West Philly weekend: Back to School Basketball Challenge, Pagan Pride Day, outdoor concerts

Posted on 29 August 2014

Yes, we know it’s the Labor Day weekend and many of you will head out of town or to the Parkway for the Made in America Festival. But those of you who will stay in West Philly might want to check out the events below, all happening on Saturday, Aug. 30. Have a great weekend!

BasketballChallenge• The Ultimate Back 2 School Basketball Challenge will be held at the Kingsessing Recreation Center, 4901 Kingsessing Ave, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The goal of the tournament is to collect school supplies for local schoolchildren. The event is hosted by State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams and a group of other locally elected officials will be there, including Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and Rep. James Roebuck. This is a free event, but all attendees are asked to bring a school supply to donate. Sixteen basketball teams will represent 16 West Philly schools and the winning team will then donate all of the collected school supplies from the tournament to their selected school. Approximately 20 vendors will be offering food, free beverages and resource information. More details can be found here.

paganprideday• If you want to learn more about the Pagan community and their beliefs, come to Clark Park at 43rd and Baltimore this Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to celebrate Pagan Pride Day. The festival, which is intended to bring together Heathens and Pagans of all traditions, will feature a wide array of vendors, workshops, and entertainment. Project Wendigo is the musical act that will be performing at the event. Doug Stafford, a juggler, illusionist, and otherwise awesome performer is also on the entertainment lineup, according to the organizers. Workshops begin at 11 a.m. The event is free but the organizers are asking to bring a nonperishable food item to benefit the Mazzoni Center’s food bank, or a make a monetary donation to one of the festival beneficiaries. Visit the Pagan Pride Day website for more details, list of vendors, and schedule of events.

StoogesBrassBandThe Stooges Brass Band from New Orleans is a headline performer at a Saturday afternoon concert organized by City Tap House in collaboration with the production team from The Blockley. This is the second and last concert in the August outdoor concert series (the first one was held last Saturday). The concert will take place outside of City Tap House at 39th and Walnut from 3 – 8 p.m.. New Sound Brass Band (from the Mummers community) will also perform. Admission is $15 and tickets can be purchased here. 21+

40thStsummerseries• The University City District and The Rotunda invite all residents to the next free outdoor music concert in the 40th Street Summer Concert Series this Saturday. As always, the event will be held on the green lawn behind the Walnut Street West Library (40th and Walnut) starting at 6 p.m. Nation Beat and The Highwater Preachers (Facebook page) will be performing. Also, there will be ice cream vendors and entertainment for kids. The last concert in the 2014 series will be held on Sept. 27. Click here fore more info.


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2014 Clark Park Film Series concludes Friday with 5 Broken Cameras

Posted on 28 August 2014


5 Broken Cameras flyer in Clark Park.

The 2014 Clark Park Summer Film Series, which brings documentary and other independent film screenings into the park’s bowl near 45th and Regent, concludes Friday, Aug. 29. 5 Broken Cameras, the winner of the World Documentary Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and Academy Award nominee for the best documentary feature, will be screened, starting at 7:30 p.m.

The film, shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, portrays non-violent resistance in the West Bank (see trailer below).

This is an outdoor screening, free and open to the public. Bring your chairs, blankets and popcorn!

A few other great events are scheduled in the area this weekend. Clark Park will host Pagan Pride Day on Saturday and there will be a couple of live music concerts. More info is coming soon.


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Philly Future Track program open to young unemployed adults

Posted on 28 August 2014

FutureTrackPhiladelphia Streets Department is seeking young adults, who are not enrolled in higher education and are unemployed, for its paid job-skill training and real-world work program called Philly Future Track. Applications are currently being accepted for the program’s third session, tentatively scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 15.

Throughout the six-month program, participants will work in teams to clean and beautify Philadelphia’s streets, while completing an educational program to improve their skills for future job prospects. Although it is a temporary employment opportunity, the program is designed to provide career readiness to its participants. The young people enrolled in the program receive enough resources and education to transition into full time employment, attend a two or four year higher education institution, enter into a vocational training program or school or be prepared to take the military aptitude test.

To qualify, applicants must be a Philadelphia resident and eligible to work in the U.S. To benefit the most from the program, applicants should be between 18-24 years old.

Completed applications must be submitted in the Philly Future Track drop box located in the first floor lobby of the Municipal Services Building (1401 JFK Boulevard, across from City Hall). Applications are accepted by 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 12.

