The Eagles' Nest

Philadelphians are passionate about many things, but none more so than their football team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

There have been a lot of changes in the Eagles’ roster, including the loss of vaunted quarterback Donovan McNabb. Many believe that, without the veteran presence and numerous talents of McNabb, the Eagles are doomed to failure in an NFC Eastern Division that has improved around them. An especially poignant fear is that the division rival Washington Redskins, who snatched up McNabb soon after he was released from Philadelphia, are going to overtake the Eagles as division leaders with McNabb at the helm.

But, don’t count the Eagles out yet. Training camp has already started at Lehigh University, and the team will hold a special evening practice on Thursday, August 5, as part of the second annual Eagles Flight Night.

Though some of the faces are new and untested, there is a core group of players ready to lead the team through this rebuilding period and back to the promised land of the playoffs.

On offense, the most obvious debate centers around Kevin Kolb; while he is not a rookie and did well in his role as backup, he has never been a full-time starter in the NFL. He is also not the same type of athlete that Donovan McNabb was. But, with an accurate and fairly powerful arm, he is considered to be on the top tier of young quarterbacks.

The Eagles have also managed to retain several of their talented receivers. DeSean Jackson has established himself as one of the top deep-threat receivers and is considered dangerous due to his explosive speed and electrifying moves. Along with sophomore Jeremy Maclin and tight end Brent Celek, Kolb will have plenty of targets to throw the ball to; and, with running backs like Pro Bowl fullback Leonard Weaver and running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles won’t be short on a talent running game.

While the Eagles’ defense looked foolish on several occasions this past season (especially against their divisional archrivals, the Dallas Cowboys), a new-look Eagles defense hopes to regain the top spot in the NFC East. Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott has full control over the defensive schemes, and with first-round draft pick Brandon Graham ready to make an impact this year, as well as talented veterans like Trent Cole and Asante Samuel preparing to pick where they left off last season, the Eagles hope that they will return to the dominance they once held over the other teams in the league.

While there are still several crucial questions to be answered, such as who will replace veteran corner Sheldon Brown, fans hope that the Eagles defense will rebound this season.

The bottom line for the Eagles this season is this: This year is probably going to be a year for reconstruction, not for Super Bowls. Without the likes of McNabb and Brian Westbrook, the Eagles are going to have to find other ways to inspire their youthful players and raise the intensity level.

The key to this season, without a doubt, is Kevin Kolb. But if Kolb doesn’t immediately take to his role as team leader, then expect the Eagles to be a solid 10-6, simply because they are still a talented team with lots of weapons. But be forewarned: If Kolb underperforms, then it could be a very long year for your Eagles.

You can contact John DeLuca at entertainment@campusphilly.org.

Photo:

Philly's Lesser-Known Sports

Lingerie football. Rock-Paper-Scissors. Women’s roller derby. Bet you didn’t know they’re all here in Philly.

Check out ten sports that you’d probably be surprised to find in the City of Brotherly Love:

Badminton

Regardless of how you pronounce its name, the sport of badminton (pretty much a cross between tennis and volleyball) has several collegiate clubs in the Philadelphia area. In fact, at least seven schools in the area, including Drexel and Penn, have clubs or intramurals. These two schools placed well at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Badminton Classic at Bryn Athyn College just outside Philly and at the 2010 National Collegiate Badminton Championship at the University of Maryland

The Best Pizza in Philly?

Here in Philly, the competition for the best cheesesteak in town is always fierce, especially near South Street. The competition for the best pizza in Philly, however, is a bit more complex, in that there are several places all around the city that can vie for the title.

Nestled in the heart of the Fox Chase neighborhood in the far northeast section of Philly is one such contender: Joseph’s Pizza (7947 Oxford Ave.).

Just a block from SEPTA’s Regional Rail station in Fox Chase, Joseph’s serves up authentic Italian cuisine, specializing in traditional and gourmet pizzas.

