Philly Love Notes Gift Guide

Hello friends and Philly-lovers, Time for the first Philly Love Letters Gift Guide! With some help from you, I put together a completely non-comprehensive list of amazing things being done right here in the city (or right outside). This only scratches the surface of the cool stuff being made here. There are always tons of great markets and small businesses to support (like Amalgam Comics, Philadelphia Independents, Yowie, and Omoi Zakka). And of course, one of the best gifts of all -- donating money, time, Read more

Giving Back 2017

Oh this year. Time to buckle down and do what I can to give back. Like last year, I'll be donating all of the profits from the map sales to local nonprofits from Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday. That means that your purchase of a map will help to support all of the following organizations: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Marian Anderson Historical Society, SEAMAAC, Red Paw Relief and Students Run Philly Style (more about the nonprofits below). Last year we raised Read more

#whyilovephillyarts Launches

It's official, the first #whyilovephillyarts, featuring Sean Martorana, is now live! Check out the prints below and purchase one of the 30 limited edition prints online. This is the first collaboration that aims to build a body of Philly-specific art across a variety of mediums for people to purchase with 100% of the profits going to the artist (along with a full commissions and licensing Read more

West Philly

Love Note #202 The best stretch of land in the City of Philadelphia

Chris Robinson
Favorite Spot: Belmont Plateau
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park, West Philly
Address: Montgomery Drive, Philadelphia, Pa 19131

I am: A drummer from West Philadelphia with a passion for photographing Philadelphia’s architecture and raising awareness of the area’s importance through Instagram (@cbeatz852).
Years in Philly: I’ve spent all my life in Philly. 28 years to be exact.
Current Home: I currently live on the border of West Philly, in Upper Darby.


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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in West Philly 1 Comment

Love Note #183: Eryn James’ love note to West Philly, her cradle since birth

Eryn James
Favorite Spot: West Philly

I am: A poet from West Philly with a passion for noticing where good things begin.
Years in Philly: My whole life!
Current Home: West Philadelphia


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Love Note #176: From Emma Sicalowski, to Philadelphia for love.

Emma Sicalowski
Favorite Spot: Clark Park
Neighborhood: West Philly
Address: 43rd and Baltimore

I am: a teacher of young children, an artist, a dog mom, a hopeful romantic.
Years in Philly: < 1
Current Home: West Philly


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Love Note #167: Surbhi Puri’s ode to the Philly Food Scene

Surbhi Puri (ex-pat files)
Favorite Place: Philadelphia’s food scene

I am: A life sciences consultant currently in Boston. I went to UPenn for my undergrad and grad education. Philly will always be the wonderful city where I found myself.
Years in Philly: August 2002 to August 2011
Current Home: Boston

(photos taken by the ladies at Philly-ism and by Jason Varney. If this post doesn’t make you hungry,
these photos and their website certainly will)


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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in West Philly 4 Comments

Love Note #137: Pasqually’s, where Laura Boyce and friends go to unwind after a long week of teaching

Laura Boyce
Favorite Spot: Pasqually’s
Neighborhood: West Philly
Address: 200 S. 43rd St. (43rd & Walnut)

I am: A high school English teacher, originally from North Carolina, with a love of cities, the outdoors, and music
Years in Philly: going on 6
Current Home: Graduate Hospital

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Love Note #113: Edith Mulhern writes to the beautiful, historic Woodlands Cemetery

Edith Mulhern
Favorite Spot: Woodlands Cemetery
Neighborhood: West Philadelphia
Address: 4000 Woodland Avenue

I am: Philly suburbs-born arts and culture non-profit worker and bilingual blogger. Came to West Philly for school, and love it more every day.
Years in Philly: 9
Current Home: Walnut Hill, West Philadelphia


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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in West Philly 1 Comment

Love Note #98: Holly Otterbein on Carnivolution and the Ellen Tiberino Museum

Holly Otterbein
Favorite Spot: Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum, which is the home of Carnivolution
Neighborhood: Powelton Village
Address: 3819 Hamilton Street

I am: A city government reporter at the Daily News and WHYY, as part of a collaboration between the two media companies
Years in Philly: Almost 6 years
Current home: Southwark

