Philadelphia | A Continuous Lean.

Custom Bikes from North Philadelphia.

Feb 23rd, 2013 | Categories: Bicycles, Made in the USA, Philadelphia, Video | by Michael Williams


Stephen Bilenky has been making bicycles in North Philly for the past 30 years. His company Bilenky Cycle Works started out as a repair shop, and then soon after morphed into a custom manufacturer of great looking and highly functional bicycles.  The operation was recently the focus of a mini-documentary which beautifully illustrates the commitment of American small batch bicycle fabricators. The film illustrates the commitment and skills that it takes to make high quality bikes like these. And while a Bilenky bike carries a significant price tag, one can easily see that these people are not exactly in this to get rich. Things like these bicycles take time, effort and know-how — money seems like it is the last thing Stephen Bilenky is interested in.

Boston Rubbernecks

May 2nd, 2012 | Categories: History, Philadelphia | by Michael Williams

Times have changed, but people have always loved to gawk at a car crash. The Boston Public Library has hundreds of opportunities to rubberneck wrecks from the 1930s. Some of the most interesting below. Please take note the painful lack of seat belts as displayed on the windshields. Also, check out the work wear on the bystanders. Be safe out there.

The Can-Do Spirit Lives in Philadelphia

Mar 8th, 2011 | Categories: Motorcycles, Philadelphia, Video | by Michael Williams

Adam Cramer of Liberty Cycles is also someone who is concerned with the de-industrialization of America. A motorcycle mechanic in Philadelphia for the past 25 years, Cramer has what many would call an obsession with vintage motorcycles. Brooklyn-based craft-juggernaut Etsy recently produced a video about Liberty Cycles in which Cramer expresses concern that the younger generation of Americans will not be able to pick up the torch and continue America’s “can-do spirit.” A subject that was explored thoroughly here.

Barn Burner

Feb 28th, 2011 | Categories: Philadelphia, Vintage | by Michael Williams

The folks at Three Potato Four had a barn sale this weekend and a few friends and I decided to take the trip down to Philadelphia for the day to check things out. Husband and wife team Stu and Janet Morales started Three Potato Four as an online only shop in 2007. They opened their physical store last August and started doing the barn sales this past January. The “barn” is an awesome old brick building that used to be the dye room in an old wool mill. The internal structure looks to be composed of both brick and some weathered old wood with a bunch of windows at the top. The windows provide for a lot of great natural light, the kind of natural light that those of us that live in Manhattan don’t often get to enjoy. The contents of the barn consist of a bunch of old awesome stuff that must have been culled from farms and old factories and junk drawers all over the U.S.

Shopping | Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Oct 15th, 2009 | Categories: Philadelphia, Retail, Shopping | by Michael Williams

Philadelphia… a city known for its notorious sports fans and a certain delicacy known as the cheesesteak. Last year entrepreneur Steve Grasse, the man behind Gyro Mart and Root liquor, injected a little a dose of welcomed style into the city with his shop Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. (And yes the name is inspired by the Walter Benjamin essay.) Whether you’re searching for the newest Billykirk piece, new scents from CB I Hate Perfume or tobacco for your prized briar pipe, this shop has you covered. Nestled in Old City, this perfectly curated store brings a refreshing mix previously one might have needed to take the trip up to SoHo for. Art in the Age also has monthly art shows curated by another Philly staple, Space 1026. Product can be ordered form their online store, but you’d be doing yourself a favor by taking the walk down N. 3rd and stopping by for a visit.—SEAN SULLIVAN

Library - 2087

Limited Edition | Filson x Urban Outfitters

Mar 26th, 2009 | Categories: Bags, Philadelphia, Style | by Michael Williams

I had the pleasure of visiting the Urban Outfitters offices in Philadelphia yesterday to do some poking around and lunching with the men’s team. It was nice to be able to see everything first hand. Eventually, we walked over to the commissary to get lunch and it was embarrassingly and humorously apparent that everyone was essentially wearing the same thing. I suppose that was symbolic of our shared outlook on menswear at the moment. I’m impressed with the really smart and cool group of people that URBN has assembled. We could have talked forever about 60/40 jackets and vintage shopping and all sorts of other materialistic pursuits. This plus the fact that the UO HQ is located at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and is surrounded by massive U.S. Navy battleships made my adventure the ultimate ACL field trip.

One of the many cool things I saw in Philadelphia was Urban’s collaboration with the iconic American brand Filson. The partnership consists of a limited run of canvas bags that were made especially for Urban Outfitters in the special color ways. Launching in mid-April in selected cities (New York, LA, etc.) the special styles will be priced at $205 for the small duffel and $129 for the zipper tote. These special Filson items come on the heels of the cool Patagonia big label product last fall. Seems like URBN is two-for-two with men’s collaborations — I’m excited to see what is next.


A Guide to Fishtown, Philadelphia, USA

Feb 18th, 2009 | Categories: Philadelphia | by Michael Williams


Friend of ACL, Nick Schonberger is a patriot, writer, historian, Abe Lincoln expert and nacho lover. As a special contributor, Nick helps to shed some light on one of Philadelphia’s most intriguing neighborhoods.

A few weeks back I noticed a sly comment from Mr. Michael Williams about my neighborhood in Philadelphia. I emailed him, what do you know about Fishtown, USA? “I know that it is shitty and awesome and I love it. What do you know?,” was the gist of his reply. I told him I know that I live in Fishtown, and the idea for this photo essay was born.

I’ve lived in Fishtown on and off for the last 18-months. The neighborhood straddles the fine line between vibrancy and decaying urban America. Nestled just north east of Northern Liberties on the banks of the Delaware River, Fishtown has a distinct, if not exceptional history. William Penn signed his treaty with the Native Americans just a few blocks from my home. The spot is now recognized by a memorial park, a place people spend Saturday afternoons smoking blunts by the water. Few of these revelers would know that they are steps away from where the local industrial history begins. A center for the Delaware Rivers Shad fishery, the name Fishtown derives from the activity. The 20th-Century brought boatyards, dry docks and Reach Sporting Goods Company. All since perished. But, like the fishery, the remains of that industry continually play a roll in the neighborhood. It is primarily working class, with a small influx of professionals and artists, and the bars and taverns that mark corners are a reflection.