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Meet Your Neighbor: Pat from iDope in Northern Liberties

patfromidopeDid you pick up a new iPhone 5s or 5c and already find yourself in need of a quick repair? Or are you trying to eke out another year from your iPhone 5? We've got the place, or rather, the man for you if you're looking for a Northern Liberties business that repairs iPhones.

That would be Pat at the iDope store in Liberties Walk, who saved our cracked phone screen and replaced it within 5 minutes.  And all we had to do was cross the street.

Thanks iDope and thank you Pat! We'll see you again soon, although not too soon for the sake of our phone's health, we hope. Check out iDope's site for more info.


Meet Your Neighbor: North Shore Beach Club

Have you been to the North Shore Beach Club in Northern Liberties yet? Come meet your neighbors and join already! As members to the only 21+ adult private swim club in the city for the last couple of years, North Shore has provided a great sanctuary for us and you can bet we will be there this summer.

Memberships are now on sale for Summer 2013. Last season sold out quickly, so don't wait. Check out the amenities below and see more of what North Shore is about in our video. See you in April!


• 1,500 Square Foot, 4.5 Foot Deep Pool

• Posh Cabanas With Personalized Service & Luxuries

• Balinese Lounge Chairs, Over-Sized Day Beds & Portable Sun Umbrellas

• Complimentary Plush Towel Service

• Shaded Hammocks

• Ping Pong Tables, Baggo & Other Games

• Upper Level Sundeck

• Air-Conditioned Men’s & Women’s Locker Rooms Complete With Showers & Bathrooms

• Cozy Fire-Pit Lounge

• Live Dj & Music Entertainment

• Complimentary Wi-Fi Coverage

• Poolside Office Center With Fax, Scanning & Copying Capabilities

• Poolside Food & Beverage Service

• Outdoor Shaded Bar & Restaurant

• Gift Shop Offering Specialty Sundries, Clothing & Spa Products

Apply for your Summer 2013 Membership now!


Meet Your Neighbor: Cambridge Street Studios

Meet your neighbor, Cambridge Street Studios (the place where super powers are made).

At the 1500 block of Cambridge Street near 15th and W Girard Avenue sits Cambridge Street Studios, a boutique Philadelphia Art School devoted to teaching academic drawing, painting, and sculpture to all people at any level. Boutique in that they cater to a small group of students and teach a specific approach to drawing representational work, otherwise known as realistic drawing.

Okay. Okay. Hold back on your yawns, folks. I swear, this place is super cool! Read on.

The building is an old historic carriage house located in the furthest corner of the burgeoning Francisville neighborhood that has been converted into several large easel filled studios used for different drawing classes including drawing the live model. Remember that sexy scene from Titanic when Leonardo DiCaprio sketched Kate Winslet nude? Yeah... it’s nothing like that. But that was a great scene, right? Anyway, the founders provide tons of support and one on one instruction in a casual and friendly atmosphere. And umm, mostly clothed.

Cambridge Street Studios was founded by Jeremy Deck, Andrew McManus and Anthony Ranalli, three devoted teachers and IMHO, pioneers, in the Philadelphia art scene. The principles they teach bring into the light very learnable classical approaches to drawing that have been left in the shadows by most current large art institutions. The practice at Cambridge Street Studios and belief in looking at art objectively is a “trend on” concept. Think about it. In our strangely obsessed reality based culture, re-examining realism just makes sense. Especially in the visual arts.

Practically speaking, the founders and teachers at Cambridge Street Studios really challenge you to: 1) Develop by eliminating the underlying weaknesses in your drawing ability, 2) Promote self correction, and 3) Cultivate problem solving abilities. Those are skills that will help advance any person no mater what your starting skill set or end goal is. And as Andrew has said to me on several occasions, learning these principles is like gaining “super powers” in drawing. SUPER POWERS! I totally want that! Don’t you?

