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

Sean Martorana x Philly Love Notes

The best part about running Philly Love Notes and making maps is the opportunity to connect with, spotlight, and help build the Philly community (see Giving Back This Year -- news about 2017 soon, #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign, #whyilovephilly parties, Philly Love Letters). So... I'm very excited to announce the new project, #whyilovephillyarts, a series of collaborations aimed at showcasing the amazingly talented artists and makers we have here in the city.  The Concept - Commission a piece of art from a variety of painters, illustrators, graphic designers, Read more

parks

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.

Chris-Robinson-Belmont-Plateau-4

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

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

Emma-Sicalowski-Clark-Park-1

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in West Philly Leave a comment

Campus Philly Love Notes: Rittenhouse Square Park

Editor’s note: The interns of Campus Philly share their most loved Philly spots and experiences as students in the City of Brotherly Love.

Yara Jishi, Bryn Mawr College
Favorite Spot: Rittenhouse Square Park
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse Square
Address: 18th & Walnut

I am: A college student pursuing an English and Creative Writing degree at Bryn Mawr College
Years in Philly: 3
Current Home: Haddonfield, New Jersey

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Rittenhouse Square 1 Comment

Love Note #72: Race Street Pier, the past, present and future of the City (Gary Steuer)

Gary Steuer
Favorite Spot: Race Street Pier Park (and environs)
Neighborhood: Old City
Address: Race Street and Columbus Boulevard/Delaware Avenue

I am: The Chief Cultural Office of the City of Philadelphia and Direct the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. I am grateful that my job allows me to support and celebrate the culture and creative energy that drives this City.
Years in Philly: Four (but I have a little bit of Philly roots in that my parents met here in the Fifties…)
Current Home: Bella Vista – Broad and Fitzwater 

My Love Note: I would say that my new favorite spot is the Race Street Park. It is beautifully designed, peaceful, offers a fantastic Philadelphia cityscape view of the Delaware and the Ben Franklin Bridge, and provides inspiration for the further development of the Delaware waterfront. Approaching the park from Race Street, you also get to experience “Marquis,” a work of digital public art by Richard Torchia and Greenhouse Media that presents a live feed of a moving image of the surface of the Delaware River that is somewhat abstracted by the LED screen. Really cool! 


AND, if that were not enough, across the street from the Race Street Park is the new headquarters of Live Arts/Philly Fringe, in a historic water pumping building. I feel like in this spot, at this point in time, the past, present and future of the City are all simultaneously evident, as well the integration of the arts and design into the urban environment.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Delaware River 2 Comments

Love note #70: The FDR skatepark: a gem underneath I-95 (Hilary Malson)

Hilary Malson
Favorite Spot: FDR Skatepark
Neighborhood: Bottom of South Philly

Address: Broad and Pattison, under 95

I am: pedestrian, photo blogger, DC native. Currently doing community development work in Mt. Airy.
Years in Philly: 5 in the area, 1 in city limits
Current home: Just moved from West Philly to South Philly

My love note: The thing you’ve gotta recognize about FDR Skatepark is that it’s iconic and celebrated around the world, but it’s also widely unknown even here in Philadelphia. I don’t remember how I first found out about FDR, but a little over a month after moving to the Main Line for college I took the R5 into town, transferred to the Broad Street Line, got off at Pattison and descended into the park (the skatepark is just one section of the expansive and gorgeous FDR Park). You’ll find the skatepark past the Lakes and the ball fields, nestled underneath 95.


I don’t actually skate, so someone who does and knows the place in that way will appreciate the park for entirely different reasons, but there’s no better place than FDR if you love watching people skate. It’s is an organic effort that has grown over time, with a dedicated community of skaters and friends that uses salvaged materials to regularly maintain and build new bowls and ramps. Up on the east rim of the skatepark is a wide ledge, perfect for watching the skaters against a stunning backdrop of the skyline. FDR is loud. It’s friendly. The art always changes. Sometimes there’s a band, and if you wait long enough the ice cream truck will come by.


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

Love Note #68: Vincent Alleva Jr. — Some beers, his dog, and Devil’s Pool in Wissahickon Park

Vincent Alleva Jr.
Favorite Spot: The Wissahickon Creek and Devil’s Pool
Neighborhood: Northwest – Valley Green which is situated between Roxborough, Chestnut Hill, West Mt. Airy and Germantown

I am: A third generation Philadelphian. I live, work, and play in Philly. I have lived in many neighborhoods in the city including Kingsessing, Parkside, Fairmont, Lower Moyamensing, and Pennsport. I blog about the South Philadelphia community on a facebook group page called South Silly. I’ve worked for the Painters and allied trades union of Philadelphia for 8 years. I currently work at the Barbary in Fishtown. On my spare time I enjoy spinning music, riding my bike throughout the city and walking my dog to the plethora of parks in and around my neighborhood.
Years in Philly: On and of for 14 years.
Current Home: Pennsport

My love note: In ’93 my family moved out of Southwest Philly to South Jersey where I grew up, in the suburbs. That gave me the opportunity to become a boy scout and spend plenty of time camping and playing in the woods. As I grew older, the allure of moving back to the city became a daily commute. 

Upon moving my adult self back to the city, I longed for the hot summer days spent in the woods by creeks and rivers. To me, there is nothing like getting the dog ready, filling a backpack with some beers, and heading to the woods with some buddies to go cliff jumping and swimming in the Wissahickon. Relaxing, fun, and adventurous. 

