Archive for the ‘Philly Living’ Category


Some people say they’ve got the blues. I’ve got the greens. No only have I realized that I look good in bright green lately, but I’ve also noticed that Philadelphia and this country is finally realizing, hopefully not too late, that we need to go “green.” This is a bandwagon I am happy to jump on. There are so many ways you can reduce your negative environmental impact. As I’m watching “Today,” which is showing me numerous ways you can go green, I get a message from a friend about LocalHarvest, an organization who is educating the masses on how you can learn about and buy locally grown food products. (The Ethicurean is also good!) I started with a lightbulb change (incandescent to compace flourescent). Now I try as hard as possible not to use plastic bags. I’m currently using a tote bag, a granny cart (I’ll be pimping this soon), and reusing bags I already have.

Selling my car was a big decision, but how often did I really need it? If you live and work in the city, why not join Philly CarShare? This May, they’ll be sponsoring a challenge for you Philadelphia drivers to find alternative ways to get around. You can win a bike! (Please don’t ride it on the sidewalk)!

I was out of town after the Philly Spring Clean-up, but have found the results of the largest United States cleaning day in history. This Nutter’s on to something! All major goals were surpassed. Look out for future clean-ups. Here’s a beautifying event, sponsored by Greater Philadelphia Cares.

One final note: Keep your eyes peeled for GreenFest Philly, held on South Street. I haven’t been able to find the date of the event yet, but check back for updates! (September-ish)


Mayor Michael Nutter is encouraging all Philadelphia residents to join him in a city-wide cleanup. Tomorrow, Saturday April 5th, between 9am and 2pm, thousands of people will be out and about showing their dedication to beautifying the city. Post cleanup, Mayor Nutter will be hosting a BBQ at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. Volunteers ride SEPTA for FREE to the BBQ and back home. Check out this link for details on how to help:

I am a walking trash can

This morning I quickly caught the bus and got to the El at Margaret-Orthodox in about three minutes. I grabbed a seat near the rear of the bus, behind the back doors. There were a couple people sitting in the seats behind me, in their late-forties maybe, or just really old-looking twenties. I’m usually one of the last people off the bus as I let everyone out ahead of me.

I walked up to the platform but the train didn’t come for more than 15 minutes, crazy at that time of day. There were a lot of people waiting, but when the train finally did arrive I easily found a seat. I sat down and swung my backpack across my lap, and saw that there was trash lodged in the folds between the compartments on my bag: a Trident gum package, several gum wrappers, and a couple folded napkins that appeared to have been used to mop up the sides of a leaking coffee cup.

Whether this person (seemingly the man on the bus seat behind me, as he was the only one close enough to my backpack to do so) thought it was funny or he just didn’t want to carry his trash with him, it reminds me that some people are extraordinarily inconsiderate.

Luckily tales like this don’t happen every day, or all my stories to “outside” people about waving neighbors, friendly cashiers, and just really nice strangers on the street start to look a little suspect.

80’s Saturday at Sal’s

A couple weekends ago I got dragged out to Sal’s, on 12th St, about a block south of Walnut. A friend of mine reminded me that last time I was invited I said, “Next time I’ll go.” I’m glad I got caught in that lie and went instead of just originally saying, “Hell no! I don’t — dance!!” Sal’s is said to be a restaurant, but whenever I’m there I see a big open space in the back, perfect for people who want to get their groove on. It’s a slow start this night, but who ever shows up at a nightclub right when it starts? Besides me, I mean. But my plan is to drink early, leave quickly. My buddy GC’s plan, however, is to drink early, dance, leave late.

So that’s what we do, enjoying everything from “99 Luftballoons” to Foreigner, and Madonna and a whole slew of other great and not so great 80’s music. They have a TV set up that plays old 80’s music videos and they have decent drink specials early on in the night.

This 80’s Saturday thing has just become a weekly thing, too. It’s happening tonight, and I think it’ll be a cool thing to join in on. There’s no cover, it’s full of dancey goodness, and it’s . . .

It’s the 80’s. I can’t really say anything else about the damn thing, as if saying, “the eighties,” sums everything up.

The $20 Project: South Philly Sunday

I live on a budget, so when assigned the $20 project, I had no worries. I decided to wait for the prime opportunity to spend it: supplying myself with at least part of a meal for a week, along with some entertainment. I knew the perfect place to obtain these goodies: my neighborhoods in South Philly, including the Italian Market, South Street, and Queen Village.

Though the Italian Market (official name is “9th St. Curb Market”) is open Tuesday through Sunday, I usually don’t have a chance to get there on a weekday. So, I set out on this beautiful, crisp, blue-skied day to fetch me some veggies for a pot ‘o soup. Luckily, I had the kitchen staples for this soup, so I didn’t have to buy everything. I strolled south on 9th St., comparing prices at the various produce stands. This is what I got for $3.25: 4 tomatoes, 2 garlic bulbs, 3 large yams, 2 red bell peppers, 1 onion. I hit the Spice Corner (904 S. 9th St.) for allspice ($1.49). Where else can you get these deals?

