Thursday, April 28, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: April 28, 2022

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

Nasty, Brutish & Short

Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?  That last mask mandate?  Even CNN+ lasted longer.


All potshots aside, it raises serious questions, like:  How can this happen? How can the only major US city to reinstate a mask mandate summarily rescind it 72 hours later?  What does that say about the decision-making process?  And how credibly will future proclamations from the Health Dept. be received?

Come on, City.  This is serious stuff.  After two years of a pandemic we’re in no mood.

We deserve better.  Much better.

Members - Celebrate Yourselves!

CCRA 75th Postcard Spirit 2 _2_.jpg

Residents of Center City West have carried on the tradition of their forebearers in supporting our community-based volunteer neighborhood association. Founded to preserve Rittenhouse Square, our members have dedicated years of service and treasure striving to preserve the “feel” of living in a mélange of low rises, high rises, parks, schools, shops and restaurants. How have they done it?  They speak up to insist buildings fit the neighborhood; they generously contribute to keep the sidewalks clean; they speak truth to power in choosing their representatives to City Hall; they grow food at the community garden to share with those who are food insecure; they shop and eat locally to ensure the survival of local mom-and-pop businesses.

Come celebrate our neighborhood at CCRA’s 75th Anniversary Celebration of Center City Living, tipping your hat as you dine, drink and sway to the music of the jazz greats.  Then claim your reward - a chique swag bag filled with neighborhood goodies. We are almost sold out, so buy your tickets NOW. 

Wednesday,  June 1, right here in the neighborhood (of course!). Details here.

CCRA News and Events

CCRA V.P. to Help Review Police Dept.

CCRA is excited to report that Richard Speizman, Executive Vice President of CCRA has been appointed to the Controller's Community Advisory and Accountability Council. The Council is tasked to support the Controller Office’s review of the Philadelphia Police Department. Rick was chosen, along with other community leaders, religious leaders, and residents. 

As the Police Department serves a vital role in the City and it also receives a great deal of funding from the City's taxpayers, it makes sense to ensure that the Department's human and financial resources are being used as effectively as possible.  Rick looks forward to working with his fellow Community Council members and the Controller's Office on this important task. 

In addition to his role at CCRA, Rick serves on other boards, and, prior to retiring, was a partner in a "Big Four" accounting firm. We know he will be an asset to the Council and our neighborhood.

Meet the Candidates for Our State House Seat

The Center City Residents Association (CCRA) and the South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) will be hosting a public forum, spotlighting the candidates running for the 182nd state house district, which includes most of CCRA’s catchment.


This will be your chance to hear from the candidates and have them answer questions that you submit! The public forum will occur:


April 28, 2022

5:30 – 7:00 pm


Trinity Memorial Church

2212 Spruce Street

Philadelphia, PA 19103


Please send any questions you would like asked at the forum to:


We look forward to seeing you at this important event on April 28th—and most importantly do not forget to vote on May 17, 2022.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

CCRA held its zoning meeting on Tuesday, April 26.  

Click here to watch the meeting

Click here to view the report.

The next zoning meeting is scheduled for, Tuesday May 24, at 7pm, via Zoom.

22 Planters for 2022!


Did you notice that our neighborhood is a little greener?  Last Saturday the CCRA Green Tree Tenders and 22 area volunteers planted 15 new street trees, among them two kinds of oaks, honey locusts and a Kentucky coffeetree.  Because many of the holes in our canopy front rental properties, we are especially grateful to AMC Delancey, Solo Realty and PMC Property Group whose properties account for ten of the new trees.  Be sure to check out the five new trees on the 2000 block of South Street in front of Liberty View Apartments! 


CCRA Green volunteers donned safety vests with a new CCRA Green logo. A big shout-out to Katie Kaulbach, whose Central High School club, “Design Inspired by Sustainability and Climate Change,” developed the logo. 


It’s not too late to submit an application for a tree to be planted next fall.  Property owners apply here:


Laurel Rittenhouse One Step Closer

Scheduled for completion in August 2022, the Laurel Rittenhouse is one of the most anticipated projects in Philadelphia. With its facade nearly complete and two historic buildings preserved within its design, the Laurel demonstrates the successful collaboration between its developer (Southern Land) and CCRA on behalf of the neighborhood. Countless meetings resulted in changing a facade more appropriate to  Miami Beach to a stellar beacon that will include affordable veterans’ housing and street-level retail for all to enjoy. Read here to find out why the neighbors burst into applause at the conclusion of the design presentation. 

If you’re a construction junkie, read here to follow the nuts and bolts of the structure.


