This Week: March 23, 2023

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Spring Re-Wakening

Well, we made it. It’s Spring.


Old Man Winter is gone. He didn’t leave without a few parting Arctic blasts, but gone he is.


The trees are turning already, sap a-rising. Soon will come the flowers and the chirping of birds. To some, the most wonderful time of the year. And this time around, the most pandemic-free we’ve been in three years, seems especially sweet.


Do we really need to tell you to Go Enjoy?

CCRA News and Events



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.)

CCRA Public Community Meeting re: 19th & Chestnut

On Thursday, March 30, at 7 pm, CCRA is holding a public meeting, via Zoom, regarding the proposed tower to be constructed over the CVS at 19th & Chestnut. 

The plans will be shown and discussed by the project architects and the public will have a chance to ask questions. To register, click here.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, March 28 at 7 pm via Zoom

View the agenda here.

Zoom link here.

CCRA Green: Make this Earth Day Count in our Neighborhood

What happened to all the ash trees on 25th Street between Lombard and Pine? Why were they removed?  

Sadly, they - and millions more ash trees in North America - succumbed due to damage done by an exotic beetle called the emerald ash borer, or EAB. Adult emerald ash borers feed on ash leaves, lay eggs in bark crevices where they hatch in one to two weeks. The resulting larvae bore through the bark into the cambium layer, the part of the tree that transports water and nutrients throughout the tree. Once in the cambium, the larvae create serpentine galleries. The larvae overwinter under the bark and emerge the following spring as adults to continue the cycle. Over the course of several years of infestation, the galleries from larvae effectively girdle the tree, killing it. 

CCRA Green Tree Tenders will be replanting these and 12 additional neighborhood street trees on Earth Day, April 22. Volunteers are needed; no experience necessary! Email Susan Kahn 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 new Merchant Partner Mr FIX.

Who Ya Gonna Call? New Merchant Partner Mr FIX!

Technology is great…. when it works. When it doesn’t…. well, you know.


But there is help, in the name of new Merchant Partner Mr FIX, the tech repair shop on 20th between Pine and Lombard. Not just any repair joint, Mr FIX is your go-to for a to quick fix for your cellphone, laptop, tablet, computer and gaming console at affordable prices.

Not only that, Mr FIX offers a wide variety of new and used devices for sale, including cellphones and computers. And… they pay more than both Apple & the carrier stores for your old or broken devices! What’s not to love?


What IS to love is the fact that CCRA Members receive $10 off any repair with proof of membership. Get your fix at Mr FIX!

Clean, Safe and Green

Not Your Imagination: Boathouse Row Has Gone Dark

Used to be that endless slogs along the Schuylkill Expressway could be lightened and livened up by taking in the lit-up Boathouse Row. Not so now, however, as the Row has “gone dark” from now through the end of 2023.


It’s all in the name of a major upgrade, as the Fairmount Park Conservancy is partnering with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to replace and upgrade the existing light system, at a cost of $2.1 million. The lighting system, once complete, will have 6,400 individual LED lights, with 16 million color combinations. Lightings will be able to change from one color to another, or be programmed in a way that appears to make them “dance” along the boathouses. 


Worth the wait on the Schuylkill? We think so. The details glow here.

City Receives Two Gun Violence Grants

The City of Philadelphia has received two Gun Violence Investigation and Prosecution

(GVIP) grants worth a total of $20 million to support citywide gun violence investigation and prosecution initiatives. Among other things, the funding will be used to support the expansion of the Digital Forensics Lab. Details can be found in CCRA Member Bonnie Eisenfeld’s article here.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Spring in Full Bloom (Yes! The Cherry Blossom Festival)

It’s that time of year again. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival honors these beautiful flowering trees and the city’s deep Japanese cultural connections. 

The festival returns to its pre-pandemic form, with a beer garden, marketplace and a Japanese cultural activity center popping up on April 15 and 16, 2023 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. Watch the kimono fashion show, Japanese tea ceremonies, dance performances, Ikebana (flower arranging) and Origami (paper folding) workshops. Listen to live music and Taiko drumming. Visit here for more information.

