Public schools closed on Friday, March 6

Posted on 05 March 2015

Another snow day at the Philadelphia public schools! The School District has announced that all public schools will be closed on Friday, March 6 due to the inclement weather. All pre-kindergarten and after school programs will also be closed. Administrative offices will be open two hours late.

This will be the second day in a row when public schools are closed as a result of heavy snowfall in the region.


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Study shows that not all parklets are created equal

Posted on 05 March 2015

manakeesh parkletThe numbers are in for “parklets,” those little curbside, pop-up platforms with tables and chairs found outside a few local businesses, and it turns out that people, and businesses, seem to like them.

The University City District studied parklet use in 2013 – observing and counting who used them and how – and released a report this week detailing what they found. The study included six parklets outside the Green Line Cafe on Baltimore Avenue, Honest Tom’s/Lil’ Pop Shop, Fu-Wah Market, Manakeesh Cafe, Little Baby’s Ice Cream in Cedar Park and Ramen Bar at 4040 Locust.

To get the data, the UCD parked an intern at each spot during the operating hours of the host businesses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the spring and summer of 2013.

It shows that most of the people who use the parklets are patrons of the “host” businesses (you don’t have to be, but most were). In terms of daily unique users, the Honest Tom’s/Lil’ Pop Shop parklet (which both offer very portable products) saw the most traffic (just over 140 per day) with the Green Line spot second at about 60 visitors. The parklet outside of Manakeesh, which sits curbside along a busy section of Walnut Street got only a few visitors per day.

Use at the Honest Tom’s/Lil’ Pop Shop location spiked at about 2 p.m. and then again at about 6:30 p.m. Green Line’s parklet was busiest at about 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Little Baby’s parklet saw most of its daily use between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The others spiked during lunch and dinner times.  Continue Reading

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Some mayoral, city council candidates at forum in West Philly this Thursday. Update: Cancelled due to snow

Posted on 05 March 2015


Mayoral candidate Jim Kenney (Facebook photo).

UPDATE (3/5/2015): The event has been cancelled due to the inclement weather and will be re-scheduled. Stay tuned for more information.

This Thursday, March 5, the 27th Ward Democratic Executive Committee will host a forum with candidates contending in May’s primary. Mayoral candidate and former city councilman Jim Kenney and city council candidates will be present, including Blondell Reynolds Brown, William K. Greenlee, Ed Neilson, and W. Wilson Goode, Jr.

The public is welcome to attend this meeting, which will take place at Rosenberger Hall at the University of the Sciences (600 S. 43rd Street, near Woodland Ave.), starting at 7:30 p.m.

The primary election will be held May 19 and the general election is slated for Nov. 3. You can get up to speed on the council and mayoral candidates on the Committee of Seventy website.


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The Enterprise Center awarding up to $50,000 to Philly food entrepreneurs; apply by March 11

Posted on 05 March 2015

cooking_up_success_logo_featured_initiativesHere is an awesome opportunity for local food entrepreneurs to get financial and technical support for their growing businesses. The Enterprise Center is awarding selected businesses up to $50,000, including 15 hours (valued at $450) of kitchen time at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (48th and Spruce). Applications are currently being accepted for the Cooking Up Success! culinary competition in the following categories: Innovative Food Creation, Emerging Food Business, and Innovative Collaboration. Applicants’ businesses must be located in Philadelphia and Emerging Food Businesses must be within 0-6 months of operation in order to be considered for the award.

The Innovative Food Creation category is for entrepreneurs who have an innovative food product to be sold wholesale or in the form of a catering business. Applicants can select one of six sub-categories when they submit their business summary entry.

The Emerging Food Business category is for new or established brick-and-mortar businesses, including coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and food trucks.

Finally, two or more entrepreneurs working together on a collaborative food product or business are welcome to submit their application in the Innovative Collaboration category.

All applicants must submit their business plan online by March 11, 2015.

Local culinary experts and professionals will select top finalists in each category, based on entrepreneurs’ business sustainability and product quality. Friends, family and associates then will vote on these finalists as they show off their dishes or products at the Cooking up Success! Philly Made event at the Culinary Center on May 19, 2015.

For more information and to submit your application, go here.

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Snow emergency starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, March 5; Schools closed, trash pickup canceled Thursday

Posted on 04 March 2015

Snow emergency: In anticipation of a heavy snowfall expected to hit the Philadelphia area overnight and in the morning, the city has declared a snow emergency in effect starting at 6 a.m. on Thursday, March 5. If you parked your vehicle along one of the emergency routes the city wants you to move it. All vehicles remaining parked along the emergency routes after 6 a.m. will be towed. If your car is towed please call 215-686-SNOW.

