SEPTA Driver Gives Trolley Rides Poetic Touch

The City Paper’s Daniel Denvir rides the trolley with SEPTA’s unofficial resident poet in this week’s edition, and the results are pretty entertaining: Mike Fuller says one spot in the West Philly tunnels is “a space as dark as a stack of black cats” and “a trolley nap is a nice thing, but we hope no one misses their stop on this ride, like a sleeping shrimp washed away by a tide.”

Since this is Philadelphia, of course, not everyone is happy with him:

On three recent trolley rides across the city, a City Paper reporter watched as some passengers zoned out, one woman got angry (yelling “shut up and drive the train”) and many riders were very amused.

I like this driver — I’ve only had him once, so he must have been pretty memorable — but I like that someone yelled at him even more.

[City Paper]

TV Film Crew Screws Up Traffic in West Philly

how to get away west philly trafficHeads up if you’re driving in West Philly over the next week or so. reports that a film crew in town taping a TV show called How to Get Away (which the writer suspects could be Viola Davis’s pilot How to Get Away With Murder) has posted signs saying that traffic will be disrupted in the following locations:

East side of 42nd Street, from Locust to Spruce – Wednesday, March 5th through Friday, March 28th  at 7 p.m.

Both sides of 42nd Street from Locust to Spruce, south side of Locust Street from 40th to 42nd and north side of Spruce from 40th to 42nd – Today (Tuesday, March 10th ) at 10 p.m. until Thursday, March 13th at 8 a.m. and Sunday, March 16 at 10 p.m. through Wednesday, March 19 at 8 a.m.

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Morning Headlines: Demolition of Queen Lane Apartments Coming Soon-ish

queen lane apartments

It’s been almost two years since the Philadelphia Housing Authority announced plans to demolish the long-vacant Queen Lane Apartments in West Philadelphia, and to replace it with a 55-unit development. What’s another few months?

As it is, the Department of Housing and Urban Development can finally give PHA the go-ahead.  The project had been put on pause following the discovery of a historic burial ground in the building’s backyard. The cemetery’s borders have since been asserted, and future construction will not disturb it.

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Yes, Another New Coworking Space (This One’s in Cedar Park)


Courtesy The Fire Works

With the newest of Philadelphia’s seemingly endless supply of coworking spaces open in Cedar Park, can there possibly be anyone left working from a parent’s basement? Now presenting: The Fire Works, a coworking community serving West Philly above wildly popular Dock Street Brewing Company and adjacent to Firehouse Bikes and Satellite Cafe.

Owner Linford Martin talked to the West Philly Local about how the group grew out of a community of professionals working out of The Cedar Works nearby. When Philadelphia Community Acupuncture moved out of its space upstairs at the Dock Street firehouse, The Fire Works became more than a plan.

So The Fire Works set up shop in the former PCA space, which was revamped to include a conference room, small meeting room, kitchenette and a shared work table in an open space accessible to members only. So far, members of The Fire Works include cartographers, activists, educators, web developers, musicians, and writers according to its website.

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Morning Headlines: West Philly Neighborhood Is First National Promise Zone

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Roseluna via Wikimedia Commons.

A new federal program has chosen five poverty-stricken, disadvantaged areas of the country and named them Promise Zones, offering federal assistance and hope that unemployment and a lack of economic investment in the areas can be turned around.

Today, Mayor Nutter will be in D.C. as President Obama gives details of the zones in San Antonio, Los Angeles, Southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. In West Philadelphia, the zone includes the neighborhood of Mantua, more than half of whose residents live in poverty.

Gotta give it to Nutter: He does advocate for Philadelphia on the national level.

Obama makes West Philly a ‘Promise’ [Daily News]

More news, this way… Read more »

Campus Apts ISO Another First Round Capital for University City

4101 Sansom

4101 Sansom, to be developed by Campus Apartments. Photo: Laura Kicey

Last year, Campus Apartments lured Josh Kopelman and his First Round Capital from Conshohocken to a rehabilitated warehouse in University City. This year they are hoping to convince yet another buzz-worthy company to relocate into University City to take advantage of a similar building just around the corner.

Campus Apartments President David Adelman says two companies are interested in the space and already conducting test fit studies. The company is keeping quiet about potential tenants but according to Adelman, both are well-established, with one already based in Philadelphia and the other in the suburbs.

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Saffron: West Philly Boom Is Nice, But Getting There May Be 100 Percent of the Battle

fmc tower

The Inquirer’s architecture critic, Inga Saffron, has occasionally been accused of being too negative — a charge leveled at most good critics at one time or another. In her latest Changing Skyline column, Saffron praises the West Philadelphia building boom in her own subdued way: “It’s nice to see the city’s skyline stretching west.”

You can hear the hesitation shimmer around that period, though, and indeed, Saffron does have a concern: that the Cira Centre South site, where the FMC Tower (rendering pictured) and the Evo building will be, is isolated from the Schuylkill waterfront “by a large, triangular moat, which looks down on the train tracks that feed into 30th Street Station and is one of several barriers that make walking there an unpleasant, and often hair-raising, experience.”

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West Philly Nursery Sparks Yellow Interiors Debate on Apartment Therapy

Charlie's Sunny Safari Room by Michelle Reader via

Charlie’s Sunny Safari Room
by Michelle via

While DIY home design blogs are just my occasional eye-candy, other enterprising folks actually make beautiful changes to their interiors. An Apartment Therapy reader named Michelle from West Philly found decor inspiration on her honeymoon in Africa to redecorate her daughter Charlie’s nursery as a “safari room.”

The gray room with touches of bright yellow and safari animal decor is cute, inventive, and modern. But take a look at the comments section of the post and you’ll see strong reactions to Michelle’s choices:

Yellow may not be the best choice:
“Never paint a nursery yellow,” said Carlton Wagner, director of Wagner Institute for Color Research, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Yellow activates the anxiety center of the brain.

At the risk of sounding like a parent who is too controlling, I make great efforts to keep our daughter Magi away from the color yellow.”

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