The restaurant’s specialty, The Margarita, is a must-try pie. Best ordered with a thin crust, the Margarita is topped with freshly sliced plum tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. The crust is baked perfectly, the cheese isn’t too stringy, and the sauce blends well with the topped tomatoes and basil. (Even for those who don’t like tomatoes, the Margarita is still worth a try. The tomato taste is not too intense yet not too subtle.)

Here’s a helpful bit of advice when ordering: Joseph’s doesn’t price by the slice, so if you want to try any of pizzas by yourself, you should order the 10-inch instead of the 14-inch (unless you want to take some home with you, of course).

While the Margarita is one of Joseph’s most praised dishes, the Philly cheesesteak is another popular order. Though it’s not as well-known as the ones on South, this one does well for itself: the steak is well-done, and the cheese melts in rather nicely. Oh, and it tastes great, too.

Other noteworthy dishes include the Midnight Munchie sandwich (turkey, corned beef, melted Swiss, cole slaw, and Russian dressing on rye) and the baked ziti (with mozzarella and parmigiana in meat sauce). The former’s name does it justice, while the latter is an absolute must-try pasta dish.

Aside from the mouth-watering food options, Joseph’s is more than just a pizza joint. Though it offers take-out, most people choose to eat in. The restaurant is actually split once you open its doors. To the right is a take-out counter, and to the left is a three-section dining room.

Though the place is usually quiet on weekday afternoons, it always buzzes on Friday nights and weekends. Don’t worry about having to wait for seating, though; there’s plenty of room in the dining area. As one of the servers puts it: People walk in here and don’t realize how big it is.”

During the afternoon, the dining room is dimly lit. This is because parts of the ceiling are stained glass, allowing sunlight to draw in during the day. At night, however, the stained glass ceiling gives way to brighter indoor lighting, making it easier to read menus (and checks).

Comfortable cushioned booths line both ends of the dining room, while stylish wooden tables and chairs highlight the room’s center. Antique prints, old-fashioned clocks (that don’t tell the right time), and a number of mirrors hang on the walls. All in all, this place is a rather inviting spot for a night out with your special someone. (A word of caution: Kids often throw pizza parties here at night, so if you are planning your date during the evening, that’s just something to be aware of.)

With great food and a great atmosphere, Joseph’s has been a staple in the Fox Chase community for years. Older patrons remember having their first dates here and recall that it used to have live music every week.

Throughout the years, it has become a go-to spot for both locals and visitors. In fact, Joseph’s slogan is A Slice Above the Rest. See for yourself, and determine whether or not it’s true.

You can contact Steve Jiwanmall at sportsrec@campusphilly.org.

Photo:

The Rotunda

On the corner of 40th and Walnut Streets in University City rests a large building that stands out among the movie theater, supermarket, and bakery near it. A closer look will reveal that this building seems pretty old compared to the modern architecture around it. The white paint is chipped in several places, the wood on the doors are cracked, and the building looks like it was built 100 years ago. (Actually, it was built in 1911, so that’s not a far-fetched assumption.) The doors at the front are locked, and arrows made of black tape point towards the side of the building toward the entrance.

This is The Rotunda (4014 Walnut St.). Well, at least this is how it looks. Perhaps what’s of more interest is how it has become a hotspot for art and entertainment among college students and the West Philadelphia community it serves.

Originally built as a place of worship for the First Church of Christ Scientist, The Rotunda was bought by the University of Pennsylvania in 1996. Three years later, a group of Penn students formed The Foundation Community Arts Initiative, with the goal of creating a strong partnership between the university body and the community through the arts. The first event hosted by the foundation was a free jazz concert open to the public. Since then, The Rotunda (as it is now known) has been hosted more than 2,000 community events.