Here are the snow emergency routes in West Philadelphia:

• Chestnut Street from Cobbs Creek Parkway to 20th Street
• Walnut Street from Broad Street to Cobbs Creek Parkway
• Woodland Avenue from Cobbs Creek Parkway to University Avenue
• 34th Street from University Avenue to Grays Ferry Avenue
• 38th Street from Walnut to University Avenue
• 63rd Street from City Avenue to Walnut Street
• University Avenue from 38th Street to 34th Street
• Island Avenue from Woodland Avenue to Enterprise Avenue
• Cobbs Creek Parkway from Walnut Street to Woodland Avenue
• Schuylkill Avenue from Market Street to Walnut Street

Trash collection: Snow emergency also means that there will be no trash and recycling pick up this Thursday because garbage trucks will be used for snow removal. If your trash collection day is Thursday please hold it until next Thursday. The Streets Department also announced that only trash and recyclables set out curbside will be picked up this Friday (no rear drive pick-up).

Schools: All public and Archdiocese schools will be closed on Thursday due to the snowstorm.

SEPTA: The following bus routes are currently on detour: 7, 9, 14, 19, 27, 28, 31, 32, 38, 44, 48, 52, 55, 56, 58, 62, 65, 84, 88, 90, 92, 93, 95, 97, 98, 99, 103, 104, 107, 109, 110, 111, 112, 114, 115, 117, 118, 119, 120, 125, 126, 131 and G. Information on the detours for specific routes will be published on the System Status section of the SEPTA website. Click on the weather icon next to the route for complete details.

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Summer Camps 2015 page launched

Posted on 04 March 2015

sun_clipartDear West Philly parents and guardians,

We have updated our Summer Camps page where you can find information not only on West Philly based camps but also on many camps in other parts of the city. Registration for many camps has already started (and some of them are already almost full!). Registration for some camps is expected to start this or next month. We will be updating the page as we receive more information.

If you are looking for a summer camp in West Philadelphia, check out the list below. These camps have already posted information about their Summer 2015 registration (please email if you want your camp to be included in the listings).

Curio Theatre Summer Camp
University City Arts League Summer Arts Camp
Lavner Camps and Programs at UPenn (Fashion, Jewelry, Video Game Design, Coding, Robotics, Chess and more camps)
Neighborhood Bike Works Cycling Day Camp
“Anthropologists in the Making” Summer Camp at Penn Museum
Summer Sports Camps at UPenn (Baseball, Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Gymnastics and more camps)
University City Field Hockey Day Camp
Summer Camp at PIC
Al-Bustan Camp: An Arabic Language and Cultural Day Camp
Camp Sojourner, Girls’ Leadership Camp
Summer Camp at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden
iD Tech Camps at UPenn
“Wildlife Warriors” Summer Camp at Philadelphia Zoo
Youth Summer Cooking Camp
YMCA West Philadelphia Branch Day Camp


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New “flat pricing” concept restaurant opens at 39th and Chestnut

Posted on 02 March 2015


Photo courtesy of William Street Common.

Anyone who has worked in the restaurant industry knows how unpredictable earning a living can be, especially with varying beliefs about tipping. Bottom line: for a server or a bartender, income can be completely arbitrary according to how customers are feeling at any given moment.

Restaurateur Avram Hornick wants to take the guesswork out of the tipping process with his new venture at 39th and Chestnut, William Street Common, which opened last week. He expects it to attract a crowd different from his other spots in the area, such as Morgan’s Pier.

“First, the whole purpose is social conversation,” said Hornick. “West Philly; what’s interesting about it is its diversity. I wouldn’t call it a melting pot, more like a jambalaya. The parts are separate. I would like to make the mixing of these parts possible here.”

William Street Common features long communal tables, beer garden style.  Continue Reading

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Public schools to open two hours late on Monday

Posted on 02 March 2015

All public schools will open two hours late on Monday, March 2, due to icy road conditions. There is also a two-hour delay opening for all prekindergarten programs and all administrative offices.

Please go to for updates. Updated information will also be posted on the District’s Information Hotline at 215-400-INFO (4636).


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Public school breakfast, lunch menu for March, 2015

Posted on 01 March 2015

Click on the images below to view breakfast and lunch menus to be served in Philadelphia public schools in March, 2015. If your school uses a Satellite menu, click here.

