West Philly weekend: Just a few more Dining Days; free 40th Street concert tomorrow

Posted on 25 July 2014

There are a couple of things we wanted to mention as the weekend rolls in.

There are only three days left for University City Dining Days when you can enjoy dinner at 27 area restaurants for three fixed prices: $15, $25, and $35. The annual Dining Days will run through July 27. More info and the list of participating restaurants is available here.

julysumserWEBSITEThe second concert in the 40th Street Summer Concerts series is scheduled for this Saturday, July 26. Bring your blanket or chairs to the lawn behind the Walnut Street West library at 40th and Walnut and enjoy live music by Avalon String Band and the fusion act - Raphael Xavier W.O.R.X. Meets Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. The show, which begins at 6 p.m., also features free treats from Ben & Jerry’s and face painting and balloon animals for kids.

The next 40th Street Summer series concert is on August 30, featuring Nation Beat. More details are available here.


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West Philly Tool Library plans expansion, launches crowdfunding campaign

Posted on 24 July 2014


West Philly Tool Library staff (Photo courtesy WPTL).

West Philly Tool Library (WPTL) is Philadelphia’s only library that lends tools to community members, both individuals and organizations. WPTL’s members borrow tools for home repairs, construction projects, gardening and even creating art. Recently, the tool library has announced some big plans that include increasing the number of members in more neighborhoods and their access to most needed tools and expanding their education and outreach programs.

Sounds great, but the problem is that WPTL can’t meet this demand without community help. Their current memberships fund only 34 percent of their annual operating budget of $40,000. So an online crowdfunding campaign was launched to help them make ends meet.

WPTL is currently raising $10,000 through Indiegogo and has already raised over $3,000. The money donated through this campaign will help the following projects, according to the campaign page:

 Increase availability of the tools they can’t keep on the shelves, like table saws, weed whackers, tile saws, and cordless drills
 Develop a robust education program to ensure that community members have the skills they need to properly leverage their tools
 Develop programs to reach into the neighborhoods they don’t fully serve

For more information and to donate, click here.

If you want to learn more about how to become the tool library member, visit this page.


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New benches coming to Clark Park (photo)

Posted on 23 July 2014

Earlier this week we reported about the plans to install new benches inscribed with Charles Dickens quotes at Clark Park. The work began today and is expected to take two days.

Photo: The old benches are being removed near the Dickens statue at 43rd and Chester.



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Loopy chairs now in Cedar Park

Posted on 23 July 2014

Cedar Park residents can now check out and try the loopy chairs. Since last fall, the loopy seating structures, a new type of social seating called Looped In, have been moving around various neighborhoods in the University City area and recently were installed in front of Dock Street Brewery (50th and Baltimore). They will remain in this location until early September, according to University City District.



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Registration is on for West Philadelphia Block Captains Forum

Posted on 22 July 2014

block captains forum flyerThe 2014 West Philadelphia Block Captains Forum will take place August 2 at Boys’ Latin School (5501 Cedar Ave) and registration is open until Monday, July 28. The forum, organized by The Partnership Community Development Corporation (TPCDC), is a great networking and skill-building opportunity for local block captains, filled with useful free workshops , such as Crisis and Emergency Management, Crime and Safety, Community Organizing 101, Vacant Lot Management and more.

Breakfast and lunch will also be served at the event. Click here to download the registration form. Note: only official block captains can attend this event.

For more information or if you have questions, please contact Leon Robinson at the TPCDC Neighborhood Advisory Committee office at: 215-662-1612 ext. 24 or stop by the office located at 4020 Market Street.


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Got something useful to say to SEPTA? Here’s your chance

Posted on 22 July 2014

trolleyOne of the best transportation organization slogans of all time is SEPTA’s simple and self-deprecating: “We’re Getting There.” So Philly.

Now SEPTA is asking you how they are doing. SEPTA is inviting the public to suggest modifications to current SEPTA routes and requests for additional services. If they make sense, SEPTA may work them into its next annual service plan – for 2016. The service plan will go through a public hearing process before a final vote.

SEPTA received a record number of submissions for its last service plan, perhaps a reflection of the growing interest in public transportation. The recent reintroduction of all-night trains is another indicator.

“We’re seeing a renewed interest in transit, with many residents embracing SEPTA as their primary and preferred choice for travel,” Richard Burnfield, SEPTA’s chief financial officer, said in a press release. “Many riders are showing a great interest in service improvements, and we welcome those suggestions.”

