This Week: July 20, 2023

Editor – Barbara Halpern

Lead Writer – Richard Vaughn

Design/Layout and Writer – Travis Oliver

Writer – Marc Werlinksky

Support Your Local Environmentalist

You don’t need to be told how hot it’s been in the past fortnight or so. And you may have heard that for each of four days straight, it was the hottest on record, worldwide.


With that in mind, then, let’s give a loving pat on the back – and a cold beverage -- to CCRA’s Green Committee, the Schuylkill Community Garden, and all our many neighbors who take the environment into consideration in their day-to-day endeavors.


Thank you for setting the example!

CCRA News and Events

CCRA Sponsors August Concerts at Fitler Square

It’s a collaboration you gotta love. CCRA is sponsoring two concerts in Fitler Square, hosted by Friends of Fitler Square Park. If you haven’t yet visited this gem of a park, Fitler Square is a quiet, half-acre green oasis, between 23rd & 24th St., at Pine. Friends of Fitler Square Park preserves, protects, and beautifies this park, which falls within CCRA’s catchment area. The square also hosts a farmer’s market on Saturdays, from 10am - 2pm.

Bring your chairs, blankets, and picnic to the park and enjoy two relaxing evenings of free music and people watching. 


Tuesday, August 15, 6:30 – 8:30pm

(Rain date Tuesday, August 22, 6:30 – 8:30pm)……original, new flamenco, ethno-jazz, some classic rock and 1970s pop/rock music. Preview here

Elegance Quartet

Thursday, August 31, 6:30 – 8:30pm

(no rain date)…..traditional and electric strings, enhanced with effects pedals, live rhythm, and vocals. Preview here.

CCRA Public Zoning Committee

CCRA public zoning committee meeting is on Tuesday, July 25, 7pm via Zoom. Read the agenda here. To join the meeting, click here.


The pilot program which placed additional trash cans in the Fitler Square neighborhood will be suspended at the end of July. The program, a joint initiative of CCRA and FSNA, has identified a need for more trash pick-up in the neighborhood, as all 12 cans filled rapidly after each trash collection day. Even when collection times were doubled, and residents were asked not to use the cans for household trash, the demand exceeded our ability to respond. More information about what we learned from this pilot is being gathered, residents will be surveyed, and we will engage with the City Sanitation Department to figure out how best to respond to the needs of the neighbors for better and more frequent trash collection. Watch this space for a full discussion in the August 3rd edition of CCRA This Week.

In addition, CCRA remains committed to having the cleanest sidewalks possible. With your contributions, we subcontract Center City District (CCD) to sweep them after your weekly trash day. Lately, the city has not been collecting recyclables on trash day, impeding the CCD from doing a “clean sweep” after all trash has been collected. We ask for your patience as we work to push the city to resume same-day pickup. We can fight city hall (although we don’t always win).

Join our Young Friends to “Give Back” and Play

Are you a young adult under 40 looking for a meaningful way to give back to our city? Look no further!  A new service opportunity has emerged at CCRA, calling on individuals like yourself to join forces and make a positive impact on the underserved community here in Philly. In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get caught up in our own lives and forget about those who are less fortunate. However, there is a growing recognition that we all have a role to play in building a more inclusive and equitable society.


This is where you come in. Join fellow CCRA Young Adults by participating in the Church of the Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square Open Hearts Café on Sunday, August 6th and/or Sunday, August 13, both from 4 – 6 pm. Open Hearts Café is a volunteer-run food and clothing ministry that serves our near neighbors experiencing homelessness and/or food insecurity. If you want to be a Young Friend and are interested in joining us, please email Travis Oliver.


State Representative Ben Waxman's office helped us get a generous grant enabling us to purchase the supplies most needed by the community: shoes, clothing, personal items, and backpacks. Show your in-person support by volunteering to serve meals and gather customized clothing packages. Afterward, let’s top it off and socialize at various fun locations and eateries in the city. See ya there!


