Thursday, March 16, 2023

CCRA Newsletter


This Week: March 16, 2023

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Fast Forward

First came the Metaverse (i.e., Virtual Reality), and now comes ChatGPT, the latest and most mind-boggling iteration yet of Artificial Intelligence. Like it or not – or know it or not – we are hurtling headlong into a new and different future at a breathtaking speed, and there’s no turning back.


The advances in AI are especially notable. Before long its capabilities will be seen and felt in nearly all aspects of daily life. It is truly the Next Big Thing. Good luck to those who don’t keep up. (Take a test drive here)


This especially applies to Philadelphia as it relates to a new Mayor and City Council. We need new thinking and new attitudes to adapt to this new societal and technological future. The old same-old, same-old isn’t going to cut it anymore, if only because it can’t. The people won’t stand for it, nor should they.


However harshly, Darwin put it best: Adapt or Die. Seen any dinosaurs lately?

CCRA News and Events

Sprinkler Retrofit Bill Update

Many of us have been paying close attention to Bill No. 220299 introduced in City Council last March by Councilman Mark Squilla. It would require all residential and commercial buildings in the city more than 75 feet tall to be retrofitted with sprinkler systems in each unit if they do not have them.


It is a bill that has generated substantial controversy and which raises a number of concerns. CCRA recently met with Councilman Squilla to discuss the bill’s progress. Councilman Squilla responded that the bill was effectively on hold pending further investigation of the relevant issues.


More recently, Council President Darrell Clarke addressed the bill at CCRA’s Board of Directors meeting on March 14. He indicated that he would not vote for this bill in its current iteration because of the many issues it raises, and he affirmed that detailed studies of its requirements, costs, pros and cons need to be done before Council would consider it, a process that will not be completed this year.


We will keep you updated on this issue as developments occur.


CCRA is looking to fill several Board seats for our fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023. 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. See website for full Pledge and list of committees (go to “About CCRA” Toolbar and click on Board of Directors and Committees).

Interested members are encouraged to forward a resume or statement of interest that includes a summary of qualifications by Monday, March 27 here, 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.)

Parking, Traffic to be Affected by Apple TV Film Shoot

While it’s great that Apple Studios has chosen our neighborhood to shoot scenes for its new show “Catamount”, Spoiler Alert: it does not come without some downsides regarding parking and traffic. Not exactly a surprise ending. The what, where and when is here.

Crosstown Traffic: Mayor Debate Set for March 28

@ Penn’s Houston Hall

College basketball isn’t the only flavor of March Madness competition these days. There’s also the Mayor’s race, which on March 28 lands at UPenn’s Houston Hall, all put on by the Crosstown Coalition, of which CCRA is a member.


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 Licensed Opticians and Doctors of Optometry, 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

MLK Bridge Closure Beginning March 27

The Martin Luther King Drive Bridge, located between MLK Drive and Eakins Oval will be closed starting March 27. The bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. The closure is expected to last until Spring 2025. 

The Schuylkill River trail under the bridge will remain open during stages of construction. When construction is happening over the trail, the trail will close for several months. A trail detour will be posted directing travelers around the work area. The Bicycle Coalition has proposed an alternate bike trail which is currently under consideration by the city. To access the full Press Release, click here.

It’s That Time of Year Again: Philly Spring Cleanup

Every year, city government, residents, and organizations partner to kick off the spring season by cleaning and beautifying Philadelphia’s neighborhoods through Philly Spring Cleanup.

This Department of Streets event takes place at hundreds of locations across the city. Residents and organizations can register as volunteers or submit projects, including park and neighborhood cleanups. Registration is now open here.

Civilians Hired by City to Help Police

No one has to tell us that crime and safety are two of the biggest challenges facing the city right now. In a move aimed at improving public safety and reducing the workload of law enforcement officers, a new team (125 civilians) of Public Safety Enforcement Officers has been hired by the city and tasked with removing some burdensome activities previously handled exclusively by police: enforcing traffic rules, directing traffic, writing tickets and ordering abandoned vehicles removed from city streets. The goal? Freeing up police officers to focus on more serious crimes. Hopefully, it will also reduce tensions between law enforcement and members of the public. 