It sounds like complaints about drivers, schedules or the delays in updating the fare payment system won’t go far, but constructive suggestions might.

Send your ideas to You can also mail them to: SEPTA – Service Planning Department, 1234 Market St. 9th Fl., Philadelphia, PA 19107.

They will be accepted through Aug. 31.

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Dirt bike rider dies after accident at 47th and Cedar

Posted on 22 July 2014

flatbed truck

Photo by Ken Gregory.

7/22/14: The unidentified young man who was seriously injured in Saturday’s accident at 47th and Cedar has died, according to police. Police confirmed that the man was riding a dirt bike on Saturday night and was speeding when he crashed into a flatbed truck near 47th and Cedar.

7/19/14, 10:50 p.m.: Police are on the scene near 47th and Cedar investigating an accident reportedly involving an ATV whose rider is seriously injured. The accident took place around 10 p.m. when a young man in his 20′s riding a small motorized bike with no lights on southbound on 47th sped through a few stop signs and hit an AAA flatbed truck (pictured), according to witnesses.

A witness said that after the collision the ATV rider flew many yards and landed near Suzuki Piano studio on the corner of 47th and Cedar. The man appeared to be seriously injured and was taken to the hospital.

Police were on the scene and interviewed the truck driver. We’ll update when we have more information.


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Overturned car at 43rd and Locust

Posted on 21 July 2014

A reader sent us this photo of an overturned car on 43rd Street near Locust. The photo was taken shortly before 8 a.m. No word yet on what caused the car to overturn and the driver’s condition.


Photo by Bimal Desai.


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Clark Park gets more benches, orange chairs and trash

Posted on 21 July 2014

ClarkParkchairIf you’re in Clark Park later this week keep an eye out for new benches inscribed with Charles Dickens quotes set to be installed between Wednesday morning (July 23) and Friday (July 25). A total of six new benches will be placed around the park.

Speaking of seating, new orange chairs are also on the way. The Friends of Clark Park voted during its annual members meeting last week to order 20 new chairs to replace damaged or missing chairs. The chairs cost $50 a piece and many have worn out since the experiment to place the movable chairs and tables in the park began in 2011. Despite initial doubts, the chairs and tables have been a huge success.

Members also voiced concerns about the growing amount of trash in the park, particularly overflowing garbage and recycling bins. Right now a seasonal city employee bags the trash on week days and the University of the Sciences picks up the recycling once a week. Also, event organizers and food trucks sometimes bring bins. Increasingly heavy use of the park in the summer – everything from large events to birthday parties and food trucks –  has resulted in more trash.

This seems like a good time to mention events coming at the park this month:

The Awesome Fest continues this Thursday with Jingle Bell Rocks!, a wacky documentary on underground and alternative Christmas music.
Shakespeare in Clark Park kicks off next Wednesday (July 30) at 7 p.m. in the bowl.


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Celebrate local jazz and arts at Lancaster Ave Jazz Festival this Saturday

Posted on 18 July 2014


Saunders Park Greene (39th and Powelton) is the place to be this Saturday (July 19) where the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival, a free one-day celebration of the rich history of jazz and the arts in Philadelphia, will be held. One of the most exciting community jazz events of the summer will feature a wide variety of both international and local jazz performers, as well as mobile food trucks, vendors, and family friendly activities.

The lineup of the musicians participating in the festival includes jazz saxophonist Azar Lawrence, headlining the event, Glenn Bryan & Friends, Charlene Holloway Band, kids orchestra Play On, Philly!, and more.

Complimentary free parking for guests will be available at Penn Presbyterian’s lot at Powelton Ave. and State St.

The event, hosted by People’s Emergency Center, will start at noon and end at 7 p.m. For more information and a full list of performers, visit


Lancaster Avenue Jazz Festival map / Courtesy of Lancaster Ave Jazz.


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Trolley tunnel to close for three weeks in August

Posted on 17 July 2014

It’s time to replace those worn out overhead wires and tracks in the Center City tunnel, says SEPTA. The tunnel maintenance and construction project is scheduled for August 1-18, 2014 and here’s what it means for West Philly trolley riders:

SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 through 4 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 18. Trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets and passengers are advised to use Market-Frankford Line for travel to and from Center City, as the repair work will not affect that service.

