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What's Happening in:  Newbold 

SoPhilly Spotlight: Brownstone Steal edition

For this week’s SoPhilly spotlight, we technically are looking in Point Breeze – the house is on the west side of Broad Street (or, in Newbold, if you want to get fancy). But that grueling trek to such a distant neighborhood, whatever it’s called, is worth it to get a peek at this brownstone mansion at 1818 S. Broad St., being offered by Jeff “City” Block at PruFoxRoach for $440,000 (or $400,000 if you trust the Zillow listing).

Grand, indeed

With 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 2,970 square feet, this “warm, wonderful and grand” home is less than two blocks from EPA and has lots of interesting, old-world detail. Some of the details are a little old-fashioned, lots of dark, carved wood, and some unfortunate color schemes. But the massive kitchen is renovated and bright, and there’s an extra family room and office with 10 to 12-foot ceilings throughout. Grand really was the right word, Mr. City Block.

If you want to get a closer look in person, there’s an open house Sunday from noon to 1 p.m. Tell ’em Passyunk Post sent you.

That’s original stained glass
Living room, nice built-ins
Damn! That’s a big kitchen
Could do without the border, but hey, that’s nice
The family room, or as the original inhabitants probably called it, the parlor
Love the woodwork
Spacious bathroom in the master suite
So many bay windows
Starting to see why it’s not more expensive
Very nice
There are grape vines on the trellis
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What's Happening in:  Passyunk Square 

Ellsworth Street development rises out of the ground

Cedars Village, the affordable senior housing complex that took the place of what was a city-owned parking lot, is starting to take shape just off the Italian Market. The developer, St. Maron’s CDC, plans 64 units on the 22,000-square-foot lot, plus 25 parking spaces and a community garden, according to Plan Philly.

A couple stories already
Another view
The crane’s on the future parking lot
What the finished product will look like

BCM Affordable Housing, a Paoli company, is constructing the five-story building, which only rises three stories along Ellsworth to make it blend in a little more with the neighboring rowhouses. They still have a lot of work to do, though, and our guess is that it will be another eight months before they finish.

The “before” picture, thanks to Naked Philly

Incidentally, the developer is a related venture of the tiny St. Maron’s Catholic Church at 10th and Ellsworth, which has been serving Lebanese immigrants and their descendants in South Philly for 125 years. The connection to Lebanon undoubtedly inspired the “Cedar” in the housing project’s name. The cedar tree is on Lebanon’s flag. See:

You learn something new every day
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Is your mail slot putting your family in grave danger?

Danger lurks within -Dun, dun, duhhhhh!

Sounds like a teaser for every local newscast you’ve ever seen, right? Well, don’t board up your front door just yet.

A police officer in the 3rd District sent out a burglary warning about a scourge flexible felons who are removing mail slots, then reaching inside to unlock the door.

Throughout the City of Philadelphia, including several incidents within 3rd Police District, thieves have begun to exploit residential front door mail-slots as a method of breaking into the homes of unsuspecting residents. In these incidents, thieves were able to remove the flap, or sometimes the entire mail-slot frame, from the front door of the residence and then simply reach in and unlock the door, walking right into the home. If your mail-slot is within reach of your front door lock, your home is vulnerable to this method of residential burglary.

The alert recommended that if your mail slot fits this profile, then you should consider replacing your door or sealing it up. Disturbing new crime trend? Well, after following up with the police department, we learned that there have been a grand total of three confirmed mail slot burglaries in the whole city, all of them in South Philly.

Kudos to the police department for trying to keep us informed, but we at Passyunk Post world headquarters think we’ll take our chances with our old door.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

Yoga theater? Fringe show comes to Wake Up

The annual Live Arts/Philly Fringe festival begins this weekend, and it always promises to bring an eclectic mix of performances at dozens of venues across the city, some of them pretty unconventional. This weekend’s show at Wake Up Yoga at 1839 E. Passyunk Ave is no exception. At least the woman putting on the show is a yoga instructor, so it makes some sense.

Michal Waldfogel, via

The show “Crossing Imaginary Lines: a musical yoga journey by Michal Waldfogel” is Saturday at 4 p.m.

It takes a sense of adventure, of wonder, and of humor to begin Crossing Imaginary Lines. Join your travel guide, singer/songwriter and yoga teacher Michal Waldfogel, for an evening of live acoustic music that explores and dissolves limitations in the body and in the life. No yoga experience needed.

If you miss it, there are shows Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave., and Sept 22 at 7pm at Blue Banyan, 7153 Sprague St. (Mt. Airy)

In other South Philly theater news (who knew there’d ever be any), Theater Exile at 13th and Reed launched a deal of a subscription series: four shows for as little as $45. Not bad. Previews for their Fringe show, “The Edge of Our Bodies,” start Thursday.