The Laurel Rittenhouse in the Philadelphia skyline from the Walt Whitman Bridge. Photo by Thomas Koloski.



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 spotlight Center City framer extraordinaire Ursula Hobson Fine Art Framing.


Get Your Art to Ursula Hobson


So you’ve got this beautiful, to-die-for painting/drawing/etching that demands proper framing.  Are you man or woman enough to handle it on your own?


If so, bully for you.  But if you’re like the rest of us, you’ll need to reach out to a pro, and there’s no one more pro about framing than Ursula Hobson.


Her knowledge of art and framing is unsurpassed, be it material, color, finish or design.  Likewise her technique.  Pardon the pun, but she totally nails it.  And she’s a true aesthetic as well; she knows what looks both appropriate and great.


So whether it’s an original, a print or something else, you owe it to the artwork to take it to Ursula Hobson Fine Art Framing. And this: CCRA Members receive a 10% Frequent Framer discount.  (P.S.  Call for appointment.)

Clean, Safe and Green

Ethical Society Climate Justice Roundtable

Join Ethical Culture Leader Hugh Taft-Morales for a brief presentation and informal discussion on climate justice in Philadelphia. How can we simultaneously battle climate change and raise the standard of living for the most impoverished areas of our city? (In-person at 1906 Rittenhouse and on Zoom.)

Monday, May 2, 5:30 PM

Run the Rivers


The Schuylkill River isn’t the only river to run, bike or walk in Philly.  Folks, the Delaware River Trail Dedication just might tempt us to cross over Broad Street to Center City East! If you want to be part of the trail’s inauguration on Friday night, jog over to here.

When’s the Next Bus Coming?


Glad You Asked!

The other day I was walking by the bus shelter at 18th and Chestnut and my eye was caught by something I hadn't seen before. There on the panel with the big electronic ad, just above the ad, there was… a bus arrival clock. (Sometimes called a countdown clock.)

These things have been around for a while - I remember seeing them in Paris more than a decade ago - but seeing one in Philly was a very pleasant surprise.

It turns out that the arrival clock at 18th and Chestnut is not alone. The ever-reliable Billy Penn website tells me that Philly is getting sixty of them - and that's just for starters.

To see the Billy Penn story, click here

To read more of Bill’s comments on the City, visit his blog at

 -By Bill West, Co-Chair, CCRA Streets Committee

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

PPD Hires First DEI Chief


The Philadelphia Police Department has hired Leslie Marant, its first Equity, Diversity and Inclusion officer. Ms. Marant is a former chief of staff for Universal education company as well as the former chief counsel to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Details here.

Jacqueline Romero Nominated for PA Eastern District US Attorney


President Biden has nominated Jacqueline Romero to be the new US Attorney Overseeing the Eastern District of PA.  Currently the Eastern District U.S. Attorney, if confirmed, Ms. Romero would be the first woman of color to ever hold the post.

Details here.

Community News and Events

Fitler Fun


State of the City 2022, Per Pew Study

The Pew Charitable Trust recently released a study of the City two years into the pandemic.

Among the highlights:

·  Over 300,000 Covid cases, over 5,000 deaths since March 2020

·  Unemployment dropped back to its pre-pandemic rate of 5.8%

·  2021 population dropped 1.7%, reversing increases since 2007


Full study analysis and the study itself can be found here.


Family Fun at Penn Arts


On Sunday May 1, pack up the kiddies, the sunscreen and your inner child and wander over the bridge to the Penn Live Arts Philadelphia Childrens’ Festival.  Gather ‘round to see Kalabante, described as “traditional African music and dance meet modern circus”; watch Amazing Max the magician, and listen to a concert by the beloved local music duo Lolly & YoYo. Take your playmate here.

Celebrate Markward Rec Center Reopening


Friends of Schuylkill River Park presents the Spring Opener at Markward Playground. Philly favorite Mister John's music will be leading kids and adults in a sing-along celebration. Then, PHL Good Music LIL’ JAWNS will share the feel good melodies, infectious rhythms, and meaningful messages within Black American Music in an interactive experience for the whole family. Check out the new Markward Community Plan and the reopened Rec Center! Free event open to the public. Details here.

Greenfield Auction Tickets, On Sale NOW!



Click on the link to purchase your tickets to the live auction at the Garden at Cherry Street Pier and be sure to register to bid online.

And finally, we cannot make the Auction a successful evening without your help. Please consider signing up to volunteer!

**You do not need your volunteer clearances for this event​​**

We are so excited and can't wait to have a great night raising money for our school!!

Attire: **DRESS TO IMPRESS​​**

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.

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)

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)

City Fitness, 2101 South St. (215-545-4114)

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)

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

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

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