It's that time of year again: Street's annual Best of Penn issue is here. You voted on your favorite food, drinks, shops, occasions and communities and the results are in. Click here to see the rest of our winners.
Best Floor of Pottruck Penn Choice: Third Floor
As you walk into Pottruck, barely escaping the crisp fall air, the first thing you see is the first floor gym. Your eyes barely adjust to the oppressive, artificial, yellowish lights from above. This is no place to work out. Suddenly, you’re scrambling towards the natural light, up the two flights of stairs, and you arrive: the third floor. Here, in the Pilates room, the glimmering wood floors expand out indefinitely. There are mats hanging everywhere, just for your taking. There are mirrors on ¾ of the walls, so you can admire your beautiful body, and the last wall of paneled glass lets in a flood of natural light. In the gym next door, there are ample treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and weights for your choosing. On the third floor, you can tower over campus and get a bird’s eye view of what others are doing with their morning as you work out, but with an added sense of superiority from your impressive height. You are transformed into an inspiring and graceful dancer, athlete, and go–getter.
Second place: 4th Floor
Third place: 2nd Floor
Best Floor of Pottruck Street Choice: Sauna
If the third floor reaches for the stars in Pottruck, the basement sauna grounds you and brings you back down to Earth. As you descend underground into the basement, you feel as if you’re walking through a military bunker. Seamlessly, you emerge near the massive swimming pool, the air fills with chlorine, and you hear the water lapping up against the edges of the concrete, lulling you into a trance. Tucked away and often unheard of, Pottruck keeps a simple, yet elegant, warm wood box near the end of the pool. With a few stones, a turn of a water, and a deep inhale, this box can transform your stressed–out mind into an inner zen garden. Just got your midterm back and didn’t do so hot? Give yourself a break, throw a towel over that beautiful body of yours, and hop into the sauna. This relaxing getaway can immediately transport you from the chilly, oppressive Penn campus to a luxurious ski lodge on a mountain in Switzerland.
Best Off–Campus Housing Street Choice: Beige Block
Don’t let its nondescript name and neutral facades fool you—Beige Block is every socialite’s wildest dream. Nestled snugly between Spruce, Locust, 40th, and 41st, this popular off–campus pick is home to many frat parties and the birthplace of Insomnia Cookies to boot. Hard to get into and harder yet to leave, it’s exactly the environment you’d want in an off–campus housing option. Its balance of gorgeous upscale housing and raw festivity makes Beige Block the perfect place to go wild after a long, stressful day.
Address: Spruce to Locust Streets, 40th to 41st Streets
Best Off–Campus Housing Penn Choice: The Radian
The Radian is back this year, reclaiming her throne as Penn’s pick for best off–campus housing. Looking like a mix of a double flat–screen TV and a decked–out convention center from the future, this high–end apartment complex has the nuttiest walls on Walnut and is always in high demand. Hate trudging long distances? Not to worry—the Radian’s two–minute walk radius includes CVS, Fresh Grocer, City Tap House, sweetgreen, Bobby’s Burger Palace, and more. Better yet, avoid the winter chill completely with the Radian’s 24–hour fitness center, ground–floor restaurants, and internet cafe. From breathtaking views to laundry in your own room, 3925 Walnut Street is truly the diamond of off–campus housing.
Address: 3925 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
Second place: Domus
Third place: The Simon
Best On–Campus Housing Penn Choice: Quad
You know it when you see it. Old and classic with its curlicue carvings and time–worn brick, this freshman favorite comes with your choice of mold or the occasional cockroach infestation or disgusting bathrooms. But physical living conditions aside, the Quad wins as the crowning glory for a quintessential freshman experience. Who wants to live in sterile New College House when you can savor the joys of trashing a lounge or room during in–house parties? Surely said lounge or dorm has already seen worse anyways. Who wants to live in a newly renovated Hill when you can get live midnight entertainment by listening to your neighbors through paper thin walls? You’re living in a dorm, did you expect privacy? Let’s not forget the view. While all creaky hallways and aged, musty wood on the inside, the Quad does sport its own picnic–worthy green space, shaded by foliage on the edges and perfect for a day outdoors. Did I mention in–house food? McClelland, while not as generous in its offerings as other dining halls, does have convenient late–night hours and decent variety. What’s not to love about a midnight breakfast shared with friends? At your home during the best moments of your college life, no less.
Address: 3700 Spruce St., Philadelphia, PA 19104
Second place: New College House
Third place: Hill College House
Best On–Campus Housing Street Choice: NCH West
Here’s the deal. New College House West does. Not. Exist. Yet. All the more reason it deserves to be top vote. As you and I both know, Penn has always been skilled at meeting, or even exceeding, students’ expectations when it comes to housing. So let’s make our standards clear here, shall we? Three words: Five. Star. Hotel. And when I say five–star hotel, I mean five–star hotel. On–campus, at Penn. I mean floor–to–ceiling windows and walk–in closets and individual suites per person with flat screen TVs and granite countertop–equipped kitchens to boot. I mean rooftop swimming pools and decked–out gyms with spa facilities and room service and chandelier–hanging lobbies with live piano music playing in the background. I mean 500 thread–count linen sheets and pure cotton bathrobes and little hotel style slippers printed with the Penn logo so students can better walk on the plush carpeting that I know for sure each room will have. I mean, we’re in college. You’re not here to learn or get an education. You’re here to have fun.
Best Philly Neighborhood Penn Choice: Fishtown
Situated in the northeast and sidelined by the Delaware River, Fishtown has hip nightlife, a great food scene, and residents who probably all listen to Sufjan Stevens. Here, trend is offbeat. Don’t miss Johnny Brenda’s, an indie rock venue with decent burgers and $3 Kenzingers, or the La Colombe flagship.
Second Place: Old City
Third Place: South Philly
Best Philly Neighborhood Street Choice: Manayunk
Only a fifteen–minute uber from campus, this unassumingly vogue sliver of Philly’s lower northwest takes the cake for Street’s favorite ‘hood. Manayunk, Lenape for “place to drink,” is peppered with upscale eateries, boutiques, and per its name, many viable places to drink (snag the tots at Lucky’s Last Chance and extended happy hour at the Goat’s Beard). Once a blue–collar community, Manayunk is now an arts hub.
Best Campus Bathroom Penn Choice: Huntsman
Ah—wide, shimmering fields of perfectly gray tile. Stalls for days, all lined up like terracotta warriors, perfect little businesslike ways to take the inevitable consequences of five Pret coffees a day. Though the Huntsman bathrooms are no longer open after two in the morning, you would be hard–pressed not to find a tall student in a perfectly–tailored suit standing at the urinal all the way up until 1:50 a.m. During daylight hours, Huntsman’s bathrooms are the perfect places to recite your opening arguments for why you deserve to be a McKinsey man as you make focused eye contact with yourself in the mirror.
Second Place: VP sixth floor
Third Place: Steiny–D
Best Campus Bathroom Street Choice: VP Third Floor
Hidden away among the stacks of books about South Asian Studies and Socialist Theory, we find the perfectly–tiled oases of Van Pelt’s private third floor bathrooms. Need a place to slowly contemplate your own reflection for an hour or two? Need to sponge–bathe yourself in the sink as your roommate entertains that guy for the sixth time this week? Van Pelt’s third floor will guarantee total privacy and complete, unadulterated loneliness.