Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Put Down Your Guns on New Year's Day and Let's Start 2014 on the Good Foot!

The Philadelphia Police Department generally wants you to not be a knucklehead. That's especially the case when it comes to putting people's lives in legitimate danger by channeling your inner Yosemite Sam and firing your gun in to the air to "ring in the New Year." Yee haw, am I right!?

Wrong. In case this in your type of thing, the Philadelphia Police Department will be beefing up it's presence around that magical hour between New Year's Eve and Day to arrest any person firing a weapon in celebration (as well as in malice, I presume.)

This isn't 1800's - Put the gun down on New Year's - via

Put down the pistols and enjoy the sounds of the fireworks, or string bands, or car horns, or pretty much any other noise that firing a bullet in the sky.

Philly Police Officer Brian Greer, who is a great follow on Twitter, dropped some wisdom:

Here is the email directly from Captain Michael Ryan, Commanding Officer of the 3rd Police District (emphasis is mine):

To our neighbors:

As the New Year approaches I would like to remind all of our neighbors of the dangers of using firearms to “ring in” the New Year.

Some may believe firing a gun in the air is harmless. This is not the case. Firing a handgun, rifle, or shotgun in the air is a dangerous and illegal practice that may result in injury and death.

The bullets fired in the air will fall to the ground at speeds that can injure and kill someone if they are the unfortunate target.

The 3rd Police District will have additional officers on patrol during the hours of the arrival of the New Year with the sole purpose of arresting anyone firing guns in celebration. The District Attorney is aware of the dangers of this practice and will ensure violators are prosecuted.

Please take this message to family, friends, and neighbors who may believe this practice is an acceptable form of celebration. Remind them it is dangerous and illegal.

I wish you the best in the coming year. Be assured the officers of the 3rd Police District are committed to making your neighborhood safe.

Captain Michael Ryan
Commanding Officer 
3rd Police District

Also, let's start 2014 off on the good foot. Be an awesome neighbor and help to clean up the neighborhood this New Year's. Whether it's your front gutter, a corner grate, an empty lot or while you walk the streets, every little bit helps. As cheesy as that sounds, it's so damn true, just take a look at the comments in this recent Facebook post.

Post by Pennsporter.
Happy New Year's!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bicycle Coalition's 2nd Annual Holiday Lights Ride is Tonight

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will be leading their "2nd Annual Holiday Lights Ride" tonight at 530pm starting in the parking lot of Performance Bicycle, 1300 South Columbus Boulevard (map).

That's right, bikers -- your long holiday weekend kicks off tonight in good old Pennsport.

You may or may not see this tonight at the Holiday Lights Ride - via Momentum Mag

The seven-miler through the streets of South Philly (following the rules of the road, of course) will look to spread all kinds of holiday cheer throughout its ride by not only visiting the "impressive light displays" in the area but also by encouraging riders to "deck yourself or your ride in lights and bells." Basically, you love the holiday lights in South Philly, so why not be a part of a 100+ person mobile light display?

It all culminates in a post-ride social hour over at Cavanaugh's Headhouse Square from 7 to 9pm, where $10 gets you two drinks and an appetizer at the bar in a dedicated room on the 2nd floor. There has been no word on whether or not eggnog will be served in official holiday glassware but you are certainly welcome to start any and every conversation with the travel monologue from Elf.

And yes, it may be cold tonight so bundle up. Think of it as a much cooler version of your office holiday party. 

Here is the forecast for tonight - if you believe that sort of stuff (link)

The ride is for Bicycle Coalition members only but you can easily join right now and get in on some holiday cheer tonight by signing up here. Given that bicycle ridership is on the rise, the Bicycle Coalition is a valuable resource to the local biking community.

Side, but slightly related, note: you can now tweet #UnblockBikeLanes directly to the Philadelphia Parking Authority if you see a car blocking a designated bike lane. I'd imagine could see some heavy usage tonight.

TRIM Hair Salon Officially Open at 2nd and McKean

TRIM Hair Salon opened its doors on Tuesday at 146 McKean Street (map). You may remember that back in October we had told you about rumors of some sort of "barber shop" being planned for the vacant commercial space. Turns out it is something even better -- a locally owned hair salon looking to infuse Pennsport with the "style and sophistication of the Rittenhouse posh" without those uptown prices.

2nd & McKean Sts. is now home to TRIM Hair Salon

Owned by Erin Duffy, fellow Pennsporter with some serious salon chops,  TRIM has transformed the former run-of-the-mill corner store deli into a full range hair salon offering a variety of options ranging from basic cuts to bridal parties.

Call or stop in to grab your next haircut. You can also book your appointments through their Facebook page as well as on vargo.com.

A "Grand Opening Meet & Greet Party" will be held January 17th at 7pm and feature wine and cheese as well as live entertainment from Dirty Whiskey Duo, a "Delaware Valley based acoustic act performing Country, Rock, and Irish music."

Revamped Front - (via Facebook)

New look interior (via Facebook)

It certainly is great to see more locally run business come back to the neighborhood and even better to see a long vacant business space revitalized again. Located just a stone's throw from Target, Marshall's and ShopRite, this location should benefit from nearby resident foot traffic and also people visiting the shopping district. Need a cut? Consider giving TRIM a try and support the local business movement in Pennsport. 

