Category Archives: Philadelphia

Philadelphia – The Living Breathing Heart of a Penn Education

By Brian C. Newberry, C’93

Throughout high school Cornell and its architecture program had beckoned.  My Penn acceptance letter arrived one day before its Cornell twin and during the intervening uncertain 24 hours I recall sitting on the stairs at home mulling over my future, eventually deciding to choose Penn for one reason only – Philadelphia and the chance to live in the heart of the city.  Might my decision been different had the letters come in reverse order?  Perhaps, but rarely have I made a decision so correct in retrospect.

While a certain percentage of the American population and of our classmates grew up in the heart of a city, be it Philadelphia, New York etc. most Americans come of age elsewhere.  Even if they live in an urban area they may be on the periphery and as children are often shielded from all that a major city has to offer, good and bad, secluded in their own neighborhoods with a trip to Center City not being much different than for a kid from the suburbs.  My education at Penn, with 25 years reflection, had far less to do with the classes I took or the professors I had, excellent though most of them were, but with all that having the time to explore Philadelphia taught about life.

Living on or near campus is one thing but, helped immensely by my time as a photographer for the DP which gave me the excuse – plus minor reimbursable expenses –  to explore every nook and cranny, I spent my four years doing just that.  Yes I recall great lecturers – Bruce Kuklick, Herman Beavers, Jack Reece and many more but my most vivid memories are far less academic.

SEPTA signs #93tothe25th Philadelphia Penn education

SEPTA signs, photo by Brian C. Newberry

On a frivolous yet fun note, the sports opportunities alone were fascinating.  Among many, a few stand-out with time.  I got to interview the Phillie Phanatic and cover a game from the field. That same summer I also had photographic duty during a “friendly” between Sheffield Wednesday of the EPL and the US Men’s National Soccer team at the Vet.  Earlier that spring I was courtside with camera to watch my hometown UConn Women’s basketball team cut down the nets at the Palestra on their way to their first Final Four, little knowing what a run for the ages they would soon embark upon.

USMNT friendly against Sheffield Wednesday at the Vet

US National Soccer Exhibition at the Vet against Sheffield Wednesday of the English Premiere League, photo by Brian C. Newberry

Uconn women Final Four 1991 cut down nets at Palestra

UCONN Women cut down the nets at the Palestra on their way to the Final Four in 1991, photo by Brian C. Newberry

There were the opportunities to get up close and personal with big-time politics.  Forget Bill Clinton’s visit in 1992 to deliver his economic address.  That was a big deal but was more because of Wharton than the city itself.  During the 1991 special Senate election following the death of Senator John Heinz in a plane crash, however, I was able to both meet eventual winner Harris Wofford in the DP offices while also covering a fundraiser for his opponent Dick Thornburgh hosted by President Bush at the Bellevue.  Likewise, that same summer Wilson Goode was term limited and the Mayor’s race took center stage with all its opportunities to see urban retail politics up close.  I will never forget photographing a candidate/comedy charity benefit at the Bank Street Comedy Club at which all three Mayoral candidates took the stage – including Penn’s own Ed Rendell – and then mingled with the small crowd afterward.  Frank Rizzo died a week later and we won a press award for our coverage based in part on the photo I got that night, which the Daily News photo editor had the kindness to call me personally and tell me was the best cover in the city.

Frank Rizzo cover photo DP cover

Cover photo of Frank Rizzo on the DP the day after he died, photo by Brian C. Newberry

Frank Rizzo obituary in the DP

Inside the DP, remembering Frank Rizzo, photo courtesy of Brian C. Newberry

I drove an ESCORT van for two years, right up until I began law school at Temple in the fall of 1993, and learned every street and alley between 18th and 49th, Lancaster, Powelton, Baltimore, JFK Blvd. and South Streets.  There are few things more peaceful then driving the usually crowded and noisy city streets, windows down, on a spring or summer night at 2AMwhen no one but the cabbies, the garbage and delivery trucks are out; a whole side of the city most never see.  The liquid nitrogen delivery was always made to the medical school circa 1:30 AM every night.  I kept waiting for the Terminator to appear each time I saw it.  On the flip side there were all those 5PM first shift drives to the various repair shops to pick up the vans – there were always vans under repair – before service started.  One shop was out in West Philly but the other was in North Philly near Girard. Like auto repair shops everywhere they were in less than safe areas and the barbed wire and guard dogs were real.

