PNC Bank closing its 52nd St branch

Posted on 30 August 2016

Many local PNC Bank customers will be disappointed to learn that the bank’s 52nd Street branch is set to close this fall. The branch, which is located at 19 S. 52nd St, will close on October 21 at 3 p.m.:


The bank has two more branches west of the Schuylkill – at 200 S. 40th St. and 3535 Market St. – and numerous ATMs east of 40th St (most of them on Penn’s campus). There is also a PNC bank ATM at 6212 Walnut St. (Photo by Twitter user @ohbadiah)

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Movies in Clark Park kicks off tonight with Finding Nemo

Posted on 26 August 2016


Photo courtesy of University City District.

UCD’s annual outdoor movie program, Movies in Clark Park, will kick off Friday, Aug. 26 with a Disney Pixar classic, Finding Nemo. The screening will begin at 8 p.m. in the Clark Park “Bowl” near 43rd and Chester.

The program, which is in partnership with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Friends of Clark Park, will bring three weeks of free outdoor movies to the park as well as vendors offering food and dessert (come earlier to get them!). And don’t forget to bring your blanket or chairs.

Next Friday, Aug. 2, Creed will be screened. The program will conclude on Friday, Sept. 9 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


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J & P Seafood robbed at gunpoint

Posted on 26 August 2016

Police are looking for a man in his 40s who they say robbed J & P Seafood at 48th and Spruce on Thursday night. The robbery happened at 10:30 p.m., according to police when the suspect walked into the shop and asked for an order of shrimp. While talking to the cashier he pulled a shotgun from his jacket, pointed it at her and told her to open the register. He then leaned across the counter and took $363 from the register, according to police. After that he exited the store and fled on foot westbound on Spruce.

Police provided the following description of the suspect: black male, 40’s, light facial hair, wearing dark sunglasses, blue baseball cap, a multicolored windbreaker, blue jean capris, and armed with a shotgun.

Anyone with information about this robbery or suspect can contact Southwest Detective Division at 215-686-3183/3184 or call 911 immediately if you see this person.

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“We need to stop the demolition derby”: Residents hear from preservation experts on how to save buildings

Posted on 25 August 2016


Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local

A panel of city preservation experts offered a standing-room-only crowd some strategies last night on helping to preserve historic neighborhood buildings as waves of development continue to roll across the city.

Several groups have been fighting to save historically important buildings from demolition proposed by developers looking to build housing for the young professionals and students who are largely responsible for the recent upswing in the city’s population.

“We need to stop the demolition derby,” Paul Steinke, head of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, told an audience at the Walnut West Public Library (40th and Walnut).

The goal of Wednesday’s meeting was to provide local residents and community organizations some ways to save historic buildings, including private residences, from future demolition. Steinke and others on the panel hope the fight currently brewing over Jewelers’ Row along the 700 block of Sansom Street might garner enough attention that city officials, including politicians, might become more preservation friendly.  Continue Reading

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Shots fired during brawl near 39th and Market; one person injured

Posted on 25 August 2016

A 23-year-old man was shot and wounded on Wednesday night when a large fight broke out on the 3900 block of Market Street, according to police (media reports say it was near 39th and Ludlow). Gunfire was heard shortly after 11 p.m. when someone fired into a crowd of people, striking the victim in the buttocks. He was transported to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and later released after a surgery.

Police told 6ABC that a group of women got into an argument and then several men got involved in the fight. That’s when the shots were fired. Police say the shooter is a black male, approximately 25-27 year old. Police say they have some videos from the scene.


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Final Nature Night at The Woodlands this Thursday: Learn about bats and moths!

Posted on 24 August 2016


The final Nature Night of the season is taking place this Thursday (Aug. 25) at The Woodlands (40th and Woodland), and it will be a Bat Night/Moth Night double feature event since July’s Nature Night was cancelled due to rainy weather. The Nature Night will run from 6 – 10 p.m. This is a great chance to visit the cemetery grounds after dark (the gates usually close at 6 p.m.), explore the mystery surrounding bats and learn why moths are cool.

The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Sewall Lab of Temple University will be onsite providing bat and moth education, and well-known West Philly business Lil’ Pop Shop will be selling sweet treats. In addition, kids can get creative with University City Arts League. Feel free to bring a picnic!

This event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, visit:

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Street closure info for Penn Move-in

Posted on 23 August 2016


Is the summer already over? Penn students will be moving into their dorms this week, so the following annual Penn Move-in street closures have been scheduled for this Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday:

Wednesday, Aug. 24: Spruce Street will be closed from 34th Street to 38th Street from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 25: Spruce Street will be closed from 34th Street to 38th Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Spruce Street will be closed from 38th Street to 40th Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

During the street closures, no traffic except for emergency vehicles will be allowed on the street. This also includes bicycles and public transportation. Buses will be detoured (check for more info).

