Live jazz returns to West Philly parks

Posted on 27 May 2016

Summer brings many cool events to West Philly neighborhoods, including street festivals, outdoor music, art and movies, farmers’ and flea markets, and food-centered events, so we’ll be posting this information as it becomes available. Today’s post is dedicated to a popular summer event in the area – jazz in local parks.

cedarparkjazzWe’re happy to report that two West Philly parks, Cedar Park and Malcolm X Park, will once again be hosting jazz nights featuring well-known local musicians and guests throughout the summer.

Friday Night Jazz in Cedar Park (49th and Baltimore) will kick off on Friday, June 3, with a performance by Bernard Samuels Trio. Performances will be held every Friday, 6 – 8 p.m.. Here’s the lineup through July 29 (additional performances may be announced later):

June 3 – Bernard Samuels Trio
June 10 – Progressive Movement
June 17 – Gretchen Elise & Friends
June 24 – Clef Club Youth Ensemble
July 1 – Rich Tucker & Friends
July 8 – Dendê Mercado/Brazilian artist
July 15 – Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound IV
July 22 – Glenn Bryan
July 29 – Philadelphia Clef Club/ Tribute to Donald “Chappy” Washington Band & Friends

Cedar Park Jazz is hosted by Cedar Park Neighbors and is made possible thanks to donations from local organizations, businesses and individuals. If you would like to support this event and help bring more performances to the park, click here.

West Philadelphia Jazz Heritage Series are held at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine) every other Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m. The series is hosted by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Friends of Malcolm X Park. Here’s the lineup through Sept. 15:

June 9 – The Jazz Lab Project
June 23 – Vocalist: The Barbara Walker Story
July 7 – Bassist: Bill Booker & Trio
July 21 – Vocalist: Shirley Lites
Aug. 4 – Budesa Brothers
Aug. 18 – Perfect Solution
Sept. 1 – Napoleon Redeemer & The 61st St Band
Sept. 15 – Angel Baby Music  Continue Reading

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West Philly teen competes in National Spelling Bee

Posted on 26 May 2016


A West Philadelphia 7th grader, Saif Siddiquee, participated in the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee, being held this week in Washington, DC. 13-year-old Saif is a Penn Alexander School student. On Wednesday, Saif competed in the Preliminary Rounds 2 and 3 (onstage oral spelling) and spelled correctly both words (“crudités” and “recrudescence”) presented to him by the Bee’s official pronouncer, Dr. Jacques Bailly.

Only 45 kids out of the 285 who entered in this year’s competition made it to the Finals, and, unfortunately, Saif wasn’t one of them. Nevertheless, we congratulate Saif on his great performance and for representing his school and Philadelphia in this prestigious contest.

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Clarkville covered in graffiti… again

Posted on 26 May 2016

Vandals have struck again at Clarkville at 43rd and Baltimore, painting walls and windows and writing “Gentrifiers Go Home” on an outside wall. The restaurant was tagged shortly after its opening in December 2015 in the former Best House Pizza location.

Co-owner Brendan Hartranft scraped paint from Clarkville’s windows on Thursday morning.

“I wish they knew what we were about,” Hartranft, a native Philadelphian, said of the vandals.





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Zoning meeting Thursday on proposed changes to single-family home at 4606 Spruce St.

Posted on 25 May 2016


Single-family home at 4606 Spruce St.

A four-story single-family old Victorian house on the 4600 block of Spruce Street has new owners, who are proposing to convert it to a multi-unit property. The Garden Court Community Association’s zoning committee is hosting a community meeting on Thursday, May 26, at the property in question – 4606 Spruce Street.

The owners have proposed to convert the building to include: a professional office on the first-floor front; single-family apartment in the first-floor rear; and three units on the second through fourth floors. The 3,360-square-foot 6-bedroom house was built in 1909.

Many community organizations in the area have been reluctant to support proposals to convert single-family homes into multi-family buildings.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and attendees are asked to bring folding chairs, as seating will be limited.

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Neighbors Helping Neighbors: Cedar Park Scholarship Fundraiser coming up; Metropolitan Café’s gift to PIC

Posted on 25 May 2016

We’re happy to pass along information on two local causes that support community education.


Metropolitan owner Jim Lily and PIC executive director Debbie Green (photo courtesy PIC).

