Archive for the ‘Points of Interest’ Category

Our Best Bets on Philly’s Second Casino License

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

When Sugarhouse Casino first opened its doors in 2010, revenue numbers of over $320 million dollars were projected during the first year alone. But the numbers ultimately came up short with a $190 million revenue in 2010, much less than the initially projected income. The differences between Sugarhouse and the other neighboring casinos are evident. In 2012, Sugarhouse was able to produce $8.9 million to its local government while Bensalem’s Parx Casino and Sands Casino doubled that amount to their own respective governments. With a new casino, it would support Sugarhouse and produce extra funds to benefit the school district and the city’s general funding. Our Best Bets on Philly’s Second Casino License by Philly Living

Casino License Up For Grabs: What it Means for Philly Residents

 

Six bidders are vying for the casino, and each bidder offers different locational attractions and aesthetics for the residents living in Philadelphia and for its visitors. The stakes are high with many different elements going into the final decision. The board is not taking the decision lightly and has completed a commercial analysis for the city, along with any potential monetary impacts the plans may have and how the casino could affect the neighboring communities and Sugarhouse.

 
The city is hoping that the casino will bring in a long-term profit and maximize the gambling profits in the Philadelphian region. This will benefit the residents living in Philadelphia, as the second casino will bring in jobs, tax revenue and gaming and non-gaming revenue for the city. The casino will be carefully chosen, with the handpicked casino selected for the greatest potential to bring on an optimal economic development, revitalize the area and bring in new visitors. Some of the city’s biggest concerns for the new development are with parking, traffic and security, all factors that have been taken into consideration. Hopefully, a new casino in town equals higher benefits to the local region by resuscitating the local businesses and infusing the job market with new careers.

 
With the bidders continuing to clamor for the license, the decision for the new casino license is expected by early 2014. With careful planning, the new casino license will bring good news for city taxpayers living in Philadelphia with higher property values for the surrounding areas and taxable revenue for the city.

Philadelphia Neighborhoods: Cedar Park

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Dock Street Brewery

The Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant is the social hub of West Philly’s Cedar Park neighborhood. Photo by J. Fusco for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

VisitPhilly.com’s “Philadelphia Neighborhoods” series explores and celebrates 14 “visitor-ready” areas surrounding Center City Philadelphia. Each of these up-and-coming neighborhoods is full of hip restaurants and bars, eye-catching art galleries, quaint shops, indie music venues and lush parks just perfect for a day trip, weekend getaway or a complete change of scenery. Make yourself at home in one of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods and you might never want to leave.

Cedar Park

Nestled in West Philly between 46th and 52nd streets is Cedar Park, a diverse neighborhood known for its relaxed, bohemian vibe. The area gets its name from its modest green space at 50th Street and Baltimore Avenue, which hosts lively community events like Friday Night Jazz, a free live music series held Friday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. in June and July. This year’s series was so popular that it was extended until August 9.

Cedar Park is a unique and eclectic neighborhood that was founded in the mid-19th century as a “streetcar suburb” of Center City. Now it’s home to a tight-knit community full of independent businesses. In nice weather, residents like to walk or bike to Cedar Park’s many cultural experiences. While visiting Cedar Park, be sure to check out its wide array of events, pubs and culinary delights.

Baltimore Avenue Dollar Stroll
September 12, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Baltimore Avenue from 42nd to 50th streets

During this annual summer event, dozens of area businesses spill out onto the sidewalk, selling their goods for only one dollar a piece, while live bands and street performers entertain the strolling crowd.

Fu Wah
810 S. 47th St.

This Cedar Park mini-market is well known for its banh mi, or Vietnamese-style hoagies, including its most popular, the tofu hoagie. Locals like to stop in for everyday essentials as well as fresh produce and hard-to-find Asian ingredients.

Dock Street Brewery and Restaurant
701 S. 50th St.

This cozy craft brewery set in a lovingly converted firehouse is renowned for its selection of award-winning beers and wood-fired pizzas with original toppings like fig jam and walnuts. Locals say it’s the best place in West Philly to grab a beer and a slice with some friends.

