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.
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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.