Thursday, September 22, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: September 22, 2022

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Violent Crime in Rittenhouse

We would like to thank all who responded to our member email of last Friday regarding the two (and now three) recent criminal incidents in the Rittenhouse area.


The issue of crime in Center City West (and in Philadelphia as a whole) is understandably of great concern to residents, workers and visitors.  To that end, CCRA maintains relationships with the police and other community groups in addressing these concerns.


That said, it would be encouraging were City leaders to stand up and take the lead on this issue.  Their consistent unresponsiveness is not helpful.  Electing a government that promises to lead on issues of critical concern is a primary goal that all should embrace.

CCRA News and Events

Last Chance to Register for the Annual Meeting!

Come Vote For Our New Board Members

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, State Representative Amen Brown from our neighboring district, to discuss his successful effort to allow the seizure of off-road vehicles and other ways in which Harrisburg can help us with quality-of-life issues.  We will also 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.


Click here to see the board member nominee bios. Register here.

Rittenhouse Row Protections Restored

Back in the day – the day being 1988 – zoning laws protected Rittenhouse Row from the development of skyscrapers and the like.  Those protections became optional, however, in the code re-write of 2012.  


Many of the protections have now been restored thanks to the signing earlier this month of City Council Bill 200118. The Bill came about through the efforts of CCRA's Remapping Committee working with the City Planning Commission, City Council members, the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia, and fellow RCOs in Center City. The new zoning regulations bill will affect development along Sansom, Walnut and Chestnut Streets, from river to river.  The pedestrian scale of these streets has a much better chance of being maintained under the new regulations which limit the maximum building frontages allowed along these streets and which establish set-back requirements along Sansom Street. 

For proposal details, please go here.

CCRA Sponsors Schuylkill River Park as a Certified Level One Arboretum

As part of CCRA’s ongoing commitment to environmentally green spaces, Schuylkill River Park is now a certified level 1 Arboretum, and CCRA is its main sponsor. As the largest swath of green space in the neighborhood with a collection of over 250 trees, the park is critical to our quality of life. Center City West’s tree canopy of less than 12 percent is sub-optimal and continues to decline. With CCRA’s support, the Arboretum will help reverse this trend by better caring for its existing trees and planting many more. 


CCRA funding also will help develop a nature education program for park-goers and area school children. Our neighborhood teachers are excited about using the park as an extension of the classroom. The first project is a specially designed sensory garden of many trees and shrubs specifically chosen for their sensory qualities. To volunteer to help plant the garden on November 12, email Susan Kahn.  


With CCRA’s support, the park trees will better clean and cool our air, filter stormwater, offer space to exercise, and build community. Healthy parks make healthy people.

CCRA’s Meeting with Philadelphia’s Controller

Rebecca Rhynhart

On Tuesday, September 20, CCRA held a lunchtime meeting with Controller Rebecca Rhynhart to discuss gun violence in the city. More than 30 people attended to see her presentation on what her office is doing and to ask questions to solve this ongoing issue in the city. In case you missed it, you can watch it here on our YouTube channel.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, September 27 at 7PM

This meeting will be held via Zoom. Please be advised that this Zoom meeting will be recorded for future public viewing. To see the agenda for the meeting click here.

To attend the meeting click 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 Chestnut Street  Jeweler William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry.

All That Glitters is at William Schwartz


Anything but a big-box chain store, William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry is truly distinctive in that it offers an unusually wide selection of both unique and custom pieces, and their personal, on-site repairs are done right the first time with very quick turnaround. 

(If you disbelieve, check out the raves on Yelp.)


So what could be better, you ask?  They offer a 10% discount to CCRA members. Do please stop by at 1831 Chestnut and say hello to Russell at William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry!

Clean, Safe and Green

OTIS Debuts Trash Pickup Pilot Program

It’s no secret that while sanitation and delivery trucks provide vital services, their presence on congested streets can cause problems.  With that in mind, the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability (OTIS) proposes a six-month pilot program to alleviate difficulties.  The details: starting September 26th, from Vine Street to Bainbridge and from river to river, materials for pickup should be put out no earlier than 7pm the night before pickup and no later than 5:30 am the day of pickup. 

Details of the pilot program here.

Can You Kill Two Birds with One Stone?

Probably not, but you CAN kill lots of birds by leaving your lights on at night this time of year, when the birds are migrating south. Who knew they stayed up so late?  What happened to the “early bird catches the worm"?

Seriously, folks, here’s the drill until mid-November:

  • Turn off spotlights and/or decorative lighting
  • Turn off interior lights when leaving a room
  • Draw blinds/shades if indoor lighting required after midnight
  • Use down-shielded lighting outdoors
  • Where possible, put outdoor lighting on timers and/or motion sensors

Your feathered friends will be grateful!

From Hellscape to Heavenly?

