Saturday, December 28, 2013

Demolition Starts at 19th and Lombard Streets

I guess this precaution is the result of the lesson learned at the 22nd and Market Streets demolition.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Snowflakes Have Arrived

Tonight was the official lighting of the snowflakes at the Triangle on Grays Ferry Avenue. Special thanks to South Square Market, The Igloo, Six Fishes Acupuncture, Grace Tavern, Rodriguez Design, Circle Thrift, SOSNA, and SSWBA for their financial support and Stephen, Brad, Larry, and Marcus for their labor.

Sidewalk Closure or Enclosure?

Construction has begun at the NW corner of 19th and Lombard Streets.
The start of pedestrian enclosures, right? So we can still use the sidewalk during construction, right?

This is some serious construction!

Bus detour "until further notice?" Big Belly no longer accessible. Pedestrian friendly city, aren't we?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Police District PSA 1 Meeting

The monthly Police Service Area 1 (PSA 1) meeting was held this evening at the SOSNA office. Three officers were present to provide a report of what's been happening in PSA 1. While crimes do occur here, they stress that this is a safe PSA.

Their main suggestions to us:
  • Do not be on your cell phone when walking
  • Keep your head on a swivel
  • Know your surroundings

Crimes in our PSA over the last 28 days:
  • Aggravated assaults - 1, with an arrest
  • Thefts from auto - 13 (considered a lot), items taken include GPS devices, phones, laptops, money, and basically anything that can be seen from outside the vehicle. Tell friends and family that visit this holiday season not to leave anything visible in their car.
  • House burglaries - 14, there has been an increase
  • Commercial burglaries - 3, with two suspects arrested for all three crimes (one lives in the district)
  • Robberies with a gun - 1, two suspects arrested carrying machine guns(!)
  • Robberies without a gun - 5, no arrests
  • Shootings - none (though they mentioned that the 2100 block of Fitzwater Street is a typical place for shootings)
While the 3rd District has seen a number of "knockout game" incidents in Philadelphia, a few have also been reported in our district.

Another suggestion: tell UPS/USPS/FedEx not to leave deliveries on your doorstep.

The Community Meeting for PSA 1 NORMALLY takes place the Fourth Thursday of every month at 6:30PM at the SOSNA Office, 1901 Christian Street. Check the SOSNA Events web page.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snowflakes at the Triangle

We're not done yet, but we've made a good start at putting up lighted snowflakes along Grays Ferry.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rittenhouse Hardware Benefit for Joe

Joe, a long time employee at Rittenhouse Hardware recently had a bad car accident. He is pretty badly injured, and his son was killed. The store is having a beef and beer to raise money to help him over at 10 Stone from 7-9 on the 14th.

Monday, December 9, 2013

20th and South Street

According to NakedPhilly, a tenant has been found for 20th and South Street, which was recently a Philly Cupcake location. They report that "the space would soon be occupied by an office of some kind." Read more here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Philadelphia Bike Share

There have been very preliminary discussions on having a Bike Share site at the Triangle.

Friday, December 6, 2013

2300 South Street ZBA Hearing

From the SOSNA web site:

2300 South Street ZBA Hearing - 12/11 at 2 PM

1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor
Philadelphia, PA
*** 3 hours of testimony was heard on November 6. The ZBA postponed the remainder of testimony from all parties until December 11 at 2 PM, same location ***

2300 South Street, which appeared before the SOSNA Zoning Committee in July and August, will be heard by the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment on December 11 at 2 PM at 1515 Arch Street, 18th Floor, ZBA Calendar Number 21185.

The plans for the project are available for review at the SOSNA Office - call 215-732-8446 to set up a time.

If you attend and wish to be on record for attending (whether or not you testify), fill out an official white appearance form available at the front of the room. This will allow you to file a legal appeal should the ZBA decision be contrary to your preference. Listen at the outset of each meeting in case your case has been continued (postponed). When your case comes up, approach the front of the room and identify yourself as being with the applicants or as a protestant.

Friday, November 29, 2013

SOSNA: Toy Drive, Police Safety Tips, 2012 Water Main Break

SOSNA will be accepting donations for their Holiday Toy Drive thru December 18. "We've filled one big box with toys for the students of the Arthur and Stanton Elementary schools and on to box number two. Thanks to everyone for their generosity."