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How do we save historic buildings? Come to a meeting this Wednesday to find out

Posted on 23 August 2016

As demand for housing and commercial development in parts of the city increases, historic buildings have come under threat of demolition. The University City Historical Society is holding an important public meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 24 to provide residents and community organizations with tools and information that will help them rally to preserve historic buildings.

The meeting, titled “The State of Preservation in West Philadelphia,” will include Martine Decamp of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission; Penn Professor Aaron Wunsch; Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia; and Greg Pastore, a former member of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Organizers hope the meeting will help people understand:  Continue Reading

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Roundtable discussion on transportation pollution in Philadelphia this Tuesday at IHP

Posted on 22 August 2016

PennFuture and The Clean Air Council are bringing representatives from different city agencies to University City this Tuesday (Aug. 23) to discuss transportation pollution and are hoping to form a more streamlined policy that reduces traffic and pollution. A roundtable discussion will take place at International House Philadelphia (Asia Room, 3701 Chestnut St) from 6 – 8 p.m.

The latest American Lung Association’s “State of the Air” report shows that Philadelphia has very poor air quality, which creates a critical public health issue.

“By bringing key stakeholders together, we’ll determine concrete policy and programmatic actions that each sector can implement to reduce transportation-related pollution in the Philadelphia region,” said Joseph Otis Minott, Clean Air Council Executive Director.  Continue Reading

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Penn Alexander student’s artwork a creative clean water reminder at 42nd and Spruce

Posted on 22 August 2016

Street art

Lamees’s work turned into street art (Photo by West Philly Local).

You may have recently noticed the artwork of Penn Alexander student Lamees Abou-Hatab on the northwest corner of 42nd and Spruce.

Literally on the corner.

Lamees’s art work is a creative reminder that what you dump in the street drains will find its way into rivers and streams. Her work was chosen as part of a student art contest hosted by the Philadelphia Water Department and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and was turned into street art over the summer. Lamees is heading into 7th grade this year. Congrats to her!  Continue Reading

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Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change delights crowd at 40th and Walnut (photos)

Posted on 21 August 2016

Liberian 1

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change (Facebook page) brought a lot of joy to the field near 40th and Walnut last night as part of the 40th Street Summer Series. Group members Fatu Gayflor, Marie Nyenabo, Tokay Tomah, and Zaye Tete performed traditional songs and called for unity in the Philadelphia community. Some audience members joined them in singing and dancing. (Photos by West Philly Local).

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The fabulous Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change performing this Saturday

Posted on 19 August 2016


The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change! (Image from the Philadelphia Folklore Project).

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change is performing Saturday in the green space near the Walnut West Library at 40th and Walnut in one of the summer’s most anticipated neighborhood events.

Part of the University City District’s 40th Street Summer Series, the free performance begins at 6 p.m. and also includes Modero Dance Company, which were founded to combine traditional and modern Indonesian dance disciplines.

The Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change combines traditional song with a social message to promote strong and safe communities. Made up of accomplished singers, dancers and musicians, the chorus’s focus is awareness and dialogue about domestic violence and other concerns of Philadelphia-area Liberian immigrants.  Continue Reading

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Philadelphia Film Society brings ‘Movies on the Block’ to West/Southwest Philly

Posted on 19 August 2016

MOB-logo-700x453The Philadelphia Film Society (PFS) is launching a free seasonal community screening program, Movies on the Block, this Saturday (Aug. 20). This will be the second year of Movies on the Block, an initiative designed to support established community organizations in neighborhoods that have little access to film by providing film programming and facilitating engagement.

PFS has chosen weekly lead partners through a public application process. All partners worked with PFS to develop Movies on the Block events in collaboration with other community leaders, stakeholders and organizations.

The first screening (Ernest & Celestine) will be this Saturday at Kingsessing Playground (51st & Chester), and on Saturday, Sept. 17, Belmont and Mantua community members are invited to a screening of Shake the Dust at Belmont Charter School. Here are more details for each screening:  Continue Reading

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Congrats 19143, you are the city’s block party leaders

Posted on 18 August 2016

Nothing says summer in Philly quite like closing down the streets and throwing a good block party. It turns out that West Philly – particularly Cedar Park, Cobbs Creek, Kingsessing and Garden Court – have thrown more block parties than anyone else in the city.

