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Archive | East Passyunk Crossing

What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Michael’s Place: from Citywide to “Scotch Friday”

by Sequoia Medley for the Passyunk Post

Michael’s Place is a shot-and-beer corner bar where you can literally see the layers of history — from the weathered wooden bar with its brass rail to the decades of photos on the wall. It’s also the kind of bar that’s slowly disappearing. There’s a cigarette machine on one wall, and a single pool table that’s free on Tuesdays. The doors open at 7am and there’s no food menu. But it’s not stuck in the past.

Michael’s Place draws a healthy crowd of all drinking ages — from daily regulars who know about the secret specials to hipsters interested in the cheapest citywide left in Philly. The bar bridges the contradictions of the changing neighborhood around it and serves as a place where everyone is welcome . If you come in often enough, everyone will learn your name.

The bar (complete with hipster) as captured by Google in 2017.

Speaking of names – the bar’s name is a bit of a misnomer – it’s actually co-owned by Michael Bordoni and Perry Cavalieri who “go way back.” Back in the day, their fathers co-owned J&D Billiards Parlor, a second-story pool hall on Passyunk and Moore. That bar was located above a florist and beneath a boxing gym where the renown Joey Giradello trained. A 1963 Sports Illustrated article with photos and a description of the pool hall is framed on the wall near the pool table.

Michael bought the existing bar on the corner of 12th and Mifflin “maybe 20 years ago” and fixed it up. Perry came in about five years later. Dates and timelines don’t matter so much when you’re talking about families that have spent generations in East Passyunk.

The bar has local brews on tap, and the aforementioned $4 citywide, which you can customize with different pours for the same price. Prices are approachable, and the atmosphere encourages lingering and chatting with your neighbor. The bar gives back to the community around them. There’s a canned food drive before Thanksgiving, a toy drive at Christmas, and the owners likes to helpthe neighborhood that supports them.

Although the offerings here aren’t the high-end flights or rarefied bottles available on nearby East Passyunk Avenue, you can still get a good pour of a solid 12-year, or an easy-drinking blended scotch. Perry’s recommendation: “If you’re a Dewar’s drinker, switch up to J&B – it’s smoother and less sweet.” He’s a Glenlivet man, personally, and the bar also has Chivas.

Perry likes to start the weekend with a scotch on Friday when his wife gets home from work, “in the tradition of other famous drinkers, like Rat Packers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.” He posted his toasts to “Scotch Friday” on Facebook. Soon, neighbors started greeting him with “Scotch Friday!” when they saw him on the street. Others began tagging him on social media as they raised their own glass.

So start your weekend off right – join Perry, Michael, and the other Michael’s Place devotees for Scotch Friday. You don’t need to be a spirits snob to take part — just show up and ask the bartender for their recommendation.

Weekends are usually quieter at the bar and Friday evenings tend to be slower than a Monday. 

Michael’s Place
1142 Mifflin Street
Monday – Saturday 7 am – 2 am;
Sunday 10 am – 2 am

Check them out on Facebook.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

Publisher’s Picks: East Passyunk Avenue Edition

Ten post-holiday treats – to give yourself!

On a cold, sunny January day, Passyunk Post publisher Joseph F. Marino and East Passyunk BID Executive Director Adam Leiter took a walk along East Passyunk Avenue to explore the shops now that the holiday rush has passed. “Having spent the past month buying gifts for family and friends, it’s the perfect time of year to buy a pick-me-up to speed along the gloomy winter days,” noted Marino.

Here are ten items that caught Marino’s eye, from the economical to the sublime, in no particular order.


1) This Wooden Wallet Card Holder, outfitted with an industrial strength band, is compact, strong, and holds your cards and cash securely. A perfect grab-and-run gift and an interesting alternative to a bulky wallet. Shoppers shouldn’t neglect the striking artisan watches for which their store is named, either. 

Analog Watch Company
1737 E. Passyunk Ave.
(484) 808-5831
Tuesday – Saturday 9am-5pm       


2) Beyond the sentiment, these Love and Home pillows make a bold statement in any room. They add a pop of color in contemporary and chic way. They’re also soft and comfortable – perfect when you’re settling down for a long (or short) winter’s nap.

