Thursday, May 12, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: May 12, 2022

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

Guest Writer - Jared Gluskin


In the past two-plus years, consider:

·  Covid

·  Jan. 6

·  Hurricane Ida

·  Ukraine

·  Musk Buys Twitter

·  SCOTUS Leak


Much to be said about all of this, obvi, but here’s one take.


We’re still functioning.

Stuff is getting done.

People are living their lives.

Babies are being born.

Elections are happening.


For all the sturm und drang, the people of the United States – and the United States itself – have both proved remarkably resilient.


Resilience: Now THAT is a virtue worth signaling.

CCRA News and Events

A New Eds and Meds Building for Philly

On Tuesday, May 10th, CCRA hosted Tishman Speyer and Breakthrough Properties for a public presentation of the new development at 2300 Market Street. Intended as a science and biotechnology center, the building spans the entire block of 2300 Market Street while maintaining and restoring the original façades. CCRA had previously negotiated and signed a Community Benefits Agreement for a separate intended project at the same location. Due to the changing nature of the projects, CCRA agreed to vacate the original Community Benefits Agreement while negotiating a new similar agreement. The new Community Benefits Agreement will be  posted on our website as soon as it is available. The full presentation can be viewed on CCRA’s YouTube page.

Screenshot 2022-05-12 110039.png

JEDI Task Force Neighborhood Outreach - Help Wanted!

CCRA’s JEDI Task Force (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) submitted its report to the Board, setting out its accomplishments to date as well as its goals for the future. 

One major initiative -- a Zoom-based series with Hugh Taft-Morales of the Philadelphia Ethical Society called  Sense in the City – offered members  an opportunity to discuss different aspects of community as well as biases in treatment  that we all encounter.  The four topics included: 1) Public Spaces and Thoroughfares; 2) Equity, Public Schools and Democracy; 3) Homelessness and Humanity; and 4) Fear and Street Crime.

Ongoing initiatives and future plans include working closely with Freire Public School, especially providing mentorships and volunteers to supplement  educational opportunities. The task force is also discussing initiating a member-based Participatory Private Equity Social Capital Fund to help minority businesses establish themselves in our neighborhood. 

Details are available here. If you are interested in getting involved, please email your contact information to

In Search of New Board Members

·   Do you love living in Center City Philadelphia?

·   Is it important that Center City West be an enjoyable and safe place for you and your family to live and work?

·   Would you like to meet interesting and fun neighbors?


Then think about joining the CCRA Board!


CCRA is looking to fill several Board seats for our fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.  Board members generally serve a term of 3 years. The Board is a working Board.  We are seeking CCRA members who have a passion for living in “CCRAville;” are interested in issues of quality of life and community service; and are committed to active Board participation.  Successful candidates must serve on at least one committee and agree to fulfill the responsibilities set forth in our Board Pledge, which includes devoting at least four hours per month on CCRA activities, not including time spent attending, and preparing for, monthly Board meetings.  Click for full Board Pledge and List of Committees.

Interested members are encouraged to forward a statement of interest that includes a summary of qualifications, as well as a resume or bio, by Tuesday., May 31 to:, with "Board Candidate" in the subject line.  (We also welcome your suggestion of any individual who resides in CCRAville who you believe would be an asset to the Board.  Be sure to include their email address and/or phone number.)

Zoning Committee Looking for New Members

Do you care about how our neighborhood develops? The CCRA Zoning Committee is recruiting new members. Responsibilities include: attending one meeting a month and a sincere interest in how Center City develops. If interested, please send your name, email, and resume to CCRA by May 16.

75th Anniversary Sold Out!!

Thanks to all our members, sponsors  and friends for supporting CCRA’s 75th Anniversary Celebration on June 1, 2022.  Sadly, space is very limited, and we are now “officially” sold out for both events (the Prelude and the Celebration). However, oftentimes some ticket holders are unable to attend and we may have last minute availability.


