Bellevue Hotel Retail Lobby Renovation; Nicole Miller To Move, and is having a store closing sale right now!!

It’s been quite a loud secret these past few weeks as I’ve received so many tips and questions from folks wondering what is happening at the iconic Bellevue Hotel with the men in suits running around with their clip boards.

The Bellevue originally opened in 1904, as The Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, and currently features a 172 room luxury hotel, Class A office space, a parking garage, sports club/fitness facility, retail stores including Nicole Miller, Williams-Sonoma, Teuscher ‘s Chocolates, The Walking Store and a ballroom/events center which recently unveiled it’s renovation grand ballroom this past year . The guest rooms underwent a renovation in recent years. And then the Rubin organization sold a large percentage of their company.

Photo by Jordan Parenti

To Nightingale Properties who announced on their FB page in March: We are thrilled to announce that Nightingale Properties has partnered with the Rubin family in the ownership of The Bellevue…This acquisition is Nightingale’s fifth asset in the Philadelphia market, contributing to a collective total of nearly five million square feet. ~ And as I can see they’re solidly invested in Philly. (They also own 1835 Market Street, where a Planet Fitness is opening soon in the space once occupied by Weston Fitness, and 1635 Market St.) (Natalie Kostelni at Phila Biz Journal wrote a nice article on the Nightingale purchase of the Bellevue.)

Sources tell me that the new owners are eager to return the hotel to it’s majestic state with a grand lobby. This is a photo of the office tower lobby, and 19th floor restaurants. The hotel lobby is towards the left out of sight.

Next to the hotel lobby is the Nicole Miller store. Over the past few days Mary Dougherty , who owns and operates the Nicole Miller Philadelphia store at the Bellevue has notified her clients that this location, which she opened 22 years ago, is closing on July 31. Mary and her team are currently looking for another location in Center City, and will continue to operate her original store located in Manayunk. Plus she still serves a sizable still be able to service clients in their homes 215-930-0307. In the meantime Mary might also do Pop-up stores downtown, similar to another iconic former Center City shop Knit Wit, which was pushed out of it’s space for a fast food salad spot.

Coincidentally Nicole Miller is running their mid summer sale at both locations, and much of the clothing from spring and summer are between 50% and 75% off. You can also check out the Nicole Miller fall line which is in stores now.

As for the other stores at the Bellevue mum seems to be the word right now, but I did notice the food court has been closed lately, it only has about 5 spots left. Maybe Eataly would be perfect for this spot. BTW The Palm is running their lobster special through July 31. You just might catch Jason Segel dining besides you as he’s been spotted there recently. As for Mary and her team in Manyaunk, she says “Stay tuned for exciting upcoming new series of monthly gatherings focusing on fashion trends, health and wellness, and more for our amazing customers. Visit our website marykdougherty.com


Walking Dead to Film in Philadelphia, Dispatches Update, Retail Update & Baby News

Oh what a weekend, sure it’s 100f but that’s unique. I hope you all went out and experienced it. It doesn’t happen often, and it’s the opposite of when dad would tell us when I was a kid the snow was up to here.

Congrats to the sexist couple in Philly Brandon Morrison and Stacey Kracher on the birth of their bouncing baby girl Azuri.

Big News out of the San Diego Comic Con this week. First DANAI GUIRAR who plays machette wielding  Michonne on WALKING DEAD just announced she was leaving after this season of the popular AMC TV series. Last year Andrew Lincoln, who played Rick left, and it was announced shortly after that he’d be starring in a series of WALKING DEAD MOVIES, which will only be released in movie theaters, first. Well at comic con they released a trailer for the movie, which hasn’t event started filming yet, I was screaming when I saw it as it played the creepy soundtrack to the show and zeroed in on a silhouette of the PHILADELPHIA SKYLINE, OMG.

My nephew Tim is going to freak out. Last year he and his mom, my sister, traveled to Georgia to check out the film set. He’s an uber fan. Hopefully it’s not like going to be partially filmed here like Shazam, which was released earlier this year. It was set in Philly but mostly filmed in Canada. The film production did spend a day in Philly getting background shots on the Art Museum steps, and a few other places. But lets cross our fingers this is not the case. I WANT TO BE A ZOMBIE EXTRA. As long as we have Sharon Pinkenson and her team at the Greater Philadelphia Film Office working hard to attract these films we’ll be ok says this paparazzi.

