Thursday, August 3, 2023

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: August 3, 2023

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Writer – Marc Werlinksky

The 411 on 311

Way back on March 19, a CCRA Member placed a 311 call requesting repairs needed to a section of pavement surrounding a manhole cover at 15th and Chestnut Streets.


A month passed, nothing happened. Another month, nothing. You get the idea. It didn’t exactly look promising, but then Voila! Come July 19, not one but three emails arrive notifying that the work has been completed.


So maybe the work doesn’t get done right away, or even soon. But calling 311 for quality-of-life or safety issues is not a waste of time. Pass it on.


At the request of the Fitler Square Neighborhood Association (FSNA), CCRA undertook a pilot program to reduce the garbage littering our neighborhood by placing additional trash receptacles throughout the area. We researched the issue, talked to neighbors and concluded that 12 additional trash cans, placed by the City at locations identified by FSNA but maintained by CCRA, would be a good pilot program. The idea was that neighborhood waste, i.e. dog poop bags, carry-out plates, cup and utensils, newspapers and the like could be accommodated in the additional cans which would be emptied and relined the day before regular city trash pick-up. 

Many of the locations were quite successful and welcomed by neighbors. Others less so, mostly due to the disposal of inappropriate items including household waste, construction detritus and items like mattresses and blankets. This caused the cans to quickly overflow. Even when CCRA doubled the pick-ups, the overflows continued.


We learned a lot from this. First, once-weekly trash collection is inadequate to service the needs of the residents and visitors.  Second, some locations are preferable to others. Third, while we didn’t create the extra garbage, we couldn’t manage the job of disposing of it with enough frequency. As soon as we emptied the cans, they promptly filled up again.


This pilot program was initiated because our neighborhood residents complained about street garbage, and we will not abandon our goal of keeping the community a beautiful place to live. To that end, CCRA and FSNA will survey our neighbors for more input and then we will meet with the Sanitation Department leadership to assess the results from the pilot and figure out how we can work with them to meet the obvious needs for more and better trash disposal in Fitler Square and surrounds.


This pilot project was designed to test one solution to an expressed need. Clearly we need to analyze what we learned and improve it.  We can’t serve our members’ needs without trying solutions to expressed problems and learning how to improve them. We thank the neighbors who provided constructive feedback. This issue will continue to get our joint attention.

CCRA News and Events

Call it “Phlush” or call it a “Loo”: It’s Now Open for Business

After some delay, the City has finally gotten off the pot and opened the new public bathroom at 15th and Arch Sts.


The jury remains out on the subject at the moment, as opinions vary, and it’s very early. The Inquirer’s writeup can be found here. CCRA’s position on the subject can be found in this edition of CCRA This Week.


While technically not in CCRA’s catchment area, it’s certainly close enough (only a block north), and so we would like to hear about any experiences that CCRA members may have, be they positive, negative or meh. Please send all comments to us c/o

Reminder to CCRA Young Adults (i.e., under 40)

Don’t forget about the Aug. 13 event at Holy Trinity’s “Open Hearts CafĂ©”, the volunteer-run food and clothing ministry that serves our near neighbors experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity.

It’s an opportunity to show your in-person neighborly support by volunteering to serve meals and gather customized clothing packages (all funded by a generous grant). 

Then, socialize afterward in Rittenhouse and environs.

Again: Sunday, August 13, from 4pm-6pm at Holy Trinity Episcopal on Rittenhouse Square.

If you want to be a Young Friend and are interested in joining us, please email Travis Oliver.

Rock Out at Fitler Square

CCRA is the proud sponsor of an upcoming concert in Fitler Square, hosted by Friends of Fitler Square Park. On Tuesday, 8/15 (rain date 8/22), come on out to Fitler Square to listen to the tunes of Kamara, playing original, new flamenco, ethno-jazz, some classic rock and 1970s pop/rock music. Who’s Kamara? Ed Kamarauskas and his band KAMARA have been performing in our neighborhood parks, restaurants, street fairs and bars for over ten years. Listen up here for a preview. 

The beat starts at 6:30pm, so grab some grub, a blanket, drinks and your friends for a rockin’ good time. Details here.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

CCRA held its monthly zoning committee meeting on Tuesday, July 25. You can watch the meeting on our YouTube Channel. You can view the report here. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, August 22.


CCRA’s Merchant Partner program is a true Win-Win: It provides local businesses with complimentary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA members generous deals and discounts. This week we spotlight new Merchant Partner Eazy Computers & iPhone Repair!

Tech Troubles? Take it (to) Eazy!

Technology is GREAT…. when it works. 

When it doesn’t, well…. the word ‘homicidal’ springs to mind. But no worries! New Merchant Partner Eazy Computers & iPhone Repair has your back.

Located conveniently at 2005 Chestnut, Eazy does it all: Computers (Windows and Mac), smartphones, tablets… even game consoles. And not only are they hyper-local, but they’re friendly, they’re fast, and they totally get it: They understand your problem.

And as a CCRA Member what you need to understand is that all CCRA members are entitled to a 10% discount on all repairs. So don’t let the Tech Blues get you down: Take it (to) Eazy!

Clean, Safe and Green

Going Mobile: New Calder Museum Coming to the Parkway

Architectural plans have been made available for Calder Gardens, the new museum dedicated to mobile artist Alexander “Sandy” Calder.  Situated on the Ben Franklin Parkway across from the Barnes Foundation – with which it is partnering – the Calder will measure 4,700 square feet and is scheduled to open in 2024. Details here.

Clean Water Should be a Priority!