K-8 Breakfast and Lunch Menu, March 2015


9-12 Breakfast and Lunch Menu, March 2015



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Neighborhood Bike Works offers free Spring programs for local youth

Posted on 27 February 2015


Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW), a great local non-profit teaching youth how to bike safely and how to repair bikes, is offering two FREE entry level after-school programs starting next month. Anyone ages 8 – 18 can join these programs (see more details below). Also, check out NBW’s Summer Cycling Day Camp. Registration for Summer 2015 is not available yet, but you can email with questions. NBW’s West Philly shop is located at 3916 Locust Walk (behind St. Mary’s Episcopal Church).

Earn A Bike
March 3 – April 16, 2015
Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Youth learn the basics of bike repair and maintenance, safe urban riding, and health and nutrition while refurbishing an abandoned bike. Program participants get to keep the bike that they refurbish in the course! For more information and to sign up, click hereContinue Reading

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Two upcoming Purim events at Kol Tzedek

Posted on 26 February 2015


Kol Tzedek Purim Party. (Photo from

The West Philly local synagogue Kol Tzedek will be holding two Purim events this and next week (Saturday, Feb. 28 and Wednesday, March 4). All community members are invited to take part in the celebration (you don’t have to be a member of the synagogue to participate in the events), hear the story of Purim, try delicious hamentashen, watch Purim performances, sing, dance and have fun. Both events draw a crowd of over 100 people, according to Kol Tzedek member and event organizer Rowan Machalow, who sent us this information. Kol Tzedek is located at the Calvary Center (48th St. and Baltimore Ave.). Here’s more information about the events from Kol Tzedek:

Annual Purim Rock Spiel led by Jessi Roemer & the Purim Players
Sat, Feb. 28, 4:15 p.m.

Mi Zeh Ba? Who is that coming? Rock-n-Roll Ahashverosh? Blues-Man Haman? Bassa Nova Esther? Come laugh, sing, dance, and enjoy our fabulous, fun for all ages Purim spiel (play) and celebration! Continue Reading

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Learn more about Walnut Hill neighborhood changes, planning tonight at 6 p.m.

Posted on 26 February 2015

WalnutHilllogoIf you want to participate in the Walnut Hill neighborhood planning, here’s a great chance to learn more and have your say about the planning process. Tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m., come to The Enterprise Center at 4548 Market Street to the first community meeting discussing the update of the Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Walnut Hill Community Association’s monthly meeting.

This meeting will allow residents of Walnut Hill (roughly from from Market Street south to Spruce and 45th to 52nd Street) to take an active role in the planning process, as well as provide them with information about changes in the neighborhood that have occurred since the previous plan was written. A short presentation will be given describing demographic changes since the last plan along with existing neighborhood conditions. A timeline outlining the planning process will also be presented.

The meeting is also an opportunity for residents to talk about their neighborhood priorities.

For inquiries related to the Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan update please contact Daniel Levin, Special Projects Manager at The Enterprise Center CDC: or 215-895-4014.

Also, visit the Walnut Hill Community Association website for more information about the neighborhood.

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Kindergarten Open Houses scheduled for March 4

Posted on 25 February 2015

The year’s first kindergarten open houses will be held next Wednesday, March 4. Here’s a list of West Philly schools located in the zip codes 19104, 19139, and 19143 and their open house hours. The list has been compiled by the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. This is a great chance for parents and guardians to visit kindergarten classrooms and meet teachers. The second round of kindergarten open houses will take place in May.

A. D. Harrington School
5300-34 Baltimore Ave
(215) 471-2914
Open House: March 4, 9:09-9:45 a.m. in the Annex building

Alain Locke School
4550 Haverford Ave.
(215) 823-8202
Open House: March 4, 9:30 a.m.

B. B. Comegys School
5100 Greenway Ave.
(215) 727-2162
Open House: March 4, 10:00-10:45 a.m.

Henry C. Lea School
4700 Locust St.
(215) 471-2915
Open House: March 4, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Martha Washington Academics
766 N. 44th St.
(215) 823-8203
Open House: 3/4, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Morton McMichael School
3543 Fairmount Ave.
(215) 823-8272
Open House: March 4, 10:30 a.m.

Penn Alexander School
4209 Spruce St.
(215) 823-5465
Open House: March 4, 9:30 a.m.

Samuel Powel School
301 N. 36th St.
(215) 823-8201
Open House: March 4, 9:00 a.m.

Samuel B. Huey School
5200 Pine St.
(215) 471-2901
Open House: March 4, 10:00 a.m.

