Friday, July 4, 2008


Haddonfield NJ is a quaint little town about 10 minutes from Philadelphia. For me it is sandwiched between two of the towns I grew up in, Audubon until I was 8, and Cherry Hill, NJ where some of my family still lives. Haddonfield is a historic town dating back founded by Elizabeth Haddon (1680-1762), whose Quaker father, John Haddon, bought a 500 acre tract of land in the English colony of West Jersey to escape religious persecution. Elizabeth set sail alone from Southwark, England to the New World in 1701. I love the historic stately homes in Haddonfield, (this one can be yours for $745,000 Click here to learn more about this listing. )and the quaint front porched homes draped with flags, and at Halloween draped with spooky charactersBut for me it's the July 4th Parade every year that is my favorite as it reminds me of my childhood and the small town innocent atmosphere that I relish, that I don't always feel in a City of more than a million people.

The parade goes right down "Main Street USA" or Kings Highway; George Washington really did sleep here, or at least enjoy Iced Tea at the Indian King Tavern. Not a pint as Haddonfield has been a dry town since the early years.

The crowds are always plentiful and everyone gets into the spirit of the day wearing their red, white and blue
I love this parade for their political statements and community activism. In past years much has been said about politicians, the process or who they were supporting, this year not much about that but a lot to say about recylcing.
Can-can girls
Potholes and their effects of injuring runners, walkers, kids on bikes and car tiresThe best part of the parade is the kids with their decorated bikes, scooters, wagons "In Dog Pen Dence Day"and riding in a convertible with the familyThe Masons on parade

No parade would be complete without a politician or two. I choose to feature Louis Greenwald, who's mother was Mayor of Cherry Hill when I was growing up. (Greenwald was just 9 when his mother, the late Maria Barnaby Greenwald, answered a newspaper ad in early 1977 soliciting residents who were interested in good government. The housewife-turned- politician
went on to become a beloved Cherry Hill mayor, the first female freeholder director in the state and a county surrogate.)

For a local like me Haddonfield has contributed a lot to American Pop-culture, like did you know that In the movie When Harry Met Sally... (directed by Rob Reiner), Billy Crystal's character, Harry, is from Haddonfield.[18] ; Although the movies in the Halloween franchise are set in Haddonfield, Illinois, Haddonfield, N.J. is in fact the inspiration for the town. Debra Hill, the co-writer of the movie, grew up in Haddonfield, New Jersey.[19] (Also the high school in the movie is a replica of the one in Haddonfield); A scene in the movie AI takes place in Haddonfield, NJ and captures a shot of a house on Kings Highway. This is the location of the Flesh Fair, a rally of anti-robot activists.[20]; Photographer Frank Stefanko took two famous album covers for Bruce Springsteen in Haddonfield, Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) and The River (1980).[21]
Haddonfield, New Jersey - World's First Dinosaur Skeleton discovered here
In October 2003, a statue was erected in downtown Haddonfield commemorating the World's First Dinosaur Skeleton Discovery in October, 1858. The Hadrosaurus foulkii was the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton found, and the first to be mounted for public display. It sparked the start of the field of dinosaur paleontology, and can probably be blamed for the profusion of life-size dino statues across America.
I will be uploading photos to my photo album so that you can review them, right click and save a smaller version of buy a larger version for yourself.

AUDUBON NJ JULY 4TH with the Shaw Family & Firetruck Photos

Audubon is another apple pie and baseball kinda town, where everyone knows each other, there's a main street and traditions are hard and fast. I lived here til I was 8 and have fond memories of the town, especially the train tracks which ran right in front of my house. On the right you can see some kids waving to the conductor who is waving back and blowing his horn.

I wanted to make it a point to stop by on July Fourth as Audubon has a tradition of giving its residents a ride on the firetruck at noon every year. I wrote about Cole Clark, the son of my friends Paul and Jody, and his fascination of firetrucks and fireman. The fire station is right down the street.
Get there early for the 12PM kick off as the line gets long. Cousins Caroline and Delaney
Dillon and Cole (Not named after me, but after the General Hospital character, but an "uncle" can dream)
The firehouse was booming with business as they fed us hot dogs,
soda, beer and water ice. (Hmm Wilfred Brimley?) Thanks to the sponsors.I have a hat just like that
Delaney gets on board
Everyone ready

