‘Seeds of Sovereignty’ Festival to celebrate 52nd Street Corridor, Black-owned and operated businesses (updated)

Posted on 23 June 2017

Community members are invited to celebrate the 52nd Street corridor’s historic legacy and to support Black owned and operated businesses at the Marketplace “Seeds of Sovereignty” Festival. The festival will be held on Sunday, June 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (the event has been rescheduled due to rain in the forecast for Saturday), between Walnut and Spruce Streets and will feature vendors, a children’s village, performances, food, fashion shows, and workshops.

One of the goals of the festival, organized in collaboration with the African Cultural Art Forum (ACAF), Philadelphia Assembled Collaborative, Philadelphia Association of CDC’s and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is to set the stage for collaborations that will promote a sovereign society and to engage sustainable economic development opportunities in West Philadelphia and around the world.  Continue Reading

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Old West Philly High School, now ‘West Lofts,’ to welcome first tenants next month

Posted on 23 June 2017

West PhillyWhile graffiti still covers the front of the old West Philadelphia High School building and it may seem like not much work has yet been done on converting the early 20th century building at 48th and Walnut into loft apartments (the project was first announced in 2012,) a part of the building, now called West Lofts, is ready to welcome its first tenants next month, according to reports.

The first 35 units have been leased for July 1 move-in, and more units are currently for lease for August and September move-ins, according to a report by Philly Curbed.

Upon completion, West Lofts will have 268 studio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, many of them bi-level, ranging from $995 to $2,430. The building will also include a restored gym, a co-working space and a coffee shop, according to Philly Curbed.

If you want to see photos from inside the building (they may surprise you!), go to Philly Curbed.

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SEPTA postpones launch of new bus route connecting Grays Ferry with Brewerytown via University City

Posted on 23 June 2017

Proposed Route 49 (Click to enlarge).

On Thursday, the SEPTA Board approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Service Plan, which includes the launch of some new bus routes in the city. The widely discussed Route 49 that would connect the city’s Fairmount and Brewerytown neighborhoods with Grays Ferry via University City hasn’t been approved for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2017.

The new bus service, which was part of the initial plan, has been deferred for further study and analysis after a series of open houses and public meetings held since March 2016.

The proposed route made many West Philly residents excited as it would also create a direct transit option between 30th Street Station and the attractions located along the Ben Franklin Parkway.  Continue Reading

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Nature Nights return to The Woodlands Friday with Firefly Night

Posted on 22 June 2017

Tangle Movement Arts will present a firefly-inspired performance this Friday at The Woodlands (Photo by Michael Ermilio).

Nature Nights at The Woodlands is a great summer event for families. This Friday (June 23), the 2017 Nature Nights kick off with a Firefly Night, featuring all-female aerial acrobat group, Tangle Movement Arts, with their firefly-inspired performance.

Everyone is also invited to learn more about fireflies with the Academy of Natural Sciences’ Invertebrate Specialist Karen Verderame. She has worked at the Academy for over 13 years and oversees the live invertebrate collection.

Finally, guests are welcome to treat themselves to local snacks from Lil’ Pop Shop, and take part in fun activities and crafts with University City Arts League.  Continue Reading

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2017 public pool season kicks off Thursday, June 22

Posted on 22 June 2017

Kingsessing pool (Archived photo).

Mayor Jim Kenney will officially kick off the 2017 Philadelphia public pool season Thursday afternoon at a dedication ceremony for a newly renovated playground at Murphy Recreation Center in South Philly. Over 70 indoor and outdoor pools will open in the city for the 2017 summer season, including dozens in West Philadelphia.

Citywide pool hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m., but interested swimmers are advised to check in with their neighborhood pool for days and times of open swim, family swim and adult swim, as well as swim lessons and swim team activities.

Here are opening dates for West and Southwest Philly pools and also O’Connor pool in Center City West (for information on more public pools, go here):  Continue Reading

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MOVE bombing site commemoration ceremony this Saturday

Posted on 21 June 2017

West Philly bombing in 1985The Jubilee School, a private K-5 school located at 4211 Chester Avenue, will be hosting a ceremony honoring the site of the MOVE bombing (at the intersection of Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway) on Saturday, June 23, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. The event is open to the community and will feature performances from local poets and artists, including scholar Sonia Sanchez.

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission approved earlier this spring the placing of a historical marker. Students of the Jubilee School, who have studied the 1985 bombing of the MOVE headquarters at 6221 Osage Avenue for the past two years, approached the PHMC with a nomination, according to the The Philadelphia Tribune Continue Reading

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Penn Museum’s Summer Night Concert Series kicks off Wednesday; Opening night special for WPL readers

Posted on 19 June 2017

Summertime brings many chances for locals to enjoy outdoor music performances in the area. We wrote about summer jazz returning to local parks, West Philly Porchfest, and the annual 40th Street Summer Series. Summer Night Concert Series at the Penn Museum is another great tradition that kicks off this Wednesday, June 21 with a performance by The Mid East Ensemble and a special offer for West Philly Local readers (see more info below).

