Penn move in: Spruce Street closings this week

Posted on 21 August 2017


This is this time of year again when the Penn’s campus portion of Spruce Street gets closed to allow a smooth move-in for students.

On Tuesday, Aug. 22 and Wednesday, Aug. 23, Spruce Street will be closed to all traffic (including bicycles) from 34th to 38th Street, between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 26, Spruce Street will be closed from 38th to 40th Street, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Septa buses will be rerouted around the closure (please check for specific bus routes and detour info). Penn Police will be on scene to assist with traffic detours.


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Solar Eclipse on Monday; where to watch it

Posted on 20 August 2017

As many of you already know, a partial Solar Eclipse (about 75% in the Philadelphia area) will take place on Monday, Aug. 21, so if you’re into it don’t forget to go outside shortly before 2:44 p.m. to view it. If you have special Solar viewing glasses make sure to bring them as it is not recommended to look at the sun with the naked eye. If you’re really into the Solar Eclipse, you can join other sky-watchers at a Solar Eclipse viewing party.

In Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute and Seaport Museum will host Solar Eclipse viewing parties from 12 to 4 p.m. You can find more information here. There will also be a Solar Eclipse viewing party in West Philly, at the Science Center (3711 Market St.) and Innovation Plaza at 37th and Market. You can even pick up free solar glasses (first come, first served). Here’s the event flyer with more information (click to enlarge):

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Community organizations ask for clarity on future of ‘white elephant’ – 4601 Market St building

Posted on 18 August 2017

Former Provident Mutual Life Insurance building at 4601 Market St (archived photo).

Three West Philly neighborhood organizations have written to Mayor Jim Kenney to express their disappointment with the decision to pull the plan to move police headquarters to the old Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building at 4601 Market St, calling the decision “stunning.”

In May, the city canceled plans devised during the Nutter administration to relocate the police headquarters. Instead, it will reportedly move to the former Philadelphia Inquirer building at 400 N. Broad St. The city has spent about $50 million to purchase and renovate the 90-year-old Provident building.

The community associations of Garden Court, Spruce Hill and Walnut Hill neighborhoods also asked that the city continue to renovate the building and include the community in decisions about its future use.  Continue Reading

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Free book bags, school supplies, on-site student registration and more: Back to School Education Day this Friday in Parkside

Posted on 17 August 2017

The School District of Philadelphia is inviting families and community members to the School of the Future (4021 Parkside Ave.) for an annual Back to School Education Day on Friday, Aug. 18.

The event, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., will feature on-site student registration, dental screenings, free book bags and supplies while materials last, important educational information sessions to help prepare families for next school year, and live entertainment.

Highlights of the event include a Family Engagement Pavilion and a Kids Zone with fun and educational games for students.

For more information, please visit

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15-year-old girl missing since Friday

Posted on 16 August 2017

A 15-year-old girl, Leneisha Buchanan, has been missing for several days, according to her family, who live in Mantua. She was last seen on Friday, Aug. 11 in West Philadelphia, near the Philadelphia Zoo. She is between 5’4″ and 5’6″ and 130 to 140lbs. Click here for more information on how to contact her family if you have any information about Laneisha.

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Man shot multiple times in Malcolm X Park, critically wounded

Posted on 16 August 2017

A 20-year-old man is in critical condition after being shot multiple times near 52nd and Pine Streets on Tuesday night, according to police. The shooting happened shortly after 8 p.m. in Malcolm X Park. 18th District police officers found the victim suffering from gunshot wounds to his back and shoulder and took him to Penn Presbyterian Hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

Police say the victim was walking through the park when an unknown male walked up to him and started shooting. He fired several more shots at the victim after he fell to the ground and then fled.

The suspect is described as a black male, 20 to 25 years old, heavy build, 5 foot 7 inches to 5 foot 9 inches tall. He was wearing a burgundy or orange colored hoody and black pants. He was last seen running north on 51st street.

If you have any information about this crime, please contact Southwest Detective Division at 215-686-3183/3184 or call 911.