Danger Danger Gallery
5013 Baltimore Ave.

Like a house party with a bunch of your college friends, this laid-back venue combines cool underground music with a hipster clientele and stunning art displays by local artists. VisitPhilly.com recommends grabbing a growler at Dock Street Brewery and bringing it to one of the Gallery’s BYOB shows.

Top 5 Healthy Restaurants in Rittenhouse Square

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Healthy Restaurants in Rittenhouse Square by Philly Living More than ever, eating healthy has been in the news. From the latest green grocery stores to health conscious fast food restaurants, eating lean and green is the talk across America. In Philadelphia, certain neighborhoods are picking up this health trend faster than others. More recently, healthy eating has become a fixture in Rittenhouse Square. The Rittenhouse Square neighborhood is known for the best restaurants in Philadelphia from steakhouses to foodie spots. With its more cultural and sophisticated residents, it’s no wonder that mindful and healthy eating is quickly catching on.

Rittenhouse Square’s Best Healthy Restaurants

Hip City Veg

One of Rittenhouse Square’s top healthy restaurants is Hip City Veg, which creates high quality food that is fresh and fast. Earth-friendly and healthy, Hip City Veg delivers all orders by bike, uses compostable packing, composts all kitchen scraps, serves 100% plant based food, and employs energy-efficient recycled material for the interior of the restaurant. The restaurant’s philosophy is to always try to do better, and they believe that it starts with the food that you put in your body.

Mama’s Vegetarian

Located on the corner of 20th and Market Street, Mama’s Vegetarian in Rittenhouse Square has been heralded as the best falafel spot in Philadelphia. The secret to their famous falafels are the freshly baked pitas, which distinguishes Mama’s from the average falafel restaurant. Filling their homemade pitas with delicious cabbage, tomatoes, hummus, cucumber, and, course, falafel, this scrumptious meal is sure to fill and satisfy your appetite.

Honey Grow

Honey Grow prides its self on honest eating and growing local by offering some of the tastiest and healthiest high quality salads, stir fry, and smoothies in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. When it comes to their menu they have set high standards. Cooking with local fruits, vegetables, proteins, cheeses, and homemade dressings, Honey Grow is able to meets and exceeds expectations with each healthy dish.

Giwa

Situated on 16th Street in between Chestnut and Walnut Street, Giwa is considered the healthiest Korean food in Rittenhouse Square. Giwa offers a fun spin on healthy Korean eating. The wide variety of different meat options, including marinated beef, pork, and chicken, makes Giwa the perfect spot for both vegetarians and carnivores. Easily expand your Asian horizons with the large portions that are filled with grains, vegetables, and meats.

Pure Fare

Rittenhouse Square’s Pure Fare believes you are what you eat. This fast casual restaurant’s goal is to create healthy habits out of Philadelphia residents. Pure Fare uses innovative technology to help customers reach their health goals. With the My Fare online platform, a nutritional breakdown of customer’s meals is directly sent to their My Fare profile page. Any other foods consumed outside of Pure Fare can also be logged and tracked. Pure Fare recognizes that food choices are influenced by taste and convenience, as well as nutrition, and believes that with their food there is no need to sacrifice one for the other.

Mount Airy Real Estate: Chestnut Hill’s Outlook

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Sedgwick Theater Mount Airy PhiladelphiaToday, most of Philly’s top selling areas have been within Center City’s city limits. The western and northwestern areas of Center City have taken off rapidly in real estate, while the other parts of Philadelphia has worked on attracting buyers to the area. As Philly continues to expand, so will the opportunities for an array of houses to compete for a place on the market.

On Germantown Avenue, down the cobblestoned sidewalks leading to a variety of shopping areas, antique and dining food options, lays Mount Airy Real Estate. With a goal to expand The City of Brotherly Love, Mount Airy Real Estate has a singular goal of sharing its knowledge of real estate investment opportunities and tax benefit education with the public. The real estate agency especially specializes with first-time homebuyers and first time investment buyers.