CCRA’s Merchant Partner program is a true Win-Win:  It provides local businesses with complimentary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA members generous deals and discounts.  This week we spotlight Merchant Partner City Fitness.

Work it, Baby: Such a Deal at City Fitness

Your clothes will love you as will your pocketbook when you take advantage of the discounts offered by CCRA Merchant Partner City Fitness.


CCRA is very happy to continue its Corporate Wellness partnership with City Fitness, which was recently voted Best Gym in the City, and it’s clear to see why. They have the best of everything: the latest machines, exercise bikes, steam rooms, saunas, hydro-massage… you name it.


And the discounted $34.99 bi-weekly rate includes all yoga and spin classes, all amenities, access to all six locations, and with no long-term commitment: you can stop anytime. It also includes four Complimentary THRIVE semi-private training sessions and InBody consultation with a THRIVE coach, plus an additional $5 off the bi-monthly rate if you enroll in the “Tour of the City” program.


Seems too good to be true? Yes, it does. But it’s true nonetheless. Details here.

Clean, Safe and Green

Plastic’s Not So Fantastic

Our lives and oceans are awash in plastic, much to the distress of a polluted and warming Mother Earth. All of us can celebrate Plastic Free July by reducing the use of plastics in very simple and economical ways, such as ditching single-use plastic food bags in favor of reusable snack and sandwich bags, bagging your groceries in reusable bags, shunning products packaged in plastic and recycling your collection of plastic bags. More tips are available at the Plastic Free July website. We all can be part of the solution and go plastic-free(er) today.

A New User Friendly Green Plaza

If you’ve had to go to the Municipal Services Building (and it’s rarely for a pleasant reason), you’ve probably noticed what a concrete jungle surrounds it. Although we can’t report it will be easier for you once you enter the building, we have good news about the plaza, itself. Get ready for the new (and we think VERY IMPROVED)  $20M green-space friendly “makeover” of the plaza surrounds. CCRA Board Member and Streets maven Bill West explains it all here.

Show You Care by What You Wear

You can dress for success, help local merchants, and promote a healthier climate by wearing sustainable clothing, whether gently worn or made from recycled fabrics. Check out five of the city’s sustainable clothing stores here.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

 A “Vanishing Maps” Appearance

Acclaimed author Cristina Garcia discusses her latest novel, “Vanishing Maps,” Wednesday, July 26, 7:30 p.m., at the Free Library’s Central Branch, 1901 Vine St. The novel traces generations of a Cuban family as they experience their own diaspora. Register for this pay-what-you-want event here.

Community News and Events

Seeing Philadelphia at PAFA

Calling all history buffs and art enthusiasts. Get ready for a blast from the past with “Seeing Philadelphia” – a jaw-dropping collection featuring photographs, maps, and paintings representing over 300 years of Philly's history. Witness the evolution of the City of Brotherly Love through the eyes of talented artists.

The exhibition is making its dazzling debut at Drexel University’s Maguire Gallery at PAFA (128 N. Broad) It’s free and open now through Sept. 5th. Short on time? Check out the digital copies here.

The Ivories Have it - It’s Piano Festival Time in Philly

Hey Melophiles…The Philadelphia Young Pianist Academy is hosting its 11th annual festival in our neighborhood at the historic Academy of Vocal Arts. Held from 7/29 - 8/6, the event offers lectures, master classes, competitions, and performances from internationally renowned pianists, as well as PYPA’s own young musicians. Go here to learn more about PYPA and the annual festival. For tickets, the ivories are played here.

Artificially Intelligent Rugs? An Old City Exhibition

Paradigm Gallery in Old City is showcasing tufted rugs designed with artificial intelligence. Created by artist/painter Crystal Latimer, she uses AI to translate her paintings into rugs, depicting both cheetahs and tigers, which are symbolic of strength, power and grace (and a little yin/yang thrown in). All of this was made possible by the creativity of Tim Eads, co-founder of Tuft the World, a West Philly business that sells tufting supplies to crafters around the world. Exhibition runs through July 30. Go here for details.

