#TBT #PCC10th Series: 10 Things That Disappeared in the Past Decade

Good Thursday. It’s Throw Back Thursday. Whenever I walk around the City I have a camera on me, or these days a phone. Who da thought a phone would take on the camera industry, or that we’d even have personal phones. WOW, that’s amazing to me as someone who grew up in the 70s/80s. I remember when everyone got cable and that was a moment in time, which brings me to today. Some beloved places in Philly are gone, or have become mainstays of today. Here are a few of my notable choices….PS I included a few shot before 2007 bringing the total pixs to 17. DSCN6977 (Custom)

Remember this mural a guy had painted on the side of his house in Rittenhouse. He did it without a permit. The neighbors didn’t like it and took him to court. Eventually it was painted over. I passed the wall recently, it’s boring.


Do you remember The General Store on 20th Street run by Patty and her mom. Such a fun novelty store. It took hours to really enjoy each trinket. Now it’s a hair salon.


I think this mural was called Commerce. The building was torn down to build the first Comcast Tower. It was always one of my favorites, as I passed it on my way home from work. So much happening in it.

Oh where are you today my guy hailing a cab in the rain.

Created by J. Seward Johnson, it stood at 17th and Locust (pictured here) before it was donated to the Prince theater by Joseph Shine (according to the Philly Weekly in 2005). After years of financial problems the theater was put up for sale, but to pay off debts a lot of the theater was sold off to pay bills. My source tells me that since the Umbrella Man was donated to the Prince Theater owners, they had the right to sell it and they did. I hear they sold the $120,000 work of art for a mere $25,000. Weeping still.  (source)

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Table for two in the trolley is what I used to say when I ate at the Spaghetti House on Spring Garden St. The SH was in a huge factory, which is now housed by Union Transfer music venue. You know how big it is, well it was so popular in it’s day, the 1990’s, there was always a line to be seated. In the 00’s the local restaurant scene exploded and the Spaghetti House’s popularity plummeted. I took this photo the night Michelle Miller brought me to her friends birthday party, held in the trolley. Special guest was his BFF Amber Rose. She had just begun dating Kanye West. More on that story when I cover the 20 Best Celebrity Stories in the past decade.

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Ohhh Denim, what a great run. It opened a tad before I started PhillyChitChat (PCC or hashtag #PCC10th), and it opened with a bang. Nicole Cashman was the PR in charge of the party, and I hear it was a dandy good time, it had to be after she sent the invitations out frozen in a block of ice.  Later the space became Whisper, and is now CODA, a live music/DJ spot packing them in on the weekends.

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This building at 1904 Chestnut St used to be a Little Pete’s diner, then it was a hot nightclub called Pearl, run by our friends who owned Denim – Wayne Z, Scott Stein and Brett Perloff; then it became Industry Mix, then it became a restaurant/nightclub Kokopelli  and now it’s part of the property that makes up the project Pearl Properties started in 2013

which I broke back in 2013. It was quite a big story as Pearl Properties bought up 4 properties. They always owned the plot of land right next door, I had known. They were reluctant to sell it to Little Pete, even though he wanted it to use. They held on to it for 10 years before they made this move. After the last concept failed, it was rumored that the guys from Mac’s Tavern were going to rent the space for an uptown Mac’s, but when Little Pete got an offer he couldn’t refuse, he sold the building to Pearl Properties. I remembered he owned the plot next door and had a friend pull the records for the other buildings on both sides of these properties. Sure enough the QDoba and the Doggie place had been sold. I waited until the day before the sale would be public to break the story. I wanted to make sure the employees at QDoba had been told. You don’t want to get your pink slip via the news. I think it was one of the biggest retail stories I broke, that and Walgreen’s going into the old Border’s bookstore.

Strongbox (2029 Walnut St) opened just as the recession hit in 2009, and it struggled. Not only because of the economy, but because of it’s cred which was “If you look to the right and there’s a VIP, and you look to the left, and there’s a VIP, then you’re in the right place, you’re a VIP.” I always cringed when I read that; Philly at the time, didn’t like VIP’s, but secretly wanted to be treated like a VIP, just don’t advertise it. Strongbox was created by the Denim/Pearl guys Wayne Z and Brett Perloff , who converted the former Monkey Bar into luxe lounge with black leather banquettes, intimate bottle service tables, an elevated DJ booth, gorgeous chandeliers and high-gloss black paint to enhance the intricate ceiling designs. Quite a few celebrities did hang out there before it quietly closed two years later, including Gerard Butler, Jamie Fox, and Charlie Mack.

This used to be headquarters of Packard Motor Car and in later years was First Pennsylvania Bank. Today it’s Del Frisco’s Steakhouse.   Built in 1924 on the southeast corner of 15th & Chestnut streets, the Packard Building is a 407,000-square-foot mixed-use tower rising 26 stories. In 2000 the building underwent a complete renovation by developer David Grasso of Grasso Holdings, the building’s owner. It includes Del Frisco’s (photo above) office and retail space and 153 luxury residential condominiums know as the Packard Grande.  In recent years it’s become Roost, a long stay term hotel. Before it became Del Frisco’s, rumors swirled that it would become a B.B. King’s Blues Club. I was really hoping that was going to happen, as it’d be an attraction for celebs and I could do my paparazzi thing, that was a high priority in my early years of PCC.

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Whatever happened to Mary. She used to be a fixture near 18th and Walnut. I often dropped off a buck or two, and brought her a coke from McDonald’s, to wet her whistle for flute playing.

Formerly The Locust Club, then Phillipe’s restaurant is now the site of the Curtis Building on the 1600 block of Locust St.Decade
The empty lot before The Piazza was built and started the long transformation of Northern Liberties

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOh how I miss you Lateran of Liberty Harriet Tubman Mural: When I heard you were being torn down, I ran over and took a million photos. This is one. My childhood friend, Leslie Still, first told me about the underground railway, and Harriet Tubman. I always admired her bravery.
This 70 foot high mural can no longer been seen on the west side of a building in the 9-hundred block of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.  It was created by the Philadelphia Mural Project in six weeks at a cost of $45-thousand dollars in order to be finished in time for the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia in July of 2000. The inscription on the mural contains the names of Philadelphians who played important roles in the underground railroad.The building it was painted on was torn down in June of 2002 to make way for an expansion of the parking lot. A spokesman for the city of Philadelphia said the decision was made due to the economic benefits of the additional parking.  No wall mural is a permanent piece of art. The average life of a wall mural is 20 to 25 years. Harriet Tubman’s Lantern of Liberty lasted 23 months. (source)

Thank you Paul Levy, Center City District and Mayor Nutter for your imagination on a new Dilworth Park Decade
Robin’s Bookstore is now part of the Turney and Safran empire of restaurants, housing a great event space and test kitchen
The beautiful mosaicked facade by Isaiah Zagar is gone, but there’s plenty to spot near South Street, as well as Philadelphia’s Magic Garden.
Here’s a story on the closing
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Formerly the Philadelphia Youth Center, The Barnes Museum was built here. Thank You from your neighbor.Decade

This building really should have become a museum as the Philadelphia Sound is the fabric to Philly’s music history. These days it’s just a hole in the ground waiting for SLS to build their hotel. Decade
It was sad to see this historic fire station torn down, as well as several other beautiful building, but now we have a fabulous extension to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, and on the right will soon be the new aLoft hotel. I went by last night, it’s progressing.

So many beautiful memories on this entry for me. Keep cool and have a great day.