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 #42: A pandemic drove Amy Fried to Laurel Hill, but you should just go because it’s beautiful

Amy Fried
Favorite Spot: Laurel Hill Cemetery

Neighborhood: East Falls (?)
Address: 3822 Ridge Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19132

I am: A psychologist currently working for the School District of Philadelphia, wife, and mother of three incredible children. I have a great appreciation for the history, culture, diversity and natural beauty that can be found in Philadelphia.
Years in Philly: about 2 1/2 years
Current Home: Cheltenham, two blocks from the city line.

My love note: I first discovered Laurel Hill cemetery when my younger son contracted swine flu. We were stuck inside for days, and, as his symptoms were very mild, were going stir crazy because we could not venture out while he was “contagious.” So on a beautiful day, my son and I decided to wander around the grounds where we were pretty sure the resident population would not be concerned about infection.

The cemetery is situated on a hill overlooking the Schuylkill River—visible if you are driving, biking or walking on Kelly Drive near the East Falls Bridge. The famous and infamous are interred here (e.g., Civil War general George Meade, Harry Kalas, Thomas Dolan and David Lane). There are guided tours and a free cell phone tour, but I prefer to wander and wonder at the Victorian-era art and architecture, and read the occasional 18th or 19th century gravestone and imagine what the dearly departed’s life was like. I also like to spook myself by peeking into the mausoleums that are built into the hillside and almost always in shadow. Every view is worth a photograph, often with the Schuylkill River or the skyline of Philadelphia in relief. The cemetery is, I believe, at its most beautiful and tranquil at sunset. So take a tour or wander, and don’t wait until the next potential pandemic to visit!

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in East Falls/Roxborough Leave a comment

Love Note #35: Stephen Zook may have found one of the best views of the city at Lemon Hill in Fairmount Park

Stephen Zook
Favorite Spot: Lemon Hill
Neighborhood: Fairmount / Fairmount Park
Address: Lemon Hill Drive

I am: A twenty-something transplant who lives and works in Philly.
Years in Philly: 6
Current Home: Fairmount


My love note: You’re ambling down Kelly Drive. You hit the boat houses, and decide to cut off into Fairmount Park. Old, twisting steps peek out from the brush and trees. Winding and turning, they carry you up to a dirt footpath worn into the grass. You turn around, and over the treetops is the Schuylkill, the Art Museum, and the Philly skyline. Behind you is Lemon Hill Mansion, once home to one of the premier public gardens in the world. This spot is quiet and calm, allowing you to hide from Philadelphia’s gaze while peering out at it.

Philly is filled with spots like this, whether they are grandiose and world-renowned (Art Museum steps, I’m looking at you) or way-stations that let you take in a great view before diving back into the city’s tunnels (Spring Garden El stop, next up). If you want to see a familiar sight from an unfamiliar perspective, try standing at the top of the Art Museum steps at night, when it’s raining or snowing. During a night rainstorm, Center City’s lights cast a glow unto the clouds, creating a skyline that is both eerie and serene at the same time. Nighttime during snowfall creates some visibility problems, but Philly has never looked so majestic.



Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fairmount 1 Comment

Love Note #19: Penn Treaty Park

Alex B.

Favorite Spot: Penn Treaty Park
Neighborhood: Fishtown
Address: 1199 N Delaware Ave

I am: A city lover and a nature lover
Years in Philly: 5
Current Home: 10th and Pine

My love note: As if in fear of being lapped up by the million tongues of the mighty Delaware, Philadelphia keeps its rivers at bay.  Stone walls rise from the rivers and old piers decay, severed from the city bustle by our local stretch of the Eisenhower interstate highway system.  But a little notch of green in Fishtown cuts through these defenses, where a smokestack giant lumbers upriver and a casino sprawls across its parking lot blanket downriver.  You may notice as you walk towards the river at Penn Treaty Park that nothing stops you from walking on, as you head down onto the riprap, till the water laps your feet.  Sit there at sunset or after the sun has fallen below the horizon, and it’s another world completely.  The sounds and smells of the river seem oceanic.  The slow boats, the trees on Pettys Island, the lights on the graceful Ben Franklin Bridge, and a wide expanse of the night sky… it’s a place to be swept away by greater forces.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Fishtown / Kensington Leave a comment

Love Note #14: South Street Bridge

My love note: I was pissed when they removed the first South Street Bridge, thus altering my bike route to work. And then…and then when I saw the new one I was ok with those two years of detours. It is an absolute pleasure to bike to and from work with that spectacular view. Every day and every hour is different. Sometimes it’s just so pretty I pull my bike over and lean over the railings and just watch my city

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Uncategorized, University City 3 Comments

Love Note #10: Albert Fried-Cassorla loves the Water Works at sunset

Albert Fried-Cassorla
Favorite spot: Outside deck of the Water Works Restaurant
Neighborhood: Art Museum District
Address: 640 Waterworks Dr

I am: An English teacher, playwright, husband and father.
Years in Philly: 37
Current Home:  Melrose Park, PA


Read more

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Art Museum Leave a comment