Thursday, May 19, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: May 19, 2022

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

Wild in the Streets

It had to happen, and now, tragically it has.


Over the weekend a 17-year-old riding his skateboard was killed when hit by a dirt bike rider doing a wheelie.  Previously, two young men riding an ATV were facing leg amputation after running a red light and being hit by an SUV.  All tragic, and all unnecessary.


This behavior is illegal.  It is both a public safety issue and a quality of life issue. We sympathize with the Police and are well aware that there is no simple solution.


But now a young, innocent life has been needlessly lost.

Is what we’re doing about this truly the best we can do?

CCRA News and Events


Several months ago we reported on a proposed City program to install Portland Loos – which are manufactured outdoor toilets -- in several locations throughout Center City. CCRA was invited to a meeting to review the program, and we expressed concerns about the City’s limited due diligence on the project. Other cities have reported awful experiences with the facilities, including increased crime, drug use and great difficulty maintaining them. San Diego ultimately removed some of their installed units at a cost many times the original estimates. 


The city planners did additional research which, unfortunately, they did not share with CCRA or the Center City Coalition of Center City West high-rises, offices, restaurants and businesses despite repeated requests on our part. We have since learned that they are planning for six such facilities, not just the one demonstration loo they want to put at the Municipal Services Center. 


We made a request of the bureaucrats in charge that no Portland Loos be installed in Center City West without buy-in from CCRA and local businesses. Logan Square Neighborhood Association joined in this request for their neighborhood as well. Importantly, an extensive study done on the Loo indicated that neighborhood and local business buy-in was key to the success of the Loo.

As of this printing, we have received no response. We want to work with the City agencies to review their research and to ascertain that hotels, office buildings and restaurants in the area are contacted and their opinions considered and to determine if a modified proposal could work on an experimental basis.


Considering the City’s failure (or inability) to maintain and empty the Big Belly trash cans throughout our neighborhood, we thought that unemptied human waste would be even worse! Many of you expressed the same concerns to us and there was little support for installing them in Center City West.

The program is controversial. Having adequate public restroom facilities for tourists and visitors is desirable. At the same time, having facilities which invite crime, drug use and attract more people experiencing homelessness to a recovering post-pandemic city business area is not.


We’re asking these city employees to play fair. But they seem to have determined to proceed regardless of the concerns of our residents. 


Now we need our elected political leadership to implement an approval process for CCRA and LSNA, as well as other communities which want input.


We will keep you informed. If you have opinions you want to share, please let us know. We’ll pass them on. Depend on it.

Party with the Ladybugs

In 1988, thanks to the vision and hard work of many CCRA members, the support of Park Commissioner Ernesta Ballard, the advocacy of landscape architect John Collins, and funds from the City of Philadelphia and the Fairmount Park Commission, an area was developed in the beautiful Schuylkill River Park Community Garden as part of the recently completed Schuylkill River Park. Now, we all can play with and release our ladybug friends at their Ladybug Release Party on Monday, May 25 at 5:00 pm. This helps keep the aphids at bay, so local gardeners can grow food and continue to donate food to PHS’s City Harvest Program

For information on a garden plot, go here.


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.)

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, May 24, 7pm

Via Zoom

View Agenda here.

Zoom link:


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 the destination Indian restaurant Veda.


Get Your Indian Cuisine On at Veda

Yes, there are plenty of choices when it comes to Indian food in Philly, but there’s really only one smart choice, and that would be Veda at 1920 Chestnut Street.


An upscale eatery with a modern vibe (and a large bar), Veda has a wide and tantalizing menu that will satisfy vegans, carnivores and everything in-between. Classic Indian dishes and clever new creations, numerous shareable plates, all presented beautifully.  Never to be overlooked are the dessert and cocktail menus.


The service is gracious and friendly, and lest we forget: Happy Hours run from 5pm to 7pm, seven days a week.


So you really can’t go wrong at Veda, especially if you’re a CCRA member, as CCRA folk receive a 10% discount.


Clean, Safe and Green

Cool It: Tree Canopy Bill Intro’d in City Council


With rising temperatures making tree cover and its cooling effects all that much more important, legislation was introduced in City Council last week to stem the recent decline in tree canopies.

Among other things, the proposed bill would increase tree preservation and planting requirements for developers and eliminate some exemptions to existing rules, including for parkland. Details here.

Go Take a Hike, or Ten


You don’t have to visit the Academy of Natural Sciences to benefit from their knowledge of Philadelphia’s natural environment. If you’re an explorer at heart, take a hike on one of their ten suggested walks through our watershed. Go upstream a bit to these beautiful waterway hikes for some views like this photo. Take the kiddies, the dog and a camera. The path is here.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Online AIDS Memorial Goes Public


Back in the day, Chris Bartlett co-founded an online database of people lost to AIDS. Now, the Director of the William Way LGBT Community Center is spearheading an effort to make the memorialization more public via “Remembrance”, an alternative memorial which will feature a commissioned theater production and New Orleans-style funeral procession through the city.  Details here.