To download your Philly Future Track application and for more information, visit:

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Armed men break into, rob fraternity house near 42nd and Baltimore

Posted on 28 August 2014


Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house. (Photo West Philly Local)

Police are searching for two armed men who forced their way into and robbed a fraternity house at 42nd and Pine near 42nd and Baltimore Wednesday morning at around 2 a.m.

The fraternity members in the house, the University of Sciences students, were hosting a birthday party at the time, NBC10 reports. Students at Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity house answered a knock on the door. The gunmen ordered the students to the ground, took cash – much of the fraternity’s newly collected dues from a safe in the house – and fled, according to police. One of the students was also attacked during the invasion as he told NBC10.

Penn and the University of Sciences planned to issue safety alerts to their students today.

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SEPTA announces new Fall schedules; Made in America Festival service info

Posted on 27 August 2014

SEPTA has announced changes and adjustments to bus, subway, and trolley schedules that come into effect on Sunday, Aug. 31 – Tuesday, Sept. 2. The changes address routing changes and timetable improvements. Major adjustments include the Route 11 and 13 trolleys. Both routes will resume regular service on Sunday, Aug. 31. Shuttle service had been in effect over the summer to accommodate a rail replacement project in Southwest Philadelphia and Darby Township.

Most of the other route schedule changes address minor timetable improvements aimed at improving customer service and account for seasonal changes in ridership, according to SEPTA’s press release. All passengers are advised to pick up new schedules now available at SEPTA service locations. You can also view and print the new schedules on SEPTA’s website.

As the city prepares for the big Labor Day weekend, SEPTA has released information on available services and rerouting during the Made in America Festival, which will take place on Saturday and Sunday (Aug. 30-31). Due to planned street closures around the Parkway, SEPTA Bus Routes 7, 32, 33, 38, 43, and 48 will be detoured before, during, and immediately following the event. Subway weekend service will operate Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with additional trains on both lines. Trolleys will also operate in the tunnel on Sunday evening. For more information, go to this page.

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Walnut Hill Playground eager to connect with local community

Posted on 27 August 2014


Walnut Hill Community Playground. (Photos by Selah Lynch / West Philly Local)

At the corner of Sansom and 47th sits Walnut Hill Community Playground, a park with a long and varied history. It was built in the 1970s and used for decades, but in early 2009 an inspector declared it unsafe and recommended it be closed. In response, residents organized a complete rebuild. This culminated on August 6th 2009 when 373 volunteers came together for one day to finish the park. Today the park is home to playground equipment, including a spiral slide, monkey bars and swings. It is surrounded by benches and picnic tables and shaded by mature Japanese Pagoda trees. One patron, Jacki, whose three kids were playing in the park said, “I’m so grateful for this place. I live in the projects but I like to take my kids down here where it is safe.”

While many residents are thrilled about the park, some residents have been confused about the hours. According to the Walnut Hill Community Association (WHCA), which maintains the playground, they adhere to the following hours: M-F 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat-Sun 9 a.m.-8 p.m. But local mom, Maggie Gummere said, “I’ve walked by a few times on a Saturday or a Sunday and the park has been closed.” This disappoints her because, as she adds, “It looks like so much fun.” Another mother blogs, the hours are “marked ’9 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days,’ but it’s been closed several Sunday mornings.”

The WHCA says that they lock the playground outside of daylight hours to maintain a safe and healthy atmosphere. Currently, responsibility for the park falls on the shoulders of very few. Walnut Hill residents Lydia Connolly and Teresa Leedie lock, unlock and monitor the park. Resident Horace Patterson, WHCA President, takes responsibility for cleaning and emptying the trash.

Lorna Peterson, a Walnut Hill resident for 24 years and WHCA vice president, says that one thing parents can do for the park is simply to use it and help maintain a positive adult presence. She also adds, “anyone who is interested in using, maintaining or chaperoning the park, we encourage them to join the community association.” The next meeting is at 6 p.m. on September 25th at the Enterprise Center at 4548 Market Street. Alternatively, people can contact the association at 215-472-1381 or walnuthillevents [at]

- Selah Lynch


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Suspect caught after gunpoint robbery at 50th and Walton

Posted on 26 August 2014

crimePolice arrested a 36-year-old man after he allegedly robbed at gunpoint a 24-year-old man near 50th and Walton.The robbery took place on Monday night, around midnight, after the victim, a Penn student, exited the 34 Trolley at 50th, according to information provided by his friend.