However, some have expressed concerns that the introduction of Public Safety Enforcement Officers could lead to confusion about the roles and responsibilities of different law enforcement agencies. There are also concerns that the officers may not be adequately trained to deal with certain situations, such as violent or dangerous incidents. It’s wait and see….but our fingers are crossed, hoping for success. Details here.

Volunteers Needed for “Lights Out Philly”

Lights Out, sponsored by Bird Safe Philly, will have buildings shut off their lights from midnight to 6 a.m. every night between April 1 and May 31, and Aug. 15 and Nov. 15 to protect millions of migratory birds flying over Philadelphia.

Lights Out needs volunteer monitors who can identify the bird species that populate Philadelphia. Volunteers should be available to monitor one day a week downtown throughout the spring and/or fall migration seasons. There are also opportunities for volunteer drivers to transport injured birds found during monitoring to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education's Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic in Roxborough. Drivers, using their own vehicles, should be available to transport injured birds one day a week between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. during the spring and fall migration seasons. Anyone interested in volunteering in any capacity should contact Keith Russell, Program Manager, Urban Conservation, Audubon Mid-Atlantic.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

EgoPo Theater Presents ‘Plum Bun’

Come to Old City to enjoy the EgoPo Classic Theater’s production of “Plum Bun”.

Based on the 1928 novel by Jessie Redmon Fauset, it tells the story of a young light-skinned Black woman who faces the headwinds of racism and sexism in 1920s Philadelphia in the form of a sprawling period-piece with a dynamic staging and an 18-person cast. Tickets and info here.

Honoring Philadelphia's Rich Black Music History by Inspiring Today's Creatives

Black Music City, a collaboration of Philadelphia public music radio stations WXPN and WRTI and REC Philly, recognizes and honors the influence of Philadelphia Black music history by awarding grants for new creative works.


After awarding $100,000 in grants to over 40 recipients in 2022, Black Music City returns for the third year, when 30 recipients will have the chance to apply for grants from $1,500 -$5,000. Details here.

Join CCRA Now

Community News and Events

Mutter Presents Music for Food

As part of its Concerts at the College series, on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 3 pm, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, (which also houses the Mutter Museum) will host a roster of distinguished Curtis Institute and Philadelphia Orchestra artists on behalf of the musician-led initiative, Music for Food.

The concert will benefit the life-changing work of The Sunday Love Project, whose founder and executive director, Margaux Murphy, just received the prestigious Philadelphia Award (often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Philadelphia”), highlighting her passion for helping others and making a lasting, profound impact on the community. Listen to the beat of the music, the beat of your heart, and beat it over here for tickets.

20 Artists, 2 Museums, 1 Exhibition

Two historic museums come together for a transformative exhibition of contemporary art.

Join the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America, an exhibition of new works examining the provocative and timely question: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?” Tickets and info here.

Don’t Beat This Drum Slowly

Walk with your family over to the Kimmel this Sunday (3/19 from 10am-noon) to ignite their imaginations with an array of enchanting performances and hands-on activities.

Guests will be introduced to the culture and music of Brazil through the Samba, Bossa Nova and Lambada styles of Brazilian music as the unique dance rhythms and culture of this Portuguese-speaking country are explored. Drum up the details here.

A New Crosstown (North to South) Bike Route

Center City West cyclists know how crucial the 22nd St bike lane is to travel to points north. The City has taken note, and is proposing another bike through-lane for Mid-City, on the 13th St. corridor.  When finalized (OTIS is currently getting neighborhood and business input), the proposal calls for a protected bike lane on the left side of the street from South St. to Spring Garden.

The street will be repaved; parking and loading will be moved to the right side of the street. Street parking issues (yes, spaces will be lost) are still being negotiated. Anticipated start date: July or August, this year. Stay tuned…..and check out the city’s plan here.

Support Our Greenfield Neighborhood School

Come on out and celebrate our neighborhood’s Greenfield School and raise money to ensure its students continue to thrive and receive an exceptional education.  This year's Auction is being held on May 18 at Craft Hall from 6 - 10PM. It’s going to be an incredible night of eating, drinking, dancing and IN PERSON BIDDING! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!

The school is also collecting items and experiences for bidding! Email here if you have questions or an item or experience to offer.

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.

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) - Temporarily Suspended

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)

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 - Temporarily Suspended

Astral Artists, 1500 Walnut St. (215-735-6999)

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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