Ven Aquí (Go Here!)

ven aqui.png

You live in Center City? Good chance you’re interested in live music, film, cocktails, and light fare at The Barnes for your Friday night on the town. On June 3rd, starting around 6 pm, come listen to renowned Cuban singer/songwriter Daymé Arocena, hailed by NPR as “a magical mash-up of the Queen of Latin Music, Celia Cruz, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.” The Barnes says….Arocena effortlessly blends traditional Santerían chant, jazz stylings, contemporary R&B influences and Afro-Cuban rhythmic complexity. All of the collection galleries will be open, as well.  To learn more, ven aquí.

All of this is in conjunction with the otherwise virtual Philadelphia Latino Film Festival. If you're a foreign film flick fan (yes, that’s four F’s), follow this link for the film guide.

Community News and Events

Pulling Out All The Stops on Wanamaker Organ Day


Thrill to the majesty of 29,000 pipes on June 4 when Peter Richard Conte and Dorothy Papadakos create musical fireworks on the legendary Wanamaker Organ, all in the perfect hush of a closed Macy’s store.

How to Challenge Your Property Tax Assessment


Not loving your new property tax assessment?  We’re shocked, SHOCKED. The good news is that there are avenues of appeal. That road can start here.

We’re Just Dying to See This!

If you haven’t wandered through Laurel Hill Cemetery or taken its unique tour of this 186-year-old Victorian cemetery, listen up!

This Saturday pay five bucks and get a free tour and listen to music (what, you haven't heard of Mighty Joe Castro & the Gravamen?). Food will be for sale, or you can BYO and a blanket and enjoy the beautiful surrounds. And that’s not even the MAIN EVENT

Which is… a curated collection of unusual antiques, assorted oddities, vintage items, artwork, and handmade wares at this outdoor market of the macabre. Victorian, steampunk, and/or gothic attire is encouraged. Creep here to learn more and purchase tickets.


Music Worth A Road Trip

In a previous edition of CCRA This Week, we announced that the jazz band Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society would be playing in Rittenhouse Square beginning May 20. Unfortunately, this information is incorrect and the band will not be playing in Rittenhouse Square. However, you can see them at Ft. Mifflin at the Mud Island Hot Jazz Lawn Party on June 18 beginning at 1:00 pm. More information can be found here: Mud Island Hot Jazz Lawn Party 2022 Tickets in Philadelphia, PA, United States (

Biggest Block Party of the Year!


The 9th Street Festival returns on May 21-22, from Fitzwater down to Wharton.  It’s still Italian, but the nation’s oldest outdoor market is even more eclectic than ever. And what a block party! But don’t take our word. Check out the Live Musical Entertainment, Arts and Crafts, Half Ball TournamentThe Traditional Procession of Saints, and so much delicious food. 

Not to be missed - the Grease Pole Contest, The pole is 30 feet high, greased with lard, and you will find it at the 9th & Montrose Piazza. We’re still figuring out how to enter the contest!  Give our best to the “Gravy SEALS”....

9th street.png

It Doesn’t Get Much Better

There’s ice cream, and then there’s lead-me-to-it, I-can’t-wait, and OMG Jeni’s ice cream at the corner of 19th and Chestnut. Hello Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Brambleberry Crisp, Peanut Milkiest Chocolate, and at least a dozen more flavors. You can sample before you invest. A single (two flavors) is $6.95, a Trio (up to three flavors) is $7.25. The waffle cone is extra at $1. 50. You can order online at Visit and soak in the aroma. Recommendations? The Gooey Butter Cake made with a base of cream cheese with caramel, butterscotch, and vanilla cake, 200 calories for the single.

Guest Writer: Marian Robinson

Guest Photographer: Ben Zuckerman


An Ethical Lens: Progressive Politics with Helen Gym


Monday, May 23, 7-8:30 PM at the Ethical Society

An Ethical Lens: Progressive Politics with Helen Gym 

What are the challenges of pursuing a progressive political platform that focuses on the needs of people and families rather than on corporate interests? City Councilmember At-Large Helen Gym will talk with Ethical Society Leader Hugh Taft-Morales about how her background, experience, and ethical values help sustain her as she tackles issues like fair education, homelessness, and a living wage. Learn more here

Fully vaccinated people are invited to this free event which will be filmed for future broadcast. (At the Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square - please wear a mask!)

Are Thursdays the New Fridays?


Thanks to the Center City District, Philadelphia’s diverse network of arts and culture organizations will be celebrated every Thursday, from 6-7 p.m. as they perform in Dilworth Park. 

The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble will open the series this Thursday, May 19. Coming up over the summer: the Philadelphia Ballet, Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia and many more. Attendance is free. Seating on the Greenfield Lawn is limited and guests are encouraged to bring their own blanket or chair.

Who’s performing when? Hoof it over to 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.

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. & 1819 JFK Blvd. (609-254-9048) 

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)

Seafood Unlimited, 270 S. 20th St (215-732-3663)

CCRA assumes no responsibility, and makes no representations or warranties, regarding any product and/or services sold by any Merchant Partner.

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

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