$1 Million Homes: Peeking inside these Chestnut Hill mansions

Philly is reaping the real estate benefits of revitalization throughout the city. Chestnut Hill is no exception to the recent real estate boom. Mount Airy Real Estate has seen tremendous growth in this area, as the style of the area is highly sought after. The architecture in Chestnut Hill varies with its blended architecture, fluctuating from older Tudor styles, elegant Victorians to center-hall colonies sitting alongside newer contemporaries.

The diverse housing expenditures rests between understated row houses to encompassing mansions, making Chestnut Hill a beautiful place to call home for many individuals. The neighborhood is normally typified as an affluent neighborhood. Its market value for some of its houses numbers within the millions, which is a testament to the prominent neighborhood and growing economic worth of the area. A home with a one million dollar price tag in Chestnut Hill contains as many as five bedrooms and two or more bathrooms. Future homeowners can expect a homey feel with beautiful and luxury features, including numerous fireplaces, libraries, an array of family rooms and multiple floors. The amount of square foot afforded will be generous, typically in the few thousand square feet range.

Something For Everyone in Chestnut Hill

Idyllically located within the northwestern corner of Philadelphia, Chestnut Hill is renowned for its rustic appeal and unspoiled historic preservation. The neighborhood is home to some of Philly’s local neighborhood charms. Fairmont Park wraps around Chestnut Hill, and adjacent to the neighborhood lays Mount Airy, Wyndmoor, Lafayette Hill, and the Montgomery County suburbs of Oreland.

Chestnut Hill has something for everybody, whether it is educational pursuits at the local universities, dining options at one of its many eclectic restaurants, or shopping possibilities at its upscale boutiques. Even with the hometown feel and the cultural activities Chestnut Hill offers, it boasts only a 35-minute ride away from Center City. One thing is for sure; Chestnut Hill’s growing neighborhood will continue to attract new buyers and will continue to stand as a grand illustration of one of the nation’s urban enclaves.

East Falls Philly Bike Race Makes For a Great Block Party

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

East Falls, Philadelphia holds an annual Bike Race Block Party that brings out the whole neighborhood. This year, the Parx Casino Philly Cycling Classic bike race was held on June 2nd. Its course began at The Wall in Roxborough and took cyclists down Levering toward East Falls. Cyclists then turned into Fairmount Park to cycle around Lemon Hill and back up Kelly Drive, ending where they started at The Wall in Roxborough.

East Falls Philadelphia Parx Bicycle Race

The East Falls Philadelphia Parx Casino Bicycle Race Route

Thousands of Philadelphia residents line Kelly Drive to watch the race, and many partake in the promotions and deals offered by local restaurants during the race. Many of those restaurants are amongst the East Falls businesses that make this race and community event possible each year.

East Falls Street Fair and Other Block Party Bonuses

The East Falls Street Fair occurs concurrently with the race and offers those living in Philly’s East Falls neighborhood even more to enjoy every year. The East Falls Street Fair offered residents and their families live music and giveaways from local business, as well as bike races, face-painting, and science demonstrations for children.

As an added bonus this year, the neighborhood was provided with a Trolley Bus that circled the block party. This offered residents who wanted to participate in the Block Party an opportunity to attend the race and street fair without worrying about parking limitations. Signs positioned along the route offered free rides to and from the events.

If you missed this year’s East Falls Bike Race Block Party, be sure to mark your calendar for next year and check the East Falls Development site for news of upcoming events. This year’s party was a well-organized success that provided a great day for residents and their families while supporting the local economy and businesses that supported the event. Expect another great event next year when East Falls holds another annual Bike Race Block Party.

Tour History with Historic Philadelphia Houses

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Historic Philadelphia HousesPhiladelphia is a city that has a lot of history. Dating back to the Colonial Era, Philadelphia has been witness to all eras of American history, and this can be seen in the architecture of such areas as Old City.  A tour of Philadelphia houses presents a broad spectrum of architectural styles spanning centuries, including Georgian and Federal style buildings, 18th Century brick buildings, 19th Century Greek revival  and Victorian architecture, Modernist skyscrapers, and contemporary architecture.

