Hidden in the details of the City Council’s hopeful move for the 76ers into Chinatown by 2032, last weekend, was the City of Philadelphia’s welcome to its first-ever Director of Nighttime Economy, Raheem Manning.
Not for nothing, but in my rowdiest of rowdy, hard-drinking club days and effortlessly successful promotional enterprises, I imagined that I could be the crowned Czar of Philly nightlife into the wee hours. Not to happen, apparently. That said, Director of Nighttime Economy, Raheem Manning, a one-time Overbrook High grad who we first met as co-chair of Philadelphia’s Art and Culture Task Force and travel management boss of The Weekender, is set to be an outreach advocate between the City of Philadelphia’s legislators and local businesses and entrepreneurs whose primary operations occur at night.
This doesn’t just mean making sure tony millennials are dancing at NoTo (although I’ve seen those kids busting moves at the Eraserhood nightclub, and yes, there ought to be a law against it), but also being certain that nightlife events and locations have decent lighting and policed parking in Center City, and its surrounding periphery.
Here are my Five Bright Ideas as to what the new Director of Nighttime Economy Raheem Manning should get at, but fast:
One: Remember when 18th Street off Rittenhouse was a hub of underground night space activity… hail Bar Noir and the late, great David Carroll? Now, it’s just Vango. And that’s sad. Even the lame speakeasy not-to-be-named that took Bar Noir’s place is gone, and the building is boarded up. Tear the boards off and make that property into a bustling, cool saloon with, perhaps, live bands. Other than First Unitarian Church, there’s no live music represented in Rittenhouse. Fuck that.
Two: Add more cool late-night food trucks outside of Franklin Hall, the Fillmore entertainment plaza, The Met and more. If anyone remembers how the hot dog woman outside of 23 East used to clean up after shows, take the hint.
Three: Bust the kids blowing up fireworks all the time that keep late-night party-ers from wanting to hang out. Nobody really likes fireworks once they stop being 12 years old, and it’s just a nuisance.
Four: Get rid of the ATV riders. Nobody who wants to come into town for drinks and later night snacks loves contending with cats who bike on the sidewalks and compete for space on the highways by creating a blockade. Know what else? The funny VROOM noise? We’re over it.
Five: Encourage loud busking. I love hearing saxophonists, rappers and guitarists on the street. Amp that shit up!