Gypsy Rose
1514 East Passyunk Ave.
(267) 767-6475
Hours by appointment.


3) “Orange is my favorite color and these Zyl Frames by Philly Eyeworks jumped out at me as the sun set,” says Marino. “They can be filled as prescription eyeglasses or as sunwear.” Innervision also offers limited-edition cleaning cloths designed by Philadelphia artists. 

Innervision
1815 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 575-5188
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm

 

 


4) Paddywax Library Candles include different candle scents based on classic authors like Tolstoy and Dickens. The Oscar Wilde candle is cedar, thyme and basil. Perfect to light on cold winter nights as you pull a book off your shelf (or out of your electronic device). 

Occasionette
1825 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 465-1704
Monday – Friday  11am-8pm;
Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 10am-6pm

 

 


5) Board and dice games, coupled with cocoa or coffee, are the perfect combination for snow-day fun! Tildie’s specializes in games that are educational, fun, and build community. Ticket to Ride is a favorite, as is the dice game Tenzi

Tildie’s Toy Box
1829 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 334-9831
Monday – Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-5pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


6) “I won’t buy anything that isn’t 100% cotton,” says Marino, “and this Cobalt Age of Wisdom Ready-to-Wear Cotton Quarter-Zip Sweater with leather accents fits my style and frame. Anything goes under it, and because it’s brown and blue it complements everything. The quality fabric won’t wear or fade prematurely.”

A Man’s Image
1841 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 755-7100
9:30am daily. Check website for closing times.

 

 

 


7) Felt Creations based on the Little Mermaid or Noah’s ark are colorful, whimsical and a perfect way to accent a gray or otherwise dark bookshelf or settee with color. Sustainable, socially responsible and non-toxic. 

The Nesting House
1605 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 755-1575
Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday 10am-5pm

 

 

 


8) Grab-and-Go Bouquets will brighten up any home during the moribund days of January. Handcrafted bouquets of seasonal flowers are a reasonably-priced way to pick oneself up. These are a wonderful thing to give somebody else for any reason or no reason at all. Marino quips: “It’s like a non-edible tiramisu – that’s colloquial Italian for a pick-me-up.”

Creations by Coppola at Floral + Fauna
1724 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 399-9754
Sunday – Thursday 10am-7pm;
Friday – Saturday 10am-9pm

 


9) This Shacket hides a multitude of holiday sins with a clean, linear look. A chic upturned collar gives a retro accent to a contemporary piece. It’s perfect for an early spring or late autumn day and wipes clean.

Metro Men’s Clothing
1600 E Passyunk Ave.
(267) 324-5172
Monday – Saturday 11:30am-8pm;
Sunday 11:30am-5pm.

 

 

 

 


10) The herbal Kosha Salt Scrub activates, stimulates and brings vitality to the skin, promotes healthy blood flow, and increases circulation. Rachel, the proprietor of Palo Santo, makes them herself. Not just for pre- and post-yoga replenishment – they’re unusual and perfect for someone who has everything. 

Palo Santo Wellness Boutique
1707 E Passyunk Ave.
(215) 952-0360
Open daily until 9pm

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Upgrade in store for East Passyunk Community Center outdoor space

By Sequoia Medley
An eager crowd gathered at the East Passyunk Community Center (EPCC) on Tuesday, December 11th for the unveiling of designs for the center’s outdoor spaces. The renderings were well-received as an exciting reimagining of the sole public green space serving the surrounding neighborhood. The presentation, by a team of design professionals assembled by the Community Design Collaborative (CDC), was the culmination of several public visioning sessions and meetings with those who use the space.

Leah Rominger, Community Design Collaborative volunteer, presents her group’s research findings.

The year-long planning process was spearheaded by the EPCC Advisory Council. The Council works with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation to organize special events, promote the Center, and plan and raise funds for site improvements.
EPCC, 1025 Mifflin Street, provides space for athletic, dance, art, and music programs. The building’s meeting spaces host civic meetings, Girl Scouts, the local chapter of the Special Olympics, Vikings New Year’s’ Brigade, a seniors group, as well as cultural, heritage, and history events.