We’re heartened by CCRA Streets Committee Co-Chair Bill West’s observations regarding the redevelopment of the 2300 block of Market Street.  As Bill says: “In my kinder and gentler moments, I have been known to refer to the 2300 block of Market Street as a godforsaken hellscape overrun by rampaging cars. But I think I may be about to change my mind. Things may actually be getting better here”.  Interestingly, he uses examples from the Schuylkill Banks to show how development can weave “theoretically incompatible uses together”.

Read Bill’s theories here. Heavenly?  Maybe not. But close enough for Market Street.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

At MLK High School, Black Male Teachers

for the Core Four

In what is believed to be a first in the district, Martin Luther King High School’s ninth-graders have Black male teachers for the four core subjects — math, English, science, and history.

Principal Keisha Wilkins helped recruit the four teachers — Eric Butler, Michael Flemming, Denzil Flemming, and Marsalis Chism — because she believes their presence will empower the student body of the 92% Black school. What motivated these four Black male teachers to band together? Details here.

Hear this Tiger Purr at the Ethical Society

What does Louis Kahn have to do with DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)??  Turns out this Estonian-born Philadelphia architect designed a daringly modern and monumental parliamentary complex, called Tiger City, in war-torn Bangladesh”.

Follow the trek of art historian and filmmaker Sundaram Tagore as he documents the people and history that influenced Kahn to become a  “creator willing to go into debt and die for one’s work”. Screen its first Philadelphia public viewing at the Ethical Society on Sept. 28th at 7:30 pm.

She Beats the Drum for Carribbean Music

Get ready to be wowed by this internationally known steelpan musician on the Parkway TONIGHT (Thursday) at 6 pm.  The quartet’s sound incorporates jazz, Indian, funk, rock, and classical music into an unmistakable beat, influenced by Josanne Francis’ roots from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. The sound of the steelpan is infused with a fascinating history of British colonialism, where our friends across the pond banned percussion instruments on the island, ostensibly to “keep the peace”. Thus, the invention of the Steelpan, which is technically not a drum. Listen to this recording of hers and come out tonight for the real deal (and it’s free). 

For location and details about this and other fall Parkway concerts, beat the drum here.

Community News and Events

Design Nerds Alert: Philly Has a Brand Bible

Not sure how to style your latest Philly brand? There’s a Brand Bible for that. (Not sure what a Brand Bible is? Read on.)


As it happens, our fair city maintains a go-to doc on what color shades are in and what are not for the brand of the City of Philadelphia. “Ben Franklin blue”, “Bell Yellow”, “Kelly Drive Green”…. It’s all here to give clarity to those design dilemmas. Bible study starts here.

If Isn’t Working, Try This!

Let’s give full credit to BillyPenn for turning us on to the possibility of “The Blind Date Experience” during Philly’s third week of its Fringe Fest. Depending on one’s dating demographic, getting paired with a partner (a/k/a stranger) for the night could be a not-to-be-missed experience. Created this year as part of the Cannonball Festival (a fest within a fest), your ticketing options include being paired up with a (hopefully) interesting companion for the eve. 

Read about Sammy’s “experience” and join those brave souls meeting interesting people in a unique way, and not necessarily for romance. Oh….and be sure to keep your eyes on the event, as well as your new friend.

Whiskey River Ain’t Gonna Run Dry at Whiskey Fest

A Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival, at Lincoln Financial Field no less? Are we dreaming?


Nope, it’s for real. On October 13 Philadelphia magazine hosts what it’s calling the “ultimate tasting event”, and who are we to disagree when we’re talking over 250 premium distilled spirits including whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, rum, tequila, cordials and handcrafted cocktails. 

Plus over 40 wines to taste and bites from Philly’s favorite restaurants. Cheers here.

Work It, Baby: Three New Fitness Center Outfits to Open in Rittenhouse

Now there’s *no* reason not be in shape, now that three separate fitness firms are opening locations in the heart of Rittenhouse. Like who? Club Pilates in the Icon building at 1616 Walnut; StretchLab, also at 1616 Walnut; and YogaSix at 1701 Walnut. 

Feel the burn here.

Art and Music at the Helm of this Ship

This Saturday (9/24) head south to the Philadelphia Naval Yard’s Marine Parade Grounds to hear the beats of headliner Trombone Shorty….guess what he plays? 

A New Orleans icon, Mr. Shorty (née Troy Andrews) started his career at 4 yrs old, playing in the streets, and started his own band at age 8. What type of music? It’s funk, soul, R&B, and psychedelic rock….he calls it “Supafunkrock”. 

You’ll also be treated to the sounds of Snacktime (remember them from Rittenhouse Square during the pandemic?) and other local musicians. You can also view the work of local artists and enjoy “street eats” from Philly food trucks. For day of event details, sail here.

Like Quizzo with Philly Trivia?

BP Quizzo lands at our local Sidecar Bar & Grille! This Grad Hospital tavern is hosting BillyPenn’s local trivia game - three rounds of Philly trivia, past, present, and future. Bring your friends or team up with some pub folks.

The games run 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Enjoy happy hour specials, win prizes. Good food, cheap booze. Admission? Free with RSVP.

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.


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)

City Fitness, 2101 South St. & 1819 JFK Blvd. (609-254-9048) 

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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