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Custom-made swings added to The Porch at 30th St Station

Posted on 03 September 2015

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Photo courtesy University City District.

Custom-made swings, a new feature that was announced in the spring as part of a major enhancement of The Porch, a public space near 30th Street Station, are finally here. Designed by San Francisco-based Gehl Studio, the new swings are a result of the University City District’s mission to introduce innovative social seating in the area. You may have seen their Looped-In seating structures or custom public transit stop seats in your neighborhood.

The 14 slatted, wooden swings, which add an element of play to the space, were manufactured locally, by Bill Curran Design (BCD), based in Philadelphia’s East Falls. They come in three versions: the Porch Swing, which is meant to mimic swinging on a front porch; the Lounger, a gentle swing that simulates floating on air; and the Park Swing, an individual swing placed on the edges of the Porch.  Continue Reading

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Adopt a Cat: Cricket

Posted on 02 September 2015

Project MEOW, a West Philly-based feline rescue group, is stepping up their efforts of helping stray and feral cats and kittens in the area. But they need your help. Check out this creative poster distributed in the neighborhood.

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To help Project MEOW, which is a volunteer-run organization, and their rescues, we’ll be publishing a series of posts with information on cats available for adoption. Today, we are presenting the first adoptable kitty named Cricket.  Continue Reading

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Gush Gallery closes, flower shop to open at 5015 Baltimore Ave; Pope t-shirts at VIX and more Baltimore Avenue business news

Posted on 02 September 2015

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Archived photo (Selah Lynch/West Philly Local)

We have some news from the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue. After a year of operation, Gush Gallery has closed its doors. Local artists Stephanie Slate and Sarah Thielke opened the interactive art gallery in August 2014 after months of fundraising through Indiegogo, but in the end it turned out to be very difficult to keep the business sustainable at that location.

Their former space at 5015 Baltimore Ave will not stay empty for long though: Snapdragon Flowers (Facebook page), a flower shop run by Cedar Park-based florists, is slated for October 2015 opening. Once open the shop will offer fresh and preserved floral arrangements, as well as gifts and cards with a botanical theme. There will be a couple of chances to learn more about Snapdragon Flowers and meet the owners at the upcoming Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll and Go West! Craft Fest at The Woodlands.  Continue Reading

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Thank you Made in America: Trains every five minutes on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon

Posted on 01 September 2015

Even if Beyoncé or Death Cab for Cutie aren’t your jam, the enhanced SEPTA train schedule this weekend might get you where you want to go quicker. SEPTA is beefing up some of its schedules this weekend – Sept. 5 and 6 – to accommodate traffic to and from the annual Made in America show on the Benjamin 500px-septa_svgFranklin Parkway.

SEPTA announced that local train service will be available on the El (Market-Frankford Line) and the Broad Street Line every five minutes on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon and lasting “throughout the day.” Additional trains will also be deployed when the concert ends.

Additional evening trips will be added on Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36.

There will also be additional late-night regional rail trains leaving from Center City and 30th Street Station. The special schedules are available here.

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Mosquito spraying in some West Philly areas this Wednesday

Posted on 01 September 2015

On Wednesday evening, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health’s Vector Control staff will be in the Mann Center area and on the streets surrounding the Mann Center (between Belmont Ave. and Parkside Ave. and the area between 52nd St, Parkside Ave., and Columbia Ave.) applying treatments to control adult mosquitoes. Samples taken by Vector Control staff in the area have revealed the presence of adult mosquito populations that carry the West Nile virus, which, when transmitted to people, can cause West Nile encephalitis, an infection that can result in an inflammation of the brain.

A truck-mounted apparatus will be spraying fine aerosol droplets of Zenivex, a synthetic pyrethroid, which has no residual effects and evaporates quickly into the atmosphere, according to a Department of Public Health statement.

