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eL Seed’s ‘calligraffiti’ mural to be dedicated on Saturday, Nov. 18

Posted on 17 November 2017

An assistant to the French-Tunisian artist eL Seed puts the finishing touches on a new mural at the corner of Preston and Market (Photos by Mike Lyons, West Philly Local)

If you’ve been up around 40th and Market in the past few days, you may have noticed a lot of activity near the corner of Market and Preston. The French-Tunisian “calligraffiti” artist el Seed is painting a mural.

eL Seed and two assistants have been working on the mural day and night since Monday and, despite the theft of their paint earlier in the week, the mural will be unveiled officially tomorrow (Saturday, Nov. 18) at 11 a.m. Mural Arts Philadelphia and Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture co-sponsored the piece.  Continue Reading

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UC Green continues work honoring legacy of Winnie Harris; will plant dozens of trees in West Philadelphia this Saturday

Posted on 17 November 2017

UC Green, the West Philly-based community greening nonprofit, will plant 46 trees throughout University City and surrounding West Philadelphia neighborhoods on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017.

UC Green planted this tree in memory Winnie Harris, UC Green Executive Director and community green space advocate who was murdered on February 2, 2017.

“The Greater Philadelphia region has lost millions of trees in recent decades to development, storms, and pests. Replacing our tree canopy is an important goal that will benefit the region for years to come,” reads a press release by the organization. It can take a lifetime for some trees to mature, so planting trees now is very important.

UC Green’s ongoing partnership with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society supports semi-annual tree planting events like the upcoming planting on November 18th. This Fall 2017 event was funded largely through the recent More Trees Please campaign, with individual donations accruing to exceed the targeted goal of $11,000.

“We are particularly grateful to the UC Green volunteers and sponsors whose generous financial contributions enable us to plant all of the approved trees in our area,” said Edwin Datz, UC Green Board President. He added, “We are eager to continue our work honoring the legacy of our Executive Director Winnie Harris, who was tragically murdered last February. Recent developments in the criminal investigation provide our UC Green family with some closure. Winnie’s memory will drive our community greening efforts for many years to come.” (Editor’s Note: Read more about Winnie Harris’s murder investigation here).

UC Green joins hundreds of PHS Tree Tenders and other volunteers from 60 neighborhoods and communities to jointly plant 400 trees in Philadelphia.

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Road closures, detours, cheer zones for 2017 Philadelphia Marathon

Posted on 17 November 2017

The 2017 Philadelphia Marathon will take place on Sunday, Nov. 19, and the half-marathon on Saturday, Nov. 18. Here’s some important information on road closures, bus detours, and cheer zones.

Marathon Races, Activities, Cheer Zones

Here you can find information on the marathon and here on the half-marathon. Other activities include the  Rothman 8K Run and Kids Fun Run on Saturday. And if you want to cheer on the runners, here’s information on the cheer zones.  Continue Reading

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Where Atiya Ola’s landed

Posted on 16 November 2017

Atiya Ola’s is now open on S. 48th Street next door to 48th Street Grille. (Photo by Rana Fayez)

A few months ago, Atiya Ola’s had no choice but to move out of their Baltimore Ave. location. Community organizations held fundraisers to help them pay rent, but restaurant owner Atiya Ola has not been able to find a suitable location until recently. Atiya Ola’s Spirit First Foods (Facebook page) held a grand opening earlier this month to invite the community into their new, albeit temporary location at Common Table on 48th street between Pine and Spruce. The business has even installed window signage, indicating that the restaurant is here to stay.

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Culinary Center, a division of the Enterprise Center in the Garden Court neighborhood, has a pop-up restaurant space called Common Table. The space is made available to businesses enrolled within the Center’s food industry incubator. As a business owner that has handled change gracefully, Atiya Ola welcomes the new scenery. “The universal laws opened the gateway for me to relocate here,” said Ola.  Continue Reading

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AnniVIXary X: VIX Emporium to throw a party for its 10th anniversary this Saturday

Posted on 16 November 2017

November 18th will be exactly 10 years since Cedar Park’s craft and gift shop VIX Emporium opened its doors to customers at 5009 Baltimore Ave. To celebrate the shop’s 10th anniversary, owner Emily Dorn invites everyone to a party this Saturday from 6 – 9 p.m.