The suspect followed the young man onto Walton Avenue, then approached him, pointed a black handgun at him and demanded his wallet, according to police. The suspect took the young man’s backpack that contained his tablet, phone, wallet and other small items. After the robbery the suspect fled on foot.

Police surveyed the area and apprehended the suspect near 60th and Christian Streets. Police recovered the phone and $80 from the suspect. The backpack was found on the street. Police also found and confiscated a black long barreled revolver.

Police say that the same suspect was involved in a robbery that took place on August 21, at around 11:40 p.m., when a woman was robbed near 48th and Hazel. Police also confiscated a Canon camera from the suspect that was taken from the woman during the robbery.


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School supplies drive at HipCityVeg

Posted on 26 August 2014

Global Citizen, in partnership with Interstate General Media (publishers of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and, Uber & 900AM-WURD yesterday launched a citywide school supplies drive to benefit some of the most underserved Philadelphia public schools. The only drop-off location for donations in West Philly is HipCityVeg at 214 S. 40th Street.

The following items are accepted through Sept. 7: No. 2 pencils, ballpoint pens, copy paper, calculators, dry erasers, crayons, rulers, hand sanitizers, and more (check out the flier below for the full list of accepted donations). You can drop off your donation at HipCityVeg every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.



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Neighborhood families invited for weekly playgroup

Posted on 26 August 2014


Photo via

Here’s a great chance for children to play together and their caretakers to socialize. All neighborhood kids and their parents or guardians are invited for a weekly playgroup at the West Philadelphia Cooperative School (WPCS) located at 4625 Baltimore Avenue. The playgroup meets every Tuesday from 3 to 5 p.m., so there’s a playgroup happening today. Children can enjoy free play, snacks, and circle time.

Donations are welcome, but no one will be turned away due to lack of funds. Just come and play!

For more information or if you have questions, please email Sochi Thomas, a WPCS parent member, at Dearsochi [at]

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Love Vape e-cigarette shop opens on 4700 block of Baltimore Ave

Posted on 25 August 2014


Nelson Ngo, foreground, and Chy Kan man the counter at the newly opened Love Vape University City. (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local)

A fully stocked vape shop has come to Baltimore Avenue.

Love Vape University City opened earlier this month at 4714 Baltimore Ave., the former home of the Talking Headz salon.

“It was a good spot,” said Stephanie Ngo, one of three employees on hand when we visited on Saturday. “There’s a little bit of night life here.”

“Vaping” is the slang term for the “smoking” of e-cigarettes, which turn special flavored liquids (sometimes with a bit of nicotine) into vapors through the use of a battery powered device.

The new shop, which is one of four Love Vape locations around the city, is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Water main break on Locust between 42nd and 43rd

Posted on 25 August 2014


A water main break was reported this morning, around 7:40 a.m., on Locust Street by the Parent Infant Center. As of 8:40 a.m., the street is closed to traffic between 42nd and 43rd. (Photo by Veronica Alvarez).


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Back to School Extravaganza today 2-5 p.m. at Malcolm X Park

Posted on 24 August 2014

The Nehemiah Davis Foundation is holding its annual Back To School Extravaganza and book bag giveaway on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2 – 5 p.m., at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine). During the event, volunteers will help distribute more than 300 book bags, school supplies and clothes to local families. There will also be entertainment for the whole family, including free pony rides, moon bounces, and face painting, complimentary haircuts for kids, refreshments and food.



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Two protesters arrested after skirmish with police near 45th and Baltimore on Saturday

Posted on 24 August 2014

Part of the police presence near 45th and Springfield on Saturday evening during a rally in Clark Park related to recent events in Ferguson, Mo. A small group of protesters, most of whom did not attend the rally, later clashed with police (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local).

A 20-year-old female, a Cedar Park resident, and 25-year-old male from New Windsor, New York were arrested Saturday evening after they threw balloons filled with paint at a police vehicle near 45th and Baltimore.

The incident happened around 8:30 p.m. when a group of young people exited Clark Park “A” onto Chester toward 45th Street following a rally focused on the events in Ferguson, Mo. The members of the group did not take part in the rally and arrived as it was dispersing.

The group walked north on 45th Street and overturned trashcans, according to police. Approximately 20 police vehicles were parked in the area at the time, many of them on 45th Street between Chester and Baltimore.

Police say 20-year-old Hannah Weaver of the 4700 block of Baltimore Ave. threw a balloon filled with purple paint at a police car patrolling the area as she walked north on 45th Street. An officer who was in the car apprehended Weaver after a brief foot chase and struggle.

