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


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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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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