The Philly POPS Christmas in July

We need a little Christmas, right this very moment:
Christmas in July marks the on-sale date for tickets to the POPS’ well-attended Christmas concert series at the Kimmel Center in December – Philadelphia’s favorite holiday tradition, this year featuring Broadway and West End Star Scarlett Strallen and Broadway legend and Philly native Hugh Panaro (Swoon, the Phantom, in the Opera). Additionally, The Philly POPS Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia will perform its annual one-night-only Christmas Celebration, featuring its traditional performance of The Harlem Nutcracker at Penn Live Arts on December 18, 2021.

For the seventh annual Christmas in July, The Philly POPS gave tablets to children of members of the military, PAL, and Philadelphia Fire Departments. The events of the past year made clear the need, and with these tablets, the POPS looks to make learning possible for students, wherever they are.

As part of this event, the POPS give away free tickets, including tickets to A Philly POPS Christmas and two full season subscriptions on the POPS website and social media platforms (starting 7/23/21, ending 7/30/21).

Christmas in July also serves to announce the eighth annual I’ll Be Home for Christmas: A Salute to the Military and First Responders concert on December 3. This invitation-only concert provides free tickets to the families of military, veterans, police officers and firefighters and honors their commitment to service and our nation’s traditions and values.

What are you doing this weekend? How about a little more Christmas in July in Chestnut Hill

Have a great weekend!!!


Coney Island Comes to Philly

Popular New York City Coney Shack has expanded to Philadelphia, bringing the taste of Coney Island to our area – in the company’s first expansion out of that market – with more Philly locations to come!

Chef, partner and founder Lawrence Mach (r) started as a small food cart in Coney Island, graduated to a food truck, then opened a brick and mortar, then opened a pod kitchen in partnership with Times Square Foundation. Then the pandemic set in, slashing his business, and several of his locations paused due to the pandemic, but he moved forward with the plans to open in Philadelphia. He’s partnered on this project with SET NoLibs’ owner Michael Tang to open his largest brick and mortar to date; his NYC business are slowly coming back on line.

Coney Shack is represented by Kory Aversa, Aversa Pr, who never seemed to pause during the pandemic.

Earlier this month Coney Shack held at media night tasting.

Coney Shack combines Mexican and American street food favorites, with a Southeast Asian twist.

One must-try dish is the Mach Dog, with Vietnamese caramelized pork, crispy onion strings, Mexican cheese melt, sweet chili spicy mayo, scallion and toasted sesame. The cheese is melted using a blow torch at the front of the open-air kitchen.

Coney Shack 3818 Chestnut St. opens 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Delivery currently is available through Grubhub, and will be available through Uber Eats, Postmates, Caviar and Doordash starting next week.


Scene: Robert Irvine, Gigi Hadad and Good News

Good day PhillyChitChatters. I hope you are doing well, keeping cool, making memories. Summer is halfway over as happens in July, I’m torn over it. I do love the slower pace of summer, but I am eager to return to a sense of normalcy. Last week I attended the INDIE Confab: Philadelphia at the new PHS Pop Up Garden in Manayunk. I will be writing about that soon, I’m a little behind; the garden is beautiful, delicious food, spacious but parking on the street is atrocious, as is parking in Manayunk. They do have parking lots a few blocks away. It’s definitely worth the trip as a different scene.

Speaking of gardens, I’ve been spending a lot of time down the shore these past few weeks, and I do love the gardens near my sisters house in Longport. They remind me of the homes and gardens of Key West. We can see similar flowering in pots and window boxes through out Philly. Go out for a walk and see the beauty.

Thanks Ready Set Philly and Chatterblast for this fun clip

I caught up with Robert Irvine yesterday as he was in town filming a new show for Food Network/Cooking Channel.
On Tuesday he was at Dekes BBQ, I caught up with him as he headed into McGillans Olde Ale House and today he’s filming again but I told him I’d keep it mum. I’ll be photographing his charity event “Beats and Eats” for the 4th time this fall. The Announcement will be made soon. The Robert Irvine Foundation teamed up with Boston Market to create two new limited time menu items, fans can enjoy the new pulled pork sandwich or a quarter-chicken with smoked cheddar pork sausage platter until the end of July, and raise money for his foundation.

