"West Philly"

Thanksgiving events, closings, schedule changes (updated)

Posted on 25 November 2015 by

HappyThanksgivingHere’s some useful info for those who are celebrating Thanksgiving in the neighborhood. Also, if you’re looking for something to do today, there will be Holiday Tree Lighting with hot cocoa and live music in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art beginning at 5 p.m. On Friday morning, Nov. 27, special “Santa Express” trains will operate (see more details below).

Public schools will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27.
Post offices will be closed, and there will be no mail delivery on Thursday.
• Trash/recycling collections will be one day behind schedule starting Thursday for the rest of the week.
Public libraries will close at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and remain closed through Thursday, Nov. 26.  Continue Reading

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Snapdragon Flowers & Gifts to set up shop on Baltimore Ave mid-December

Posted on 24 November 2015 by ranafayez

SnapdragonFlowersSnapdragon Flowers & Gifts will soon be the newest business to join the Baltimore Ave shopping area in West Philly.

Owner Tolani Lightfoot resides in the Cedar Park neighborhood, where she settled and bought a house when she relocated from Portland, Oregon eight years ago. “I feel like West Philly is one of those wonderful neighborhoods where you have to live there and understand the neighborhood before opening a business,” she said.

Tolani, who has worked in the industry for 10 years, says she realized that there was a need for a florist shop with her creative vision after she was told that “she was too creative” at her former workplace at a traditional florist shop. The shop will offer a wide range of botanically inspired products, including ready-made floral arrangements. Snapdragon Flowers & Gifts will offer arrangements both for people and events. Some niche market arrangements will include small-scale urban gardens, living arrangements for the home, vertical gardens, Victorian inspired indoor gardens and terrariums along with drought-resistant plants.  Continue Reading

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Independence Charter School West to open in September 2016, holding information sessions

Posted on 24 November 2015 by

As was reported earlier this year, one of Philadelphia’s more successful charter schools, Independence Charter School, will be opening a new elementary school (ICS West) in Southwest Philadelphia in September 2016. The school will be primarily serving families in Southwest and West Philadelphia, as well as Overbrook.

To learn more about the school and its enrollment process, families are invited to one of the open information sessions held at area libraries. Two next information sessions are scheduled at the Cobbs Creek library. Updated information on community meetings can be found on the school website.

Currently, the following meetings are scheduled for prospective families:

Monday, Dec. 7, 10-11 a.m.
Friday, Dec. 11, 10-11 a.m.
Blanche A. Nixon/Cobbs Creek library branch
5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway (59th/Baltimore Ave.)

The school will initially be a K-3 for September 2016. A grade will be added each year, ultimately becoming a K-8 school, according to ICS West board member Dyana Reid.

The school is focused on global citizenship and language acquisition, and instruction will be about half Spanish/half English. “Students and families are not expected to already speak Spanish, though it’s fine if they do,” says ICS West board member Dyana Reid.  Continue Reading

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Locust Moon Comic Shop closing its doors

Posted on 23 November 2015 by


Locust Moon comic shop is closing at the end of 2015 (Archived photo/West Philly Local)

We’re sad to report that West Philly’s only comic shop, Locust Moon Comics, will close at the end of the year, after just a few years of operation on 40th Street near Chestnut. The store started on Locust street in the old Urban Outfitters building in 2009 and moved to 40th and Chestnut in 2012.

Locust Moon is not just a comic shop, but also a small press, and owners Josh O’Neil and Chris Stevens want to focus on publishing after shutting down the store. Here’s what they posted on Facebook:

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for six wonderful years. We plan to redouble our focus on making and publishing comics. We’ve loved being a part of this neighborhood, and have cherished the chance to serve up piping hot comics to a smart and hungry readership.

Thank you for your passion, your superlative taste, your support, and all the love you’ve showered on our cats. We never would have made it this far without you.

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More jobs, fewer kids and a lot of bike commuters: ‘The State of University City 2016’ report released

Posted on 20 November 2015 by Mike Lyons

The University City District’s recently released “The State of University City” report confirmed the worst-kept secret this side of the Schuylkill: The Meds-and-Eds juggernaut that fuels this part of the city is gaining speed.

StateofUCity2016The report, released every fall, tracks everything from rents, to occupancy rates in office buildings to the number of bike commuters in the University City District defined as the Schuylkill River to 50th Street, south to Woodland Avenue and north to Market Street and, in the Powelton neighborhoods, north again to Spring Garden Street.

According to this year’s report, a whopping 77 percent of the jobs in the area is in education and health care with “entertainment, hospitality and retail” in second with 8 percent. The University of Pennsylvania and Penn Medicine alone now account for more than 40,000 of those jobs.

The report shows that all of those good-paying jobs are attracting a lot of young, well-educated people. About 40 percent of the area’s population is between 20 years of age and 29. The number of children (5-14) in the area has dropped steadily since 2000.

Rents have also increased in most neighborhoods. The steepest increases have been in the Powelton Village neighborhood, where the median rent is just over $1,500 per month. The highest rents are in the “Central University City” area (roughly east of 38th Street and south of Market Street), where the median rent is just over $2,500 per month.

Median home prices grew from about $100,000 in 2000 to $300,000 in 2006, but have remained at that level since then, according to the report. But, of course, real estate prices vary widely by neighborhood. Prices in Spruce Hill, which includes the Penn Alexander School catchment, are just over $375,000. That’s a slight decrease compared to 2009 prices. The lowest median prices are in West Powelton at about $200,000.

Many residents’ fear of a loss of economic and racial diversity has followed the economic gains in the area. Philly talked to Seth Budick, senior manager of policy and research for UCD, ahead of the report’s release. “Prices are going up. The social consequences of that I don’t think we’re going to comment on too much,” Budick said. “For the most part, though, if you look at that rent figure … you’ll see a huge diversification.”

Here are some other tidbits:

• The population has steadily grown since 1990 and now stands at about 51,000.

• Well over 50 percent of people have at least a bachelor’s degree, while in the city as a whole that number is closer to 24 percent.

• University City District residents are three times as likely to commute on foot, bike or transportation than by car. Only 23 percent of residents reported commuting by car, compared to 59 percent of Philadelphians in general and 86 percent of all Americans. That number has remained steady since 2000.

• Occupancy rates for office buildings in the district are among the highest in the region at about 97 percent, according to the report. Developers, of course, have noticed and new office buildings are under construction or in the works.

Mike Lyons

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Philadelphia Marathon is this Sunday: street closures, detours, cheer zones

Posted on 20 November 2015 by


                            Click to enlarge

The annual Philadelphia Marathon will be held this Sunday (Nov. 22), starting at 7 a.m. at 22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The City and SEPTA announced street closure and detour information ahead of the marathon. Street closures and detours will affect parts of Center City along the course of the marathon (see map), and also some areas in West Philadelphia. Also, check out the information out below on cheer zones in University City/West Philadelphia. Good luck to all West Philly folks who are running this Sunday!

The following streets will be affected across the city on November 22:

• 18th Street, from Arch to Callowhill streets
• 19th Street, from Arch to Callowhill streets
• 20th Street, from Arch to Callowhill streets
• 21st Street, from Spring Garden to Arch streets
• 22nd Street, from Spring Garden to Arch streets
• Benjamin Franklin Parkway, from 22nd to 16th streets
• Arch Street, between 16th to 4th streets
• 4th Street Arch to Vine streets
• Race Street, from 4th Street to Columbus Boulevard  Continue Reading

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