Thursday, September 9, 2021

CCRA Newsletter

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This Week: Sept 9, 2021

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver


Apres le Deluge

Center City won’t long forget the pictures and videos of the Schuylkill River flooded wall-to-wall nor of the Vine Street Expressway resembling a reservoir. While the waters have thankfully receded, the pain left in their wake largely remains.

For those who lost property, power or more, you have our deepest condolences.

To help the city understand the extent of damage and to see where resources may be needed, residents are urged to answer a short survey and upload any photos they may have into OEM's damage assessment tool at


For flood-related resources and assistance, please go here. For FEMA assistance, go here.

For those who were more fortunate, donations are being accepted by the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Project Hope.

CCRA News and Events

New Tenant at the Boyd Theater and The Gap

CCRA has been informed that a new tenant will be moving into the former Boyd Theater and The Gap on Chestnut Street. The plan is for a Stephen Starr restaurant and a sports bar and video parlor. This is a new use which Center City has not seen before so Rick Gross, CCRA President, has appointed a Stakeholders’ Group of nearby buildings to negotiate issues of noise, congestion, signage, security and liquor licensing. The group will propose a binding Memorandum of Understanding (similar to a Community Benefits Agreement for new buildings) which will be presented to the CCRA Board for approval in due course. There will be an opportunity for public input.Watch this space for further information.

Belgian Block, Trolley Tracks and Hex-head Screw Spikes (?)

Ever wonder what exactly is under the city streets? You might be surprised. A recent installation of a new water main in Center City provides a peek, with CCRA streets guru Bill West as your guide. Dig deep here.

ICYMI: CCQ Fall 2021 Edition

The Center City Quarterly is out!

Many thanks to Editor Nancy Colman and to all who were involved in putting together this edition. Click on the picture to view CCQ.


Merchant Partner of the Week

Every week we spotlight a member of the CCRA Merchant Partner ‘Deals & Discount’ Program, which helps local Mom and Pop businesses get back on their post-pandemic feet by

providing complimentary valuable advertising and exposure by encouraging support from CCRA’s highly-engaged (and growing) membership. This week we feature William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry.

New Merchant Partner

CCRA is both proud and delighted to introduce our newest Merchant Partner, William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry at 1831 Chestnut St. Anything but a big-box chain store, William Schwartz is truly distinctive in that they offer an unusually wide selection of both unique and custom pieces, and their personal, on-site repairs are done right the first time with very quick turnaround. (If you disbelieve, check out the raves on Yelp.) So what could be better, you ask? They offer a 10% discount to CCRA members.

So do please stop by at 1831 Chestnut and say hello to Russell at the newest member of the CCRA Merchant Partner family: William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry!

Clean, Safe, and Green

Schuylkill River Park Community Garden flooded by Ida

Areas of Center City left underwater in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida include the Schuylkill River Park community garden. While gardening activities had been winding down prior to the storm, the river dumped several feet of water and a thick layer of silt on end-of-season produce. The garden steering committee has directed gardeners to dispose of all affected produce and is busy gathering information about possible soil contamination and remediation. Organizations offering guidance include Penn State Extension Services, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. The goal is to restore the soil so that gardeners can be confident in its safety next season. Once procedures are in place, several cleanup sessions will be scheduled. 

Useful links

  • Previous CCRA This Week
  • News Blog
  • 9th District Crime Report
  • 17th District Crime Reports
  • Center City Quarterly
  • CCRA Calendar

Community News and Events

A Photo-First: The Phila 20/20 Photo Festival

Mark your calendars for the month of September, as the monthlong, first-of-its-kind 20/20 Photo Festival has arrived. With the theme “History Informs the Contemporary”, the 20/20 takes place both in-person and online and brings together work of both emerging and established photographers with exhibits, workshops, artist talks, even a community darkroom gathering. Get the picture here and here.

Zoning Variance Gives Painted Bride Mural Life

The City’s Zoning Board of Adjustment has approved a zoning variance that allows Old City developer Atrium Design Group to build a 70-unit modernist apartment dwelling atop the former Painted Bride Art Center in exchange for preserving an Isaiah Zagar mosaic mural on the façade of the one-story building. The variance would allow Atrium to exceed the normal 65-foot height limit by about 20 feet. 

Details here

Aurora Classical and Trinity Center for Urban Life Present: Our American Experiences: a 9/11 20th Anniversary Remembrance Festival for 2021 Fringe Festival. 

Saturday, September 11, 8:30 a.m. to 5pm - come and go as you please. FREE, donate what you wish. Many events will take place at Trinity Memorial Church, 22nd and Spruce Streets.  For more information, please contact Susan Weinman.

About the event
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Take the Fam to a Philly-Style Scavenger Hunt

September 26 – the first Sunday of Autumn – will find a Scavenger Hunt on the Avenue of the Arts, where participants will search for and locate landmarks, from Dilworth Park to the Clef Club. Yes, there will be prizes, and everyone gets a hat! And: you won’t have to worry about missing the Eagles game that Sunday because they’re playing Monday Night that week (against Dallas, speaking of scavengers).

Scavenge the details here

Coming Soon:

Rittenhouse Fine Art Show

September 17-19


The Ethical Society invites you to join us for the United Nations International Day of Peace and 11th anniversary Peace Day Celebration

Giant Peace Dove, music and featured speakers in Rittenhouse Square - Tuesday, September 21, 11:15 a.m. Free.

Virtual program offerings Wednesday, September 15 to Tuesday, September 21. Indoor events at The Philadelphia Ethical Society have been canceled because of COVID.

More Info

Cheese & Wine at Old Pine:

Tickets are live for Old Pine Community Center’s "Cheese & Wine at Old Pine" fundraising event!

The event will take place on Friday, September 24th, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in the Old Pine Street Church graveyard. Enjoy a glass of wine, a personal cheese board provided by From Marjorie, and fun activities (like a historic graveyard tour!). Celebrate this milestone with OPCC's friends and neighbors while learning about our upcoming programs and plans.

More info
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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.

Di Bruno Bros., 1730 Chestnut St. (215-665-9220)

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 and Gallery, 2103 Walnut St, (215-567-6800)

Good Karma Cafe, 331 S. 22nd St, (215-546-1479)

Koresh Dance Company, 2002 Rittenhouse Sq St. (267-687-1769)

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

Mlkmn, - Use code CCRAMlkmn to receive free membership

Nature's Gallery Florist, 2124 Walnut St (215-563-5554)

Photo Lounge, 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)

Ursula Hobson Fine Art Framing, 1528 Waverly St (215-546-7889)

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

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

Alimentari Restaurant at Di Bruno Bros., 1730 Chestnut St, 2nd Floor

Astral Artists - Use promo code "CCRA" to receive a $10 flat rate on all tickets to their virtual concerts.

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

Branzino Italian BYOB, 261 S. 17th St (215-790-0103)

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