Thursday, March 24, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: March 24, 2022

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

The Joys of Compartmentalizing

Talk about Cognitive Dissonance.

On the one hand: a seeming lull in Covid, plus it’s now Spring in all its glory.

On the other hand: Ukraine, in all its horror.

How to process?  How to proceed?


According to many psychologists, it’s not an either/or binary choice. Rather, it’s most healthy handled via compartmentalizing.


And while yes, Ukraine is horrific right now, the pain and misery undeniable, at the same time life is to be lived, meaning that at times like this it’s critical to cultivate moments of joy and fulfillment while remaining aware of the pain and suffering.


So whatever your thing is, do it.  Do several.  Find the joy, find the spontaneity, find the escape.

It’s a wonderful time to be in Center City.  Go Explore.

CCRA News and Events

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, March 29, 7 pm

via Zoom

Zoom link:

View Agenda here.

Filming in our Neighborhood

Uncle George Productions is returning to Center City West from March 28 to March 30 to film scenes for the 4th season of “Servant”. They will be filming on the 2100 block of Spruce St. If you live on this block, you will need to remove your car by March 27. Other tangential blocks may be affected, as well. For more information, click here.

A Message to our Household, Patron, Angel, and Legend Members

We have begun to add separate membership accounts to your primary membership profile so that your other household members can receive their own cards. You can check to see if you included your household members (up to 4) by logging into your account. If you are unsure if you included your additional members, or have further questions, please notify Managing Director Travis Oliver and he will assist you. As a reminder, each additional member must live in the household of the primary member.


CCRA’s Merchant Partner program is a true Win-Win: It provides smaller local businesses with complimentary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA members generous deals and discounts. This week we feature fave Rittenhouse eatery Seafood Unlimited.


People in the Know go to Seafood Unlimited


With all the great dining options in Center City it can be difficult to know which to choose. But if you’re looking for great seafood, it’s a no-brainer: Seafood Unlimited on S. 20th St.


For over 45 years Seafood Unlimited has served both locals and out-of-towners in their sleek, casual setting. Their fresh, delivered-daily fare is from everywhere: we’re talking sea scallops, jumbo shrimp, ahi tuna, branzino, crab cakes, lobsters and arctic char. And do NOT forget to leave room for the home-made desserts: key lime pie, chocolate mousse and carrot cake.


Co-owner Judi Einhorn puts their philosophy this way: “Understand the neighborhood and you’ll understand the product you need to provide”. Well, they can check that box. And speaking of the neighborhood, CCRA members receive a complimentary tasting of their stellar gazpacho.


So the next time you get a hankering for something from under the sea, sail on over to Seafood Unlimited.

Clean, Safe and Green

Guiltless Bagels, Pizza and Beer? Where? Right Here!


How can you help get new backboards and rims?

Eat bagels, pizza and beer at Spread Bagelry, Cozette Pizza and Workhorse SRT (2401 Walnut Street) on April 1st. A portion of all proceeds that day will go to support new backboards and rims in the Schuylkill River Park. 

The Friends of Schuylkill River Park are working to raise money in the month of March for much needed basketball court rim and backboard repairs. Contribute to the cause via PayPal or by mailing checks to: FSRP, P.0. Box 30246, 2037 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. For info on FSRP, travel here.

CCRA Leads Voter Registration Drive at Local School


On Friday, March 25, 2022,  CCRA volunteers will be registering eligible students, faculty and staff at Freire Charter School to vote.   Registering to vote is a vital step in the process of democracy--the only thing more important is actually VOTING.  In order to vote in the May 17, 2022 primary, voters must be registered by May 2, 2022.


The voter registration drive is being conducted under the banner of CCRA's JEDI  (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) committee.  This is the first activity undertaken with Freire Charter School.  Planned future activities include Writing Lab support, Chess Club Coaching, and  Supplementing the Economics/American Government curriculum.   


Freire Charter School, located at 2027 Chestnut Street, has been in CCRA's neighborhood since 2003. Freire Charter School offers a rigorous college-prep education focused on social justice, self-actualization and academic excellence.  Since their opening, they have developed a strong track record of  academic achievement with a student body consisting of almost 100% black and brown teenagers from West, North and Southwest Philadelphia, most from single-parent households. 

·       Freire High School’s graduating class of 2021 earned an average of over $50,000 per student in scholarships and financial aid offers for college.

·       83% of the Freire High School Class of 2021 were accepted to college.

·       92% of college-attending Freire Schools graduates persist to their second year of college, compared to just 73% nationwide

Through our involvement, CCRA hopes to help these students achieve even more.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Celebrations Continue for Women’s History Month


Philly’s a great place to observe Women’s History Month.

There’s Harriet Tubman’s journey, there’s Women’s Artistic Networks and yes, there’s the Badass Women’s History Tour. Details here.

