Is Midtown Village expanding?

Discussion in 'Center City' started by mixiboi, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    12,623
    Likes Received:
    299
  2. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,163
    Likes Received:
    108
    Well I don't consider 16th & Chestnut to be "Rittenhouse Square" So why can't Midtown Village be at 11th & Ludlow? Just thinking...
     
    vampyre927 likes this.
  3. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    22,801
    Likes Received:
    280
    It's market east
     
    vampyre927 likes this.
  4. boognish

    boognish Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,277
    Likes Received:
    147
    or just an arbitrary name.
     
    vampyre927 likes this.
  5. mixiboi

    mixiboi Philly Remixed

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Messages:
    12,623
    Likes Received:
    299
    Im just saying when it becomes the Fashion Outlets of Midtown Village....you know that the foundation was already laid.
     
    vampyre927 and Titus like this.
  6. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    I'd rather MV move north and encroach on Market East than eat into the Gayborhood. Always thought it was kinda sh*tty anyone thought that neighborhood needed to be renamed. Well, not "kinda sh*tty," it actually really bums me out. Especially when I hear New York transplants at work talking about how "Midtown Village isn't really gay anymore," like it's a good thing.

    Renaming neighborhoods drives me nuts in general. It's like tearing down a landmark and naming it after what was demolished. Like the Armory Lofts on South Broad. The same developer that coined "Midtown Village" is now trying to rebrand Callowhill as "Spring Arts." You know, as an homage to the artists that can't afford to work there anymore.
     
    vampyre927 likes this.
  7. MarketStEl

    MarketStEl Will Work for Food, But Prefers Cash

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,111
    Likes Received:
    111
    But it's across from East Market. It's one of the buildings Brickstone is rehabbing.

    Since the rainbow-flag-bottom street signs extend as far east as 11th and as far north as Chestnut, I think this permissible.

    But speaking of "which neighborhood wins out": I think we can call it for Midtown Village over the Gayborhood, and that's probably what James McMenamin and Gyro Worldwide expected would happen. Sad though this may be to the supporters of and businesses in the latter, I suspect that if Joe and Jane Average hear that an establishment is located in the Gayborhood, it aims to attract a gay clientele. That may not be true, and often isn't, but that will be their perception.
     
    DCnPhilly and vampyre927 like this.
  8. MarketStEl

    MarketStEl Will Work for Food, But Prefers Cash

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,111
    Likes Received:
    111
    It wasn't a developer who coined the term "Midtown Village." It was James McMenamin, the openly gay owner of the Absolute Abstract art gallery, along with the folks across 13th Street at the Gyro Worldwide ad agency, since refocused and renamed Quaker City Mercantile.

    See my post immediately above for the reason why McMenamin felt the new name necessary. He had a pretty long track record with marketing and promotions where he lived prior to moving to Philadelphia.

    Midtown Village has been contained in (has overlapped with?) the Gayborhood from the start; it isn't "eating into" the Gayborhood except to the extent that businesses that cater to a non-gay clientele use that term rather than the Gayborhood - and if the logic as I explained it above is correct, wouldn't you if you were one of those businesses?

    (Though speaking of expansion, the territory marked off by those rainbow-bottom street signs extends a few blocks north of what I would consider the gay business district; Chestnut and Sansom streets have never struck me as being all that gay.)

    If by "the same developer" you mean Tony Goldman, his attempt at rebranding was "B3" ("Blocks Below Broad"), which was a total flop. I didn't know he was active in Callowhill. "Spring Arts" seems to me not to be catching on as quickly or soaking in as thoroughly as "Midtown Village."
     
    DCnPhilly and vampyre927 like this.
  9. OKT3

    OKT3 Garager

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    28
    I hate the name "Midtown Village". It sounds like some corny pre-fab nonsense for basics, like Dutch Wonderland or Peddler's Village. I don't know anyone that calls it that, but we're all Olds. My $0.02.
     
  10. eldondre

    eldondre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    22,801
    Likes Received:
    280
    those flags went up out of desperation. 11th st was unquestionably market east, north of walnut only saw an influx of gays Friday and Saturday nights after the bars closed. most days it was workaday market east. they can use whatever cheesey new York wannabe name they want.
     
  11. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    I'd never heard of the James McMenamin connection, but I did hear that whoever tried rebranding it was gay. I thought it was Goldman and Craig Grossman, because they were mentioned in a recent PhillyMag.com article.

    http://www.phillymag.com/property/2017/04/08/spring-arts-development-cohen-grossman/

    Coming from you, I'll take it on good authority that McMenamin's the guy.