Speaking of AMC TV show, filming has finally begun for Dispatches From Elsewhere. I had a chance to observe filming on Tuesday as they filmed scenes on South Street. Jason Segel was filmed walking down the street
reading his phone, he steps in front of a car which stops suddenly avoiding hitting him. Surprisingly Jason did his own stunts, and the car was definitely going about 15 miles an hour. Then they headed to the Curtis Center where Jason filmed in the lobby to the delight of the tenants in the building. It’s my understanding that this will be “Jason’s” apartment building. Friday they filming in Old City and then headed to the streets near the Melrose Diner in South Philly. It was so hot out, and the poor guy had to endure the weather in his costume, the film must take place in the fall as he wears a black shirt and a black coat in all the scenes. DINING OUT: BTW Jason Segel’s dined at Pinefish at 12th and Pine, and The Palm in The Bellevue last week.

QU Japan Bistro & Bar is coming soon to Center City, where Potbelly used to be on 16th Street at 1635 16th Street. The closest one is located in KOP and has had rave reviews.

The former Cosi at 12th and Walnut looks like it’s found a tenant as a rumored Starbucks will be moving in. Yes I know there’s one across the street, but the much smaller one will be closing and employees and hopefully clientele will move in shortly.

Photo and paragraph provided by client

On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Wayne, Yards Brewery
and Black Powder Tavern
teamed up to celebrate our nation’s independence while honoring the revolutionary history of the Tavern. That combination drew the faithful from the Main Line.
The event brought out dozens of guests of all ages in variations of red, white and blue and colonial period dress. Taking place on a patriotic patio, the event featured Yards on tap, patriotic
cocktails flowing, and the DJ was spinning beats from many eras of music and calling out historical trivia for guests to win giveaways from Yards. Ben Franklin and James Madison presented a recitation of the Declaration of Independence.


Lucy Noland Feted for Her Work with Felines and Dogs

Wednesday night former Fox 29 anchor person, Lucy Noland (r) was honored at a reception at Barclay Prime with City Officials, former co-workers, friends and the many animal organizations she has worked with over the years. Here daughter Gable Noland was in attendance as well.

Lucy receiving a citation from the City, presented to her by Councilmen Allan Domb, Bobby Hennon, and Mark Squilla, with her friend Fox 29’s Thomas Drayton by her side for her animal advocacy work . 2nd photo Gabriel Noland, Lucy Noland, Susan Russell and former Gov Ed Rendell.

Sandy Boyle, Michelle Helms and Diana Bauer. 2nd photo: Geri Schaffer, Aladdin and Michelle Helms

There were many animal activists in the crowd of well wishers from Steve and Clare Morrison, Mac’s Fund, Diana Bauer , Lucky You Animal Rescue , Stephanie Sena ( an adjunct history professor at Villanova University, oversees the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP) working with ADA compliant homes, which are pet friendly to house homeless people) to Zoeann Campbell, President at Nonlethal Options for Animals, Michelle Helms, Philadoptables, Inc and Michelle Schaffer-Stevens, Aladdin Nation

Nicole Ennis, Kim Astringer, Anne Bono and Cheryl Bono

Congrats Fox 29’s Bill Anderson (l) for joining the ACCT Philly board!! Here with Rebecca Epting and Councilman Domb

Clare and Steve Morrison, Mac’s Fund – Look for Lucy to be a spokesperson for animals in the future.


Dispatches from Elsewhere, Paparazzi Shots, A Peek into Cook/Solo K’Far cafe

It might not be cool outside, but I have some cool gossip for you with Thursday’s edition of HughE Around Town.

AMC’s original anthology series Dispatches From Elsewhere began filming Monday. Created by and starring Jason Segel, who will also direct the pilot, Dispatches From Elsewhere is about a group of ordinary people who stumble onto a puzzle hiding just behind the veil of everyday life. They will come to find that the mystery winds far deeper than they ever imagined. Segel executive produces with Scott Rudin ( Scott Rudin is an American film and theatre producer. His notable films include the Academy Award-winning Best Picture No Country for Old Men, as well as Lady Bird, Fences, ), showrunner Mark Friedman, Garrett Basch, Eli Bush, Jeff Freilich and Jones. An AMC Studios production, the hour-long series will include viewer engagement elements across multiple media platforms.