Though the venue does not have actual business hours, The Rotunda is always buzzing during the year. Holding more than 300 events annually, it is home to a variety of artistic performances, ranging from live music and spoken word events to film screenings and dance exhibitions. Visitors to the venue are often treated to unique shows that make The Rotunda a city-renowned jewel. A space-rock festival, a performance by throat singers, puppet shows, and a BYOD (bring-your-own-drum) jam party are just some of these one-of-a-kind events, many of which are locally created and developed. Oh, and most events at The Rotunda are either free or less than five bucks, so it’s a popular venue for the often-low-on-cash college student.

Penn junior Shannon Kim has seen first-hand how The Rotunda continues to be a hit with college students over the years. As an intern there this summer, she offers this bit of knowledge to students who haven’t visited yet:

As an international student with an interest in art, I find it interesting to learn what people enjoy as their cultural experiences. After about two months here, I have learned so much not only about what types of cultures are out there, but also about how to run an organization like The Rotunda with a strong sense of mission for the community. The Rotunda can be the go-to place for [introduction] to arts that you didn’t know existed. If college, to you, means the time to explore and discover the world, maybe you should check out The Rotunda.

Why not plan a trip to The Rotunda before classes start up, when your schedule might be a little more open? In fact, Thursday would be a good day to go. Two major events are taking place at the venue: the 7th annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (BWFA) and this month’s event in The Gathering Series.

The BWFA runs from Thursday until Sunday at The Rotunda and other locations in the area. Admission on any of the days is just $7, and if you bring a friend, then the combined price is an affordable ten bucks. Today’s events include an African Modern Dance workshop, film screenings (starting at 5:00 P.M.), and a book/clothing swap (dropping off your own books and clothes and picking up new ones). Other events during the festival include a Progressive Poetry workshop, visual art exhibitions, live music, spoken word, and chair massages.

On the last Thursday night of every month, The Gathering Series comes to The Rotunda. Here, breakdancers, pop-lockers, and B-Boys/Girls celebrate the culture and progress of hip-hop, while emcees and deejays keep the night moving with electric funk beats. Rap battles in open ciphers and a tag wall designed by graffiti writers are other features in the series, which brings together people of all ages for a night of summer fun. Thursday’s event starts at 10 P.M., and admission is only $3.

Check out Campus Philly’s events calendar for future events at The Rotunda.

You can contact Steve Jiwanmall at sportsrec@campusphilly.org.

Photo:

Phunny in Philly

Philadelphia is famous for lots of things; one of the most overlooked, however, is just how funny Philly can be.

We Philadelphians (honorary or native) are funny. As a matter of fact, some of the funniest comedians in the business call Philadelphia home. From classic slap-stick masters to modern geniuses of comedy, the great comedians of Philly are certainly no laughing matter.

One of the foremost examples of a Philadelphia comedian is a legend of the city, both on and off the stage: Bill Cosby. Born and raised in Philly and an avid supporter of local education and sports, Cosby lives and breathes Philly while being an international celebrity.

A graduate of Temple University, Cosby has won several Emmys for his television and comedy performances. His long-running sitcom The Cosby Show is considered to be one of the defining television shows of the era; many of the storylines were taken directly from his own experiences with his family in Philadelphia. Cosby has even taken his comedic genius to the youngest generation, creating educational television shows for children such as Little Bill which aired on Nickelodeon. Without Bill Cosby, comedy in Philly and around the world would have been deprived of a critical influence.

Another of Philly’s comedy kings has a slightly more contemporary style to his works. Seth Green, West Philadelphia native, the mastermind behind the hilarious stop-motion comedy show Robot Chicken, and the voice of Chris Griffin on the worshipped television series Family Guy is one of the biggest names in modern comedy. He has also had roles in hit movies, like the Austin Powers trilogy.

Whether he’s on the silver screen or your television, Seth Green is a master of modern comedy who knows how to use pop-culture and classic humor to put audiences in stitches. He has been nominated on four different occasions for Emmys and is certain to garner more honors in the future.