It’s also the opening party for two new 2018 wall calendars by two local artists. One features 12 tiny oil paintings of West Philadelphia architecture by Russell Brodie (see image below), and the other, by Loretta Gary of Radical Hearts Print Lab, highlights 12 prominent social and political activists.

Both limited-edition calendars will be available for sale.

And last but not least, you can head start on your holiday shopping at VIX. Your purchase of $50 or more during the party will be 10 percent off. Also, stay tuned for more details about the annual Go West! Holiday Craft Fest, which will take place at The Rotunda on Sunday, Dec. 10Continue Reading

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Kenney clarifies timeline for 4601 Market St.

Posted on 15 November 2017

Mayor Jim Kenney told the audience gathered for the Spruce Hill Community Association annual meeting last night that the city would likely to have a handful of serious proposals for the old Provident Mutual Insurance building at 4601 Market St. by early January.

His administration cancelled plans in May to move the police headquarters to the building, opting instead for the old Philadelphia Inquirer building at 400 N. Broad St. Those plans were devised during the administration of Michael Nutter.

The city has received several requests for quotation (RFQ) on the property. These are narrative proposals of what would be done with the property. Those proposals range from commercial and retail to medical and educational. All propose a mix of uses for the property. Kenney said the RFQs are private and he could not provide specific details on any of them.  Continue Reading

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Curio’s “Crimes of the Heart” opens this week

Posted on 14 November 2017

From left to right: Rachel Gluck as Lenny, Tessa Kuhn as Babe and Colleen Hughes as Meg (Photo by Rebecca Gudelunas)

Curio Theatre opened its 13th season in September with free outdoor performances of “I, Peaseblossom” at The Woodlands. Beginning Friday, Nov. 17, the award-winning theater invites the public to its principal location at 48th and Baltimore to witness Crimes of the Heart, a Pulitzer prize winning play by Beth Henley.

The Magrath sisters, Lenny, Meg, and Babe, are reunited at their family home in Hazlehurst Mississippi after Babe shoots her husband. Each one is facing down her own demons, past and present. Lenny cares for the grandfather who raised her, as he approaches the end of his life. Meg grapples with dreams that didn’t come true, and Babe squares off against her husband. It’s a portrait of a dysfunctional family, but Beth Henley play finds laughter within tragedy.  Continue Reading

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Two suspects arrested in robbery, assault of Penn graduate student

Posted on 13 November 2017

Police have arrested two suspects for the violent attack and robbery of a male Penn graduate student on Nov. 5 on the 400 block of South 43rd Street. The 26-year-old victim was beaten with a brick during the robbery and suffered serious head injuries, including a fractured skull, according to police.

Twenty-year-old Lance Ryan was arrested Thursday and charged with robbery and assault. Dajuan Dantzler, 18, was arrested Friday after he turned himself in, according to reports. He was also charged with robbery and assault, according to police.

 

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Mayor Kenney to talk about Provident Insurance building’s future at SHCA’s annual meeting on Tuesday

Posted on 13 November 2017

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney will be a featured speaker at an upcoming Spruce Hill Community Association’s annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Penn Alexander School Cafeteria (43rd and Locust). The mayor will address the future of the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance Building at 4601 Market (pictured).

The site was chosen by former mayor Michael Nutter administration for the new police headquarters and has been undergoing renovations since 2014. But, the Kenney administration canceled the plans to relocate the Police Headquarters to the site in the spring of 2017. In August, the city began seeking a new developer for the siteContinue Reading

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UCD’s annual report shows more millennials, more apartments, higher rents and home prices in last year

Posted on 10 November 2017

The University City District released its annual “State of University City” report on Thursday night. It shows what most of us already know: home prices are up; new retail spots are opening left and right; and the population is growing and getting younger.

