Tonight’s Spruce Hill Zoning meeting to discuss residential building proposal near 44th and Walnut, increase in dwelling units on 42nd and Chester

July 16, 2018

A monthly Spruce Hill zoning meeting will take place tonight, at 7 p.m. at the Spruce Hill Center (257 S. 45th St), with two development projects on the agenda. Community members are invited to hear from the owners of a vacant lot at 224 S. 44th Street about construction of a new residential building. This project was first presented at last month’s zoning meeting. A four-unit semi-detached structure is being proposed on the lot in-between two old Victorian homes (see picture).  Continue Reading

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New ‘parklets’ pop up in West Philly

July 13, 2018

A new “parklet” was installed this week on Pine Street between 47th and 48th.

Two new “parklets”- temporary outdoor seating platforms where you can enjoy a meal, a drink or simply relax – have been installed by University City District crews. In addition to the returning locations at 4040 Locust St. (hosted by Ramen Bar), 261 S. 44th St. (hosted by Honest Tom’s Tacos and Lil’ Pop Shop), 4239 Baltimore Ave. (hosted by Green Line Cafe) and 4903 Catharine St (hosted by Little Baby’s Ice Cream), check out the following new “parklets”:

• 3601 Market (between Market and Filbert, hosted by Schmear It, Jimmy John’s, and M.A.T.T.’s Sliders)
• 4725 Pine Street (hosted by the Garden Court Community Association)

“Parklets” usually stay through mid- to late November, as long as the weather is warm enough for outdoor seating. Just a reminder that you don’t need to patronize a particular business to sit in the parklet.

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Senator Kamala Harris in West Philly on Friday with Bob Casey

July 12, 2018

Senator Kamala Harris of California will join Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey in West Philly this Friday (July 13) to talk about this November’s mid-term election.

Harris, the former district attorney of San Francisco and California Attorney General, is poised to be a vocal opponent of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Harris is campaigning on behalf of Casey, who faces Republican Lou Barletta of Hazelton this fall, and other Democrats in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state.

Harris and Casey will be at the First District Plaza at 3801 Market St. from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday. You can RSVP here.

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West Philly artist Ellen Tiberino to unveil community-designed mosaic this Friday

July 12, 2018

Photo courtesy of Neighborhood Time Exchange.

Neighborhood Time Exchange, an ongoing collaboration between the People’s Emergency Center Community Development Corporation (PECCDC) and Mural Arts that provides West Philadelphia artists with five-month residencies, is inviting community members to celebrate the culmination of the first Neighborhood Time Exchange artist residency of 2018. The public is invited to attend an upcoming Second Friday event with resident artist Ellen Tiberino on Friday, July 13, from 7–9 p.m. at the Neighborhood Time Exchange storefront in West Philadelphia at 4017 Lancaster Avenue.  Continue Reading

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Honest Tom’s reopening with a new name and new vegan (only) menu

July 10, 2018

Honest Tom’s new logo.

Neighborhood foodies may have noticed that popular local spot Honest Tom’s Taco Shop (on 44th between Spruce and Locust) was closed most of last week following a power outage on July 3rd, caused by a falling tree. While the power outage did cause them to close a bit early, Honest Tom’s had planned to close for a few days around the 4th of July holiday anyway, in order to change their menu over to a completely plant-based (aka vegan) menu. That’s right: it’s vegan-only tacos, burritos and bowls from here on in. Many of the new menu’s items were available on the old menu, or run as occasional specials, so they won’t be completely unknown to Honest Tom’s regulars. Others are brand new.  Continue Reading

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Three-course dinner for three prices: University City Dining Days return July 12

July 9, 2018

University City Dining Days, the popular annual event organized by University City District, is returning this Thursday, July 12. This is a great opportunity to visit some of the best local restaurants and enjoy a three-course dinner at a fixed price – $15, $25 or $35.

More than 35 restaurants, from craft beer bars to celebrity chef restaurants to cozy BYOBs, are participating in this year’s Dining Days (the biggest one yet!). University City’s international dining scene features dishes from India, Ethiopia, China, Vietnam, and more! Some recently opened restaurants are also on this year’s list of participants.  Continue Reading

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Suspect charged in hit-and-run death of 5-year-old West Philly boy

July 6, 2018

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office announced charges against the person allegedly responsible for the hit and run accident that killed 5-year old Xavier Moy in the Walnut Hill neighborhood two weeks ago. The accident happened on Friday, June 22 at approximately 4:07 p.m. on the 5000 block of Irving Street. Twenty-five-year-old Anissa Thompson surrendered to authorities on Thursday morning and was charged later that day. The charges include homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and fleeing the scene of an accident, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Xavier was struck by the car while playing in the street. He was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition and died about an hour later.