Don't they look like they are having fun. I'm glad I stopped by on my way to my annual family reunion. There's Uncle Jeff in black. The peps in Audubon get into the holiday spiritI grew up in the house with the chimney until I was 8 years old. Dad owned it for another 20 years and used it as his doctors office. And my sisters lived in the apartment above the office after they graduated college. Dad was a strict landlord, and made sure the girls paid their rent on time. After they moved out he gave half the proceeds back. Damn I wish I had gotten that deal!!Jeff, Julie, Jody Shaw and I all went to Paul VI High School and attended St. Vincent Pallotti Church. The Camden Diocese has chosen to close this church and merge it with one in the neighboring towns of Haddon Heights or Oaklyn. All I can think of is the literally the Sins of our Fathers are being paid by our children. Can't the Catholic Church sell some of their holdings, their crown jewels, under used ocean front property in Stone Harbor instead of closing the neighborhood parishes?
(From the Courier-Post) In a recent letter to parishioners, Bishop Galante defended his decision to merge the Haddon Township parish with St. Aloysius in Oaklyn, with the Oaklyn parish as a primary worship site.Six months ago, St. Vincent spent $1 million to build a 7,000-square-foot rectory and a nearly 8,000-square-foot memorial hall to replace the toxic-mold-ridden old rectory.
Because the church shares its parking lot with Paul VI High School, parishioners have 400 off-street parking spaces available to them, compared to less than 50 at St. Aloysius, and the church seats roughly 800 people, about twice the size of the Oaklyn church.
"Everybody that we talked to said this defies logic," Pierzynski said.
TAKE ACTION! Write to Archbishop Myers, the Archbishop of Newark and Archbishop Sambi, the Nuncio in Washington D.C. to voice your concerns about Bishop Galante and the Diocese of Camden. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!Most Rev. John J. MyersArchbishop of Newark 171 Clifton Ave.Newark, NJ 07104-0500

Then it was onto my dad's side (Dillon/Laux) annual family reunion which is always held on 7/4, with my sister Tracy & her two kids. We stayed about an hour, at which time I had to prepare for the party I was having for a few friends that evening. Here are Timmy & Ella enjoying the picnic. At the Laux Lake in Elk Twp. NJ

PHILADELPHIA FIREWORKS RAIN OR SHINE July 4th says City Representative Melanie Johnson

But before we get to that, on Thursday as part of the celebration the Ben Franklin Parkway played host once again to a "Fiesta on the Parkway"

I was there about 3PM when the event began as my Firm closed early for the July 4th Holiday )Thanks Joe), but I could see that in a few hours kids of all ages would enjoy lots of things to do andeatdolisten and dance but as I made my way down the Parkway I saw something new this year it was NBA on the Parkway?? It is a new day, where did that come from, was it on the schedule? I'll look... "What’s more, the NBA Nation Presented by SPRITE tour bus will roll into Philly with interactive games, videos of the 50 greatest NBA plays and other hands-on activities. " Yep there it was, as part of the Fiesta on the Parkway. Guess they weren't going for any world record line dances this year, but these kids were breakdancing, do they still call it that?
but I was entertain by this. Lots of in the air dunks.
There was also an exhibit where you could compare your arm length to a few NBA players

or put your feet in their foot prints. Beverly was kind enough to try out Kobe Bryant's SIZE 14 for me.
Then I made my way over to the stage on the Art Museum steps where the staging area was just about complete.

it seemed like only yesterday, er Tuesday when that they started putting it together. If you want to catch John Legend rehearsing for the big concert tonight, stop by about NOON, that's when they usually run through the event.Breaking News: Here's the new 2008, new administration logo on which the parade participants will stop and perform tonight. Gosh I hope it doesn't rain again this year.
Promising to avoid a repeat of last year's fireworks fiasco, City Representative Melanie Johnson said Philadelphia's holiday display will go off rain or shine tomorrow night - on time, or with plenty of notice if there will be a delay.
The fireworks are set to begin at 11 over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Last year, with the threat of rain and lightning, those gathered on the Parkway waiting for the display were told to go home because the 10:45 p.m. show was canceled. About 40 minutes later, after the crowd dispersed, the fireworks began.
This year, the fireworks are set to begin after the R&B singer John Legend ends his set and leaves the stage.
But once again, the forecast threatens showers and thunderstorms, which could last throughout the weekend.
"Rain won't stop us," says Johnson. "The only thing that will delay the fireworks is if the weather is severe."
And if that happens, Johnson promised to put the public announcement system to good use.
The Sunoco Sweet Sounds of Liberty Concert and Fireworks begins at 8:30 p.m. in front of the Art Museum with the sounds of Philly's own Russell Tompkins Jr. and the New Stylistics, followed by Legend and ending in fireworks. (This will be my view again this year)
As far as parking is concern, take mass transit, or park in Center City and walk to the BF Parkway. Even if you did find parking, leaving after the event is a nightmare. (Update re: Parking: has a good rundown of years past and parking on July 4th)
Happy Fourth of July, be safe and Happy Anniversary to my blog - 1 Year Old today!! (Almost 100ks hits in a year, pretty darn good for a blog I didn't promote enough; this year that will all change)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE BY dumping the traditional hotel and Booking a Night at THE INDEPENDENT Philadelphia's New Classy Boutique Hotel

Style and substance are at the core of my choice for a boutique hotel and the newly opened Independent fits the bill. "Boutique hotel is a term popularised in North America and the United Kingdom to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized accommodation and services / facilities. " The Independent at an address to remember 1234 Locust Street Philadelphia Pa 215-772-1440