Just walking the city was educational.  There was so much to soak in and I took every opportunity to do so.  Neighborhood after neighborhood from the historic district and Independence Park, to the purely residential areas a few blocks from the skyscrapers, to the museum district to South Philly to Northern Liberties to the riverfronts, both Delaware and Schuylkill.  On our first real date my wife and I began the day at the Rodin Museum, spent more time at the Art Museum, headed downtown to Independence Hall, took the tour, had lunch at City Tavern, made our way through the Italian Market and to Geno’s Steaks* before heading back to Center City to go to a movie at the Ritz – all on foot. One summer I took my camera and rode every inch of the city’s subway system from Fern Rock to Pattison, Bridge-Pratt to 69th Street just to see it all.  If there was a festival at Penn’s Landing or anywhere that sounded fun I would grab the camera and go.

Summer was a particularly fruitful time for exploration.  Fourth of July 1992 was especially memorable – a group of us spent the afternoon having a cook-out on my porch at 4034 Spruce, enjoying (a few too many) adult beverages (I have never touched Southern Comfort since that day), then headed downtown on the pot-soaked (is that a word or merely a mixed metaphor?) El from 40th and Market to go watch the fireworks near the Ben Franklin Bridge.  The crowd estimate was a million strong just packed into the riverfront area.  When it was all over the subways were so jammed that we didn’t want to wait so we walked 44 blocks back to Murph’s to close the day, one of the women going barefoot due to blisters.  One July day the year prior I woke up to WMMR on the radio saying that Alice Cooper was doing an impromptu free concert down near Independence Hall.  Not a huge Alice Cooper fan but so what, right?  Headed on down and it was a blast.  Speaking of music I also got to occasionally cover concerts at the Spectrum from the press box and do reviews.  Being on the DP staff did have its perks.

There was the dark side of the City.  We all remember the homelessness, the drug dealing and the crime.  One night while driving ESCORT I remember shots fired and it turned out a guy was hit in a drive-by on Walnut near 40th.  He turned down 40th, must have seen the cops at Uni-Mart, where they often hung out, backed his car up onto Walnut, drove half a block and then died, with his car crashing into a tree.  But it went beyond campus.  I explored an abandoned crack den in North Philadelphia while photographing a Habitat for Humanity project next door.  Often, during my wanderings I would find myself entering areas where I probably shouldn’t have been for my own safety, though no one ever bothered me.  Philadelphia is not unique in this respect but the capacity for the city to shift from block to block never ceased to amaze.  To this day I have an unconscious street sense no matter where I am, always alert to my surroundings, “thanks” to the city.  My wife was a student at Textile and one time I borrowed my roommate’s car to go see her.  Coming back it was rush hour and so I, naively, took the most direct route down Ridge Avenue.  It’s amazing the hub caps survived the trip.  From that day forward I always took the train from 30th Street.  There were some interesting characters on that commuter rail platform on 30th Street late at night and, hey, who appropriated these old train signs and left them in my basement?

And of course there were the con artists and assorted less than savory characters that appeared from time to time.  There was the guy who showed up in my backyard at 39th and Walnut one spring Saturday morning and told us that he was trying to take the train from DC to NY but had gotten off in Philly because he had run out of money and wanted our help so he could get back on. I refrained from asking what he was doing 11 blocks from 30th Street Station if he was so hell bent on a train and just politely sent him on his way not wanting to find out if he had a gun.  There was also the notorious con artist – name escapes me but he was reported by numerous students over the years – who I swear I ran into one night around midnight at the 24 hour post office on Market Street.  This guy was good.  He noticed every little thing about what I was wearing and tried to build a connection around it down to a Hartford Whaler reference as he tried to work me out of some cash.  Smooth.  Ithaca may have its riff-raff but doubtful it is on this scale.