Two other officers exited their vehicle and pursued a male protester, identified as 25-year-old Jordan Davis of New Windsor, NY, after he also threw paint-filled balloons at police vehicles. One officer “deployed his Taser with no effect”, according to the police report, and Davis was apprehended after a brief struggle.

Police say that they found numerous leaflets in Weaver’s bag titled “Hoods UP!” recommending that protesters wear scarves or bandanas to avoid detection during a demonstration.

The estimated damage to the police vehicles is approximately $5,000, according to police. It is unclear whether Weaver and Davis have been charged.

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‘It’s time for action, not reaction’: Ferguson rally in Clark Park on Saturday

Posted on 24 August 2014

rally - crowd

The rally in Clark Park on Saturday. (Photos by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local)

About 125 people gathered during a light rain in Clark Park last night to talk about recent events in Ferguson, Mo. and many pledged to work in Philadelphia toward racial justice.

“It’s time for action, not reaction,” said Jondhi Harrell, head of the The Center for Returning Citizens. “It’s not sexy, it’s not protest time. It’s organizing time.”

Rally - Johndhi

Jondhi Harrell of The Center for Returning Citizens speaks at Saturday’s rally.

Though organized days in advance, the rally had an impromptu feel as people emerged from the crowd to share their views on Ferguson and reiterate calls for volunteering.

Harrell and others urged people to participate in voter registration drives, attend meetings, even teach children to read.

“Be about this on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

About 20 police vehicles were parked near the park during the rally and a separate, unassociated “march” afterwards resulted in a skirmish with police and two arrests.

See our Civic Life page for a list of non-profits in West Philly, including the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, Books Through Bars. Many are looking for volunteers.


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Vigil, march for Mike Brown this Saturday at Clark Park

Posted on 22 August 2014

A group of local activists are organizing a rally, including a vigil, march, and speak out for Mike Brown and the people of Ferguson, Mo. on Saturday, Aug 23, at Clark Park (44th and Baltimore).

The rally starts at 7 p.m. The vigil will be followed by a march around the park, followed by speeches from community leaders. Participants are asked to bring a candle. Originally, the vigil and march had been scheduled for tonight but were postponed until Saturday due to thunderstorms in forecast. The Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration (Facebook page) is also one of the organizers.

The following speakers have been announced so far:

- Michael Coard, Civil Rights Attorney and Activist
- Jondhi Harrell, Director, The Center for Returning Citizens
- Reverend Dr. Kathryn Ellis, Minister, UU Church of the Unitarian Universalist Church In Mt Airy-Restoration

The Kemi McCoy Drummers will also participate in the rally.

The same group of activists are behind Tuesday’s rally at 52nd and Market Streets to protest Ferguson shooting (The Daily Pennsylvanian has a report on it).

For more information and updates, visit the organizers’ Facebook page.

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Earn cash, support local school at ‘West Philly Grows Again’ Kids’ Consignment Sale

Posted on 22 August 2014

WPGA_LOGO_WHITEHey West Philly parents and guardians, you probably have some stuff in your closets that your kids have grown out of over the past year. Here’s a great chance to get rid of it, earn some cash, and support a neighborhood school. The annual “West Philly Grows Again” Kids’ Consignment sale, which benefits St. Mary’s Nursery School, is scheduled for September 20, 2014 and consignors are welcome to register. Here’s how the sale works:

If your items are accepted and then sold at the event you earn 50 percent of the profits. The other 50 percent will go to support the school. If you also volunteer during this fundraiser by working a 3-hour shift you can increase your percentage to 60 percent.

Gently used and good-quality children’s items are accepted at the sale, including clothing (newborn up to size 16), shoes, toys, books, baby and sports equipment, and more. Maternity and nursing clothing is also accepted. For the full lists of accepted and not accepted items and general consignor guidelines, check out this page. Click here to register ($10 consignor registration fee is applied).

The “West Philly Grows Again” Consignment sale will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20, at St. Mary’s Nursery School, 3916 Locust Walk. Consignors, volunteers and shoppers are welcome. For more information, visit: To check out sale updates as they arrive, visit the event’s Facebook page.


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Upcoming outdoor events this week (Update: Bat Night canceled)

Posted on 21 August 2014

Update (8/21/14): Due to the weather forecast for Thursday night, Bat Night at the Woodlands has been canceled.

Here’s our roundup of outdoor events in the area where you can enjoy this nice August weather and food and drinks with your friends, listen to some great music and even learn a thing or two about nature:


Minas2Wednesday, Aug 20

Penn Museum’s Summer Nights Concert Series presents Brazilian duo Minas

Penn Museum, 3260 South St, 5:00 p.m.

