4224 Baltimore Ave. development stalls, community groups turn to Blackwell for help

Posted on 30 September 2014

4224 Baltimore Avenue

Residents discussing 4224 Baltimore Ave. design plans at one of community meetings in 2013.

A coalition of community groups are urging Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell to introduce legislation that would help move along the large residential and commercial complex proposed for 43rd and Baltimore, across from Clark Park.

The project has stalled because the property owners do not want to navigate Philadelphia’s zoning process.

So the Friends of Clark Park are circulating a petition asking Blackwell to take “swift action” to prevent the property owners from abandoning a proposal that has been devised after a series of public meetings. (For a full history of the project, click here.)

The Spruce Hill Community Association and the University City Historical Society have also sent letters to Blackwell asking her to introduce an ordinance that would exempt New York-based Clarkmore LLC from the zoning process, which can be a gauntlet of delays and even legal challenges. Clarkmore already has the right to build a no-frills 92-unit building on the property at 4224 Baltimore Avenue as it is currently zoned and the firm is reportedly willing to go ahead with that plan rather than go through the zoning changes required to build the 132-unit complex proposed after more than a year of consultation with the community.

“We do not want to see that ‘by right’ project to go through,” said Barry Grossbach, chair of the Spruce Hill Community Association’s zoning committee. “It’s going to be a box and it’s going to be ugly.”  Continue Reading

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Walnut Hill gearing up for Community Day, seeking volunteers for clean up on Saturday

Posted on 30 September 2014

WalnutHilllogoThe Walnut Hill Community Association (WHCA) is holding a Community Day next weekend on the grounds of the old West Philadelphia High School and is organizing a cleanup this Saturday to prepare the area for the celebration. The cleanup will take place on Saturday, Oct 4, between 9 a.m. and 12 Noon and volunteer help will be greatly appreciated.

Volunteers are needed to pull weeds, do light gardening work, and sweep up leaves. All residents and friends are invited to join in and all ages are welcome. Light refreshments will be served and the following items and supplies will be provided: t-shirts, brooms, rakes, shovels, gloves, and more.

Here’s more information on volunteer sign up:

• All volunteers meet at 47th & Locust on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 9 a.m.
 Coffee & Bagels
 Walnut Hill Community Association membership table
 Community Day 2014 volunteer sign up and flyers onsite

The Walnut Hill Community Day will be held on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and will include lots of fun activities, raffles, live entertainment, food and drinks, a farm stand, and much more. More information is coming soon. Interested vendors (food truck vendors: $50 per space; craft tables: $25 per space) are asked to contact Tyson at 267-499-6492 or Amin at 267-975-1962.

Just a reminder that Walnut Hill boundaries are between 45th and 52nd Streets and between Market and Spruce Streets. Here’s contact information for WHCA:

Walnut Hill Community Association
4637 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19139

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You can take your trash, recyclables out earlier starting Oct 1

Posted on 29 September 2014

Philadelphia Streets Department announced today that starting Wednesday, Oct. 1 residents can put their trash and recyclables outside after 5 p.m. on the night before collection day. This is two hours earlier than the current policy. The latest time you can set your trash out is 7 a.m. on the day of collection.


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Garden Court Eatery is robbed, third time this year

Posted on 29 September 2014

There was a gunpoint robbery at the Garden Court Eatery (4725 Pine St) over the weekend. Police say two men robbed the store on Saturday, Sept 27, around 9:30 p.m. One man, armed with a black handgun and with his face covered with black garb, entered the store, jumped over the counter, pointed the gun at a female employee and told her to open the register. When she opened the register, the man took cash and fled.

The suspect ran across the street toward an alleyway. He approached the store from the same direction, police say.

Another man, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with the hood covering his face, stood at the entrance until the first man finished the robbery and then fled in the same direction, according to police.

The armed suspect had a black backpack with “Sugar House Casino” written on it and was wearing white gloves, according to police. Police say they have surveillance video of the robbery, which they should release soon (we’ll keep you updated).

This is the third gunpoint robbery of the Garden Court Eatery this year. The previous two robberies took place in January and February.

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Police investigating suspicious death of 21-year-old female Penn student at 40th and Sansom

Posted on 29 September 2014

Police are investigating the death of 21-year-old Penn student whose body was found in a three-story student boarding house near 40th and Sansom.

Police say roommates discovered Amanda Hu on Sunday night, at around 11:30 p.m., in her bedroom and attempted CPR. When police arrived they observed a blood spatter on the wall next to the woman, according to a police report. Hu was from near Charlotte, N.C. and was a Biochemistry major.