Last week I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony (R-L) Stephanie Esposito, Vice President of Group Sales of Hersha Hotels, one of my hero's (are you keeping count, did I ever mention I was a Foundation of Architecture Tour Guide for 7 years, there's a theme here with who I admire most in this City) Director, CEO Meryl Levitz of GPTMC and Neil H. Shah, President of Hersha Hospitality, do the honors. Down this hall you will find 8 out of the 24 most beautifully appointed rooms that have graced Philadelphia. The Independent's design reflects a charming sophistication that is consistent with the building's architecture and the local area of Midtown Village. Interior Designer, Robert Moskowitz of Rittenhouse Interior Design Group, has redefined the four-story building's interior, bringing a chic- refined aesthetic to the warm and inviting hotel. The 24-room charmer features hardwood floors, exposed brick, cathedral ceilings, and flat panel HDTVs. Oversized guest rooms range in size up to 470 square feet and are divided into ten standard rooms, twelve deluxe rooms, a gracious suite, and a residential duplex suite. Guest rooms feature hardwood floors with New Zealand Wool area rugs, custom window treatments, Robert Allen custom bedding, and the finest pillow-top mattresses available -- Serta Presidential. Each room enjoys a variety of unique features such as fireplaces, exposed brick walls, cathedral ceilings, French windows, or loft bedrooms.

Having stayed in a few of Ian Schrager's boutique hotels (let's call him the father of boutique hotels) in NYC like the Hudson Hotel, The Parmount or The Gramercy, I have to say that the Independent has the same style and class but far more bang for your buck ($199 rack rate) and the rooms are twice the size. Philadelphia has been a world class city for awhile, and now we have a world class boutique hotel.

Most of the window views are of the wonderful Philly skyline, or the English garden next door.But all of them contain the brains that are located in the phone system which are placed in the room on the desk or on the night table. The phone operates an energy control system. As the guest enters the room, the phone is activated and the rooms temperature is elevated to an occupied mode. The guest then has normal control of the room's electrical and HVAC systems through the phone. The system eliminates the need for sensors to be mounted on the wall or ceiling. When a guest leaves the room he can check out via the phone and the room goes into "unoccupied mode." In this mode the room's HVAC system's operating temperature ranges are set back and the power to the switches and plugs is turned off to reduce energy consumption. The phone also controls the TV, the lighting system, the thermostat in the bathroom and most importantly the "Do Not Disturb" sign, which will be lit outside the door so no one will disturb you. No more getting up and placing the darn thing on the door knob. The bathrooms by the way are chic, carry fine skin care products and shampoos that would've found their way into my pockets had they not already been occupied with camera batteries, note pad and pen. (Oh the funny story I could tell you when I stayed at the Paramount last year, but it's 2:30AM on a work night)
Some bathrooms have exposed brick, which I found a bit sexy (blush) and could become rather steamy with those hot weekend rates the hotel has been promoting ($149). It was interesting for me to see that other hotel management was invited to check out the Independent. I was told that this is done because if the said hotel is overbooked they might consider sending guests over to the Independent or visa versa. Did I mention that each room comes with a mini refrigerator and microwave. I would suggest that you cancel that Marriott Residential hotel reservation and book a week here instead.
After the touring was done lunch was serves, which was catered by John Stock who served Philly's favorite mini hoagies, sandwiches, salad and delicious lemon bars. Drinks were served on the house marble breakfront, where a continental breakfast and evening cocktails will be served.
I also had a chance to meet these lovely ladies and talk about the Independent and the quaint MidTown Village. (L-R) Ann Lage, Rittenhouse Interior Design Group, Denise S. Kaminski, Mgr. Royal Bank America and Debbie Gilmore (Royal Bank America). The hotel's lobby is accented by a crystal chandelier and features a 30-foot by 8-foot, hand-painted work of art created by local muralist, Kim Senior. Senior is an accomplished Philadelphia artist whose mural and screen paintings can be seen around the city in both classical and contemporary styles. For The Independent, she has created a vibrant image of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, which spans three stories, rising from the hotel's lobby. Moskowitz's design paired with Senior's vivid piece de resistance offers guests a tailored, soothing feel amidst a rich color palette. (Check out Kim Senior's work here and read the story of how she painted the mural SIDEWAYS!! ) The lobby is also where you may meet anyone of the helpful people below,

but there's a good chance you will find Jim Evans the Resident Manager of The Independent, who can answer your questions, send you off to a nice restaurant or direct to your desired location.Finally, the hotel is stylish and chic, but I think you will want to stay here because you'll like the intimacy, the comfortable beds, the breakfast, the location, and especially the price. BREAKING NEWS: Last minute 4th of July rate they are offering for the entire weekend, it is $139 a night.

PS Have A Safe Holiday Weekend, but if you're near a computer I will be posting over the next three days, it's a selfish thing as I am nearing my year anniversary and I want to go over the 100ks mark by the time I hit it Monday. Also I want to stay on top of the timing of my photos. I want to get the events to you in real time ie the day after I shoot it, unless of course something is going to be published as I have those contracts that limited me from scooping the paper. Thanks so much for stopping by.