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


Love Letters from the Science Leadership Academy

Below are just a couple 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.

Amanda Millatt
Favorite spot: Clark Park
Neighborhood: University City
Address: 42nd Baltimore

I am: A Philadelphia high school senior, a runner, a volunteer and an aspiring doctor.
Years in Philly: 18
Current Home: University City


My Love Note:

Dear Clark Park,

I do not like you. I do not like any of your local summer events that I greatly anticipate during the tedious winters. I do not like attending everyone of your monthly flee markets with my best friend. I defiantly do not like getting awesome novelty items such as an accordion or locally made jewelry for amazing prices. I do not enjoy watching the free Shakespeare theatrical productions every year with my mother, which I want to add is well put together and humorous. I do not like snow days because I always have the best time going sledding down the massive hill at the bowl. I did not enjoy spending hours playing hiding-go-seek and giggling with my middle school friends. Most of all I dislike all the unforgettable memories that I had with you. I can not simply like you, I love everything about you. Thank you Clark Park for the best eight years of my life!

With love,

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A long time coming. My Love Note to Philadelphia

Emma Fried-Cassorla
Favorite Place: Philadelphia, all of it

I am: A blogger, a soon-to-be communications manager at a yet-to-be disclosed Philly organization, a reformed neuroscientist, a twin, a Philly-girl, a loving girlfriend, and Walter B. Majestic’s #2 fan
Years in Philly: 30 minus 5
Current Home: S. Philly


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Steve Grantz writes a love letter to a Philly-based past time, the Pimple Ball

Editors Note: This love note strays a bit from the norm. It is not an ode to a place or an event, but rather to a Philly-specific  . The pimple ball was popular in two cities — Philadelphia and Boston. The writer grew up in S. Philly, went to Central High School and UPENN, and has since moved on to Baltimore. Rather than choosing a particular place, he wrote this love letter to his childhood game.    

Steve Grantz (Ex-pat files)
I Am: A Philly native living in Baltimore, which has similarities, but plenty of differences.
Current Home: Baltimore (Roland Park)
Years in Philly: Ages 0-21

(photo from Collectors Weekly)

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Mighty Writers: Zamira’s Love Note to Hershey Park

Editors Note: In November, 2012, I taught a class at the Mighty Writers, a non-profit who’s mission is to “teach Philadelphia kids to think and write with clarity, so self-esteem grows and success is achieved at school, at work and in life.” I was curious how children would see and write about their experiences in Philadelphia. The second writer is Zamira, who chose to write about Hershey Park (not within Philadelphia, but a perfect choice nonetheless).

Zamira Sigel-Kulick, 5th Grade

Zamira Hershey Park copy

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#whyilovephilly Twitter Campaign

Philly Love Notes is putting together a #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign for
Valentines Day, and we want your help!


The mission is simple: To show Philly some love and to get #whyilovephilly trending on Valentines Day.

How you can participate: On Valentines Day, tweet about why you love philly, using #whyilovephilly. Ask your followers to do the same. Retweet some of your favorite responses. It’s that simple.

Who else is involved: We’ve got a bunch of organizations all ready to spread the word. They include, but are not limited to, NewsWorks, the Academy of Natural Science, Geekadelphia, Hidden Cities, Campus Philly, JUMP Magazine, the Tin Angel, Old City District and many, many more.
#whyilovephilly Twitter Feed

 (we want Twitter to look like this all day)

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Aaron Hertzog’s Love Letter to Philadelphia Comedy from WitOut

Editors Note: This piece was originally published on WitOut, a blog run by a group of comedians that covers the burgeoning and lively comedy scene in Philadelphia. You can follow WitOut on their website, on Facebook and Twitter


Dear Philadelphia Comedy,

All of it. Every open mic that lasted for two weeks in a bar I’d never want to step foot in unless they let me talk at half-listening strangers. Every fire hall gig in the middle of nowhere booked by a gravelly disembodied voice on the phone with a promise of pay I wasn’t sure I’d really receive. Every awkward improv scene where I wasn’t sure what to do so I just got louder, repeated what I’d already been saying, and tried to be a bigger, sillier, goofier fool. Every line of every sketch where I’ve agonized over details that don’t even matter, like the full first and last name of a character whose name is never even said.

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8 Philadelphia-centric and Philadelphia-made Etsy Picks

It would have made more sense for me to compile this list before the holidays, but there are always birthdays, weddings, and housewarming parties that demand some type of gift. Obviously, the ones I would choose for this blog are Philly-centric. More importantly, all of the items are Philly-made as well.