Existing view from 11th and Mifflin looking northeast.

The green space outside the building is a different story. The corner site is one of the only Parks & Rec facilities parks located between Broad Street and 6th Street from Marconi Plaza to Columbus Square. Sadly, it is largely paved with concrete except for an area of threadbare grass. Several trees provide shade, although an arborist reported that most were near the end of their lifespan. The site has no permanent play equipment, but children make use of the sculptural bronze-and-concrete sundial located on the site’s southwest corner.
Since the Advisory Council was formed in 2015 they have made improvements to the site including removing overgrown landscaping and adding a bocce court on the site of an outdoor smoking area used by the building’s former tenants.
Attempting to provide something for everyone, the plans call for a radical redesign that creates a welcoming multipurpose arena designed to serve the diverse needs of neighbors of all ages and interests.

More space for play, less paving.

Leah Rominger and Missy Van Sleet, two of the seven-person volunteer team assembled by the CDC for this project, summarized the previous community input before unveiling the design renderings intended to be presented to future landscape architects and contractors.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

New Coffee Shop Opening on East Passyunk

Just in time to keep us fueled-up during the darkest days of the year, a new coffee shop is opening its doors on the Avenue this morning. Jennifer Santore and her aunt, Valerie, will run Ground Up at 1926 East Passyunk Avenue. The site was most recently home to Vin Cafe.

Window signage before opening.

Jennifer grew up with family in the hospitality industry and attended culinary school with the goal of someday becoming a small business owner.  With deep roots in South Philly, she found there was no better place to open an establishment of her own than along the Avenue.

The interior. 

Ground Up will be open daily from 7 am – 3 pm serving coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, along with pastries and bagels from Rockland Bakery out of New York, where Jennifer’s uncle works.  With Jennifer’s background in cooking, she plans to expand the menu over time.

The coffee shop will seat about 24 and has window counter seats with charging stations so you don’t have to awkwardly crawl under a neighbor’s table to plug in your laptop. So swing by Ground Up this week on your way to work or while shopping along the Avenue and welcome Jennifer to the neighborhood.


Ground Up
1926 East Passyunk Avenue
Open Daily, 7 am – 3 pm

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Roman Lumber makes way for “Roman Square” at 11th & McKean

By Sandy Smith for the Passyunk Post

What was a series of low-slung commercial buildings in the 2000 block of South 11th Street is now an empty lot. Soon, that lot will be filled with eight brand-new four-story townhouses called “Roman Square.”

View looking southwest from 11th & McKean Streets, April 25, 2018. Photo by Darren Fava.

Same view after demolition, July 2018. Photo by Darren Fava.

“Within the next week, weather permitting, we hope to begin excavation” on the development at the southwest corner of 11th and McKean streets, said Bob Shaw, director of development for P & A Associates.

Each of the eight units in this project from Canno Design will have four stories plus a roof deck. All will have three bedrooms and three bathrooms; all will also have a powder room on the street level, except for the unit with two garages on the street level. Access to the garages will be via a central driveway that uses an existing curb cut on South 11th Street.

Roman Square rendering. Canno Design.

Six of the houses will have garages on their street floors that can accommodate two cars. The two units on 11th Street closest to Emily Street will each have a one-car garage located on the street level of the northerly unit.  The southerly unit will have a den and a flex room on the street level.

When the project went before the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association for approval in March of 2018, neighbors had two principal objections. One was the loss of a parking space on 11th Street. The developer pointed out that a curb cut existed to access the warehouse torn down to make way for this project, so no legal spaces would be lost.

The other objection related to the buildings’ height, which was three feet over the height limit for its zoning district. The EPX Civic Zoning Committee recommended approval of the zoning variance for this project with the stipulation that it remain at the height limit, but the Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the variance for the project as designed.

Shaw explained that the extra height represented a compromise in order to meet both neighbors’ and buyers’ desires. New construction homes typically have ceiling heights of at least nine feet, he said, but “we made the first floor eight feet, which is pretty low for new construction standards. We felt we could do this because the first floors were largely taken up by the garages.