The eighth annual Summer Nights Concert Series will bring an eclectic lineup of performances—including Creole Zydeco, Calypso, ‘20s Jazz, Middle Eastern folk, and more—to the relaxing garden setting of the museum’s Stoner Courtyard. The series is geared to visitors of any age, from friends meeting after work to families with children. Concerts are presented every Wednesday evening, June 21 through September 6, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. To see the full line-up, visit the Penn Museum websiteContinue Reading

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Special Father’s Day event at Greensgrow West: Dog Wash and Pedicure to benefit Philly PAWS

Posted on 17 June 2017

Residents are invited to celebrate Father’s Day at Greensgrow West (5123 Baltimore Ave.) this Sunday and bring their dogs for a wash, pedicure and treats. The event, which will be held from 12-4 p.m., will benefit Philly PAWS (suggested donation is $10).

For more information, visit the BABA West Philly website.


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Midnight BBQ returns to Lancaster Avenue (Sponsored post)

Posted on 16 June 2017

Invite your family and friends out for a night of fun on the corner of Lancaster and Powelton avenues. The first Mid-Night BBQ featured the sounds of funk and jazz, this time around we’re kicking off the summer with some heat: live music from samba drum corps, Unidos da Filadelfia and soul/reggae singer Fabian Akilles. You do not want to miss this! RSVP ( for a complimentary hot dog and a cup of lemonade.

Elle Tee (LoLa 38)

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Apartment building proposal at 4043 Baltimore Ave. back before Spruce Hill zoning

Posted on 16 June 2017

Proposed apartment building renderings.


A proposal to build a 49-unit, 6-story apartment building on a parking lot at 4043 Baltimore Ave. was largely met with approval during a hearing before the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee last night.

Officials from New Horizons Housing, which owns several buildings in the area including one next door the proposed structure, told the zoning committee that their vision when they bought the property in 2001 was to eventually build more apartments on the parking lot. An apartment building occupied the space until a 1980s fire destroyed it, creating a vacant space that was transformed into the present-day parking lot.

Demand for parking lot spots among residents in the adjacent New Horizons building at 4045 has dwindled in recent years. People in the community are renting fewer of the spots as well, according to New Horizons general manager Russell Galligher.  Continue Reading

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Atiya Ola’s at 45th and Baltimore has to move; fundraising campaign underway

Posted on 16 June 2017

Atiya Ola’s participated in Thursday’s Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll (Photos West Philly Local).

Atiya Ola’s, the vegan, vegetarian and raw foods restaurant at 4505 Baltimore Avenue, has been given 60 days to vacate the space, according to its owner. The business has been asked to move out by June 30 after eight years in the space.

“[The landlord] said he needed the space,” said owner Atiya Ola. “He gave a letter to the cook, then a letter in an envelope to me… Then a certified letter that says the same thing. Then he came by to check we got that mail…. He said we could move across the street, down the street.”

Prior to receiving the letter, Ola said their landlord complained about cooking in the space, which was followed by complaints about the restaurant vent. The request to vacate the space was his final request.  Continue Reading

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CVS shoplifters get caught, pull knives at staff

Posted on 15 June 2017

More details have emerged about a recent incident at the CVS Pharmacy at 43rd and Locust. Rumors were circulating that the store was robbed on Monday afternoon. Here are some more details from a police report:

Two young males – between 21 and 25 years old – were caught stealing skincare products, and when confronted by staff they pulled knives at them. The incident happened at about 3:40 p.m. on Monday, June 12, according to police. After that both men fled, reportedly with some Aveeno moisturizer stolen from the store. No injuries were reported.

A similar incident happened at the same store last year, but the thief pulled a gun at the store manager after being confronted at the door.


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Spruce Hill zoning meeting Thursday to discuss apartment building proposed near 41st and Baltimore

Posted on 14 June 2017

Residents are invited to learn more about development projects on Thursday, June 15 at the Spruce Hill Zoning Committee’s monthly meeting. The proposed construction of an apartment complex in a parking lot on the 4000 block of Baltimore Ave (see Google Street View below) is on the agenda.

The proposal for 4045 Baltimore Avenue was first unveiled by the developers in the Fall 2016. The complex would include 48 units, interior and off street parking, and 17 bicycle spaces.

