Spring programming kicks off at The Porch

Posted on 01 April 2015


Photo courtesy University City District.

Spring programming began today at The Porch, the popular public space adjacent to the 30th Street Station. Starting today, there will be more food trucks and lunchtime entertainment, including live music, dancing and Free at Noon concerts. Here’s what will be happening at The Porch this month.

Gourmet Food Trucks (11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.)

Mondays: Say Cheese, BrazBQ
Tuesdays: Farm Truck, Sum Pig
Wednesdays: Taco Mondo, Whirly Pig
Thursdays: Spot Burger, Mac Mart (April 2, 9, 23), Phoebe’s BBQ (April 16, 30)
Fridays: Pitruco Pizza, Mucho Bueno

Lunch Entertainment

Tuesdays (12 – 1 p.m.): Accordion player Dan Nosheny.
Wednesdays (12:30 – 1:30 p.m.): David Falcone, fingerstyle acoustic guitarist and vocalist fusing Celtic, traditional and classical sounds.
Thursdays (12 – 1 p.m.): April 2 – Hoop dancing; April 9 – Bujee Magoo, stilt walking performers.  Continue Reading

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Petition in support of opening two pre-schools at 47th and Kingsessing (updated)

Posted on 31 March 2015

Church 1

Renovation underway at 47th and Kingsessing.

Neighbors backing the plan to bring two pre-schools to the recently purchased church building at 47th and Kingsessing are collecting signatures for a zoning change that would help make the plan a reality.

Back in January we reported that the 114-year-old Frank Furness-designed church building at 47th and Kingsessing was undergoing renovation thanks to local developer Guy Laren, who bought the deteriorating building and saved it from demolition. Laren’s plans include opening two pre-schools that would occupy about 40 percent of the large building after the renovation has been completed. The schools are Little Learners, currently located next to Four Worlds Bakery on the 4600 block of Woodland Avenue and Children’s Community School, currently in the basement of Calvary Center at 48th and Baltimore. Relocation to the church building would allow both schools to expand and accept more kids for the next school year.

The petition can be downloaded here. Supporters are asking those interested to sign the petition and drop it off at Four Worlds Bakery, 4634 Woodland (you can put it in the mailbox if the shop is closed). You can also show your support for the zoning changes at the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on April 15 at 2 p.m. The address is 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor. Guy Laren and the directors of Little Learners and Children’s Community School are expected to be at the hearing.

UPDATE: There’s also an online version of the petition on

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Annual Easter Egg Hunts return this weekend

Posted on 31 March 2015

egg huntEaster is approaching fast, and many parents and guardians are looking for information about Easter egg hunts in the area. Annual egg hunts at places like Clark Park, St. Mary’s Church, Walnut St West Library and more will be held again this year. Details are below. If you know of any other local Easter egg hunts not included in the list please email us at or post information in the comments section below.



10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Spring Egg Hunts at Walnut Street West Library (40th and Walnut)

Two egg hunts will be held behind the library: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Spring Egg Hunt for preschoolers. 1-2:30 p.m. – Spring Egg Hunt for kids ages 6 and up. The event is sponsored by the Friends of Walnut St West Library.


11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park (43rd and Chester)

Renewal Presbyterian Church is having its annual Easter Egg Hunt at Clark Park (next to the toddler playground) on Saturday, April 4. Families, friends and all neighbors are invited to join them for an egg hunt, crafts, and fun in the park! The egg hunt is for children ages 1-8 (please sign up at the beginning of the event). There will also be a raffle basket giveaway from local West Philly venues.

12:30 – 2 p.m.

Woodland Presbyterian Church Easter Egg Hunt (42nd and Pine)

1:00 p.m. – Registration
1:15 p.m. – Children 5 and under
1:30 p.m. – Children 6 and over

Free pretzels, crafts, children’s bibles, and treats.  Continue Reading

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Philly’s first bike share program to launch on April 23; signup now available

Posted on 30 March 2015


Finally, we have the launch date for Philadelphia’s inaugural bike share program, Indego. Mayor Michael Nutter announced today that the program will kick off on April 23, 2015. The festive kick-off event will take place on that day, starting at noon, at Eakins Oval in Center City. Indego members will also hop on their bikes at the event and demonstrate how to ride them. Another preview event will be held on Thursday, April 2 from noon to 2 p.m. at Paine Plaza across from City Hall. During the event, a docking station and bikes will be on display, and visitors can try the system, find out about membership options, and purchase memberships.