A final addition to Philadelphia’s who’s who of comedy has been a household name for as long as many college students can remember. Bob Saget, known nationwide for his role as Danny Tanner, the head of the household in ABC’s hit sitcom Full House, as well as the face of another ABC standby, America’s Funniest Home Videos. But, Saget’s work ranges far and wide, from minor roles in dozens of movies and shows to his standup routines. Sagat is so revered that he was even privileged to a roast on Comedy Central, a somewhat dubious honor that simply proves the versatility and wide-reach of his work.

Now that you know who some of the greatest comedians in Philadelphia history are, go check out some of their work: Whether it’s a rerun of The Cosby Show, the latest episode of Family Guy, or one of the classic segments from America’s Funniest Home Videos, you will definitely remember the jokesters who make Philly funny.

You can contact John DeLuca at entertainment@campusphilly.org.

Photos:

Super Six for Philly History

Philadelphia plays an integral role in our country’s history—primarily in the shaping of our young nation. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence to the creation of the first American flag, Philadelphia is packed with famous historical sites.

But, since Philly is so big, you might wonder where to visit when exploring local history. With this comprehensive top-six list, you’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for in historical Philadelphia.

1) The Liberty Bell: This iconic symbol represents all things Philadelphia; a giant one hangs in Citizens Bank Park, while the real one sits on 5th and Market Streets. Considered to be a national symbol of freedom and a great place to start your exploration of the city’s historical Old City District, the Liberty Bell display is free and open to the public year round (except on Christmas).

2) Independence Hall: A famous United States historic landmark located in Old City at 5th and Chestnut Streets, Independence Hall is known as the place where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed during the Revolutionary War period. Visiting Independence Hall is free, but if you plan to visit from December to March, tickets are required to enter.

3) The National Constitution Center: One of the newer historical attractions in Philadelphia, the National Constitution Center features a number of permanent and rotating exhibits that highlight the history surrounding the United States Constitution and American history. The Constitution Center also features a variety of special events, such as the awarding of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal. The museum sits at 5th and Arch Streets, and since admission is only $12, visiting is simple and affordable.

4) Elfreth’s Alley: One of the oldest residential streets in the United States, this tiny Old City alley plays host to historical buildings and a museum. While a few of the homes on the street are open to the public, the alley still maintains actual residents. The Elfreth’s Alley Museum is only $5 for an adult ticket.

5) The Betsy Ross House: While it is uncertain whether this house or the neighboring home (demolished years ago) was the actual location where Betsy Ross created the nation’s first American flag, the current Betsy Ross House has been refurbished with historical furniture and sports an actress playing the part of Betsy Ross, answering any questions that visitors might have about the historical location. An Old City standby for tourists and locals alike, admission to the Betsy Ross House is only $3.

6) Wissahickon Creek Valley: This scenic location is off the beaten path of the normal Old City circuit, but it offers a glimpse into history through its unique and scenic trails. Attractions include the 15-ft tall Indian statue known locally (and erroneously) as Teedyescung and the famous Valley Green Inn, a local restaurant that was built in the 1850s. There is no admission fee to the park, and since it is open year-round from dawn to dusk, you can always experience some outdoor history.

You can contact John DeLuca at entertainment@campusphilly.org.

Photo: © www.frontdoor.com

Rivalries in Philly Sports

Philadelphia may just have the most devoted sports fans in the country. Whether a team is making a run at the league championship like the resurgent Flyers or struggling to eke out a playoff spot like the oft-woeful 76ers, there is always a plethora of devoted fans behind each and every one of Philadelphia’s teams.

This devotion is never more evident than when one of our beloved teams faces off against a rival. It is during these games that fans go the craziest, expecting our teams to emerge from the locker room with their game-faces on. But, just who are our sports teams’ most bitter rivals, where did all this dislike come from, and why have these rivalries persisted (or started) with such vehemence?

For the Flyers, the most competitive games always occur against teams in the Eastern Conference, although the Chicago Blackhawks may have earned a spot on the top of the Flyers’ hit list due to the outcome of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, there are plenty of unwelcomed guests in the neighborhood.

