Old City Stroll

2009 March 25
by Brandon Sargent

Old City is one of the areas in Philadelphia I have a love/hate relationship with…it might actually be the only one.  Located along the Delaware Riverbank, it was the original commercial hub of the city.  Filled with warehouse-converted lofts and tiny colonial buildings, its a beautiful neighborhood most times of the day.  The area also has a thriving nightlife scene- galleries (First Friday events), dive bars, restaurants, and performance spaces which after a certain time at night become infested Jersey guidos.

This past Sunday I set out with my friend Jerry for an afternoon in Old City since it had been a while and I was craving brunch.  We grabbed some shakshuka and coffee at Cafe Ole, an Israeli cafe, and enjoyed brunch on the sidewalk.  If you haven’t had shakshuka yet, you’re missing out- over-easy eggs in an herb and spice tomato sauce, served with plenty of bread; this is the only meal you need to eat all day.  They brew La Colombe coffee, which is the gold standard in Philadelphia, and my favorite coffee.  Other notable items on the menu include bureka and the Mediterranean Platter (pita, hummus, feta, olives, eggplant).


The main purpose of the afternoon was to check out some new(er) clothing shops that had opened since the last time I had been over, 3rd Street seems like it is going to be the “it” location in the city for boutique clothing stores judging from the aggregate number that have opened. Lost+Found is a vintage shop for men and women with some new clothes mixed in- Ben Sherman, and Penguin being the two that jumped out at me.  The store is on the small side, so the collection is somewhat limited.  Matthew Izzo also just moved into the area from across the city.  The store has grown to include furniture and art in addition to clothes, if you’re looking for trashy gay couture circa 1998, this is the place to get it.


The two stores I really wanted to visit were Sugarcube and Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.  Sugarcube is along the same vein as Lost+Found with a mix of new and vintage clothing, but with the labels I prefer and a much larger selection.  A lot of Steven Alan, APC, Rogues Gallery, Relwen, and some other “workwear” labels.  There were even a few vintage Barbour jackets on the rack showing some serious signs of love- cracked, creased, and faded.  I was seriously crushing on a blue Steven Alan oxford with a club collar and plaid embellishment at the sleeve placket and under the collar.  I could wear that shirt every day this summer!



Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction might be a long name for a store, but well worth remembering.  A well-curated collection of clothing, paper goods, books/magazines , and personal accessories, the store sets a complete lifestyle.  Their manifesto:

“…firmly believes in empowering artists producing high quality work marked by fine craft and intellectual rigor. We do so by applying the fruits of such labors to the cultural forms of everyday life, granting those who wish to engage the opportunity to do so in his/her own environment. Rather than exist at a distance in the white cube of the gallery space, we weave our offerings into the collective surface of myriad personal contexts. In this troubling epoch of industrial commodification, standardization of reproduction, and fomentation of a society of shallow spectacle, Art In The Age issues a challenge and rally cry. We fight fire with fire, subsuming the onslaught of watered down facsimiles and inaccessible displays with thought-provoking products of real cultural capital.”

Some things I liked: hand-made screen printed t-shirts by local artists, Field Notes, Penguin Great Ideas, Property Of… wallets, Make (an architecture magazine), and an exhibition on Schmidt’s and other early breweries in Philadelphia for Philly Beer Week (we love beer!).  The exhibit changes each month for First Friday, April will feature the store’s new line of screen printed t-shirts.  So check this place out.


2 Responses
  1. 2009 March 25

    I’m loving that “FIELD NOTES” notebook too. Mostly becuase the font is Futura and I can see Wes Anderson walking around with it in his white linen suit and neck scarf in India shooting gorgeous films.

  2. 2009 May 6

    Hi, nice post. I have been pondering this topic,so thanks for posting. I will definitely be coming back to your posts. Keep up the good work

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