So is Penn a fantastic university and all around educational institution with cutting edge teaching and research? Absolutely.  But so are many other universities.  Few of them, however, can match the experience of seeing life in all its fullness, lightness and darkness, as living four years, and in my case eventually seven, in the heart of one of the great walking cities of the world.  That is my most enduring memory of college.  I love Philadelphia, always have and always will.  After seven years my wife and I left to return to our native New England where our families were and I have never regretted that decision but if I ever win Powerball I intend to buy a Phillies luxury box and one of those Ritz-Carlton condos across from City Hall so I can visit whenever I like – just so long as Eagles fans learn that it is stupid to stand on the awnings to celebrate a Super Bowl win and take their mayhem elsewhere.

*With time I have concluded that Pat’s is better than Geno’s, but both pale in comparison to Dalessandro’s in Roxborough at the corner of Henry Avenue and Walnut Lane.  I still have an old helmet shaped refrigerator magnet from our 10th reunion from Dalessandro’s showing the Eagles 2003 schedule.  It is on the small fridge in our garage that we store extra items in and that I bought from a friend back in 1991.  It has outlasted three other larger ones.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of December 29 – 30, marked 19 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Register NOW to attend our 25th Reunion!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!

Book Your Hotel Room for Alumni Weekend NOW!

The Marriott Downtown (where we had a Penn 1993 and a Penn Alumni room block) is sold out for Alumni Weekend. There are alternative hotels near by. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th


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Filed under 25th Reunion, Class of 1993, Philadelphia

December in Philadelphia: University City Events and Center City Attractions


Image courtesy of Longwood Gardens

The month of December is a time to celebrate and gather. There are a wide variety of seasonal events and attractions around the University of Pennsylvania campus and within the greater Philadelphia area. Below you will find a guide to some of these happenings throughout the City of Brotherly Love to celebrate the holiday season.

Events in University City


Second Saturday: Winter Solstice

Saturday, December 9th – 11:00am – 4:00pm

Celebrate the holidays with a scavenger hunt, winter-themed crafts and exploration of the galleries.

This event is free with museum admission!



Friday Night Lights, Garden Railway

Fridays, December 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – 4:30pm – 7:30pm

See the Garden Railway decorated in recognition of the holiday season!

Click here to be linked to the events site of Morris Arboretum for tickets.

Morris Arbor Train

Holiday Garden Railway at Morris Arboretum


Irish Christmas in American, Zellerbach Theater

Saturday, December 9th – 8:00pm

Get into the Christmas spirit with Irish and Scottish holiday ballads and Irish dancing.

Canadian Brass: Christmas Time is Here, Zellerbach Theater

Sunday, December 10th – 2:00pm.

Enjoy a mix of holiday standards and upbeat festive tunes.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Zellerbach Theater

Monday, December 18th, and Tuesday, December 19th – 7:00pm

Experience this traveling classic in your city featuring an extravagant set.


Click here to purchase tickets for any of these shows and more at the Annenberg Center.


Center City Attractions

Wintergarden, Dilworth Park and City Hall

December brings holiday festivities to Dilworth Park and the Courtyard of City Hall. One of many attractions is seeing the historic building illuminated with holiday lights during the Deck the Hall Light Show. The Rothman Institute is sponsoring an ice rink and indoor cabin space where food and drink are available for purchase. Ice skates are available to rent for $10 and admission to the rink is set at $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 10 and under.

On the Albert M. Greenfield lawn, visitors will find America’s Garden Capital Maze which features topiaries and greenery from more than 30 public gardens in the Philadelphia area. Enter the Courtyard to find a holiday-themed carousel and the Philadelphia holiday tree at the north end of City Hall. Along with these many attractions, Dilworth Park is home to the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market featuring crafts, art, and gifts from local vendors.


Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest, Penn’s Landing

Penn’s Landing celebrates winter with an Olympic sized ice skating rink, fire pits, and more! Work up an appetite skating and dine at the ski chalet-style Lodge Restaurant and Bar. The space also features a children’s lodge with arcade games and other activities. General admission is free; admission to the ice rink is $3 and skates are available to rent for $10.