The Robert Irvine Foundation’s goal is to help “military (active and veterans), first responders, their families, and those in need through resiliency, health, and wellness programs, in addition to the financial support of top-rated military and responder organizations.” So, for Irvine, teaming up with Boston Market was a no-brainer, as he believes that food — as always — has the power of bringing people together.

Speaking of Boston Market, I stopped by to visit the Mandia/Honigman family over the weekend at the shore. Christie Mandia is the Marketing Director of Boston Market, and worked on the campaign with Justin Leonard of the Robert Irvine Foundation. Stay tuned for more projects with them.

Look 👀 #gigihadad Watched @candacebushnell one woman show #IsThereStillSexInTheCity The Bucks County Playhouse on its successful run which ended over the weekend. Radio icon Valerie Knight, Breeze 100.3, tells me it was enjoyable and funny. Next stop New York City….
This is what Candace wrote about Hadid’s visit: Beyond thrilled to have the girl of the moment @gigihadid in the audience at last night’s performance of #IsThereStillSexInTheCity. Thank you for coming Gigi! AND Thank you for stopping by PhillyChitChat today. See you tomorrow… or on Social Media, although I have run into quite a few of you who tell me that you get your news from my blog. I appreciate your long readership, and am so grateful. Thanks


Kids Gym Indoor Playground Opens

Owners of We Rock the Spectrum Kelly McAllister has a degree in business and marketing that she earned from Penn State University. Her husband, Sean, was born and raised in the neighborhood and most of their extended family still resides here as well. Kelly and Sean are extremely passionate about family and have three sons of their own: Logan (4), Jackson aka Jack-Jack (2), and Cameron. We Rock The Spectrum is exactly the kind of place they’d want their kids to enjoy, if they weren’t the owners.

Thanks to PhillyChitChat Team Member Andre Flewellen for shooting this event. Check out more photos and story in Metro Philly today.


‘The West Tower’ Groundbreaking

Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University marked the commencement of construction of 3025 JFK, the first vertical development within Schuylkill Yards – a $3.5 billion innovation neighborhood in University City – with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 24 featuring state and local dignitaries and project partners.
3025 John F. Kennedy Blvd., Philadelphia PA.

John Fry, appointed Drexel University’s 14th president in 2010 and Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust pose for a photo at the groundbreaking.
Dan Dirscherl ,Chris Scheiblein, Brian Eddis, Mike Eddis, and Mike Preston
Brian Stevenson, Stevenson Advocacy LLC , Jerry Gontz, Sheet Metal Workers Local 19, Mike Preston, and Chris Scheiblein, EAP Coordinator at Allied Trades Assistance Program
Colette Pete, Chief Counsel at PhilaPort and Joyce Smith, ambassador for her historic neighborhood of East Parkside since 2009 and a member and co-founder of the Viola Street Residents Association (VSRA).
Melissa Heller and Sid Smith
Vishaan Chakraborti, Alan Greenberger, Anne Papageorge Melissa Heller, and Lori Doyle
Vicki Koch, Adam Case, Ron Becker, Senior Vice President Operations & Sustainability at Brandywine Realty Trust and Jean Sitler, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Management at Brandywine Realty Trust
According to the press release: The 570,000 square foot mixed-use building dubbed The West Tower at Schuylkill Yards will add a mix of residential rental units, life science and innovation office space, retail, and indoor/outdoor amenity spaces to the master-planned neighborhood being developed by Brandywine Realty Trust, in partnership with Drexel University.

Schuylkill Yards is recognized as an exemplary model for inclusive development, with a record-breaking $16.4 million neighborhood engagement initiative. The multi-faceted program provides working capital to small and minority-owned businesses, a trades training program to create paths to family-sustaining jobs, a local sourcing initiative to establish new procurement channels for local businesses, a Community Development Corporation (CDC) Co-Development partnership to build capacity for neighborhood organizations, and a community fund to prioritize affordable housing, education, employment and more. As part of the initiative, Brandywine engaged Mount Vernon Manor, a Community Development Corporation partner for The West Tower.