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Love Note #37 — Andrew Levitt loves Clark Park in W. Philly because it is a "social butterfly, a gracious host, a kind friend"

Andrew Levitt
Favorite Spot: Clark Park  
Neighborhood: West Philly  
Address: 43rd and Baltimore 
I am: Cheerful, a family man, bookish if not well-read, enthusiastic about seeing more people get around on bicycles. 32, 257, 5’8″, 165#. Unabashedly Italian-Irish-American Quaker Buddhist Secular-Jew
Years in Philly: 18 + 3 
Current Home: Bella Vista

My Love Note:

Dear Clark Park,

I love that a sunny day attracts so many young people to your tall trees and green grass for idle lollygagging, breezy sports, and chatty hang time. You have proper quiet dappled sunlight, proper wind-through-the-leaves. I love your fresh chairs and fresh grass, the susurrus of all your friends. I don’t see you as often as I’d like, but please don’t take that to mean that I think you are anything less than the best kind of social butterfly, a gracious host, a kind friend. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t be closer to you so we can spend more time together.    


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Love Note #29: Joe Boruchow and Emma Jacobs get lost in the trees at Puryear’s Pavillion in Fairmount Park

Joe Boruchow
Favorite Spot: Puryear’s Pavilion in Fairmount Park near the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden.

Neighborhood: Fairmount Park
Address: North Horticultural Drive
I am: Paper cutout artist. I make commissioned and uncommissioned public art.
Years in Philly: 15
Current Home: 9th and Ritner – South Philly

Emma Jacobs
Favorite Spot: Pavilion in the trees – Fairmount Park
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park
Address: A walk into the trees from the back gate to the Please Touch museum
I am: A relatively new Philadelphian, who makes radio for WHYY. Saturday mornings, I try to pick a destination, or a neighborhood and bike out to see it.
Years in Philly: A proud 7 mos
Current Home: South Philly

Joe’s love note: Pack a lunch and ride out to Fairmount Park, past the strange sculptures from a bygone era, the once crumbling Centennial Hall, visit the Japanese House and Garden, find Puryear’s Pavilion (virtually always vacant) and have a picnic in the tree canopy!

Emma’s love note: The Pavilion in the Trees is a tree house, essentially. It’s built on stilts above a very steep slope, so you’re on level with the tops of the trees. I went out looking for it on a 90-something degree morning, and actually nearly gave up. I didn’t see any signs for it in the park and a visitors map I had didn’t line up. So, there may be another, official way to get there, but I ultimately ended up making a guess. I took this path this isn’t definitely a path, or somewhere you’re supposed to be. It goes along this wire fence and then grass grows over it, and you really thing you’re on the wrong track; but eventually it arrives at the walkway out to the Pavilion. The whole thing is all pretty modest, and very very green. Maybe because the place is so hard to find, it’s amazingly quiet – and a little surreal, too.

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Love Note #16: Local 44

Daniel Ueda
Favorite spot: Local 44
Neighborhood: West Philly
Address: 4333 Spruce Street 

I am: A physics teacher at Central High School, a robotics coach, and a traveler. 
Years in Philly: 4 years
Current Home:  West Philadelphia 

My love note: I left NYC 4 years ago because there is a pervasive competition of who can be more cool in what they’re doing and where they are. Local 44 is the antithesis of that concept; there, cool is being yourself. While Philly has plenty of places for the hipsters, elites, geeks, artists, grad students, punks, regular Joes, and sports fans, there are very few places where they can all come together and be whomever they are with pride. Local 44 is a home for everybody. 

They have a rotating selection of 20 beers on tap but won’t judge you if you don’t know what a saison is. They have solid food that ranges from hot wings to seitan reuben sandwiches. Their bartenders and waitresses are some of the most honest and friendly the city has to offer. It’s a place where you can sit down at the bar and enjoy a few by yourself, or go on a date, or take a group and do the best quizzo in the city on sunday nights. Say hi to Nate, Cas, and Jen while you’re there, and stop in the Local 44 Bottle Shop on your way out.

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