The bar inside the former Lucyan Chwalkowski Post No. 12 of the Polish Army Veterans Association. | Photos: Courtesy Bob Metry
In case you haven’t noticed, Port Richmond stands on the verge of becoming the next Fishtown and East Kensington put together. Already, rejeuvenation has taken hold in the area where the three neighborhoods overlap — a territory some call “Port Fishington” — but the pace of development and redevelopment is also picking up closer to the neighborhood’s heart.
In that heart lies the historic institutions of Philadelphia’s Polish-American community. Local developer Bob Metry, who has a fondness for taking pieces of history and turning them into interesting commercial spaces for lease, has done just that with a former veterans’ hall in Port Richmond.
The building in question, at 3178 Richmond St., was built in 1945 to house the Lucyan Chwalkowski Post No. 12 of the Polish Army Veterans Association in America (PAVA). Chwalkowski, the son of Polish emigres who arrived in New York in 1906, was a member of the first class of Polish officers trained in Canada to fight in Europe for Poland in World War I. Read more »
Bonk’s Bar is back on Richmond Street
Mike “Scoats” Scotese has made a name for himself by running the Grey Lodge in Northeast Philadelphia for more than 20 years. Making the bar one of Philadelphia’s first craft beer bars and converting many people into craft beer fanatics. Scotese has also opened two other bars in the Northeast, Hop Angel Brauhaus in Fox Chase and more recently, he opened Sawtown Tavern in Tacony. And now he’s taken over the old Bonk’s Bar in Port Richmond.
With nary a word to the media, Scotese announced on Facebook Monday that he had softly re-opened Bonk’s Bar at 3467 Richmond Street in Port Richmond. Bonk’s has had a cult following for years with its crab nights and no-frills look. But ownership changes saw the place become inconsistent, with crabs being offered just one day a week and online reviews referring to the place as becoming rundown.
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3011 Livingston St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19134 | TREND Images via The Somers Team
As Fishtown continues to rise in popularity, the first waves of change are lapping up against the next neighborhood upriver, Port Richmond.
Port Richmond has many of the things that make Fishtown great: residents who care about the community, interesting shopping and dining, easy access to the rest of the city and great housing stock.
Like this two-story rowhome on a prime corner lot.
The years have been very kind to this home, whose owner has taken excellent care of its details, from its original wood-and-wrought-iron cornice to its hardwood flooring (most of it also original) throughout. Its corner location means it gets lots of natural light, and its open main floor gives it a feeling of spaciousness. Read more »
The Richmond Bottle Shop within the IGA Super Market at 2497 Aramingo Avenue is now selling wine. Thanks to the law change that went into effect in early August, grocery stores can now get in the wine business in Pennsylvania. The governor’s office announced the first 84 stores that will carry wine outside Pennsylvania’s Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores less than a month ago and the Port Richmond supermarket was the only Philadelphia grocery store on the initial list.
Keith Wallace, founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia is curating the wine selection. There are currently 100 selections available and Wallace plans to expand his selections that range from pink moscato to his recommended syrahs.
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Let’s get one thing straight: there’s no truly regional seafood tradition in the Mid-Atlantic. Sure, Barnegat Bay has it’s scallops, the Chesapeake has its crabs, and Atlantic City has a completely different kind of crabs, but when it comes to seafood that you eat, Philadelphia sits squarely at a crossroads of traditions. South of here there are soft shells and Old Bay, fish fries with hush puppies. Up north? Clambakes, lobster rolls, and chowder. Even if Fishtown’s namesake comes from shad fishing, it’s a tradition as present in our city lives as Long John Silver, himself.
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BEFORE: “Kolb’s Pan-Dandy Bread” sign| Image: Conrad Benner, Streets Dept.
Lookin’ for a unique pad to rent in Port Richmond? The apartment with the 100-year-old ghost sign is now for rent. The Somers Team pinged us on Twitter to let us know that the place is now completed, and the 2-bed, 2-bath apartment is going for $1,250 per month.
Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. snapped a bunch of great shots of the vintage Kolb’s Bakery sign during construction. Now, it’s the focal point of the bedroom. In short, it’s gorgeous.
The finished product looks super clean and sports and industrial look, especially because of the sign, the bottom portion of which looks to be incorporated into the shared landed and mail area.
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Kramer + Marks Architects | Courtesy of Ceisler Media
About ten minutes from the blighted Orinoka textile factory building, another eyesore takes up promising real estate. Fortunately, like Orinoka, the vacant lot at 2201 E. Auburn Street in Port Richmond awaits a Friday groundbreaking on a project that will, upon completion, bring 36 affordable townhomes to the area. Completion is anticipated for fall 2016.
The residential development is to be called Grace Town Homes, according to a press release, and was conceived from a partnership between the Women’s Community Revitalization Project and the Firm Hope Baptist Church. It was designed by Kramer + Marks Architects.
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A corridor at Graffiti Pier. | Photo by Liz Spikol
Since Conrail moved its coal-carrying operations to Baltimore in the early ’90s, Pier 124 has been a hulking, abandoned ruin at the edge of Port Richmond. Yet graffiti artists from all over the region have given the concrete walls and passageways a second life, making it a vertiable museum of street art, sort of an unsanctioned version of Miami’s Wynnewood Walls. The post-industrial site has become so popular, it attracts sightseers as well as artists.
Perhaps the three people who were at the Pier yesterday were looking at the art; perhaps they were making it. Their names have not been released. But here’s what we do know: Read more »
Stephanie Dzikowski | Facebook
22-year-old mother Stephanie Dzikowski was killed overnight in Port Richmond, police say. Her 2-year-old daughter was home but uninjured.
“Neighbors here in the 3000 block of Aramingo Avenue say they heard a single shot around 11 p.m., and found 22-year-old Stephanie Dzikowski shot dead in her upstairs bedroom,” KYW reports. “Her 2 year-old daughter was in the house but uninjured.” Read more »
Along Frankford Avenue, lined up like antennaed Chiclets, are the white news vans from all over. Some of the names and logos are recognizable — CNN, for instance, and MSNBC. Others are less familiar, like 15up Media LLC from Raleigh, NC. Video cameras, tripods, light deflectors, umbrellas are all set up outside The Clown House Restaurant and Tipsy Bar and Grill across the street. This is where Mayor Michael Nutter and other officials come to give press conferences.
There are reporters everywhere, even on the roof of the Philly Auto Tag building. An enormous NBC News van sits in front of JJW Tires Shop, whose mascot chihuahua/poodle mix, roughly the size of a grown man’s outstretched hand, barks at all comers. CBS News This Morning set up early on a resident’s porch, where Norah O’Donnell read from a teleprompter. Spanish-language TV and radio stations interview Latino residents, while on-air talent sweats through pancake makeup.
Area residents sit on stoops and get approached by reporter after reporter or open their doors to enormous cameras. Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who was on one of the derailed cars, spends the morning within the media staging area to answer questions. Current Senator Pat Toomey goes to the home commandeered by CBS News for an interview. A box of Philadelphia soft pretzels sits in front of where the news teams gather for each press conference, like an offering to the gods. “Treat us kindly, please.”
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