

• Explore John Rhoden exhibition at PAFA

The first-ever retrospective on Black American sculptor John Rhoden is open at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and it sheds light on the history and meaning behind his public work in Philadelphia — which includes the striking statue in front of the African American Museum. Tickets are available for this Saturday’s in-person exploration of the show, led by Andrea “Philly” Walls, founder of the Museum of Black Joy.
[Billy Penn/PAFA]

• Apples shine in Philly Cider Week 

The fifth annual Philly Cider Week spreads love with two dozen events around the city. There’s food pairings at local cideries like Hale & True, tastings from local grower-brewers like Ploughman, and a cider-themed flea market, a Cidernalia live music show, and other options to sample and enjoy all things fermented apple. 
[Philly Cider Week]

• Prime time for Philadelphia sports

For the second year in a row, all five Philadelphia major league sports teams are playing at the same time. The Sixers open their season Thursday in Milwaukee (likely without James Harden). The Union is in the MLS playoffs. The Flyers are actually leading (!) their division. The Phillies are headed home to try to close out the NLCS tomorrow after finally solving the Chase Field home-run riddle. And the Eagles take on the Dolphins tonight with added incentive: for the first time, players will be wearing the kelly green throwback uniforms. It’s such a big deal that ESPN is even running a related feature today at noon, about why Princess Diana wore her famous Birds bomber jacket. 
[Sixer Sense/Union/NHL/USA Today/Billy Penn/People]

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