Starting today, memberships are available from, and users are encouraged to sign up before the April 23rd launch. A few membership plans are available. Indego30 ($15 per month) is a 30-day membership plan that provides members unlimited one-hour rides (you can pay with a credit or debit card, or cash). With a pay-as-you-ride option, you pay only for the rides you take (each Indego station has a kiosk for payment).

The bike share stations will operate 24 hours a day all year round at 70 locations across the city. Here’s the map of the docking stations in West Philly (click here to access the full map):


For more information, visit the Indego website.

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Fantastic new public space in the works at Lea School; here’s how you can help

Posted on 30 March 2015

Some of the naming opportunities in the Greening Lea project. Click to enlarge.

Some of the naming opportunities in the Greening Lea project. Click to enlarge.


Want to make a positive, indelible mark on the neighborhood? The West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools has a way to become an important part of big undertaking. Its Greening Lea Project is offering naming opportunities for various parts of the evolving playground at the Henry Lea School.

The school’s playground was expanded last summer and a landscaped perimeter was added to part of the playground in 2012. Now coalition has its sights set on some bigger projects, including the addition of a new green stormwater infrastructure, brick pavers, large shade trees and rain gardens. New hoops will be added to the basketball court and seating will be added to the playground. The changes could make the Lea Playground a prime public recreation spot in the neighborhood.

If they can raise the money.  Continue Reading

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Friends of Walnut St. West Library seeking community feedback

Posted on 30 March 2015

walnutstlibraryfriendsA support group for a great local library is seeking feedback from community members and stakeholders that will help improve their work. The planning committee for the Friends of Walnut St West Library is asking for just five minutes of your time to share your thoughts about their work in bringing library services, programs and events in an online survey. The results of the survey will help shape the Friends’ support of the library over the next three to five years.

“The more we can learn about why or how people use the library (or don’t) and what community interests the library might meet, the better we can assess how to supplement the Friends’ support of the library moving forward,” the Friends of Walnut St West Library president Kathy Wheeler wrote in an email.

Another goal of the survey is to gather information on how folks learn about events so they can not only attend library programs but be able to volunteer their skills and time.  Continue Reading

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The Woodlands reaches ambitious fundraising goal, plans Mansion reconstruction

Posted on 27 March 2015


Hamilton Mansion.

Great news for the historic Woodlands Cemetery and Mansion and all those who participated in their latest ambitious fundraising effort of raising $218,000 to restore the Hamilton Stable, the only remaining outbuilding from the 18th century.

“The Woodlands community contributed over $218,000 to restore the stable’s façade – which means you helped secure an extraordinary $612,000 challenge grant to restore the [Hamilton] Mansion from the William B. Dietrich Foundation,” reads a recent message by The Woodlands Executive Director Jessica Baumert. The McLean Contributionship, Connelly Foundation, and Wunsch Foundation also provided generous support of this project.


Photos courtesy of The Woodlands.

In a addition to the restoration of the Hamilton Mansion and Stable, the re-construction of the Cryptoporticus has resumed. The contractors have been numbering each brick before removing them from the sagging arch (pictured right). Then, the 18th century bricks will be put back in their original location using a mortar.

The Woodlands also announced some new and annual programs taking place this spring (the Woodlands is located at 40th and Woodland).

Sunday, April 12 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Your West Philadelphia House: How old is it? Who lived there?

Join The University City Historical Society at The Woodlands for a “how to” workshop, and learn to research the history of your own West Philadelphia house! Uncover your house’s story!Cost: Free to members of University City Historical Society or The Woodlands, $10 for non-members. Make your reservations hereContinue Reading

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More turkey sightings in the hood and a note from Bartram’s Garden

Posted on 27 March 2015

More West Philly Local readers had encounters with wild turkeys roaming the streets this week and sent us photos. This one was spotted in front of the Penn Vet School yesterday.


Photo by Michelle Lorraine Eckert.

And here’s another sighting earlier this week near the trolley tunnel.


Photo by Jeannette Bennicelli.

Bartram’s Garden, a home to many wild turkeys over the years, has posted this message on their Facebook page after learning about turkey sightings on West Philly streets:

It appears as though the Bartram turkeys have expanded their search for a suitable mate onto the streets of West Philly. Not sure that they’ll find the kind of turkey they’re looking for on Baltimore Avenue or at the 40th Street trolley portal, but mating season does crazy things to a lonely turkey.

By the way, for those who don’t know yet, the West Philly turkey has its own Twitter account, which appeared in 2013 after the first sightings were reported here:


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Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, 40th St concert series and more popular events returning this summer

Posted on 26 March 2015


Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll (Photo courtesy UCD)

Here’s some great news to drive your cold spring weather blues away. The University City District has announced the return of their signature events, including the Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, University City Dining Days and 40th Street Summer Concert Series!

The Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll, where dozens of neighborhood businesses present a variety of $1 items and deals, including food, beer, event tickets and vouchers, will return on Thursday, June 25. The second Dollar Stroll is scheduled for September 24. Dollar Strolls take place along Baltimore Avenue, between 43rd and 51st streets, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

In addition to the Dollar Stroll, another popular event is coming back this summer – the 40th Street Summer Series will be held the last Saturday of the month, from May to September, in the campus green space near 40th and Locust. We’ll post more information on the performances when it becomes available.

More than 30 of University City’s best restaurants will participate in the 11th annual University City Dining Days, which runs July 16 through the 28th. As usual, the deal includes three courses for three prices.

There is also a rumor that UCD will bring back its summer film series, which was a big hit back in the summer of ’13. We are still trying to nail down the details on that though. We’ll keep you posted.

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Turkeys are back on West Philly streets

Posted on 26 March 2015


Photo by Jennifer Wegner.

Wild turkeys are back in the hood! A reader spotted this one this morning on Baltimore Avenue. Another reader reported a sighting at the 40th Street trolley portal. These guys always seem to show up in the spring. The previous sightings in the area were reported in the spring of 2013.

UPDATE: The photo below was taken this morning at 38th and Woodland.

Turkey2 (2)

Hey, Watch Out Dude! (Twitter photo @engelser)


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The Workshop School to stage a modern version of Antigone at Curio on Friday

Posted on 25 March 2015

Ninth graders at The Workshop School, a new city high school that emphasizes a hands-on problem-solving curriculum, have made Antigone their own.

They have been working on a production of the timeless Theban play since February and announced that they will stage the play on Friday, March 27 at the Curio Theatre Company (4740 Baltimore Ave). The production has been student-led from start to finish.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 1.01.19 PM“This project shows how unique and creative we can be and that teenagers can use their great minds to create great things,” said 9th grader Casirae Hayward-Gaymon. “We worked really hard and for us being young adults we feel inspired by our work and are excited to show people what we accomplished.”

The students have worked on the finer points with theater professionals from Philadelphia Young Playwrights and Curio and have attended some performances to learn more. They divided themselves into five groups to produce the play: Arts Administration, Lighting and Sound, Costume and Makeup, Acting, and Set Design.

“I have never been prouder of a group of students. I think that this play is so powerful because it comes from their lives and their work,” said Theater teacher Kathleen Melville.

Two performances are scheduled for Friday; one at 10 a.m. and another at 6 p.m. Tickets are sliding scale: $5 to $10. No tickets will be sold at the door, so to get them you have to contact Helen Rowe at to reserve. 

“This performance will help start a tradition of 9th graders doing this project each year in our school,” said 9th grader Sadia Upshur.

Mike Lyons

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Fund launched to help West Philly woman, shot eight times by her neighbor

Posted on 25 March 2015


Mary Pitts-Devine (from Linked In)

Mary Pitts-Devine, a 46-year-old West Philadelphia woman, is beating the odds. She was shot eight times by her male neighbor earlier this month. The shooting happened on March 8 at a three-story twin home near 46th and Spruce Streets, where Pitts-Devine and her attacker, 53-year-old Steven Outlaw, lived.

Since the shooting, Pitts-Devine – a LaSalle grad, entrepreneur, social worker and cancer survivor –  has undergone several surgeries and will need many more. To offset the gigantic medical costs, her family started a fund in her name on

Here’s what her brother, Eric Christopher, wrote on GoFundMe:


Mary Pitts-Devine with her brother Eric Christopher (from

“Words can’t describe how I feel about my amazing sister Mary R Pitts. On Sunday, March 8, this wonderful woman of God was on her way to church when she was shot by a deranged gunman over 10 times! Eight bullets wounded her body. Two bullets struck her in the head one in the brain and one through the eye… Since March 8, Mary has gone through several operations to restore her body. She is making remarkable progress. Her road to recovery will be tedious and will include more extensive surgeries, substantial physical therapy, and professional counseling.”

Everyone who wants to contribute to the Mary R. Pitts-Devine fund and stay updated on the progress of her recovery, visit:

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Learn more about summer jobs, programs at Parks & Rec Fair this Wednesday

Posted on 24 March 2015

Philadelphia Parks and Recreation is hosting its first annual job and opportunity fair on Wednesday, March 25. The fair will include an information session on the summer employment opportunities at Parks and Recreation pools and camps. Parents and guardians can also learn more about summer camps offered by Parks and Rec.

Job opportunities are available for youth ages 14 and up. Summer camps are for ages 6 to 18.

