Monday, February 9, 2015


If didn't completely kill the term "jawn" with it's "There's No Jawn Like Home" billboards, My Fox Philly sure did. The ad campaign is actually cute, and like a lot of what comes from, the group doesn't just know the city, it loves it.

But like "hizzy" and "flippity floppity floop," suits tend to ruin slang. But that hasn't stopped the word from going viral a good decade or two after its first utterance. 

In the latest, "aww, how cute" moment, Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance have hashtagged "thisjawnmatters" to encourage pedestrians to look up at the built world around them. 

The group's Facebook page is insatiably hip.

Most recently the group gathered to decorate the infamous Hale Building at Chestnut and Juniper, the former location of Drucker's Bellevue Baths and Valu-Plus, designed by the Divine Lorraine's Willis G. Hale. 

The campaign cute.

The building, on the other hand, is a monolith of iconoclastic architectural elements that forebodes, inspires, and terrifies anyone willing to crane their next to the slightest degree. 

In short, #youbetyourassthisjawnmatters.

Construction paper hearts were draped across the gate of the shuttered Valu-Plus with phrases like "Save Me," "Look Up," and of course, "#thisjawnmatters". It's refreshing that the city's youth (god I hate writing that) have taken an interest in our architectural heritage, and it's nice that the Preservation Alliance has embraced them.

Still, being cute only gets you so far. It sells tickets to shows, cupcakes, even works for But when it comes to abandoned blight, it's going to take more than the end result of an Etsy party to save the Hale Building. And anyone in a position to save it, already knows that it's there. 

Impossible not to look up

Engaging the cities hippest works (somewhat) with campaigns like Unlitter Us, it creates community gardens, and it can even corral a few votes here and there. But the Preservation Alliance isn't necessarily in the business of being hip, nor should it be. Their catalog of threatened properties need costly intervention. 

Pop-media attention doesn't hurt, in fact it might encourage the Historical Commission to take their jobs a little more seriously. It might.

Whatever the case, it's delightful to see Millennials engaging in preservation - in their own way. It's one more party, many of whom are new to the city, proving that Philadelphia is more than just a place to live, but a living and evolving resident made of bricks and mortar.

No comments:

Post a Comment