The Parent Infant Center (PIC) at 42nd and Locust recently received a generous and heartfelt gift from a local business. Metropolitan Bakery & Café’s owner Jim Lily sent a touching letter to PIC’s Executive Director Debbie Green and presented a $600 donation for PIC’s Cindy Fund. In his letter, Lily wrote about his close relationship with PIC (his daughter participated in the after-school program there) and about his friendship with former executive director Cindy Roberts who passed away in February. Roberts and Lily were also neighbors; they lived across the street from each other.

University City’s Metropolitan celebrated its 12th anniversary on April 26, and a portion of sales on that day made up this donation. Read more about this wonderful gesture on the PIC website.

The Cindy Fund was established in memory of Roberts, who was passionate about children and families and believed in equal access to quality preschool for all families, regardless of income. To learn more about the Cindy Fund, go hereContinue Reading

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Good Day Philadelphia coming to Cedar Park

Posted on 24 May 2016


We always knew that Cedar Park is one of the best neighborhoods in West Philadelphia, and next Friday (June 3), it will be featured on Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia! Fox’s TV crew, including Alex Holley, Bob Kelly, Sue Serio, and Quincy Harris, will be broadcasting live from the neighborhood from 7 to 10 a.m.. There will be music, food, special guests, and a chance to be on live TV!

Local community organizations or businesses are invited to set up a table at 49th and Baltimore to be featured in the show. If you’re interested to participate, email Berlinda at by 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 26, and let her know your organization or business name and what you would feature/do on the show.  Continue Reading

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West Philly Porchfest: Taking porch culture to another level

Posted on 24 May 2016

If you live in West Philly, chances are you or someone you know has a porch where you’ve spent time drinking your beverage of choice on a warm summer day. Porch sitting is a neighborhood activity that people have engaged in as a way of exchanging ideas and bonding with neighbors for years, and the organizers of West Philly Porchfest (WPPF), which will be held on Saturday, June 4, would like to harness that energy to build stronger connections within the West Philly music scene.

Print“Porchfest is something that the neighborhood can do for itself that really breaks down all sorts of barriers [between music and fans]. Varying skill levels, genres, people who are on tour, people who have never played music before, people whose friends didn’t know they played guitar can play music. It opens up the opportunity for people who have never been invited to house shows in the past to appreciate this music,” explained Owen Lyman-Schmidt, of the West Philly Porchfest Coordinating Committee.

No one is sure of where the first Porchfest took place, but WPPF is modeling its event after Somerville Porchfest. The idea is simple: The West Philly Porchfest coordinating committee of five people will compile a list of participating porches and performers, each porch will be responsible for donating its own sound, electricity and performers. A sense of independent “Do It Yourself” will guide event participants, but Lyman-Schmidt says he hopes to also cultivate a sense of “Do it Together” where porches will collaborate with one another to make the festival a reality.  Continue Reading

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Police alert of crime pattern near 44th and Chestnut/Ludlow, seeking robbery suspect

Posted on 23 May 2016

The 18th Police District has released an alert about a crime pattern in the area that includes two gunpoint robberies, one at the Falafel restaurant near 44th and Chestnut on May 15 (read full report about it here), and the other near 44th and Ludlow on Thursday, May 19. Police believe these two robberies may be related and may be committed by the same person.

The May 19 robbery took place shortly before 6 a.m., when an unknown male approached two people, a man and a woman, siting on the porch on the 4400 block of Ludlow St., pointed a silver handgun at them and told them to “give him everything.” He then forced the pair to stand up and patted them down, according to the report. He left on foot with one of the victim’s backpack containing various electronics, documents and prescription medications. He also took the victims’ cell phones, according to the report.  Continue Reading

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SEPTA breaks ground on 61st and Pine Bus Loop Reconstruction project

Posted on 23 May 2016


61st and Pine Bus Loop Reconstruction project (Image courtesy SEPTA)



61st and Pine Bus Loop

Today, SEPTA along with local officials and neighborhood leaders broke ground on the reconstruction of the 61st and Pine Bus Loop, a key transit hub in West Philadelphia. The 61st and Pine Bus Loop is a terminus point for the Route 42 bus, one of SEPTA’s busiest with an average daily ridership of nearly 13,000. The $1.8 million capital improvement project is expected to be completed in Spring 2017.

The project will result in a number of improvements, including:

• A new driveway, new curbs and a new passenger boarding platform that are accessible and compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
• Installation of energy efficient lighting and improved security features
• Construction of an open-air passenger waiting shelter
• Installation of site amenities including trash cans, bike racks and fencing
• Landscaping of the site; new signage throughout the facility

During construction, the Route 42 will continue to serve passengers at 61st and Pine. Buses will utilize portions of 61st Street and Pine Street when necessary to accommodate the work.