Here’s a preview of what you might get at Crossing Lines:

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5 Questions: Sam Sherman, at PARC

Here are 5 Questions, a regular feature in which we check in with a prominent figure in the neighborhood and pick their brain for a handful of answers. To suggest someone you have a few questions for, email us at

Sherman, via
For this installment, we sat down with Sam Sherman, director of the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation, which has brought us such recent hits as the avenue’s facade improvement program and the impending valet parking stands. An experienced real-estate developer, Sherman took the job leading the newly formed PARC in January 2011with the mission to right the ship after its predecessor Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods was looted by its founder and benefactor, former state Sen. Vince Fumo.

But that’s all in the past. Here, we chat about the future, including possible parks, avenue entertainment and the ever-important debate of what to do with the King of Jeans sign.

Passyunk Post: What makes this hood so attractive to people?
Sam Sherman:
I think its proximity to Center City. The fact that this neighborhood is connected via a reliable transit system by bus, plus you have three subway stations in close proximity. It’s affordable, but it’s also so close to Center City that people can work there, and live without a car, and housing prices down here have not exploded like they have in other parts of the city. They’ve gone up, but it’s still affordable on a middle class salary.
PP: What’s the biggest obstacle around these parts?
Schools. And I think this speaks to the entire city but especially down here, long-term. I think you have a lot of young parents with toddlers, so in 10 or 15 years are they still gonna want to be here and send their kid to a public school or parochial or private charter schools? The second biggest obstacle – you have these beautiful parks. You have Columbus and Capitolo, and long-term, PARC is going to be interested in helping the city maintain and improve those public spaces because parks are important for recreation, but also for sitting, having some green space to look at. Improving access to green space, by creating more pocket parks, like we did at the fountain. More amenities like that will help it make it a softer, gentler place to live and make it more attractive for people who want to move here.PP: So, you’ve got your eyes on 12th and Reed?
I’ve had some preliminary discussions with some of the community groups and people who have an interest in that park. The question is, how much is it gonna cost and how long is it gonna take? It would require collaboration with the city, so that’s a longer term thing that we’re working on. But its something we have to understand that has to be done at some point.
PP: What do you think about live entertainment for the avenue?
It would have to be managed properly.The real question is, is it music, is it theater, is it musical, is it a performing arts center? As opposed to a bar that happens to have a stage with an amplifier. And the other thing you have to remember is those types of venues have to be managed very, very carefully and I, personally, would rather see a performing arts venue that you could go in a theater style setting, where you could go see a play, or a band. Kind of like TLA or the Arden. The question is, on the avenue where’s the space.
[We suggested below the avenue on Juniper Street]
Or the bank that’s now vacant at Snyder and Broad. If you have two methadone clinics, a Dunkin Donuts, a McDonald’s and a dollar store, who are they gonna complain to? Because that is the gateway to the avenue, and if you’re going to do something like that, that’s the place to do it. Because you’re not bumping right up against residential, you’re right at a transit stop. There’s a parking garage right across the street. And it’s an anchor because then it has the potential to change the dynamic of that block.PP: Tough question. Where do you come down on the King of Jeans sign? Should it be saved?
I think it should be saved. I understand that as a developer, keeping that sign on the building is probably impractical, but there might be a place for it where you could – I don’t know where you would put it on the avenue. There’s some people that want to burn it in effigy. They want to chop it into pieces and burn it. But you know, I think it’s become an iconic thing. Whether you love or hate it, at least everyone has an opinion. That says something about that, that there’s passion on both sides.This was but a snippet of our conversation, so are there any other questions you have for Sherman you want to know? Let us know in the comments and we just might have the answer.

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What's Happening in:  East Passyunk Crossing 

SoPhilly Spotlight: PARC edition

Normally we wouldn’t highlight a property without pics of the inside, but this one jumped out at us for two reasons.

What luxuries hide behind this facade?

One: $1,200 for a 750-square-foot 1-bedroom (a bit high?). Two: it’s offered by PARC, available now.

Granted, it’s big on amenities:

Features: Hardwood Flooring, Central Air Conditioning, Washer/Dryer, Beautiful kitchen with stainless steel appliances (dishwasher, gas range, refrigerator, microwave and disposal), Outdoor terrace with city skyline view–perfect for bar-b-ques and relaxing, Fire alarm system, private entrance with intercom

Power to apartment is supplied by solar panels mounted on the roof—-how does $40/month for an electric bill sound during this long summer heatwave?

Sounds pretty good to us, but searching around Craigslist, it appears this apartment is the most expensive 1-bedroom below Washington Avenue. And since the listing says it’s available Sept. 1, that means it might be too rich for an East Passyunker’s blood. This two-bedroom bilevel a block away is not nearly as nice, we would imagine, but it’s also $200 less a month. What do you think?

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