October 9, 2012
As a lifetime resident of Philadelphia and a serious flâneur of this fine city, I have come across many gems from bygone days dwarfed by modern architecture, hidden down tiny alleyways, ravaged by overgrowth and some simply abandoned in plain sight. The Rittenhouse Coffee Shop is one of the later. This colorful and neglected yesteryear cafe sits at 1904 Sansom Street in the shadow of the equally disregarded Warwick Hotel. After a bit of research I found that it was operating most recently as a soul food joint in the early 1990's. Before that it was a home to The Second Fret Coffee Shop in the 60's & 70's, a folk and blues venue that helped nurture the budding careers of the likes of Joni Mitchel and Arlo Guthrie and a rumored set by The Velvet Underground happened there. As a development and planning war continues to rage between the Philadelphia Parking Authority, The Historical Society and big money developers, I will continue to daydream about what the place was in all it's original Mercer tiled glory and my wild ideas for what it could be if I could get one hand on it with a blank check in the other.
October 5, 2012
website, eventually finding my way to her blog. In her own words, Lily is "a Brooklyn-based painter". But if you have anytime to check her out for yourself you will find much more. She is quite a multi-faceted, multi-talented dynamo. Besides being a Harvard graduate and founding contributor of Kinfolk magazine, she is extremely well written, well read (she turned me on to Maggie Shipstead's Seating Arrangements), has serious photography skills, a fine sense of humor and an obvious love of travel. The thing that initially caught my attention, I mean, really made my ears perk up, were her shots of a recent trip to Iceland. After browsing through these dreamy, perfectly desolate and otherworldly scenes my lust for touring and trekking was completely kicked into high gear. I look forward to seeing her work and wanderings in the future. Consider me a fan. I hope you find yourself one too.