An empty pill bottle was found on a nearby table for 60 pills prescribed to Hu about two weeks ago for treatment of depression, according to the report. There were also two notes on her desk, one addressed to her family and one to her mental health doctor at Penn. The letters appeared to be suicide notes, according to police. The woman’s roommates told police that they heard her screaming and heard banging sounds coming from her room earlier Sunday.

Police said they are treating the death as suspicious and the investigation is continuing.

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Sept 29-Oct 3)

Posted on 28 September 2014

We continue publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia. Here’s the menu for Monday, Sept 29 through Friday, Oct 3. If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here. Come back every Sunday evening for the coming week’s menu.


A variety of three cereals is offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.


Chicken Sausage, Egg & Cheese on English Muffin
Chewy Bar
Choose 1: Apple Juice or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk


Breakfast Burrito
Cinni Mini Swirls
Choose 1: Peach Cup or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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Exciting weekend for pets and pet owners

Posted on 26 September 2014

A dog in the pew at St. Francis De Sales for the "Blessing of the Animals."

Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis De Sales Church (Archive photo/West Philly Local).

September and October are usually months when a lot of cool events for pets and pet owners take place in the neighborhood. This weekend is filled with such events. Three events will be held on Saturday and one on Sunday (see more info below). Please note that the annual “Bark in the Park” event, with various contests and prizes for dogs, will be held on October 11 at Clark Park (43rd and Chester), starting at 2 p.m. No registration is necessary, just show up!

Saturday, Sept 27

Low-Cost Cat & Dog Vaccine Clinic/ Free Physical Exam at UPenn Alpha Psi (4002 Pine St), 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Bring your cat or dog to a low-cost vaccine clinic organized by Penn Vet students at their Alpha Psi fraternity house at 4002 Pine St. The following services will be available at the clinic:

Rabies and Distemper Vaccines: $10 for both
Deworming, flea and tick treatments, microchipping ($20)
• Free physical exam by vet students

Questions? Email:

‘End of Summer’ Sidewalk Sale at Baltimore Pet Shoppe (4532 Baltimore Ave), 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

Baltimore Pet Shoppe is holding its annual “End of Summer” Sidewalk Sale on Saturday. There will be huge discounts (30-75% off!) on pet toys, accessories and treats.

DoggieStrutDoggie Strut and Photo Booth at Coffee Market (45th and Pine), Noon – 1 p.m. 

Sign up your dog for the annual “Doggie Strut” event taking place at Coffee Market (formerly Earth Cup Coffee) this Saturday. This free event includes nail clipping, ear cleaning and an info booth by Penn Vet students. There will be contests, awesome prizes and giveaways from Baltimore Pet Shoppe, and a photo booth (the expert judges will decide on 12 centerfolds for Coffee Market calendar). “Instead of specifying categories for the competition, this year the owners get to invent their category,” says Coffee Market owner Natasa Brkanin. Owners also get awarded with a coffee market gift certificate. Stop by Coffee Market or Baltimore Pet Shoppe (45th and Baltimore) to sign up. For more information, visit Coffee Market’s Facebook page.


Sunday, Sept 28

Blessing of the Animals at St. Francis De Sales Church (4625 Springfield Ave), 12 p.m.

Bring your little best friend(s) to be blessed in honor of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the friend of all of God’s creatures. The event starts at Noon. Enter through the school yard on Farragut St. Please keep dogs on a leash. For more information, call 215-222-2255.

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Free Legal Help: Will & estate planning workshop in Cedar Park; community legal clinic at Drexel

Posted on 25 September 2014

Legal services can be costly, so here are some opportunities for West Philly residents to get free legal help.

Cedar Park Neighbors and the Drexel University School of Law are inviting residents to a free will and estate planning workshop next Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 6:30 p.m. The workshop is for those who are seeking help with the following questions:

If you own your home, do you know what will happen to it after you die?  
• If you get sick and can’t speak for yourself, do your doctors know what your wishes are?
• Do you need a power of attorney to have someone pay your bills and make financial decisions for you?  Continue Reading

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‘Stop The Violence’ community march to be held Saturday on 52nd Street

Posted on 25 September 2014

HandsAcrossPhiladelphiaGun violence in Philadelphia continues, with almost daily reports of shootings in different parts of the city. There were more than 70 shooting victims in Philadelphia this month alone, including women, according to In the past two weeks, two pregnant women were shot to death (their babies did not survive) and a 15-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet outside of Einstein Medical Center. To say “No” to gun violence, community organization Hands Across Philadelphia (Facebook page) is holding a second annual “Stop The Violence” community march and rally on Saturday, Sept. 27 on 52nd Street.