The influence of the many styles of architecture have inspired the Philly skyline, making it diverse and interesting whether the towering skyscrapers have been influenced by historic styles or modern aesthetics. For a real taste of Philadelphia architectural history, one can look almost anywhere in the city for examples of the City’s nearly four-hundred years of history, but no building illustrates the City’s long history than the Stenton House.

The Stenton House: An Historic Philadelphia House

Stenton House Historic Philly HouseThe Stenton House dates back to the Colonial Era of American history, having been built by Philadelphia’s colonial mayor, James Logan, between 1723 and 1730. This historic Philadelphia house is named for the Scottish birthplace of James Logan’s father. The house passed through multiple generations of the Logan family before it was acquired by the city of Philadelphia in 1910. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.

This historic Philadelphia house now serves as an educational museum and picture-perfect example of American Georgian architecture. The symmetrical, red brick construction, and hipped roof typify the era. The interior of the Stenton House recreates another time with authentic furnishings and décor.

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania give guided tours, provide educational programs, and host special events at the Stenton House during which you can learn more about the Stenton House’s history and architecture. They will gladly regale you with tales of James Logan, secretary to William Penn himself, Mayor of colonial Philadelphia, and Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Logan even discovered the role of pollen in the farming of corn, establishing himself as one of Philadelphia’s great “Renaissance men.”

Take a tour of the Stenton House to take a trip through much more than one of the oldest Philadelphia house still standing. The Stenton House is a testament to much of the City’s history and a great example of the fine architecture of Philadelphia.

Spruce Hill Mixed Use Zoning A Family Business Affair

Friday, June 7th, 2013
Spruce Hill Philadelphia Mixed-use Zoning Development

Artist’s Conception of Spruce Hill Development

A property on the corner of 43rd Street and Sansom Street is about to be the next step in the West Philly revival. While we had previously discussed Drexel’s plan for reviving West Philly neighborhoods, Drexel is not alone in their vision of neighborhood investment and growth. Private developers have acquired the property at the corner of 43rd and Sansom with big plans for how this particular piece of Philadelphia real estate can improve the neighborhood.

Almost any use for the property would be more effective than leaving it vacant, but the current plans for this property include a real vision for how West Philly can thrive in the 21st Century. Plans to utilize mixed-use zoning seek to encourage the classic blend of homes and small or family businesses exemplified by much of the city, and designs built with environmentally friendly materials and green technologies seek to ensure that the new development also captures the architecture of the future.

Local Economy and a Bright Future Projected for Spruce Hill

Mixed use zoning encourages local economy by giving residents of a neighborhood the ability to spend their money within the neighborhood, putting food on local merchants’ family dinner tables. This focus on local economy builds local culture and creates jobs accessible to the neighborhood population. The Spruce Hill mixed use zoning promotes small businesses in the neighborhood, providing essential tax revenue to local government. This funding will allow the neighborhood to further invest in public facilities, services, and institutions.

New residents will hopefully be drawn to the forward-thinking design and architecture of the new development. It’s four floors will house 31 apartments and 2 new retail spaces. The building itself will feature bicycle storage spaces and a green rooftop as well as other features designed to meet the needs of a 21st Century urban lifestyle. The building itself will have a modern appearance thanks to granite and aluminum paneling.

This continued development in the West Philadelphia to University City area is an essential part of Philly’s real estate market’s continued growth. As commuter costs continue to increase and more people move from the suburbs into the city, this sort of forward thinking neighborhood development is just what Philadelphia needs.

A feast for the senses on Rittenhouse Row

Saturday, May 18th, 2013
Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

The forecast looks good today – it’s a great day for a street fair, and there’s a doozy of one on Walnut Street. Photo from Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

As sure as the flowers bloom, the crowds will flock to Walnut Street from Broad to Rittenhouse Square today for another May perennial: the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival.

This annual event brings the city’s premier shopping district outdoors for one fun-filled, flavorful afternoon.