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“Service of Solidarity” to be held in a West Philly church in response to Charlottesville tragedy

Posted on 15 August 2017

In response to the recent protest and tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, Philadelphia religious organizations will be holding the following events this week:

On Wednesday, Aug. 16, a march and rally under the banner of “Unmasking White Supremacy in Philadelphia” will take place beginning at 7 p.m. The following agenda has been scheduled, according to the event organizer “POWER”, an interfaith organization:

7:00 p.m. – Gather outside Congregation Rodeph Shalom Synagogue (615 N. Broad Street)
7:15 p.m. – March down Broad Street as “we unmask white supremacy in Philadelphia institutions”
8:00 p.m. – Rally and action inside Arch Street United Methodist Church (55 N. Broad Street)  Continue Reading

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Police investigate marijuana grow operation on 4800 block of Cedar

Posted on 14 August 2017

Police have closed off the 4800 block of Cedar Avenue as they investigate an alleged marijuana growing operation. (Photo by West Philly Local)


Police and fire crews have responded to a report of a strong odor coming out from a home on the north side of the 4800 block of Cedar Avenue on Monday, at around 5:30 p.m. Several residences were evacuated and the block is closed to traffic while police are searching for a marijuana growing operation on the block, according to reports.

NBC10 is reporting that marijuana was growing on “all four floors” (apparently including the basement) of the home.  Continue Reading

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Block party ends in shooting in Mantua; Four people wounded (updated)

Posted on 14 August 2017

Police are investigating an overnight shooting in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia, which left four people injured, one critically. An unidentified gunman opened fire near 39th and Melon at around 11:15 p.m. Sunday, just as a block party was winding down nearby. Four people were taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. One victim, a 24-year-old man, was shot multiple times and was listed in critical condition, according to a police report.

The other three victims, an 18-year-old man and two 21-year-old men, were listed in stable condition, according to police.

A total of 31 shell casings were recovered at the scene of the shooting, according to police.

Police say the gunman fled the scene in a vehicle. The motive is currently unknown and no arrests have been made.


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Report: Amazon warehouse to open at 41st and Chestnut

Posted on 11 August 2017

The old two-story brick building at the corner of 41st and Chestnut may soon become home to an Amazon warehouse, according to a recent report by Naked Philly. The approximately 35,000 square feet building with a large parking space was purchased in 2011 by Campus Apartments, but has been sitting vacant since then. Before the purchase, the building had been occupied by Graphic Arts Inc. for decades.

No more information is currently available, like what type of warehouse it will be (general storage or Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service) and when it might open. We’ll keep you posted when we have more details.

Just a reminder that Amazon also opened a pickup store on Penn’s campus last year.

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Street Movies! program this Saturday at Malcolm X Park

Posted on 10 August 2017

Scribe Video Center’s Street Movies! program returns this month for its 20th season with free outdoor film screenings and live performances. All events are family-friendly and take place in neighborhoods across Philadelphia, including in West Philly.

Scribe Video Center partners with local organizations for Street Movies! to guide the selection process and choose the best film programs for their communities. This August, the traveling series will feature a range of short films, from internationally recognized award-winning fiction, documentary, and animation to local community- and youth-produced works.  Continue Reading

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2017 Tire Round-Up program can earn money for your block or community group

Posted on 09 August 2017

Illegally dumped tires near 50th and Warrington (Archived photo).

Philadelphia has a serious problem of illegally discarded tires, including in West Philly (see photo). This month, there’s a chance for local block captains and community groups to dispose of illegally dumped tires and also earn some money for their future projects by participating in the Streets Department’s 2017 Tire Round-Up program.

The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 26 in West Philadelphia, and registered participants may drop off their illegally discarded tires at the following temporary tire drop off locations:

• 51st Street & Woodland Avenue
• 49th Street & Parkside Avenue  Continue Reading

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Theatre in the X’s ‘Running Numbers’ is amazing; two shows left

Posted on 07 August 2017

Photos West Philly Local.

Theatre in the X last night staged the premiere of Running Numbers, the tale of a graduating high school senior trying to navigate his way through obstacles in his neighborhood and his family to get his way into college and, just as importantly, pay for it.

In our decidedly unsophisticated opinion, it is really, really good.

The play follows CJ, a brilliant student, as he tries to figure out how he is going to pay for a Penn education. He could get student loans, but his mom doesn’t want to sign the forms (she wants to hide her under-the-table earnings) nor does she want him saddled in debt for the rest of his life. Or, he could go work for the local pimp and drug dealer and make fast cash. Both options weigh heavily on CJ, but he takes the second option and we find him in the opening scene undergoing police interrogation after his arrest.  Continue Reading

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Burned-out building at 46th and Spruce to be demolished to make room for mixed-use development

Posted on 07 August 2017

The one-story building on the southeast corner of 46th and Spruce, the former Transition to Independent Living Center, will be demolished soon, six years after it was gutted by a fire. A permit for the demolition of the building was issued on July 19, 2017.