So far this season, one Philadelphia resident has developed severe West Nile virus infection and is recovering. Eighty-six positive mosquito samples have been found within the city and 1,819 statewide this year to date. Last season, there were 112 positive mosquito samples in Philadelphia.  Continue Reading

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The bar at 45th and Locust: From Watusi II to New Tavern to Dallol

Posted on 31 August 2015

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The New Tavern bar at the northwest corner of 45th and Locust Streets, which before last summer was known as the Watusi II, has recently reopened under a new name after being closed for renovations.

The new name, Dallol, is related to a place in Ethiopia with the world’s highest average temperature, and there is also a volcano with the same name in that area. As was reported earlier, the property at 232 S. 45th St., where the bar is located, was purchased last summer by Ethiopian American Temsgen Wolegzi.

Dallol is positioning itself as a sports bar, with six big flat-screen TV’s and a large beer selection, but it also has a dining room in the back. The bar offers both American and Ethiopian food menus (lunch and dinner). They also take reservations for parties. Finally, there may be outdoor seating coming soon, according to their Dallol Sports Bar site.

Dallol is open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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Gunpoint robbery by teens at 48th and Larchwood

Posted on 31 August 2015

Two people were robbed at gunpoint near 48th and Larchwood on early Sunday morning, according to police. The robbery took place around 1:30 a.m. when a 30-year-old man and 30-year-old woman were approached by two male teens (approximately 15-16 year-olds). One of them pointed a silver handgun at the man and said: “Give it up or it’s gonna be a homicide,” according to a police report. The suspects fled with two cell phones, keys, one of the victims’ ID and some cash.

Police say that the victims didn’t report the incident until 3:30 p.m. on Sunday and said they would not recognize the attackers if they saw them again.

 

Related post: Uptick in robberies reported by police, residents

 

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Japanese Obon Festival & Philly Zine Fest this Sunday

Posted on 28 August 2015

Check out these two cool and free events happening in the neighborhood this weekend, in addition to the movies at Clark Park (Friday, 7 p.m.), 40th Street Summer Series concert (Saturday, 6 p.m.), and Back 2 School Extravaganza at Malcolm X Park (Sunday, 2-6 p.m.). For more events, or to submit an event please visit our Events Calendar.

 

obon1Philadelphia Obon Festival at Clark Park (43rd and Baltimore)

Sunday, 2-5 p.m.

Here’s a great chance to learn more about Japan and its culture at the third annual Philadelphia Obon Festival taking place in Clark Park this Sunday. The festival is presented by the Japanese House and Gardens. Activities include a participatory Bon Odori circle dance, a Japanese tea ceremony, Japanese music, including taiko drumming, and more. Guests can also enjoy delicious Japanese/Hawaiian street food on sale from Poi Dog Philly food truck. This is a free and fun event for both adults and children.

 

ZinefestPhilly Zine Fest at The Rotunda (40th and Walnut)

Sunday, noon-7 p.m.

Also on Sunday, The Rotunda is hosting the annual festival celebrating independent publishing – the Philly Zine Fest. Nearly 40 exhibitors will present their publications, from radical to informative to humorous. West Philly’s independent publishing center, The Soapbox, will also participate in the event. Check out an article by Philly.com with some more details about the fest. Here‘s the event’s Facebook page. Free admission.

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Back 2 School Extravaganza at Malcolm X Park this Sunday

Posted on 28 August 2015

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The Nehemiah Davis Foundation presents its 7th annual Back 2 School Extravaganza on Sunday, Aug. 30, 2-6 p.m., at Malcolm X Park (52nd and Pine). Kids and families are invited to enjoy some fun activities at the park, such as moon bounces, games, pony rides, live music and more. The organizers are also planning to provide 1,000 book bags to the kids who will attend (300 backpacks will go to those kids who were first to pre-register for the event). The event is free and includes free food. For more information, visit: www.nehemiahdavisfoundation.org.

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Blight, litter and affordable housing – top residents’ concerns at Walnut Hill plan meeting

Posted on 28 August 2015

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Residents rank priorities as part of drafting the Walnut Hill neighborhood plan last night at The Enterprise Center (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local).