More info here

Here are some safety tips the police officers from the 17th Police District shared at their monthly PSA 1 Community Meeting at the SOSNA office:
  • Take all your gifts out of your car or lock them in the trunk - thefts from auto remain the most common crime in the neighborhood.  Remind family, friends and neighbors who might be visiting you of the same. 
  • This may sound simple, but remember to lock your car doors! We learned last night that 50% of all stolen cars in PA were left unlocked.
  • Try not to carry much currency - if you carry a purse, maybe carry your cell phone and some cash in your pocket and the rest in your purse.
  • Don't advertise that you're on vacation - don't allow newspapers or circulars to accumulate on your stoop. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye on this, or put a vacation hold on your papers.
  • Similarly, don't leave notes for the postman about holding your mail - if you need your mail held while you're away, you can do so online here.
  • Put your stoop light or lights in your house on a timer.

Also from SOSNA regarding last year's water main break:

If you, or someone you know, has suffered damages from the Water Main Break that occurred on July 22, 2012, please join us for a neighborhood meeting at the SOSNA office (1901 Christian St.) on Monday, December 16, 2013 at 6:00 pm. There will be discussions regarding the status of the claim against the city and recent developments in this ongoing legal matter. Become informed about this pending matter and protect your rights to a legal remedy.

AVI and Gentification

Here's an extract from the Center City Residents' Association November 27th Weekly Newsletter.

Homeowners who have continuously occupied the same residence since July 1, 2003 and who meet income requirements can qualify for the City's realty tax Gentrification relief program IF their AVI reassessment at least tripled the former assessment (i.e. $100,000 pre AVI to at least $300,000 AVI). Note that the trigger is the increase in the assessment, not the increase in the tax due. Those who qualify can limit their tax to 1.32% of triple their former assessment even if the AVI assessment exceeds that amount. For example, if the pre AVI 2012 assessment was $100,000.00 but the AVI assessment due in Feb. of 2014 is $350,000, the program would cap taxes at the tax rate (1.32%) times the cap ($300,000) = $3,960, a savings of $660.00 from 1.32% x $350,000 = $4,620. 
The program guidelines include all incomes of household residents - the maximum income for a single person household is $83,220 and $95,050 for a double occupant dwelling. The City plans to mail out Homestead applications to each address with a treble increase or more. Completed applications are due by January 14 although a Council bill, yet to be passed, would extend the deadline to February 15. Those who fail to apply forfeit their right to apply in future years so citizens should fill out the application even if they are not certain of their eligibility. The Gentrification Relief forms have yet to be published. CCRA will include these forms In a newsletter once they are published.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pink and Blue are Gone!

I guess SLAP Properties doesn't think Philly Cupcake's signature baby pink and blue color scheme is a positive selling point. The exterior is back to two shades of green. Wonder what the next tenant will do.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SOSNA Zoning Committee Meeting

SOSNA Zoning Committee meeting is Wednesday, November 20. Starts at 7:00pm at the SOSNA office, 1901 Christian Street. On the agenda for this meeting that's relevant to our neighborhood:

2111 Kater Street: (2nd Presentation): Erection of a sunroom to an existing single-family dwelling.

Full agenda here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

iJuice! Opening November 16

 iJuice! is scheduled to open this Saturday, November 16. Billed as a juice bar and vegetarian cafe, located in the commercial space that formerly was home to Betty’s Speakeasy at 2241 Grays Ferry Avenue.

Half price off all juices and blends on opening day, Saturday.

Read more from here and from Century City here.

Bar and CafĂ©…home of the virgin cocktail
2241 Grays Ferry Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19146
7am to 7pm, Monday through Friday
8am to 6pm, Saturday
9am to 5pm, Sunday

Monday, November 11, 2013

Royal Theater Public Meeting

A public meeting was held Monday, November 11, at the Bainbridge Club, to discuss the Royal Theater. It was sponsored by South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA), South Street West Business Association, and Universal Companies. About fifty people were in attendance.

It was stated upfront that this meeting would be the first of an on-going set of meeting to discuss the development of the Royal Theater.