Below are samples of the co-founders' recent studio drawings. Head over to their website for more info and photos and contact info. Work by (in the following order): Jeremy Deck, Anthony Ranalli, Andrew McManus.


Meet Garden Hangouts and My New Best Friend Peter!

They say that "fences make for good neighbors", but bamboo brings another meaning to Robert Frost's quote. I love bamboo but there are two kinds of this beautiful plant: aggressive and less aggressive.

Well, we have a rental property with a nice backyard in Old Kensington. One of our ex-tenants thoughtfully (tongue in cheek) planted an aggressive species and it took over my yard as well as the neighbor's garden.

Oops! Sorry! Bamboo looks so harmless but it grows like crazy and it is difficult to keep tame. A friend of mine told me to call Peter Frey from Garden Hangouts to help clear the out of control bamboo.

"Bamboo is one of the most elegant plants available, and can be used in a variety of design applications. Many cultivars are evergreen thereby making it a great choice for hedges and screening. Bamboo has certainly become a hallmark of contemporary landscape design. However, if not installed/contained properly, it can become an interminable nightmare", says Peter.

Garden Hangouts to the rescue! I now have a beautiful brick patio (who knew?) and a happy neighbor. Give Garden Hangouts a call to come whip your landscape into shape and save you from any bamboo breakouts.

[Images via Stephanie Somers and Garden Hangouts]


Meet Your Neighbor: The PaperMill & Karyn Vetter

If you follow the steel path (aka the El) to Kensington,
It is easy to forget or be forgotten.
But if you see the Kensington skyline
From this vantage point,
You’ll remember.

There is a community of Artists here,
And a place to exhibit their ideas;
A venue in which they can perform.
They have creative spaces,
And an environment for inspiration.

The PaperMill is located at 2825 Ormes Street, Philadelphia, PA 19134 in Kensington.

The PaperMill is a community of artists collaborating under one roof in Kensington with tenants that vary from a wide variety of mediums and talents. Papermill tenants have much to offer and are always looking for new ways to influence the community.

The PaperMill manager/owner Karyn Helmar Vetter gave me the grand tour of the studios. She is a fabulous and amazing woman that I greatly admire. Karyn’s vision and goal is for each of the PaperMill Community of Artist members to volunteer to teach the Kensington neighbors art classes, as part of their membership.

Please check out their Facebook Group.

Rental Opportunities:
-Ranging from $100-300 per month for 130-300 plus sf
 - Tons of windows and sunlight 
- Bathrooms on the first and fourth floor, sinks on each floor
 - Utilities included with rent (electric, wifi) 
- Open for use 24-7.

The PaperMill Gallery and Theater available to rent on 1st floor.
 Gallery space is 3,000 sf for $250 for 4 days (PaperMill tenants receive a discounted price as well)

For more information contact Karyn: (215) 687-8391
ka[email protected]com


Meet Your Neighbors: The Amazing Folks of Hancock Street

It all started two years ago when we had feedback from a Realtor based on a showing that occurred  in one of our listings for sale on the 800 Block of Hancock Street in Northern Liberties. When Realtors show a home we always ask them for feedback. The feedback went much like this:

“Buyer did not even want to go into the property. This is the ugliest block in the neighborhood!”

Whaaaat? I gasped at the words as I reread them several times over. I own a condo on that block! My clients’ hearts sunk when they saw such harsh words. That was two years ago.

It was that slap in the face comment that got many members of the 800 block of Hancock Street on a MISSION and thus the “Hancock Street Beautification Committee” was born.

Today, this underdog of a block filled with old warehouses and a mix match up of property styles, is well on its way to being the most charming and creative block in the neighborhood. The 800 block is seriously blessed by the most awesome people I have ever met in the world! I am not exaggerating.

Over the last two years they have hosted block cleanups, random acts of painting, tree planting, seasonal plantings, and a street sculpture was even donated to the block (created by artist Leo Razzi). The new construction homes were  finally completed on the block, and the latest achievement was the mural on the back of Sweat Fitness.