During the so-called “Trolley Tunnel Blitz,” SEPTA crews will work around-the-clock to complete numerous overhead wire, track and station improvement projects, which will help improve safety and service reliability of the trolleys that run through the tunnel, according to SEPTA’s announcement. Some of this work includes replacing nearly 24,000 feet of worn overhead contact wire throughout the tunnel, installing more than 14,000 feet of new rail on the eastbound track, and making numerous station repairs and improvements such as on stairs, lighting and platforms.

You can also say goodbye to the graffiti in the tunnel. The project includes graffiti removal, painting and heavy cleaning at all stations throughout the tunnel.

For more details on the maintenance and construction work scheduled during the Trolley Tunnel Blitz, visit SEPTA’s website.

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Got a crime problem? Get the police districts and service areas straight

Posted on 16 July 2014

A recent post on the West Philly Local forum led us to think about the most effective way of reporting ongoing crime to the police. A forum poster wrote:

“I have seen an increase in drug dealing at 49th and Baltimore, right by and along side of New Third World. I was offered Drugs on several occasions, and felt very uncomfortable. This had occurred today in the afternoon and last week, & wondered if anyone had the same experience, or what to do about it! I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable in my own neighborhood!”


Map image from

One suggestion on our Facebook page where we shared the above post was to attend the monthly meeting of the police 18th District at the Calvary Church (4700 Baltimore Ave.), where a police lieutenant listens to citizen complaints and tips (the next one is Thursday, July 17 at 6 p.m.). But another reader rightly pointed out that the 18th District is divided into three “police service areas (PSAs),” and that the corner where the alleged drug dealing was taking place was just over the western edge of PSA 3, which has its community meeting at the Calvary Center. The northern border of PSA 3 (and all of the PSAs in the 18th) is Market Street. The eastern and southern border of PSA 3 is the Schuylkill River. Correction: The southern border of both PSA 1 and 2 is Baltimore Avenue and 57th Street divides them. 49th Street divides PSA 2 and PSA 3.

The neighborhoods south of Baltimore are in the 12th District. The Powelton and Mantua neighborhoods are served by the 16th.

Confused? How about it. We’re trying to get more information about the meetings at the other PSAs in the 18th. We’ll update when we get more info.

One way to alert police to ongoing problems is to e-mail the PSA commanders. Their e-mail addresses are here. For crimes in progress, 911 is still the way to go. A police officer we talked to said maybe the best way to get some action on a complaint is to call your police district, ask for a supervisor and request that a complaint be placed on the roll call. That will alert oncoming shifts of the problem each day for three days.

As for the drug problem at 49th and Baltimore, the cop we talked to said he would get the complaint on the roll call.


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3 Courses, 3 Prices: University City Dining Days return July 17

Posted on 15 July 2014


Photo courtesy University City District.

Are you ready for University City Dining Days? The popular annual 10-day event when you can enjoy dinner at a number of local restaurants for pre-fixed prices, returns this Thursday, July 17. Participating restaurants are now accepting reservations.

Through July 27, 27 University City area restaurants will participate in this year’s “3 courses, 3 prices” promotion, from craft beer bars to celebrity chef restaurants to cozy BYOBs, featuring traditional and international cuisine. The participating restaurants offer a pre-fixe three-course dinner specials for $15, $25 or $35. This is a great chance to visit your favorite local restaurant or try a new one without taking a big bite out of your wallet.  Continue Reading

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Talking Headz moves to new, bigger location on Baltimore Ave

Posted on 14 July 2014


Talking Headz’s new location at 4922 Baltimore Ave. (Facebook photo)

If you are heading to Talking Headz for a haircut, a trim or coloring, please take notice that the neighborhood hair salon with the motto “Rad Hair for Rad People” has recently moved a little further west on Baltimore. As of July 5, 2014, Talking Headz is operating in the heart of Cedar Park – at 4922 Baltimore Ave.

The salon first opened in 2011 in a small space at 4714 Baltimore Ave and quickly gained popularity for its friendly staff, awesome vibe, and reasonable prices (check out recent Yelp reviews and an older review by a neighbor and blogger West Philly Mama).

The new space seems great and has much more room. They have eight chairs now in comparison to just three at the old location and new staff was hired to keep up with the expansion. The salon has also added an extra day of operation. It is now open Monday through Sunday during the following hours: Monday 12 – 6 p.m., Tuesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Wednesday 12 – 8 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

According to their website, the Talking Headz people can cut your hair “ranging anywhere from classic to wild.” The place is also kid-friendly (we can confirm) and they even have a kids play area. By the way, kids haircuts start at just $16. Prices for adult haircuts range from $21-$36 depending on the length of your hair. Walk-ins are welcome but not always available, so appointments are recommended. You can make an appointment by calling 215-729-2028.

