We've made it to the end of another week, Philly, and (what looks to be) the end of the heat wave. Heading into the weekend, bring your beach umbrella and appetite to Atlantic City, where Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan says there's renewed energy in the food scene. In Philadelphia's Center City, a different kind of energy and tension escalated between police and protesters camped outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office yesterday afternoon, as police used bicycles to push through tents to abruptly end the encampment on the corner of Cherry and Eighth Streets.
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With nearly 40 eating venues scattered between Atlantic City's two new casinos, restaurants are on the rise in America's Playground.
But beyond the boardwalk and in the independent restaurants is where the dining scene sparkles, says Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan.
From cornbread to catfish, tuna tartare to tamales, LaBan dishes on the decided optimism of A.C.'s culinary landscape.
Using bicycles to push through people and tents, Philadelphia police abruptly raided and destroyed the "Occupy ICE" encampment set up by protesters outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Center City on Thursday afternoon.
"Stay calm! Stay calm!" a protester shouted as police pushed through the encampment and knock down the protesters' tents and canopies, which had been set up in the area since Monday evening as part of a national movement calling for the abolition of ICE. Local demonstrators also have called for the closure of the federal detention center in Berks County and an end to Philadelphia's collaboration with federal immigration officials.
Mayor Jim Kenney and Philly police said that protesters were given "numerous warnings" to clear the areas blocking doors and bays to the office building before officers took action against the socialist-organized demonstration. The response to the protest may put Kenney, who has enjoyed darling status from both police and progressive groups who supported his sanctuary city policy, in a politically precarious position come election time.
Until a few years ago, the greatest threat to the future of 99-year-old New Light Beulah Baptist Church in Philadelphia's Graduate Hospital neighborhood was a thunderstorm that barreled through on a Thursday evening, ripping off part of the roof.
But the vicissitudes of nature paled next to another looming threat: the pressures of gentrification on an urban pocket where housing prices have increased more than 400 percent since 2000.
With long-time black residents moving out and mostly younger, mostly white newcomers moving in, the community's transition sapped the church of its membership, forcing leaders to sell its 61-year-old home, which was quickly razed and re-built into condos.
New Light Beaulah's story is that of many longstanding Philadelphia African American churches being forced to move, and the ripple effect is being felt in both the neighborhoods where they relocate and those they vacate.
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