If you're still a little murky on the location, it's on the same block as the tremendously popular cross-street Christmas lights as you come out of the Target area on McKean Street.

Here's the visual of the light display that you've probably Instagrammed by now and tagged #WhyILovePhilly:

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mount Sinai Redevlopment Plans Presented in Pennsport, Follow Along with #MtSinaiPHL

The presentation for the redevelopment of the former Mount Sinai Hospital (4th & Reed Sts.) took place Monday night at the EOM in front of the Pennsport Civic Association as well as nearby neighbors. It was similar to meeting on Thursday night at Mount Moriah Temple Baptist Church, although some different concerns were brought up by some neighbors on hand at the EOM, mainly pertaining to need (or lack thereof) for the commercial space on Fourth Street.

 The key focus of the presentation, given by Jeff DiRomaldo of Barton Partners and accompanied by Attorney Richard DeMarco and developer Gagan Lakhmna, was to address how the projects plans to fill the "voids" on the edges of the property left by a hospital vacant since 1997.

To clarify the apartment situation, the developers explained that they currently cannot give an estimate of  "market rate" monthly rental prices per unit at this time. However, they were able to provide a breakout of the 198 rental units. These details weren't discussed at the previous meeting and provide some insight as to the type of renter that this project looks to attract. 

66 - Studios
32 - One Bedroom
62 - One Bedroom with Den
32 - Two Bedrooms
6 - Two Bedrooms with Den 

These number show that 160 of the 198 units are one bedroom or smaller. Combine these numbers with the "80 bike and two car share spaces" mentioned at Thursday's meeting and it's clear that parking and alternative transportation is at the forefront of any plans. Given that Philadelphia is the "most biked city in the US" and is close to launching a city wide bike sharing platform, it seems that this project could look to attract more bikes and SEPTA riders to the area.

Also, Kellie Patrick Gates has a great recap of the meeting with quotes from Dr. James Moylan over at PlanPhilly - do give it a read if you have the chance. 

I tried to "live-tweet" the meeting on Monday. Any development pertaining to the new Mount Sinai plan will be accessible using the tag #MtSinaiPHL on Twitter and Facebook. Updates will also be provided here on the blog just in case.

Here is the rundown from the #MtSinaiPHL meeting held at EOM on 12/16:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mount Sinai Plan Reveals Mix of Town Homes and Apartments

The future site plans for the former Mount Sinai Hospital were revealed Thursday night in a public meeting in front of Dickinson Square West Civic Association. The meeting was held at Mount Moriah Temple Baptist Church, where the standing-room-only crowd was serenaded by the sweet blend of a practicing Baptist choir and good old-fashioned civil discourse.

As for the meeting, the overall vision calls for 38 new town homes around all four boundary streets with 198 rentals being placed in the existing structure. The plan also calls for 137 parking spaces with all but five of those being located within the interior of the complex.

Plan from Above -- 5th Street (L), 4th Street (R), Reed Street (Top), Dickinson Street (Bottom)

Jeff DiRomaldo, Project Manager and Architect for Barton Partners out of Norristown, provided some background on the "urban repair project" and went over the early plans and designs. The key theme he wanted to stress -- filling the "voids" in the street scape that plague the area. The hope is to construct the town homes as a border around the property that "re-integrate those edges" of the site back in to the neighborhood.

The town homes, priced between $400-450k, will be 16 feet wide and 43ft 11/2  high (four stories), featuring a roof deck and a large, 14ft wide rear loading garage. All in all, the overall square footage comes to about 2,200 sq. ft per unit and that's not counting the basement or garage. 
Rendering of Mount Sinai site from corner of 4th and Reed Sts.

While many of the specifics are still unknown, the apartment component will feature an adaptive re-use project of the "newer" area of Mount Sinai built in 1987 and in be in 500 - 1000 sq. ft. range. For many in attendance, parking was the main concern due to the size of this project

The plan calls for the site to contain 137 spaces, all but five will be within the interior of the development and that number includes the garages in the town homes. However, as  Developer Gagan Lakhmna explained, the existing curb cuts will be reduced from ten to nine in the process as a different curb cut at 5th and Dickinson will be necessary to accommodate a front-loading garage for those units due to space. Basically, the fewer curb cuts means more street parking. He also mentioned that they drew up plans for an interior parking deck but it would have only given them about 10 more spaces. They will look to have "80 bike spaces and two car share spots" as well. 

People in attendance also lamented the "cookie cutter" design likening it to those seen in Northern Liberties, something that will surely come up in the proposal to the Civic Design Review on January 7th.

Lakhmna also revealed that there will be a retail component mid-block on 4th Street side of the area. Currently, they are in talks with a "restauranteur" who may or may not be Jose Garces -- he's a "friend of the (Lakhmna's) family." That space is around 2,500 sq. ft. and will have a small amount of parking in a visitor's lot off of Reed Street. If true, that could be very cool for the neighborhood. 

