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


Confronting my fears at Ignite 12

The other week, I did something that totally terrified me. And by terrified, I mean the last time I tried to do it I ended up crying in a bathroom stall and not coming out till it was over. What was it? Giving a public presentation. When the guys behind Ignite Philly asked me to speak at Ignite 12, I only accepted because I had one drink too many at an inspiring Ignite 11. I was roped in, and anyway, there’s no better way of getting over a fear than confronting it head on — in front of 300 semi-drunk Philadelphians. Luckily I was talking about a subject I’m passionate about.

I gave a lightning five-minute talk about Philly Love Notes and the lessons learned from doing it. And they are as follows…

1. Do something that terrifies you (Ignite)
2. Be surprised (Beryl Belcher and Alison Dell)
3. Be open to new experiences (David Goodman and Holly Otterbein)
4. Appreciate your surroundings (Leah Kaufmann and Nathaniel Popkin)
5. Listen (Susanne Johnson and Emma Sicalowski)
6. Enjoy other people’s excitement (Matthew Sherman and Ralph Onesti)
7. Find your community (Timothy McKenna and Rudy Flesher)
8. Find someone who makes you laugh (Andrew-Lansie and Leigh-Aaron)
9. Find quiet (Zach Subar and Phil Jablon)
10. Learn someone’s history (Colleen Davis and Tom Petersen)
11. Document your own loves (Gate Lane and the Race Street Pier)
12. Take your friends out (Nick Goldberg and Dan Ueda)
12. Go out of your way (Jill Sybesma and Joel Mathis)
13. Eat liberally (Philly Phoodie and Polly Math)
14. Drink even more liberally (Tara Nurin, Nikki Volpicelli, Molly Eichel, Swabreen Bakr, Isabelle Heyward)
15. Fall in love (Shannon McDonald and Michelle Feldman)
16. Find your own spot (and if you do, submit a love note)

If you’re interested, the audio of my talk and all the others can be found on the Newsworks website.

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How do we get the waterfront Philly deserves?

Even before becoming the communications manager for the Delaware River Waterfront Corp (DRWC) I had a mild fixation with waterfronts and ships. I wrote my thesis on the Philadelphia port’s fumigation policies so that I could get close to the big cranes and watch the boats being unloaded. Since starting my job, I’ve become hyperaware of how cities use their waterfront. I spent this past weekend in New York City. On Sunday, we strolled through Brooklyn Bridge Park, the promenade, ate at Smorgasberg, and then took the East River Ferry from the park to 34th Street in Manhattan. I was blown away by the park: it’s amenities and uses, the number of people visiting, and the small touches that made it seem so special.


Last week, DRWC unveiled the preliminary design plans for a new Penn’s Landing Park. The timeline is long, and the money needed is enormous, but god do I hope that we can pull it off. Brooklyn Bridge Park was perfectly New York, and I would like to imagine that the future Penn’s Landing will be perfectly Philadelphia. How great would it be to walk down Market Street and finally see a waterfront worthy of our history and great city. A girl can dream (and be part of the organization that would build it), right?

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I Heart My City Survey

I filled out this survey (see previous post). Curious to hear what you have to say.

Fill out my online form.


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I Heart My City

National Geographic runs a series called I Heart My City, producing a collection of great city guides from residents themselves. I submitted my answers for Philadelphia, which don’t seem to have been chosen, but I figured I would share them here…

Philly (Philadelphia) is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to the 33rd floor of the PSFS building.


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Love letter to Philadelphia for the Huffington Post

I reached out to the Huffington Post for their Love Letters section. I figured, I have a collection of 175 love letters, why not re-post one there.

Instead, they asked my to write one. So I did. It got published today in their travel section today!

race street pier from Philly Love Notes

Today on the Race Street Pier (one of my favorite spots in the city)


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Spring Break

Philly Love Notes is taking a much needed Spring Break — i.e., I just started a new job and need to learn how to handle both at once. I’ll start publishing love letters again in two weeks.

In the meantime, put your love for Philly down on paper/computer screen, and send it over to me at or use the SUBMIT page. 


Leaving you (temporarily) with a photo from my new office down at the Delaware River Waterfront. Spending every day along the river is only making me love Philly even more.

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Josh Kruger’s love letter to the Philadelphia HIV/AIDS organizations that saved his life

Josh Kruger, a Philly-based writer and editor, writes about HIV/AIDS, LGBT politics, media and ethics using his personal experience as a member of Philly’s LGBT community and as someone living with HIV. I’ve excerpted a love note he wrote to the Philadelphia HIV/AIDS organizations who saved his life last year. To see the rest of the love letter, and to read more of his work, please visit Josh’s website.

“So, last year, after decades of HIV/AIDS research, after decades of public health campaigns, and after thousands of HIV/AIDS related fundraisers, volunteer campaigns, and solemn memorials for those men and women we have lost to this virus, I was still stubbornly dying.  At this point, it was the work of bureaucrats at the Philadelphia AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO) that came into action because I made one single phone call to AACO upon the urging of an HIV case manager at Action AIDS.  After this brief phone call with an incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, and commonsense woman at AACO who went above and beyond her duty in order to comply with my ridiculous lack of a voicemail box, I was fast tracked to an appointment at Philadephia FIGHT.  And, at this point, I began to take ownership of my health and take the steps necessary to live long enough to be both a writer and, eventually, an LGBT senior citizen living with HIV.

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George Matysik’s roundup of Philly’s gems

Want to go on a Philly adventure? Venture into some of the less traveled neighborhoods? George Matysik’s got a list that will take you from 52nd Street to Feltonville.

Bell’s Market is a Russian supermarket in the Northeast filled with cheap produce, an extensive selection of smoked and dried fish, deli salads, cheap canned goods, an entire aisle of tea, and candies and chocolates you’ve probably never heard of. If you don’t speak Russian, you may be the only one in the shop that doesn’t.
8354 Bustleton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19152

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Love Letters from the Science Leadership Academy (Part 2)

Below are more of the many love letters written by Meenoo Rami’s students at the Science Leadership Academy. To read more and to see what Philadelphia students have to say about their city, check out their website.

Michael Sanders
Favorite spot: Mt Airy Playground
Neighborhood: Mt. Airy
Address: Sprague Street

I am: A student at Science Leadership Academy and an Editor for MightyPost. I love watching and playing sports in general, but I also enjoy videogames, bike riding and watching Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Current Home: Mt Airy


Photo by R. Kennedy for GPTMC

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The #whyilovephilly twitter campaign recap

Well that was fun…

Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 10.08.28 AM

Yesterday I put together a #whyilovephilly twitter campaign, enlisting the help of over fifty news organizations, non-profits and individuals. We asked people why they loved Philly, and added in a few of our own reasons. We retweeted the ones we liked, and had conversations across the Philly-twitterverse. We did it all using #whyilvephilly.

You know what happened? There were thousands of tweets from Philadelphians and former residents. It remained almost entirely positive. We had so much to say about this city that we made it trend all day in Philadelphia and nationally for a part of the day. People talked about the sports teams, the history, cheesesteaks (of course), the independent music scene, museums, crab fries, and more. There was a lot said about crab fries.

The takeaway: people love this city for a variety of reasons, but mostly because it is home.

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