Friday, September 16, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: September 15, 2022

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Youth, Served

The received wisdom has it that Center City in general and Rittenhouse Square in particular is the bailiwick of those of a certain age, that the younger cohort takes a hard pass.


Well, you wouldn’t know it from the Ball in the Park fundraiser in the Square Wednesday evening. The 20- and 30-somethings were everywhere, mingling well with their elders, all dressed up with styles of their own.


It was both refreshing and heartening, and bodes well for both the Square and for Center City.

CCRA News and Events

Annual Meeting and Election of Directors

Thursday, September 29

CCRA’s Annual Meeting will take place on Thursday, September 29 at the Freire School Auditorium at 2027 Chestnut at 7pm.

In addition to electing new Directors, we will have an exciting keynote speaker and announce a significant new initiative in our efforts to seek Justice, Equity, Diversity and inclusion in Center City West.

Refreshments will be provided by 12th Street Caterers who wowed us with their food at the 75th Anniversary Gala. Mark your calendars and join us.

And, if you have yet to see Who We Are, check out this video we shared at the Gala. Although we are always growing and changing, the core values shown in the video still guide us, even after 75 years. 


Since this is a members-only event, we are requesting all members register in advance. Each member is permitted to bring one guest.

Register here.

Control the Violence:

Are Our Tax Dollars Being Spent Wisely?

A Zoom with Rebecca Rhynhart on Sept. 20 at 1 PM

There have been 386 homicides so far in 2022, a 3% increase from last year. These numbers are unsettling. Despite the City’s (best?) efforts, things are going in the wrong direction. 


Register here to join CCRA’s Zoom with City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart and hear whether the City's approach to crime reduction is cost-efficient and effective. Ms. Rhynhart will present her observations and the findings of the City Controller’s office on tackling gun violence. At the conclusion, she will entertain questions from CCRA members.


While the Controller's office has no direct control over anti-violence programs, it is in a key position to observe what is taking place, by whom, to what effect, and whether our tax dollars are spent on anti-violence programs that are efficient and effective. Details on her observations here. The office’s interactive map showing what neighborhoods are most victimized by gun violence.  


To be sent the Zoom link, register here.

Meet and Hear "Women Changing the City"

Join the Center City Business Association at the Academy of Music Ballroom the morning of September 21 to hear personal stories of leadership, challenges and triumphs from a panel of highly accomplished women business leaders.

It’s all part of the CCBA’s ongoing signature series of educational seminars, panel discussions and social gatherings, all of which CCRA members may attend for a reduced rate (Promo Code CCRA). Event details here.


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 Merchant Partner Eye Candy Vision.

The Eyes Have It at Eye Candy Vision.

What do people look for in an eyeglass emporium? They want it all, of course: Regular glasses, progressives, contact lenses, sunglasses. Great Selection, great Style, great Service. How about an on-premises Optician and Lab?

Eye Candy Vision on S. 20th St. just off Rittenhouse has all that and more. Their display window alone is to die for. (Disbelieve? Just ask Yelp.)

What could be better? Well, how’s this: CCRA members receive a 20% discount. (Discount cannot be combined with other sales, discounts or insurance programs.)

Clean, Safe and Green

How Does Your Garden Grow?

If you find yourself “quite contrary”, one surefire way to soothe the soul is to walk through the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden, which is managed by CCRA, and open to the public whenever a gardener is on site.

 A lovely working oasis situated at 25th and Spruce, the Garden has “grass roots” beginnings, dating back to a group of CCRA pioneers and local residents. It’s an inspirational story, especially for those of us with occasional anarchist leanings. Luckily, they’ve preserved this neighborhood success story in a video, which you can view here. 

All CCRA members have the opportunity to get a plot, although there is currently a waiting list. To join the waiting list, please send an email with your name, address and phone number to CCRA at 

It's Time to Cross That Bridge

One of the best bike rides out of town is back! As of 9/18, the City is reopening the four bike bridges within the Wissahickon Park, the key one being the connector bridge between the Wissahickon Transportation Center and Forbidden Drive. Check it out here

Simply go up the Schuylkill River Trail to Ridge Ave and the transportation hub. You’ll see the path on the right as you pass over the creek. You’ll conquer hills, bridges, and more; If you don’t run out of steam, keep going until you reach the Valley Green Inn where you can stop by for lunch/brunch and feed the geese. Toss your bike on the bus when you return to Ridge Ave. Then pat yourself on the back (and the City, too, for getting these bridges back open).

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Celebrate Spanish Heritage Month

Starting this Weekend

Among the many wonderful things September brings is Spanish Heritage Month, and one could do worse than celebrating at two events this Saturday: The LatinX Fest in the afternoon at Wissinoming Park (details here), and the nighttime Who’s Who Gala at the IATSE Ballroom.

Details here.

Welcoming Week in the City

As a “sanctuary city”, Philadelphia appeals to many immigrants, refugees and new Americans. City life has flourished here from their cultural and culinary infusion. This week, as part of Welcoming Week 2022, the city is acknowledging their contributions by presenting cross-cultural programs.

