HughE Dillon: An Evening in Franklin Square

Charlie Manuel, Mayor Nutter, carousel rides and more at the annual fund-raiser.

Last night, I headed over to An Evening in Franklin Square, the park’s annual fund-raising gala. One of the original squares laid out by William Penn, the Franklin Square had fallen on hard times until the city spruced it up six years ago (it’s managed by Historic Philadelphia). Now it’s a must-see destination, with a mini-amusement park and a beautiful carousel, miniature golf, a beautiful fountain, a kid-friendly playground, and Stephen Starr’s Square Burger. There’s now also a brand-new pavilion you can rent for special events. The honorary event chairs were Governor Tom Corbett and Mayor Michael Nutter, and the chair was Randy Chapman, of Chapman Auto Group. Below: Alex Levin, Amy Malissa, marketing director at Historic Philadelphia, Lisa Deats, VP of operations at Historic Philadelphia, and Amy Needle, president and CEO of Historic Philadelphia.
 

 
Presenting sponsor for the evening was Parx Casino. The Parx crew: Nicole Miller, Chairman Bob Green, Andy Green, Tom Bonner, Frank McDonnell, John Martinelli (the director of player development and player services at Parx), and Carrie Minelli (director of PR and advertising at Parx). Carrie tells me that tonight Real Housewives of New Jersey and Celebrity Apprentice star Teresa Giudice is doing a meet-and-greet, followed by a cooking demonstration with her mom.
 

 
For the first part of the evening, there was a fabulous cocktail party. This year it was held closer to the carousel so many people, including Cindy Chapman, took advantage of the proximity and took a spin on their favorite animal.
 

 
Below: Former City Councilman Frank DiCicco and Carol Tamburino. There was also a “horse race.” A timer was set for three minutes, an end point was designated, and whichever horse crossed the finish line at that time won. The winner: Max Green, son of Bob Green, chairman of Parx Casino.
 

 
Below: AJ Williams, GM at Omni Hotel, Jaimi Gordon, PR for Omni Hotel, Rick O’dorisio, COO at Omni Hotel, and Jim Creed. Which reminds me, Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra from MTV’s hit show Teen Mom told me that while they are in town tonight they will be staying at the Omni Hotel. The duo is headed to Andre Richard Salon to spruce up before their talk about teen pregnancy and adoption at Arcadia University. Tomorrow they’ll be in Reading to have a similar chat at Alvernia College.
 

 
Below: Larry Cohen, Brulee Catering, and Susan Davidson and David Schultz, principals of DAS Architects. Dinner was prepared by Brulee; it was delicious. The band Jellyroll kept the dance floor packed all night.
 

 
Below: Ed Grose, Bob Dmuchowski, Lynn Dmuchowski, Nick Gregory, and Julie Gregory. Nick is the GM of Kimpton Hotels’ Hotel Palomar, and the company’s Monaco Hotel is opening soon at 5th and Chestnut. I can’t wait for the rooftop bar/restaurant. Now that is going to move the scene way downtown.
 

 
Below: Meredith Ruble and Geoffrey Jackson told me they wanted to wear their garden-party best to the event, and I think they hit it right on the mark, especially with her adorable Marni dress. Center is David Cohen, who I used to work with at Kohn Swift & Graf in my former life as a paralegal, his wife, Amy Bluemle, and Josephine C. Mandeville, president, CEO and chairperson at Connelly Foundation.
 

 
Below: Former congressman Patrick Murphy and wife Jenni, with Ronald R. Donatucci, register of wills for the City of Philadelphia. The Murphys tell me they are looking forward to spending some time in Cape May this summer, as well as lots of family time by the pool. When he’s not with his family, Murphy is at Fox Rothschild, where he’s a partner.
 

 
Below: Janet Calderwood (left) tells me she loves the new Calderwood Gallery space at 631 North Broad Street (across from Osteria). The gallery had been on the 1700 block of Spruce Street since 1982, and the new space is much larger to better house the 20th-century Decorative Arts, with an emphasis on French Art Deco, Modernist, Forties, and post-1960 design pieces. In fact tonight, there’s an opening party; stop by. Here, she’s with Phyllis Halpern, of Historic Philadelphia.
 

 
The live auctions were spectacularly handled by former NFL player Beasley Reece (right), CBS 3 sports anchor. He seriously has a second career in his back pocket as an auctioneer. He was funny, engaging and, more importantly, can raise a lot of money. There were six unique auction items sold for extraordinary prices under his gavel. For example, a dinner for eight, a cocktail party on the roof, and a night’s stay at the Monaco Hotel valued at $4,000 sold for $5,000. Then they offered the second bidder the same package at $5,000. And repeat deals went on like that all night. Dinner with Charlie Manuel (left) and Missy Martin at Ponzio’s Diner sold for $4,400 to two bidders. A night out with Mayor Nutter, dinner, transportation and tickets to attend a Phillies game with him in the mayor’s box went to two bidders for $5,000. It was a great night under the stars for a beautiful park that you need to visit. The park’s open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, at the foot of the Ben Franklin Bridge, at 6th and Race streets.
 

  • paul boni

    I’m sorry to see that such an amazing organization as Historic Philadelphia allow itself to be sponsored by convenience casinos, such as Parx Casino. Parx has had a lot of problems, including kids being left in parked cars and also an unusually high percentage of people who gamble there 3-4 times/week. I hope Historic Philadelphia finds a more suitable sponsor. Thank you.