“The momentum that Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University continue to create with Schuylkill Yards has remained a key component to the forward trajectory of Philadelphia’s economic growth and development and further strengthens our city’s position as a life sciences industry leader,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Following a challenging year, the groundbreaking of The West Tower at Schuylkill Yards marks a positive milestone for Philadelphia and the West Philadelphia community, and we are eager to watch as it takes shape.”


Michael Jordan Down The Shore Spotted Wearing … Shazam Films in Philly

(Sorry to my readers I was MIA for a few days, I was at the beach with friends and family, in Margate, Ventnor and Longport, then I went to a hospitality conference. More on that later this week.)
Basketball legend Michael Jordan is down the shore this week. In recent years he’s become quite the legend in sports fishing, having won million dollar tournaments, which brings him to AC this week as he’s participating in the Jimmy Johnson A.C. Championship Fishing Week July 12-17, 2021. Winner gets a ring as well. His boat, the 8o foot Viking Catch 23 is parked at the Golden Nugget marina. (Sean Brace)

He’s staying at the Borgata. No word on if he’s tried the new restaurant the American Bar & Grille, it’s delicious!! BTW he puts his money where is mouth is, he was spotted by wearing Air Jordan 1 Low x Travis Scott (Thanks for tagging me @afeldz)

Thanks to my reader who sent me the video. Ironically I had just met him at a Scott O’Neil book signing at Fitler Club a few weeks ago, and he introduced himself. He didn’t even post it himself. So grateful I got to share it with everyone. Wow word really got out in the small town of Margate, the Wawa was bike free for about an hour. How about Jordan accepting a cigar from a fan, that was trusting. What’s happening with Margate, first Joel Embiid spends June there with his fiance and baby, now Jordan. It is the hot spot. Glad to see Jordan could snag a reservation at the popular Steve & Cookie’s, it’s fairly booked up for the summer. Wonder if he had the ugly tomato salad? Now who’s going to get me a photo or video of Tom Brady, rumor has it he’s fishing in this tournament too. (Speaking of Wawa, an anonymous reader told me George Conway [Kellyanne’s husband} was spotted at Club Wa over the weekend, Club Wa I hear is the nickname parents gave the Wawa on Washington Ave in Margate, where all their kids hang out.)

Updated, someone sent me a photo of his plane. How cool is this…
Boston Market Can Cater Your Next Event or Picnic

Philly Wood still going strong. Last week I mentioned Shazam was in town looking for extras for a few scenes they were filming for the sequel. The movie is set in Philly, but strangely films in Toronto. I caught them the last time they filmed in town for the original HERE. Anyway. thanks to a reader who tipped me off to a low flying helicopter near Columbus Park in South Philly.

I was on East Passyunk in my car wondering where I should grab dinner when I got her text. I had seen the low flying helicopter my self so when she text and thought there was some kinda news happening , it wasn’t that far for me to go check out myself. She was right, it was newsworthy. It was movie news. Lucky for me I ran into a few readers who filled me in that they had gotten notices that Shazam would be filming in the park that day.

I was going to go back at night for the filming, but caught the same helicopter filming exteriors on the Parkway. No word on whether they were filming on the Art Museum Steps, there was a storm brewing. Guess these folds were on a tight schedule cause they filmed despite the electrical storm nearby.

Surprised to see Fox & The Hound close. They made it all the way through the pandemic. I just stopped in about a month ago to grab a burger and they were open. Thanks to Mike Saks who tipped me off to this on Sunday (he’s great, he’s getting ready for the Broad Street Run and gets all the scoops as he trains), but I was away. PHL Business Journal mentioned that the restaurant is no longer listed at a location on the parent companies website. I think it’s time we get a Chickie & Pete’s in town!! Have a great day, thanks again to all my readers for the tips, you make Philly Chit Chat fun. Thanks also for allowing me to pass them on to Fox29 and CBSPhilly…. July is my 10th Anniversary with Fox29!!

SUBSCRIBE to PhillyChitChat HERE and get an email every time I do a blog post. The info goes right into your device, no need to click on a link. Thanks so much!!


The Leeds Estate Is On The Market

Every decade or so, the magnificent Leeds House in West Mt Airy comes on the market, and you’re in luck it’s on the market now as the owners want to return to their hometown. The home was built for noted industrialist Morris Leeds, an inventor and founder of the company that became Leeds & Northrup, the first American manufacturer of quality scientific research and testing instruments. The English style home built in 1931, but has been updated over the years as you will see in the following photos, while maintaining it’s charm.

