Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The City is my Jungle Gym

The littlest weave found thus far, my sister found this piece of weave during a trip she took to our home city of Philadelphia:

This little scrap, this little gem, is caught somewhere in the wilds of historic Old City- specifically Franklin Square. There is "Old City", which includes, you know, a cracked bell, an old document declaring our independence, an old-timey soda shoppe, and Betsy Ross' house. Then there are is the old city that surrounds the actual old stuff; one of those faux old things is Franklin Square. There is a carousel, mini-golf, a playground, a burger shack, and a giant fountain. Perhaps I am being unfair: maybe mini-golf is wildly historic. Maybe B. Franks was wandering around Philly with his little glasses and balding head, looking for dudes to play mini-golf with. "Ben", they probably groaned, "you have inventing to do and women to hit on. Shove off! We're very busy defining liberty. Go draw a snake or something". There's some history you never learned in school.
Back to Franklin Square: really lays it all out for you on the website when it says, "Franklin Square is one of Philadelphia’s five original squares - and the only one dedicated just to fun!" Listen historic Philadelphia, playgrounds are for heathens; I am not trying to go to playgrounds when I am trying to get my learn on, mainly because security chases me away from monkey bars I am obviously too old for. Old City is for being afraid of pigeons, aggressive throngs of tourists, and stewing in heavy summer heat/slipping on icy winter days. Fun should be found in the form of long plaques for dedications, waiting in lines to see old crap, and throwing your money away by the fistful as you buy things you don't need. And now both Old City and Franklin Square are for finding weave and emailing them to someone with a weave-related blog.
Despite my hesitations to immediately throw my love into Franklin Square, it should be noted the history of this area does not move in a straight trajectory, it waxes and wanes. The area wavered between important in the eyes of the elite, or a pitiful waste of space to be ignored and left for the impoverished.
The square is one of the five open-air squares that was designed by William Penn; originally called Northeast Square, Franklin Square was renamed in 1825 to honor Benjamin Franklin, one of the most prominent Founding Fathers of the United States and a leading printer, scientist, inventor, civic activist, diplomat, and original gangster.In the early years, the space was actually very interesting: it was used to store gun powder during the American Revolution, it was an open common used for grazing animals, and parts of the space were used by the German reform church as a cemetery. Take a minute to picture that combination: grazing animals, gun powder, and corpses. History at its finest, I'd say. Some people think the square was the site of Franklin's original "kite and key" fiasco, but I like to think he was smarter than to do that sort of thing around gun powder and dead bodies and the like.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Franklin Square was at the center of a fashionable neighborhood in which to live. But beginning in the 1920s, a series of events corresponding with the rise of the automobile began the decline of the Square and its surrounding neighborhood. The construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge, from 1922–26, leveled blocks of row homes, shops and other structures; the Bridge begins at the Square’s eastern boundary, 6th Street. The steady flow of cars over the bridge made Franklin Square’s northern boundary, Vine Street, into one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares, effectively cutting off pedestrian access on two of the Square's sides. And this is not a joke. Anyone who has ever tried to cross streets around Franklin Square knows that you can look left and then right/right and then left anywhere between 6 and 31 times. You can gingerly begin to place one foot gently on the street, but as soon as you begin to settle your weight, a car will careen down an off-ramp from the expressway at a speed that should only be used for when a pregnant woman has gone into labor in the backseat. So I like to assume that each car that whizzes by me so fast that I get whiplash is carrying a woman to the hospital so she can give birth in a sterilized environment.
Jane Jacobs, architecture writer, called Franklin Square "skid row park" in 1961. The neighborhood’s residential character was further eroded when the federal government established Independence Mall. The government acquired private land around the Square in the 1950s and 1960s and demolished blocks of homes and other buildings. The construction of the Vine Street Expressway in the late 1980s exacerbated the problem. Franklin Square became the least-used of Penn’s original five squares, and served mainly an encampment for the homeless.I wonder how many times the police (who conveniently have a headquarters in Franklin Square) have had to chase off groups of homeless people, who run from the jungle gym, tittering and giggling as they merge into one in the dark night.
It was just 2006 when the park was refurbished and rededicated. That's when playgrounds and mini-golf actually came into being. It was a good change. The space is still accessible and open for all- which can be rare when it comes to having safe fun in a city. It's sort of sad to think that someone was excited that they could go spend time in a park with a faux-history theme that makes you feel like you're learning when you aren't. They were so excited that they lost some of their weave.
All is fair in weaves and park restoration, I suppose.

Well, dear readers, that is all for now. I am being called back to duty cleaning floors and setting out homemade cookies for new guests arriving soon.

Remember: if you find weave, please take a picture and email it to
Send the picture, the city or town or community, and the cross streets where it was found!

Thank you to Sadaya for the picture (and for a short visit back to the East Coast)
Thank you to Jack Johnson and G. Love for "Jungle Gym"

Cited Sources:

Monday, June 6, 2011

On an Island in the Sun

The updates are slowing down. Are you asking yourself why? Are you kept awake at night, heart pounding and brow sweating? " If I fall asleep, I may not know if a new post is up on Weave Nation". There is nothing to be embarrassed about, as I toss and turn in the early morning hours, wondering maybe I will be missing a marathon of old episodes of 'Antiques Roadshow' on PBS. We all have fears.

