Friday, May 31, 2013

Singin' In Shop Rite

The Balancing Act Quartet - Singin' at Shop Rite tomorrow (via Facebook )

It's the weekend and although Philly Beer Week is in full gear, chances are good that you need to do some grocery shopping. If you live near Pennsport, you probably call the Shop Rite on Snyder Avenue your home store. As you may know, they play some awesome oldies that make your otherwise mundane grocery shopping experience enjoyable. Seriously, it's aces.

Some interesting news was announced via their Facebook page this afternoon:
Listen to the sweet sounds of the Balancing Act Quartet at ShopRite of Snyder Ave (Philly) on Saturday (June 1, 1p-3p). This registered Sweet Adelines Barbershop Quartet will be singing four-part a capella harmonies to make your afternoon shopping even more of a treat!
If you love to grocery shop to live music - you might want to bump up your Sunday errands to tomorrow afternoon - especially in this heat.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Philly Beer Week - Pennsport Style

It's Finally Here - (via My Philly Alive)

Yes, it's that time of year again - Philly. Beer. Week. (psst. Get the app for all the PBW goodness)

It all kicks off off Friday, May 31st at 10am with the Hammer of Glory (H.O.G. for the in-crowd) Relay and runs through June 9th. Don't worry Pennsport, there is plenty of great beer on display with 2nd Street Brew House and The Industry holding it down for our fine neighborhood.

Here are some of the highlights:

The board at 2nd Street Brew House (via Bad Luck City)
2nd Street Brew House:
The local joint we all know and love is kicking things off with their 3rd annual "Kick The Locals" on Saturday, June 1st starting at 1pm. The real action takes place on Friday, June 7th with an EPIC ROCK PAPER SCISSORS TOURNAMENT starting at 8pm. Cash, prizes, and your pride are on the line. This puppy is sponsored by Evolution and Long Trail - so yeah, be there for that. Lastly, they round out Beer Week with "Dog Days of Summer" that features everyone's favorite beer from Delaware (and possibly the world), Dogfish Head. Inside scoop has them serving up some rare ones like 120 minute (!), 61 minute, Firefly (straight from the festival), Punkin, and Hellhound On My Ale, a tribute to legendary Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson.

Bottom line - 2nd Street Brew House is a must in Pennsport as it is (local or visitor). Throw in a chance at cash, prizes and great beer at an Epic Rock Paper Scissors Tournament? I'll see you there.

Expect more people for Philly Beer Week at The Industry (via FooBooz)
The Industry:
Just when you thought The Industry couldn't get any better - they hit you with a killer Philly Beer Week list of events. They are the Oprah of Tap Takeovers - you get a Coronado Event (5/31)! You get an Allagash Event (6/1)! And you get a Duclaw (6/1), a Great Divide (6/2 w/Yeti's!), and a Boulder, Lost Abbey, Troegs, (take a breath) Weyerbacher, and Elysian Event! All culminating in the 21st Amendment Can Event on June 8th. It's almost too much - almost.

If you're not crazy for Tap Takeovers (are you're crazy?) - then Yard's High Fives and Hugs is probably for you. Steve-O (yes THAT Steve-O) will be on hand making sure everyone gets a high five and a hug. Yard's will be slingin' some local goodness - plus one surprise brew right before the event. Definitely hit up the Ommegang Late Night Happy Hour (6/5 - 10pm) with Pennsport's own - Megan Maguire (@ommegangPhilly). Lastly, The Industry turns one on June 6th and they're throwing an Anniversary Party to celebrate. It all goes down at 6pm, so be there or be square!

Bottom line - The Industry rocks - plain and simple. The event list would be incredible with the Tap Takeovers alone. Great beer and even better food, needless to say, you're going to have a great time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Will Big Residential Projects Yield More Local Business?

Condos Replacing Saint John's (via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog)

Hey Pennsport, take a look at these renderings and brace yourself for the Summer of enormous residential projects - it will soon be upon us.

The demolition of Saint John's makes way for twelve four-story condos with off street parking. Not to be outdone, the site of the warehouse fire at 2nd and Wharton is soon to become the four story behemoth of Two Street; featuring eleven single-family townhomes.

(It should be noted that the Wharton Street proposal will be across from another set of four-story town homes with curb cut garages fronting 2nd Street. This project has only one curb cut with centralized, hidden parking in the middle of the unit, a positive for sure)

11 Single-Family Townhomes at 2nd and Wharton (via Philadelphia Real Estate Blog)

Given the fact that these two projects alone will hopefully soon house twenty-three new families, a larger question begins to form - where is all the retail?

Do yourself a favor and read this fascinating article from Flying Kite Media "Where Have All The Corner Stores Gone?" The article focuses on the odd circumstance of the ever-growing residential space of the popular Graduate Hospital neighborhood and its lack of a commercial corridor or plan. It's a story that could be easily applied to Pennsport in a lot of instances.
Pennsport has seen slow growth in local business recently. Staples like Federal Donuts, The Industry, 2nd St. Brew House, and Mekong River have all come in and represented the neighborhood well. Their food is highly rated while giving Pennsporter's, old and new, a business they can take pride in and enjoy. However, outside the restaurant scene, Pennsport lacks the local business to service the area and take the next step as Philly's next great neighborhood.

