Favorite Spot: Singing Fountain
Neighborhood: E. Passyunk Square
Address: East Passyunk Ave. and Tasker St
I am: A 33-year old native New Yorker, been living in Philadelphia for 12 years. I work at the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub, a U.S. Department of Energy project at the Navy Yard. I am the immediate past President of the Passyunk Square Civic Association, where I’ve served for the last 5 years. Years in Philly: 12Current Home: Passyunk Square, the area between Washington Ave. and Tasker St. between 6th and Broad streets, home to Pat’s and Geno’s, the Lower Italian Market, and the vibrant East Passyunk Avenue business corridor.
My love note: One of my favorite places (so many to choose from!) in Philadelphia is the Singing Fountain at East Passyunk Ave. and Tasker St. The triangle of land is created by the diagonal East Passyunk running through 11th St and Tasker St. It once housed a gas station, and then sat vacant for years until being renovated as a public space. Last year, the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation gave the Fountain a major face-lift, removing the fencing, adding benches and a chess table, and planting trees and greenery.
At any given time, you’ll find people hanging out at the Fountain, listening to the music (not just Sinatra anymore!), eating gelato from Capogiro, watching kids stamp through the puddles, playing a game of chess, or dining at one of the restaurants that add outdoor seating at the Fountain on busy nights. Farmer’s markets are held there every Wednesday throughout the warm-weather months, and musical acts often perform during “Second Saturdays” and other festivals throughout the year.
The Fountain brings the neighborhood together, provides a public space for relaxation, people-watching and general enjoyment. It’s a true Philadelphia gem!
Favorite Spot: Fante’s Kitchen Shop at the Italian Market
Neighborhood: Italian Market
Address: 1006 South 9th Street
I am: I am a mechanical engineer, with a passion for cooking and I take my kitchen utensils/gadgets very seriously.
Years in Philly: 5
Current Home: West Philly
My love note: Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think their collection’s complete? Look at this trove treasures untold how many wonders can one cavern hold? Looking around here you think sure, they’ve got everything. They’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. They’ve got whozits and whatzits galore. You want thingamabobs? They’ve got twenty!
Alright, had to get that out of my system. Yes I like Disney songs too, but Disney doesn’t sell an 1800 watt stainless steel deep fryer that makes you want to let out a Tim Allen-esque grunt. Fante’s Kitchen Shop really does have everything, even a 3 ft pepper mill, and nothing says manly kitchen time like over sized cookware. I feel like a kid in a toy store when roaming the aisles, jumping from cutlery to cast iron cookware to meat grinders. For those of you who are more of the in-and-out type, the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, allowing for well informed purchases of all of your cooking and baking needs. The store also has a rich history dating back to 1906, making it a great place to get some local culture.
David Whelan (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot: Shank’s Original Pier 40
Neighborhood: Queen Village
Address: Follow Christian Street east all the way to Columbus Blvd. It’s across the street on the water. 901 S. Columbus Boulevard
I am: Married with two kids
Years in Philly: 4
Current home: I own a house in Queen Village, but live in Iowa
My love note: I enjoy going for walks during my lunch hour. I try to find lunch spots where I can sit outside and get some sun in addition to a good sandwich. Shank’s opened up a couple years ago. The restaurant itself is a shack sitting out by the pier. You order from a window and they call your name over an intercom when it’s ready. I enjoy sitting at the red metal picnic tables outside and watching the water. You can see some coast guard boats parked next to the pier and various ships going by on the Delaware. Sometimes there are a few old guys fishing. I doubt they catch much. The water is pretty murky. I would recommend most of the sandwiches. The eggplant parm is definitely my favorite. My kids enjoy the meatball sub.
Leigh Goldenberg and Aaron Bauman
Favorite Spot: Capitolo Community Garden and Paolone Park
Neighborhood: E. Passyunk/South Philly
Address: Capitolo Community Garden — 10th and Federal; Paolone Park — between Sears and Medina/7th and 8th.
We are: Bike Commuters, Phillies Season Ticket Holders.
Leigh: Theatre Administrator, Food Co-Op volunteer, Lover of Coincidences
Aaron: Website Guy, Homebrewer, Ultimate Frisbee Player
Years in Philly: 5 together as homeowners, plus Leigh’s 18 years in the burbs conveniently situated near a regional rail station
Current Home: We call our block Franklin Heights. Our civic association is Passyunk Square
My love note:
Dear South Philly,
You are better known for your cheesesteaks and every-man-for-himself parking wars than for aesthetically pleasing greenery. But we’ve found those trees and places to plant. In the Capitolo Community Garden, we’ve grown enough red peppers to season our pasta for years, pounds of asparagus, fistfuls of arugula, oodles of herbs. We’ve met neighbors that represent all the types of people that make South Philly home – long-time residents, new families, English/Spanish/Chinese/Japanese speakers.
Often on our way to and from home, we pass Paolone Park. We never call this park by its name, but rather “Park Block,” a little haven of community two blocks from our house. We covet their barbecues with inflatable pools and live music, and sneak a walk past the landscaped greenery whenever we have spare time or babysit someone’s dog.
Leigh and Aaron
Ben Cassorla (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot: Center City Pretzel Company
Neighborhood: Italian Market
Address: 816 Washington Ave
I am: guitarist, brother
Years in Philly: solidly on till I was 18, now fleetingly (and usually in the wee hours)
Current home: Los Angeles
My love note: Center City Pretzels is where a piece of my childhood was baked. They’re only open from midnight–noon, the pretzels you buy are literally coming right off the conveyor belt (its a factory) for maximum heat and goodness, and they’re just 35 cents. Perfect for the wee hours of the night or morning.
Favorite Spot: Hardena Restaurant
Neighborhood: Point Breeze?
Address: 1754 S Hicks St, 19145
I am: a scientist, student, foodie
Years in Philly: Off and on for 29. Almost 30. Getting old.
Current home: South Philly, the promised land of pho and Mexican food