    I totally get the business minded apprehension in embracing the name "Gayborhood," I just get cranky when I hear newly transplanted coworkers use "Midtown Village" like the name's been around forever. I had one incident at work straight out of The Office...I came back after lunch with a haircut and one of these Philly newbies asked where I went. When I said I went to Rossi's over in the Gayborhood, she was taken back and whispered, "you can't call it that." I laughed, said I was gay, and she got a little awkward. Funny thing is, when I first moved here, everyone called it the Gayborhood as casually as saying Rittenhouse or Callowhill. I wanted to go full on Oscar from The Office and ask her what the connotation was with the word "gay" in "Gayborhood, but I just turned around and continued eating my big gay salad. Then again, she's a Millennial so for all I know she thought Gayborhood should have been something more like LGBTQ+hood.

    But really, I mean I get why retailers prefer Midtown Village to Gayborhood, but I don't get why they should. Ideally the name should be as ubiquitous as the Italian Market or Chinatown. And I get what you mean about the distinction between the two, most people wouldn't consider Chestnut Street part of the Gayborhood. Although I think it was in the '80s. Wasn't there a big gay bar in the Adelphia House? And there was a bathhouse in the Hale Building. I guess Danny's is now the lone holdout north of Walnut.
     
  12. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,163
    Likes Received:
    108
    I'm sorry to rant, but as a gay man - out before Stonewall - the name "Gayborhood" makes me want to laugh until I puke. Put up all the (new improved) rainbow flags you want, just ditch the stupid name. I don't think "Midtown Village" is much better, frankly, but I still think of it as 13th Street - a perfectly reliable description.

    I totally get MarketStEl's point.
     
    eldondre likes this.
  13. MNG1324

    MNG1324 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2012
    Messages:
    982
    Likes Received:
    92
    When was the term Gayborhood adopted since the RCO is Washington Square West?

    My old neighbor in Northern Liberties still called it Fishtown and calling the new name" real estate bullshit". Graduate hospital is another one but that at least produced G HO which is funny.
     
  14. MarketStEl

    MarketStEl Will Work for Food, But Prefers Cash

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    4,111
    Likes Received:
    111
    DCnPhilly: I was acquainted with McMenamin. I remember his discussing the proposed branding with me. And yes, I even wrote about it, back in 2013:

    The Real Story of the Gayborhood Revival | Philadelphia Magazine

    However, I do understand why your hair stands on end when newcomers act as though calling it the Gayborhood is some sort of sin or stain on its reputation.

    MNG1234: The generally accepted tale of the origin of "Gayborhood" as a term to describe Washington Square West's northwest quarter is that it originated with an article David Warner wrote in the Philadelphia CityPaper about Outfest in 1992. He borrowed from Mister Rogers for its title, and the name stuck.

    The CityPaper's archives having apparently disappeared along with the publication, I can't find the original piece, but this excellent history of the evolution of the Gayborhood by "Gayborhood Guru" Bob Skiba, the neighborhood's resident historian and curator of the Lesbian and Gay Archives of Philadelphia at the William Way Community Center, also refers to it:

    The Roots of the Gayborhood, the Eve of a Milestone | Hidden City

    Titus: Thanks. The trouble was that "13th Street," Valerie Safran and Marcie Tunney's love notwithstanding, still carried a "sin strip" connotation in the minds of many outsiders. That was what Goldman unsuccessfully sought to erase with "B3" and McMenamin and Gyro succeeded in erasing with "Midtown Village."

    For those of you who get the willies at the thought of "branding," allow me to point out that we are now observing the 150th anniversary of the birth of the American architect who was a master of the art form: Frank Lloyd Wright was all about image management and "brand management" before that latter term was even invented. Scholars and historians since his death have come to point out that Wright was in many ways a monstrous human being, but both his image management and his impressive built legacy tend to make most of us brush all that aside.
     
    DCnPhilly likes this.
  15. Titus

    Titus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2009
    Messages:
    2,163
    Likes Received:
    108
  16. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    I'll admit, that's a refreshingly optimistic take on the Gayborhood's changes.

    My disagreement is that the straight demographic - namely the women - who frequent these bars has changed, or evolved. Straight women at gay bars is nothing new, but in the '90s (and I assume earlier), they were the eccentrics, the misfits, the in-the-know. They were the kind of women that bachelorette parties cozying up to the bar at Woody's today would have wanted nothing to do with, or not known how to handle. Today it's the homecoming queen, the cheerleader, and they're not just Millennials. Some bachelorette parties are well into their 30s and 40s and comprised of women who would have freely flown the f-word before public opinion told them we were popular.