The timeline is a little tricky in that they will need multiple zoning variances (Use, Height, and Open Area) due to the entire block being zoned Single Family Residential, which is odd because it's a hospital building. Attorney Richard DeMarco hopes that they can get in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment around February of 2014 and Lakhmna put the overall time frame at around "36 months" after all of the proper permits are obtained to complete the project if all goes according to plan. 


While I'm sure you thoroughly enjoyed this recap, I would encourage all that missed this presentation (and those who want to see it again) to come to out to the Pennsport meeting at the EOM (138 Moore St.) on Monday, Dec. 16th at 7pm for another presentation on the future development of Mount Sinai. 

Rendering of the front of the town homes

Take a look inside the town homes
Back of the town home featuring garages and decks

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Constitution Court is Too Tall, Construction Put On Hold

Constitution Court, the large residential project on the corner of 3rd and Reed Sts., has exceeded the height variance. Construction has ceased until the structure is in compliance with original height. Basically, it's too tall and needs to be under forty-four feet tall.

After the first corner unit had seemingly been built in the blink of an eye, people in the neighborhood have been wondering why the construction at Constitution Court had stopped. It's especially noticeable since the two larger projects on 2nd Street have been steaming ahead as planned. L&I issued stop work order in October due to exceeding the maximum height listed in the original zoning variance.

Here are the renderings of what Constitution Court is supposed to look like:

Corner of 3rd and Reed Sts. (via The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog)

Here is what it currently looks like:
From Moyamensing on Reed Street (Photo by Tug Haines)

Foundations Poured on Reed Street (Photo by Tug Haines)

You may remember that this is the former site of Saint John the Evangelist, an Episcopal Church dating back to 1867. A lengthy demolition started in May and continued throughout the summer. Neighbors and preservationists lamented the fact that the church couldn't part of an adaptive re-use project that incorporated nearly 150 year old building. Apparently, Harman Deutsch looked in to it.

From The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog:
"The townhouses will go up at the site of a beloved community church. Harman Deutsch Architecture, which designed this development, did look into saving the church, but determined it would be far too expensive to do so. This included structural issues with the south wall and an antiquated interior."
Whether because of human error or Divine Intervention, Constitution Court sits until the height requirement is met once again. We'll keep you posted whenever more information becomes available.

Shout out to Tug Haines for snapping these pictures -- great work!

Also, thanks to both the tipsters and inquiring minds for the information on this story. I hope you found this information helpful.

Lastly, Hidden City took a look inside Saint John's the Evangelist in May - it's worth a look if you have a minute, the pictures are incredible.

PS -- Thursday, December 12th is the LAST day to take the "Pennsporter Survey of Awesome" and a chance to win two VIP Passes to Waterfront Winterfest at Penn's Landing. 
Hit the link to take the survey: http://pennsporter.blogspot.com/2013/12/pennsporter-survey-of-awesomewaterfront.html 

Monday, December 9, 2013

The First Snow of the Season - Pennsport Snow Pics

First off, let this be a virtual "Happy Holidays" card from Pennsporter. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your support by reading the blog and taking an interest in this wonderful neighborhood we call home. Seriously, yous guys rock.

As you know, it snowed a whole lot on Sunday (Go Birds!) and I put out a plea on Facebook/Twitter for you to send in your Pennsport Snow Pics and, like always, you came through! Here is how your neighbors saw the first snow of the winter season.

Have some snow pics you want to share? Send them over to pennsporter (at) gmail (dot) com -- I'll keep this an "open thread" of sorts until you're either sick of snow pics or multiple yellow snow pics are received.


Take a look at these shot from above the 200 block of Mifflin Street taken by Erika Smith:
Furness High School in the background (Erika Smith)

Just a dusting at this point (Erika Smith)

A peek at Galloway Street (Erika Smith)

Christopher D'Emillio hit us up on Instagram with this beauty of the first snow on Philip Street. It won this week's Facebook Cover 'Gram Contest! He takes some great shots of the neighborhood. Give him a follow!

Moyamensing Avenue looking amazing? Why I never...

Also, check out this snowy photo gallery from Dickinson Square Park!

Can't get enough of the snowy holiday season? Take this brief survey. Not only will you help make Pennsporter even better but you'll be entered to win two (2) VIP Passes to Waterfront Winterfest, compliments of our awesome partners at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation!

UPDATED:Fingers Crossed:Something is Going On at Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai, or "Divine Lorraine of South Philadelphia" as it's been called, may soon see a revitalization. Developers will present future plans for Mt. Sinai in a meeting this Thursday, December 12th at 7pm at Mt. Moriah Temple Baptist Church (410 Wharton Street). The meeting will be in front of the Dicksinson Square West Civic Association and will be open to the public (hint: you're going to want to check this out.)

UPDATE (12/11/13): The Pennsport Civic Association will also hold a meeting regarding the future development of Mount Sinai.

Here are the details via an email from Pennsport Civic Association:
MondayDecember, 16, 2013, 7:00 p.m. at EOM, 138 Moore Street, the applicant/developer/attorney for the Mt. Sinai property which is located at 4th & Reed Street (Reed to Dickinson -4th -5th Street) will present to the community the proposal for development at the site.

