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7 Local Notables Share Their Favorite Things about the City of Brotherly Love

People Feature

Jim Kenney

All eyes are on Philadelphia for the DNC—and on Mayor Jim Kenney. Here, 12 things you might not know about Philly's 99th mayor, shown here in a portrait shot at City Hall.

Jim Kenny
Jim Kenny By Philly Style


What makes Philly great: The people. We're a city of very diverse neighborhoods but no matter where you go you're going to fi nd people that make a positive, memorable impression.

Famous Philadelphian you'd most like to have dinner with: Octavius Catto is Philly's unsung civil rights hero. There's so much I'd like to learn about his work that's just not in the history books.

Favorite restaurant: Bomb-Bomb Tavern, Relish, Vietnam.

Top summer event: DNC.

Where I go for inspiration: Pre-K. Seeing kids with so much potential and knowing we can help them capitalize on that is very energizing.

Childhood memories: Playing on firetrucks. We were so proud of the fact that my dad was a Philly firefighter.

Biggest change you want to see in Philly: Poverty rate has to go down. We as a city can't thrive in the long-term if over a quarter of our population is living in poverty and half is living on $50,000 or less.

Philly on Film: Philadelphia.

What the DNC means for the city: It means we'll make national history, yet again. I feel incredibly honored to host the Convention where we'll nominate the first female president.

Tourist Tips: Hit East Passyunk. It's not a classic tourist stop, so you'll get to interact with more locals.

Four years from now, Philly will… be a city where there's opportunity in every zip code. I'm realistic about how much we can change in four years but hope that no matter where you live, there's a real path for you to rise above the circumstances into which you were born. Then I'll feel like we accomplished what we were elected to do.

What people can expect from this year's rebooted Fourth of July party: TSOP!

Ellen Yin

High Street Hospitality's Ellen Yin, here at Fork, dishes on the Barnes, the beauty of 30th Street, and her not-so-basic black uniform.

Ellen Yin
Ellen Yin By Philly Style

Philly is so...: Green! The one thing I love about Philly is being able to ride a bike or walk anywhere in Center City.

Philly tradition: I co-chair the annual fundraiser for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation each summer.

Famous Philadelphian you most want to have dinner with: As a restaurateur, I'm lucky in that I get to "have dinner" with a lot of Philadelphians—many who are famous. And although he isn't famous, the Philadelphian I most want to have dinner with is my boyfriend, Wayne.

Philly on film: The Art of the Steal, the documentary that details the controversy surrounding the Barnes Foundation's move to the Parkway, fascinates me.

Favorite city landmark: 30th Street Station. Now with a restaurant in New York, I travel frequently. I love coming home, ascending the stairs, and seeing the gorgeous concourse.

The future of Philly's food scene: Amazing, but I hope that more people want to join the industry and understand what's involved.

Favorite local boutiques: Since I'm around food I tend to stick to a basic black uniform from shops like Nicole Miller and Theory.

Favorite restaurant (aside from your own!): I try to support the chef community as much as I can. My most frequented spot is Pho Saigon for the Bun Bo Hue with tendon. And I love Mr. Martino's Trattoria.

Marcus Allen

After celebrating the 100th anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters with a star-studded gala, CEO Marcus Allen, shown here at Russell Byers Charter School, is back to business helping the city's youth.

marcus allen
Marcus Allen by Philly Style

Favorite restaurant: Can't say just one: Del Frisco's, Sbraga, Capital Grille, and R2L.

Local athlete: Malcolm Jenkins is such a class act and is doing great things for local youth through The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation.

Famous Philadelphian you most want to have dinner with: Ben Franklin. Aside from what most people know he also invented the rocking chair, spoke fi ve languages, and was almost killed twice during experiments.

Local landmark: City Hall was the tallest habitable building in the world from 1894 -1908 and, with 700 rooms, is still one of the largest municipal buildings in the world. Impressive.

Favorite Philadelphia movie: Trading Places. My office is located in the Duke and Duke building!

