Thursday, December 8, 2022

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: December 8, 2022

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Writer – Margie Wiener

Winter in the City

Serious Question: Is there a better place to be during the Holidays than in the City?


Look around: Decorations everywhere. Restaurants, rocking.  Stores, jamming. On the sidewalks: stylish singles, stylish couples, the beautiful young people home from college and, of course, the sweet wee grandchildren. The air may be brisk and cold, but not so much that you can’t feel the warmth of the sun on your face. How lucky are we.


So don’t miss out on this. Go out, get out, be of good cheer and greet your fellow urbanites. Drink it in, and eat it up.


CCRA News and Events

Last Call to Gift CCRA!

Don’t get left out! We’ve seen a tremendous response to our offer for members to gift family and friends a full year of CCRA membership. But the deadline is tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 9, so if you haven’t done so already, the time to act is now! Email here to gift a membership!

Members Cordially Invited to Attend

December’s Board Meeting

Members are most welcome to attend the final Board meeting of the year this coming Tuesday at 7:15 pm. Please RSVP to Travis for location details. 

In addition to conducting Board business we will be joined by 9th District Captain Chris Bradshaw and 9th District Community Relations Officer Jessie O’Shea, who will discuss the PPD’s plans for crime prevention in and around the neighborhood. 

It promises to be both a social and educational evening. Won’t you please join us?

'Tis the Season' – for Gifting Appreciated Securities

It hasn't been a good year in the markets. Looking at your brokerage statements has probably been unfun. But if you have been investing for more than a minute, you'll likely find that many of your investments have appreciated in value since you acquired them.

So - if you're thinking of making charitable contributions around now, think about gifting some of your appreciated securities. You'll get double income tax benefits - you can deduct the fair market value of the gifted securities and avoid the capital gains tax you would pay if you sold the securities. 

Center City Residents Association, a section 501(c)(3) organization, would be grateful for any gifts of stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ETFs. We'll put them to good use improving our neighborhood.

Please talk to your tax advisor and contact us if you would like more information.

No Brighter Light than a Child’s Smile

Things are brighter this week in Fitler Square. Why? The Friends of Fitler Square Park hosted its annual Tree Lighting and Santa Visit. This year, our new local collaborative, BFF (Building Friends in Fitler) added Xmas caroling to the festivities. End result? Smiles, of course. Music, Dance, Hot cider for the “grownups”; hot chocolate for the young’uns. Did we mention perfect weather? 

Neighbors joined with neighbors, strolling the streets, caroling with the TMC Singers and then watched sensational outdoor ballet from our local young women and listened to the tunes of the Bohemian Singers in the Square. 

Presto, change-o - here comes Santa Claus...tree lights…and fond memories. May all your Christmases be….wh…NO! bright! Thanks, Jerry Amari, for the photos!

CCRA Public meeting regarding 2301 Walnut St.

On Monday, December 5, CCRA held a virtual meeting regarding the “by right” building project on 2301 Walnut. The Developers presented revised designs after incorporating many of CCRA’s suggestions for improvement. The public (over 35 attendees) asked questions, such as parking, trash collection, street blockage, the use of the public space, and completion of the project. You can watch the meeting and see the designs by visiting our YouTube Channel.


CCRA’s Merchant Partner program is a true Win-Win:  It provides local businesses with complimentary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA members generous deals and discounts.  This week we spotlight sustainable delivery service The Rounds.

Making The Rounds Work For You This Holiday

Bothered by the amount of the simple, sheer physical waste in your life? Who isn’t? Well, local startup The Rounds is working to do something about it.


The Rounds is in fact built on the “milkman” model in that it delivers products to the customer’s door in reusable packaging (think milk bottles). Then, when the user is done, it retrieves the packaging, rinses and repeats. No waste!


Yes, the idea is to lower the amount of waste from individual, disposable orders. The Rounds delivers everyday essentials like oats, nuts, toilet paper, soaps, paper products, cleaning products etc. In short it’s green, it’s sustainable, and it’s cheaper.