    In other bars, but Woody's in particular, I don't see a lot of women (and by default, the men they bring) who are curious about gay culture, or even looking for a safe space to dance. Rather I see a territorial mindset shoving their way to the bar, trying to make something that isn't about them, about them.

    Sure, it's nice to say "everyone is welcome," but that's just not true. Women on safari looking for something Instagrammable at the Bike Stop shouldn't be welcome. IMO, it's no different than a limo unloading a bunch of white women outside a predominantly black bar in North Philly, shoving their way through the crowd and expecting to be taken seriously. Seriously?

    Straight people have literally every other neighborhood and nearly every other bar in the city, but some can't stand the fact that one neighborhood and a few bars aren't about their here-today-gone-tomorrow trends. And that's what bothers me most. Not that straight culture has finally accepted the LGBTQ community, but that our LGBTQ institutions are embracing their disposable culture. Still marginalized, never knowing what might happen within the next four years, we don't have the luxury of disposability. It took decades to build the Gayborhood and the places that embrace Queer culture, but a business-first bottom-line could tear it down as fast as a cupcake shop.
     
    PaulG, Sean, OKT3 and 1 other person like this.
  17. OKT3

    OKT3 Garager

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    625
    Likes Received:
    28
    Spot on, DC. As someone who would occasionally frequent Woody's and the 2-4 in the early-mid 90's, it was never me and straight female friends. It was my gay male friends....and me:cool:. Totally different vibe. (And some would def call me eccentric, then and now, lol).
     
    DCnPhilly, MarketStEl and vampyre927 like this.
  18. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    Guuuurl, we would have had a good time! And what I wouldn't give to have gone out in the Gayborhood in the early-mid-90s. As many times as my car led me to DC in college, I wish I had at least once ventured up here.

    You know, I do love all the progress the LGBTQ community has made, and I honestly never thought we'd get to where we are so fast. I'm sure the internet had a lot to do with it. But there is something I miss about being underground. Going to Tracks down in DC, braving a terrifying neighborhood (at least to my farm-raised 19 year old a*s) just to be with a few thousand freaks, was something indescribable. The women there, you knew they were taking the same risks you were. Not just braving the neighborhood, but also of being seen.

    Everyone there was on your side. It was impossible to judge - except with maybe a line or two from Clueless - because every one of us knew what it was like to hide. We were either hiding being gay, lesbian, bi, trans, or even an ally; and that made a kind of bond, even amongst strangers, that transcended race, ethnicity, or any religion we might have been clinging to. Bottom line, we were all at the gay bars not to just get drunk or laid, but to find something we were missing in the mundane real world.

    And let me tell you, the women that went to those bars back in the 90s were ****ing fabulous. They either let us dress them up, or they brought their own sense of style. My best friend - now at 42, married with a teenager - still takes pride in calling herself the Queen Diva F*g Hag. She was a plus size gal, and she loved the gay bars because she could wear the trends she couldn't wear around the more superficial girls on campus. She could wear a miniskirt, chunky platform heels, or leather pants, and she'd get nothing but applause for how amazing she looked. Another girl friend - sexy, at the gym every day - ended up becoming good friends with my bestie, all because of the gay bars. I still remember my bestie saying, "I always hated her. She's so good looking. I never knew she was nice!" That underground culture just tended to bring everyone together, at least anyone willing to embrace it.

    I think a lot of the problems with today's exclusivity in the gay club scene, however it manifests itself, has a lot to do with what we either take for granted, or are simply too young to understand. Today's gay bars aren't the necessary community outlets they used to be, but just ordinary businesses. Their walls were replaced with windows, straight couples aren't afraid to move to gay enclaves because of something they read in Newsweek, and no one's worried about being seen walking down 13th Street or through DuPont Circle.

    All of that is well and good, but I do worry about its permanence. We've gotten marriage equality and the edge of popular opinion faster than I ever expected, but that only means it can be torn down just as fast or faster. It's easy to lose sight of history when the here-and-now is so great, but history isn't on the LGBTQ community's side. Historically, this has happened before. If the LGBTQ community loses its hold on the Gayborhood and its venues, we'll have to start over if and when popular opinion turns on us.

    What I do know, and I guess the point of this long winded comment, is that I'm old enough to know the difference between my real straight friends and the girls shoving their way to the bar for shots screaming, "I LOVE GAY MEN!" They don't, they just love what's popular and making a spectacle, and I know to look at them with a winking eye of suspicion because most would turn on me in the drop of a hat. But there will always be people like you, my Queen Diva F*g Hag, and plenty of others who will sidle up to a bar in the Gayborhood - wherever that may be - because they want something more than ordinary, they're real, and their skin is thick enough to be caught going somewhere taboo.