Fridays at the Oval

Head to the Oval (Eakins Oval, that is) for a series of celebratory performances showcasing Philadelphia’s rich cultural scene. Get ready to tap your feet and be amazed by some sensational moves, Catch a free performance by The Lady Hoofers Tap Ensemble on Friday, July 21 at 6:30 pm. This Philadelphia-based ensemble celebrates the work of women in tap through performance, education, and community outreach.

But wait, the fun doesn't stop there. Mark your calendars for the following Friday, July 28, at 6:30 pm, when Tangle Movement Arts rolls into town for a free performance. This Philadelphia-based company offers a contemporary twist with circus-like trapeze and acrobatics telling a multi-dimensional story. Find more information here

For other free options downtown, check out the Center City District site for concerts, family play, and pop ups throughout the summer.

The Lewis Bros Play in Fitler Square on July 21

Get ready to tap your feet and move with the beat like nobody's watching. The Lewis Brothers Bluegrass Band concert in Fitler Square Park kicks off on Friday, July 21, 2023, at 6:30 pm. These musical maestros will have you grooving to their banjo, mandolin, bass, and guitar tunes all night long.  Rain date is July 28. Mark your calendars and head here for all the juicy details.

Wiz, Roll, or Meat? Find you Fav Cheesesteak

Being the undisputed cheesesteak capital of the world (Philly is the crossword clue to that answer) doesn’t mean that we agree on where the “headquarters” is for THEE best cheesesteak experience. Here’s a “best of” list from Guide to Philly. Be sure to read the comments at the bottom, too, from Philly cranks, who critique the author, his choices, places he’s missed, and whether Amoroso rolls are cheesesteak worthy.  

Noteworthy- local eatery Barclay Prime made the cut!

Useful links

Merchant Partners "Deals and Discounts" Program

Please support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a deal or discount to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card and personal identification.

Mr FIX, 413 S. 20th St (215-261-5646)

PhotoLounge, 130 S.17th St (267-322-6651)

Rittenhouse Hardware, 2001 Pine St (215-735-6311)

Seafood Unlimited, 270 S. 20th St (215-732-3663)

The Bake Shop on 20th, 269 S. 20th St (215-644-9714)

The Philadelphia Orchestra, One S. Broad St (215-893-1955)

The River Boat Tours, Schuylkill River & Walnut St (215-309-5523)

The Rounds, internet only

Veda Modern Indian Bistro, 1920 Chestnut St (267-519-2001)

William Schwartz Jewelry, 1831 Chestnut St (215-665-8115)

12th Street Catering, 3312 Spring Garden St (215-386-8595)

Astral Artists, 1500 Walnut St. (215-735-6999)

Blue Sole Shoes, 1805 Chestnut St (215-496-9244)

City Fitness, 2101 South St & 1819 JFK Blvd (609-254-9048) 

Dom's Shoe Repair, 203 S. 20th St (215-972-0098)

Excursions from the Square, (215-732-8487, 215-738-4500)

Eye Candy Vision, 218 S. 20th St (215-568-3937)

FrameWorks Studio & Gallery, 2103 Walnut St (215-567-6800)

Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 S. Broad St (215-893-1900)

Liberty Pet Vets, 265 S. 20th St (888-458-8587)

Loews Hotel Philadelphia, 1200 Market St (215-627-1200)

Sandcastle Fun Co., Inquire within (267-462-1680)

1600 Spruce St. Home, Design and Gift, 1600 Spruce St. (267-209-3350)

Philly Bike Tours, Inquire within (267-521-2150)

CCRA assumes no responsibility, and makes no representations or warranties, regarding any product and/or services sold by any Merchant Partner.

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