With the arrival of Sidney Crosby and the ascendance of the Pittsburgh Penguins to the top of the Eastern Conference, the Flyers’ normal rivals of New York and New Jersey have taken a backseat to the Pens.

When asked about the Flyers-Penguins rivalry, West Chester University sophomore Kyle McMaster stated plainly:

The [Penguins] are the worst. Period. It used be the [New Jersey] Devils, but because Pittsburgh won a Stanley Cup and have beaten the Flyers for the past 3 seasons, they have to be our #1 rival.

For the 76ers, the answer is simple and always has been: the Boston Celtics take the cake. Since the 60’s and 70’s, the Sixers and Celtics have battled it out in the NBA. Even though the Celtics have gotten the better of the Sixers of late, look for the Sixers to reverse this trend. With the arrival of Player of the Year award-winner Evan Turner, the tide may be turned against the Celtics.

The Phillies have had a host of rivals in their history, most stemming from division rivalries (the winner of the division makes the playoffs). Although the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins loom large as rivals in seasons past, the most recent rival of our Phillies is certainly the New York Mets. The Phillies have gotten the best of the Mets in the last few seasons, including during the 2008 season, where the dominant Phillies captured the World Series title.

Perhaps the most serious rivalry of any sports team, however, exists between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. When the Cowboys are in town, all bets are off: Philly fans will be at their rowdiest, the players will be looking to perform at their peak, and the coaches will pull out all the stops to make sure their team emerges victorious. While the Cowboys hold the overall better record against the Eagles, the tides have turned in recent years—and look for it to continue!

If you want to be a part of the world-renowned Philadelphia sports rivalries, tune in or buy tickets and support your favorite team against their rivals. You’re sure to know when they play, because nothing else that goes on in Philly gets more publicity than an Eagles-Cowboys or Phillies-Mets game.

You can contact John DeLuca at entertainment@campusphilly.org.

Photo: © www.enrico.blogs.com

Campus Philly: 101

Our Mission:

Campus Philly is a 501 (c) nonprofit organization, connecting students to life in the Philly area.

Philadelphia: Make It Yours.

Like all cities, people associate “Philadelphia” with certain things: history, the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks and soft pretzels and, of course, Rocky. And while all of those things play an integral part in the City’s image, there are so many other things about Philly that you’ll hopefully get to know during your college career.

It’s said that Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, and that couldn’t be more true. Each of the 200+ neighborhoods have its own distinctive vibe, the residents serving as a key component. There are shops for all styles and restaurants for all tastes. Stop by one of the many markets in the region or try a new dish at one of the thousands of restaurants. Of course, there is the Philadelphia staples as well: water ice, warm pretzels brushed with salt and the cheesesteak (there are even vegetarian ones).

Regardless of whether you’re the mainstream or independent type, this City has things for you to do—art exhibits, readings and lectures, sports games, concerts—you just have to take advantage of it.

Philadelphia: it’s modern and historic. It’s city and suburbs. Quite frankly, it’s the best of both worlds, so set some time aside and go explore. Make it your city, your home.

Visit campusphilly.org to get the latest on Philly all year-round.

Getting to Know Campus Philly:

campusphilly.org: Campus Philly’s website. The site contains a useful calendar of events and daily blogs written by students for students about what’s happening in and around Philly in community, professional, food, sports and recreation, arts and culture and entertainment. The site is read by college students and is becoming more interactive by the day with comment boxes on stories and videos and more in the media section.

The Click: Campus Philly’s weekly e-newsletter. Each week, Campus Philly sends out a newsletter via e-mail to keep students in the loop with what’s happening in Philly over the next seven days. The newsletter highlights specific events, discounts and job opportunities as well as spotlights blogs on the website. You can sign up for The Click on CP’s website, campusphilly.org.

Discount Program: Campus Philly’s partnership with Philadelphia stores and restaurants to give students discounts on their purchases. Located in the back flap of the Campus Philly Notebook, the tag comes as both a portable keychain clip-on or a wallet sized card along with a list of all participating businesses.