    God, I wish I'd seen the Gayborhood in the 90s!
     
    vampyre927 and Titus like this.
  19. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,889
    Likes Received:
    604
    DC, you forgot that some of the progress was due to the Will & Grace effect. But I love your story.
     
    DCnPhilly, vampyre927 and Titus like this.
  20. fiveomar

    fiveomar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,189
    Likes Received:
    131
    This is all a result of gay becoming mainstream. Can't have your cake and eat it too.

    I can say the same about some of my favorite [straight] bars in Philly. As the city has become more popular with "basic" broads/bros, these places aren't quite as special anymore.
     
  21. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    Will & Grace definitely had a normalizing effect on gay culture. I love the show, I think it's funny, but it always seemed like a gay show for straight people. As a gay version of one of the most iconic American sitcoms - I Love Lucy - it made gay people relatable. Programmers were definitely testing the waters earlier, too. When Ellen came out on her sitcom, it ruined her show, but it got people talking. So many viewers watched Ellen (the sitcom) because it was funny, but when it shifted its tone to her coming out story, it forced a lot of straight viewers to think about things they'd never been exposed to before. And there was Seinfeld's "not that there's anything wrong with that!" episode, which I loved.

    I also think TV from the '90s and early '00s had a lot to do with urban renewal in general. In the '70s and '80s, nearly every sitcom was about a family in the suburbs, programming for Boomers and their kids. Gen X wanted to break away from that ideal, and you saw it early on with movies like Singles and Reality Bites, then in shows like Seinfeld and Friends. Programming was showing viewers an alternative lifestyle, so much so we even had a clique in high school that referred to ourselves as "the alterno kids." We wore flannel, had moppy hair (god I miss my hair), and eyed colleges in Seattle and New York in lieu of nearby college towns.

    By the mid '90s, nearly every sitcom was about single people living in the "big city" and The Real World made us want to live with friends instead of families. We didn't want to jump right into a traditional lifestyle right after college, or perhaps ever, and television told us it was okay. By the time Sex and the City came along, every hot chick from Long Island to rural Oregon wanted to move to the nearest city to start a family, and most cities were clean and safe enough to do that.

    Only very recently have we started seeing another wave of suburban family sitcoms, often with a gay character or two: Modern Family, The Real O'Neals. They're quirky, more inclusive, and the god-awful laugh-track has finally been put to rest. But at this point, living in the "big city" is as ordinary as the suburban neighborhood from Family Ties. Considering how much time people spend watching TV, I really think television has driven urban renewal more than anything. People see certain cities in movies and on TV and they want to move there, regardless of how unrealistic Carrie Bradshaw's apartment was. Trading Places and Twelve Monkeys probably had as much influence on my interest in Philadelphia as the trips I took here as a kid.

    At this point, people aren't moving to the cities in search of an alternative lifestyle, or even because they're looking for something quirky and unique. They're moving to the cities because they're clean, safer (than they were), and convenient. At this point, most cities are every bit as usual as the suburbs, and I think we've got television to thank/blame for that.
     
    Hospitalitygirl likes this.
  22. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,889
    Likes Received:
    604
    Yup.

    Ever watch old "I Love Lucy" reruns? Remember the episodes where they travel to California and to Europe? Or when they moved to Connecticut? The show was at the leading edge of change as people were starting to travel by plane; move west to California or escape cities that could be dreary and dark for the fresh air of the suburbs.

    I still think in the videotape on permanent loop in the brains of many people is that return to the suburbs once the kids start coming along so that there is grass to squish between the toes, and of course *SCHOOOOLZZ".
     
    DCnPhilly likes this.
  23. DCnPhilly

    DCnPhilly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,723
    Likes Received:
    460
    Oh, I still remember all the Lucy episodes I saw when I was a kid, and I'm sure I've seen them all. In so many ways it did for the 'burbs - and unique relationships - what Will & Grace did for the cities and uniquely 21st Century relationships. And just like Will & Grace, I liked Fred and Ethel (Karen and Jack) so much more than Lucy and Ricky. But I loved them all, in both shows.
     
    Hospitalitygirl likes this.
  24. Hospitalitygirl

    Hospitalitygirl Resident Ornery Bitch

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2008
    Messages:
    15,889
    Likes Received:
    604
    Mainstream television and movies--doing much to normalize things that were previously thought to be...not the norm.
     

Share This Page