Victim Identified in Hit-and-Run at Northeast Philly Bus Stop

A hit-and-run at Bustleton Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia claimed the life of 50-year-old Alejo Molina at 12:30 this morning. Police are unsure whether Molina was awaiting a bus or seeking shelter from the rain beneath a SEPTA canopy when a black Lexus crashed into the structure. A witness told police that the driver exited the vehicle and looked at the victim before fleeing the scene on foot. Paramedics pronounced Molina dead at approximately 12:45 a.m, said Captain John Wilczynski, Commanding Officer of the Accident Investigation Unit. Read more »

Cops Issue Arrest Warrant in Burglary of NE Philly Church

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Last month, we told you about a burglary at St. Martha parish in Northeast Philly, where surveillance footage showed a woman suspected of taking money earned at the church’s book sale.

Today, Philadelphia Police announced an arrest warrant for Sarah Higgins, 29, of Bristol. Cops say Higgins is known to frequent the Far Northeast and Lower Bucks, as well as Bryn Mawr. St. Martha parish is on Academy Road in the Far Northeast. Read more »

An Appreciation: Tony’s Place

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When my mom was a kid, the waitresses at Tony’s Place would elbow you in the head.

Not always, and with good cause. If you were in their way — if your feet were sticking out of the booths, for example — they would elbow you. It worked: Once you got your head bashed in once, you wouldn’t get in a waitress’ way again.

By the time I started going to Tony’s, the waitresses weren’t elbowing people. The waitstaff at Tony’s is quite nice! But they still have a certain attitude — gruff with a heart of gold — that’s reminiscent of great dive bar waitresses across the city.

There’s a lot to like about Tony’s Place. The pizza — “tomato pies” in Northeast Philly parlance — is probably the best in the city. It’s certainly my favorite pizza place in the city. The beer selection is now pretty solid. The thick steak fries are mouthwatering. I’ve never ordered anything but pizza there, but I’ve been told the other food is good. Mostly, though, Tony’s feels the same as it did when I was a little kid. I might have a beer instead of a soda when I visit, but a meal at Tony’s at 33 is pretty much the same experience I had when I was three.

The news earlier this week that Tony’s Place would be sold to three Bucks County regulars came not entirely as a surprise. A little over a year ago, Northeast Philly scuttlebutt was that Tony’s might close outright. The last day for owner Joe Mallamaci is Sunday. The new owners report there will be renovations, but the menu and staff will largely be the same. Still, I can’t help but be a little sad. Read more »

Excitement Over Possible Fox Chase Lorimer Trail Grows in Northeast Philly

The proposed Fox Chase Lorimer Trail would run from the defunct rail bed across from Fox Chase Station in Northeast Philadelphia to the Pennypack Park Trail | Image via Google Earth | Click to enlarge

The proposed Fox Chase Lorimer Trail would run through the former rail bed across from Fox Chase Station in Northeast Philadelphia to Montgomery County’s Lorimer Trail. | Image via Google Earth

As it turns out, Bridesburg isn’t the only Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood getting to earnestly explore the viability of a new community green space. Further up the Great Northeast, Fox Chase has inched its way a tad closer to getting a long-desired amenity that’s been in talks for some time: the Fox Chase Lorimer Trail.

“We want to hear your ideas and we want to make sure this is okay with you before we go for funding,” explained Jeannette Brugger, Pedestrian and Bicycle Coordinator at the Mayor’s Office of Transportation & Utilities, during a Tuesday feasibility study meeting with Fox Chase residents. Much like the Bridesburg waterfront park project, the proposed FCL trail is still in the wee early stages of concept development, so it isn’t necessarily something that’s going to “happen next week or even next year.”

Should it come to fruition, however, the approximately half-mile trail would be a promising neighborhood amenity indeed. Extending from the start of the defunct Fox Chase-Newtown Line rail-bed (across from the Fox Chase Regional Rail Station) to Lorimer Trail in Montgomery County, which in turn links to the Pennypack Trail, the proposed FCL trail would be part of the Circuit Trail Network, a 750-mile regional trail system that connects Philadelphia to surrounding suburban and rural communities.

Currently, the Circuit Trail Network has about 350 miles built already and 50 miles in progress, said Chris Stanford, an engineering consultant from Michael Baker International, who is working with the feasibility study team. “There’s a goal to build another 400 miles on top of it,” he added. “This portion of the path could really connect a lot of different pieces for the neighborhood.”

Connectivity aside, the proposed trail could boost Fox Chase in other ways too.

Read more »

Waterfront Wishes: Bridesburg Neighbors Voice Desires For New Riverfront Park

Long-earmarked in city-wide and waterfront master plan studies as potentially viable for parkland or anything other than its industrial past, the 9.4-acre riverfront parcel at 3101 Orthodox Street in Bridesburg is now gradually materializing.