Letters to the Editor


On occasion, This Week receives letters from our readers complaining about an article we published, City Hall antics,  the quality of life in city, and more.  After due consideration, we have decided to publish the below letter, as it raises important issues about current public matters that may potentially affect the quality of life in Center City. This letter does not represent the opinion of CCRA. Please follow the links provided to evaluate the facts and form your own opinions. CCRA encourages all readers to send in letters to the editor. CCRA reserves the right to publish any letter we receive, or not publish it. If we edit it, we will contact you for permission to publish the edited version prior to publication. Any published letter represents the opinion of the writer and not the opinion of CCRA. 

A Letter to the Editor about the New Streeteries Law and Regs

In January 2022, Philadelphia acted to legalize the streeteries that we are all dining in now.  Recently, the new law (and the regulations implementing it) has created a new set of roadblocks, especially for the smaller streeteries we’ve grown to appreciate over these last two years.  The new law is here:  The regulations are here:

As I read it, the law sets the maximum streetery width at 6 feet from the curbstone a standard that many existing streeteries cannot meet.  The new law allows streeteries only where there are parking spots, but not in traffic or bike lanes (unless the entire street is shut).  All streetery structures must conform to the building code, but also be removable within 48 hours.  Streeteries must have crash-proof barriers around them, e.g.,  jersey barriers.  The number of streetery seats is limited to the number of inside seats. 

The regulations – all 17 pages of them – are especially challenging to smaller streeteries.  The $200 annual fee is upped with an additional annual fee of $2,200 (regardless of operation size).  The operator must have $1,000,000 insurance policy covering it and the City and must post a $60,000 bond to cover the City if it has to remove a streetery.  The operator must obtain approval from the Art Commission for their streetery.  Streeteries must not be within 20 feet of a cross walk.  Manholes and catch basins get 5 feet clearance (even if the manhole is in a traffic lane).  Propane heaters are banned.  Electric cables must be run underground, not overhead.  The regs define a crash-proof barrier as a water-filled jersey barrier, 18 inches thick, three feet high and six feet long.

The new law legalizes two top tables in the gutter flanked with bright orange jersey barriers.  This is not what we’ve had over the past two years. I fear everything we’re used to now — from Ambrosia and Cotoletta to Parc to Bonners Pub — may not be in compliance with the new law.  The apparent public sentiment, though, is for extending an urban amenity that we’ve enjoyed for the past two years now that the City is getting its groove back.  But there may be good reasons that public sentiment is wrong.  If our elected representatives want to end streeteries now that their original justification – the covid pandemic – is subsiding, that’s a policy choice they can make and answer for.   A law making streeteries impossible as a practical matter is not a law legalizing streeteries.  

Charles Goodwin, Past President, CCRA

Community News and Events

Jazz for Squares. Rittenhouse Squares.


If jazz is your jam – or even if it isn’t – you’re gonna wanna hoof it to the Square at 4pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays starting May 20, as Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society will be performing memorable tunes from the songbook of classic jazz with a specific focus on the Philadelphia style of the 1920s and 30s.

Dig it here.

The Kenyatta Johnson Trial: What to Know


Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson’s federal bribery trial began this week. Johnson stands accused of two counts of wire fraud relating to alleged real estate dealings. Details here.

Pony Up: Polo Comes to Fairmount Park


Well, here’s a first: polo matches in Fairmount Park. On Sept. 24, the first inaugural Philadelphia Polo Classic will take place. Not only that, but it’s organized by Work to Ride, an organization that introduces under-resourced kids to horseback riding and equestrian sports. Details here.

Bounceback: Center City Retail Recovering


The one-two punch of Covid and rioting laid the Center City retail economy low:

34.3 of Center City District stores were shuttered in June of 2020.

Now, nearly two years later? 2.4%.

That’s the results of a recent study by the Center City District. Details here.

Bro’s and Brews: Barstool Sports Arrives on Sansom St.

It’s Game On at 1213 Sansom St., a/k/a the home of the new Barstool Sports sports bar.

Very popular with college students, Barstool Sports is providing a venue for game-watching and virtual gambling. Quaff the details here.


Is This a Love Knot…..Or Not?


Before you hop on the bridge to Jersey, check out the new Weaver’s Knot: Sheet Bend Sculpture, commissioned by the City and the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, now being installed near the Ben Franklin Bridge. Situated between the Cherry Street Pier and the Race Street Pier, the sculpture is designed as a tribute to historic uses of the waterfront for both the textile industry and sailing vessels. Find the loose ends here..

Travel Down the Silk Road Without Leaving Town

silk road.png

On Wednesday, March 30th from 6:30-9 PM, you’re invited to a panel discussion about both the old and modern Silk Road. One of our local professors of International Business at Drexel will be part of the panel. Hear stories of trade, tea, coca, tobacco, cotton, whisky, and of course, Marco Polo (1254–1324) and learn how people from that culture have affected city life in Philadelphia. Following the panel discussion, share conversation, refreshments, and listen to live jazz. 

Co-sponsored by the Geographical Society of Philadelphia and the Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation, and presented in collaboration with Citizen Diplomacy International Philadelphia, the program will take place in the Gloria Dei Old Swedes Church Sanctuary, followed by a reception in Riverside Hall with live jazz music provided by The Jazz Sanctuary.


Useful links

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.

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)

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) (TEMPORARILY CLOSED)

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

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)

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

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