Detailed information about the proposal, including site plans, renderings of the buildings, descriptions of use, traffic patterns, etc. will be presented

Mount Sinai
Rumors have been swirling about the sale and  future development of the site, both in print and within the neighborhood. Well, it looks like we'll soon find out just what developers have in store for the old hospital and long time eyesore of a community seeing a huge resurgence.

Here are the details straight from the Dickinson Square West Civic Association:
This Thursday, December 12th, 7 PM, Mt Moriah (410 Wharton), the applicant/developer of the Mt Sinai property, which encompasses Reed to Dickinson, 4th to 5th Streets, will make a formal presentation to the Dickinson Square West Civic Association Zoning Committee and all residents, regarding the proposals for development of the site.  Detailed information about the proposal, including site plans, renderings of the buildings, description of the proposed uses, intended parking and traffic solutions, etc. will be presented.  All interested residents are welcomed to attend.  Although no formal vote will be taken, the applicant will entertain questions, comments, and suggestions.

One only has to look at the new development around Mt. Sinai to realize something is probably in the works. You simply don't build new houses, with values in the $300k-$400k range, around this type of property without someone knowing something.

Hopefully, this meeting signals a genuine new beginning for the once proud hospital that opened way back in 1905.

As always, we'll keep you posted with any information as it becomes available.

*Hat tip to Mark Berman and Tug Haines for the heads up on this information.
Do you like what we do here are Pennsporter? Why not take our quick survey to make it even better? Those who complete the survey are entered to win two (2) VIP Passes to Waterfront Winterfest, the must-see Philadelphia holiday attraction of the season!

Pennsporter Survey of Awesome/Waterfront Winterfest VIP Pass Giveaway

So you want a chance to win VIP passes* to Waterfront Winterfest, huh? Please fill out this brief ten question "Survey of Awesome" and you'll have just that - a chance! Don't forget to enter your email address in the box at the end, it will only be used to notify the winners**.

And hey, thank you so damn much for reading Pennsporter. I love yous guys.

*passes include admission and a free skate rental for the Blue Cross RiverRink - big ups to the fine folks at the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation for hooking us (and yous) up with these passes.

**Two (2) Winners will be announced the morning of Friday, December 13th. Each individual winner will receive two (2) VIP passes for Waterfront Winterfest, which runs through January 5, 2014.

If you do not see the survey below, please follow this link to complete it.

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Blue Cross River Rink (via Waterfront Winterfest.com)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pennsport Twitter Roundup: Lot Development, Chroma Dolls Replace a Mummer, Robbery on the Avenue, and Pennsport Rowhome Love

Welcome to the Pennsport Twitter Roundup, a magical place where we painstakingly cobble together a few of the important Pennsport topics seen on Twitter over the weekend. 

If you're on the Twitter, follow @pennsporter for some relatively useful news about Pennsport and beyond.
This certainly caused a little stir, huh? Apparently, the city owns the huge lot near The Shamrock and Herron Park Sprayground and now wants to offload it to a developer - interesting. Here is what Dr. James Moylan, President of the Pennsport Civic Association, had to say about it:
"There has been a hold put on any action on this site. Pending further discussions with the neighbors and other stakeholders. Any and all options will be considered and what ever works best for the city, neighbors and neighborhood, will be the focus...It's nice to see the neighbors take an active role in what's going on in the community."
We've been covering the development boom in this part of the 'hood since the beginning - so, keep it locked here for more information. 


You know that great mural on the side of the Snyder Avenue ShopRite that looks to encompass the all of the great aspects of the neighborhood? Then you probably have seen the creepy Mummer dude that is featured on the mural as well. Turns out that Chroma Dolls, "a fine art collective specializing in public murals," is swapping out the old, beat mummer for this awesome one and should be done sometime this week. As always, we'll keep you posted on the progress.


Some scary news broke over the weekend that Kin's Laundromat (Moyamensing Ave. & Mifflin St.) was targeted in a violent robbery. From the article; "A 58-year-old laundromat employee told police two males entered the business and one of them stated, 'give me the money' before striking him in the head twice with what he believe to be a hammer. The second male took $700 from a filing cabinet and the two fled on foot." One man has been charged and the other in still on the loose.

Remember, while Pennsport is generally safe, it's important that we look out for each other and be aware of our surroundings. If you see something fishy, call it in to the police and let the proper authorities handle it. Stay safe this holiday season.

A 58-year-old laundromat employee told police two males entered the business and one of them stated, "Give me the money" before striking him in the head twice with what he believed to be a hammer. The second male took $700 from a filing cabinet drawer and the two fled on foot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dncrime/Man-arrested-in-violent-Pennsport-robbery.html#uAjL8sr4iz1YlWXs.99
A 58-year-old laundromat employee told police two males entered the business and one of them stated, "Give me the money" before striking him in the head twice with what he believed to be a hammer. The second male took $700 from a filing cabinet drawer and the two fled on foot.
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/dncrime/Man-arrested-in-violent-Pennsport-robbery.html#uAjL8sr4iz1YlWXs.99

Let's end this Pennsport Twitter Roundup with some positive news. The above quote is from the most recent Philadelphia Magazine featuring The Millenial Revolution. The quote speaks to the shift in mindset from condo-owning Baby Boomer parents to their rowhome renovating kids. With the population of Philadelphia slowly growing in recent years, it's the Millenial's that are starting to "shape the city" by throwing down  their roots within city limits and setting up shop outside of the traditional hot spots of Rittenhouse Square and Old City.