If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, you can jump onto the wait list by emailing CCRA with your name, which event you are interested in attending, how many tickets you need and your phone number.  We’ll be in touch should tickets become available. First come, first served.

CCRA 75th Postcard SOLD OUT version.jpg

Shopping at Di Bruno's Bros.?

Bring Your Membership Card!

During the pandemic, Merchant Partner Rittenhouse Di Bruno's Bros. kindly relaxed their rule with regard to showing your membership card.  Starting June 1, all CCRA members will need to show their membership card - whether it's your physical or electronic card - in order to receive the 10% discount in their store and their restaurant, Alimentari, located on the 2nd floor. 

If your membership is active, your membership card is readily available on the CCRA website. Just log into your account and you will see your card.  If you need your card physically mailed to you, please let Managing Director, Travis Oliver know. 


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 classical music program Astral Artists.


The Kids Are All Right at Astral Artists


It’s not every city that has the good fortune to have an outfit like Astral Artists in its backyard. A non-profit intensive mentoring program, for 30 years Astral has specialized in developing the early careers of talented young classical musicians. Distinguished alumni include guitarist Jason Vieaux, bass-baritone Eric Owens, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the string trio Time for Three.


The good news for locals is the “Astral in Concert” series, its public programming arm that introduces Philadelphians to some of the most extraordinary young musicians anywhere.

How great it is to get to know future stars “when”.


For CCRA members it gets even better: a $10 discount on any performance (currently virtual). Please use promo code “CCRA”.


Clean, Safe and Green

Tending to Our Tree Canopy

This year, CCRA’s Green Task Force became the Green Committee, a standing CCRA committee. A number of its initiatives address the challenges of stormwater management and decreasing tree canopy in our catchment area. These are:

1. Increasing our neighborhood's tree canopy by partnering with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS).

  1. Tree Tenders: This year the neighborhood PHS Tender group (previously known as the Friends of Schuylkill River Park Tree Tenders) found a new home in CCRA. Now known as the CCRA Green Tree Tenders, the group solicits applications for biannual plantings of free street trees and has organized a pruning club to prune young trees. Donations made to the group are held in a restricted fund to be used for street tree planting and care.
  2. Tree Pit survey:We conducted a comprehensive survey of all potential tree planting sites in the residential portion of our neighborhood. It resulted in two sets of letters to property owners soliciting applications for street trees. In the fall, 110 letters led to applications for 19 trees, 15 of which were approved, including 10 in front of rental properties. The spring mailing of 100 letters has resulted in applications for 13 trees thus far. We need to continue to identify opportunities for tree planting to increase our tree canopy from its present level of 12 percent to an ideal of 30 percent.

2. Large property owner engagement: We engaged large property owners within the CCRA footprint to persuade them to plant street trees and/or adopt better stormwater management practices.

  1. We have had conversations with Parkway Corporation, Allan Domb Real Estate and PECO. So far, the most fruitful was with the Allan Domb Group, which has applied for four trees at two of its properties for the fall planting and is examining the remainder of its properties for additional opportunities.We continue to work with PECO to identify stormwater management/street tree opportunities at its headquarters on Market Street.


Photo courtesy

What to Do with the Kiddies This Summer

Tired of asking the kids: What do you want to do this summer? And getting I don’t know as the response? Ask no more! There’s now an online guide to 2022 Philadelphia Summer Camps. What type? You name it: Art, Sports, Academic, Residential, Specialty.

Now….how about your vacation?


Cross with More Confidence


We walked by the crosswalk on 20th by St. Patricks, and the black plastic shrouds have been removed from the now unveiled actuator buttons.  Pushing one of them - the lights lit.

We all can cross a little more confidently now (trust but verify?).

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dig the African Vibe?  Then head to ODUNDE!

Saturday, June 12 marks Odunde, the largest African-American street festival held in the country, covering 15 city blocks and featuring two stages of live entertainment. Its eclectic mix of vendors, entertainment, music, food, jewelry and African art are highlighted by a colorful procession from 23rd and South Street Sts. to the Schuylkill River, where an offering of fruit and flowers is made. Check out the festivities here.