It's important to mention that not one of proposed projects offer anything in the realm of mixed use space. It's particularly disappointing in the projects at 2nd and Wharton as well the one at 2nd and Reed - given that they are in an area where business has been growing and could offer some sort of outline for a planned commercial corridor.

Much like the Flying Kite article, take a walk around Pennsport on a Saturday morning and you'll start to notice the amount of one-time corner stores turned in to residential space or simply sit unused (what up, Del's II?). You may even walk by the Pennsport Mall, which has tons of promise but serious design flaws hold it back from becoming a thriving business district.

With a properly executed local commercial corridor, Pennsport could offer residents something most other neighborhoods simply can't - local places to shop within the heart of the neighborhood combined with big box, suburban necessities like Target, Walmart, two grocery stores (!) and even the Riverview. In this instance, I-95 actually helps the situation - acting as a man-made barrier to keep the neighborhood lifestyle intact.

As these new projects bring in more homeowners to the area, hopefully a plan to build a commercial corridor that nurtures local business begins also.

In the meantime, what kind of local businesses would you most like to see come to Pennsport along with this recent housing boom?

Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter - @pennsporter

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hidden City Festival 2013 Kicks Off Tomorrow in Pennsport at Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel

Hidden City Festival - Shivtei Yeshuron from Hidden City Philadelphia on Vimeo.

The Hidden City Festival gives the general public a glimpse in to the world of under appreciated  city landmarks. There is a huge kick off shin dig this Saturday at the Reading Viaduct with food trucks and live music. Here's the kicker though, the fun actually starts Thursday right here in good old Pennsport. Purchase a pass - it's going to be worth it.

As many of you know, Pennsport is a neighborhood rich in Philadelphia history. What you may not have known is that Pennsport was once the center of Philadelphia's Jewish culture. That's where Hidden City comes in - to educate, inform, and entertain.

It's here to bring some much needed attention and resources to the Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel - one the oldest and last remaining house synagogues in Philadelphia and located at 2015 S. 4th Street (between McKean and Snyder).

The site page for Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel gives a glimpse at the two main programs being run through the festival - which takes place from 5/23 through 6/30.

During the Radical Jewish Music there will be a series (most likely four) of concerts based on the works of John Zorn. ABRAXAS (on 6/3) and VOLAC (6/12), part of Zorn's "Masada Book Two - The Book of Angels," will be features during this concert series. Check out the screening of the documentary "Punk Jews" on June 20th. The film centers on "profiling Hassdic punk rockers, Yiddish street performers, African American Jewish activists and more." Co-producer Saul Sudin will be leading a discussion after the screening.

A look the knitting machine (photo via Hidden City)

The second project is lead by Andrew Dahlgren as he leads the ADMK Knit Lab. Kicking off Thursday, May 23rd (tomorrow) at 1pm - this project pays homage to the many Jews who worked in sweat shops located in the upper floors of row homes. The goal is to piece together knit squares made on an antique knitting machine housed within the synagogue. The final product being a large knit "sweater" for the front of the building.  Knitting takes place on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from 1-6pm throughout the festival

The "sweater" will be installed during the final week of the festival - which should be awesome.

Moral of the story - get out and enjoy Pennsport by exploring the neighborhood's amazing and diverse past. Hit up the Hidden City Festival to contribute your time, talent, and treasure to ensure a piece of history remains (and thrives) in our neighborhood.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mr. Tug About Town: Saint John's is All But Gone

Editor's Note: "Mr. Tug About Town" will be a reoccurring photo essay post from, you guessed it, Pennsport's own Mr. Tug. He's been kind enough to send along the following pictures - you can follow him on Twitter here

I know the blog has been heavily focused on the demolition of Saint John's recently, but let's face it, it's big news for our neighborhood. While the slow death of the historic church is sad, it has been quite incredible to watch from a distance. Mr. Tug takes us up close and personal with the first installment of "Mr. Tug About Town":

(The following photos are courtesy of Tug Haines)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Celebrate National Donut Day with Federal Donuts

Pennsporter Stumps for Turkish Coffee

Federal Donuts will be celebrating National Donut Day on June 7th and by the word celebrating, I assume they mean blowing a donut hole through our crazy foodie minds.

So stop trying (in vein) to painstakingly recreate your favorite bygone Fednuts Fancy's. Stop tearing up over your old Instagram photos of the Maple Bacon's and White Chocolate Pretzel's of your past. Thanks to the wonderment of social media - the future (and past) is in your hands!

Head over to their Facebook page and vote in the comments for the Fancy you'd most like to see comeback in to your life. If you're lucky enough - it'll be back on June 7th. If you're not lucky enough, you're still getting an incredible donut on June 7th.

If bringing back your favorite donut isn't enough, Federal Donuts will be releasing one Old School Fancy a day starting June 2nd leading up to the 7th in order to compile the ultimate Half Dozen.