Penn's Landing

Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest at Penn’s Landing



The LOVE sculpture itself is currently still under renovation but the park has been transformed into Christmas Village for the holiday season. The location is inspired by and modeled after the traditional Christmas Markets found in Germany and features 80 wooden booths of both local and international vendors. Visitors are enticed by smells of traditional European cuisine including waffles, bratwurst, and mulled wine while searching for the perfect holiday gift.

The LOVE sculpture is set to return in February of 2018.


Holiday Festival and Electrical Spectacle Holiday Light Show, Franklin Square

Franklin Square is home this holiday season to an elaborate display of lights and decor. The light show begins every 30 minutes beginning at 4:00pm every day. The attraction is completely free and open to the public!

Franklin Square

Holiday Lights at Franklin Square

Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens makes their ornate transformation once again this year. This French-inspired holiday display features fountain shows, dining in the gardens, carolers in costume, and more than 50 trimmed trees throughout the space. Admission tickets are required and prices are as follows: $23 for adults, $20 for seniors, $20 for students, $12 for children.

Click here to purchase tickets for Longwood Gardens.


For more events and attractions in Philadelphia, visit



Images courtesy of

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One Penn Sculpture, Revisited

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

On a recent day trip with friends to visit a few art museums in Washington, D.C., I saw a familiar sight. This sculpture, on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is the roughly two-foot-tall “King Solomon” by Alexander Archipenko. I noticed it and stopped. “I’ve seen this before,” I said. “But bigger. Way bigger. I think it’s somewhere on the Penn campus.”

But where? I could not remember, so I snapped this photo for reference and made a mental note to keep my eyes open for it.


“I shall call him ‘Mini-Me.'”

Solomon-DClabel Back at Penn the following week, I was on my way to a meeting when I saw it. Eureka! There it was on 36th Street between Locust Walk and Walnut Street, and I was right. It is way, way bigger.



For more on the King Solomon sculpture in particular, check out this Frankly Penn blog post by Bart Miltenberger. But do yourself a favor and take a moment to learn about some of Philadelphia’s other outdoor sculptures – where they are, what they represent, and who brought them from concept to reality – from the Clothespin to the China Gate, from various memorials and tributes to our own beloved “Covenant” in Superblock, known more commonly among students and alumni by (ahem) a slightly different name. Enjoy.

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Filed under Bart M., Nicole M., Philadelphia, The Arts

Spring Break in Philadelphia!!


This will be my first time in my whole academic career that I’ve never gone home for Spring Break. I’m used to running away from the cold to sunny Las Vegas’s upper 60 degree. This year, I will be staying put. I’ve survived some crazy snow storms and my master’s comprehensive exam these past few weeks. Now, I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t snow while I’m on spring break. Although it’s only a week, it feels like I have an enormous amount of time on my hands! What should I do to fill in that time? Sleep in? Order out? Watch Netflix non-stop? Ah, that’s what the weekends are for!

I’m debating where to go and what to check out in the city.  I’ve recently received 2 free tickets to the Barnes Museum which I plan on exploring. I also have a curiosity to check out the Philadelphia Flower Show currently going on. Here’s a list of possible places I might go to:

Reading Terminal – what treasures does it hold?

The Penn Museum– it’s free for Penn students!

The Edgar Allan Poe House – I hear admission is free

The Liberty Bell Center – I figure this should be on my to do list

Love Park– It’s iconic. It’s as must.

The Philadelphia Zoo– taking a break from school work and watching animals be animals sound appealing

King of Prussia Mall– because a girl’s got to do some window shopping on a graduate school budget

Attend a Pacer’s game – because I can’t live in Philly without actually experiencing a sporting event

I’m also searching for the best cheesesteak hoagie in town. This might take some in depth research. Any suggestions would be great!

If anyone is attending NASPA’s  (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) Annual Conference in Baltimore on March 17-19th please let me know. I would love to connect with Penn Alumni.

Count Down to Graduation:  71 Days!!!