Philly Pride

Nothing’s quite the same, in this sorta post pandemic city. But slowly, keystones of life are returning.  Including Philly Pride….except, it’s different! Call it “reimagined”. 

The newly-formed PHL Pride Collective released plans for Philly’s new Pride this week.“PHL Pride 50: Our Community, Our Joy” which will kick off on Friday, June 3. This year’s events will honor Pride’s roots in activism over the past 50 years: On Sunday, June 5th, there will be a march, not a parade; no floats, cars, fees of entry, or registration to join is needed. Come one, come all.  For details, march here.


PHL Pride Collective volunteers. (Courtesy of PHL Pride Collective)

Panel Discussion - The Asian/Pacific Islander Experience in Philadelphia

On Wednesday, May 18, Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter (AAJA Philly) is hosting a live panel discussion, based on the WHYY Special series, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders: A Philadelphia Story. The event will take place 6 PM-8 PM at the Chinatown Crane Center. Register here! It’s Free!

Community News and Events

A Garden Party in the Square Thursday, June 16

Do you love to sit, walk through, chill out on a blanket in Rittenhouse Square, aka Center City’s communal backyard?  Although it’s free to use, it does cost beaucoup bucks to maintain. And here’s an invitation to a party that will help pay for your lounging rights.

It’s a festive outdoor June 16 garden dinner party featuring a mix of gourmet dining, drinks, dancing, and entertainment. To learn more, mix and mingle here.


Soon, Come June: SIPS Wednesdays are Back!


Pass the word, pass the hors d’oeuvres: June 1 marks the return of SIPS Wednesdays!

What that means: for the first time since Covid, participating locations will offer $6 cocktails, $5 wine and $4 beer every Wednesday from 4:30 - 7 p.m. through August 31.


And this: in addition to standard SIPS specials, select boutiques, spas and local shops will participate in SIPS Style, a weekly discount program that will offer 25% off select items and services on Wednesdays throughout the season.

Details here.

To view a list of participating bars and restaurants, click here.

Strike Up the Band to Celebrate a Grammy!

You may recall that last month the Philadelphia Orchestra won a Grammy Award for its recording of Florence Price’s First and Third Symphonies. Well…. Encore!


To celebrate both the extraordinary work of Florence Price and the Orchestra’s first-ever Grammy win, on both May 11 and May 18 the Orchestra is offering a free online encore performance of Price’s powerful Symphony No. 3 on the Digital Stage.

Details here.


Fine Art - Age and Beauty


What’s 95 years old and better than ever?  The 95th Annual Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show.  Arriving via trucks to tents, the show moves in here from June 3 through June 5. 

Dating back to 1928, the Fine Arts Show was founded by artists and is run by a committee of artists today. It’s the oldest outdoor art show in the country. And it’s around your corner.  Check out the details here.

What’s the Line on 21st St About? Donuts, Of Course!


Are we shunning our love of Federal Donuts? Replacing them with Japanese glutinous rice? From the line outside Mochi Ring Donuts, say it ain’t so!

What is the difference between a mochi donut and a regular donut?

Regular donuts are made with all-purpose flour, which makes a denser dough. Mochi donuts are made with tapioca starch or glutinous rice flour, which yields a much softer and stretchy dough. 

What’s ever in them, judging from the line outside, they must be delicious! Whet your taste buds here.

Don’t be Square, Go to the SOSNA Triangle!

We’re not sure if the SOSNA Triangle is Isosceles or Scalene, but what we do know is that it will be the site of the yearly Plazapalooza this Saturday, and also the site of weekly live local music every Thursday evening throughout the summer.

What’s a Plazapalooza? Go here.

What’s up with the live music? Tune in here.


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.

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)

PhotoLounge, 130 S.17th St. (267-322-6651)

Rittenhouse Hardware, 2001 Pine St. (215-735-6311)

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

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