For more information about Talking Headz, their services and pricing, visit their website.

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Water main break, no water service reported near 50th and Osage Ave (updated)

Posted on 13 July 2014

UPDATE 2: Water came back on around 4:10 p.m., according to neighbors.

UPDATE: We spoke to the PWD workers on-site at around 2:40 p.m. and they said that the water main break should be repaired by 4 p.m.

City Water Department crews have responded this morning to a water main break on Osage Ave between 49th and 50th Streets. A number of households in the area lost water service due to the break. Neighbors reported that there was no water at their homes as early as 6 a.m. We’ll keep you posted when we have more information.


Photo by West Philly Local reader Daniel Chen.


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Police rescue two people in overnight fire at 39th and Aspen

Posted on 12 July 2014

Two cops rescued people from an overnight fire in the Mantua section. The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday on the first floor of a three-story standalone house on the 3900 block of Aspen Street, according to various reports. Two 16th district police officers, one of them a former firefighter, helped two people escape the flames. Reportedly, a firefighter sustained a minor injury in the fire.

Audio is available from the Fire Department call from the scene (below), presented by (the address on the audio is wrong). 6ABC has a video from the scene.


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Community Pet Pantry and Help Desk on Sunday

Posted on 11 July 2014

PetPantry_July2014 (1)

Click to enlarge.

Citizens for a No-Kill Philadelphia and are hosting a Pet Pantry and Community Help Desk on Sunday, July 13, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Engine 68 Firehouse (52nd and Willows). Low-income pet owners (documentation of financial hardship is required) are welcome to stop by at the event and pick up free pet food (please bring a rolling cart or shopping bags to transport donations home).

The Spayed Club will be on-site to provide pet owners with information on low-cost spay/neuter services. Red Paw Emergency Relief Team will also be there to talk about fire safety and emergency preparedness.


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Has anyone seen a grill-less reddish Buick? Parked SUV damaged in hit and run

Posted on 11 July 2014

A couple of West Philly residents are looking for information on a hit-and-run accident that took place early Thursday morning on 52nd St between Catherine and Walton. Here’s what happened:

A black Nissan Xterra SUV was parked on 52nd street Wednesday night and its owners discovered on Thursday morning that the back left side of the car had been smashed. “It was hit so hard that the car was pushed up onto the sidewalk,” writes Sarah, one of the car owners. The car that hit the SUV left behind its grill. The owners learned from neighbors that the car was hit between 2 and 3 a.m. by a reddish Buick. Reportedly, three women were in the car, and smashed into the SUV so hard that their airbags were deployed before speeding away.

The product numbers on the grill left behind indicate that the car involved in the hit and run is a Buick Park Avenue, possibly a 1997 make. The SUV owners contacted police about the incident. Their insurance will not cover the damage for the SUV that they have owned for less than a month unless they have a license plate for the other car.

The car owners would appreciate any information on this hit and run. Please email to:

Here are the photos of the damaged SUV:


The back left side of this Nissan SUV sustained significant damage in the hit and run.


The car was hit with such force that it was thrown on the sidewalk. (Photos courtesy of SUV owners).


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30th Street Craft Market is this Friday

Posted on 10 July 2014

30thstcraftmarketThe 2014 edition of 30th Street Craft Market, a great local tradition that began last year, will take place tomorrow (Friday, July 11) on The Porch, the outdoor public space located at 30th Street Station. The event was rescheduled from June 13 due to rain.

As always, the organizers – the University City District and VIX Emporium – have lined up some of Philly’s finest artists and artisans, who will present unique handmade items: jewelry, ceramics, prints, stationery, clothing, home accents, bath & body products, children’s gifts and more. The craft market will feature over 30 artisans working in different media. The VIX Emporium website features some of the amazing artists and their work made from recycled materials, including wood, bicycle tires, leather scraps, silver and hardware and more.

Apart from the arts and crafts, tomorrow’s 30th Street Craft Market will feature food vendors, including Hot Diggity, Say Cheese, Sum Pig, and live entertainment. Check out the event’s Facebook page for more details and the full vendor list.

The craft market runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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