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Filed under Campus Life, Edna G, Philadelphia, Student Perspective, Uncategorized

ARTiculture: Philadelphia Flower Show 2014

by Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

My interest in art has been rather well documented. So, though flowers may be pleasant enough on their own, the Philadelphia Flower Show became doubly appealing thanks to its 2014 theme: “ARTiculture: where art meets horticulture.” What does this mean? It goes a little something like this:

For fans of Piet Mondrian.

And this:

Inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny.

And that is just a taste. Beyond the fabulous, large displays, which I expected, I encountered something entirely new to me. Did you know that pressed flower art is a thing? I did not, but it turns out there are societies and guilds devoted to it. And I don’t mean pressing a flower and framing it. I mean taking pressed flowers and turning them into something else. A new creation. A work of art. For example:


I truly thought this was a painting at first. Surprise! It’s pressed flowers! If only Soylent Green had been pressed flowers.

I had never seen anything quite like this. Scroll down to see more, and enjoy! For an even better view of these, and all of the fascinating plant life that you would expect from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (including herbs, hairy cacti, and yes, FLOWERS EVERYWHERE), get thee to the Philadelphia Convention Center by this Sunday, March 9 and celebrate one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful traditions.

P.S. I bought a bonsai tree at the show! It lives in my office at Penn now, so I have named it BENsai. 🙂

And now for more stunning pressed flower art:




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Filed under Fine Art, Nicole M., Philadelphia

Penn colleague, alumni volunteer and ARTIST . . .

Author: Kristina Clark

Nicole Maloy, W’95, is one of my colleagues in Alumni Relations. She is the Director of the Multicultural Outreach program. I thought I’d share a post about her simply because she is interesting!

Nicole not only works in Alumni Relations, she is a very active volunteer on Penn’s Association of Alumnae Board, members with whom I work closely. This post is not about Nicole’s role as an employee or as an alumna however, this is about Nicole’s personal creativity. For example and most recently, Nicole taught a few of her Alumni Relations colleagues how to knit. She is a patient teacher (for which we are most grateful) and now my ten-year old daughter wears a beautiful purple knit hat that I finished last month. Nicole has many talents — she’s a dancer, a singer, an athlete, and most certainly an artist, as confirmed by being chosen last week to exhibit her portrait drawing at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. This honor is what I wanted to share with you.

Here’s the story . . . Nicole once wrote a Penn Alumni Blog post about exploring art resources in Philadelphia (includes a photo of her at age 17 with several jean jackets that she painted for her high school classmates in the late ’80s and early ’90s). One resource that she had not yet taken advantage of is the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), the first school of fine arts in the United States. Its origin dates from 1791, when Penn was still located at 4th & Arch Streets.

In fall 2013, Nicole took a weekly evening class called “Intermediate Portrait Drawing” through PAFA’s Continuing Education program. Students who had been enrolled in CE classes or workshops from spring 2013 through spring 2014 were invited to submit artwork for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Continuing Education Programs Annual Juried Student Exhibition.

PAFA received nearly 180 submissions, and 80 were accepted. Among them is Nicole’s piece, a portrait in charcoal entitled “Waiting,” which was drawn from a live model in class. If you would like to see it, along with the other 79 drawings, paintings, and sculptures, the exhibition runs from February 28 – April 6 in Gallery 128, Hamilton Building, 128 North Broad Street, at PAFA.

Congratulations, Nicole!


Filed under A Day in the Life - DAR, Alumni Profile, Association of Alumnae, Kristina C., Multicultural Outreach, Nicole M., Philadelphia, Sweeten Alumni House, The Arts, Uncategorized

A Palestra Proposal

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’08

The Penn Band always knows how to keep things interesting at The Palestra. On Saturday, Penn Men’s Basketball fans witnessed a Penn Band marriage proposal during a media timeout. Hurrah for Penn love, and congratulations to the newly engaged couple!

A Penn Band proposal at The Palestra on Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Penn Band proposal at The Palestra on Saturday, March 1, 2014

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Alumni Programming, Athletics, Campus Life, Events, Penn Basketball, Philadelphia, Stephanie Y., Uncategorized, Volunteering