That means five tasty donuts culminating in the Fan Favorite Fancy Revival on June 7th - pretty awesome news.
Personally, I call shenanigans if Turkish Coffee doesn't take this jawn but that's just me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Photo Set: Wall Collapse at 2nd & Wharton

Take a look at these incredible pictures taken at the scene of the wall collapse at 2nd and Wharton St - the site of the Mummer's Warehouse Fire from last December. The site, which will be turned in to town homes, used to house an illegal auto repair shop.

Thanks to Kristin Murray (@kristindeirdreM) and Tyrone Freebairn for the amazing shots.

Notice the car on the far right - Photo: Tyrone Freebairn

Second floor collapse, fire damage evident - Photo: Tyrone Freebairn

Burned out cars from illegal auto shop - Photo: Tyrone Freebairn

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wall Collapse at 2nd and Wharton

Today was another bizarre chapter in the case of the warehouse that fell to a fire at 2nd and Wharton last December. Check out this tweet from the afternoon

Another fine Pennsporter snapped these later today. Peep the scene:

Wall collapsed atop these drooping wires

PECO on the scene to deal with the electrical wires

What's left of the former warehouse

It was confirmed at the April 10th General Membership Meeting that this is the future site of eleven town homes. However, I doubt downed wires followed by a transformer explosion was part of the demolition plans.

Big ups to @LeeuhBfab and @dstaples1 on Twitter for info on today's happenings.


Love Your Park This Saturday

Howard Street Park

As part of the Love Your Park campaign, The Fairmount Park Conservancy and Parks and Recreation will be holding a few area cleanups this Saturday.

Here is the word from their website:

LOVE Your Park Week  is an annual citywide celebration of Philadelphia’s diverse parks featuring a week of service projects, fun events, educational programs, family activities, tours, and more – at over 100 parks throughout Philadelphia. LOVE Your Park Week is a collaborative initiative between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

Here is your chance to pitch in. Grab some cruddy clothes and please lend a hand at any other these projects and show your Pennsport Pride - Saturday and every day.

Dickinson Square Park

Dickinson Square Park - Moyamensing at Tasker St.
Start - 9:00am
End - 12:00pm
Activities include gardening, painting and other activities
* Special Childrens Mother's Day Workshop runs 10am through 11am
**Free food after you help clean up (boom)

Washington Avenue Green - Columbus at Washington Ave.
Start - 930am
End - 12:00pm
Activities include a general cleanup of the Green
*Bags and tools provide - you just bring your muscles
** Coffee and donuts will be making an appearance so you should, too!

Titan Park

Titan Park - 110 Titan Street
Start - 10am
End - 1pm
Activities include general cleanup and painting

Howard Street Park - 117 Reed Street
Start - 10am
End - 1:00pm
Activities include general cleanup along with mulching and gardening

Karen Donnelly Park - 260 Dickinson Street
Start - 9am
End - 1pm
Activities include general cleanup along with mulching, gardening, and other activities

Manton Street Park and Community Garden

Manton St. Park & Community Garden - 4th at Manton St.
Start - 10:00am
End - 12:00pm
Activities include general cleanup, mulching and gardening

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Photo Set: Demo Begins on Saint John the Evangelist

Here is a photo set from the first day of demolition at Saint John the Evangelist at 3rd and Reed Street. We first brought you the news that the demolition process was to begin today, May 9th.

The rear garage on Reed Street is the first piece to go. From the looks of it, the process will be slow - although hopefully not as painfully slow as the Spectrum

Hidden City has a terrific piece on Saint John's final days featuring some brilliant shots of the inside of the building. 

If you have any pictures, from today's demolition or in Saint John's hey-day, please send them along. I'd love to showcase them on the site.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saint John's is Coming Down May 9th


Saint John The Evangelist is set to be razed on May 9th - according to a man in charge of overseeing the demolition for the Diocese of Philadelphia. He also mentioned that 3rd Street in front of the church will be closed Thursday to make space for the crane. The Rectory next door is coming down that day as well.

That's right - the corner of 3rd and Reed Street will look a lot different in little less than a week.  As you may have heard, the church will make way for twelve new condos. This was confirmed at the April 10th Pennsport Civic Meeting.

According to demolition manager, who was inside the building this afternoon, it's been a slow process gutting the old church. A few weeks back, the remarkable wrought iron fencing that once surrounded the church came down out of nowhere. It was apparently sold off by the new developers.

He mentioned that no one was allowed in the church as the floors and staircases are in the process of being ripped out. The goal is to salvage as much as they can but the church has been in disrepair. 

As for the beautiful stained glass windows, he mentioned that those have come out over the past couple of days and that the next big project is removing the old pipe organ, which is large. It's coming out "piece by piece."

He added, "Yeah, it's a damn shame."

However, he mentioned that the plans for the new condo's were "really nice." The renderings of the new project are apparently available to the public at the Pennsport Market and Deli located at the corner of Moyamensing Avenue and Wilder Street.

Saint John The Evangelist is still listed in the parish directory of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania's website. 

If anyone has pictures of the inside of this church, in it's hey-day or in it's ruin, please send them along. I'd love to report them.