The goal? “By encouraging dialogue and forging relationships between immigrants, refugees, and U.S.-born citizens, this initiative builds common ground in Philadelphia’s communities”, says the Office of Immigrant Affairs. For ways to connect and welcome the stranger, travel here

Locally, on 9/18 at 4pm, The Ethical Society is sponsoring “Peace Day” with a benefit jazz band performance, featuring the Larry McKenna Quartet. All proceeds benefit Philadelphia organizations helping refugees. Go here to see if it’s your jam. 

Community News and Events

“Lights… Camera… Philly Film Showcase!”

Not just any film festival, the Philly Film Showcase celebrates talented up-and-coming local filmmakers every month when the Philly Film Showcase turns the Philadelphia Film Screening Room into a venue for auteurs of ages, levels, and backgrounds. And it’s FREE! Pass the popcorn and go here.

Disney Centennial Debuts at Franklin Institute

Just imagine what 100 years of the work of Walt Disney would be like…. Well, you don’t have to imagine, because a touring exhibition celebrating 100 years of Disney will make its world premiere at the Franklin Institute in February of next year. No fewer than ten themed galleries, with stories, installations and history, will take visitors on a most remarkable 100-year journey.

Grab the kid in all of us and go here.

Celebrate Fall with Restaurant Week

Autumn will soon be upon us, and what better way to ring it in than to partake of Center City District Restaurant Week?

The details: 9/12-9/24. Prix-fixe pricing at more than 60 participating locations, including three-course dinners for $40 per person, and select lunches for $25 per person. 

New this year: “Dinner and a Show,” a brand-new promotion that offers discounted tickets to some of the city’s most beloved arts and culture venues. Bring your appetite here.

Love It, Hate It or Meh: Pumpkin Spice Latte is Back. Here’s Where.

To some it’s a balm; to others a plague; still others wisely keep their own counsel.

Regardless, all can look at the calendar and agree: It’s Ba-a-a-a-ck.

To get one for your bad self and/or for one you love, check out latte locales here.

Booking: Rittenhouse Barnes & Noble to Re-shelve on Chestnut St.

The bad news? The Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse is going away. The good news? It’s only moving a couple blocks down and couple blocks over, to a smaller location at 17th and Chestnut. The move is the latest example of post-pandemic retail reshuffling.

Get a good read on it here.

Remember the Annenberg Center?

Now called “Penn Live Arts”, this West Philly treasure has not only changed its focus away from the brick and mortar of its confines, but is now embarking on creating a new performance space, turning its adjacent Annenberg Plaza into a 3,100-square-foot theater. The price tag? Around $25M.  

The new “theater” will be a flexible space, made mostly of glass, so performers can configure it to their needs, and is easily changed into an alfresco environ. It will take a few years, but by the looks of things, it’ll be worth it! 

WHYY has the scoop here.

Fine Art; Serious Fun

Here’s hoping this fine weather sticks around this weekend for the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show. Happening Sept 16th -18th (Fri-Sun), Here’s a map to help you find your favorite juried vendor. You’ll have your choice of oils/acrylics, sculpture, mixed media and more. You can’t help but get inspired by these 143 local and national artists.

At the upcoming Rittenhouse Art Show, Charles Cushing, a Philadelphia artist, well-known for his paintings of the city, will exhibit in Booth # 57, on West Rittenhouse Street across from the Rittenhouse Hotel. Be sure to stop by.

Talk about local history! This show came to life in 1928, when a handful of local art students exhibited art on clotheslines in Rittenhouse Square. The popularity of the “Clothesline Show” is still growing, and is now an annual Philadelphia destination for tens of thousands of patrons who appreciate and collect fine art, especially us locals who don’t have to find parking!

Road Trip: Fall Fest at the “Other” River

Sometimes, we just have to break the Center City West unofficial “rule” of not crossing Broad Street (the Far East?). And the Spruce Harbor Park Fall Festival this weekend tempts us to make the trek (bus routes 40, 12, 21, 42). Treat yourself to Fall Fest 2022 - a free musical weekend experience incorporating DJ's, live music, market vendors and more! For the kids, there’s pumpkin and face painting. For details, dance over to here.

We All Need More Joy in our Lives

Register here for a special screening of Mission Joy, a deeply moving and laugh out loud funny conversation about life and joy with the Dali Lama and the late Desmond Tutu.

There will be a short discussion afterwards.

Philadelphia Ethical Society. Friday, Sept 16 at 6:30 PM.

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.

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)

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

The River Boat Tours, Receive 10% off a riverboat tour of the tidal Schuylkill by calling (215-309-5523)

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.

12th Street Catering, 3312 Spring Garden St. (215-386-8595)

Blue Sole Shoes, 1805 Chestnut St, (215-496-9244)

Branzino Italian BYOB, 261 S. 17th St (215-790-0103)

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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