I do find it interesting that Pennsport is the quote. While it's true that there have been plenty of renovated rowhomes, it certainly isn't the only game in the 'hood as multiple large (read:expensive) condo developments are in various phases in the heart of Pennsport. Can Pennsport strike a balance between affordable, traditional living and the luxury town home invasion?

The issue is on newsstands now - give it a look for yourself.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Everything Must Go" - Norman's Juvenile Furniture is Closing

Sad news from Two Street: Norman's Juvenile Furniture is going out of business.

"Everything Must Go" after 60 years on Two Street

Situated on the corner of Second and Watkins Streets, Norman's has been in business since 1953 - almost 60 years. In talking with owner Jim Pratt, who has been with Norman's around 45 years and took over the business from his father, the tanking economy and difficulties with suppliers made the past year and a half a trying time at the shop.

"It was nuts," he explained. "I would place an order and track it's progress and dates would just keep being pushed back." Larger stores like Target and Walmart combined with the ease of buying childcare products online also meant an uphill battle. It often meant his orders were easily pushed back. "It's much different that it used to be. Now they just want to keep the big guys happy."

The good news is that Jim wants to see something become of the large corner property that housed a few grocery stores back in the day. "We were originally across the street (corner of 2nd and Pierce Sts.) and this used to be an ACME," he said. "Believe it or not, these few blocks were mainly storefronts but things change."

Yup, things change and it's certainly sad to see Norman's close up shop. Look for them to be open "about a week or so" before they officially put 60 years in the rear view mirror. In the meantime, everything is priced to sell and if you're in the market for children's furniture and products, you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal.

Here's a look at what is left:


If you've ever walked past Norman's, the first thing that stands out is the size of the building. It's quite large for Two Street. Checking in at around 5,600 sq. ft - this could be a really nice spot for someone looking to hang out their shingle. A few things that come to mind: a daycare, children's gym, or even a smaller music venue in the mold of Boot & Saddle. Given that it's zoned a CMX-2 (commercial/mixed-use), future plans could theoretically include a housing element as well. That is simply my opinion, although Jim did mention he's had a bunch of interest in the property.  

My two cents, keep a close eye on this building.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Things You See While Walking Down Moyamensing Avenue

BRUNCH ALERT: This Sunday is the kickoff brunch down at Moonshine (Moyamensing Ave and Sigel St.) - if it's anything like the rest of the menu, it's sure to be good. Don't look now but the brunch options in Pennsport are starting to kick some ass. Check it out from 10am to 2pm. 

NOSTAGLIA ALERT: Rascalians toilet papered a few trees around Moyamensing Avenue and McKean Street. It's been a long time since I've seen this form of vandalism but hey, maybe it's street art. C'mon people, don't waste perfectly good TP and please don't litter.

All photos courtesy of Ryanne Jennings. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Anchorman 2 Midnight Private Screening Ticket Offer Collabo Between The Industry and The P.O.P.E

One thousand one *grunts*, one thousand two *groans*, one thousand three, oh, my guns - they burn! Oh, hello there. I wasn't expecting anyone in this post.

While you're here friend, you should probably know that The Industry and The P.O.P.E have teamed up for one impressive offer -- tickets to a special midnight showing of Anchorman 2 (with a pint at each pub) for $20 a piece.

Here's proof:

Tickets are for a midnight showing on 12/19 at the Riverview at Columbus Blvd. and Reed Street. Don't act like you're not impressed because to top it off, those who purchase tickets will be entered in to a raffle to win "swell" prizes.

To recap: $20 gets you a ticket a private midnight showing of Anchorman 2, two pints (one at The Industry and one at The P.O.P.E), a raffle entry and an evening chock full of memorable quotes and 70s Polyester Suits. It all starts at 7pm on 12/19.

You love Anchorman, you love The Industry, you love The P.O.P.E, you love lamp - so what are you waiting for? Head to either bar to pick up your tickets soon, these won't be available for long.

Still not convinced? Here's the trailer to change your mind.

GIANT LEAF-SUCKING TRUCK, Ribbon Cutting, and History Walks - It's LOVE YOUR PARK 2013

As you may know, we here at Pennsporter are huge fans of the community coming together to help out and beautify the neighborhood. You may remember we recently highlighted the work being done at Manton Street Park & Community Garden - it's awesome, check it out.  The Pennsport area is blessed with amazing amounts of green space. The people who actively maintain these spaces should be applauded. Our guess is that they don't want applause, but rather for you to consider lending a hand.

LOVE YOUR PARK? You've got some choices this Saturday

Enter LOVE YOUR PARK Week from the Fairmount Parks Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Starting Saturday, November 16th, it's an entire week of celebrating the parks in the city (and your area) and a call to get involved - so head on over to the volunteer page, throw on your old pair of jeans, and grab a shovel because you've got yourself plenty of options in Pennsport to do just that.