This home underwent a major restoration in 2008/2009 giving it a new state-of-the-art kitchen, seven new bathrooms, central air and an in-law suite with two bathrooms, kitchen and a separate entrance.
James McFadden of Kurfiss gave me the tour of the home with exquisite detail, which I couldn’t possibly remember but you can appreciate through these photos. I really was stunned by the intricate details of the original ironwork by Samuel Yellin

The two-and-a-half-story stair hall measures twenty-one-feet square and is capped with a soaring timbered ceiling. Nine concrete steps with the original Yellin handrail lead down to the hall and to passageways forming the main axis of the house. To the southwest are the dining room and covered porch; to the northeast, the library and study. The living room lies perpendicular to the axis, jutting out to the northwest above the dramatic landscape. To the south, an extensive two-story ell houses the kitchen and other original service quarters. Guests heading up from the front landing climb thirteen steps to the second story, where the Yellin railing continues along the balcony. The upper hall grants access to four en suite bedrooms, a sewing room, and, beyond the master bedroom, a sitting room that is one of the most majestic spaces in the house.

To see more about your country estate so close to Center City check out the listing here.
James McFadden
I did do a fun video for Instagram. Check it out the tour as I wandered around the historic home.

PhillyChitChat Celebrates 14 Years, Today

Once upon a time I was a paralegal, and it was a very tedious, somewhat boring, thankless job, but despite my ADD I excelled at it as it also took me to far off, exotic locations like Tallahassee, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Minneapolis and Detroit to do document production, which is what I’m doing in this photo. That means before scanning documents and AI took over my duties, I would read all these documents and summarize them for attorneys so they could understand the case (a very simplified explanation of the complexities of litigation.)

The last big litigation project I worked on took me to NYC in 2005, where I worked with this crew, and after my 10 -12hr days, I discovered celebrities roaming around the City, and started a blog about their doings. Confessions Of A Paparazzi (today is not that blogs anniversary). It was a fly on the wall account of events leading up to celebs walking the red carpet, as well as who was on the scenes, fans, photographers, people just walking by. The culture of the red carpet. Never documented before, as this was before social media, or even big celebrity blogs. I got noticed by Perez Hilton and Gawker and they would often link to my blog on stories I captured. I still was doing a good job as lead paralegal as I lived in NYC for nearly 2 years working on that case, before it settled, and it was one of the best cases I worked on, very fascinating. Then I returned to Philly.

I continued Confessions of a Paparazzi for a few months, but it just wasn’t capturing what I wanted to do in Philly. My friends Katie & Simon visited over the July 4th weekend. I told them I needed to create another blog, specifically about Philly. I will still keep Confessions, as by this time I became a professional celebrity photographer, but I needed something to define the excitement and growth beginning to happen with Philly. It was my British born friend Simon, who lives in Manhattan who coined the term PhillyChitChat after a brain storming sessions. It was perfect. I could cover lots of topics, not just gossip, but food, lifestyle etc. PhillyChitChat launched 07/07/07, today it’s 14 years old. (Most of the following photos are old school, as the day really crept up on me and I wasn’t prepared)

I wanted to cover events, topics that I knew were happening, but didn’t rise to the level of being covered by the Inquirer or Daily News. I really didn’t know how stories ended up in the news, or anything about public relations people. It would take years for me to realize how everything worked, which was great because I brought my readers with me as I learned the business. There’s a million reasons I started my blog – I wanted to cover the social scene better than I thought the newspaper and magazines were doing. It was easy to accomplish as they were missing so many great people to focus on the most visible, movers and shakers. I wanted to shine a light on everyone. I wanted to help charities, promote the big and small ones. The ones people didn’t know about the most. I wanted to photograph the celebrities who did come to town, so I worked hard to gain peoples trust, even though I purposely called myself a paparazzi. That one term explained to everyone what my intent was, of course over the years as my business model has changed, I cringe when people introduce me that way, especially to celebrities, they cringe too. Call me the social photographer now, if you can remember. But it absolutely helped propel my career by misusing that term. I made sure to make the right connections, and set out to prove myself. It was hard, but easy as I was the only one doing this. So much to say…but I just want to share some photos from the past 14 years.

