PAPERBOY: Slow-Jamming The Alt-Weeklies

paperboyartthumbnail.jpgBY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!


PW: While the cheers that greeted the announcement of Philadelphia’s first population growth in many decades still hang in the air, Daniel Denvir digs into the shifting demographics to reveal increasing segregation and stratification between races in the city and the surrounding suburbs.

According to Census data, the level of segregation between blacks and whites in the Philadelphia area is declining at a slower rate PW_3_16_11.jpgthan during the 1990s—which had already been pretty slow. But the racial dividing lines are moving fast. Just as white city-dwellers fled neighborhoods when black families arrived after World War II, suburban whites are fleeing to the exurbs as blacks and Latinos move to older suburbs. As growth pushes farther out, the Philadelphia region continues to be sharply divided by race and class. Segregation persists, though you’re unlikely to hear about it.

The local media reports on the 2010 Census data released last week have concentrated on the area’s booming Latino and Asian population, and the fact that Philadelphia grew for the first time after 50 years of decline. What has not been reported, however, is that growth continues to be divided. The last decade saw rapid growth—overwhelmingly white—in far-flung counties like Chester in Pennsylvania, Gloucester and Ocean in New Jersey, and Cecil in Maryland. The white population dropped everywhere else, as blacks, Latinos and Asians moved to resegregating older suburbs.

The arguments and historical evidence seem a little scattered, but some current day examples — West Mt. Airy in the northwest part of the City, Pennsauken across the river in New Jersey — present some hope. Still, the overall message is something along these lines: ” Can people, with all the economic and political forces working against them, live together? Maybe.” Two cheers?

CP: Breezy spring recommendations by the dozen from CP’s wide-ranging and resourceful food staff. It’s not just a collection of hotspots, covering everything from growing your own to unsung picnic spots to prime spots for people-watching. Just reading about all the places where outdoor dining will soon be springing up fills me with… pollen. No, wait… that tingly feeling is exhilaration.

CP_3_16_11.jpgPrepare now for the jealous looks cast toward happy open-air diners when Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr’s upcoming Talula’s Garden (210 W. Washington Square) debuts. Until Groundswell Design Group re-greens that gorgeous enclosed courtyard, soak up some evening air in prime locations like Silk City’s funhouse of a beer garden (435 Spring Garden St.) and RAW’s secret between-buildings yard (1225 Sansom St.). Just off South, hidden refuges ooze romance at twinkly Bistrot La Minette (623 S. Sixth St.), Hoof + Fin (617 S. Third St.) and Southwark (701 S. Fourth St.), to say nothing of the food. Getting high — always better out of doors — is encouraged by way of the rooftop decks at The Corner (102 S. 13th St.) and Continental Mid-town (1801 Chestnut St.). Just don’t Bogart that table.
Wait, what? Do outdoor decks really encourage smoking weed? Does recommending these places for that kind of activity make them liable? What a weird, jarring mention. Out of a really stellar list, this was definitely a needle-across-the-record moment.


PW: 52nd Street: No, not the Billy Joel album. Cooking that’s “bracingly ballsy,” without Rocky Mountain Oysters on the menu. Interview with a sandwich. Roll back the optimism: city grows, jobs don’t.

CP: No Comment Dept.: The Roar of the Masses Could Be Farts. White whiskey: For those who like racial purity in their distilled spirits. Murder most fragmented. Philadelphia’s next great food truck?

WINNER: Weird, troubling marijuana endorsement aside, CP’s picks for spring are killer.  If you’ll look outside, you’ll see they’ve arrived just in time. Hallelujah.

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