New music venue to rock West Philly

Posted on 20 January 2017

Photo courtesy of REC Philly.

As the state of music venues in West Philly stands, house shows reign supreme while The Rotunda and World Cafe Live are really the only two music venues in this part of town. Unlike in Callowhill and Center City, there are few choices for local musicians and touring acts to play in West Philly.

Here’s where Live! at William Street Common comes in. When the restaurant opened a little under a year ago at 3900 Chestnut Street, it was focused on pioneering their “flat pricing” concept. Since then, the communal dining restaurant and bar cut down on business hours and invited event management company REC Philly to spearhead its music series. The company also manages events at the Screening Room in Manayunk.

What’s the plan for this space in particular?  Continue Reading

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Learn about development plans for Hawthorne Hall and the United Bank building tonight

Posted on 19 January 2017

Here’s an opportunity to learn about future development of two properties in Powelton Village – Hawthorne Hall and the United Bank building. People’s Emergency Center (PEC) will present updates on the potential uses of these two properties at tonight’s community meeting, and neighbors are invited to participate in the visioning process.

The meeting will be held at the United Bank building (3750 Lancaster Ave.), beginning at 7 p.m.

Hawthorne Hall (3849 Lancaster Ave) was built in 1895 and serves as a landmark for the Powelton Village/Mantua neighborhoods. Now vacant property is listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. It was bought by the People’s Emergency Center (PEC) in 2012 for $385,000.

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Inauguration Day in West Philly

Posted on 18 January 2017

If you’re looking for ways to cope with the upcoming presidential inauguration (we’re in West Philly, right?), check out these local events on Friday, Jan. 20. There will be an opportunity to have a conversation with other community members, to relax with some free acupuncture treatments, and dine at a local restaurant in support of refugees.

West Philly Community Solidarity Gathering

Calvary Center for Culture and Community (48th and Baltimore)

5:30 – 8 p.m.

Join your West Philly neighbors for an evening of solidarity, connection, conversation, song and food. Everyone is welcome, including young people accompanied by parents or caregivers. The schedule includes: Gathering and Interfaith Service at 5:30 p.m; Dinner and discussion groups at 6:30 p.m.; Singing and more conversation at 7:30 p.m.

Free-will donations at the door will be collected to cover expenses and to benefit the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Suggested donation range is $5-25, and no one will be turned away due to financial restrictions.  Continue Reading

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Historical Commission designates 420-434 S. 42nd “historic district,” first in city since 2010

Posted on 17 January 2017

The Philadelphia Historical Commission voted Friday to designate the west side of the 400 block of S. 42nd Street (420-434 S. 42nd) a historic district, a significant victory for local preservationists who want to protect historic buildings from the rapid development sweeping many of the city’s neighborhoods.

Named the “420 Row,” the cluster of Victorian row homes is the first historic district to be named since 2010, according to the Historical Commission. Designation means that the Historic Commission must approve any demolition or significant changes to the buildings. The designation comes as plans to convert one of the residences, a former fraternity house, into apartments are before the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee.

Block captain Justin McDaniel spearheaded the effort. Here is the designation application. Here is a list of other historic districts in the city, which include Parkside in West Philadelphia.

Increased development and a reluctance to grant historic status to large parts of West Philadelphia has prompted preservationists, including many members of local zoning committees, to seek designation on a “block by block” basis. Other designation applications are likely to follow.  Continue Reading

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Series of armed robberies reported in Spruce Hill, Garden Court (Update: Suspect arrested)

Posted on 17 January 2017

UPDATE (Thursday, Jan. 19): A suspect was detained Tuesday near 40th and Walnut, according to police. At approximately 11 a.m., one of the robbery victims observed a male in the area who he recognized as the male who had robbed him earlier that morning. He called 911, and the male was stopped by responding officers and positively identified by the victim. The male was later identified as 56-year-old Larry Brown. He was arrested and charged with robbery, terroristic threats and related offenses.