UCD roughly defines “University City” as the area bounded by the Schuylkill River to the east, 50th Street to the west, Market Street/Powelton Avenue/Spring Garden Street to the north and Woodland Avenue/University Avenue to the south.

Here’s what the report, which covers trends through 2016, shows in key areas:

Real Estate Development

During 2016, 28 projects were either completed or made significant strides toward completion. These include academic, commercial, medical and residential projects. Curbed Philly has a handy map with many of the new projects covered in the report.  Continue Reading

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Second suspect arrested in shooting death of West Philly activist Winnie Harris

Posted on 10 November 2017

A second suspect in the shooting death of West Philly community activist Winnie Harris has been arrested, according to a report by Philly.com. Police arrested 31-year-old Isaiah Reels, 31, at a home in Southwest Philadelphia on Thursday.

A well-known community advocate and executive director of UC Green, Winnie Harris was found shot to death at her home in West Powelton on February 3, 2017 in, what police believe, a case of mistaken identity. She was 65.

Another suspect, 39-year-old Nelson Giddings, was arrested last month, and police also named Reels as a second suspect and issued an arrest warrant for him in October. Police believe Giddings and Reels may have targeted a different residence, but broke into Harris’s home on the 300 block of North Holly Street late on Feb. 2 and shot her when she confronted them. Harris was found dead in her home the following day.

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$3.5 billion development project, Schuylkill Yards, breaks ground near 30th and Market

Posted on 09 November 2017

Schuylkill Yards, rendering image.

Drexel University and developer last year Brandywine Realty Trust unveiled their plans for “Schuylkill Yards,” a $3.5 billion development project, which includes development of 14 acres of parking lots and concrete space west of 30th Street into eight high rises, green public spaces and retail. On Wednesday, this ambitious project, which will take from 15 to 20 years to complete, broke ground.

The first phase of the master plan will include construction of Drexel Square, a 1.3 acre a public park on the corner of 30th and Market called Drexel Square, and mixed-use development along JFK Boulevard.  Continue Reading

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New Penn College House to be built near 40th and Walnut

Posted on 08 November 2017

Penn’s New College House West will be built near 40th and Walnut (Photo by West Philly Local).

It looks like the green space behind the Walnut Street library near 40th and Walnut will not remain open for too much longer. Penn has announced plans to build a new 250,000-square-foot residential building, New College House West, in the space where 40th Street summer concerts are held. The design for the building was approved last week. The University of Pennsylvania Board of Trustees approved the design of the building last week.

View of the New College House West from 40th St and Locust Walk (rendering image by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects)

The new undergraduate college house will occupy a site bounded by Locust Walk, Walnut Street and 40th Street. The new construction will not affect the West Philadelphia branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, which will remain open.

The new project will serve as a “new western gateway to campus,” according to Penn President Amy Gutmann.

The project is designed by Philadelphia-based Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, the company that recently completed the New College House at Hill Field. The 450-bed residence will include a mix of 6- and 5-bedroom two-bath suites and 4-, 3- and 2-bedroom one-bath suites and will house sophomores, juniors and seniors.

The construction of the $163-million project will begin in Spring 2018 and is expected to be completed by Fall 2021. More information can be found here.

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Two male suspects sought in robbery, assault of Penn grad student

Posted on 07 November 2017

Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying two male suspects, who robbed and viciously assaulted a 26-year-old male Penn grad student. The robbery took place on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 10:45 p.m. when the young man was walking along the 400 block of South 43rd Street. The victim was beaten during the robbery and suffered serious head injuries, including a fractured skull, according to police.

Surveillance video captured the suspects later that night inside a convenience store:  Continue Reading

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UCD has built great public spaces. But are they just?

Posted on 07 November 2017

The Porch at 30th Street Station, built by UCD.