Chris Stromberg, from the SOSNA Architectural Review Committee, stated that the ARC's procedures for reviewing the development work of the Royal Theater would be more stringent than a typical review. The ARC anticipates two separate reviews of the development plans before a plan is presented to the SOSNA Zoning Committee and neighborhood review. Typically only one review is held. UC stated that they expect to make zoning variance requests.

Universal Companies provided the major presentation of the evening. This was given by Rahim Islam, President and CEO, and Shahied Dawan, CFO. The majority of their presentation identified UC's mission and their history with the Royal Theater. Their opening statement was to declare the "negative chatter" about UC they heard in the back of the hall as untrue. They gave a chronological run down of their activities with the Royal Theater. They stated that they had made several proposals in the past to develop the Royal Theater as a cultural and entertainment venue, but did not find sufficient support to proceed in this fashion.Their latest proposal is to develop the site as retail space fronting South Street, thirty rental units upstairs, thirteen parking spaces, and six town homes with garages on Kater Street. The facade will remain intact. The development will span from 1520 thru 1536 South Street, which includes some of the property adjacent to the Royal Theater which UC currently owns.

Comments from the Q&A session were varied. Several stressed the importance the Royal Theater had to the African American community and a desire to preserve some aspect of this history as part of the development plans. Many wanted the space to provide some kind of cultural/entertainment outlet. Two neighbors were hostile to UC, providing examples where UC had not been responsive to local residents' requests.

Update: Read what NakedPhilly has to say about the meeting here.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Royal Theater Public Meeting

From the SOSNA web site:

Discussing History and Next Steps with Universal Companies

The Bainbridge Club
On Monday November 11 at 6 PM at the Bainbridge Club (1529 Bainbridge Street) there will be a public meeting at which representatives from Universal Companies will discuss the history of the Royal Theater and lay out next steps for the property.  SOSNA and the South Street West Business Association (SSWBA), the two local Registered Community Organizations (RCOs), will also outline how the redevelopment of this historic theater and neighborhood landmark will go through the zoning process.  There will be time for Q&A following the presentation. 

Any questions call 215-732-8446.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Election Day, November 5

Tuesday, November 5th, is Election Day.

Up for grabs are:
State Office:
- Justice of the Supreme Court (Retention Votes)
- Judge of the Superior Court

City Office:
- City Controller
- District Attorney
- Judge of Court of Common Pleas
- Judge of Philadelphia Municipal Court
- Judge of Traffic Court
- Judge of Elections
- Inspector of Elections

There's also a bond question:
Should the City of Philadelphia borrow NINETY-FOUR MILLION SEVEN HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($94,745,000.00) to be spent for and toward capital purposes as follows: Transit; Streets and Sanitation; Municipal Buildings; Parks, Recreation and Museums; and Economic and Community Development?

Find out more about the candidates here.

Find your polling place here.

Police Station Visitors Week - 17th District

From the SOSNA web site:

Police Station Visitors Week - 17th District

17th Police District
20th and Point Breeze Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19146
SOSNA is thrilled to participate in a global event called Police Station Visitors Week (PSVW).  On Thursday November 7 at 3 PM SOSNA will be touring the 17th Police District (20th and Point Breeze) and rating the District in terms of Community Orientation, Physical Conditions, Equal Treatment of the Public, Transparency and Accountability, and Detention Conditions. 

Who wants to join us?  RSVP to andrewd AT southofsouth DOT org by Wednesday November 6. 

Neighborhood Books Food Drive

Curtis Kise, owner of Neighborhood Books at 1906 South Street, is holding a food drive to help Philabundance.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Philly Cupcake Closed

A sign in Philly Cupcake's window at 20th and South announces that they have closed due to "unresolvable landlord and building issues."

Daylight Savings Ends November 3 -- Get an Additional Hour Sleep!

Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour Sunday morning, November 3.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off

Hazardous waste collection this Saturday, November 2, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at:
Streets Department Northeast Facility
3901 Delaware Avenue between Castor & Lewis
(Near Allegheny Exit of I-95)

Not sure what's hazardous waste? Check it out here.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Today's Pumpkin Painting Artists

A nice turnout for pumpkin painting at the Triangle. Pumpkins were donated by South Square Market.
How old were you before you could actually pronounce "pungkin"?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Turn in Unused or Expired Meds

19th and Lombard Streets

The following is an excerpt from the CCRA Newsletter of October 25th.