The march will begin at 11 a.m. at 52nd and Woodland (gathering starts at 10 a.m.) and will proceed to 52nd and Jefferson. This year, organizers are hoping that more people will join them. “SPREAD THE WORD!! WE ARE GOING TO SHUT 52ND STREET DOWN ON SEPTEMBER 27TH 2014 TO GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS TO STOP THE VIOLENCE!!! OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING US!!! LET US BE THE CHANGE THEY NEED TO SEE!!!” reads a post on their Facebook page.

The NAACP, Mothers in Charge, The Philadelphia Black Clergy, and a host of other groups, community leaders and locally elected officials will participate in the march, according to the organizers. The Taney Dragons youth baseball team will lead the Hands Across Philadelphia Peace March and Rally on Saturday.


Stop The Violence march on 52nd Street in 2013. (Photo from Hands Across Philadelphia Facebook page)


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Celebrate Ethiopian community at Ethiopian Day Festival

Posted on 24 September 2014

EthiopianDayFestivalWest Philly is home to many residents of Ethiopian heritage, with many Ethiopian businesses in the area and the Ethiopian Community Association of Greater Philadelphia located at 44th and Chestnut Streets. This Saturday, Sept. 27, the Ethiopian Community Association celebrates its 30th anniversary. Established in 1984 as a non-profit organization, it is the oldest African community organization in Pennsylvania, according to its board member Addisu Habte. The city of Philadelphia has also recognized September 27th as Ethiopian Day.

To mark the anniversary the Ethiopian Community Association is organizing an Ethiopian Day Festival (Facebook page) on Chestnut Street near 44th on Saturday. The festival will take place from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 44th Street from Chestnut to Sansom will be closed during these hours for the event.

The Ethiopian Day celebration will include a cultural show, with live music by Ethiopian musicians (see flier), food and children’s games. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and the great Ethiopian filmmaker, Professor Haile Gerima, will speak at the event. Close to 700 people are expected to attend the festival.

Here’s the festival program:

11:00 a.m. – Opening speech
1:00 p.m. – Keynote speaker councilwoman Blackwell
1:30 p.m. – Keynote speaker Professor Haile Gerima
2:00 p.m. – Cultural show

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Marigold Kitchen set to reopen Thursday

Posted on 24 September 2014

Great news for local Marigold Kitchen fans! The highly-noted upscale Spruce Hill based restaurant, which has many fans around the city and outside of it, is set for its grand reopening on Thursday, Sept. 25, after being closed this summer for some remodeling work.

As was reported earlier, the restaurant, located in an old Victorian home at 45th and Larchwood, changed hands this summer, with the former owner, Robert Halpern, moving out of the area and selling his business to his own chefs de cuisine, Andrew Kochan and Tim Lanza, both 26. Marigold’s executive chef Keith Krajewski also continues his work at the restaurant. Basically, the restaurant hired only one new person, General Manager Christopher Albert (more details about the team are here).

The new team are very excited about reopening the restaurant and already had three soft opening events, which “were a great success.”

Here’s what the guys posted two weeks ago on their Facebook page:

“Today has been one of the many productive days on the road to achieving our goal of reopening Marigold Kitchen. For the past three months we have been working tirelessly to make our dream a reality. Marigold Kitchen will be reopening on the 25th of September. Our new menu harkens back to the days of Chef Robert Halpern and also looks to the future, showcasing the creativity of the new chefs at the helm. We look forward to having you at our table.”

Marigold Kitchen will remain a BYOB restaurant, offering avant-garde New American tasting menus. The restaurant will be open on Tuesdays-Saturdays, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. (closed on Sundays & Mondays).

For more information and to make a reservation, visit:

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Bike share is coming. Where should they put the bikes?

Posted on 23 September 2014

bikeshare photo

The sidewalk logo in front of the Supremo market on Walnut between 43rd and 44th.

The city is gearing up for bike share – set to begin in the spring –  and is asking the public where stations should be placed.

You may have seen the sidewalk decals in front of, for example, the Supremo supermarket at 43rd and Walnut. The Green Line Café at 43rd and Baltimore is also a possible spot. Unfortunately, there are no proposed stations further west than 43rd Street, according to an online map at Bicycle Transit Systems will manage the program.

