Thursday, May 5, 2022


This Week: May 5, 2022

Editor - Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer - Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer - Travis Oliver

Mother's Day 2022

This week brought a polarizing draft opinion from the US Supreme Court. While our readership’s reactions will no doubt vary, this Sunday brings something that all can agree on.


It’s obviously never wrong to honor and treasure all the wonderful mothers in the world, but two years into a pandemic it’s even more apropos.


Covid forced many mothers to have to painfully decide between working and watching the children, or to manage the difficult proposition of working from home alongside children trying to learn remotely.  Not a task for the faint of heart, but one handled with extraordinary skill and patience by countless mothers around the globe.


So this Mother’s Day, then, let’s give an extra-robust shout-out to all the exemplary pandemic-era moms.  Take the whole darned day off. 

You.  Deserve.  It.

CCRA News and Events

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.)

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.

Thank you all for your support.

CCRA 75th Postcard SOLD OUT version.jpg

Debate Round-Up

On April 28, 2022, CCRA was proud to host, in partnership with South of South Neighborhood Association, a public forum for candidates running to fill the vacant statehouse seat for the 182nd State House District. The 182nd covers all of CCRA’s area as well as small parts of neighborhoods south of South Street on both sides of Broad.  

CCRA invited all five candidates from both parties to participate in the event, and we were thrilled that the following three candidates participated: Will Gross, Jonathan Lovitz and Ben Waxman. The public forum was moderated by Meghan Pierce, Executive Director for the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.

In front of an audience of over 45 people at Trinity Memorial Church, the candidates responded to a wide range of questions pre-submitted by audience members, including questions regarding funding public education, protecting voter rights, and why each candidate was qualified to serve in an elected office.  

The public forum was a great success, with audience members walking away with a deeper appreciation for the candidates and a stronger understanding of their positions. We hope to see you at the next public forum!

Zoning Committee is Looking for New Members

Do you care about how our neighborhood develops? The CCRA Zoning Committee is recruiting for new members. Responsibilities include: attending one meeting once 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.

A Meeting of the Minds

On May 3, the Executive Committee of CCRA and the Board of Fitler Square Neighborhood Association met in person to exchange ideas, plans and priorities for improving our community. The geographic boundaries of the two groups overlap, as do many of their quality-of-life concerns and goals, such as remediating trash on the streets/sidewalks as well as noise from ATVs/ motorcycles. Another shared objective is keeping housing prices reasonable in the Fitler Square neighborhood.


Both groups are interested in working together to ensure local environmental sustainability, more diversity in the neighborhood’s housing and commercial venues, and tidier public places.

CCRA Board Meeting - Proposed New Building at 23rd and Market St. 

CCRA is holding its monthly board meeting on Tuesday, May 10, at 7 pm. We will be meeting at BEX, located at 2005 Market St. 

On the agenda, is a presentation of a brand-new building that will surround and preserve the historic corner of 23rd and Market St.  The project is being repurposed as a biotech center by a joint venture of Tishman Speyer and Breakthrough Properties. A proposed Community Benefits Agreement will be on our website in advance of the meeting.

Our board meetings are open to our membership. If you would like to attend, please contact Travis Oliver at



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 photography emporium PhotoLounge.


Got Pix? PhotoLounge is the Photo Go-To

In a world where image is often everything, you can’t take a chance when you’ve got critical photos to print. That’s where PhotoLounge comes in.


An independent small business since 1997, PhotoLounge believes in its soul that photos should be beautiful, affordable, easy to make, easy to get and long-lasting, and they back that up every day with superior service and knowledgeable, courteous staff.


You name it, they do it: digital prints, reprints and enlargements, archiving, fine art printing and Giclee, film processing, design and print photo books, professional head shots, passport photos and more.  The store itself is an eyeful, and worth the trip alone.


So go where the pros go: PhotoLounge at 130 S. 17th.

And BTW: CCRA members enjoy 10% off excluding other sales or discounted items.

Clean, Safe and Green

Carbon Emissions Down 20% Locally


Hot air from local pols notwithstanding, a new report indicates that citywide emissions have dropped a full 20% since 2006.

The greenhouse gas emissions inventory compares pre-pandemic

2019 emissions with those of 2006, and includes pollution from fossil fuels and emissions created by the production of electricity. Details here.