Meeting other people out there and watching dare devils doing back flips some 15-20 feet above the water with perfect execution and thundering splash is most definitely entertaining. Catch it during the week when its not so busy with a few close friends and you’ll have yourself a wonderful time. The surroundings can almost bring you back in time. This is why I love the Wissahickon Creek and Devils Pool.
(Top and third photo by Vincent)
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Mt. Airy Leave a comment

Love Note #67: Jill Sybesma loves a particular shady hilltop in Pennypack Park in Fox Chase

Jill Sybesma

Favorite Spot: a shaded hilltop in Pennypack Park in Fox Chase
Neighborhood: Fox Chase
Address: Pennypack Park

I am: Part city chick, part burb girl, and major geek at the Academy of Natural Sciences trying to bring in more geeks
Years in Philly: Born and raised in Montgomery County just a block from the Philly county line
Current Home: Fox Chase section of Philly

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Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Northeast 1 Comment

Love Note #64: Erica Hawthorne watches over the city she loves from Drexel Park in University City

Erica Hawthorne
Favorite Spot: Drexel Park
Neighborhood: University City
Address: Baring and 32nd streets


I am: Poet, artist advocate, chocolate chip cookie connoisseur (or addict…same same), owner of one very spoiled cat and founder of Small But Mighty Arts Grant (thanks to the Knight Foundation!).
Years in Philly: 9 years…and counting.
Current Home: Powelton Village…but I just call it West Philly 🙂
My love note: I fell in love with Philadelphia before I even moved to Philadelphia. When I arrived, I had a bit of culture shock! But it grew on me…the neighborhoods, the restaurants, the friends I’ve made (who have awesome house parties), getting lost EVERYWHERE, every creative, artistic venue, event, person and moment I experience, and the skyline that peeks out every time I crest a hill in surrounding neighborhoods.

This park used to be a graveled inaccessible space, the skyline hidden behind fenced tension. Even then, I used to drive by, slow down and strain to see what I knew was a great view, save for all of the barriers. When they began turning over soil I thought the space would end up as a condo haven, but to my surprise, it become this amazing park space. 

Here, the city looks close enough to touch, and I come here to reflect on how far I’ve come since I’ve been here and just how close I have become with the city. The park is a great spot to hang out during the day, although the grass is a bit rough, but isn’t that so Philly?: a bit rough, even more beautiful…and still someplace you want to be. At night, from this place, it’s like watching a rambunctious toddler finally settle down, peaceful and resting. Only a few windowed lids flutter on the building facades, haloed by the stars, the occasional whining of a train pulling into to the station like a familiar blanket, while the Art Museum sits off to the left like a night light. Even at night, you can feel the city still building and renewing and getting ready for another day.

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

Love Note #56: Need a beautiful park in the city? Michelle Cassidy and Cathy Nino both love Fitler Square

Michelle Cassidy
Favorite Spot: Fitler Square Park
Neighborhood: Fitler Square
Address: 23rd and Pine

I am: Community manager for Yelp.com and lover of all things Philadelphia, from sandwiches to sports
Years in Philly: 1.5 as a Philly resident, but a native of the Philly region
Current Home: Graduate Hospital


Cathy Nino
Favorite Spot: Fitler Square

I am: I have worked for the Court of Common Pleas in the City of Philadelphia for 22 years and the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union for 13 years as a Human Resource Manager.

Years in Philly: 33
Current Neighborhood: Fitler Square

Michelle’s love note: Located in the shadow of that other popular Square, Fitler Square does not see scores of lunchtime breakers, retirees, moms with strollers, teenagers and tourists. It’s a quiet, peaceful park, where there’s always a free bench and plenty of grass to spread your picnic blanket. The park charms with brick walkways and a canopy of leaves from the large trees. There is something really special about Fitler Square; I feel content and reflective on every visit. It doesn’t receive anywhere close to the amount of visitors it deserves. Selfishly, that’s just the way I like it.

Cathy’s love note: Anytime of the year this neighborhood gem is available to everyone looking for a quiet respite, friendly meeting place, or a safe park for your child to play. There are seasonal events such as an Easter egg hunt, Halloween pumpkin hunt and a visit from Santa with holiday songs sung around the beautifully decorated Fitler fountain. There is a Fair every May held by the Fitler Square Improvement Association to raise funds for the care of this very special park in Center City Philadelphia.

(Michelle)
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Graduate Hospital Leave a comment

Love Note #50: Liberty Lands in Northern Liberties — A neighborhood park as is it truly ought to be by Brent Luvaas

Brent Luvaas
Favorite Spot: Liberty Lands
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties
Address: 926 N. American Street


I am: Visual and cultural anthropologist, Assistant Professor at Drexel University, and the blogger behind www.urbanfieldnotes.com.
Years in Philly: Three
Current Neighborhood: The slums of the Main Line

My love note: A neighborhood park as is it truly ought to be: overgrown, untamed, and teeming with life. Sure the grass is uncared for and turns dead brown in the summer, but it still feels alive, with a giant fine art mural as a backdrop, a large community garden, a stage, and two decently–sized playgrounds where my daughter spent nearly every afternoon for the year and a half we lived in Northern Liberties. Plus — and here’s the icing on the cake ­— Liberty Lands is a community owned park, not a city park, which means no one’s going to stop you if you swig a few beers on the park bench while watching your kid pile bark on the blue plastic slide.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Northern Liberties Leave a comment