"West Philly"

33-year-old man arrested after trying to choke, rob a woman near 45th and Larchwood

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Mike Lyons

Police arrested a man yesterday afternoon after they say he choked a woman and tried to rob her as she walked near 45th and Larchwood.

The 29-year-old victim, Corrine McDonald, told NBC10 that she was visiting friends in the neighborhood and was walking along the 4500 block of Larchwood at about 12:40 p.m. when a man came up from behind and began choking her, then pulled her into a nearby alley (see video below). She said that she began to scream and fight back. Police who were patrolling the area heard her, rushed to the scene and apprehended 33-year-old Andre Taylor, who reportedly lives in a halfway house in East Falls. Police found a piece of wire and string that they believe Taylor used to choke McDonald.

Police say Taylor also tried to rob a woman at 46th and Larchwood on Sunday. She was reportedly grabbed from behind and choked with her earphone cords. The attacker fled after the woman gave him $7.

Taylor is being charged with attempted murder, robbery and other charges, police say.

News soon began circulating on social media, prompting some residents to comment on the brazenness of the attack.

NBC10 video:


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Upcoming events: outdoor music & theatre, film festival, art shows (updated)

Posted on 30 July 2014 by


This week is rich in art happenings in the area, from outdoor theatre to a film festival to art shows. We already reported on Shakespeare in Clark Park presenting Henry IV in the park’s bowl. The performances, which feature a community army of over 100 people, begin tonight at 7 p.m. and go on through Sunday.

Also tonight, at 5:30 p.m., Penn Museum (3260 South St) invites music lovers to enjoy an outdoor concert by the West Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert is part of the weekly P.M. @ Penn Museum music series. Tickets are $10 and include museum admission. More details are available here.


Photo from BlackStar Facebook page.

BlackStar Film Festival, featuring films by and about people of African descent in a global context, kicks off on Thursday, July 31. The four-day festival features film screenings (many of them free) and events at the following West Philly venues: International House Philadelphia (37th and Chestnut), Scribe Video Center (4212 Chestnut St), Annenberg School for Communication, Penn (3620 Walnut St), and Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), 118 S. 36th St. An opening night reception with DJ Mr. Sonny James will take place at ICA from 7 – 10 p.m. on Thursday. This event is also free and open to the public. For more information and schedule, visit Follow the festival @blackstarfest and #BlackStar14.

UPDATE: Gush Gallery is opening on Friday, Aug. 1 at 5015 Baltimore Ave. The grand opening show, Embark, is from 6 – 9 p.m. (more info coming soon)

​Sharp with Art Group is presenting an art exhibit titled “Levels” at the Urban Art Gallery (52nd and Spruce) from August 2 – 31.  There will be a free opening reception on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 6 until 9 p.m. “Levels” will feature a diverse selection of art styles, such as street art, abstract art, sculpture, and mixed media works. Six amazing artists will be featured in the show: Natalie Flor Negron, Jae Martin, Nebulus Flair, Seven X, Noni Red and Vinson Houston. In addition there will be live performances by Raw Sinister Theatre, Chase Smiley The RockStar and April Fool Child.

And last, but not least, American Queen TJD, a West Philly artist we featured last fall (Meet American Queen TJD: Not the female Basquiat), invites neighbors to support her at a major art show on Saturday, Aug. 2  at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City (109 Arch Street). The one-day only show, titled “Too Many Basquiats Not Enough New Artists,” features over 100 pieces of art. The event will take place from 6:30 – 10 p.m. and includes music, food and an open bar. More details and tickets ($10.50) are available at


Artwork by West Philly artist American Queen TJD will be on display at the Arch Enemy Arts Gallery in Olde City Aug 2. (Photo via


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Man sought for punching and robbing woman at 47th and Baltimore

Posted on 29 July 2014 by

Editor’s Note: As is often the case with surveillance videos released by police, we debated how to report on this for fear of reinforcing stereotypes. In the end we decided to publish the video to help with some measure of justice, but also to maybe start a conversation about what our responsibility as citizens are in a situation like this. 

TrolleyattackPolice are asking for the public’s help in finding a young man who attacked and robbed a 39-year-old woman in what appears to have begun as a bump while getting off the trolley.