Image via DRCC-Phila.org

The site of the proposed riverfront park in Bridesburg | Image via DRCC-Phila.org

Sitting adjacent to the former coal-operating Philadelphia Coke Company facility, the property is now at the center of discussion at community engagement meetings headed by the Delaware River City Corporation (DRCC) and the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation.

In case you missed it, Parks & Rec. acquired the site, which had once been part of a Dietz & Watson foundry, last year. As PlanPhilly reported then, the land went to the department upon the city reaching a land swap deal with the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which owned the parcel at the time.

Now, equipped with William Penn Foundation grant funding for the community engagement process, DRCC and Parks & Rec. are in the midst of the “concept development” stage of the proposed venture. Neighbors, of course, are a crucial element to the unfolding plan: “We had a series of community meetings working with a consultant to develop what [residents] perceive the space should be used for and function as. This is all about getting the baseline concept in place to support the community,” Stephanie Craighead, Director of Planning, Preservation and Property Management at Parks and Recreation, told Property.

And what do Bridesburg residents want? Well, over the course of the neighborhoods meetings that have taken place, Craighead says a special interest has been expressed in Read more »

Blue Duck Celebrates First Anniversary

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Kris Serviss is a year in at the Blue Duck.

The Blue Duck in Northeast Philadelphia is celebrating its first year in business with a week of specials. Tonight, a “Reverse Taco Exchange” brings Adan Trinidad (Jose and Sancho Pistola’s), Chris Kearse (Will), Josh Kim (SpOt Burgers) and Jennifer Zavala to the Holme Avenue for a taco dinner. A few seats remain for the 6 and 8 p.m. seatings, dinner costs $50 per person.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 29th, the restaurant is giving out free duck fries and is screening Billy Madison at 10 p.m. And on Wednesday, it’s half-priced wings from open to close.

And on Thursday, Blue Duck chef Kris Serviss is cooking up a special six-course menu with everything from cobia crudo to duck leg confit. The dinner is $55 per person and reservations are a must.
Check out the menu »

Man Steals $5,000 in Laptops From Northeast Philly Catholic School

A man broke into St. Martin of Tours school in Summerdale and stole $5,000 worth of laptops and other computer equipment, police said.

The robbery happened on Monday morning, on Labor Day, at around 6:40. The burglar got in through a side window and left through the door. Surveillance footage shows the man exiting the school with a bag of equipment. Read more »

Tacony Is Flipping Its Way to Growth, According to New Study

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo credit: Ashley Hahn

Earlier this week, the Tacony Community Development Corporation posted the results of a study conducted by James Onofrio who took a look at housing sales data in the neighborhood between August 2012 and July 2015. Onofrio, who used Zillow to gather the data, concludes that investment and residential redevelopment projects are among the factors spurring growth in the neighborhood, which was recently named on the list of “Great Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter.

Here are three takeaways from the study, which you can read in full here. (Do it. There are charts!)

The priciest homes are between Tyson and Princeton Avenues:

Clustered in an area between these two streets, Tacony’s most expensive homes consist of twins and single houses, writes Onofrio. Unsurprisingly, These residences are in the way of having roomy yards, off-street parking, and “greater tree cover.”

Meanwhile, properties with the highest home values per square foot were located adjacent to Tacony’s Vogt Park in the center of the neighborhood, “again, on relatively tree-lined streets.” In addition to the park, these properties had the added benefit of sitting between the Frankford and Torresdale Avenue commercial corridors and bus routes.
Read more »

Tacony Named “Great Neighborhood” Winner by American Planning Association

Photo courtesy of Eric Horvath

Photo credit: Ashley Hahn

“Will people finally notice Tacony?” was a question posed right here on Property many, many moons ago (about a month or so after the blog was started, actually). It wasn’t meant to snub, but was, rather, a sincere query in the wake of a surging neighborhood revitalization effort made by the Tacony Community Development Corporation with other local groups.

More recently, Tacony CDC Corridor Manager Alex Balloon took to the Historic Tacony Revitalization Project blog in January to make known the slew of projects slated to improve the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. And boy, are those efforts noticed now!

See, the American Planning Association, Pennsylvania Chapter has announced this year’s winners of its Great Places awards, honors bestowed on a select number of “unique, memorable places” in the categories of “Great Neighborhoods” and “Great Public Spaces.” Tacony is one of two “Great Neighborhoods” winners, meaning it has been shown to have “exemplary character, quality, planning, identity, cultural interest, and community involvement with a sustainable vision for tomorrow.” You can see the rest of the winners here.

Read more »

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