On my return north on 9th, I spotted a craft fair. To be exact, it was the Art Extravaganza on the Piazza (pictured above, at 9th and Montrose, by the mural). Here I found handmade goods, such as knitted neckwarmers and earrings made of electrical wiring. Cute! As I browsed, I enjoyed my caramel latte from Gleaners Cafe Gallery, bought across the street ($3.25). The most adorable surprise of my day was the Hershey’s Kiss on top of my lid, with a flag that read “Let’s go out.” So anxious to drink the hot stuff, I burned the roof of my mouth!

Loaded down with my produce, I thought I’d check out this little junk shop (antiques?) a half block north of Christian on 9th (sorry, I didn’t get the name!). On the sidewalk, they had all types of stuff: jewelry, buttons, appliances, movies on VHS. I thought I could find a movie I liked there. Requested The Money Pit, and they actually had it! ($2).

I headed to South Street in search of vegetable bouillon cubes, comparing at Essene Market (719 S. 4th St.) and Chef’s Market. I picked them up for $2.09 at Chef’s Market. Then I was hungry, so headed across the street to Maoz (248 South Street), where I got falafel with hummus in a whole wheat pita for $3.86. For more entertainment, I found a table outside of a store with $1 items. I got a platic dinosaur! This left me with approximately $3 to spend. I remembered that I needed votives and headed over to my local CVS (421 S. Second St.), where I got them for for $1.99.

This left me with a dollar, and I really wanted to go home and make my soup of the week: Roasted Yam and Garlic. So, I saved it for later! It took me the rest of the evening to roast all those veggies, anyway.

Local blogger fights crime

Just when I’m starting to think about my own feelings of safety in this city, local blogger Phillybits leaps into the fray in order to help a stranger who was the victim of theft. We need more people like this in Philly, folks who do what they can to help.

It was at this moment that I realized what I was witnessing was a brazen daylight robbery. I didn’t know what this man had stolen but from where I was, it looked like perhaps a piece of electronic equipment. With my backpack strapped to my back, and my bike left unlocked outside the coffee shop, I just took off after this guy. Didn’t think twice about it and just started huffing it as fast as I could after this guy.

Go read the rest of his story, it will give you hope for the future.

Is Philadelphia safe?

When people tell me that they are scared of Philadelphia, I always try to reassure them. I tell them that I’ve never experienced anything unsafe or frightening during the six years that I’ve lived in Center City. But then I hear about muggings in Rittenhouse Square (I met a woman who is a grad student at Penn and lives in my area and said that her classmates have been targeted repeatedly while walking home late at night), shootings on Sansom Street and a police officer who has died of injuries after being shot in a Dunkin’ Donuts in West Oak Lane.

I have always felt totally safe walking through the city, at any hour of the day and the recent events have started to shake that feeling of comfort. It now takes a concerted effort for me to walk down the sidewalk with confidence in my gait. I’m wondering how other people are feeling? Do you feel safe in the city these days?

Public transportation of yesteryear


There are lots of things going on in Philly that I could be posting about today. There was the huge turn out for the 10,000 Man March/Community Patrol event this last Sunday at the Liacouras Center. There’s also Philly Mag’s blog post about how they think we should combat the fact that Philadelphia has been voted the ugliest kid on the playground.

But I don’t have the mental fortitude to dig in to those stories. So instead, I’m going to point you at the cool old pictures that Septa Watch linked to yesterday. It’s a set of scans of old postcards that feature public transportation as it once was in Philly. Oh, simpler times.

We ain’t got no alibi.

According to Travel + Leisure magazine, Philadelphia is the ugliest city in the United States. No, I’m not talking about trash or attitudes, they’re referring to you and me, our looks. Apparently, they’re the worst in the country. I admit I do not think Philadelphia is the most beautiful city. Prior to moving here I spent a great deal of time in New York where I felt quite like a hideous troll compared to the tall, beautiful, fashionable women. In Philadelphia I feel far more comparatively attractive. That said, I am surprised by the dead last rating.

Walk to help stop gun violence

Over the weekend, I attended a day-long community forum (there will be more on that later) that was in part focused on what has to change in Philadelphia in order for it to become the great city we know it can be. One of the things that came up in several of the groups in which I participated was the need to do something about the current rate of murders.

If this is also something that concerns you (and if it doesn’t have you worried, you might want to check your pulse) there’s a walk and rally, led by survivors of gun violence, that you can attend tomorrow (October 16th) from 12 noon until 1:30 pm. The walk begins at noon at Magee Rehab Hospital (16th and Race) and goes to the State Building at Broad and Spring Garden Streets.

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