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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Ippolito’s Seafood: they’ve gone south for the winter

Need seven fishes? They’ve got that and much more at Ippolito’s wholesale cousin — Giuseppe’s Market at Samuels and Son

Every Christmas Eve, Lydia Sarson of Warnock Street maintains a family tradition. “I make fish stew from fresh red snapper while my husband makes clams. The stew is good. The clams are the best you’ll ever eat.” She buys locally whenever she can. “Ippolitos,” she says in a word.

Lydia Sarson makes her fish stew

Sarson’s story is like that of many families who live in South Philadelphia, but in July Ippolito’s Seafood – the venerable seafood purveyor at 13th and Dickinson – closed for renovations. Owners expected a late-2018 re-opening. When construction continued through the fall, customers and neighbors questioned the fate of the hundred-year-old family-owned business.

Bill Bradford, marketing and communications manager at Ippolito’s, reports the retailer is fine – it will return in 2019. In the meantime, customers who depend on Ippolito’s for their holiday table have an exceptional alternative in Giuseppe’s Market at Samuels and Son Seafood, 3400 S. Lawrence Street.

“Giuseppe’s has all the customer favorites from Ippolito’s, but on a bigger scale,” says Bradford. “And, we have a huge parking lot.”

Bill Bradford holds tube squid at Giuseppe’s Market. 

For those unfamiliar with the Philadelphia store, it began in 1919 when Giuseppe Ippolito started a pushcart seafood sales business with his father-in-law. By 1934, Ippolito was the sole proprietor. He replaced his pushcarts with horse-drawn wagons. In 1945, he opened Ippolito’s – a business that expanded through the ‘50s and ‘60s under the helm of his daughter and her son, Rose and Samuel D’Angelo. In 1989, the family opened Samuels and Son and entered the wholesale and commercial market. They now have 400 employees and handle 400 million pounds of seafood yearly. Continue Reading →

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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:  Dickinson Square West 

Dickinson Square Decorating Contest & Caroling

Contest ends tomorrow, Dec. 18 – enter today or vote on the current entries.

Dickinson Square West Civic Association (DSWCA) is hosting the neighborhood’s second annual holiday house decorating contest – and you have one day left to enter and/or vote on your favorite entry.

The group invites neighbors living between Washington and Snyder, 4th and 6th Streets to enter by sending a clear, evening photo of their decorated house, along with their name and address, to

DSWCA will post all submitted photos on the Dickinson Square West Facebook page in a photo album titled “Holiday House Decorating Contest 2018.” 

On December 18, DSWCA will select winners based on the number of likes each entry receives on Facebook. Winners will be announced on their Facebook page. The top three houses will receive prizes

Beginning at 6:30 pm on Dec. 18, the Dickinson Square West Carolers will stop at 
each winning home to sing songs and hand out cookies and hot chocolate. 

Those interested in taking part in the caroling group should meet at the Parson building in the center of Dickinson Square Park at 6:30 pm.

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What's Happening in:  All over South Philly 

Events Roundup 12-14-18

Compiled by Josephine Cardillo

Saturday, December 15

Punk Rock Flea Market

When: Saturday & Sunday, December 15 & 16, 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Bok, 1901 S 9th St.
Details:  $5 to enter, good for the entire weekend. For more info, visit the their website.

Made at Bok Holiday Market
An uber-local shopping experience featuring one-of-a-kind items from the Bok Studios. Get your gift wrapped for a suggested donation – gift wrap proceeds will go to Toys for Tots. Thirsty or hungry? Try Bok’s own South Philly Smokhaus, Irwins, Two Persons coffee, and Machine Shop Boulangerie!

When: Saturday, December 15, 11 am – 5 pm
Where: Bok, 821 Dudley St. (rear entrance)
 Free entry. See the list of vendors at their Facebook event.

Inflatable Snow Globe Photos
Take some memorable photos inside the East Passyunk Avenue BID’s giant inflatable snow globe! Afterwards, continue up the avenue for some holiday shopping.

When: Saturday, December 15, 11 am – 4 pm
Where: East Passyunk Gateway, intersection of Broad Street, East Passyunk Avenue, and McKean Street.
More info: Event details available at

Running of the Santas MegaFest
Get ready to run Santa-style. Philly’s biggest Santa party, featuring over 10,000 Santas.

When: Saturday, December 15, 10 am–11:30 pm
Where: Xfinity Live & Field House, 821 Dudley St. (rear entrance)
 See their website.

Sunday, December 16

Punk Rock Flea Market

When: Saturday & Sunday, December 15 & 16, 10 am – 5 pm
Where: Bok, 1901 S 9th St.
Details:  $5 to enter, good for the entire weekend. For more info, visit the their website.

