If you’re looking to use a gender-neutral bathroom at Philadelphia’s City Hall, be prepared to hike to the seventh floor and search for it under flickering lights straight out of a horror film. New legislation may change that, however, requiring gender-neutral restrooms throughout the building and promoting a more inclusive space. But, dim the lights, back to horror films: a simple elevator ride to a wedding reception at Two Liberty Place went terribly awry this weekend after party-goers became trapped in the 100-degree car for hours, sucking available oxygen from a small opening in the door. And their only way out was up, climbing through the top and across other elevator cars — 40 feet in the air. In other news, lead has been found at two more city playgrounds, though officials say there’s no cause for alarm.

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The largest municipal building in the United States, Philadelphia City Hall has seven floors, close to 700 rooms, more than a million square feet — and one gender-neutral bathroom, tucked away on its seventh floor.

While Philadelphia has for years implemented policies aimed at improving gender-neutral bathroom access for transgender and gender nonconforming youths and adults, critics say City Hall itself has failed to make gender-neutral bathrooms truly accessible. Legislation introduced this week would change that, requiring at least one gender-neutral restroom on each of the building’s seven publicly accessible floors, a move proponents say will establish City Hall as a space that’s accommodating to transgender and gender nonconforming employees and visitors.

Lead, tied to numerous developmental problems in children, has been found at two more city playgrounds — East Poplar in North Philadelphia and Disston in Tacony, city officials said Wednesday.

Testing at both parks showed lead paint on playground equipment — likely applied by volunteers and not approved by the Parks and Recreation Department, officials said.

The news comes a week after the city closed the athletic field at Chew Playground in Point Breeze after elevated levels of lead were found in the soil. Though three city parks have been closed due to the discovery of lead in recent weeks, officials say there is no cause for alarm.

It was supposed to be a happy night, a wedding reception for Brian and Kiley Stevenson’s closest friends at the R2L Restaurant on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place.

But the fourteen people — ranging in age from 32 to 72 — who stepped into the elevator of the Philadelphia high-rise Saturday never made it to the wedding party on the 37th floor, instead ascending a few floors, dropping 15 feet, and becoming trapped in the elevator car amid sizzling temperatures and little air to breathe for 3½ hours.

At one point, the passengers became so desperate for air that they stood on top of each other and pressed their faces to a small opening in the car’s door to suck in any available oxygen from the elevator’s shaft. Staff writer Ellie Rushing tells the tale of terror at Two Liberty Place.

What you need to know today

Through Your Eyes | #OurPhilly

Plant-tastic. 🌱Thanks for the photo, @jessburghaus.

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That’s Interesting

  • Bring out your finest whites, your own tables, chairs, cutlery, dishware, food, cleanup, etc., and prepare to be surprised: pop-up picnic Diner en Blanc is back for another year at a new, secret location.
  • After years of touting new roller-coasters and rides, Six Flags Great Adventure has found a new place in the sun. The amusement park announced Wednesday that it will now run completely on solar power, becoming the largest “net metered” solar project in New Jersey, and one of the world’s first solar-powered theme parks.
  • Breakfast in Philly is on the rise, writes food critic Craig LaBan, and these are the places worth waking up for.
  • After 21 years of trying, a 64-year-old North Philadelphia woman succeeded in earning her GED this May. During her graduation speech, she told her class just how she “made the choice to keep going.”
  • Say goodbye to SugarHouse. A rebrand is in the cards for the Fishtown casino, soon to be known as Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
  • From cheesesteaks in Camden to salt water taffy in Atlantic City, New Jersey residents and visitors can now walk — and eat — in Anthony Bourdain’s footsteps. The late chef, author, and TV host’s food trail has been officially approved by the Garden State.


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“Know that the moment will come, in the not-so-distant future, when you see the skyline over the Ben Franklin Bridge, and your heart will swell. Or when you disembark at 30th Street Station, inhale the sweet stench of the Schuylkill Expressway, and not have to remind yourself it’s pronounced ‘Skookle.’ The moment will come when you realize you’re home.” — Columnist Mike Newall’s advice to New York transplants on understanding Gritty and making friends with Philly neighbors.

What we’re reading

A Facebook event is welcoming people to make offerings to a big sinkhole at 43rd and Baltimore on Monday, June 10, 2019.
STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer
A Facebook event is welcoming people to make offerings to a big sinkhole at 43rd and Baltimore on Monday, June 10, 2019.

Your Daily Dose of | Sinkhole

In West Philly, there’s no getting around the massive sinkhole at 43rd and Baltimore. So instead, residents are embracing it. Preceded by a sinkhole pizza party, neighbors let the pothole of all potholes know it’s loved this week by tossing ritual offerings into the gravelly behemoth.