Our friends over at PlanPhilly have crunched the data drawn from block party permits issued over the past 10 years and the 19143 zip code came out on top with 7,109 block party permits issued over the 10-year period. North Philly, particularly 19140, was second. The block that parties the hardiest? The 3500 block of Ryan Avenue in Mayfair, with 69 block party permits issued.

PlanPhilly’s Jon Geeting writes that the total number of block parties in the city over the past 10 years have decreased since a peak in 2008 of 7,679 total permits issued. But, Geeting points out, “this data set only includes authorized block party permits that people paid for. It doesn’t include all the block parties out there held without a permit from Streets, so keep in mind that this is only a partial picture of the phenomenon.”

Not surprisingly, the permit data shows that the most block parties are held around July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Check out the full post at PlanPhilly here.

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Centennial Commons construction to begin this Fall

Posted on 17 August 2016


The proposed site plan for the Centennial Commons (Courtesy of Studio | Bryan Hanes)

Centennial Commons, the project that will provide a much needed recreation space near The Please Touch Museum in West Parkside, is expected to break ground this Fall, according to a report by PlanPhilly. The first construction phase of the project, initiated by Fairmount Park Conservancy, the Parkside Association of Philadelphia and East Parkside Residents Association, includes park “porches”.

When completed, the project will provide a seating area with landscaping that will give both residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the space. It will also include a large playground with a climbing wall and spray park.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the William Penn Foundation are funding the project as part of an $11 million grant to re-imagine public spaces in Philadelphia. The total cost of the Centennial Commons project is approximately $7 million.

Read more about the project here and here.

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Colorful banners installed near 48th & Spruce

Posted on 16 August 2016


Colorful banners now decorate the 48th and Spruce Street Business Corridor as part of an effort to spur commerce near that corner, which includes the restaurant incubator, the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises, Baltimore Crab and Seafood and Accu Pizza.

Garden Court Community Association has installed 14 distinctive banners along Spruce and 48th Streets thanks to generous funding from Mosaic Community Church, the University City District, and The Enterprise Center. (Photo by Mark Mendenhall)

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Hillary Clinton to attend Voter Registration event in West Philly this Tuesday

Posted on 15 August 2016

Hillary Clinton is coming back to Philadelphia and this time she will visit a voter registration event in West Philadelphia, according to local media reports. The event will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at West Philadelphia High School (4901 Chestnut St), beginning at 1:15 p.m. (doors open to the public at 11:15 a.m.).

The purpose of the event is to encourage people to register to vote before the October 11 deadline.

To RSVP, please go to the event’s page on the Hillary Clinton website.


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Community Unity Music Festival this Saturday at Clark Park

Posted on 12 August 2016

communityunityCommunity Unity Music Festival, a free and family-friendly event, returns this Saturday to Clark Park at 43rd and Chester. This year’s festival has a great line up: Papo Vazquez Mighty Pirates & Troubadours, Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, Killiam Shakespeare Band, The Universal Dance & Drum Ensemble, CiaraFaye Martin (vocalist), Clef Club Ambassador Big Band, Zenia McPherson (vocalist), Suzanne Burgess (vocalist), and other special guests.

The festival is organized with the help of a prominent West Philly musician, a member of The Branford Marsalis Jazz Quartet, Justin Faulkner.

The goal of the festival, which will take place from 12 – 7:30 p.m., is to promote nonviolence and unity in the Philadelphia community.

For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page.

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New Greensgrow West location to open Friday, Aug. 12; Grand Opening next month

Posted on 11 August 2016

Greensgrow 1

Greensgrow’s new, larger and more permanent location at 5123 Baltimore Avenue is ready to welcome its first customers. The soft opening is this Friday, so stop by and check it out. Grand Opening is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 8. The former temporary Greensgrow West location at 4912 Baltimore Ave. closed on August 7.

Greensgrow signed a long-term lease with the city for 5123-29 Baltimore Ave. in Spring 2015 and began developing the new lot late last year. Previously empty and overgrown with bamboo, the new site was reimagined by student architects from Drexel University who gathered input from local residents with an eye towards green building practices.

The site features a high tunnel, demonstration green roofs and rain gardens, repurposed shipping containers, and even a tiny house. An outdoor classroom is being built by students from the Workshop School for Greensgrow’s educational workshops and will be open for neighborhood schools and organizations to use. Several West Philadelphia partners and organizations such as Cedar Park Neighbors, the Baltimore Avenue Business Association and the Philadelphia Water Department, contributed critical support to getting the site cleared for reuse. The new fence was built with the support of an Indiegogo campaign started by a neighbor.  Continue Reading

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