Here’s the Real Schmaltz!

Passover will pass over on April 16, but that’s not the beginning nor the end of your connection to Philadelphia’s Jewish history. On Sunday, April 16, Hidden Philadelphia (one of our favorite resources) is offering a tour of “The Lost Jewish Quarter”, the apex of Jewish life from the 1880's through the 1920's. Yes, it’s a bit of a schlep (between Spruce and Christian, 2nd and 6th), but this walking tour will show you where Bubby and Zeide lived, shopped and worshiped.

And….talk about meisters- your guide earned a Bachelor of Hebrew Literature and a Master of Jewish Education, and has taught Hebrew and Judaica at numerous institutions including Gratz College. Tachlis, you want? Spend your gelt here for tickets.

A VISTA for All Philadelphians

Upcoming Virtual Open House Event 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 (12 PM - 1 PM)

Are you:

  • looking for your next career step?
  • curious about a career in city government?
  • passionate about serving others?
  • committed to fighting the injustices of poverty? 

A year of service as a Serve Philadelphia VISTA might be the perfect next step for you. Join us at an upcoming virtual Open House to learn more about the program and application and meet with current members to learn about their experience. More info can be found here.

CCRA Volunteers Help Students at Freire School 

As part of CCRA's mission to meet the diverse needs of our neighborhood, CCRA has "adopted" the Freire Charter School at 21st and Chestnut, which offers a rigorous college prep education, focused on social justice, self-actualization, and academic excellence to primarily underserved students of color. CCRA members can volunteer at the school to enhance the school’s curriculum.

Above, CCRA member Dr. Gordon Henderson, a retired political science professor from Widener, coaches Freire Charter High School students as they prepare their arguments for presentation to a Mock Supreme Court. 

Join CCRA Now

Community News and Events

The Circus Comes to Town at the Franklin Institute

“Science After Hours: Spectacular Spectacular” is returning to The Franklin Institute on Friday, March 31st to kick off the 2023 season of the popular adults-only event series with an evening of show-stopping big-top performances and surprise entertainment.

Attendees are invited to dress in their fanciest flair and step right up for the spectacular spectacle. You’ve been warned! Spectate the details here.

Chatty Crickets: Academy of Natural Sciences - Friday Night, March 31

If you’re a science nerd, this one’s for you (and me): a program at the Academy of Natural Sciences about the nightly conversation crickets have. Are they going buggy? NO! They’re chatting via their “song” to find a mate and deter predators. If only the dating websites could duplicate this.

Learn and then listen; First the expert will amaze you with the facts. Then, as the night progresses on March 31 (6:30-8pm), the auditorium will enliven with the sounds of crickets, accompanied by a special appearance by the musical ensemble, The Stridulators (you get extra credit with us if you know what stridulate entails). So, my Science Friday fans, turn off the podcasts, reserve your place and geek out here next Friday night.

Flag This: Kudos to the City!

Last November, the city acknowledged that the flags flying along the Parkway had become worn and a bit tattered, bordering on “disrespectful” to the many countries, visitors and immigrants. They vowed to replace them.

Surprise, surprise! The city came through and we now have beautiful, new flags for each country represented. Philadelphia’s “museum and cultural mile” is again an iconic source of pride for the city and a representation of its rich culture. Check out the photo that Ben took this week. 

OK. Not exactly the same as putting a man on the moon, but let’s give credit where credit is due. Thanks, City Hall (a nice change from our usual bitching and moaning).

Proust, Faulkner, Moby-Dick All Selling Out Fast at the Rosenbach

Readings of classic literature – both in-person and online – are selling like proverbial hotcakes at the Rosenbach Museum and Library at 20th & Delancey.  They’ve got Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jane Austen’s Emma and Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, to name just a very very few.

But it’s not just readings; book lovers are led on a deep dive into the criticism and backgrounds of fiction, history, and poetry with the guidance of a literary expert and the company of other readers. 

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.

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)

Mr FIX, 413 S. 20th St (215-261-5646)

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)

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

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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