"Developer Noah Ostroff, who recently completed the Lombard Estates townhouses on the north side of the 1800 block of Lombard, is about to start work on a ten unit townhouse development, Rittenhouse Estates [see pictures here], just down the street. Seven 5000 square foot homes and one-4000 square foot home will front on the north side of Lombard, from the corner of 19th and Lombard to Uber Street, midway between 19th and 20th . The other two homes, slightly smaller, will open onto Uber Street and 19th Street respectively.  Currently the site is occupied by a parking lot and four apartment buildings all of which will be demolished.  In accordance with the Center City Residents' Neighborhood Plan, Rittenhouse Estates has no garage fronts facing the pedestrians. Cars enter via a single driveway on 19th Street and all garage access is via an interior courtyard, out of public sight. The plans call for 20 parking slots. Demolition is scheduled to commence before December 31st  and the targeted completion date is the end of 2014. The project was the subject of multiple reviews with CCRA's zoning committee resulting in project modifications to address the committee's concerns and  those expressed by near neighbors.  Modifications included a reduction in the mass and streetscape impact of the townhouses fronting Lombard street; an increase in rear open space, a reduction in the height of the two townhouses adjacent to the Ringold Street residences, as well as changing the vehicular circulation for  the townhouse rear parking to eliminate cars egressing onto Uber Street where a daycare and play area are located."

Washington Avenue Planning

A public meeting was held last Wednesday by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission to discuss Washington Avenue.  Apparently, the only thing the City is planning to do at this time is to repaint the the traffic lanes, but there are options on how to do this in order to best accommodate parking, bicycles and cars. A summary of the meeting can be found on the PlanPhilly website here.

C.R.Ettinger Studios

Please welcome C.R.Ettinger Studios to the neighborhood at 2215 South Street. Learn more about her here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off

Hazardous waste collection this Saturday, October 26, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at:
Streets Department Facility
3033 South 63rd Street, Northwest of Passyunk

Not sure what's hazardous waste? Check it out here.

Triangles Pumpkin Painting

Join the Grays Ferry Avenue Gateway Project and The Igloo in an afternoon of pumpkin painting (a kids friendly alternative to carving).

When: Sunday, October 27, 1-3pm
Where: 23rd and South, at the Catharine Thron Fountain

Friday, October 18, 2013

Washington Avenue Transportation and Parking Study

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission is having a public meeting to discuss ideas about Washington Avenue. Couldn't find anything on their web site, but this poster is making the rounds.

When: Wednesday, October 23rd
Time: 6:00-7:30pm
Where: Mummers Museum, 2nd and Washington Avenue.

Southwest Center City 5K Run

Run is scheduled for Saturday, October 26. From their web site (visit here for more info and to register):

"Since 2008, the Southwest Center City 5K Run has served the area as a healthy, community-building event. In addition to hosting hundreds of participants, the event gives back to the community through its non-profit, SWCC Run, Inc., contributing to beautification initiatives. Everyone is welcome to join us by walking, running or rolling in the event!"

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours

Philadelphia Open Studio Tours this weekend, October 19 and 20 from noon to 6pm. Tours are free and self-guided. Visit our local artists at their studios to see samples of their works.

"Philadelphia Open Studio Tours, a program of The Center for Emerging Visual Artists, is the largest tour of artist studios and creative work spaces in the region and one of the premier open studio tour events in the country."

Artists in our neighborhood include (in no particular order and with apologies to anyone I've missed; is there something in the water on Naudain Street?):

For a full list, see here. More details, see here.

CCRA's Annual Fall House Tour

Center City Residents' Association (CCRA) is holding their 55th Annual Fall House Tour this Sunday (the 20th), from 1-5pm.

Details from their web site (click here):

"How many times have you wanted to visit the last single family residence on Rittenhouse Square, the fabled Mc Elhenny mansion, situated on the Square’s southwest corner and vacant for more than a decade? Now’s your chance to get inside to take a look before planned renovations commence. While you are at it, take a gander at fine residences in the Square’s newest upscale address, Ten Rittenhouse, on the northwest corner of 18th and Walnut. All this AND the home of Nora the piano playing cat who enjoys a world wide U tube fan base plus nine other residential stops including one on the showcase 2000 block of Delancey."