The mural is what I would like to highlight for you today. Many neighbors planned and executed this beautiful mural and I wanted to (in the words of Fatboy Slim) “Praise them like I should”.

One of the neighbors and contributors on the 800 Block of Hancock Street, Anna Lee Wheale said this:  "The world would be a better place if every block had a Lori.  She and her husband Michael did the painting with the help of a few others.  And she is constantly planting flowers around the street and sweeping up to make the block look nice.  We are all very lucky to have her as a neighbor.”

To add to that, I would like to recognize the following folks for their awesomeness:
Lori Coyne
Michael Coyne
Warren Wilson
Chris Wheale
Anne Lee Wheale
Lane and Miguel Santos
The 8oo Block Hancock Street Homeowners/Renters

and if I am missing someone I will add you on to this list!

Thank you so much for your contributions to the block and to the neighborhood. Your hard work has not gone unrecognized.


Meet Your Neighbor: At the Havana Room in Northern Liberties at North Shore

Seriously. If you find yourself in Northern Liberties with no lunch plans, dinner reservations, or no place to get your cocktail hour on, check out The Havana Room. If you are tired of the the same old "scene", or just looking for an outdoor venue this summer...just grab your neighbor, your friends, and head over to The Havana Room. They have a really good menu with fresh fish, meat, veggies and all at a decent price. You can sit under the sun shaded by the umbrellas on the patio or indoors, but the patio gets my vote. Check out your new neighbor, The Havana Room. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the cuisine (Cuban inspired) and the overall experience. Located at North Shore Beach Club in Northern Liberties. No membership required to chill at the bar or restaurant.


Meet Your Neighbor: Bodine High School for International Affairs

I remember my Senior Year of High School. I remember my friends, the teachers, my sports, my hair! It was the 80's and mullets were cool then! I remember counting the days to summer that last year as a Bay Side High Senior and pondering my future as a Tennis Pro/Surfer/Accountant. Decisions, decisions...Yeah, those were special days for me and I am sure for many of you as well. If we only knew then what we know now, right?

That is why it was my great pleasure and honor to speak to the Graduating Class at Bodine High for their first ever Career Day this month. I wanted to introduce them to you by sharing the letter they sent to me. I wish the best for the students and want to say it is a privilege to have Bodine High School right here in Northern Liberties.

Bodine, which consistently ranks as one of the top high schools in the country, is an academic magnet school for students in grades 9 - 12. It is a smaller school, with less than 600 students, and is affiliated with the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, with a focus on international affairs.  The school is located at 1104 N. 4th Street.


Lunch VS Cafe Chismosa: Meet your Neighbor in Northern Liberties

When it comes to the question of where to go or what to eat during lunch hour, Cafe Chismosa is sure to please. Cafe Chismosa is a new eatery at 4th and Poplar. Cafe Chismosa is chicly decorated with a bold yet tasteful mix of eclectic, rustic, retro, and yummy. The menu hangs in the air over a refrigerated counter display filled with all sorts of delights including prepared sandwiches to go, marinades, and all sorts of goodness. And there was even home made banana bread and baked sweets for dessert. For breakfast, lunch, dinner or coffee, it certainly hits the spot. Fresh, unique, and healthy. Meet your new neighbor at Cafe Chismosa.


Meet Your Neighbors: Bloom in Northern Liberties

Welcome to Bloom in Northern Liberties. This boutique is one of my favorites for women's apparel, jewelry, accessories, and gifts. I love shopping here. The girls who work here are beautiful and know their stuff. Their selections are unique and you won't be wearing the same clothing that all the other girls are wearing, plus, they have one of a kind jewelry that really lets you make that personal fashion statement. Trust me girls, you'll love this place! So, if you are ever in the neighborhood shopping, you must make it a point to visit Bloom at 1001 N 2nd Street in The Piazza at Suite 20, just across the walk from the renowned PYT, home of Tommy Up. Only in Northern Liberties. See you there!


Phone: 215.253.6818