Celebrating 30 years since moving from Rio de Janeiro to the Philadelphia area, Minas’s innovative yet timeless sound blends folk, blues, jazz, scat, and samba, with a unique combination of Brazilian and American roots. The concert will take place in the museum’s Stoner Courtyard. $10.

Thursday, Aug 21

Dîner En Sweatpants

Clark Park “A”, 43rd and Baltimore,  5:30-8:30 p.m.

Ticketleap invites folks to a silly, FREE event this Thursday in Clark Park. Bring your picnic blankets and baskets or buy some delicious food from the food trucks after the regular Thursday Farmer’s Market!

Bat Night at the Woodlands

The Woodlands Cemetery, 40th and Woodland, 6:00 p.m.

Bring some dinner and your flashlight on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. for a rare chance to spend the evening in the Cemetery after dark and see the resident bats! Also, take a walk with a bat expert and learn about special plants that will attract bats to your garden. This is a free event and sweet treats from Lil’ Pop Shop will be available for sale.

Saturday, Aug 23

Outdoor Concert feat. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah w/ Illinois, and Mo Lowda and the Humble

City Tap House, 39th and Walnut, 3:00-8:00 p.m.

City Tap House is joining forces with the booking and production team from The Blockley and Brooklyn Brewing Company to throw a couple of August, Saturday afternoon concerts on their beautiful outdoor patio space. The first concert, on Aug 23, features local indie rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, led by longtime frontman Alec Ounsworth. They’ll be sharing the stage with Illinois, also Philly-based rockers. Mo Lowda and the Humble, one of the city‘s finest up-and-coming groups, will open the show at 3:30 p.m. $15. 21+. Tickets are available here.


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Trolley Route 10 service to close down for a week; use shuttle bus

Posted on 21 August 2014

There will be a bus substitution on the Trolley Route 10 from 63rd and Malvern to 33rd and Market from 12 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29, according to SEPTA. The substitution is due to Philadelphia Streets Department work in the area.

During the bus substitution, Route 10 riders can use trolleys Routes 11, 13, 34 and 36 for travel between 33rd and Market to 13th and Market. Buses will take passengers between the 33rd and Market Street trolley stop and 63rd and Malvern.

There’s no word yet on the extent of the road work scheduled in this area. Stay tuned for updates.

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Young West Philly athletes in the spotlight (Go Taney and Tauheed!)

Posted on 20 August 2014

West Philly kids are doing great in sports and are in the spotlight of some current and upcoming sporting events.


The Taney Dragons. (Photo from

• The Taney Dragons, Philly’s youth baseball team that made it this year to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., keeps winning! In their second game, on Sunday, they defeated the team from Texas. We learned that there are at least three West Philly kids on the team. According to neighborhood sources, these kids are: Eli Simon, No. 4, a student at Penn Alexander School (43rd and Locust), Tai Shanahan, No. 7 (who had the game-winning hit on Sunday), goes to St. Francis de Sales (47th and Windsor), and Carter Davis, No. 9, lives on 49th St.

We’re very excited about the success of these and other young stars on the team (their amazing pitcher, Mo’ne Davis, is on this week’s cover of Sports Illustrated!). Taney’s 3rd game is tonight, at 7:30 p.m., when they will take on a team from Las Vegas, Nev. You can watch it on ESPN. Also, there’s a free Taney Dragons Pep Rally and Watch Party tonight, 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., in the City Hall Courtyard (Broad and Market Sts). Go Taney!

It’s not every day when you get a chance to practice with tennis stars like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, but a West Philly kid will be at this year’s U.S. Open. Eleven-year-old Tauheed Browning, a student at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education Center, is heading to Flushing Meadows, New York, to participate in Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Saturday, Aug 23, as part of the 2014 U.S. Open Tennis Championship. Tauheed will get to warm up with tennis professionals and another Legacy student, Brandon Caban of Drexel Hill, will compete against the pros in a target-hitting contest in the hopes of bringing back $15,000 to provide tennis and life skills education to more than 4,500 young people from the greater Philadelphia area, many of who come from low-income and under-resourced communities.

Tauheed is a student at PA Leadership Charter School, and is from Overbrook. He is one of the youngest Legacy student-athletes with very high potential, according to a spokeperson at the center.


Tauheed Browning. (Photo courtesy of Legacy Youth Tennis and Education)


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