“Flavorful” because the district’s restaurants are the stars of the show. More than 40 Rittenhouse Row restaurants set up shop at the festival, offering inexpensive samplings of their featured fare. If you’re looking for a.bar or a.kitchen to patronize, don’t fret – both of these establishments will have tents at the event. So will the city’s two most prominent restaurateurs. If this year is like last, the Rittenhouse Square block of Walnut will be a Stephen Starr showcase, with demonstrations and booths from his Rittenhouse-area restaurants – Alma de Cuba, Barclay Prime, Butcher and Singer, Continental Mid-town, The Dandelion, El Rey and Parc. Jose Garces will be represented by his Village Whiskey, and you will have one last chance to experience Le Bec-Fin fare on the cheap – the restaurant will close for good in June, but it will have a booth at today’s festival.

There will also be shopping, with merchandise from area retailers, and live entertainment on several stages.

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, noon to 5 p.m. today on Walnut Street from Broad to 19th. Free.

Historic Philadelphia Tours Lined Up for Spring

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
Independence Hall after dark

Ever want to see Independence Hall without the crowds? You can do it after dark. Photo from Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Historic Philadelphia, Inc. has officially announced its spring lineup for walking tours, which run through the fall and winter of 2013.  The evening tours, Tippler’s Tour and Independence After Hours, are filled with real people with real stories from Philly’s Colonial days that connect history to modern-day experiences.

What makes these tours particularly unique are their hosts – usually an actor personifying the character of a real 18th-century person. Not to worry – these aren’t some geeks off the street; each performer goes through extensive training to learn thorough details of the time period and their individual persona.  Combined with authentic Colonial locations, HPI’s tours immerse the viewer with a unique, all-access pass to real history come to life.

Tippler’s Tour showcases the city’s Colonial and modern-day watering holes while the Independence After Hours Tour highlights some of the landmarks of Philadelphia’s Historic District and gives tourists and locals wanting to get in touch with their historic side the ability to tour Independence Hall with no crowds.

For more information on Historic Philadelphia and its tours, visit the Historic Philadelphia website.

-Greg Meckstroth 

Special Mural Arts Tours Coming Up

Friday, April 12th, 2013
Patti Labelle

“Patti Labelle”

In addition to the regularly scheduled Mural Arts tours that will be going on this Spring, the program is set to feature two upcoming special tours. The first, the Music & Jazz Mural Tour, will take place Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. The Mural Arts Program and the African American Museum in Philadelphia are joining forces to celebrate Jazz Heritage Month with this special tour, with special tour guide Warren Oree.

The tour will showcase Philadelphia’s rich music history and showcase murals such as Patti Labelle by Peter Pagast, Grover Washington by Peter Pagast, and John Coltrane by John Lewis.  Oree started playing the upright bass 40 years ago and has performed all over the world, both as solo artist and as the lead artist of the Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble.  In addition to performing, Warren is heavily involved in the music and jazz community in Philadelphia and has produced or co-produced numerous festivals throughout the area, including the 2013 Philadelphia United Jazz Festival and Celebration!

The second special tour, to take place Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, followed by lunch until 1:30 p.m., will celebrate Mother’s Day. The tour will travel through Center City and showcase works such as Common Threads by Meg Saligman, Where Women Grow Strong by Michelle Oritz, and Spring by David Guinn. The two-hour tour ends with a prix fixe lunch at Positano Coast, an inspired Italian eatery in Old City, for a three course meal.

Common Threads

“Common Threads”

For the Music & Jazz Tour, ticket information is as follows:

$30 for adults, $28 for seniors 65+, $20 for children 3-12, children 2 and under free  

Tour leaves from the African American Museum in Philadelphia, 701 Arch Street

Ticket includes FREE admission to the African American Museum, where you can explore their newest exhibit, Come See About Me: The Mary Wilson Supremes Collection, presented by PNC Arts Alive.

More information and tickets at the Mural Arts Program’s tour page

For the Mother’s Day Murals & Meals Tour, ticket information is as follows:

$65 per person

Tour departs from and returns to Positano Coast, 212 Walnut St. (across from the Ritz Five movie theater)

More information and tickets at the Mural Arts Program’s tour page

 -Greg Meckstroth

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