Here is a list of what's happening on Saturday:

  • Dickinson Square Park: GIANT LEAF SUCKING TRUCK
Giant Leaf Sucking Truck, no lie! (via Friends of Dickinson Square Park Facebook Page)

From 9am to 1230pm, volunteers will be helping the Friends of Dickinson Square Park clean up the park. Here is an excerpt from the email, masterfully written by Bob of the "Friends" group: 
"And for the 4th year in a row.....

Yes, this great and mighty and outstanding machine will return to the Park once again.  The GIANT LEAF SUCKING TRUCK is our friend.  All we need to do is to rake the leaves onto tarps, and drag them to the sidewalk on Moyamensing Avenue where the you-know-what will work the magic.  


  • Manton Street Park & Community Garden: Ribbon Cutting Event and Party
The Ribbon Cutting, with speeches from Mayor Nutter and Councilman Mark Squilla, will take place from 1215pm to 1pm. An impressive block party will follow from 1pm to 3pm featuring Federal Donuts, Guerilla Ultima, games, entertainers, and more.  

From Mark Berman:
"We all met at the vacant lot where the park is now, in June 2011, and continued to meet every week without fail for about 5 months straight, in the evening, with shovels, spades, clippers, brooms, axes and a power washer. We enlisted the help of neighborhood kids; old timers and newcomers worked side by side to remove piles of dirt, a carpet of ivy, glass bottles and demolition debris."
  • Washington Avenue Green: History Walk, Park Cleanup, and Birding Event
The event at "WAG" kicks off at 10am with Susan McAninley leading the group on an "Autumn Walk" on the trail. As you know, the trail is going to see some major (read: wonderful) changes in the next year or so - get a first-look before construction begins. Also, if you're in to briding, you won't want to miss this one.

Here is the agenda:
Image via Susan McAninley

  • Howard Street Park: Clean up the best kept secret in Pennsport
When you think of parks in Pennsport, it's usually Dickinson or Jefferson Square that come to mind. As you well know, Pennsport has some incredible "pocket parks" - one being Manton Street Park. While Titan Park has been in the news a lot recently, it's Howard Street Park that's been impeccably maintained and it actually, you know, a park (no offense Titan Street). 

Come on out and help out Howard Street Park with some leaf raking, general clean up and bulb planting from 11am to 1230pm. Look for it on Reed Street between Front and Second Streets - you'll be glad you did!

Image via, well, Pennsporter


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Community Spotlight: Don't Miss These Meetings (UPDATED)

One of the main goals for Pennsporter is to provide you with the information necessary to get involved in neighborhood activities and hopefully meet some of your neighbors in the process. 

Last week, we profiled the amazing work by concerned Pennsporter Mark Berman at Manton Street Park and Community Garden. This week's "Community Spotlight" offers your the chance to attend some meetings that not only shape the neighborhood but Philadelphia as well.

Here's the run down:

Pennsport Civic Association General Membership Meeting:
The November General Membership meeting will be help this Wednesday, November 13th, starting at 7pm. It will be held, as always, in the hall at the EOM located at 138 Moore Street.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the October meeting was postponed -- a bummer because the fine folks from the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) were going to speak on the latest developments on the Delaware Waterfront, specifically Washington Avenue Green, Pier 68, and the Tasker Street Connector.

Turns out that they will be in attendance on Wednesday as well. If you have any interest in learning more about the development on the Delaware Waterfront, I highly recommend attending the meeting -- the DRWC has provided great information at past meetings and usually do a great Q&A session.

Also, there will be more information on the Alley Clean Up, which takes places on November 16 (more on that later).

UPDATE from Pennsport Civic: 
Good Afternoon, at this evening's general membership meeting at EOM, 138 Moore Street, we will be distributing the supplies for the Alley clean-up.  The brooms and shovels are on loan to us
from the City and do have to be returned, but you can sign one out tonight.  If you and your neighbors want to get together and clean your alley we are attaching a list of trash pick-up
sites.  The trash will be collected Saturday afternoon. 
If you do not have enough participation from your neighbors, please make sure that your alley is un-locked and the clean-up will begin at the southern point of Pennsport, Front & Snyder and work north.  We do not expect to get all of Pennsport done in one day so this will be on-going.   A future date will be scheduled to complete this project. 

Central Delaware Advocacy Group (CDAG) November Board Meeting:
This is a special "one-off" meeting that has made its way to Pennsport. CDAG rotates the location of their meetings and this one will take place in the Parson's Building (the lone building within the park, enter on playground side) at Dickinson Square Park this Thursday, November 14 from 6pm to around 730pm.

Topics to be discussed include an update on City Council Legislation changing Waterfront overlays as well as the DRWC's Penn's Landing design plan. Nominations for 2014 CDAG Officer positions will also take place.

Click here for more information on CDAG.

Via MyPhillyAlive

Second Street Parade Safety Meeting:
As we all know, Pennsport is the epicenter of the Mummer's and throws a New Year's Party unlike any other. Admittedly, the celebration had "gotten out of hand" and a more organized effort was needed in order to make the area more secure (and thus enjoyable) for visitors and residents alike.

Do you like that idea? Well, you can help out to make it happen again this year. The Second Street Parade Safety meeting will be held on Monday, November 18th at 7:30pm at the Mummer's Museum on Second Street and Washington Avenue.