University City District, a nonprofit, had always insisted on building public spaces – parks, plazas, a composting facility – that were accessible to all. But, about two years ago, UCD’s Vice President of Planning and Economic Development, Andrew Stober, and his co-workers had a realization: When it comes to equity and inclusion, “We don’t really know what we’re talking about,” Stober said. With a new initiative called “Just Spaces,” they hope that will start to change.

UCD, which built The Porch at 30th Street Station, collects plenty of data on who uses its spaces and how, but it knows less about who doesn’t, and why not. Enter the group’s new self-audit, “Just Spaces,” which is focused on identifying groups that feel unwelcome at UCD’s public spaces, and to help welcome them instead. Most obviously, the initiative might examine proximity – Who can get to a space easily?; infrastructure, since even a swing-set can be inaccessible to some; and commerce, How expensive are the concession stands? Sometimes, inclusion just means selling something other than a gourmet hamburger.  Continue Reading

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Resistance photography exhibit on display at Green Line Cafe on Baltimore

Posted on 07 November 2017

Exactly one year ago, on Nov. 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the presidential election. An exhibit by eight local photographers, titled “Resistance Photography: a Year of 45,” which opened last week at the Green Line Cafe at 43rd and Baltimore, marks the anniversary of that date.

The exhibit’s opening reception is slated for Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. All eight photographers – Kaltoum Alibrahimi, Chris Baker Evens, Darryl Murphy, Sonja Nosisa Noonan-Ngwane, Joe Piette, Kaytee Ray-Riek, Tieshka K Smith, and Rachael Warriner – will give their individual perspective on the many forms of protests, marches and public actions of resistance they’ve documented over the past tumultuous year.  Continue Reading

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Vote!: It’s election day tomorrow

Posted on 06 November 2017

The race for district attorney in Philadelphia has been one of the most-talked-about local elections in the country, thanks mostly to the candidacy of Larry Krasner. But the DA’s seat is not the only one up for grabs tomorrow.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 7). Go here to find your polling place. Remember, you don’t need ID unless you are a first-time voter.

Krasner, the civil rights attorney who has promised major reforms, is running against Republican candidate Beth Grossman for the DA’s seat. That’s getting all the hubbub, of course, but here are offices to think about (click on each office for links to profiles at the non-partisan Committee of 70):  Continue Reading

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The Woodlands Gobble Wobble 5K Fun Run returns Saturday, Nov. 11 (Sponsored)

Posted on 06 November 2017

The Woodlands third annual Gobble Wobble 5K Fun Run is back!

This individual or team relay 5K wobble takes you through the historic grounds of William Hamilton’s 18th century estate, 19th century cemetery and modern day urban oasis. Outrun the West Philly Turkey and support the neighborhood’s best running spot. Compete to win the first prize, a Thanksgiving turkey or tofurkey from Mariposa Food Co-Op! The 5K takes place on the paved road within The Woodlands Cemetery, with the start and finish line near the Hamilton Mansion.

Team Relay Entries: Each team member registers individually. Make sure to put down your team name. Each team member will run 1/3 of the 5K, so get your relay baton ready!

Register early, because the first 150 people signed up will receive a limited edition Gobble Wobble pint glass that you can fill with beer at the finish line, generously donated by Clarkville. All proceeds will go towards improving runner amenities at The Woodlands.  Continue Reading

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New Penn Food Hall to feature popular local eateries

Posted on 03 November 2017

Penn is bringing an array of local eateries to its new Food Hall at 34th and Walnut. In June 2017, the University announced that the former Moravian Food Court at 3401 Walnut Street would close to make way for a modern food hall populated by high-quality, small-format food and beverage operators.

The new food options will satisfy meat eaters and vegans, organic juice lovers and ice-cream fans alike. Five out of seven popular local eateries signed on for the new Penn Food Hall: Goldie, Kensington Quarters, Pitruco Pizza, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, and the Juice Merchant.  Continue Reading

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