What makes Philly great: I have traveled and lived in many cities in the US, Europe, South America, and Israel, and none of the places match the spirit, flamboyance, and confidence of the people that you meet here.

Why BBBS is important to the city: We have been working in the Greater Philadelphia community for over 100 years and have served over 200,000 kids in that time. I would like to think that we played a role in the health and vitality of this great city and will continue to do so.

Connor Barwin

Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin, photographed at Smith Playground, makes some of his biggest plays off the field, with his community-minded Make The World Better Foundation.

Connor Barwin
Connor Barwin By Philly Style

Philly on film: Rocky movies, of course. Creed, the most recent in the series, might be my favorite.

Favorite restaurant: A short list of my favorites is Vetri, Double Knot, Vernick, Zahav, and Barclay Prime.

City Escapes: I love riding my bike along the Schuylkill River Trail. It's also a great example of what can happen when a number of organizations work together.

Summer in the city: The DNC and Guns N' Roses at the Linc in July. And training camp because that means the season is near.

Great (Eagles) expectations: I've really been impressed with the direction our team is going. We have some great coaches on staff. As always, our focus going into the season is to compete for a division title.

Why MTWB is important to the city: We believe outdoor play is an essential component of child development and community engagement. Through MTWB, we work with city and community partners to support projects through funding and partnership development and help drive the process forward.

What's ahead in 2016: We are wrapping up the first phase of construction on the Smith Playground Recreation Center in South Philly and will move ahead with Phase 2 this fall. And our 2017 park project is already confirmed.

Erin Elmore

From play dates to pool parties, lawyer and TV personality Erin Elmore, sitting pretty in her Center City home, takes it all in stride (sans stilettos).

Erin Elmore By Philly Style
Erin Elmore By Philly Style


What I love about Philly: Who needs Facebook when you live in Philly? It's the perfect size for you to walk out the door, run into six friends, and have some impromptu fun.

Famous Philadelphian you'd most like to have dinner with: Ed Snider. He and my husband, Craig Spitzer, shared a long friendship, and his grandson, Garrett, is a dear friend. I would have wanted to sit with him at Barclay Prime and listen to his stories.

Kid-friendly finds: Primp and Play! My son, Royce, takes an art class while I get a mani-pedi. I'm an attorney, and I deem that a win for both parties.

Local landmark: Someone once told me that the Barnes Foundation is the most civilized place to see art in the US. I'm proud to live in a city with art that can only be matched by the Louvre.

Secrets from the set: QVC is on air, live 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The place never sleeps, so neither do I. I often work overnights.

Best boutique: Lapstone and Hammer for rare sneakers. Now that I am a mom, I think it looks ridiculous to push a stroller in stilettos. And I still get just as many compliments.

Summer in the city: The Lombard Swim Club—heavy on the rules, but bigger on the fun. The lifeguarded baby pool and BYOB policy make the 10-year wait list worthwhile.

Jeff Guaracino

Newly minted President and CEO of Welcome America Jeff Guaracino, here in Old City, is the creative force behind this year's Fourth of July festivities.

Jeff Guarcino
Jeff Guarcino By Philly Style

Local landmark: Merchant Exchange Building & Hamilton's First Bank.

Famous Philadelphian I'd like to have dinner with: My mom, who died young. Moms raising kids on their own are famous in my book.

Go-to meeting spot: Frieda in Society Hill.

Philadelphia traditions: I never miss the New Year's Eve fireworks.

Favorite summer activities: Walking Philly's small cobblestone streets.

Philly is so... taking off to new heights! We are the "It" city on the East Coast.

Why I'm excited about this year's Fourth of July fest: It's cool for all ages. There will be even more music and bigger fi reworks.

On my Philly Rolodex: 11th Street Auto Repair. Honesty goes a long way in my Rolodex.

City hideaways: Café Cret, U-Bar, and my home to catch up with friends.

Favorite neighborhood: Fairmount Park. You can get everywhere on a bike.

Pastimes and pursuits: My second book, The Handbook of LGBT Tourism, is coming out this fall.



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