The Bastards Who Destroyed Philadelphia

OK, time for one of my Cranky Old Lady rants. Saw this on the AP Newswire this morning:

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The developer of the city’s first skyscraper has announced plans to build another. Liberty Property Trust, of Malvern, Pa., said Tuesday that it will build a million-square-foot office tower on a $26 million site in downtown Philadelphia beginning late next year. The company, headed by Willard G. Rouse 3rd, would not disclose the height of the proposed building. It also refused to say whether it will be taller than the roughly 60-story One Liberty Place, the city’s signature building that Rouse erected in the mid-'80s.

When I was growing up there (and let’s have no cracks about the McKinley administration, please), Phila. still looked pretty much like a 19th-century city: thanks to a (sadly unwritten) gentlemens’ agreement, no building was to be taller than the 1876 City Hall. There were still whole blocks you could walk down that hadn’t changed in 200 years.

Then Rouse—to whom a “gentlemen’s” agreement obviously has no meaning—began slinging up hideous skyscrapera all over town, turning what was once a beautiful city into just another Dallas, L.A. or Atlanta. And where the hell do they get Liberty Place—a third-rate Chrysler Building, at best—being “the city’s signature building?” Excuse me, what about City Hall, topped by the Billy Penn statue, and Independence Hall?

Bastards. They should die like pigs in hell. Oh, and by the way, Rouse, you can’t call yourself “III” unless your grandfather is still alive. Pretentious jerk.

That sucks. But won’t he have to get approval from the City’s planning/zoning commission also? Maybe if enough people get pissed off they can force a change to the plans…

Nah—it all boils down to money, which is why cities just get uglier and uglier (don’t even get me started on how Times Square has been destroyed!).

::: remembering a night back in the 60s when I got lost following Wissahickon Avenue to Wissahickon Place, which led back to Wissahickon Avenue, which led back to Wissahickon Place… :::

I’m with Eve. Though the city could use some modern conveniences that have been invented since her time…
:: D & R ::

Really? I never knew that was the standard.

John M. Corrado III

Yeah, can’t ignore the profit motive, but it’s a mystery to me why the new buildings have to be SO fucking ugly. If the new stuff looked like the Chrysler Building, I wouldn’t be complaining.

Mies van der Rohe and his glass boxes were bad enough, but now we’re afflicted with Frank Gehry and his clones, turning out enormous buildings that look like exploding clowns.

– Ukulele M. Ike III

Sorry, John—if your father is alive and your grandfather is dead, you are “John Corrado, Jr.” and he is “Sr.” When your father dies—which I hope and trust will be many years from now—you will be “John Corrado,” unless you have a Jr.

Unless, of course, you are King of Corradoland, in which case it’s perfectly OK to go unto “John Corrado XIV” if you want.

This is according to Correct Social Use, of course, and can be (and is) ignored by all and sundry . . .

Ike—“exploding clowns!” HAhahahahaha . . . I gotta remeber that.

John, Jr.—I would NEVER call you a pretentious jerk, by the way. Unless, of course, you plan on destroying any cities. In that case, I would just call the Powerpuff Girls to stop you.

Where are all the giant mutant fire-breathing lizard creatures when you really need them?

Last I heard, they were getting ready for the start of the XFL season.


G’night everyone! Don’t forget to tip your waitress![/sub]

Thanks Eve, for a lovely and oh so true rant. I’ve always loved walking through Old City and Society Hill sections of the city. Head House Square is beautiful as well.

But, you know, Rouse isn’t the only one to help destroy Philly. Heck, former mayor Wilson Goode took care of an entire block.

Think I’ll go for a cheesesteak wit.


I still remember when Billy Penn was the tallest point in Philly. I still yearn for those days.

How about we put an Eagles jersey on him next week? :slight_smile:

But then, how does that work?
Okay, my Dad was William the III, and if I had been a boy, I would’ve been the IV. Even though my great-grandfather was dead…

Sorry for the hijack. Please continue.

Yep, we have a law here that no new construction can block a view of the state capitol. Of course, people get exemptions. The latest one was for additional seating for the state university’s stadium (anything for those alumni bucks!!!)

Please note a mistake. No living man is ever styled “Sr.” If John Corrado’s son is John Jr., he is just John, not John Sr. If he dies, his son becomes just John, and his widow becomes Mrs. John Sr.

I bow to Matt’s superior social upbringing, delicately tipping my cocktail hat and waiting for the axman to do his job . . .

—Emily “3000” Posts

FNG here. (“Newbie” sounds like a prison term: do I have to decide if I want mayonnaise or a bitch-slapping with my baloney sandwich?) “Urban renewal” is a term of terror for historic-preservation minded folk.

Here are a couple of links that may prove inspirational:

Until people speak up it is truly money that decides what is blight.

Wonderful links, DustyÑand thanks for getting us back to the OP!

I have those “Philadelphia Then and Now” and “New York Then and Now” books, andÑthe improvement in life in the past 100 years notwithstandingÑit’s impossible to deny that both cities were a helluva lot PRETTIER “Then” than they are “Now!”

Not true with all cities, I’m afraid.
Pittsburgh being one of them-we still have a lot of the original architecture. And none of the smog! (They used to call the place Hell with the Lid Off) According to my grandfather, you couldn’t walk through downtown in a white shirt-it’d be black in five minutes. And the streetlamps had to come on at noon. I’ve seen pictures. No, thank you!

Well, yeah…and I’d like to have Wanamaker’s toy department back in full bloom.

I miss the old Philly terribly. Skyscrapers are the ominous figures looming over us as constant reminders that Philly isn’t about street games, Breyers ice cream and unobstructed views of Billy Penn anymore. I think it sucks. I’m saddened by it. HEY! The Mummers don’t go up Broad Street anymore!!! THAT’S A RANT!!! repeat that: The Mummers DON’T go up Braod Street anymore!!! Oh…MY…GOD…!

Next thing you know they’ll ban the sale of Soft Pretzels.

I wish for the Mummers to be back on Broad Street. I wish I could find a pimple ball somewhere.