This Week: December 1, 2022

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Writer – Margie Wiener

And The Race Is On

With midterms in the rear-view mirror, attention now rightly turns to the Mayor’s race. Crime prevention is on the minds of most Center City residents, along with a desire for true leadership.


A number of candidates have already announced, with no doubt several more to come.

It’s a diverse bunch. We’ve got our choice of experienced politicians and successful businesspeople; pragmatists and ideologues; evolutionary vs. revolutionary.


This is serious stuff this time around. Philly’s a great city, but it needs some work.

The hope here is that the campaigns are conducted accordingly, with much sober discussion and a notable lack of bomb-throwing.


This city deserves no less. It’s Game On, and may the best person win.

CCRA News and Events

Changes Ahead for Market Street

Between 20th & 23rd Streets

Spurred by traffic safety concerns and with substantial input and support from CCRA, the City has announced that PennDOT will create a two-way, parking-separated bike lane on the northbound side of Market Street between 20th and 23rd Streets. 

Over the past five years, there have been 72 crashes on these three blocks with 46 people injured and five people seriously injured, city officials said. Among those who were hurt, 60% were walking and 20% were biking. There’s a lot to this; details start here.

Final Notice: CCRA Public Meeting Re: 2301 Walnut St

Monday, December 5, at 7 pm via Zoom

The Trammell Crow Company plans to construct a new mixed-use residential high-rise with retail at the corner of 23rd and Walnut (the former site of RiteAid) and continuing to 23rd and Sansom. The project is “by right” under the Philadelphia zoning code, which means the property owner does not need a variance from the City. However, the public will have input on the project as part of the Philadelphia City Planning Civic Design Review process. The architects for the project, BLT Architects, will present the plans, renderings, space, program and project details in a brief presentation. After the presentation there will be a Q&A session.

You can attend the meeting via Zoom. Local commentary on the project so far can be read here.

CCRA Zoning Committee Meeting

On Tuesday, November 22, CCRA held its monthly public zoning committee meeting. You can watch the meeting on our Youtube Channel or read the decisions here.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, at 7 pm.  The meeting in December has been canceled.

Our Students Get An Artful Taste of History

Your membership dues help CCRA support extracurricular activities at Friere, our local (21st and Chestnut) public charter high school. This month, 35 students attended The Royale, a play based on the life of the first Black heavyweight boxing champion, Jack Johnson. 

Set in post-reconstruction U.S., the play is “filled with the rhythms of the ring and of the people fighting for freedom, dignity, and success in a fascinating and important chapter in our national story.' According to Freire Theater Director Chad Corbitt, the students loved the experience and asked many questions at the audience TalkBack following the play. A thought-provoking show worth seeing, at the Lantern, through Sunday, 12/11.

Put a Smile on CCRA’s Face by A Give-Back

From Each Amazon Purchase

Shop locally for your holiday shopping whenever possible, but if/when you’re using Amazon, consider designating “Center City Residents’ Association” as your choice for an eligible charity, as a small portion of your purchase will be donated to CCRA from Amazon. You can learn more about it and sign up here. Thanks for thinking of us! :)


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 Merchant Partner City Fitness.

Work it, Baby: Such a Deal at City Fitness

Your clothes will love you as will your pocketbook when you take advantage of the discounts offered by CCRA Merchant Partner City Fitness.


CCRA is very excited to announce that we are launching a Corporate Wellness partnership with City Fitness, which was recently voted Best Gym in the City, and it’s clear to see why,


They have the best of everything: the latest machines, exercise bikes, steam rooms, saunas, hydro-massage… you name it.


And the discounted $34.99 bi-weekly rate includes all yoga and spin classes, all amenities, access to all six locations, with no long-term commitment: you can stop anytime. 


Seem too good to be true? Yes, it does. But it’s true nonetheless. Details here.

Clean, Safe and Green

Our Leaves Lumped at the Dump? We’re Stumped!

Please…someone say it ain’t so! But the way we read the city’s leaf collection plan is enough to make us row-homers move into a high-rise. See if we interpreted this correctly (and hopefully we didn’t), but…

The city’s webpage seems to say:

If you’re putting the leaves curbside, trash the idea of the big box brown compostable leaf bag. They’re dumped like the plastic ones you use for your garbage. Don’t waste your time or money on paper bags for curbside pickup. 

What’s a Center City tree hugger to do? Hit up Rittenhouse Hardware (be sure to ask for your CCRA discount) for the compostable bags, fill ‘er up, do a Sat. drop off at Broad and Christian.

The silver lining? Come spring, all city residents can get up to 30 gallons of free compost, mulch, or other organic materials from the city’s Recycling Center.