8 Must-See Public Gardens to Visit in Philadelphia

This Spring


Thanks to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society for leading us to eight beautiful urban environments, easily accessible to us city folks. Some may be familiar, but we betcha there’s one or two that you haven’t yet seen (unless you belong to PHS, in which case….thank you!). Click here to chill out this spring.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Irving Berlin wrote God Bless America?


Curious about the lives of Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Louis Brandeis or Albert Einstein? During Jewish American Heritage Month, watch these short online videos offered by the National Museum of American Jewish History, take a look back and discover the music, brilliance and culture these men added to the melting pot that is America. 

You can also learn how to check out your own Jewish family roots in “shorts” provided by Ancestry. 

P.S. The Museum will be re-opening to in-person visits on May 13.


May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month highlights the stories of people who are of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. This includes people from the Asian continent and islands across the South Pacific including Hawaii, American Samoa, Federated Islands of Micronesia, Guam, and more.

This May, the City of Philadelphia and many community organizations are hosting celebrations as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! See some of these events listed here.

Community News and Events

The Tax Man Cometh!

It’s great when you hear how much your neighbor sold her house for.  But not so wonderful when you find out that your house has now been reassessed for local real estate taxes, and the bill has gone up, even if your income hasn’t, or you’re retired on a fixed income. Hold onto your hats for the results of the city’s first citywide “reassessment” in three years.  The average residential property in Philadelphia increased by an astounding 31%. You’ll be able to see your house’s new assessment on Monday, May 9 here. That amount will apply to tax bills due March 31, 2023.  You’ll get your notice of your new valuation by mail by Sept. 1, and the deadline for filing an appeal is Oct. 3.

City Council President Darrell Clarke says that Council expects to utilize every “available option to mitigate these substantial increases in property assessments. Those options include the Homestead Exemption, as well as the Long-Term Owner Occupant (LOOP) program, property tax deferments, phase-ins of any increases, and working to maximize enrollment in monthly installment payment plans and the senior freeze program.” To read Clarke’s full statement, go here

As reported in The Inquirer, “.... hearings are now scheduled for Monday, with administration officials testifying before the Committee of the Whole at 10 a.m. and public comment on property assessments scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.”. 

We’re sure we haven't heard the last word on this one!


Courtesy of:

Become a Poll Worker in the Upcoming Election

Poll Workers open voting machines at the beginning of the day, check voters into the polling place and support the functioning of the polling place.

Individuals interested in filling these positions must attend training and be available to work on Election Day from 6:15 AM until election materials are picked up from the polling place sometime after 8:00 PM.

Appointed Poll Workers must be qualified voters in Philadelphia and meet all other qualifications required of election board officers.

Learn more and apply here.

Looking for a Mail Ballot Drop Box? Look No Further

Mail ballot drop boxes are open 24/7 from now until the May 17 primary.

Details and a map here.


Ground Broken for Stephen Starr Sports-Themed Restaurant


Ground was broken last Wednesday at the Chestnut St. location of what will become Bankroll, a new Stephen Starr sports-themed restaurant on the former site of the Boyd Theater.

CCRA President Rick Gross was instrumental in negotiating a memo of agreement that addressed  neighborhood concerns regarding adverse effects that could possibly result. 

Details here.

Looking for Kid Fun? Try Toddlerpalooza at the Barnes


As it’s never too young to enjoy art (and have fun doing it), bring your favorite young-un’s to the Barnes Foundation on May 21 to take in Toddlerpalooza. It features music, dance, reading and art. It’s free and includes access to the Barnes galleries.

Details here.

Sneaker Consignment Shop, with Celebs, on South Street


You might not think a ‘sneaker consignment shop’ to be the best of all possible business models, but a visit to Suplex on South Street would quickly change your mind. And it’s not just for kicks: they got PS4s, hoodies, Telfar bags and yes, the occasional celeb.

Snag the details here.

One Step Closer to Relaxed Regulations for Streeteries


Streeteries proved to be a lifeline for restaurants and patrons alike during the pandemic, and while that remains the case there have been issues regarding ongoing regulation. The good news is that some regulations have been relaxed for the benefit of the streetries, most notably a $60,000 security bond requirement.  These relaxed regulations have City Council support and await final approval from the administration. Details here.

Benches with Flair on the Square for Your Derriere

Thanks to the Friends of Rittenhouse Square, all of us who love to relax, read or people-watch in the Square will be treated to 165 new benches, replacing  the current stock, which are older than many of the folks who sit on them. Although the project has started, it will take approximately two months to complete.


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.

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)

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

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

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