According to the memo, the meeting "will include a quick review of last year's execution and an outline of the game plan for the 2014 Second Street Parade." Councilman Mark Squilla will be in attendance as well as Mummer's and Philadelphia Police leadership and, of course, concerned neighbors of 2nd Street (cough cough YOU cough).

Please contact Ed Kirlin at 267-234-1401 with any questions.


Did we miss your group's meeting? Drop us an email, pennsporter@gmail.com, and we'll make sure it gets on the list. Please provide as much information as possible.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Waterfront Winterfest" is Coming to Penn's Landing

Look for it November 29th through January 5th (via)

Halloween is over, people. If you haven't swapped your 15-foot, rowhome-hangin' spiders out for Thanksgiving cornucopias and Peanut's related inflatables Christmas decorations, you're seriously slacking. Winter is nigh, so get on that. With the change in season comes the time for one of Philly's wonderful holiday institutions -- ice skating on Penn's Landing. 

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Blue Cross RiverRink, The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation is taking one of your favorite holiday past times and ramping it up big time. 

Behold, Waterfront Winterfest, and it's going to be something to see.

Waterfront Winterfest will run from November 29, 2013 through January 5, 2014, 7 days a week from 11am to 1am and become the hub of Philadelphia's winter activities. While the ice skating rink will still be the centerpiece of the Penn's Landing area, the parking lot will be transformed in to a winter garden and forest offering "majestic views of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge." (Pro tip: follow the official Instagram account, @PhillyWinterFest, and you'll have your spot for holiday pictures mapped out before you get there.)

You won't need to bring a bagged lunch, either. An indoor warming tent called The Lodge will house a pop-up restaurant from Chef George Sabatino (formerly of Stateside and currently at Morgan's Pier) as well as the Art Star Holiday Market, a "completely unique retail experience" featuring shops laid out in chic'd up shipping containers. If you happened to visit the PHS Pop-Up Garden on Broad Street this summer, you have an idea of how amazing these shipping containers are going to look.

Topical layout of Waterfront Winterfest (via )
So yes, Waterfront Winterfest is going to be way cooler than trudging out to the King of Prussia Mall for some crowded holiday shopping and a long wait for a table at the Cheesecake Factory. Do yourself a favor and keep it local this holiday season while having fun and attempting to ice skate. If that doesn't work for you, grab some of Chef Sabatino's "Thanksgiving Leftover Hot Pockets" and caramelized pumpkin donuts. You may be sore but you'll be well fed, that much I know.

In reading the press release, the events should really put the experience over the top:
"Waterfront Winterfest will also be home to the best holiday light show in Philadelphia, featuring Klip Collective’s patented projection-mapping technology under the direction of Ricardo Rivera, a visual artist, filmmaker, and pioneer of video projection mapping. Playing every evening on the hour from 5 – 11PM, this musically synced light show will feature a festive mash-up of color, lights, hip hop beats, and dancing elves projected onto the winter garden. In addition to annual special events like Skating with Santa, a blow-out Opening Day celebration, and of course, the TWO SugarHouse Casino New Year’s Eve Fireworks on the waterfront, the entire winter festival space will have daily rotating entertainment curated by Jess Conda of Brat Productions."

Admit it, winter in Philadelphia rocks and you can't wait to bust out the cable knit sweaters, ear muffs, and Andy Williams (I see you, BEN FM).

Rendering of Waterfront Winterfest (via)

Manton Street Park & Community Garden Ribbon Cutting Chosen as the "Signature Site" for LOVE YOUR PARK Kickoff Event

The progress seen at the Manton Street Park & Community Garden is a testament to hard work, will power, and most importantly, caring about and helping your community. One of my hopes for this blog is to inspire you to lend a hand, recognize the amazing people that make a difference and begin to participate in building a place you're proud to call home. 

The redevelopment of the park is a shining example of community engagement and offers you a perfect opportunity to get involved.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, connected citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has." 

-Margaret Mead

The following is a guest post from Mark Berman, President of the Manton Street Park & Community Garden and fellow Pennsport resident. 


Join the Friends of Manton Street Park & Community Garden at the signature site for the Department of Parks & Recreation’s LOVE YOUR PARK event on November 16th – Manton Street Park & Community Garden, 4th and Manton Streets. From 12:15 – 1 pm there will be a ribbon cutting and press conference with Mayor Nutter, Councilman Squilla, and speakers from the Department of Parks & Recreation, Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, Fairmount Parks Conservancy, and the Office of Housing and Community Development. Following the press conference there will be a block party from 1 – 3 pm – free and open to the community – featuring Federal Donuts, Guerrilla Ultima food truck, Bujee Magoo (hula hoops and stiltwalking), Philly Face Painting, Fleisher Art Memorial’s ColorWheels (crafts for kids), South Philly Food Co-Op (cider and hot chocolate), Healthy Foods Green Spaces, Dickinson Square West Civic Association, a DJ…and more!

