Favorite Spot: The Divine Lorraine.
Neighborhood: Ave of the Arts North
Address: 699 North Broad
I am: Quizmaster, writer, and Philly’s foremost man of leisure.
Years in Philly: I’ve been here just over 10 years.
Current Home: I live in the G-Ho area
My love note: My pick is hardly unique, but there is something about the Divine Lorraine that just draws me to it. Anytime I am ever north of City Hall, I make it a point to drive by the Divine Lorraine. There is no building in Philadelphia that I enjoy looking at more. Yeah, I’d like to see it refurbished, but I also really love the way it looks now. It’s such a spectacular building that the graffiti and boarded up windows don’t make it look trashy. They just give it more character, just add another chapter to the building’s enigmatic life instead of signaling ruin. Its history is so fascinating too. Divine Lorraine architect Willis G. Hale was the toast of the town in the 1880s, but by his death in 1907 he was discredited and financially destroyed. The building itself underwent an remarkable transformation from a luxury hotel to the first racially integrated hotel in the city run by one of the most eccentric men to ever call Philly home, the Reverend Major Jealous Divine. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe that places give off the energy of their history, and the Lorraine all but glows with it. Furthermore, I love how she is so imposing when you come up on her from Fairmount, just looms over you like Castle Greyskull. I’ll be honest, just writing about it makes me want to drive up North Broad this afternoon.