The 61st and Pine Bus Loop project is part of the overall “Rebuilding the SEPTA System” capital improvement plan.

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Parked cars damaged in hit-and-run near 47th and Cedar

Posted on 23 May 2016


The owner of a car damaged in a hit-and-run this morning near 47th and Cedar sent us this information in case anyone has surveillance cameras in the area or saw or heard anything:

“This morning around 5:30 a.m. a light grey or dirty white van blew through the intersection at 47th and Cedar, slamming into parked cars. The van (possibly minivan) fled the scene immediately.

The car at the corner received the most damage and was pushed forward and on the sidewalk, hitting the car in front. The police were on the scene at 6 a.m. and notified the owners. The last car had to be towed out with major damage and the others were limited to minor bumper damage.”

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Convenience store on 45th near Walnut robbed at gunpoint, shots fired at owner

Posted on 23 May 2016

A gunpoint robbery of a business was reported over the weekend, a third commercial robbery in the area in the past week. A convenience store on S. 45th Street between Locust and Walnut, Philly Halal, was robbed on Saturday night, and shots were fired at the owner outside of the store when he tried to pursue the robber, according to police.

The business owner told police that an unknown male wearing a mask and armed with a handgun entered the store at 9 p.m. on Saturday and ordered the owner to get on the ground. He then went through the store and took phones, jewelry and cash, along with the owner’s wallet. Police say that the total of stolen goods exceeds $9,000.

After the robber left the store, the owner ran after him on foot north on 45th Street and then west on Walnut, where the suspect fired three shots. No injuries were reported.  Continue Reading

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Shuttle buses to replace Route 11, 36 trolleys on May 22-23 and June 5-6 due to wire maintenance

Posted on 21 May 2016

Shuttle buses will substitute all Route 11 and Route 36 trolleys west of 40th Street on Sunday, May 22 through 4 a.m. Monday, May 23 and Sunday, June 5 through 4 a.m. Monday, June 6. Route 11 bus substitution will be between Darby Transportation Center and 40th St. Portal, and Route 36 will have shuttle buses running between 80th St. and Eastwick Ave. and 40th St. Portal.

Passengers should transfer to Bus/Trolley at 40th St. Portal for service to/from Center City during this time.

The reason for this temporary trolley service interruption, which began last weekend, is an overhead wire maintenance and renewal project at 49th St. & Woodland Ave, according to SEPTA.


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Letter to the Editor: “We Need to Up Our Recycling Game”

Posted on 20 May 2016

recyclePhiladelphia needs to up their recycling game. The amount of recycling we do considering the population of our city is underwhelming. Compared to a city with a much greater population, like Los Angeles, our recycling statistic is pathetic. They have a population of about 10 million people, but are able to divert about 76 percent of their waste from landfills. Philadelphia has a smaller population of about 1.5 million, but is only able to divert about 70 percent of its waste from landfills. The more populated a city is, the more trash and waste are generated, so it should be more difficult to have a high recycling rate, however, Los Angeles manages to exceed us. We need to find a way to convince more Philadelphians to recycle more.

A big issue is the city’s lack of knowledge concerning key recycling information. They need to know what and where recyclable materials go to and how recycling can impact their lives. They need to know the harmful effects of landfills, and be persuaded to divert their waste from these piles of trash that are buried underground. They need to know that recycling programs cost less than sending waste to landfills or incinerators. By convincing them that landfills poison our drinking water, and that curbside recycling has economic benefits, Philadelphia residents would have the necessary knowledge and would be foolish not to want to recycle!  Continue Reading

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Mural painting this Sunday at Malcolm X Park

Posted on 20 May 2016


                          Click to enlarge.

Community members are invited to come by Malcolm X Park (51st and Pine) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 to help paint a mural-in-progress by artists James Burns and Eric Okdeh and to explore the mental health services available to all Philadelphians.

The invitation is part of The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program Painting a Healthy City, an event from the behavioral health and wellness department, Porch Light.

Painting a Healthy City is a public paint day plus a behavioral health resource fair (inclusive of legal, employment, housing, trauma, counseling, and food insecurity resources), achieving Porch Light’s mission to connect communities in Philadelphia to health and wellness resources in low-stigma environments.