Intrigued? Thought so. For more info and to get started, please visit The Rounds. And know this: Use the code CCRAHOLIDAY in the promo field at signup and your first two months of membership will be free – plus a $10 product credit – through 12/31/2022.

If you miss this opportunity check the CCRA website for another great offering coming next year!

Clean, Safe and Green

Vote for the River that Runs Through Us

Vote for your favorite local waterway. The Schuylkill River, Perkiomen Creek, Conestoga River and Susquehanna River-North Branch have been nominated for the annual Pennsylvania River of the Year contest, the Inquirer reported last week.

The waterways were nominated by local nonprofit organizations that work to promote them and restore their health. The Schuylkill was nominated by the Schuylkill River Greenways organization, which is in the middle of a 10-year strategic plan titled “Re(Turn) to the River,” aiming to improve the river area and raise awareness of its importance by 2026. Some of those goals include completing the Schuylkill River Trail and increasing tourism.

Voting will be open until January 18. The nominating organization will receive a $10,000 leadership grant to fund celebrations of the honor. Those year-round activities will include a River of the Year sojourn, a miles-long paddling trips for large groups of people meant to raise awareness for river stewardship and the economic and cultural value of the waterway. Voting is now open!

Saw Your Own Christmas Tree?

According to those who know”, Germany was pivotal in creating the Christmas Tree tradition as we know it today. Thanks to heavy German immigration to PA, our state, back in the 1830’s, is rumored to have been the first in America to adopt the custom of a tree, at home, for the holidays. 

Want to do the “full monty”? While you could just drive to the nearest big box store and get a fake one, how about hunting for your perfect tree at the tree farm and then cutting it down. No worries…they’ll help you (and give you the saw)! Some of these places throw in a hay ride to the tree farm, as well. Can I come, too?

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

SIX Refugee Busloads Came to Philly Already –

& MORE to come! How You Can Help

Nearly 250 immigrants seeking asylum have been sent to Philadelphia from Texas since Nov. 16! 

Almost 70% of refugees from the Caribbean, Central and South America remain in Philadelphia. It’s a perfect fit, since 3 in 20 Philly residents are foreign-born, and immigrants have been key to the city's population growth. How can we help with this ongoing influx? Donate to the Mayor’s Philadelphia Welcoming Fund, which disperses monies to longstanding local nonprofits which provide for shelter space, emergency health screening, food, water, language interpretation, and more.

Here’s an even more helpful guide to ways you can help other than giving money.

Just added: Fundraiser created to front the cost of SEPTA Key cards for asylum-seekers! Rest well and count your blessings.

William Way Center Receives a $2.5 Million

Grant for Expansion

Philly’s own LGBTQ Center, located at 12th and Spruce, is expanding in the fall of 2023. William Way will demolish the back two thirds of the building to build a new office tower that will house its growing programs and provide plenty of space for long term leases and rentals for community groups and small businesses. 

This expansion is a big deal to our LGBTQ Community, especially since the community is growing in diversity. You can read more about this expansion here.

Shop Where Your Heart Is

Thanks to CCRA member/Philly-centric Book Author Irene Levy Baker for sharing with us this delightful way to shop for the holidays and support minority and women-owned businesses at the same time. Let’s put our money where our hearts are: The shopping season has begun! The Bellevue Hotel is hosting a Diverse Supplier Holiday Shopping Showcase on Saturday, December 17 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The shopping extravaganza will feature minority and women-owned businesses such as Free Bird 1985 (unique jewelry), Philadelphia Candle Co. (scented candles including a collection that highlights Philadelphia neighborhoods) and Jypsea Leatherwoods (lux leather accessories made primarily of recycled skins). Holiday music and holiday-themed refreshments available at XIX-Nineteen Lounge. It’s free & open to the public.

Join CCRA Now

Community News and Events

Chanukah, X-Mas, & Kwanzaa Fests, Oh My!

