Rachel Vigoda, Entertainment Editor:
While pride should come from within — and who cares what New York thinks anyway, amirite? — it was pretty cool when the venerable New York Times ranked Philadelphia as No. 3 on its list of 52 places to go in 2015. The newspaper pointed to Philly’s lively outdoor scene, from the shiny new Dilworth Park in front of City Hall to the coveted hammocks and floating bar of Spruce Street Harbor Park.
I’m also excited about how amazing Philly’s restaurant scene has become, stretching out beyond the borders of Center City with everything from the best pizza joint in America (thanks, Bon Appetit!) to the almost-daunting bounty of East Passyunk.
Sam Newhouse, Senior Reporter:
Politicians and business leaders were pretty psyched when “cool pope” Francis announced he was coming to Philly for the World Meeting of Families. Everyone in the city got caught up in Popemania —from amateur Airbnb innkeepers, to craft beer brewers, custom T-shirt makers, ticket scalpers and swag slingers. But once thousands of devout Catholics arrived, everyone learned a little bit about faith in the City of Brotherly Love.
Evan Macy, Sports Editor:
It's a year most Philly sports fans will want to forget, but for Temple alums like myself — and the ever-growing local college football bandwagon — it was a banner year. After decades of being a laughing stock, the Owls were nationally ranked for most of the year, defeated in-state rival Penn State and sold out the Linc (more than 60,000 seats) twice. The college football program is on the upswing and has never had more support around the country. The year 2015 was truly one of pride for Temple.
Jenny DeHuff, Reporter:
Picture a new, state-of-the-art music hall with a curtaining system that expands or retracts depending on the size of the acts. Imagine bottle service and fare as fancy as charcuterie plates served while the shock rock band Gwar plays on stage. That's what we’ve got with the new Fillmore music venue in Fishtown. The design is described as "steam punk" — a sort of Victorian-era/art nouveau look with exposed brick and Edison bulb chandeliers. It's housed in the old Ajax Metal Company building and shares space with a bowling alley, restaurant and distillery. Fillmore Philadelphia has already hosted some pretty big names in its short time in town, and promises to offer even more in 2016.
On his 16th birthday, Stevie Wonder came to Philly, met a girl and played Seven Minutes in Heaven for the first time. As most of Philadelphia remembers, the Motown multi-instrumentalist performed a free outdoor show for thousands of fans at Dilworth Park on a sweltering day in mid-August. People braved blistering heat as temperatures crept into the high 90s, with onlookers squeezing on top of each other just to edge into the shade. During this first-of-its-kind surprise concert, Wonder shared that heart-warming story and many others. And we were there to relish in it.
Josh Kruger, Web Producer:
This year, Philadelphia celebrated 50 years since one of the first organized American gay rights protests took place right in front of Independence Hall. The days-long party was particularly moving: The US Supreme Court had just legalized same-sex marriage. Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the case that overturned DOMA, was here. And, James Obergefell, the plaintiff in the landmark marriage ruling, was here, too! It was a wonderful time to get your history straight and nightlife gay.
We all were bummed about HitchBOT's demise, but the robot's fate got Philly talking about itself – and its values. It was heartening to see the community here express outrage, not just amusement, at the scandal. Even better? Local techies offered to rebuild him. How more brotherly can you get?