One way to comment on proposed stations, is to go to and click on a station icon and leave comments. You can also text a “yes” or a “no” to 215-987-6034 and enter the station code you see on the sidewalk decals (the one at Supremo is no. 42). Comments are accepted until Oct. 20, 2014.

The stations will be just over 6 feet wide and between 45 and 75 feet long. Most will be about 60 feet long and hold 20 bikes.

Here are the site requirements, according to the web page:

• Stations must be placed on hard surfaces (e.g., concrete, asphalt, brick, pavers). No grass or landscaped areas.
• If on a sidewalk, the sidewalk must be at least 13′ wide to maintain clear space for pedestrians.
• Stations should receive sunlight for around 6 hours a day (to fuel the solar-powered kiosks).
• Stations must be visible and accessible from the sidewalk.

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 2.31.13 PM

Click on the image to go to the map.


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Online donations being accepted for funeral of young girl who fell from apartment building last week

Posted on 22 September 2014

The funeral for 8-year-old Emmeline Valadez, who tragically died after falling from a ninth story apartment building window last week, was held this morning in Hammonton, New Jersey.

Emmeline lived with her father, a Penn graduate student and single father, and her older sister at the Fairfax building at 43rd and Locust. She fell from the window at about 7:45 a.m. last Wednesday. Her obituary is here.

Neighbors and friends are taking up a collection online to help offset funeral expenses. You can contribute to the campaign here. All funds raised will go directly to the father and donations will be accepted until this weekend.

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Major fire safety walkthrough, kit distribution to be held Tuesday in Powelton, Mantua

Posted on 22 September 2014

On Tuesday, Sept 23, the local Red Cross and its partners will hold a major fire safety event in two West Philadelphia neighborhoods in an effort to reduce fires and fire fatalities.

On Tuesday morning, from about 10 – 11 a.m., more than 1,200 fire safety kits will be handed out to residents at Drexel Park (33rd and Powelton). The kits contain valuable, potentially life-saving information on the importance of smoke alarms, how to prevent fires, what to do if there is a fire, and how to create a fire escape plan for the entire family, including pets. Each year, the local Red Cross distributes more than 10,000 fire safety kits.

After handing out the kits, a dozen Red Cross personnel along with over 100 NRG Energy employees from across the country will conduct fire safety walkthroughs in the Powelton Village and Mantua neighborhoods. Mantua typically sees a high number of fires each year.

It’s one of the largest fire safety walkthroughs the Red Cross will conduct in Philadelphia this year. The walkthrough is part of national preparedness month and a precursor to October’s fire safety awareness month.

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Women helping women: Suit drive for Dress for Success

Posted on 22 September 2014


Here’s a chance to help those women who are just starting their careers. If you have a spare dress outfit (appropriate for a “business” environment) hanging in your closet please consider donating it to Dress for Success Philadelphia, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged women achieve economic independence.

In West Philadelphia, My Task Master is holding a 2nd Women’s Suit Drive to benefit Dress for Success and is collecting women’s fall business clothing, shoes, scarves, jewelry and handbags. The drive will be held on September 22-25 and donations can be dropped off at the My Task Master office at 47th and Hazel.

Please note that all donations must be like new, clean and current.

For more information and to schedule a drop-off please email Emily Anderson at: (please put “Dress for Success” in the subject line).

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Public school breakfast, lunch menu (Sept 22-26)

Posted on 21 September 2014

We’re publishing breakfast and lunch menus served at schools in the School District of Philadelphia on Monday, Sept 22 through Wednesday, Sept 24 (schools are closed on Thursday and Friday for Rosh Hashanah). If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here. Come back every Sunday evening for the coming week’s menu.


A variety of three cereals is offered daily and served with a yogurt parfait or a mini loaf.


Mini Pancakes
Bake Crafter Cereal Bar & Yogurt
Choose 1: Pineapple Juice or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk


Steak, Egg & Cheese on a Bagel
Benefit Bar
Choose 1: Mixed Fruit Cup or Fresh Fruit
Variety of Milk  Continue Reading

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The Art Church of West Philadelphia opens tonight with local photographer show

Posted on 19 September 2014


The Art Church of West Philadelphia is opening at 5219 Webster St. (Facebook photo).

Great news for local artists and art lovers. The Art Church of West Philadelphia, a new work space for artists and art gallery is opening at 5219 Webster Street. The grand opening of the space, which is actually not in a church but in a two-story rowhome on a quiet West Philly block, is tonight at 8 p.m.

