The big shit at City Paper was the Katz-Street mayoral race and that goddamned bug. We started the year off with Daryl Gale and Howard Altman poking into John Street's falling out with longtime friend Carl Singley. Deborah Bolling had a sitdown with Street's press attache Barbara Grant (for whom she would one day work). Ralph Cipriano investigated whether Street, in an election year, would stand up to unions and kill the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). Altman played nine holes with Katz and, when a fishing trip with Street fell through, wrangled some time with the embattled mayor in his office. Oh, and we famously ran a photo of Katz holding a mug that read, no lie, "FuCKED." (Poor guy got left holding no race cards.)
New staff photographer Michael T. Regan also fired off some sharp shots of the final football game at the Vet, and continued the Better Know a Street series with a photo essay on Germantown Avenue.
In other staff developments, we welcomed eventual "Philly Blunt"man Brian Hickey to the dark side where he uncovered the story of a Camden man, killed by a Jersey state trooper, whose family, six months later, was still battling to gain access to a video of the shooting. The Hick also faced off with iceman Bobby Clarke and lived to tell.
Helen i-lin Hwang swam with actual freaking sharks and got fast and furious with the Asian import car (and car-girl) scene. Patrick Rapa put Atom "and his Package" Goren on the cover of a music issue wearing a New York Yankees hat and Edmonton Oilers jersey. Bolling delved into Kenny Gamble's redevelopment of South Philadelphia. Rapa, a guy who only drinks alcohol that tastes like candy, went to bartender school and was sober enough to write about it afterward. A.D. Amorosi profiled producer Larry Gold, Debra Auspitz rode a Duck, and Brian Howard chatted with Dock Street brewer-turned-Mini-tuner Eric Savage and St. Joe's baseball stats guru Sean Forman. In an investigation of what we're missing by not having public access television, Rapa, Auspitz and Lori Hill spent an entire day watching TV and discovered we're not missing much. We thought Councilman Kenney might lose, so we planned an awesome South Park -themed cover that wasn't quite as awesome when it had to read "Why They Couldn't Kill Kenney!"
David Warner said goodbye again, and Frank Lewis packed his bags for Cleveland. But we said hello to Carolyn Wyman, digital media enthusiast Amy L. Webb, radio star Jon Solomon (reviewing video games), the mysterious Kyle Parker, real estate bombshell Maggie Monari, Elisa Ludwig (who, you caught us, started writing for us in 2002), designer Hyacinth Hughes and designer Jeffrey Bouchard, who became our in-house illustrator.
We introduced the TV column "Box Score," Jesse Delaney's summer tour reviews "Blistered in the Sun" and free-lunch scam "The Lunch Bunch."
And we said hello, in a way, on July 17, when Auspitz interviewed some dude named Swierczynski on the eve of his book The Perfect Drink for Every Occasion . Michael Mergen photographed him with a cart full of liquor and a blue button-up shirt; we swear to God, it's how he shows up to work every day.