1. Make a Match Memory Game Philly Edition
Mama May I toys and games are made by Jessica in South Philly. This memory game and others can be found on Etsy and online. You can also follow her on Facebook

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Philadelphia’s Interactive Art Exhibits of 2012 and 2013

Inspired by a post from My Modern Metropolis (an incredible blog if you haven’t yet seen it) and a trip to the Park Ave Armory in Manhattan for Ann Hamilton’s the Event of a Thread (see below), I thought I would look back on some of Philly’s interactive art installations of 2012.
1. Longwood Garden’s Light: Installations by Bruce Munro
This installation featured seven trippy large-scale outdoor light installations. My favorite was the Forest of Light featuring 20,000 illuminated stems that looked like blooming flowers amidst a dense forest. The other most striking part of the installation was the Water Towers, a collection of 69 symmetric towers made of two-liter soda bottles. Each bottle contained a fiber optic cable that changed color in relation to music that was being played throughout the installation. I don’t know what Longwood Gardens could do to top that installation.
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My favorite posts of 2012 (Emma)

5. Ross Markman and Emily Paull (Love Notes #4 and 5): Reading Terminal Market
Ross was my friend’s roommate.  Emily is his girlfriend. Somehow I convinced them to be the first love note writers outside of my own short notes. I met them at Reading Terminal, iPhone in hand, having no real experience with photography, and certainly none with photographing people. We sat down at the tables in the Market, and I handed them each a piece of paper to write their love notes that I would later transcribe. I have learned much since then: 

  • Have people submit their notes via email when they are good and ready 
  • Courier is a terrible type font for this blog (yes, I know, it will be fixed soon)
  • Shoot photos of people discreetly if possible so as not to make them too uncomfortable
  • Warn contributors that it’s “just me and an iPhone” so they’re not too disappointed when I come sans camera
  • Have standardized questions
  • Hyperlink
  • Occasionally add in some personal moments (but not too many)
  • Use the meeting as an opportunity to get to know the contributors and the places they’ve chosen


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Philly Beer Girl’s "Why I Love Philly" Post

Philly Beer Girl, a writer and beer lover (as her name implies) wrote this great little piece about her love for Philly. 

Recently, the Travel Channel featured the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover in Philadelphia. I know there were were a lot of viewing parties throughout the city in places that were featured on the show. While I didn’t make it out to view with my fellow Philadelphians, I had a great time watching it at home. I was proud of the city I love so much; Anthony showed the real diversity that exists in the city, proved that our food scene is far more than just cheese steaks (as someone on the show rightly pointed out, people who live here really don’t eat them all that often), and made us look like we’re more than just an angry group of people (minus the woman who gave the finger to the cameraman at opening of the show, of course) who throw snowballs at Santa Claus and beat up on tourists.

It got me thinking about why I love Philly as much as I do. Sure, there are problems. Our transit system isn’t that great, regardless of what Anthony said. Our public schools are mostly failing. There are a lot of homeless people and panhandlers. But I don’t want to focus on what’s wrong. I want to focus on what’s right.

My boyfriend grew up in Iowa and moved to the east coast about 13 years ago. He was the first person, but not the last, that I heard call Philadelphia “the biggest little city”. It’s true. It’s one of the things that I love most about the city. Because I grew up in the suburbs of Philly, then worked in one of the largest ad agencies here, and because of my involvement in the beer scene, there’s rarely a time that we go out and I don’t run in to someone I know. It doesn’t matter what part of the city we’re in – chances are I’ll know someone. Now, that might sound like my ego talking, but it’s not. It’s what makes Philadelphia feel like a community to me. The whole damn city is really just one big community! It’s so easy to get to know the people who are interested in the same things you are, if you’re willing to make the effort.

Also, it’s an extremely approachable city. It’s not as big, or as busy, as New York, which makes you feel like you can come in and really get to know the different neighborhoods and the people who live there. As much as I feel that there’s a lot of community in Philly, there are distinct neighborhoods. Each one has it’s own vibe and offers something to the people living there. I was lucky enough to live Fairmount for 5 years. It was quiet, tree-lined, and full of great culture and restaurants. Then I was even luckier to move to Bella Vista and live there for two years. It was hip, cool, and eclectic. Lots of amazing things going on in that neighborhood to this day, as the restaurants and stores continue to come in to that vibrant area.

Of course, nothing is perfect and Philly most certainly isn’t. But to me, it’s perfect in it’s imperfection.

To see the post in its original form, and read more about Philly’s great beer scene, check out her blog.
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