The fair will be held at Christy Recreation Center, 728 South 55th Street, from 6 to 8 p.m. The info session is from 6:30 to 7 p.m.

For more information, visit the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation website.

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West Philly in Pictures: Hold on, Spring is coming!

Posted on 24 March 2015


Mike Lyons / West Philly Local.


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Several city candidates in West Philly on Thursday for forum at USciences

Posted on 24 March 2015


Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney (Facebook photo).

The 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee will host a forum Thursday, March 26 with candidates contending in May’s primary. The forum will include mayoral candidate and former city councilman Jim Kenney and city council candidates Blondell Reynolds Brown, Helen Gym, Ed Neilson, and W. Wilson Goode, Jr., Paul Steinke, and Sherrie Cohen.

The public is welcome to attend this meeting, which will take place at Rosenberger Hall at the University of the Sciences (600 S. 43rd Street, near Woodland Ave.), starting at 7:30 p.m.

This forum was originally scheduled for March 5 but was cancelled due to snow.

The primary election will be held May 19 and the general election is slated for Nov. 3. You can get up to speed on the council and mayoral candidates on the Committee of Seventy website.

Mike Lyons

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Double duty as plows sends garbage trucks to repair shop; collection delays expected

Posted on 23 March 2015

Some residents said that their trash was picked up a day late last week. Now we have the explanation. The Philadelphia Streets Department has just announced that due to the extreme weather the city has experienced over the past several winters, an unusually high number of trash trucks, which double as plows, have been either scrapped or are in the shop for major repairs. As a result, trash pickup has been impacted citywide with scattered one day collection delays.

“We understand the frustration that comes with delayed trash collection, and we regret this inconvenience,” said Streets Commissioner David Perri. “During these past winters, there have been several occasions where Sanitation trucks have been fitted with snowplows to assist in snow removal. In these instances, Sanitation trucks account for over one-third of the vehicles used during snow removal.”

Residents are asked to continue placing their trash out on the regular scheduled day at the normal location as delays are expected to continue for the next several weeks. Materials not collected on the scheduled day will be picked up the following day.

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Corner Bakery Cafe opening Wednesday at 38th and Market

Posted on 23 March 2015


Corner Bakery Cafe at 38th and Market Streets. (Facebook photo)

Pennsylvania-based franchisee The Rose Group is opening its second Corner Bakery Cafe location in Philadelphia this week. The fast-casual cafe that offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and bakery-quality desserts will open its doors at 3737 Market St. on Wednesday, March 25, at 6:30 a.m.

To celebrate the opening the first 100 guests will receive a free travel mug and daily coffee refills for one year. Also, a drawing will be held next week to award someone free grilled panini for one year.

The Rose Group currently owns and operates six Corner Bakery cafes in Eastern Pennsylvania and two in New Jersey.

The 38th and Market Corner Bakery Cafe location also has a Facebook page.

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Media Mobilizing Project moved to Baltimore Avenue

Posted on 23 March 2015


The local non-profit Media Mobilizing Project, which uses media to organize poor and working people to tell their stories, has recently moved to a new location from their old location at the church on 43rd and Chestnut Streets. Their new office is at 4534 Baltimore Avenue; the space is owned and until recently was occupied by O’Donnell Real Estate. Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania has also moved to this location from 43rd and Chestnut.

As was reported earlier, the former Christ Memorial Reformed Episcopal Church building on the corner of 43rd and Chestnut is undergoing renovation, including extensive roof repairs.

By the way, O’Donnell Real Estate, a locally-owned company specializing in West Philly property sales and rentals, no longer acts as agents for sellers and buyers, according to their website, but they buy homes, apartment buildings and vacant land.

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Free afterschool and paid summer programs for teens at Dornsife Center

Posted on 20 March 2015


Photo courtesy Triskeles Programs.

Triskeles Programs, a non-profit organization teaching youth the skills needed to live a healthy life, as well as teamwork and leadership skills, is offering a few great free afterschool programs and a paid summer internship for local teens. The afterschool programs start on April 6, and summer internships in the Green Economy kick off on June 22. All programs are offered at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, 3509 Spring Garden Street. Here are more details:

      Free After school Classes in Cooking, Gardening, &  Environment Studies

What: Three programs are offered: The Cooking and Nutrition Program integrates activities such as recipe reading; study of food groups and nutritional guidelines; and menu planning and budgeting. The Urban Sustainability Program provides youth a hands-on introduction to the key environmental issues facing urban communities. The Urban Agriculture Program gives youth practical experiences in the basic concepts related to growing healthy organic food in urban settings.  Continue Reading

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