A group of Walnut Hill residents met last night to put the finishing touches on a five-year plan that they hope will eliminate blight, improve local business and affordable housing opportunities and cut down on litter in the neighborhood.

The meeting was the final in a series of gatherings to create a plan that balances the demographic changes in the neighborhood in recent years with the needs and interests of long-time residents.

Walnut Hill’s borders are Market Street to the north, Spruce Street to the south, 52nd Street to the west and 45th Street to the east. The neighborhood’s population has changed a lot since the 2000 census. The number of white residents has risen from 12 to 23 percent and the number of African American residents has declined from 81 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in 2010, the year of the latest census. That number has probably dropped even further since then.  Continue Reading

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Latest crime reports: West Philly Rite Aid robber at large; multiple burglaries near Drexel University

Posted on 27 August 2015

Multiple-Robberies-DC-15-18-055582-DC-15-18-55639-DC-15-12-066004• Police have released images and surveillance video of a man who they believe robbed two Rite Aid stores in West Philadelphia and are asking for the public’s assistance to identify and locate him. Police say that the man is involved in three robberies at Rite Aid stores located at 5214 Baltimore Ave. and 5699 Chestnut St. that took place between Aug. 20 and Aug. 24. Each robbery had a similar pattern – the man entered the store, picked up some items and brought them to the register. Then he announced a robbery while simulating a weapon in his sweatshirt pocket. The man has already stolen nearly $1,000 from the stores, according to police.  Continue Reading

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Science Center’s makerspace Department of Making + Doing to close this Fall

Posted on 27 August 2015

DeptofMakingThe Department of Making + Doing (DM + D), a collaborative workspace among four Philadelphia organizations, The Hacktory, NextFab Studio, Public Workshop, and Science Center’s First Hand, will close in November, according to Technically Philly. The University City Science Center-based space has been hosting youth-oriented workshops and other programming in technology, design, fabrication, and art for more than two years. DM + D partners revealed that the reason for closing the workshop is sustainability issues at the current location at 3711 Market St.

The good news though is that the four organizations are planning to continue their work at other locations. The Hacktory, which joined the collaborative and moved to the Science Center last year, is currently looking for a new space in West Philly, according to Technically Philly. The tech group offers classes and afterschool programs for local youth. We’ll let you know when we have more information about their new location.

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Walnut Street West Library closed until Monday, Aug 31

Posted on 26 August 2015

Unfortunately, Walnut Street West Library at 40th and Walnut is closed again due to an unexpected building emergency. The staff are cautiously optimistic that they will be able to reopen by Monday, Aug. 31. The library was closed for a few days earlier this month because of HVAC issues.

Please check the library’s Facebook page for updates.

 

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Construction at 43rd and Baltimore slated for next summer

Posted on 26 August 2015

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Click to enlarge.

Here’s a short update on the widely discussed mixed-use residential and commercial project at 4224 Baltimore Avenue across from Clark Park. Construction of the 132-unit building, which will include upscale rental apartments aimed at young professionals and condo units for sale, is not expected to start until late summer 2016, according to a letter to the SHCA Zoning Committee and the Spruce Hill community sent by the land owner Clarkmore LP and project developer U3 Ventures. The project was approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in June after weeks of delays, clearing the last hurdle for the project to go ahead.

“We are now pursuing detailed design, construction cost estimation, [and] retail tenanting along with other detailed planning work,” reads the letter signed by Lenard Thylan, Omar Blaik, and Tom Lussenhop.

Although more details are not yet available, the 17,000 feet of commercial space may include a large fitness center and a full-service restaurant with outdoor seating, among other retail options. We’ll keep you posted when we have more information.