What ends up in your spigot starts out in the creeks that feed our “hidden river” as well as the Delaware. Interested in what you’re drinking, i.e., the health and safety of Philly’s tap water? This Drinking Water Quality Report, authored by the  Philadelphia Water Department, gives us a thorough run down of how water safely travels from the source….to your home. The report focuses on Philly’s water sources, transit, and safe delivery. Click here to chug more healthy information about your water system.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

LGBTQ History is Honored by a New Public Art Installation

Philly recently unveiled a stunning art installation project honoring the city's LGBT history. The project features a series of beautiful photos that pay tribute to the brave individuals who fought for equality and acceptance in the city. The art project was a collaborative effort among the William Way Center, Mural Arts of Philadelphia, and others.  It was designed to not only celebrate the city's rich LGBT history, but also to inspire future generations to continue the fight for equality.

The art installation is located outdoors, at 11th & Pine and will run through October 31.

Community News and Events

Jazz Lovers Unite

World Cafe Live is hosting a Jazz Jam for musicians and listeners alike. Stop by the lounge area on Thursday, August 10 at 8:30 pm and enjoy house band Emmanuel Ohemeng III & Perpetual Motion. After opening the night with a few tunes, enjoy a lineup of independent musicians. Calling all jazz performers! This is your chance to shine. Sign up and share your passion for jazz with a supportive and enthusiastic audience. Admission is FREE!

To make a reservation and guarantee a seat, click here or call 215-222-1400.

The Grass Will be Greener

Great news about town’s backyard….Rittenhouse Square.  They’ve gotten a grant from the Knight Foundation to help restore the “well used” lawns on which we sit, play, have parties and just plain chill. The Friends of Rittenhouse Square plans to restore every square foot of lawn over the next four years. Can they do it?  Not without your help as well. Want to “cover” the space where your “bottom” sits there?  Sounds like a plan. And any amount given will be matched by Knight. 

CCRA saved the Square once; let’s help do it again. For info on “butt…er” grass, step here. 

What Went Wrong at Bankroll

It’s no secret that Bankroll, the upscale sports bar occupying the former Boyd Theater on Chestnut St., has scaled back operations and is looking to bring in a new operating partner by the fall.  But what happened?  How did a ballyhooed venue go south so quickly?

Opinions vary, but a good summary can be found here, courtesy Billy Penn.

OK Hot Chicken sets opening date in South Philly

After five years serving a daytime menu of sweet and savory Indonesian pancakes at 18th and Washington, the restaurateurs behind Martabak OK are spicing things up with OK Hot Chicken, an evenings-only venture operating out of the same storefront.

Soft-opening is set for Aug. 10th. Billy Penn’s  Ali Mohsen, reports on what’s hot with their  menu of wings, tenders, sliders, and wraps — all in varying levels of Nashville-style heat.

A New Art Installation Project on the Piers 

Streets Dept  (not the water folks, but the arts folks) tells us that a new interactive public art project has popped up along the Delaware River waterfront, providing us with a unique and immersive way to connect with the aqua surrounds and appreciate nature’s beauty. Come see a series of colorful pillars that blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings and feature their own unique sounds, lights, and patterns. The concept? Connect with the city in a deeper, more meaningful way, Namaste. 

The  larger installation pieces are located at the piers at Race Street, Cherry Street, Washington Avenue, as well as Pier 68. Nice day?  Hop on the bus to Penn’s Landing and go exploring along the “other” river.

Megaswing Coming to Philly 

Want to be a kid again? Philadelphia will soon be home to the biggest swing set in the U.S. for people of all ages. This new Skyline Swing will open 8/26, at the playground  in FDR Park. Journalists are calling this a "megaswing" considering it can hold up to thirty people. Head down to South Philly and recall how to say “weeeeee”!

Useful links

Merchant Partners "Deals and Discounts" Program

Please support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a deal or discount to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card and personal identification.

Eazy Computers & iPhone Repair 2005 Chestnut St (215-609-4446)

PhotoLounge, 130 S.17th St (267-322-6651)

Rittenhouse Hardware, 2001 Pine St (215-735-6311)

Seafood Unlimited, 270 S. 20th St (215-732-3663)

The Bake Shop on 20th, 269 S. 20th St (215-644-9714)

The Philadelphia Orchestra, One S. Broad St (215-893-1955)

The River Boat Tours, Schuylkill River & Walnut St (215-309-5523)

The Rounds, internet only

Veda Modern Indian Bistro, 1920 Chestnut St (267-519-2001)

William Schwartz Jewelry, 1831 Chestnut St (215-665-8115)

12th Street Catering, 3312 Spring Garden St (215-386-8595)

Astral Artists, 1500 Walnut St. (215-735-6999)

Blue Sole Shoes, 1805 Chestnut St (215-496-9244)

City Fitness, 2101 South St & 1819 JFK Blvd (609-254-9048) 

Dom's Shoe Repair, 203 S. 20th St (215-972-0098)

Excursions from the Square, (215-732-8487, 215-738-4500)

Eye Candy Vision, 218 S. 20th St (215-568-3937)

FrameWorks Studio & Gallery, 2103 Walnut St (215-567-6800)

Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 S. Broad St (215-893-1900)

Liberty Pet Vets, 265 S. 20th St (888-458-8587)

Loews Hotel Philadelphia, 1200 Market St (215-627-1200)

Sandcastle Fun Co., Inquire within (267-462-1680)

1600 Spruce St. Home, Design and Gift, 1600 Spruce St. (267-209-3350)

Philly Bike Tours, Inquire within (267-521-2150)

Mr FIX, 413 S. 20th St (215-261-5646)

CCRA assumes no responsibility, and makes no representations or warranties, regarding any product and/or services sold by any Merchant Partner.

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Center City Residents' Association | 1900 Market St, FL 8, Philadelphia, PA 19103