Feast your eyes & ears on these delightful fests:

1) Philly POPS Christmas Spectacular: Few seats left on Dec. 9, 14 & 16 at the Kimmel Center! FYI: Philly Pops will permanently stop performing at the end of the 2022-2023 season - so go while you can. 

2) Holiday Lightings on Boathouse Row: 

  • Dec. 18-23: Chanukah 
  • Dec. 24-25: Christmas 
  • Dec. 26-Jan. 1: Kwanzaa 

Want to stroll around the city to see holiday light attractions? Details here. 

3) TWO Chanukah Candle Lightings on Rittenhouse Square: 

  •  Tues., Dec. 20 at 5 pm, hosted by Jewish Federation & Center City Kehillah. Sign up for kiddie treats before it’s too late! Free.  
  •  Wed., Dec. 21 at 5 pm, hosted by Friends of Rittenhouse Square & B’nai Abraham Chabad. Free. Email here for further info. 

4) Special Kwanzaa Programs (week of 12/26-1/1) at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. A few are free.

Next Stop, World Cup: Greenfield Soccer

Goes Undefeated

In its first active middle-school sports season since Covid, Greenfield School’s co-ed soccer team went undefeated in 2022, outscoring their opponents by a combined score of 17-2! 

Coach Bentz’s squad consisted of 34 6th, 7th & 8th graders, who got up every day to practice at 7:30 a.m. before school. Congrats, Greenfield!

A Christmas with Choir and Brass

Adante: Sunday, December 11, 3pm

Vibrato: Church of the Holy Trinity

Score: your tickets here.

Such a Deal! Eat! Eat!

Now’s here’s a gift any urbanite will treasure: a gift certificate to one of Philly’s best eateries.  And you – the gifter – will love it (and us), too, when you see these deals! One for them, two for you?

Lick your lips here.

Rolling on the River: An Art Gallery

Inspired by the Water Dept’s plan for a floating classroom on the Schuylkill, Philadelphia Contemporary will launch a two-story, 15,000-sq ft floating art gallery of its own, which will be moored between Cherry and Race Streets and which will periodically be unmoored and tugged to different sites along the East Coast. 

Float over to the details here.

See the Holiday Sights via the Jolly Trolley

There are Holiday decorations all over the City, but how do you see them all? Might we suggest the Holiday Light Trolley Tour, a/k/a the “Jolly Trolley”?


The festive party hits all the popular light displays as well as Winterfest at Penn’s Landing, the Betsy Ross House and City Hall. And Hey…it’s a BYOB and features live music. Find the fun here.

Banksy Meets Immersive in Fashion District

You may not be familiar with the notoriously incognito British street artist Banksy, and you may yet have to experience an immersive art museum experience, but now you can do both at “Banksy Was Here”, the newly-created touring exhibition of the artist’s work.


It’s all happening on two floors at the Fashion District Mall on E. Market St in the space previously occupied by Candytopia. Developed by the same companies that developed the successful Van Gogh immersive experience, Banksy Was Here features 80 works in a 30,000 square-foot area. Immerse yourself here.

“Bus Revolution”: SEPTA’s Plan on Overhauling its Transit System

SEPTA proposes to overhaul bus routes throughout the Philly region. Plans include, among other things, eliminating bus routes that run infrequently and adding routes that run more frequently (“every 15 minutes or better, 7 days a week”).

In addition, a major overhaul they’re proposing is eliminating ten suburban community routes and replacing them with a “whole new mode of public transit.” For more information, visit 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 Philadelphia Orchestra, One S. Broad St (215-893-1955)

The River Boat Tours, Schuylkill River & Walnut St (215-309-5523)

The Rounds, internet only

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, 1500 Walnut St. (215-735-6999)

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

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

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 & Gallery, 2103 Walnut St (215-567-6800)

Loews Hotel Philadelphia, 1200 Market St (215-627-1200)

Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 S. Broad St (215-893-1900)

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)

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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