Thursday, January 19, 2023

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: January 19, 2023

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Writer – Margie Wiener

Seeking Connection

Over the transom comes the story of our neighborhood groups, who recently held a potluck meet-your-neighbor get-together where they expected perhaps a dozen or so but in fact got 50.


At the same time a major new study (and book) demonstrates that having good personal relationships is the single crucial factor in determining one’s physical health, mental health and longevity.


Anyone spot a trend here?


So while of course the couch is indeed comfy, texting is very much fun and Zoom and FaceTime are soooo convenient…..


You’re smart. You get it. The hell with the so-called Comfort Zone. Go Connect.

CCRA News and Events

How About a Year of Dining at STARR Restaurants?

Whether it’s brunch at Talula’s, date night at Buddakan or a steak dinner at Barclay Prime, dining in one STARR restaurant a month for 12 months is just one of the prizes at CCRA’s Casino Night to be held the night of Feb. 9 at the swanky Brandywine Atrium at 19th & Market!

It will be an evening of eating, drinking and whole lot more! Talk about a Safe Bet! Go here to get your tickets NOW!

Casino Night Tickets

Potluck Dinner Gets Eaten!

Yup. It happened on Sunday, Jan 15th, at the church, with a knife. Want a clue on who done it? We did! 


At its first-ever Community Potluck dinner, BFF knocked it out of the “Fitler” park by creating a memorable shared dinner at Trinity Center for Urban Life. On Sunday, Jan 15th, the inaugural dinner brought out over 50 neighbors, including kids, granddads, and the Panamaniacs, a local band from Panama Street! The trio entertained us with music that spanned a few decades. The food and drinks were plentiful and delicious; many hand-crafted! And most importantly, a diverse group of folks braved the cold outside, then sat down together, broke bread, and made new local connections. Stay tuned for upcoming events.


*Building Friends in Fitler (BFF) is a collaborative created by CCRA, Fitler Square Neighborhood Association, Friends of Schuylkill River Park, Friends of Fitler Square Park, and Trinity Center for Urban Life.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, January 24, 7 pm

Via Zoom

Click here for agenda

Zoom link here.

About the Sprinkler System Bill

As you may be aware, there is a bill before City Council that would require all buildings taller than 75 feet to be retrofitted with automatic sprinkler systems. As you can imagine, the bill has generated a great deal of controversy at local high-rises. 


Supporters of the bill cite the obvious fire safety considerations. Opponents cite already existing fire safety measures including working smoke detectors, automatic fire alarm systems that connect with the Fire Department, fire-safe stair towers, sprinklers in higher risk common areas, and the fire retardant nature of locally used building materials. They also cite the prohibitive cost and inconvenience of retrofitting sprinklers throughout those buildings.


CCRA is following the bill’s progress closely and will provide updates as appropriate. The bill itself can be found here. Have a concern? Let us know or contact your City Councilmember here.


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 Center City classical music program Astral Artists.

The Kids Are All Right at Astral Artists

It’s not every city that has the good fortune to have an outfit like Astral Artists in its backyard.

A non-profit intensive mentoring program, for 30 years Astral has specialized in developing the early careers of talented young classical musicians. Distinguished alumni include guitarist Jason Vieaux, bass-baritone Eric Owens, pianist Simone Dinnerstein and the string trio Time for Three.


The good news for locals is the “Astral in Concert” series, its public programming arm that introduces Philadelphians to some of the most extraordinary young musicians anywhere. How great it is to get to know future stars “when”.


For CCRA members it gets even better: a $10 discount on any performance (currently virtual). Please use promo code “CCRA”.

Clean, Safe and Green

Prepare for Two-Year Closure of MLK Drive

Necessary repairs to the MLK Drive Bridge will close MLK Drive from the bridge to Sweetbriar and the SRT underpass beginning next month and through until the summer of 2025. The bridge will be closed to all users for the duration of construction. Details and detours here.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Ethical Society to Host Prison Education Program

Rittenhouse’s Philadelphia Ethical Society will host a week-long multimedia art installation as part of Eastern University’s Prison Education Program. Entitled “Celebrating Higher Education Behind Bars”, the program kicks off this Sunday at 4, and is followed by a film screening Jan. 25 and a spoken word event Jan. 27. All details here.

The Sixers Arena Controversy Continues

Many Chinatown residents came together to discuss the proposed location of the new Sixers Arena. In a standing-room only meeting, the residents voiced their opposition to the developers with boos and frustration. The “Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena” includes more than 40 Chinatown community groups, nonprofits and business organizations and will have assistance from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. You can read more about it here.

Hop into 2023, The Year of the Rabbit

2023 is the “Year of the Rabbit” in Chinese culture, which symbolizes longevity, peace and prosperity. As always, there are a number of ways to celebrate.

Jan. 21 the Penn Museum hosts the family-friendly “CultureFest” from 10am to 4pm. Gong Cha’s two locations (So. Philly, Arch St) offer surprise giveaways like free toppings, drink discounts and free Gong Cha for a year.

Then there’s the Crane Mural at 10th and Vine symbolizing a phoenix rising from the ashes. Full details of all events here.

Join CCRA Now

Community News and Events

Never Forget: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jan. 27 marks the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Allied forces. To commemorate locally, there are a number of options.

On Jan. 26 at the Weitzman National Museum of Jewish History, there is the film “Rebuilt from Broken Glass”. On Jan. 27 (or anytime), visit the Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza. On Jan. 28 there is the streaming three-part animated trilogy “Traces: Portraits of Resistance, Survival and Resolve”.

Murders Only in this Building:

Murder Mystery Theater Finds a Home at Last

For more years than they care to remember, the Without a Cue murder mystery troupe has crisscrossed the tri-state area performing original scripts that allow audience members to help solve a staged murder. Now, however, they have a permanent venue in the Curtis building on Washington Square, in what had been the Cooperage bar on the 7th Street side. Begin to solve the mysteries here.

‘Tis the Season: Girl Scout Cookies!

Who doesn’t love Girl Scout cookies? (If that would be you, we need to talk.)


For the rest of us, the season has begun! You can snag your stash online or – preferably – in person. Details for both can be found here. Pass the milk, please!

Save the Pops

Last November, the Philly Pops announced that due to Covid and decreased ticket sales, they were throwing in the trombone and making 2022 their last season. No way….said the fans.

During Christmas Season, fans that allegedly “boo’d” Santa Claus back in the day greeted The Philly Pops with a groundswell of support…..resulting in a “Save the Pops” campaign. So…. the show just may go on for the Philly POPS, but there is still some heavy lifting to keep the music playing. If you’re a fan of the American heritage of song, you can help Save The Pops by donating here.

Public Transit - Change is A Comin!

Want to hear what SEPTA’s up to in its “SEPTA Forward Bus Revolution”? It appears like they’ve listened enough and it’s time for them to talk, thus: “Transit Talk: Draft Network Engagement Findings”. 

If you’re a regular bus transit user, log in on Jan. 23 @ 6:30 pm to hear “a recap of the Fall 2022 engagement process, key findings and takeaways, and what to expect for the next phase of the project—the release of the final bus network recommendations planned for spring 2023.” Are you bus curious? Enough to sit through a webinar? Yes? Wait here to sign up.

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 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)

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)

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

Facebook  Instagram  Twitter  YouTube
Center City Residents' Association | 1900 Market St, FL 8, Philadelphia, PA 19103