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January 18, 2018

New York Times fashion critic has apparently never been to Philadelphia

Does Philly really have a reputation as being 'predictable,' 'conservative' and 'sometimes boring?'

Odd News Media
Stock_Carroll - Philadelphia Skyline at dusk Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia skyline at dusk.

A New York Times style critic may have accidentally admitted never being to Philadelphia in a recent article about fashion in an Italian city.

Guy Trebay's article, "Milan Is Still Making It New," published Wednesday, begins as follows:

MILAN — Despite its reputation for being predictable, safe, conservative, sometimes boring — the Philadelphia of fashion — Milan still has the power to surprise.

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The article goes on to describe suits, designer brands and other areas of expertise foreign to this writer. But, um, what was that about, Philly? A tip of the hat to Deadspin's Hannah Keyser, who pointed out Trebay is describing essentially the opposite of Philadelphia. (She also threw in some cheap shots on the city's safety and our sports fans, but we'll let that slide.)

Now, Trebay's wording makes it seem like he's referring to the city, in general, as "predictable, safe, conservative, sometimes boring." Although there remains a possibility he was describing Philly's fashion scene, something I admittedly have little knowledge of and wouldn't be able to defend. (PhillyVoice staffer Marielle Mondon jokingly replied to the notion in a company message board, "Excuse me, we wear very nice sweatpants here.")

We've reached out to Mr. Trebay (look, I'm just like a Times reporter!) for further clarification. To argue about how "safe" the city is, in this forum, would be inappropriate and downplay the complex issues of violence and crime. But the notion of Philly's reputation being "predictable," "conservative" and "sometimes boring" is one I can easily refute with just a few fast facts about the city:

A cow recently escaped a live nativity and roamed streets and highways — twice

We have this parade in the freezing cold every year

Locals return to torture themselves with city's most famous delicacy

Some people measure babies in said delicacy

We cry on the radio about sports

Ok, some fans can get pretty violent

A man stands over an air vent daily, allowing the wind to blow his shirt up like a balloon. No one pays any mind, we all know who he is.

The actor who plays our most famous fictional character bought a giant statue of himself as said character

This is art

We registered a giant milk bottle as a historical landmark

Local TV news is lit

Our founder has a giant, um, package

There are many, many more examples, and we may add more the longer it takes Mr. Trebay to respond to us. In the meantime, let's all get our beer and dog masks ready for Sunday. 

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