The bail  has been set at $500,000.

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Trolley Tunnel Blitz to begin Friday, July 13

July 5, 2018

That time of year is coming up when SEPTA trolley riders will have to switch from trolley to subway when traveling to Center City. SEPTA’s annual Center City trolley tunnel maintenance project, “Trolley Tunnel Blitz,” is scheduled for 10 days this year – from July 13 to July 23.

Due to power, track and station improvement projects in the tunnel that runs between the 40th and 13th Street stations, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, July 13, through 4 a.m. on Monday, July 23. Trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets, and trolleys will use their alternate diversion service routing to connect to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Trolley passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station for travel to-and-from Center City, as the work efforts will not affect that service.

This is the fifth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year’s tunnel closure, members of SEPTA’s in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks throughout the five-mile, single loop Center City tunnel.

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Where to watch July 4th fireworks; SEPTA holiday schedule

July 3, 2018

If you’re spending the Fourth of July holiday in the city, here’s some useful information on the festivities, where you can watch the fireworks, and SEPTA service.

Wawa Welcome America July 4th Fireworks

The July 4th Concert and Fireworks will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Wednesday, July 4th beginning at 7:00 p.m. The event is FREE and open to the public. Guests are invited to come early and enjoy the Party on the Parkway featuring food trucks, games, activities and more! The July 4th Concert will end with Philly’s largest Wawa Welcome America fireworks show in more than a decade, according to organizers. Produced by Pyrotechico and Comcast, the show will feature new special effects and a soundtrack dedicated to love.  Continue Reading

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Heat Health Emergency issued in Philadephia

July 1, 2018

In response to forecasted maximum heat indexes over 100, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley issued a Heat Health Emergency in Philadelphia beginning Sunday, July 1, at noon.

A declaration of a Heat Health Emergency by the Health Commissioner activates the City’s emergency heat programs, including the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Heatline, extended hours at select Free Library locations that have been designated as Cooling Centers, home visits by special field teams, enhanced daytime outreach for the homeless, and the City’s annual reminder to the public to look in on older friends, relatives, and neighbors.  Continue Reading

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‘Tide Field’ and ‘River Rooms’ help us ‘read’ the Schuylkill River

June 29, 2018

Artist Stacy Levy hopes that while you’re sweating the lack of parking spots or that missed bus, you will sit for a beat to notice the massive natural force that’s as big as the moon, the sun and the sea, unfolding daily in your midst.

Her installations, “Tide Field” and “River Rooms,” aim to help Philadelphians to connect to the tides that push water up and down Schuylkill River every day.

You may have noticed the clusters of buoys near the boardwalk along the river, near the Art Museum or at Bartram’s Garden. Those are part of “Tide Field.” The basic idea is to show you the tide, that mostly invisible rise and fall of the river that brings the forces of the sun and moon on the ocean into the city every day. The Schuylkill’s tide changes up to six feet daily.  Continue Reading

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Penn Museum’s Sphinx Gallery to close for extensive conservation; Visitors invited to say ‘See You Later!’

June 27, 2018

If you haven’t visited The Penn Museum‘s iconic lower level Egypt (Sphinx) Gallery for a while you may want to do it within the next 10 days. On July 9, the gallery will close for extensive artifact conservation which will take several years, according to a museum announcement.

This is the first time the red granite Sphinx surrounded by colossal architectural elements of a Pharaoh’s palace circa 1200 BCE is taking a break, after more than 100 years of educating and entertaining guests. The new Ancient Egypt & Nubia Galleries are expected to open in four to six years.  Continue Reading

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Narcan training at Walnut West Library amid a brewing OD problem in West Philly

June 26, 2018

A potent mix of cocaine and the synthetic opioid fentynyl led to at least 20 overdoses in West Philly in the past two weeks, including two deaths, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. There weren’t more deaths in part due to the administration of Narcan, the overdose reverser that is saving lives across the city. If you want to learn how to administer it, here’s a good opportunity.

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is offering “overdose awareness and reversal training” at the Walnut Street West Library (40th and Walnut) on Wednesday, June 27 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and again on July 11 and 25 and August 8 and 22 at the same time.  Continue Reading

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‘Some work’ to begin on 4224 Baltimore Ave lot slated for construction of residential/commercial complex

June 26, 2018

Future 4224 Baltimore Avenue construction site now has a community garden (the gate has been removed by the gardeners).