Featured murals this year come from Kirkbride Center and Girard Medical Center’s Goldman Clinic, where Okdeh and Burns have been hosting workshops since October. The artists’ designs draw from participant artwork and stories to create a vibrant picture of recovery, resilience, and hope.

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Suspect sought after Chestnut St. restaurant robbery at gunpoint

Posted on 20 May 2016

Police are looking for a male suspect who they say robbed a local restaurant at gunpoint on Sunday, May 15. The robbery took place shortly after midnight on Sunday when an unknown man, wearing a mask and armed with a handgun, entered the Falafel restaurant on the 4400 block of Chestnut and demanded money and phones from people inside. Police say four people were robbed inside the restaurant.

After taking cash and iPhones from the victims the suspect, described as a tall (6 feet 4 inches) black male wearing a blue jacket, gray pants and a black mask, fled toward Market Street. No one was injured in the robbery, according to police.

One cell phone was tracked by the victims to 400 Busti St. in the main driveway, however the suspect or phones were not located.  Continue Reading

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Walnut St West Library celebrating 110th Anniversary; All invited to Birthday Party on Saturday

Posted on 19 May 2016


Many of you have checked out books or taken your kids for activities to the Walnut Street West Library at the corner of 40th and Walnut. This Saturday, the library is celebrating its 110th anniversary, and this is a perfect opportunity to visit on this special day – to thank the staff for all the work they’ve been doing and to celebrate with them.

A lot of fun activities are being planned throughout the day, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., for children, adults, and families, such as live music and singing performances, storytimes, chess coaching, salsa and zumba classes, cake, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sampling, and more.

IMG_4016Library and city officials will also speak at the event. Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell will read a resolution from City Council, followed by remarks and cake at 2 p.m.

The party will take place rain or shine, with activities outside as weather permits. For more information and event and activities schedule, visit the Friends of Walnut Street West Library website.

The Walnut Street West Library serves the communities of University City and Spruce Hill and is one of the most used Free Library of Philadelphia branches.  Continue Reading

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Philly’s famous ‘Injera Lady’ opens a brick and mortar shop near 45th and Locust

Posted on 19 May 2016


Mubarak Shawarma now open at 225 S. 45th St. (Photo by Rana Fayez)

The 45th street block between Locust Ave and Walnut Ave has seen a couple of new restaurants as of late, the newest of which is Mubarak Shawarma, has opened in the space where Ethio Cafe used to be.

IMG_4026Helmed by Jemila Mohamed, the restaurant will be offering Ethiopian and Middle Eastern food – breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you’ve had injera bread at a restaurant in Philly, chances are good you have already tasted her cooking. She has been making the signature bread out of her home kitchen and supplying it to restaurants, grocery stores and bodegas.

“So far I’m the No. 1 injera maker in Philadelphia,” says Mohamed. “It’s always been my dream to cook, I’ve always been cooking.”

Mubarak Shawarma has been open for about two weeks, but does not plan on making any drastic changes to the interior of the restaurant and the menu, only make additions to the menu. Mohamed says she was friends with the previous owner and that was how she found out about the storefront vacancy.  Continue Reading

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CVS thief pulls a gun on store manager when confronted at the door (updated with video)

Posted on 18 May 2016

UPDATE (5/20/2016): Police released surveillance video from the CVS store where the robbery took place:

(5/18/2016, 17:17 p.m.): Police are looking for the man who they say stole some items at CVS at 43rd and Locust and then pulled a gun at the store manager when he tried to stop him at the entrance door. The incident, which is classified as an armed robbery, happened on Sunday night, shortly after 8 p.m.

The manager told police that he had observed the suspect placing merchandise into a black drawstring bag, and then confronted him at the entrance door and tried to retrieve the items. The suspect then pulled out a small black handgun. After seeing the gun the manager backed off and the suspect fled the store on foot, according to police. The manager followed the suspect on Locust St. toward 44th. The suspect turned south on 44th Street and walked away. Police say the robber took a hair straightener and some other unknown merchandise from the store.  Continue Reading

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Amazon opens first Pennsylvania location on Penn’s campus

Posted on 18 May 2016

Amazon has opened its first Pennsylvania physical site on the University of Pennsylvania campus, at 1920 Commons, 3800 Locust Walk. The facility, which is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 12 to 9 p.m. on weekends, can be used by Penn students and residents alike.

Amazon at Penn will offer more than two million items for same-day pickup for Amazon Student and Prime members and will also accept returns, according to a report by Philadelphia Business Journal.


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