Hip-hop performer Eve with her parents Julie and Ron Wilch arrive at Thursday night’s new-album promotion party and performance at World Cafe Live. 10/19/2007 INQLINGS21
(In the summer of 2007 I started contributing to Michael Klein’s gossip column at the Inquirer. He also did the food column which is so popular today. His gossip column ceased to exist in 2011)

Often I would find out where the celebrities would be by reading Michael Klein and Dan Gross’ columns as Social Media and blogs were not in existence in 2007. At this time cell phone cameras didn’t exist yet as well.

Cashman & Assoc Holiday Party 2007 – If you could get on the Nicole Cashman list, your world of possibilities was endless. The crème de la crème of class, still today. I quaked in my boots whenever I shot her events, always on my best behavior, never ate or drank, and never ask for autographs from the celebrity guests, or sports stars who always attended her gigs. Mind you I was only shooting for my blog, which was a pet project of mine, something to do after my soul sucking job as a paralegal . It was a hobby until 2011. I only had pro bono charity advertisements on my blog. (BTW I loved my law firm, I just hated the job)

I thank all the people who let me photograph them over the years, but especially Sabrina Tamburino Thorne. I met her a few months after PhillyChitChat launch, and she was dynamic. She was living her best life, in love, her mom equally had a lust for life, and they weren’t shy. It was around this time that Paris Hilton has taken pop culture by storm. People were invested in her life and every doings. I was intrigued by Sabrina’s doings, and I chronicled her life for over a year, it wasn’t hard to do as she popped up in many of the places I was already covering, or would invite me to places. Fun was attracted to Sabrina, and it was an adventure. It took my blog from interesting, to fabulous.

Carol Tamburino in the leopard print

This is one of the teachable moments in my life. Laura had a beer in her hand. I photo shopped it out. Michael Klein (mentor, he’s still there for me today) told me to never alter a photo, as your other photos could be questioned for credibility. He’s right. Nowadays I just ask people to put down their drinks. I just don’t like objects in peoples hands in my photos.


Thanks to Mike Toub who makes all things possible for Philly Chit Chat to exist…..


Crave Montco Month is Happening Now!!

Crave Montco month is happening Now!! It’s 31 days of deals and promotions to re introduce guests to local restaurants and breweries re bounding after a year of COVID closures.

The 31-day culinary experience runs from July 1-31 and transforms Montgomery County into a foodie lover’s dream, with special menus and discounts at a variety of restaurants. And that’s not all–as diners support local eateries, they can check in and enter giveaways and contests throughout the month using the Montco Makers app.

Throughout the month, the Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board social media channels (@VisitValleyForge on Instagram and Facebook and @VisitVF on Twitter) and website will also proudly highlight Black/Brown-owned, Asian-owned, female-owned, and LGBTQ-owned businesses, as well as romantic spots for date nights, brunch, family-friendly, and even pet-friendly dining options.

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
What can I say, I love Fogo de Chão, the food, the service, especially the salad bar.

Many of the eateries are locally and family- owned and are the faces of Montgomery County’s towns and Main Streets, making the mission of this unique event even more important to those who live and work in the area.

Last month I had a chance to grab dinner at Lola’s Garden in Ardmore, again, as you know I ate there in April as well. It was delicious, we had the lamb and the chicken, which were cooked to perfection, but most of all it was a fantastic atmosphere dining outdoors. The service was great as well.

Crave Montco Month Offers Dining Deals Throughout Montgomery County


Contour Body Studio

Morria Winn and Stephanie Barnes co-owners of Contour Body Studio cut the ribbon at the re opening of their spa, a female-health-focused wellness space at 2930 Jasper Street at Jasper Studios in Kensington on June 15, 2021.

Rafael Utera, Audrey Walden & Dr.Jon Regis

Congratulations Morria Winn and Stephanie Barnes, Contour Body Studio, a winner of Best of Philly 2020 by Philly Mag, and a legion of fans who swear by their services, especially the V Steam I hear!! RIGHT NOW THERE IS A GROUPON SPECIAL FOR the V Steam Service. Get it by the end of the day July 3. Head to PhillyTribune for an in-depth interview with the entrepreneurs.