Thursday, December 16, 2021

CCRA Newsletter

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This Week: December 16, 2021

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

Alimentari and Rittenhouse Sq. Photo Credits: Benjamin Zuckerman

Uncommon Times, Common Sense

So let’s get this straight:

The Omicron virus is very transmissible, but apparently not so lethal. Evidently, the Delta virus is its inverse. COVID cases fall, and then they rise. Mask mandates are on here, off there.

Recommended: No family gatherings, but…

Meanwhile: some crime numbers are up, other crime numbers are down. All in the context of the Holiday season.

What to do? As guidances vary, it’s difficult to know. Cognitive dissonance has become our daily bread.

And so what we’re left with is Common Sense.

Yes, not always so common, but still our friend, especially now. Evaluate risks, use prudence, be realistic, and enjoy the heck out of the Holidays. (Pro Tip: Leave the Rolex home.)

CCRA News and Events

CCRA Board Meeting

On Tuesday, December 14, CCRA held its board meeting at BEX. The highlights of the evening were two presentations from the newly-formed Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Taskforce (DEIJ), and the Trash Taskforce - which is part of CCRA's Clean, Safe, and Green program. The presentations, as well as other documents distributed, can be found here.

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 Alimentari, the restaurant atop the legendary Di Bruno Brothers.


“Alimentari, My Dear Watson”

It quite simply is the most logical of deductions to conclude that a restaurant version of the esteemed food store Di Bruno’s could only be superb.  And so it is.


The word “alimentary” actually means “to nourish”, and do they ever, with small plates, cheese, charcuterie, and Pizza alla Roma, all served in a unique, classy, and minimalistic cafe with wooden tones, small plants, and natural lighting, all perfect for sharing, nibbling and sipping beer, wine, and cocktails.


And, as with the diBruno’s store itself, CCRA members receive 10% off their food bill.

See you there!

Office Closure

CCRA is taking a holiday break. The office is closed on Friday, December 24, and will reopen on Monday, January 3. We would like to wish our members Happy Holidays. Please be safe.

Coming next week: CCRA This Week "Year-End Review."

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Clean, Safe, and Green

Our Clean, Safe, and Green Appeal has begun!

As part of your year-end giving, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to CCRA's Clean, Safe, and Green Campaign so that we can continue to carry out our Sidewalk Cleaning and other programs for another year.  

The Clean, Safe, and Green Program is one of CCRA's most important neighborhood beautification efforts. We contract with the Center City District for $29,000 a year to come through our area on trash day and pick up litter that remains on the sidewalks after Streets Department crews have taken garbage and recycling. We also keep the neighborhood green by planting trees for those who would like one.


CCRA is extraordinarily proud of the Clean, Safe, and Green Program because it makes our neighborhood a better place to live and work. However, we cannot afford to maintain this effort without the generous support of friends like you.  

Thanks for your support of CCRA and season's greetings to you and your family.  Click the " Donate Now " link below to contribute today to CCRA.

Donate Now

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

Coming Soon

"Sense in the City" – A winter Wednesday Zoom discussion series with the Center City Residents Association

Wednesdays, 12 noon–1:30PM – January 19, February 9 and 23, March 9 and 23


How can citizens nurture constructive dialogue that respects everyone and helps make our society more equitable and inclusive? How can we live more meaningful, engaged, and responsible lives? Join Hugh Taft-Morales, Leader of the Philadelphia Ethical Society, for a series of guided conversations about community, difference, and justice.


Hugh will offer a humanist perspective about some ethical and personal challenges we confront, followed by whole-group and small-group conversations. Come share what inner resources, spiritual traditions, and behavioral habits help you live more fully and fairly when navigating life in Philadelphia.

Philly Fed: Pandemic Economic Pain Uneven


According to a recent analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, businesses owned by people of color and women were more likely to report losing revenue in the coronavirus pandemic, and less likely to get federal aid they applied for.  The report (details here) is based on Small Business Credit Survey results from September and October 2020 and includes input from 570 local small businesses.

Invented, then Re-invented: Oldest Gay Bookstore in the Country


When Giovanni’s Room opened way back in 1973, it was only the second LGBTQ bookstore in the country, and its open started a multi-decade run serving the needs of the Philadelphia area gay community.  But then finances became tight in 2014 and things did not look good.

However, with backing from secondhand shop Philly AIDS Thrift plus a team of staffers and volunteers, current owner Alan Chelak took over the storied bookstore and turned it back into a success.

For much more on this remarkable success story, please visit here.

Useful links

Community News and Events

Philly will require vaccines to eat or drink inside bars and restaurants

City officials announced on Monday that bars and restaurants that have indoor dining must ask patrons for proof of vaccination before entering the establishment.  This will be in effect on January 3. More info here.

Council: Streeteries Street-Legal for Good


What was born out of necessity (if not desperation) has now become permanent, as Philadelphia City Council has passed a bill to legalize so-called ‘streeteries’ in some areas of the City.

Introduced by Councilmember Allen Domb, the measure requires that streetery structures meet specific design and placement requirements.  For more on this, please go here.

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If You Only See One Christmas Display This Year….


The Miracle on South 13th Street, located on the 1600 block of South 13th Street between Morris and Tasker Streets, is the one to see. It is truly “over the top”, and we mean that in the best possible way. Mere words fail to describe; for a street-level view, go here.

Comcast's Annual Holiday Spectacular

Comcast's free annual Holiday Spectacular is now outdoors, 1701 John F. Kennedy Boulevard. Daily at the top of every hour from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from November 25 to January 1, the 15-minute show takes visitors on a festive, musical journey featuring Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, and The Twelve Days of Christmas and a snippet of The Nutcracker. More info here.


 Back for the Holidays: Unique Boutique Knit Wit


Just in time for the holidays, the iconic boutique Knit Wit is open once again in Center City.  You can check it out at 2044 Rittenhouse Square (between 20th and 21st Streets), Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6:00 pm; Sunday noon to 5:00 pm. Through December 24 only.

Philly Zoo Gets Its Holiday On


A light show of over a million LEDs, Christmas trees made of pink flamingos and covered with hundreds of carved, painted butterflies, with one topped by an octopus…  It’s all happening at the Philly Zoo’s one-of-a-kind “LumiNature” exhibit.

The 42-acre spread is all decked out and ready for the holidays, and all the details can be found here.


An All-Ages Christmas Show Like No Other


While there are more than a few Christmas shows around town, it’s a safe bet that none are quite like “Christmastown, PA”, the new original musical put on by ComedySportz, Philadelphia’s longest-running comedy and improv theater. The fun begins when Junior brings his girlfriend Haley home to meet the family over the holidays. Little does she know that…. Well no, that would be spoiling it. For all you need to know, go here.

Merchant Partners "Deals and Discounts" Program

Would you 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.

The Rounds, Use code CCRATHEROUNDS to receive free membership

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)

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)

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)

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

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