I want to post; I dream of finding weaves caught in rusting fences or encrusted with residue from life on the streets. I cannot even remember the last time I dreamed, but now I find myself imagining soiled strands almost every day. The sea has called me forth from my urban barracks; the wild waters croon like the Sirens who were just too sexy for Odysseus' men to resist. That's how I feel about the ocean- though I suppose my adoration of Poseidon's domain is likable to this woman's love of rollercoasters.
But now this post has become vaguely uncomfortable, and oddly Homeric in nature. Moving right along, I feel comfortable telling my readership that I have moved to a tiny island for a handful of months to fulfill the fanciful and painfully absurd demands of people wealthy enough to spend hundreds of dollars to escape to an island. Needless to say, there is not much weave to be had on what adds up to little more than a somewhat large rock face.

How to solve this problem. Create an email address! If you find weave and feel inclined to take picture, you can email it to
Send the picture, the city or town in which it was found, and the cross streets or neighborhood.

Let's continue making this into a community project!

Two's up, It's a two's up

As the title implies, noble readers, the post is a two for one deal. You read that right: this post will give you two glorious pieces of weave. Unlike the first post, which featured two pieces of weave within one city block in Baltimore City, below will compare weave from two different cities. It is an exciting day, as we will finally talk about cities we have never discussed before. Let's begin.
A buddy of mine from the ultimate frisbee team, Julian, emailed me this picture:

In this instance, we have an interesting conundrum: is this weave, or is this not weave? When an extension is woven into the hair, or glued to the scalp, or carefully clipped, it is not so easy to say whether or not it is real. Does that woman have extensions? Is she fakin' it? Is her hair really that lustrous and voluminous? We don't know. We can't tell. When the weave, like a bad graft, rejects the recipient and flees, it is easier to investigate and ask big questions. This could be weave; or it could be wrapped string since dropped by a crafts enthusiast. As Dr. Dog has said, the world may never know.
This piece was found in Towson, Maryland at the Towson Public Library. Now, Towson is not a city, but a "community" says It is a bustling suburb nearly 15 minutes outside of the limits of Baltimore City, and home to the original bagel haven of Towson Hot Bagels. As an aside, THB has become a chain and spread to locations such as the Baltimore neighborhood of Canton- a Towson Hot Bagel in Canton. The wonders never cease. And they continue here: according to, Towson is an anomaly with a population of 0, with a population density of 0.00 people per square mile. Unless my four years spent in Towson, Maryland was an elaborate ruse organized with the timeless movie The Turman Show in mind, this information is false. Well done, internet. But for those hoping to check Towson out for themselves, the visit Towson page on does not work. Maybe my theory is not far off...
Now for the summary as my writing has already become long winded:
Towson hosts about 53,000 residents- 50,000 of which are students at Towson University (based on how many of them regularly make the lines unbearable at Pasta Mista and the liquor store). Overall the income for Towson is above average for the state of Maryland, the former being $72,000 and the latter being $69,000. In regards to the demographics of the population: 81% is white, 8.4% is black, 4.9% is asian, 3% is hispanic, and the lingering "other" constitutes 1.9%. Interestingly, "American alone" is listed as 0.2% of Towson's population. Who are these people? I'm assuming the residents who registered to vote under the Tea Party.
And now on to our next piece. This one was lovingly sent to me by my friend Quinn who has recently rejected the title of "Yankee" to pursue a life in the South. While settling in, she found this piece of weave that she then passed a couple more time while riding the trolley. Your first thought should be, if you don't live in San Francisco or West Philadelphia, "the trolley? Did she actually land herself in an episode of the twilight zone where the trolley is still a notable form of transportation?" No, dear readers. She is simply in the south. There is a slight difference.

Oddly enough, New Orleans, where this weave was found, is slightly more complicated to summarize than Towson, Maryland. Contain your shock. This weave, notably more like weave than our first picture, was found along St. Charles Ave.
New Orleans isn't all sadness and the lower 9th ward, it is also full of history, art, music, good people, delicious food, and a strong spirit. New Orleans has a grime recent history and many have written off the city as a new Detroit. I have been to both places, and I can say, in all seriousness, that both of these cities are two of the most memorable and enjoyable places I have been in the United States. Blah, blah, blah. New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River, and was founded in 1718. It also goes by the aliases NOLA and The Big Easy.
And, now, weave. According to, St. Charles is “The Jewel of America’s Grand Avenues", as it boasts the largest collection of mansions in the south. Kudos. Also taken from the previously cited website, "The Avenue is also in glorious state as the place of residence for historic Audubon Park, for the City’s renowned centers of higher education – Loyola and Tulane – and a score of churches and Synagogues that are our City’s major centers of worship". I had no idea there were synagogues in the south- and my family is Jewish. Within the New Orleans parish, the actual population is 354,850. Whereas the overall income average for Louisiana is $42,492, the average income for the parish is $36,468. I highly doubt it is the residents of the St. Charles Ave. area bringing down the average. To break down the population demographics, we have Mo Rocca (just kidding, I am just trying to up my intellectual hipster street cred):
61.2% of the population is black, 29.8% is white, 4.7% is hispanic, 3% is asian, 1.1% is the mysterious other, the now common title of "American alone" comprises 0.1% of the population, and finally 0.1% of the population is Mardi Gras parade floats.

Thank you to Julian
Thank you to Quinn
Thank you to AC/DC for "Two's Up"
Thank you to all people who have weave they leave behind.

Cited Sources: