Neighborhood

South Philly neighborhood community news, developments, and local interest.

Neighborhoods: Bella VistaEast PassyunkLower MoyamensingPennsportPoint BreezeWhitman

Squilla criticized for cutting green agenda

Philadelphia Inquirer’s Inga Saffron criticizes Councilman Mark Squilla’s recent legislative choices as regressive. According to PlanPhilly, Saffron focuses on the measure that “exempts Society Hill from having to comply with a zoning incentive designed to encourage the construction of rain-absorbing green roofs” and references an earlier bill that suspends a program allowing electric vehicle owners to create EV-only parking spots in front of the curbside electrical outlets.

Many philly.com readers agreed with Saffron and criticized the councilman.

Squilla, who allegedly ‘represents’ me, doesn’t represent me or my values. And further, I don’t think most City Council people do. They should be out of development, city planning, and urban design issues, allowing the City Planning Design Office handle these through a robust city-wide effort. The best cities do; as we did many years ago. Unfortunately, the piggish, self-serving representation, turning the neighborhood districts into their own fiefs, is appalling. They haven’t a clue about sustainability, design, urban design, Smart Cities, the progressive initiatives of the Water Department saving the city from potentially billions of dollars of infrastructural replacements, or any other aspect of making cities safe, clean and wonderful places to live.

Personally, I would wish that Mr. Squilla resign. And the rest of Council. The government of this city is not for the people but for themselves, time and again. Short sighted, parochial, profit hungry, and likely still paid on the side.

New Bus Shelters in South Philadelphia

There has been a quite a few transportation developments happening in deep South Philly as of late. Septa recently announced that bike racks are coming to their Oregon station on the Broad Street Line. On a larger scale, the Philly Transit Shelter Project, which aims to bring 600 new transit shelters to the city, has started making some moves in South Philadelphia.

Today, we got report of the new bus shelters being put up on the Southwest corner of Broad St and Oregon Ave, where route 7 and G runs.  We received some inquiries last Friday when the old bus shelter was torn down and completely removed. In less than a week, the new transit shelter is up and almost functional.

Transit Shelter Town Down
Old bus shelter at Broad and Oregon was removed last week
Transit Shelter Rebuilt
New bus shelter at Broad and Oregon is almost complete

That is a pretty quick turn around time for this area of the city. Let’s hope the new shelters on the other routes will be built just as quickly.

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy expands: brunch, kitchen, events

When we first wrote about the long-awaited opening of Otis & Pickles Speakeasy, we were expecting craft beers and cocktails in an unassuming and intimate neighborhood bar. Following up on Otis & Pickles now, we see that this local South Philly bar has already expanded to offer so much more and to so many people. Whitman and Pennsport neighbors show their gratitude by making frequent visits, but travelers from outside South Philly also brave their way to this humble bar.

One not so local reviewer states, “O&P is located in a quiet South Philly neighborhood just off of Oregon near Tony Luke’s. I mention this because the next time you head this way for a late night sandwich, I suggest checking out O&P instead. You won’t be disappointed.” That is an impressive feat for such a small business.

In addition to their expansive drink options, Otis & Pickles Speakeasy has expanded to a full menu with brunch, all served on their distinctive trays. Their food is available for delivery on Caviar, for the homebound types.

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy Wings Otis & Pickles Speakeasy pickles platter

On May 6th, Otis & Pickles will host a Cocktails and Cupcakes event from 1-10pm. The theme for May’s event is the Rum Diaries, so expect movie showings starring Johny Depp and wide selections of rum infused cocktails.

If you have never ventured this far South, make a point to stop by for a drink and check out the interesting concept. Don’t expect anything fancy or pretentious. It’s a dive in the Far South, but one that should make anyone feel welcome.

Flavors on the Avenue 2017 Festival

Foodies, rejoice! On Sunday, April 30, East Passyunk Avenue is hosting Flavors on the Avenue: A Street Festival. This year, they’re out from under the big tent, and heading to the street for a neighborhood-wide street festival! Over two dozen of East Passyunk Avenue’s award-winning chefs and restaurants will be serving up sample-sized portions of their favorite dishes.