We finally have an update on 4224 Baltimore Avenue, the site slated for construction of a 132-unit residential building with ground floor commercial space that has been in the works for four years.

Some work is finally scheduled to begin on the site, according to the Spruce Hill Community Association Zoning chair Barry Grossbach. Crews will be entering the property to remove overgrown vegetation and perform a general cleaning, and additional soil testing on the lot will take place in the near future.

“The community has been anxiously waiting for progress on the site and we are now at the point where activity will be more pronounced,” Grossbach recently wrote in an e-mail.  Continue Reading

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$5,000 reward offered in search for driver who fatally struck 5-year-old West Philly boy on Friday (updated)

June 25, 2018

Police believe this car, a blue Hyundai Sonata, struck and killed 5-year-old Xavier Moy on Friday.

UPDATE (6/25/2018): The vehicle believed to be involved in the fatal hit-and-run on Friday was turned in on Sunday night, according to police, but no arrests were made as of Monday morning. The owner of the vehicle is cooperating with the police, but it’s not clear whether this person was behind the wheel when the accident happened. The investigation is still underway.

Police are searching for the driver of the vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 5-year-old West Philly boy on Friday, June 22. The boy, identified by police as Xavier Moy, was struck on the 5000 block of Irving Street at 4:08 p.m. on Friday and was taken to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in critical condition. He died about an hour later, according to reports.  Continue Reading

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New residential building proposed for vacant lot near 44th and Walnut

June 21, 2018

It looks like the empty lot at 224 S. 44th Street sitting between two row homes just south of Walnut will not be empty much longer. A request has been submitted to the City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment by the owners to obtain a permit for construction of a four-unit residential building. The new building is being proposed as a semi-detached structure.

The plan for the building was presented to the Spruce Hill Community Association’s Zoning Board earlier this week, and will most likely be back before the SCHA Zoning Board at their next meeting in July, according to SCHA Zoning Chair Barry Grossbach. “We are at a preliminary stage on the 44th Street project,” he wrote in an e-mail.

We’ll keep you posted about the next meeting since community feedback is always welcome on new development projects in Spruce Hill.

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Nature Nights kick off Thursday at The Woodlands

June 19, 2018

Folks of all ages are invited to The Woodlands at 40th and Woodland to celebrate the official start of the summer. The annual Nature Nights series will kick off this Thursday (June 21) with a Firefly Night. The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. and will include some educational and fun activities.

This is a chance to spend some after-dark time inside the gates learning more about this important urban ecosystem and the creatures who call it home. Tangle Movement Arts will return to the Woodlands with their firefly inspired aerial performance. Snacks will be served by local Lil Pop Shop.

The event is free and open to all, just bring your flashlights pack a picnic and  The performance by Tangle Movement Arts will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Stay tuned for information on more Nature Nights in July and August.

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Stay cool this summer: Check out 2018 public pool opening dates

June 18, 2018

The city has announced opening of its 2018 public pool season – just in time for this heat. Check out opening schedules for West Philly and Center City West pools below. Philadelphia public pools are free and open to everyone and usually stay open until early to mid-August. For more information, visit the Philadelphia Parks & Rec website. Also, check out this page with information on the spraygrounds in the city.

Wednesday, June 20

• Kelly Pool (4231 Landsdowne Dr., 19131)
• Lee Cultural Center (4328 Haverford Ave., 19104)

Thursday, June 21

• Christy Recreation Center (728 S. 55th St., 19143)

Saturday, June 23

• Baker Playground (5433 Landsdowne Ave., 19131)
• Cobbs Creek Recreation Center (280 Cobbs Creek Pkwy., 19139)  Continue Reading

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SEPTA’s annual ‘Stop Hunger at Your Station’ food drive to begin June 18

June 15, 2018

Click to enlarge.

Beginning on Monday, June 18, there is an opportunity to help low-income families in the Greater Philadelphia region by participating in SEPTA’s annual food drive.

Since the academic year has come to an end, many local families will struggle to find a way to replace the free and reduced cost breakfasts and lunches their children receive at school every day. Food collected during SEPTA’s food drive for Philabundance and its member agencies will help families throughout the area supplement those meals.

The food drive will run for five days through Friday, June 22. During these days, food collection barrels will be placed at SEPTA stations across the Authority’s service area. SEPTA will collect donations of much needed food staples including peanut butter, canned tuna and meat, whole grain pasta and canned fruits and vegetables to help provide local children with nutritious meals during the summer months. Last year, SEPTA employees and customers contributed the equivalent of almost 35,000 meals.

Check out the flier for a list of Philabundance’s most needed items.

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