The incident took place at around 5:30 p.m., July 10 at 47th Street and Baltimore Avenue. Today, police released surveillance video where the attack can be seen (see below). The woman was exiting the route 34 Trolley when she appeared to push or bump into the man who was standing in the doorway. The suspect can be seen throwing something at the woman after she exited (police say it was a cup). He then followed the woman, punched her and after a brief struggle grabbed her headphones. The suspect can then be seen getting back on the trolley before quickly exiting and fleeing on foot toward 46th Street.

The victim was treated at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where she received two stitches to her lip, according to police.

The suspect is described as a black male, 20 years old, 5’11”, thin build, clean shaven, wearing a dark colored t-shirt with writing on the front. He was also wearing black shorts and had a multicolored backpack with thin shoulder straps.

Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact Southwest Detective Division, Det. McDermott #770 by calling 215-686-3183/3184. You can also text a tip to PPD TIP or 773847.


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Back-to-School drives, fundraising events

Posted on 29 July 2014 by

Six weeks are left before kids head back to school and we are passing along information from two area organizations that are helping low-income and homeless families and children prepare for the upcoming school year. We’re sure that there will be more school supply drives and fundraising events in the area. We’ll post new information when it becomes available.

ACHIEVEability Backpack Drive, Fundraising events


Photo courtesy ACHIEVEability.

ACHIEVEability is holding a Backpack Donation Drive to support over 300 school-age kids in the area. When donating a backpack, please consider the following school supplies as well: spiral bound notebooks, loose leaf paper, composition books, folders, pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, calculators, pencil sharpeners, glue, erasers, scissors, crayons, etc. Donations can be delivered to ACHIEVEability’s administrative office located at 35 N. 60th Street. All donations should be delivered no later than August 22.

For more information about making a donation please contact the ACHIEVEability Development Department at 215-748-8809 or

On Wednesday, July 30, from 5  to 7 p.m.all are welcome to join ACHIEVEability at Ben & Jerry’s shop at 218 S. 40th St and enjoy some delicious ice cream while helping ACHIEVEability help others. During the event, 20 percent of all sales will be donated to the organization.

Finally, on Thursday, July 31, ACHIEVEability is hosting a Coffee Happy Hour at the Creative Café @ Replica (3711 Market St)   from 5:30-7 p.m. The Coffee Happy Hour will feature the limited-edition signature drink, the ACHIEVEaJava, available to purchase for $2 along with discounted pastries and snacks. The Café will also raffle off a $25 gift card to be used for either design/print services at either Replica location, or to be used solely in the Creative Café @ Replica for coffee and pastries. No RSVP is required for this event.  Continue Reading

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Henry IV featuring community army this week in Clark Park

Posted on 28 July 2014 by


Preparations have begun in Clark Park’s bowl (45th and Chester) for one of the most epic outdoor theater productions in the history of Shakespeare in Clark Park. This summer, the company presents Henry IV for five nights starting Wednesday, July 30. We watched a rehearsal and took this photo over the weekend. This production has an unprecedented number of actors: A community army of over 100 people was selected for battle scenes in the play. These are folks from 36 Philadelphia neighborhoods, from teens to seniors. More details about the production are here. The free shows begin at 7 p.m.

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West Philly weekend: Just a few more Dining Days; free 40th Street concert Saturday

Posted on 25 July 2014 by

There are a couple of things we wanted to mention as the weekend rolls in.

There are only three days left for University City Dining Days when you can enjoy dinner at 27 area restaurants for three fixed prices: $15, $25, and $35. The annual Dining Days will run through July 27. More info and the list of participating restaurants is available here.

julysumserWEBSITEThe second concert in the 40th Street Summer Concerts series is scheduled for this Saturday, July 26. Bring your blanket or chairs to the lawn behind the Walnut Street West library at 40th and Walnut and enjoy live music by Avalon String Band and the fusion act - Raphael Xavier W.O.R.X. Meets Bobby Zankel & The Warriors of the Wonderful Sound. The show, which begins at 6 p.m., also features free treats from Ben & Jerry’s and face painting and balloon animals for kids.

The next 40th Street Summer series concert is on August 30, featuring Nation Beat. More details are available here.


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