“The fourth-floor ceilings are also a little under nine feet,” he continued. “We did the best we could in order to fit the parking in, which was something the neighbors also wanted, and this is where we ended up.”

The houses are not yet listed for sale, but Shaw expects they will be shortly. He estimates that the homes will be pre-construction priced around $699,000.


Editor’s Addition:

Promotions for the homes posted on the Realtor.com, Redfin, and Trulia websites describe the homes as having a living area of 2,765 square feet.

The images and descriptions below are included in the promotional postings. Let us know what you think of the designs in the comments below.

An open concept second floor features 10 ft ceilings and oversized Pella Windows allowing maximum flow of natural light throughout the living room, dining room and kitchen. Whether cooking or entertaining, you will be at home in the Gourmet Kitchen equipped with every modern amenity including French door refrigerator, 5 burner gas range, dishwasher, canopy hood and slide out microwave, all clad in stainless steel.

Retire after a long day into the entire 3rd floor owner’s suite which boasts a huge walk-in closet and a beautiful bathroom with double sink vanity and a large stall shower with a frameless glass shower door. Keep everything cozy with dual zone gas heat and gas, tankless hot water heater. Energy efficiency and quality is evident throughout.

The 4th floor is equally as impressive with 2 junior suites each with a well-appointed bathroom. Space for a washer and dryer tucked in a laundry closet conveniently located just steps away. An expansive roof deck with amazing views tops off this quality filled home.

Additional features include hardwood flooring and recessed LED lighting throughout all living areas and bedrooms, quartz countertops and more. Inprint your signature on your new home by selecting finishes. 10-year tax abatement and one year builder warranty included for added piece of mind.

 

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing :  Passyunk Square 

2018 East Passyunk Avenue Tree Lighting

On Thursday, November 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District (EPABID) and Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC) will host the annual tree lighting party at the Singing Fountain, Tasker St. and East Passyunk Avenue. The event is free and families are welcome.
The celebration will include live music, carolers, holiday treats from Avenue businesses, shopping, and a visit from Santa Claus.

The 2017 tree at the Singing Fountain. Photo courtesy East Passyunk BID.

“We’re very excited to have CBS 3 joining to us to emcee the event once again,” said Adam Leiter, executive director of EPABID, “along with our neighborhood youth from Alphabet Academy and the Andrew Jackson School’s HOME Band to ring in the season with festive performances. Meteorologist Lauren Casey will collect unwrapped toys for the Toy Fest holiday toy drive sponsored by CBS 3 and CW Philly 57.”
After the party, revelers can strut down the Avenue with the Pennsport String Band for extended shopping hours as the Deck the Ave campaign kicks off with shopping, sales, and other festivities which will run through December.
“The tree lighting began in 2011 as a way to celebrate with the neighborhood in partnership with PARC, EPABID, East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and Passyunk Square Civic Association,” said Leiter. “Originally it brought the neighborhood together around a decorated “tree” version of the Singing Fountain, though this will be the second year we will decorate a live tree at the fountain area.”
According to Bryan Fenstermaker, executive director of PARC, this year’s tree will be a 16-foot Frasier Fir born-and-raised in North Carolina. Urban Jungle at 1526 East Passyunk will deliver the tree on November 21. PARC hires John McClenny of Yes Dear! to install the lights and decorations in the days leading up to the event.
“The transition from the tree over the Singing Fountain to the stand-alone live tree has received positive feedback,” says Fenstermaker. “It’s a welcome change for our diligent cleaning crew. The old tree left lots of needles inside the fountain and caused the potential for drainage issues in the spring. It’s now much easier to keep the fountain clean during the holiday season.”
Fenstermaker says he’s gained experience in maintaining an outdoor tree in the past years. “At home you don’t have to tether ornaments to the tree, or keep dogs from using it as a bathroom post. In the wild it’s one thing, but we don’t want it to happen at this gathering spot.”
You can donate $10 to the CBS 3 and CW 57 Philly Toy Fest toy drive by texting JOY to 41444. EPABID and PARC would also like to thank their sponsor, Univest.

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