The meeting will take place at the Spruce Hill Community Association building (257 S. 45th Street), beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Continue Reading

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Summer’s first Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll is this Thursday

Posted on 14 June 2017

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll

The summer’s first Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll will take place Thursday, June 15, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., and the location of this extremely popular annual event has now expanded. Neighborhood businesses will be offering $1 food samples, drinks, pet supplies, vouchers, theater tickets, merchandise, and more along Baltimore Avenue from 43rd to 52nd streets. Click here for a detailed map showing what and where the participating businesses will be selling.

Along with veteran businesses, it’s great to see many new businesses participating in the event. While doing the stroll this Thursday, please stop by to say hello and check out offerings by such recently opened businesses as Amari’s Restaurant, Black Hound Clay Studio, Greensgrow West at their new location near 52nd and Baltimore, Ice Cave, and more (see more details here).  Continue Reading

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Indego bike share expands, installs more docking stations in West Philly

Posted on 13 June 2017

New Indego bike-share station near 40th and Woodland.

Indego, Philadelphia’s bike share program, recently turned two years old and has just announced more docking stations around the city, including several in West Philly/University City.

Here are the new Indego station locations in the area:

• 40th and Woodland
• 38th and Spruce
• 38th and Market
• 30th Street Station East

One of the main criticisms of the Philadelphia bike-share program when it launched in 2015 was its availability in more socially and racially diverse neighborhoods and accessibility to lower-income riders. Last year, the program introduced a new equitable pricing plan and more ways for low-income residents to pay for the service, such as Pennsylvania ACCESS cards.

Over the past year, the program added new docking stations in such neighborhoods as Spruce Hill – at 43rd and Chester, Walnut Hill – at 48th and Spruce and 46th and Market – and West Parkside – at 1575 N. 52nd Street (see Indego station map here).

To read more about Indego and how it works, go here.

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Early dismissal at public schools on Tuesday due to heat; City opens cooling centers

Posted on 12 June 2017

Philadelphia public schools and early childhood centers will dismiss at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, June 13 due to the high temperatures forecasted for tomorrow, the School District of Philadelphia has announced. All after-school activities, including all athletic programs and professional development classes scheduled for Tuesday, are canceled as well.

Parents and guardians are urged to monitor the District website at for further announcements.

The City has opened cooling centers, which are air-conditioned spaces available for public use. For more information and to find your nearest cooling center, go here.

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Omar, a neighborhood fixture beloved by many and despised by others, passed away last week (updated)

Posted on 12 June 2017

This photo portrait of Omar was made by well-known West Philly photographer Kyle Cassidy.

The news has spread very fast – Omar, a controversial, but undoubtedly iconic Spruce Hill individual, has passed away. Although we couldn’t confirm the details, he reportedly died suddenly last week in Long Beach Island, N.J.

A vigil for Omar was held Thursday night at 45th and Locust (photo by Kyle Cassidy).

Many folks who knew him gathered at 45th and Locust Thursday night for a vigil (see more photos below).

Omar was known by many as simultaneously a neighborhood eccentric, dangerous aggressor (sometimes violently so) and idiosyncratic barfly. He showed up in the Spruce Hill neighborhood in the early 2000s, sometimes disappearing for weeks at a time to “the burbs” (his words).

Omar made some people in the neighborhood angry by his erratic and often aggressive behavior (especially toward young women), but he was “a staple of the neighborhood,” as one neighbor put it.  Continue Reading

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Clark Park Farmers Market moves… by a few feet

Posted on 08 June 2017

Clark Park Farmers Market (archived photo).

Those who shopped at Clark Park Farmers’ Market this past Saturday noticed something different about it – all the vendors were positioned in the middle of 43rd Street instead of the sidewalk, while the street was closed to traffic. Just like you, we wondered if it was just for the day or long-term. The Food Trust, the nonprofit that hosts Clark Park and many other farmers markets around the city, says the new location for Clark Park Farmers Market on Saturdays is here to stay:

“After 20 seasons on the sidewalk, we’re moving our vendors into 43rd Street to enhance the shopping experience,” reads a message on The Food Trust’s Facebook page.

So come check it out on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Continue Reading

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More summer jazz in West Philly: Live jazz performances kick off at Malcolm X Park

Posted on 07 June 2017

Recently we told you about the return of Live Jazz Fridays, a great summer tradition in Cedar Park. In this post, we’re happy to report that the annual West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series held at Malcolm X Park (52nd an Pine) has also resumed.

The series, hosted by Friends of Malcolm X Memorial Park (Facebook page) and Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, is held every other Thursday (weather permitting) through Sept. 14, beginning at 7 p.m. Here’s the line up for the rest of the summer:

June 8Drummer Webb Thomas (see video below)
June 22The KDQ & Vocalist Susann Burgess
July 6The Barbara Walker Story
July 20The Budesa Bros
Aug. 3Vocalist Shirley Lites
Aug. 17Drummer Carlos Railey Group
Aug. 31Angel Baby
Sept. 14Pianist Alfie Politt  Continue Reading

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