Police are investigating a series of gunpoint robberies that took place between 8:30 p.m. on Monday and 7:05 a.m. on Tuesday between 43rd and 47th Streets and Spruce St. and Cedar Ave. A total of four robberies were reported, and police believe they were committed by the same suspect, described as a black male, about 5 feet, 6 inches, with a thin build and a beard, wearing a maroon hooded sweatshirt, shorts, and spandex tights.

The first robbery took place in Garden Court at about 8:30 p.m. on Monday when a 38-year-old woman was approached by an unknown male on Pine St. between 46th and 47th. The man showed the woman a gun and demanded her purse which contained her cell phone, debit/credit cards, checkbook and cash. The man also indecently assaulted the woman before fleeing in an unknown direction, according to a police report.

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Teen fatally shot on 200 block of N. 52nd St (updated)

Posted on 16 January 2017

UPDATE (1/17/2017): Police have recovered surveillance video from inside the store. The video shows an unknown black male wearing a green hooded jacket entering the store, pulling out a handgun and directing the victim, 16-year-old Sean D-Jones, to the floor. After several minutes talking on a cell phone, with Jones still on the floor, the suspect shot him one time in the head, according to a police report. After shooting Jones, the suspect calmly walked out of the building and headed north on N. 52nd Street towards Haverford Ave. The victim’s father was in the back of the storefront residence during the shooting. He heard a “thump” and minutes later discovered his son bleeding on the floor, according to the report.

Police are searching for the gunman who shot and killed a 16-year-old youth on Sunday afternoon in West Philadelphia.

The victim, identified as Sean-D Jones, was inside his father’s store, Gary Global Links Video Productions, located on the 200 block of N. 52nd Street, when someone entered the store and shot him once in the head shortly after 12 p.m., according to police. The teen was critically injured and died at a local hospital a short time later, according to reports. So far no arrests have been made.

Jones and his older brother recently immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica, according to reports. 6ABC spoke to Jones’ brother, Shaquille Jones.


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USciences hosting two community events on MLK Day

Posted on 13 January 2017

The University of the Sciences (USciences) is honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by hosting two community events, one for adults and the other one for children, on Monday, Jan. 16. Both are free and open to everyone.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., USciences faculty, staff, and students will conduct health screenings at a free Adult Health Clinic at Mt. Zion Baptist Church (5015 Woodland Ave.) and will be available to discuss relevant health issues.

From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., young neighbors and their parents or guardians are invited to a Youth Health and Science Fair at USciences’ Athletic Recreation Center (600 South 43rd St., Multipurpose Room). This event is offering many free activities for children, including dance and yoga classes, sports clinics, hands-on science experiments, games and a performance from the Kingsessing Singers Chamber Choir.  Continue Reading

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MLK Day of Service: events, volunteer opportunities (updated)

Posted on 12 January 2017

mlk-day-logoMartin Luther King Jr. Day is this Monday (Jan. 16). Here’s a list of events and Day of Service opportunities for local residents. Some events are being held starting this weekend and will go on until Feb. 2. More MLK Day of Service community projects can be found here.

Friday, Jan. 13

• MLK Weekend of Service at Repair the World: Philadelphia  – Jan. 13-16

Repair the World: Philadelphia will honor the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all weekend long through offering a variety of volunteer opportunities and chances to engage with other community members. Click here to register.

Sunday, Jan. 15

Annual Symposium on Social Change Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. at the University of Pennsylvania – Jan. 15-Feb. 2, 2017

The University of Pennsylvania will honor the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. with film screenings, lectures, workshops, panel discussions and musical performances. All events are free and open to the public. Click here for more information.  Continue Reading

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New grocery store operator confirmed for 40th and Walnut

Posted on 11 January 2017

The University of Pennsylvania has confirmed that the Fresh Grocer that has been operating at the corner of 40th and Walnut for 15 years will soon be replaced by another operator.

