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


Love Note #63: Nathan Winkler-Rhoades is enchanted by the small streets in Center City East

Nathan Winkler-Rhoades (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot: Jessup, Irving and Quince Streets (off Locust and 11th)
Neighborhood: Center City east
Address: 222 Jessup St. and vicinity

I am: Pitruco Pizzaman, grad student
Years in Philly: 20 (plus 10 as an expat)
Current home: Umm… Cambridge. Massachusetts.
My love note: Finding yourself transported to another time and place is an enchantment like none other, particularly when you are lost in the middle of a bustling urban center. Center city offers many opportunities to be so transported, but the one I seek out most often is this little half-block of perfectly preserved 19th century streets and rowhomes tucked among an otherwise disheartening bunch of Jefferson University towers. For a few moments the rest of the city fades away and you are invited to contemplate life as it was lived a long ass time ago. The feeling is fleeting and you are soon returned to the bright lights and the noise, but solace can be taken just across the street at Garces Trading Co.’s tasting station of classy oils and vinegars. Bittersweet indeed.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 3 Comments

Love Note #55: Caroline Bean loves Verde in Midtown Village. But beware, she and I can attest to the fact that you will not leave empty handed

Caroline Bean
Favorite Spot: Verde
Neighborhood: Midtown Village, a.k.a. the Gayborhood
Address: 108 South 13th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

I am: The Director of Social Media for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, aka Visit Philly. I enjoy what I do because I love talking about Philadelphia all of the time – our green spaces, our outdoor dining, our bike lanes, our beer, our museums… all of these things make my job a joy.
Years in Philly: Nearly 10
Current Home: Graduate Hospital

My love note: I love popping in and out of shops on 13th Street in Midtown Village (also known as the Gayborhood). The neighborhood has such history (with famous bars like Woody’s), but is also going through an awesome period of rejuvenation with restaurants like Sampan, Amis and Zavino. But there’s one place I can never resist when buying gifts (or a treat for myself): Verde features handmade Marcie Blaine chocolates, spot-on jewelry (like a little gold soft pretzel necklace), handbags from local designers, really unique cards and everything else delightful! Verde also carries fun wine totes that list Philadelphia neighborhoods, perfect for heading to one of Philadelphia’s BYOBs, and lots of Philly-centric tees. I don’t think I have ever walked out of this place without buying something.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 3 Comments

Love Note #38: Rudy loves the William Way LGBT Community Center lobby in the Gayborhood, but really all the rooms steal his heart

J. Rudy Flesher
Favorite Spot: William Way LGBT Community Center – especially the lobby!
Neighborhood: Gayborhood, right in the heart of Center City

Address: 1315 Spruce Street

I am: A juggler. I juggle arts, politics, and civic engagement every day. I am the program coordinator for Philly4Philly, I am a writer and performing artist, I am an activist, and I sit on the boards of the William Way LGBT Community Center, Young Involved Philadelphia, and The Spruce Foundation
Years in Philly: 5 years, 1 month
Current Home: In Ludlow, although nobody know where that is because it’s an old neighborhood name. Ludlow is from 6th to 9th streets, from Girard to Cecil B. Moore.

My Love Note:

To the William Way LGBT Community Center lobby: 

Sure, I love *all* of the rooms at the Center. I’ve worked from the Cyber Center and I’ve attended many a show in the Ballroom. I’ve planned events and voted in board meetings in The Philadelphia Room. But for me, you, the lobby, represent everything that the community center is and does. You hold archival displays and art shows. You are the hub. On their way to different events and group meetings, everyone comes through first. People not expecting to meet each other stop and talk. Connections are made. Tips for grant writing are given. Tips for crocheting, coding html, and totally fierce eye shadow are also given. Across age and identity and diversity of experience, new knowledge and greater compassion is created. Because you create and hold community, lobby and the William Way LGBT Community Center, that is why I love you dearly, and why you are my 
favorite spot in the city.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 2 Comments

Love Note #6: Pickle Backs at Bar

Favorite Spot: Bar
Neighborhood: Market East, Ave. of Arts South
Address: 1309 Sansom St.

I am: an exhibition designer, a southerner, and a perfectionist 
Years in Philly: nearly two
Current home: South Philly

My love note: Pickles are delicious, Jameson is delicious, who would have ever thought to put the two together? I’m not sure if this drink is Philly-born, but it seems like it should be. My classmates and I first ordered this weirdly refreshing drink (at the bar named Bar) after asking the surely bartender what was in the unmarked clay jugs near the register (their pickle brine is made in-house). Over the last two years, my hectic school schedule has kept me from exploring a lot of Philadelphia, but not Center City’s drinking establishments. 

Having a pickle back at this dank dark bar, on a side street, in the middle of the city, just seems quintessentially Philly…

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 1 Comment