Manton Street Park, at 4th and Manton streets, was originally a pocket park in the 1960s – it was buried under a foot of debris for decades. When I fliered the neighborhood in 2011 to gauge interest in cleaning it and discuss potential uses, the response was surprising – I received 15 phone calls in two weeks from neighbors I’ve never met and some I’ve never even seen before, and I’ve lived in Pennsport since 1999. We all met at the vacant lot where the park is now, in June 2011, and continued to meet every week without fail for about 5 months straight, in the evening, with shovels, spades, clippers, brooms, axes and a power washer. We enlisted the help of neighborhood kids; old timers and newcomers worked side by side to remove piles of dirt, a carpet of ivy, glass bottles and demolition debris. Five months later we were surprised to see surveyors on the land. After a painfully intense two weeks of Internet research and phone calls to about five city agencies, we discovered that the lots had been included in an ordinance to be sold at auction. When the developer read our story in the Daily News, they offered to forego the purchase of two lots because they were not aware that the land was a park and because there was such a strong community interest in preserving it.

Thanks to Fairmount Parks Conservancy who awarded the Friends of Manton Street Park & Community Garden (501C3) the Grow Your Neighborhood grant and Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (PHS) who provided additional funds from the Office of Housing and Community Development, the Friends didn’t need to raise funds on our own to make the park a reality. This all happened very quickly - I wish I could say it was easy – but the amount of work involved in connecting the agencies that needed to communicate with each other was immense and overwhelming – it was a full time job for about two weeks of our lives. There was no support and no advocacy group that was readily available to assist us. There was no support and no advocacy group that was readily available to assist us. Thankfully Councilman Squilla and Amy Laura Cahn of Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia stepped in to be the middle persons between our Friends group and RDA, Public Property, the developer, and Parks & Rec. It's fortunate for communities that find themselves in this situation now that in the past year a coalition formed called Healthy Foods Green Spaces to promote citywide advocacy for gardens and green spaces.

In a very short amount of time, it became overwhelmingly clear that inviting neighbors to reclaim these lots was more than just an effort to increase neighborhood safety and beautification - it was the perfect vehicle to unify and activate a very diverse community. Today, you might walk by and just see a beautiful park (immaculately designed by PHS and whose construction was overseen by Fairmount Parks Conservancy), but what is not obvious to the eye is that this park is much more than a new, bright green spot on the block. One of the greatest benefits has been seeing parents walking their kids to school in the morning as they pass this garden where once they had to walk their kids past a hideous, foreboding vacancy. Imagine what that change of scenery does for the morale of a neighborhood…well, you don’t have to imagine it! Because of this park, local neighbors have met each other, there are constantly eyes on the street, there’s a community of people that want to maintain our neighborhood, and who support each other in dealing with local issues such as zoning, crime and litter. Plus, volunteering for the park continues to be an incredible opportunity to develop professional skills.  Most of all, neighbors are connected to each other in a new way and have their voices acknowledged. This is one reason why we need a Land Bank in Philadelphia – because well cared for lots maintain and strengthen communities and the prosperity of the city.

As an organized community, we’ve arranged regular block clean ups, community activities, kids’ nights in the park, garden parties, and the planting of over half a dozen new trees. A special thanks goes to the following organizations who supported this effort from the get-go: Dickinson Square West Civic Association, Mike Toklish and the Friends of Jefferson Square Park, the South Philly Food Co-Op, Debi Richter and the Friends of Washington Avenue Green, Mike DiBerardinis, Barb McCabe and Erin Engelstad of the Department of Parks and Recreation, Tammy Leigh DeMent and Gretchen Trefny of Pennsylvania Horticulture Society, and Lauren Bornfriend of the Philadelphia Parks Alliance. A very special thanks goes to Jennifer Mahar of Fairmount Parks Conservancy and Councilman Squilla for all of his efforts on our behalf and his continued efforts to promote parks and green space in South Philly. Without the Board of the Friends of Manton Street Park & Community Garden, the park would not exist - Jessica Calter, Kathy O’Neill, Mike Oscapinski, Karen Rose and her son Philip, and Amy Papa.
Manton Street Park & Community Garden prior to the efforts of concerned neighbors (via Mark Berman)

Here are some comments from neighbors:

“The revitalization of Manton Street Park has brought so many benefits to our community. The most valuable benefit to me is the opportunity it provided to work alongside my neighbors and really get to know them, beyond a simple wave hello and goodbye. The shared sense of responsibility, and ownership of the project, helped us to build friendships that wouldn't have existed otherwise. Because we have established a network of like-minded people we are now able, individually and as a team, to tackle new projects and make additional improvements in our community.”

“As a newer resident and former South Jersey gardener, I'm happy to be a supporter of the garden and park, and feel connected to our community because of this affiliation.”

“We absolutely love the new tranquil Manton Street pocket park. The park itself is impeccably designed – it’s given us a sense of community and pride, enabling us to get involved and volunteer for park- events and meet new people from the neighborhood. The addition of the park has been the perfect anchor for our little block, and is just one of the many reasons we're so pleased to be a part of the Pennsport neighborhood.”

“The garden is beautiful and adds so much warmth to our block. We have some seniors on our block that would love to have a nice place to sit and relax, my mom included, who has been on this block for about forty years... I’m so pleased with the way things have turned out. I'm just thrilled.”

The transformation is complete at Manton Street Park & Community Garden (via Facebook)



JOIN our Nextdoor.com neighborhood to stay on top of events, recommendations, etc.: