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What $450K Can Buy You in Rittenhouse Square

Curious how far your money will go when it comes to buying your dream home? We like getting as much bang for our buck as you do. Here's what $450K can buy you in Rittenhouse Square:

$450,000: 1608 Addison Street - Absolutely chic dripping with style, Rittenhouse Square home situated on a charming street. This 2 bedroom 2 bath property is the epitome of style and taste and features hardwood floors, a romantic brick wood burning fireplace, and a beautiful private garden patio that can be accessed through French doors in the kitchen. We hope you like to cook because this kitchen has Bertazonni gas gourmet range, stainless appliances, beech wood cabinetry, and polished granite counters. So many unique and functional features to mention. The upper level bedrooms have crown molding, the master bedroom has dramatic vaulted ceilings and updated Elfa closets. This is a must see property that will not only provide you with the creature comforts you demand, it's located in the most desired neighborhood in Philadelphia.

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Shopping Party & Fundraiser at SA VA

Looking for something fashion-savvy to do this Wednesday? InLiquid and SA VA combine forces for a special Shopping Party & Fundraiser held at SA VA in Rittenhouse Square. Proceeds will help support programming at InLiquid.  Curious about InLiquid? Check out the video feature we did with Rachel Zimmerman last year.


In Your Face, Center City: Philadelphia Deserves Better!

I was asked the following by a close friend who is struggling with where he wants to live in Philadelphia.

"Stephanie, if you could live anywhere in Philly no matter what the cost, where would you live?"

I said, without a In Your Face Center City !moment of hesitation, "I'd live right where I am, here in Northern Liberties". If Northern Liberties did not exist I would live in any of the Fringe Neighborhoods such as: Art Museum, Graduate Hospital, Queen Village, Passyunk Square, Fishtown, etc..

"Do you want to know where I would not live? Center City," I say, "In your face, Center City!"

You can keep the pretense and high prices of Rittenhouse Square and the drone-like Business District, and the grit of Center City East.  I am happy right where I am, in the Fringe of Center City and I think a lot more people are beginning to agree with me based on recent real estate sales activity.

Here is why:

On Friday, I cut out of the office a little early to pick up a hard copy book at Barnes and Noble at 18th and Walnut. I grab a cab very easily on North 2nd Street in Northern Liberties. There was no way I would have even considered driving into Center City since I would never have found parking. The cab ride was a nightmare - smelly, hot and slow. I jumped out of the cab five blocks early since I was stuck in a gridlock traffic jam at JFK Boulevard. I would have been better off hoofing it the whole way having the miserable cab ride cost me $15 with a tip.  Ouch!  Cabs are more affordable in New York City!

Anyway, as I made my way to my destination I was hit in my face with the typical Center City experience: dumpster diving rats in the alleyway in broad daylight, oily grimy puddles that I had to hop over at every corner, and the stench of urine and funk at the subway vents was inescapable.  Honkeytonk businesses buying gold and selling a mixed bag of outdated costume jewelry, human hair, and ugly knock-off handbags is not my idea of a Center City shopping experience.  The puke in the corners of stairwells and drunk vagrants seemingly passed out cold on every block was stomach-turning.  When I approached Rittenhouse Square, I was greeted by a man making kissing noises at me as he leaned against the wall at Anthropologie on 18th and Walnut. In front of Barnes and Noble, I was accosted by some guy with crazy eyes and a clipboard aggressively pressing me to discuss the imminent Alien Invasion, Rapture, or Prophetic Catastrophe approaching. Yikes! I just wanted to buy a frigging book for crying out loud! The Square was filled with a mix of vagrants with all of their belongings in plastic bags stashed under the public benches, pooping primped pups and their dog walkers, and utterly oblivious youth obviously not working who perhaps are not yet hardened by the In Your Face hypocrisy of this renowned park located in the highest priced neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Was I shocked to hear a few few hours later that a violent flash mob converged on Walnut and Juniper on Friday night ? No, sadly, I was not. I was angry, though. I expect more from Center City than what it offers. I deserve better. Philadelphians deserve better!!!!!!!! Those folks who are brainwashed into thinking that the Center City area is a "better neigborhood" than those in the Fringe Neighborhoods, they have yet to convince me. It is not that the Fringe Neighborhoods are free of the byproduct of an urban environment, it is that the sheer volume of vileness is measurably less. And do you know what else is less in the Fringe? The cost of properties (you get so much more for your money in any of the fringe neighborhoods), the cost of really great fine dining and entertainment, less trash, less filth, less of a hangout for the homeless, and the closest thing we get to a Flash Mob in my neighborhood is the annual N 2nd Street Festival.

For a great lifestyle, take a second look at the Fringe Neighborhoods because you deserve better.

And my lesson learned for my most recent visit to Center City is that from now on, I am ordering all my books online through!



Get Up Close and Personal with Center City Homes

Have you ever wondered what those Center City homes look like on the inside?

On Sunday, October 10, satisfy your curious side at the 52nd Annual Center City Residents’ Association Fall House Tour.  This is your chance to tour 12 different living spaces in the Rittenhouse Square and Fitler Square neighborhoods. The rain or shine walking tour begins at 1 pm and ends at 5 pm, and the $20 ticket includes a map.  It's a self-guided tour, so you can check out the houses at your own pace and preference.

Tickets may be pre-purchased with a credit card on the CCRA Website by clicking here or at one of the following locations:

Rittenhouse Hardware, 2001 Pine Street
Reilly Real Estate, 1737 South Street
Jomici Apothecary, 273 S. 15th Street
Pure Florist Design, 500 S. 22nd Street
CCRA Office, 1616 Walnut Street, Suite 705


Walnut Street’s Shiny New Apple Store

We had to see it to believe it, but Philadelphia's first Apple Store opened on Friday and has been buzzing all weekend with both the curious and the devoted. The location on the 1600 block of Walnut Street will pull in many shoppers and also boost sidewalk traffic along Rittenhouse Row.

As you can see, the blue shirted Apple employees are on top of it, meaning that there was rarely a line to be seen on Saturday.

The spacious store has high ceilings and slick silver walls lined with Apple goodies. At the rear of the room, the Genius Bar is waiting for you tech support needs. The Resident Geniuses are trained at Apple Headquarters. You can reserve an appointment with your Walnut Street Genius on the website.

Transactions are fast with small card readers that each employee is armed with, and they are like ninjas, quick to answer and even quicker to suggest and recommend products, services, and support.

So, there was one thing left to know. Does look good on an iPad? It did not take a Genius to determine that.

Apple Store
1607 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 861-6400


Sometimes When You Lose, You Win !

Sometimes When You Lose, You Win !

Several months ago I went on a listing appointment in the Graduate Hospital / Rittenhouse Square area. I thought for sure that I was going to be doing business with this seller, but she informed me that she decided to go with another Realtor. It was a little disappointing in that my presentation was crisp, the communication was great and the rapport between us was excellent. But when someone meets with 4 or 5 Realtors, your chances are obviously 20 to 25 percent. In this case, she went with the last Realtor she met with so maybe she was just worn down from meeting with so many folks.

In our business, this happens. You cannot let it get it to you for more than an hour or so. You just have to keep moving forward and do your best. In this case, she met with the top agents with the top offices in Philadelphia. Not that is any consolation, but sometimes I feel better that a seller chose to go with a top agent versus a newbie who probably overpromised and underdelivered. Although I do know some of our seasoned competition will also way overstate the listing price on their listing presentations and get longer term listing timeframes only to do price reductions in the coming weeks and months.

Sometimes When You Lose, You Win !

So not to get off track, I wished this seller well and told her that her condo would sell relatively quickly as it showed very well and was in a sweet-spot price point. I told her to feel free to contact me anytime in case something were to go wrong. And something did. In about 3 to 4 weeks after it was listed, she contacted me about being extremely unhappy with the Realtor she choose and stating that she should have listed with The Somers Team from the very beginning. Her current Realtor promised her that if she was unhappy that she could withdraw the listing anytime. They honored that request and we came in and listed the property, got it under a contract a few weeks later and it settled about a month after that. She was extremely happy !!!

She told me the reasons why she was unhappy with the prior Realtor, which there is no need to go into detail here with that. Bottom line is that client communication and paying attention to every detail really matters.

The moral of this story is that putting your best foot forward is what really matters. Sometimes when you lose, you win as the client will come back to you. Or that does not happen and a property will sell with someone else. But if you did your absolute best in your meeting, you were prepared, your pricing was spot-on, your marketing plan was flawless and so forth, that is what really matters. Folks will remember that.

Be proud with what you do !! Be passionate with how you do it !! You will not get every person that meets with you to do business with you. But chances are you will get most of them. And often times, you may not do business with them the first time around, but such as this case, the second time. And when their property closes with you, they are your client for life, as long as you treat them that way !

Please share your thoughts and experiences in a comment below.


Philadelphia Chutney Company Coming Along on Sansom Street

Philadelphia Chutney Company

Workers are keeping busy at the soon-to-open Philadelphia Chutney Company, which is taking over the old Remedy Tea Bar space at 1628 Sansom Street in Center City. Will the green paint and black awning be the next changes?

What will set this Indian restaurant apart from others is its focus on organic ingredients and Southern Indian cuisine. There are plenty of Northern Indian curry houses in Philadelphia, and this will bring something new to the table. What can you expect from South Indian cooking? A greater emphasis on rice, a heavy dose of coconut and coconut oil, and plenty of curries and pickles.

The Chutney Company also plans a location on Temple's campus. Bring on the chutney.


A Little Bit of Mexico on the Square

Mexico on the Square

You're considering your lunch options in Rittenhouse Square when it hits you. Tacos. A nice, sunny spot in the Square. An hour of pure contentment. You drag your coworker to Mexico on the Square. They grumble that it better be worth it. You know it will be, so you just smile.

The former owners of Savoy Mexican Grill (the odder than odd taqueria/deli/flower shop that used to be at 18th and Spruce Streets) have moved over to 15th and Pine. They're calling it Mexico on the Square, and while it isn't exactly as close as their old location, the tacos are just a worthwhile. The free delivery and takeout only shop make their own tortillas in-store, and if you've ever had fresh tortillas, you know that the difference is major. You can also get your hands on burritos, tortas, sopes, tostadas, and flautas. Is your gang no on the board with Mexican food? They can choose from burgers, hoagies, and cheesesteaks, which are also on the menu. It's tiny, but the bright red bannered shop will not disappoint you.

Midtown Lunch Philadelphia recently took a look at the made-to-order goodness going on at Mexico on the Square. As though you needed further convincing.

Mexico on the Square
1511 Pine Street

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Rittenhouse’s Only Speakeasy That Serves Guacamole

What’s Open 14 Hours in Rittenhouse Square and Will Change Your Life?


Rittenhouse’s Only Speakeasy That Serves Guacamole

ranstead roomWelcome to Ranstead Room. Congratulations, because you've found it. Tucked away on Ranstead Street, in the middle of nothing, look for a black door with two red R's.  The quieter component of Stephen Starr's Mexican diner, El Rey, is  this dimly lit barroom. Vintage velvet wallpaper, scandalous artwork, and deep red booths all bring a hush to the room. The sound of 40's-era cocktails being made at the bar and the matching music all place you in a softer time.

Ranstead Room's cocktail list was developed by New York mixologist Sasha Petraske and bears concoctions like the zesty Piquin Cocktail, a complex sipper that features blanco tequila, chili piquin, lemon juice and sugar.  It gets even spicier as you reach the final drops.  The Brooklyn No. 2 takes on rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and maraschino. A bowl of guacamole and chips arrive from the connecting hall to El Rey, that only food runners are allowed to use.  If you've never even guacamole in the dark before, this is your chance.  It's delightful. There are three snacks to choose from for your tipples here.

If you're craving the rest of El Rey's no-frills Mexican menu, you have to head outdoors, around the corner to Chestnut Street, and through the front entrance of El Rey itself.  Here you have a bright diner with plaid-shirted servers and a view of the kitchen doors that the smiling staff swing through, holding platters of steaming enchiladas and queso fundido. Margaritas are not the sweet-and-sour regrettables that always seem like a bad idea, no, they are traditional and perfectly sweetened with agave nectar and fresh fruits like guava and mango.  El Rey might be the familiar, comforting room full of friends sharing a plate of churros, while Ranstead Room is the sultry drinking quarters where you go in search of some quiet reflection over a strong drink.

Take your pick, or have it both ways. But whatever you do, please introduce yourself to the guacamole.

El Rey/Ranstead Room
2013 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA

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What’s Open 14 Hours in Rittenhouse Square and Will Change Your Life?


Cinco De Mayo in Your Neighborhood

All Day Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Philadelphians known all about independence, so we're right on top of celebrating Mexico's independence victory on May 5th. What's going on in your barrio? Read on.

Northern Liberties will see mucho margarita pitchers served, especially at Cantina Dos Segundos, where the Cinco de Mayo Art Show will feature work from DJ Luis Angel Cancel, Joey Knuckles of Philadelphia Eddie's Tattoo 621, Elena Nestico (DJ Lady Prowl), Daniel P Cordua, K Fish, and others. Drink that in while you're toasting with tequila.

Taco Riendo, the authentic taqueria titan of Old Kensington, is giving out complimentary Corona and tequila to customers. Their outdoor seating area should be the perfect place to tackle some salsa.

You'll want to see it to believe it, but the Cinco De Mayo Macarena Mob will hit the Piazza at exactly 6:30 pm, so make sure you're there.

Rittenhouse Square now has El Rey, Stephen Starr's Mexican diner, to raise a glass at on Cinco de Mayo.

For a real margarita without the typical boisterous crowd, you could ask for one at the Franklin Bar in Rittenhouse Square. You may not find it on the menu, but they KNOW.

In University City, you can always guarantee that there's a fiesta at Distrito. This Cinco de Mayo, they'll be celebrating all day. They're calling it "the best party north of the border...and west of the river." Doors will open at 11:30 am with drink and menu specials. DJs Adub and CSharp start at 9 pm. Don't forget your luchador mask.

Another Mexican favorite of ours is Jose's Mexican Food in the Loft District, perhaps one of the District's best secrets.

Can't make it out on May 5? Saturday's Cinco De Miro III at the Latvian Society is Miro Dance Theatre's aptly-named dance competition.  Think of it as Dancing With the Stars, Cinco de Mayo style.


What’s Open 14 Hours in Rittenhouse Square and Will Change Your Life?


Phone: 215.253.6818