Holiday Story Times
Perfect for families with young children or anyone who is young at heart.

When: Sunday, December 16, 11 am
Where: A Novel Idea on Passyunk at 1726 East Passyunk
More info: See the Facebook event.

Can You Händel It? Pop Up Choir on East Passyunk
Pop-Up Choir of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah Part 2 Hallelujah Chorus on East Passyunk Avenue. Add your voice and let the music move you – or simply come and watch as a spectator.

When: Sunday Dec. 16th, 2 pm – 3 pm
Where: Singing Fountain at Tasker St. and East Passyunk Ave.
Details:  Performing in the original key of D major. Bring your own sheet music, or use one of the provided copies. Conducted by Justin Gonzalez. More details, and a link to download the music here.

Monday, December 17

Hawthorne Neighborhood Christmas Party
Food, fun, and toys. Children up to 12 years of age will receive a gift by signing up in advance.

When: Monday, December 17, 6 – 8 pm
Where: 1200 Carpenter St.
Details:  Call 215.685.1848 to register your child.

Tuesday, December 18

Caroling at Dickinson Square
Food, fun, and toys. Children up to 12 years of age will receive a gift by signing up in advance.

When: Tuesday, December 18, 6:30 – 8 pm
Where: Parson Building – Dickinson Square, Tasker St. & Moyamensing Ave.
Details: See the Facebook event.

Toddler Time: A Very Swedish Christmas
Toddlers and families will get into the holiday spirt by learning about fun Swedish holiday traditions such as St. Lucia Day, Pepparkakor, and Jultomte.

When: Tuesday, December 18, 10:30 – 11:30 am
Where: American Swedish Historical Museum, 1900 Pattison Ave.
Details: $5/child.  More info on the museum’s website.

All Month

East Passyunk Deck the Ave – A Month of Merrymaking!
Festivities will include the East Passyunk Pop Up Choir, Photos with Santa, Snow Globe Photos, Typewriter Letters to Santa, 8th Annual Ornament Show, Holiday Story Time, Holiday Mummers, Free Parking Saturdays, Holiday QOTA LGBTQ Happy Hour – and more. 

When: Assorted days & times
Where: East Passyunk Ave. from Broad to Wharton St.
Details: Visit their Facebook events page.

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What's Happening in:  Marconi 

Public Displays of Reflection

Photo by Darren Fava

By Joseph Myers

The 2700 blocks of South Smedley and Colorado streets have again infused the Marconi neighborhood with Christmas spirit thanks to their inviting holiday-centric lights and decorations. The unique, oval-shaped blocks would be an exceptional place to visit based solely on residents’ home decorations and light displays. But the park-like island in the center of each block has become their calling card. A perpetual parade of motorists make their way along the expanse nightly to take in the sights.
Smedley Street, whose eponymous Christmas Light Spectacular Facebook page has garnered more than 2,000 “likes,” planned to celebrate opening night on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Wet weather and maintenance matters delayed the event until December 4th.

Photo courtesy Smedley Street Christmas Facebook page.

The resident’s persistence and handiwork were well-received. “By the smiles on our faces, you can tell we’re pretty impressed,” said Jeremy Bryson, exploring the block with wife Tisha Hartman and their children, six-year-old Miles and one-year-old Nina. The family recently moved here from San Diego. “We live nearby,” explained Hartman, “so it was an easy decision to come here. But we weren’t aware of the full beauty and allure of the presentation.”

This year’s display includes inflatables such as tributes to Chase and Marshall of “Paw Patrol” fame, Candy Castle, and the North Pole Stables complete with depictions of Santa Claus and his reindeer helpers.

Paul Pellegrino, a South-Philadelphia-native who now resides in Delaware County, was especially taken with the manger scene. “I had intended just to drive by pretty fast before taking my daughter to dinner, but I couldn’t say ‘No’ when she asked me to let her look at everything.” Seven-year-old Olivia, shouted, “This is the best day ever,” while exploring the site. She also enjoyed a conversation with the North Pole’s most famous inhabitant, as Santa posed for pictures.
The Pellegrinos decided to walk over to Colorado Street. There they found another wonderful display that has likewise delighted neighborhood residents and guests for years.

“This time of year is all about goodwill, so we’re happy that these kind people put up their decorations each year for us to see,” Declan Murphy said to a nod from his wife Lucinda. Originally from Ireland, the two have lived in Pennsport for five years and regularly make inspecting the various lights in South Philly a part of their seasonal fun. The recent retirees are particularly fond of Colorado Street because of its quaint feel, accentuated by a massive “Merry Christmas” sign.
“The people who live around here are very spoiled,” Lucinda said with a laugh. “They have Colorado Street and Smedley Street so close together. Who could ever be in a bad mood when they have that going for themselves?”

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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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