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Demolition of ice-covered building at 52nd and Locust begins

Posted on 24 February 2015


Photo by George Bantel (

Demolition of the Locust Medical Center Building on the corner of 52nd and Locust has begun. The building became some sort of a local attraction after it was heavily damaged by a fire and extreme ice build-up during the extinguishing process last week. The Department of Licenses and Inspections ordered the demolition because of the structural damage caused by the fire and the weight of the ice (inside and outside).


The Locust Medical Center building before demolition. (Photos by Lady Merlin)



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Meet local business owners tonight at Dock Street

Posted on 23 February 2015

The Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) is inviting neighbors to Dock Street Brewery (50th and Baltimore) tonight, from 6 to 8 p.m. for a meet and greet with local business owners. The event will include food (pizza and snacks), beer, fun, networking, and door prizes (see flier below).

BABA is a member organization that promotes and supports businesses along the Baltimore Avenue corridor. Check its website ( for more information.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.01.31 AM

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SRC approves Independence Charter School West, four others

Posted on 19 February 2015

Independence Charter School West was one of five new charter schools approved last night amid a raucous School Reform Commission meeting.

Under its newly granted charter, the school will open in 2016 to K-4 students and will be located in the 19142 zip code in Southwest Philly. The school “will recruit 50 percent of its students from within zip codes 19143 [which includes Cedar Park and Kingsessing] and 19139 [including Walnut Hill], and 50 percent from other parts of the city,” according to its application filed with the district. Another revision to the application caps the total number of students at 300 in the school’s first year.

Independence, like the other charter operators approved on Wednesday, already runs at least one school in the city. The others approved include schools proposed by Mastery, KIPP, Freire and MaSTContinue Reading

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Latest Crime Reports: Police looking for three serial robbers; Burglary arrest

Posted on 19 February 2015

Police are looking for three men between 18 and 20 years old who they say have been involved in at least four robberies in West Philly over the last two weeks. The first robbery took place on Feb. 8 near 38th and Baring in Mantua, according to police, when the suspects robbed a pizza delivery man at gunpoint. An undisclosed amount of cash was taken in that robbery. Police say the same three men used a gun to rob a 27-year-old woman near her apartment entrance at 44th and Pine on Feb. 12. They reportedly took the woman’s phone and purse.

The third robbery took place in Powelton Village, near 31st and Hamilton on Sunday, when the men robbed a 20-year-old woman, also at gunpoint, near her apartment, according to police.

The latest robbery happened on Monday, Feb. 16, when the suspects responded to a Craigslist ad by a person who was selling a paintball gun. The seller brought the paintball gun to a location near 41st and Spring Garden where he was robbed at gunpoint by the same three men, according to police. They reportedly took the man’s laptop and cell phone.  Continue Reading

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Ice covered building at 52nd and Locust to be demolished

Posted on 19 February 2015

frozen buildingThe three-story Locust Medical Center building at 52nd and Locust, which is covered with a thick layer of ice after an early Monday morning fire that was put out in freezing temperatures, is going to be demolished, according to reports. The authorities announced on Tuesday that the building may collapse at any moment, and the streets around the building have been closed all week. It is not yet know when the demolition will start.

The Fire Marshal is expected to release information on the cause of the fire soon.


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UCAL presents ‘Art in the Open’ at the gallery and ‘Ci-Lines’ at historic St. Andrews Chapel

Posted on 18 February 2015

The University City Arts League (UCAL) is preparing for two big weekends as it will be opening two concurrent exhibitions. “Art in the Open,” a group show of eight multidisciplinary artists will open at noon this Friday at the UCAL Gallery (4226 Spruce St), and New York artist Aaron Asis will present “Ci-Lines,” a pop-up satellite installation across the street at the historic St. Andrew’s Collegiate Chapel (42nd and Spruce, entrance at 42nd and Locust) starting next Saturday, Feb. 28. This will be a rare opportunity to get inside St. Andrew’s.

Artintheopen“Art in the Open” is part of an annual event series. Over the course of four days in May 2014, thirty artists created art inspired by the landscape along Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. Materials used to create their works along the River Walk include sound, spray paint, string and electrical tape. The UCAL gallery will host eight of the artists participating in the program: Noemi Armstrong, Aaron Asis, Lewis Colburn, Heejin Jang, Tom Judd, Eun Hye Kang, Tyler Kline, and Mat Tomezsko. The featured artists hail from as far as South Korea and as near as Philadelphia. This event will be the second of three parts of the “Art in the Open” series. The opening reception will take place this Friday (Feb. 20) from 6-8 p.m. The exhibit will be available for public viewing from February 20 until March 20, from noon to 6 p.m.  Continue Reading

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