College Day: Campus Philly’s annual event that welcomes college students back to school with a full day of exciting opportunities. Philadelphia’s museums open their doors for free to area college students and businesses all over the area will be offering freebies and discounts for the entire day. About a week prior to College Day, students will receive an itinerary detailing all the participating companies and what each one is offering. Be sure to bring your Campus Philly discount tag and student I.D. so you can take advantage of all the great deals!

Campus Philly Careers: Campus Philly’s career site dedicated to the job search of the college student. Just go to campusphilly.org/careers, click on “I am a Student” and register. You can upload your resume and create a profile that will allow you to access hundreds of internship and job opportunities from employers in the Philadelphia area. CP also holds two online internship fairs, which take place in the fall and spring.

Professional Tennis in Philly

This month, tennis has brought thousands of fans to the Pavilion at Villanova University. Why? The Philadelphia Freedoms, the city’s only co-ed professional sports team, has been in action.

Celebrating its tenth straight year playing World Team Tennis (WTT), the Freedoms have been playing their seven home games at their new location, which had been the longtime home of the Advanta Championships. Previously, the team had been playing outdoors at the King of Prussia Mall and at Cabrini College. By moving to the Pavilion, the large air-conditioned venue has been packed with fans every game, especially ones that feature world-famous players.

Former Freedoms player Venus Williams, Anna Kournikova, and Martina Hingis have all played at the Pavilion this season as visitors. The Freedoms have their own superstar, Andy Roddick, who played in front of an excited home crowd last Thursday night against the Boston Lobsters.

Roddick opened the night alongside teammate Prakash Amritraj in men’s doubles. (Each WTT match consists of five different sets: men’s singles and doubles; women’s singles and doubles; and mixed doubles.) The point system is a bit different from matches played in Grand Slams, so the announcers explained the WTT rules to fans during the games. Roddick and Amritraj lost the set in a thrilling 5-4 tiebreaker, but fans were more interested in what happened after the set.

Once the set came to a close, Roddick joined the announcer on the multi-colored court to answer a few questions. In the interview, the former U.S. Open champ explained that he wants to win more Grand Slam events (Wimbledon, French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open) and is more focused on individual wins rather than rankings.

On an unrelated topic, the announcer asked Roddick if he and supermodel wife Brooklyn Decker (who graced this year’s cover of Sports Illustrated’s coveted swimsuit edition) will pose together one day. Roddick smiled and replied, No, they actually want to sell magazines. After the interview, 21 tennis balls signed by Roddick were volleyed into the stands to eager fans.

As the match continued, the Freedoms rallied to take the second set in women’s singles. In the third set, Roddick showed off his impressive serve (his fastest serve clocked in at 135 mph) in a tiebreak win in men’s singles. The Freedoms followed that up with a dominating win in women’s doubles, and Roddick teamed up with Courtney Nagle in another tiebreak win in mixed doubles, where he recorded his fastest serve of the match at 140 mph.

The Freedoms’ combined point total was higher than the Lobsters’ total, giving the home team the win, 24-19. The team has played all of its home games (winning its last five for a record of 5-2) and finishes its season tonight at the Kansas City Explorers.

Though the season is coming to a close, college students have been frequent fans at the Freedoms’ home games. One Drexel student explained why he comes to the matches:

The atmosphere is always great, the games are always exciting, the players always entertain. Why wouldn’t I go? There’s no better place for tennis fans in Philly than to see the Freedoms at the Pavilion.

You can contact Steve Jiwanmall at sportsrec@campusphilly.org.

Photo:

Mayor's Welcome

Welcome to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

You are joining over 300,000 students who attend one of the many great colleges and universities in the region. Philadelphia is the ideal city in which to earn your degree.

As a life-long Philadelphia resident and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, I can speak first-hand to the opportunities that this city offers to help you achieve your academic goals while enjoying a rich cultural and social experience. Get out into the city that you’ll call home for the next few years