A limited number of ‘Flavors Tastes’ books are available for $50 each, which includes:

  • A coupon book that will allow you to try something from every participating restaurant – that’s more than 24 different dishes!
  • Two glasses of beer or wine from our EPABID beverage area
  • A coupon for FREE valet parking during the event

Participating restaurants include:

  • Bing Bing Dim Sum
  • Laurel
  • Noord
  • Will BYOB
  • Noir
  • Townsend
  • Brigantessa
  • Le Virtu
  • Paradiso
  • Stateside…..
  • and many more!

Flavors event Philly

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy reveals menu

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy, the new Whitman and Pennsport neighborhood bar, has a tentative opening date of March 3rd, 2017. The opening date keeps getting pushed back, but at least we have a tentative opening date and food menu now.

pickle back

In the next few days, the owners will be sharing their opening draft cocktail list. According to the Otis & Pickles Facebook page, the draft cocktails will focus on variations of classics and will include vodka, rum, gin, tequila and bourbon and sangria. They will also have a selection of hand crafted cocktails and pickle backs. The focus will be boozy, but simple and fun.

As for the food menu, you can see from below that it will be a mix of the essential bar snack foods like wings, fries, and sliders – and plates unique to the pickles speakeasy style. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available to cater to different dietary needs. We are most excited for the pickles component!

Otis & Pickles Food Menu

Snacks / Small Plates

Grilled Corn $3
Chile oil and cilantro or Cajun-honey compound butter and romano cheese

Pickled Plate $8
Selection of sweet and classic pickled fruits and veggies, grilled bread, and spreads

Deep Fried Pickles $6
Seasonal veggies and cucumbers, dippers and chutneys

French Fries $4 v
Garlic “aioli”

Hummus Plate $8 vv
Pita, veggies,

Cheese Plate $12
Assorted local cheeses, grilled bread, cranberry mustard, assorted pickles

Eats / Large Plates

Cheese Burger Sliders $9
Custom beef blend, caramelized onions, American, marrow aioli, house made pickles

Roast Beef Sliders $9
Sharp provolone, caramelized onions, jus

Pickled Brined Wings $10
Classic buffalo hot, Sweet-Spicy ginger teriyaki, blue cheese

Taco’s $9
Choice of pulled chicken, pickled pork belly, pickled tofu, grilled salmon, or seasoned ground beef, fresh pico, pickled red onions, aioli (vegan available)

Hungry Hipster Plate $11
Roast beef, mashed red potatoes, jus, grilled corn

Desserts

Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte $6

Bread Pudding with coffee and bourbon caramel sauce $6

Indoor play spaces coming to Philadelphia public libraries

Come draw, build, and create!

innovators

Four branches of the Philadelphia Free Library (Cecil B. Moore, Kingsessing, Whitman and Wyoming) will be getting indoor play spaces this year. Studio Ludo, in partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia, Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse, DIGSAU and Erector Sets, is working closely with community members, to envision what play could be at the library through a series of community workshops.

Philly Library

  • Cecil B. Moore: Saturday, 1/28 10am-1pm
  • Wyoming:Tuesday, 2/7 from 11-1pm and 3-5pm
  • Whitman: Saturday 2/11 from 11-2pm
  • Kingsessing: Monday, 2/13 from 10-2pm.

If you cannot attend, please visit any of the 4 branches during the month of February to fill out a caregiver survey and coloring sheet for your kids.

ACME brings Starbucks, Beer, & Wine to Snyder Plaza

ACME is moving into ShopRite’s old spot in Snyder Plaza, according to the Goldenberg Group, ACME Markets real estate and development firm. The new ACME is rumored to include a Starbucks coffee, as well as a beer and wine shop.

We’ve never seen a Starbucks inside an ACME around these parts, but for the neighborhood’s sake,  we hope someone will confirm these rumors soon.

ACME opening Summer 2017

The new full-line grocery market, set to open in the Summer of 2017, will be located in the Snyder Plaza Shopping Center and will serve the Pennsport and Whitman neighborhoods as well as the greater Center City area.

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy coming to Whitman/Pennsport

Otis & Pickles Speakeasy, a craft beer and cocktail bar in the Whitman/Pennsport neighborhood of South Philly, is expected to open its doors January 2017.

Located at the former Cooley’s Bar at 2500 South 3rd Street, Otis & Pickles is a new bar that will be inclusive of new Philadelphians, without alienating any of the old residents. The owner, Collazo, suggests the bar will uphold the fun and rough essence of South Philly, without tolerating any “douchebaggery” of pretension. Otis & Pickles will be “a bar where you can have some fucking fun.”

Otis and Pickles Speakeasy opening in Whitman, Philadelphia
Otis & Pickles Speakeasy, still under construction, will soon feature an original tin ceiling

 

Read more about Otis & Pickles Speakeasy opening at http://www.phillymag.com/foobooz/2016/11/29/otis-pickles-speakeasy-3rd-porter-streets/#DBTQIFQyhcgOu6d1.99

Is Whitman neighborhood following suit with the rest of South Philly and becoming gentrified? Looks like the deep South Philly is no different from any other parts of South Philly.

Valena’s Simple Cafe opening in Pennsport/Whitman

The vacuum repair shop has closed and is transitioning into Valena’s Simple Cafe! Pennsport and Whitman neighborhood have been sorely lacking in independently owned coffee shops. This new cafe, opening right at the border of Pennsport and Whitman, will be located at the corner of Front st and Snyder ave.

valena's simple cafe
Valena’s Simple Cafe coming soon sign posted outside (photo courtesy of Pennsport Facebook)
Valena's Simple Cafe opening soon
Valena’s Simple Cafe is hiring in the neighborhood (photo courtesy of Pennsport Facebook)

Illegal median parking battle divides South Philly residents

There are two major issues that get South Philadelphians riled up: street cleaning and parking. And since the only major criticism against street cleaning is that it requires parked cars to move, the only issue that truly troubles South Philadelphians seems to be parking.

South Broad St Parking divide
South Broad St median parking is the South Philly norm (photo by Claudia Gavin)

Illegal median parking on south Broad Street has long been a topic of discussion and debate. Cars park on the median of Broad Street, Oregon Ave, Washington Ave, and wherever it the PPA and Philadelphia police turn a  blind eye. Other neighborhoods don’t get it, and South Philadelphians don’t really think anything of it. It’s the way it has always been, legal or not.

Since the Democratic National Convention, when median parking ban was enforced, the controversy has only escalated. Median parking practice is technically illegal, but is it dangerous? 5th Square, a political action committee, seems to think so. 5th Square started an online petition to ban median parking that has since gained over 900 supporters. The organization recently hosted a fundraiser, “No Parking on the Dance Floor” at our own Dolphin Tavern to support the banning of median parking. According to 5th Square, the funds will be used to “pay for the next phase of the Broad Street campaign, which will include professional planning and design work, and multiple public engagement sessions that empower South Philadelphia neighbors to reimagine what Broad Street can be.”

South Philly Parking Ban
South Broad Street with no cars parked on the median due enforcement during the DNC

Leading the other side of the median parking war are many vocal long-term South Philadelphia residents. Most notably, the administrator of Taking our South Philadelphia Streets Back (TOSPSB), a local pro-police/anti-crime Facebook group, has led a social media campaign to support maintaining illegal median parking in South Philadelphia. The TOSPSB Facebook group is a page for community residents to warn each other about local crime and share events to support the PPD. The Facebook group identifies as diverse, with majority vocal members being traditional, long-term South Philadelphia residents.

Although noncommittal about the issue, Mayor Jim Kenney has encouraged the PPA to start ticketing some of the worst violators, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

“The mayor, the PPA and members of the administration met to discuss the median parking issue a few weeks ago, before the administration met with 5th Square this week,” said Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt. “In that meeting, we agreed that PPA should ticket in the median when a car is fishtailed, in the turning lane, and in the crosswalk. We also agreed that any other changes should be community-driven.”

Mayor Kenney’s compromise, although agreeable to both parties, was criticized by some community members as “weak and noncommittal.” Such criticism has been said of our mayor many times since his taking office in January. Kenney has not pushed to action some of his campaign promises, notably ones that involve a firm stance. Tough decisions often offend, and Jim Kenney is not one to offend. As Kenney is currently involved with scandals and an FBI investigation, perhaps the non-offensive route is his best position.

Polls, action calls, and surveys are flooding Facebook, with South Philadelphians split nearly 50/50 between the sides. Enforce the law and ban median parking or continue the South Philly tradition and let it be? Is it simply a battle of new residents vs old residents? Will Mayor Kenney’s efforts be enough to peacefully settle this deeply divided issue?