In an e-mail to West Philly Local, Jennifer Rizzi, Director of Communications at Penn, confirmed that the university, which owns the building where the Fresh Grocer is currently located, “began lease discussions with a new operator and will soon announce plans with this operator for an exciting, upgraded state of the art urban supermarket at the 40th and Walnut location.” The decision to seek proposals from a variety of grocery stores for this location was made after the Fresh Grocer “failed to renew the lease for almost 4 months after the deadline [November 2015],” according to the email.  Continue Reading

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West Philly “Shark Tank” contestants open pop-up restaurant

Posted on 10 January 2017

The two sisters behind LuLu Bang, who recently appeared on ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank,” have just opened a new pop-up restaurant in West Philly. Jorrae and Kelly Beard, the owners of LuLu Bang Sauces and Marinades, opened Lulu Bang Burgers & Wangs on Jan. 2 at The Common Table at 310 S. 48th St.. The restaurant is part of the Dorrance H. Hamilton Center for Culinary Enterprises (CCE) incubator program.

The pop-up restaurant will operate at this location until March 31; LuLu Bang is an active member of the CCE and will have the organization’s support during their launch phase. While temporarily using space at The Common Table, the program will continue to seek a permanent location for LuLu Bang’s future restaurant and will launch a kick starter campaign for 60 days.  Continue Reading

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Grave Gardeners sought for 2017 growing season at The Woodlands

Posted on 09 January 2017


The Woodlands Grave Gardener program is returning this spring for the second year and volunteers are needed. Here’s how it works:

rc2016007_490Each volunteer (75 are needed) will be assigned to adopt a “cradle” grave at The Woodlands during the 2017 growing season. These graves were originally designed to be planters, so the volunteers are expected to plant and tend to their assigned “cradle” grave throughout the growing season (March-October). All gardens will be designed with the Victorian Garden aesthetic in mind. An approved planting list has been created by The Woodlands to help guide the gardeners.

A series of gardening workshops will also be offered to the program participants. The first workshop, on Gardening for Beginners with Sally McCabe of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), will be held on February 1.

Those interested to participate in the program are asked to submit an application. The deadline is January 20.

For more information and to apply, click here.

(Photos courtesy of The Woodlands).

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Pizza delivery driver shot by police in 2014 in Cedar Park awarded $4.4 million

Posted on 06 January 2017

The City of Philadelphia will pay $4.4 million to Philippe Holland, the pizza delivery driver who was shot several times in April 2014 in the Cedar Park neighborhood by two police officers who thought he was involved in a shooting.


         Philippe Holland

The settlement is the largest in the city’s history for a victim of a police shooting, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“We will strive to ensure that tragedies such as this do not happen again in our City. The Philadelphia Police Department has agreed under the settlement to implement a new training protocol for all current and new plainclothes police officers,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said in a statement released today by the Mayor’s Office.

Holland had just delivered a pizza to a home near 51st and Willows at about 10 p.m. on April 22, 2014 when two plain-clothes officers, Mitchell Farrell and Kevin Hanvey, approached him with their guns drawn. Farrell and Hanvey were investigating a shooting in the area. Fearing a robbery, Holland ran to his car and tried to drive away. The officers opened fire, hitting Holland in the neck, head and leg while he was behind the wheel. Police regulations prohibit shooting at a moving vehicle.  Continue Reading

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Five restaurants sign lease for historic Hamilton Court’s retail space

Posted on 05 January 2017


New Hamilton Court streetscape rendering.

In August 2016, the Post Brothers, the real estate company that has acquired a number of residential properties in University City in the past year, revealed their plans and renderings for the renovation of the historic Hamilton Court apartment complex at 39th and Chestnut Streets. Currently, the company is in the process of making upgrades to Hamilton Court, which was one of Philadelphia’s first apartment buildings when it was built in 1901. The renovations include the conversion of vacant ground-floor space into modern commercial retail spaces, which will be occupied by five dining establishments.

On Wednesday, the developers revealed the restaurants that signed leases for those spaces. Here they are:

Steve’s Prince of Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s most famous cheesesteak restaurant chains, has signed a lease for 2,277 square feet.  Continue Reading

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Multiple injuries reported in trolley crash at 38th and Lancaster

Posted on 04 January 2017

Forty-six people were injured this afternoon when two trolleys collided near 38th and Lancaster in Powelton, according to SEPTA and media reports. Two Route 10 trolleys were traveling in the same direction when one rear-ended the other, according to a report by Metro. The incident was reported at around 1:30 p.m.