According to information on their website, the Art Church of West Philadelphia space can be used for performances, events, rehearsals, meetings, worship services or classes. Cara Blouin, a theater director and playwright, is the Art Church residing community member and “art pastor.” If you’re interested in using the space, contact Cara at:

To celebrate the opening of the new art space, West Philly photographer Kyle Cassidy will host a retrospective show of his amazing theater photos, many from West Philly’s Curio Theatre, but also from the Philadelphia Artists Collective, Hedgerow, and others, including the recent Commonwealth Classic production of The Glass Menagerie. Kyle’s work was featured in the New York Times, Vanity Fair (DE), the Sunday Times of London, Marie Claire, Photographers Forum, Asleep by Dawn, Gothic Beauty and many other publications.

The opening reception will also include music by Emcee Elroy and Dominique London and refreshments. Click here for more details.


Photo by Kyle Cassidy. His work will be presented at The Art Church of West Philadelphia opening event on Friday, Sept. 19, at 8 p.m.


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A rogue tow truck?: A neighbor’s tale of her missing car

Posted on 19 September 2014

[Editor's Note: Just as we were getting ready to publish this, a new twist emerged. Maria wrote that she was contacted last night by another person by telephone demanding that she pay $1,000 for the return of her car at an agreed-upon meeting place. She contacted police soon afterwards. They took a report. Maria's insurance does not cover theft.]

A reader, Maria, is stuck in kind of missing car purgatory. Maria (she asked that we not use her last name) is a single mom and music teacher at a local school who recently moved to West Philly. Her 11-year-old daughter started school this fall, so last Tuesday, the first week of school, was filled with the normal excitement and everything flowed as it should, Maria wrote in an email. After picking up her daughter after school Maria parked her charcoal gray 2012 Toyota Corolla on the corner of 44th and Osage, right by her apartment, a “great parking spot,” Maria notes.

“I had parked at 3:30 p.m. last Tues. afternoon. My car was missing Wednesday a.m. at 7:30 a.m. No signs were posted, however, PGW had placed barricades on the corner of 44th and Osage where I was parked,” she wrote.  Continue Reading

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West Philly Weekend Events (Sept 18-20)

Posted on 18 September 2014


2nd Fall Pétanque Doubles Tournament will take place at Clark Park this Saturday.

There are tons of great events, many of them free, happening in West Philly this weekend, including free workshops, a children’s sale, charitable runs/walks, and a fall festival. Check out the list below and enjoy the beautiful early fall weather. For more upcoming events or if you want to submit an event, visit our Events Calendar.

Thursday, Sept 18

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll – Baltimore Avenue between 43rd and 51st Streets, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Enjoy $1 items from over 30 neighborhood businesses.

Friday, Sept 19

Wine and Cheese Pre-Sale (West Philly Grows Again Kids Consignment Sale) – St. Mary’s Nursery School (3916 Locust Walk), 9-10 p.m.

Saturday, Sept 20

Cobbs Creek 5K Run/Walk – Cobbs Creek Park (63rd and Locust), 9 a.m. (registration begins at 8 a.m.). All funds raised from this event will go to support outdoor recreational activities within Cobbs Creek Park for children and youth. $20 (adults), $10 (youth), free for children (12 and under).

West Philly Grows Again Kids Consignment Sale – St. Mary’s Nursery School (3916 Locust Walk), 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Shop for high-quality clothing items and toys for many different ages and stages at affordable prices.

Free Digital Photography Workshop (Free) – University of the Sciences (42nd and Woodland), 10 a.m. USciences photography professor James Hayden offers a free two-hour photography workshop on “Creative Compositions.” Bring your own camera.

Pétanque Tournament – Clark Park “A” (43rd and Baltimore), 10 a.m. 2nd Annual Fall Doubles tournament. (Here‘s our last year’s story about Pétanque in West Philly).

The Woodlands Wobble 5K – The Woodland Cemetery (40th and Woodland), 10 a.m. All proceeds from this run will support trail maintenance for the running paths inside the site. $25.

Poetry Writing Workshop (Free) – University of the Sciences (42nd and Woodland), 10 a.m. USciences poetry professor Warren Hope offers a two-hour introductory poetry workshop. Bring pen and paper.

Clark Park Music & Arts Equinox Festival – Clark Park “B” (43rd and Chester), Noon-Sundown. The festival includes children’s events and activities, arts and crafts, vending, and a great diversity of performances, including all kinds of music, dance and theater.

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