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6-year-old neighbor hosting ongoing ‘Super Duper’ food drive in Clark Park

Posted on 25 August 2015

elliottSix-year-old Elliott is in Clark Park every Wednesday to collect canned goods and other non-perishables for Philadelphians in need. His ongoing “Super-Duper Food Drive,” which benefits Philabundance, started in early August, and the response so far has been great. This Wednesday, Elliott will be in Clark Park at 43rd and Chester from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for his 4th collection, so everyone is welcome to swing by and bring a donation. High-priority items are:

• Jelly, jams or preserves;
• Miscellaneous shelf-stable proteins (peanut butter, beans, canned stews, or chili);
• Pasta, rice, & dry mixes;
• Breakfast foods (hot & cold cereals, bars, & oatmeal)

Elliott plans to host many more events throughout the year, according to his mom Jennifer. “We’d like to get others involved, especially kids,” she writes. “Elliott wanted to fill my empty coffee cans with food + water for those in need, so this is our compromise: an ongoing food drive to benefit Philabundance.”

For more information on Elliott’s Super-Duper Food Drive check out this Facebook page.

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Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan to be unveiled this Thursday

Posted on 24 August 2015

WalnutHilllogoAfter a series of community meetings and discussions, the draft Walnut Hill Neighborhood Plan 2015 is ready and will be unveiled on Thursday, Aug. 27. Residents, stakeholders, and anyone interested are invited to the presentation and provide feedback on the new recommendations to guide the neighborhood’s development over the next five years.

The first neighborhood plan update meeting took place in February, when participants were presented information on the changes that occurred in the neighborhood since the previous plan was written. During the second meeting in May Walnut Hill residents took an active role in the planning process and voted on their top neighborhood priorities in the following areas: business and housing, streets and parking, healthy communities, and community development.

The meeting will be held from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Enterprise Center (4548 Market St.).

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Pool season extended at two West Philly pools

Posted on 24 August 2015

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John B. Kelly pool in Fairmount Park (Facebook photo).

Most outdoor city pools closed for the season last week, but here’s good news: nine pools will remain open through Thursday, Aug. 27, probably because of a late Labor Day and Sept. 8 start of the school year at Philadelphia public schools. Two of the pools with the extended season are in West Philly – John B. Kelly Pool (Facebook page) is located in West Fairmount Park next to the Please Touch Museum and Christy pool is at 56th and Christian. For information on the other pools please visit Phillypublicpools.com.

Here are the weekday hours for the Kelly pool:

Lap swimming 11 a.m. – 6:45 p.m.; open swim 1-4 p.m.; adult swim Mon, Wed, Fri 5-6:45 p.m.; family swim Tue, Thu 5-6:45 p.m.

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Demolition begins on historic mansion at 40th and Pine (updated)

Posted on 22 August 2015

UPDATE (8/22/2015): Demolition of the mid-19th century mansion at 40th and Pine has begun.

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(8/18/2015): Demolition of the old mansion at 40th and Pine is expected to begin this week, according to the signs posted at the site:

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Historical Commission cleared the way for demolition of the building in December 2014, after years of the dispute between the University of Pennsylvania, which owns the building, and the Woodland Terrace Homeowners Association over the mansion’s future. Architect Samuel Sloan-designed Italianate mansion was built in 1850’s. Penn purchased the property in 2008 and claimed financial hardship, which allowed them to demolish the building to make room for student housing. However, in 2013, they presented a compromise plan to incorporate the original part of the building into the proposed apartment complex, “Azalea Gardens.” The Woodland Terrace Homeowners Association rejected the proposal.

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Young man dead in overnight shooting near 54th and Baltimore

Posted on 22 August 2015

Police are investigating an overnight shooting on the 5400 block of Norfolk St., which left one person dead. A 21-year-old man was shot multiple times and was taken to Mercy Hospital by a private vehicle shortly before 1 a.m., according to a police report. The man was suffering from numerous gunshot wounds to his entire body, according to police. He was pronounced dead at around 1:20 a.m. on Saturday.

So far police have no suspects and no motive for the shooting. The investigation continues.

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