Fortunately, none of the injuries is life-threatening, according to SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch. Some of the injured were taken to local hospitals for treatment. The trolleys were traveling at low speeds when they collided. Among those injured were the two trolley drivers.

One of the trolleys sustained damage in the collision, Metro reports.


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Scribe Video Center moving to a new location

Posted on 04 January 2017

scribelogoScribe Video Center, the West Philly-based non-profit organization with a nearly 35-year-old history, is moving from 42nd and Chestnut to a new location this month. Beginning Jan. 17, Scribe will be located at 4035 Walnut St., according to information posted on the organization’s website and social media pages.

Here are some other exciting news and happenings at Scribe, which offers film screenings and educational opportunities to individuals and communities who want to learn media making and explore the use of video.

Last month, Scribe received a $25,000 Art Works grant for 2017 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant will go towards a collaborative project, curated by Patricia R. Zimmermann, to highlight community-produced media work from across the country. The goal of the project is to collect works of artistic and historical value and then go on tour with the exhibits.  Continue Reading

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Christmas tree recycling opportunities

Posted on 02 January 2017


Click to enlarge

The holiday season is almost over, and the City and some local organizations are again offering opportunities to get rid of your Christmas tree in an environmentally-friendly way.

The University City District and UC Green will again be accepting Christmas trees for recycling at Clark Park. Bring your tree to the park on Saturday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., along with a $10-$20 donation, and watch it turned into wood chip mulch (it will be used around neighborhood trees during the upcoming MLK Day of Service). Your donation will go to support UC Green programs.

Residents who will bring their trees are welcome to enjoy free roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate. Note: this year, there will be no electronics recycling at this event. Instead, you can bring your used or unwanted electronics to the nearest sanitation convenience center located at 5100 Grays Avenue, open Monday – Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Continue Reading

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Trash/recycling pickup delayed this week

Posted on 02 January 2017

Happy New Year everyone! This is a short reminder that there will be no trash or recycling pick-up on Monday, Jan. 2 . Collections will be one day behind for the rest of the week.

Trash and recycling collections were delayed last week as well due to heavier volume of materials from holiday season, and municipal crews worked through the weekend to catch up.

Stay tuned for more information on how to recycle your Christmas tree.


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What to do for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day (updated)

Posted on 30 December 2016

new_years_eve_phillyIf you’re not sure what to do for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, check out some happenings below. For more events, go here. Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the Waterfront

There will be not one but two New Year’s Eve fireworks on the Delaware River waterfront. The first one is scheduled for 6 p.m. (good time for kids), and the other one will be at midnight. This is a free event. Here you can find best spots where you can watch the fireworks.

New Year’s Eve Parties/Concerts

• J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral (38th and Chestnut), 4 – 8 p.m.

Choral Arts Philadelphia and the Bach Festival of Philadelphia, led by Artistic Director Matthew Glandorf, will offer a rare performance of J.S. Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio BWV 248. The concert will include an extended intermission, food and drink concessions. For more information and tickets ($15-$45), click hereContinue Reading

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Year-end giving; messages from local non-profits

Posted on 29 December 2016

This is the time of year when many organizations are reaching out to the community with year-end messages and a reminder that there’s still time to donate and claim your charitable tax deduction for 2016. Some of the non-profits will receive a double amount of funding thanks to matching gift challenges from sponsors, so if you wanted to make a contribution hurry up since there are only two days left. Here are the messages that we received (for the list of other West Philly non-profits, check out our Civic Life page):

Raven Society Volunteers on behalf of Free Library of Philadelphia

“Those of us who care about the Free Library have to work together, so we are sending you this quick reminder about the matching gift challenge… The Free Library is such a great part of living in Philadelphia. Our family has a long tradition of support because we are committed to literacy and education for all. And we know how integral the Library is to each community and the city as a whole… With less than 48 hours left, we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this chance to have your year-end gift make twice the impact. Please don’t wait. Join us and donate today.” – Kara Chickson Verghese and Subhash Verghese, Raven Society Volunteers  Continue Reading

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