The proposal for construction of a mixed-use apartment building in that location was approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in June 2016. The developers presented their plan to build a 21-unit, mostly two-bedroom apartment building at 4534-36 Spruce St. in a series of public meetings with the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee in early 2016. According to the proposal, which was approved by the ZBA, it will be a four-story building, with a roof deck and three ground-floor retail spaces. You can see the building rendering in this photo:

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Construction on Chestnut Street Transportation Project to begin Monday, Aug. 7

Posted on 04 August 2017

The Philadelphia Street Department will begin work on the Chestnut Street Transportation Project on Monday, Aug. 7. The project includes several roadway enhancements to improve safety for all types of travel along Chestnut Street from 45th to 34th Streets, including the City’s first one-way parking protected bicycle lane.

Chestnut Street Transportation Project flyer (click to enlarge).

Chestnut Street is one of the busiest streets in the city with high volumes of pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. From 2011 – 2015, 75 percent of the crashes on Chestnut Street happened between 45th and 34th Street, so the purpose of the project is to improve safety along this stretch for all modes for all transportation modes and pedestrians.  The project involves shortening the crossing distance for pedestrians walking, installing the one-way parking protected bicycle lane, and removing one motor vehicle travel lane, according to an announcement by the Streets Department.

Construction is expected to take about three weeks and there will be intermittent lane closures and parking restrictions for the duration of the project. Flaggers will be on hand to direct traffic and “No Parking” signs will be posted.  Continue Reading

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Theatre in the X is back with the premiere of ‘Running Numbers’

Posted on 03 August 2017

Some of the best – and probably the most intimate – theatre in the city gets underway in Malcolm X. Park (51st and Pine) next week when Theatre in the X opens the world premiere of Running Numbers.

Running Numbers is a drama about a high school senior “whose dreams and desperation of going to college and overcoming his environment lead him to fast cash and dangerous situations.” The work is inspired by  “Financial Aid”, an incredible spoken work piece by Carvens Lissaint.

Cheyenne Barboza wrote Running Numbers and Christina May directs. The cast includes Abdul Sesay, Jarrett McCreary, Khadijah Davis, Iman Aaliyah, Aurica Hurst, Angelica Jackson-Thomas, Carlo Campbell, Walter DeShields, Niya Colbert, Brandon A. Drummond and Dwayne Alistair Thomas.  Continue Reading

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And another one’s gone … demolition of historic homes continues

Posted on 02 August 2017

Two more historic homes are being demolished this week and at least one is to make way for student housing.

• Demolition continued this week on two Victorian semi-detached homes – at 620 and 622 S. 42nd. Located a stone’s throw from the University of the Sciences campus, the adjoined structures were built in the 1870s. The parcel’s zoning is RM-1, meaning a multi-unit structure will likely be built there with no zoning oversight.


• An Italianate mansion was demolished at 41st and Sansom to make way for student housing. The demolition recently drew citywide attention from Inga Saffron in The Philadelphia Inquirer. The building that will replace it will be built “by right,” meaning no zoning oversight is required.  Continue Reading

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Apartment building proposal for 4045 Baltimore Ave. parking lot back before Spruce Hill zoning for third time

Posted on 01 August 2017

A revised proposal to build a 49-unit, 6-story apartment building on a parking lot at 4045 Baltimore Ave. will be considered at an upcoming Spruce Hill Community Association zoning meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 2. Officials from New Horizon Housing, which owns the lot, presented the previous proposal at the Spruce Hill zoning meeting on June 16, but it wasn’t approved by the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment. This Wednesday will be the third time the construction project will be presented to Spruce Hill residents.

Community members are invited to the meeting to learn more about the design alterations for the building.

“[There was] some trouble with the design [of the] entryway and elevator shaft prominence,” according to Spruce Hill Zoning Committee Chair Barry Grossbach. Also, the initial plan of having a commercial space in the building had to be reconsidered because the space is limited.

Wednesday’s zoning meeting will also consider an application for a commercial operation in a newly constructed residential building at 43rd and Sansom (123 S. 43rd St). The meeting will take place at the SHCA office at 257 S. 45th Street, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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Free Movies in Clark Park beginning Friday, Aug. 4

Posted on 01 August 2017

Free Shakespeare in Clark Park performances have just ended, and now it’s time for some free movies. Movies in Clark Park, an annual program by University City District (UCD), kicks off Friday, Aug. 4, with a free screening of the classic E.T. the Extra Terrestrial. Film screenings will be held every Friday (weather permitting), through Sept. 1., beginning at 8 p.m. Please bring your chairs or blankets!

In addition to movie screenings, there will be food and dessert offerings from a rotating list of vendors and some extra activities from local businesses and organizations. Here are more details on the scheduled screenings and extra activities (courtesy of UCD):  Continue Reading

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