Of course, no Center City pick-up location for that, either. Grrrr.

Tips for a Watershed-Friendly Lifestyle

As cold weather approaches, don’t forget to drain and disconnect rain barrels you are responsible for. Freezing and thawing can cause cracks in your barrel! This is also a good time to clean out screens and the tank to remove debris. You can find more from PSU Extension on rain barrel maintenance here.


If the weather outside turns frightful, keep these snow-shoveling tips in mind:  Shovel early and often; keep storm drains clear of ice, snow, and debris; keep fire hydrants and utility access points clear of snow and ice; and limit the use of de-icing products to the minimum amount needed. Visit Philly H2O blog for more tips and graphics!

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

New Calder Museum on the Parkway Heralded by Ritualistic Ceremony

A Native American Indian ritualistic ceremony was held to pave the way for the new Calder Museum at 21st and the Parkway. Members of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribe blessed the land that was originally occupied by their ancestors. 

The “Calder Gardens” will be built in 2023, pairing Alexander Calder’s famous mobiles with natural landscaping. “Sandy” Calder was known for his suspended mobile sculptures that gently sway to air currents. His grandfather designed the William Penn statue atop City Hall and his father designed the Swann Fountain in the middle of Logan Square. Details here – check out amazing artist renderings!

Hit Up the Black Holiday Pop-up on 52nd Street

Always a shopping mecca, the 52nd St. corridor is even more so now, during the holidays, thanks to a holiday popup market.


Organized by CCRA ally The Enterprise Center, the pop-up features products from over 30 Black-owned small businesses. Like what? Like art, accessories and apparel, much of it homemade by local artisans of color. Season your greetings here.

PA Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is:

Financing Africatown

Frankly, to many of us city dwellers, southwest Philly is a “drive over” zone on the way to the airport. Over the last 20 or so years, and luckily for us, many African immigrants, largely from Ghana, Ethiopia, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, have made it a “stay over” zone and now call it home. The benefits? A rebound from a “blighted'' neighborhood to a “destination” location, offering new stores, foods, cultures and lifestyles. The rewards? A $9M grant from the state to launch Africatown.

This newly designated neighborhood goes from S. 47th Street and Baltimore Avenue to S. 74th Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, and will feature a Woodland Avenue Commercial Corridor. Tax dollars creating more tax dollars? Wow! Something is going right in Philly! Follow the action here.

Join CCRA Now

Community News and Events

Center City Economy Continues Post-Pandemic Rebound

Like the Sixers’ Joel Embiid on a good night, the Center City economy has rebounded nicely of late. According to the latest report from the Center City District, the area has seen two consecutive years of positive net openings of restaurants and retailers.

Some specifics:

  • Daily pedestrian foot traffic is now at 75% of pre-pandemic levels
  • 80.5 storefronts are open, up from 54.5% in June 2020
  • Taxable retail sales are at 88% of nominal 2019 levels


Dive deep for details here.

Rare Book Nerds, This is For You

Got a book nerd on your holiday shopping list? Or are YOU a book nerd? Either/or, make it over to historic Trinity Memorial Church this Friday or Saturday for the Philadelphia Rare Book Fair, where over 20 vendors nationwide will be offering rare books, autographs and, of course, ephemera. Admission? Free. Hours? 11-6 Fri,10-5 Sat. Location? 2212 Spruce. Details? Overleaf.

Christmas Village: Where to Start, How to Finish

Christmas Village is totally awesome, but can it be a little overwhelming? Uh, yes. No worries; we’re here to help. Candles your thing? Check. 'Slow fashion’ designer bags?Yes, pls. Torch-wielding glass artists? Why, of course. And you know we’re just getting started. Drill down here, y’all.

Pagan Special – No Holiday Lights Light Show

It’s a local Santa-free zone. OK, technically, this winter light show isn’t in Center City. Actually, it isn’t even in Philly. You gotta cross the bridge…the Trenton/Morrisville Bridge, to close-by Hamilton, NJ. And look to the left while you’re crossing the bridge and see the famous “What Trenton Makes….The World Takes” sign. Ah, the good old days. Keep going a few more miles, and in what is an otherwise bleak landscape, you’ll find a hidden treasure- the Grounds for Sculpture. It’s road-trip worthy.

Fabulous by day, this nearby modern sculpture garden transforms into an interactive lightshow at night, as your movements cause a ripple effect that echoes across the artwork and then disappears. Patterns of light are syncopated to original soundtracks. Check out this YouTube video. Our bet is you think it’s worth a drive up I-95 (after rush hour, that is….).

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.


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

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)

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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