Debate over new Rittenhouse benches; Philly’s bad property assessments; Phillies add ‘Thor’ to lineup | Morning roundup

Who knew 65,000 people wanted a hoagie NFT? πŸ₯–

Danya Henninger / Billy Penn

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After a two-year fundraising campaign, Rittenhouse Square has 160 new benches. They’re longer β€” and have a controversial central armrest built in.

  • Helping people with mobility issues is the center bar’s purpose, per the park’s friends group. But when the centerpiece was introduced back in 2008, the group said it was β€œto discourage the use of the bench as a bed.”

People involved with the homeless population are not fans of the new furniture, Angie Bacha reports. Meanwhile, a donation to Project HOME is in the works.

Noah Syndergaard, the pitcher acquired by the Phillies just hours before the MLB trade deadline, is quite a character.

  • Nicknamed ‘Thor’ after his long hair (and his proclivity for the Norse god costume), the native Texan is known as much for his jokes as his stinging pitches, which softened a bit after a recent injury.

In advance of Syndergaard’s debut tonight at Citizens Bank Park, Jordan Levy runs down some fun facts about him, like that time he stole the Phanatic’s ATV.

$ = paywalled

  • Over $6 million in Pa. state funding is going to Harrisburg-based anti-abortion nonprofit Real Alternatives, which helps fund crisis pregnancy centers. Another $1 million goes to the organization via TANF, the food and child supply funding. [Inquirer$/Billy Penn/Capital-Star]
  • Pennsylvania has earmarked $45 million statewide to help counties administer elections, but contingencies attached to the money β€” like finalized ballot tallies a day after an election β€” has small counties worried. [WHYY]
  • Philly’s property assessments are less accurate β€” too high or too low β€” in neighborhoods with higher proportions of Black residents or lower median incomes, per a new Inquirer analysis. This year property values ​​increased by 31% on average, causing new tax worries. [Inquirer$/WHYY/Axios]
  • A doctoral student at Penn explains why Pa. officials should start tracking the use of algorithms, which already make important decisions about schools, funding, and criminal justice. [Billy Penn]
  • Jose Garces is the latest “celeb” chef to open at the new club level at the Wells Fargo Center. The menu will be a greatest hits list from his restaurants β€” including the recently shuttered University City spot Distrito. [PhillyVoice/Daily Pennsylvanian]
  • Around 65,000 people competed for a chance to win Wawa’s technicolor NFTs of cartoons eating a hoagie, which is exactly 64,999 people more than we expected. [Technically]
  • Dick Vermeil, the beloved ex-Birds coach who led the team to their first Superbowl appearance, is excited to enter the NFL Hall of Fame as an Eagle. [NBC10]

Mayor Kenney joins Parks & Rec officials and reps from the local YMCA to announce this year’s Camp Philly, a scholarship that sends city kids to a week’s sleepaway camp in the Poconos (10:30 am). Later he meets other scholarship recipients at a reunion of new and returning Catto Scholarship CCP students (1:30 pm).

🎰 BP Quizzo lands in South Philly at the Sports & Social bar, where we’ll swoop into the Live! Casino with fun trivia about all things Philadelphia. Prizes include gift cards and beach chairs, all free with RSVP. (6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17)

πŸ‘½ Kick it old school at the Betsy Ross House for a free First Friday screening of β€œIt Conquered the World,” a campy 1968 alien thriller. (8:45 to 10:30 pm Friday, Aug. 5)

🍳 Add a new brunch spot to your rotation as Old City’s Amina debuts its weekend daytime offerings. Chef/partner Darryl Harmon’s menu features Southern cuisine that incorporates African ingredients. (10 am to 2 pm Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 6-7)

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