Tuesday Dispatches filmed in 4 locations. South Street, inside the Curtis Center, on Walnut Street at 6th and Walnut,

and on North Broad Street. The show stars Andre Benjamin, Sally Field, Richard Grant and Eve Lindley. Both Jason and Eve were in scenes yesterday. As in my line of business of observing and listening, I am often privy to story lines, you won’t find me spoiling any, but I’ll tell you I like what I’ve heard already. I’ll only report the pieces that are done in public, and you’ll have to wait til the series airs in 2020 to put the puzzle together.

Today they filmed at the Curtis Center again, and then in the afternoon at Suburban Station but not in the Concourse, just in the lobby, the loading dock and on one of the floors. Each hour long episode will take up to two weeks to film. There are 10 episodes. They’ll be plenty of time to see Andre 3000 playing his flute around town. I’m away for a few days, so follow me on social media and I will share tips on what’s happening on set as I hear.

Sabrina DenHamm and Cody Bellinger

When social season slows down, I get to return to my first job ie hobby, as Philly’s paparazzo. Sabrina DenHamm and Cody bellinger, of LA Dodgers , were out walking around @rittrow in Philly before tonights game against the Phillies. Bellinger is in the running to be the 2019 NL MVP

The Harper’s entrance looks fabulous (19th and Chestnut Streets) The tables are ready for K’Far to open as well as you know it’s Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s upcoming all-day cafe headed by Zahav pastry chef Camille Cogswell, a James Beard Award winner.

I peeked in and it looks really cute. The prices are really great. I can’t wait to hang out there, maybe all day. OK even though I’m away I’ll have a post on Friday as well. Send me tips and I’ll get those photos and stores for you. Have a great day, HughE @phillychitchat.com


Philly Current Pride

Eddie Keel’s celebrated the new issue of his popular magazine – Philly Current with the “The Pride Issue” Party on The Deck at the Moshulu.

The Pride Issue title might confuse you since June and Pride month is over, but this pride is more than just gay, it’s pride of all things we love, food, family, the City, even Atlantic City. No one is more worthy of the cover than Amber Hikes, the soon to be former Executive Director of LGBTQ Affairs at The Mayor’s Office!

Amber Hikes just announced last week that she’d be leaving this position and taking a new position as the Chief Diversity Officer of the American Civil Liberties Union at its National Headquarters in New York City. What her soar!!

Lucy Nolan attended the event with her kids, here she is with Jaimi Blackburn, PR of Fearless Restaurants which includes the Moshulu.

Drs. Joanne Getsy and Thanuja Hamilton.
Congrats to Thanaju for the recent purchase of her own practice.
Whitney Ullman and Nicolette Bee

Kharisma McIlwaine, Roberta Pipito and Jennifer Zavala

Eddie Keels: Folks, you need to see this stacked issue in glorious print (the way PC was meant, and designed, to be seen)! Guarantee yourself a beautifully-packaged, delivered copy by hitting up PHILLYCURRENT.COM/SUBSCRIBE (🔗 in bio) – either grab a single copy of #ThePrideIssue only, or reserve the next 6 issues all at once! All the cool kids are doing it! 😉 Enjoy this one, folks! 💙 [cover 📷: PC’s @john_cruice]


Andre 3000, Dispatches From Elsewhere Starts Filming, Frankie Ann’s Closes; Dining out for Dogs

Andre 3000 is the new Jason Segal. Remember the actor turned writer, turned director has been spotted every where in June. Well now so has Andre 3000. He’s in town to star in Segel’s AMC TV series Dispatches from Elsewhere, which I told you about last Spring. I’m here to tell you the time is now as the movie films it’s first scenes with full cast – Sally Field, Richard E Grant and Eve Lindley begins today.


The White Dog Cafe and WMMR’s Preston and Steve will host the third annual Dining Out for the Dogs Monday August 19, 2019 starting at 5pm to raise funds for Alpha Bravo Canine, which provides trained service dogs to U.S military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other combat related disabilities.

The White Dog Cafe and WMMR’s Preston and Steve will host the second annual Dining Out for the Dogs on Monday August 19, 2019 starting at 5pm to raise funds for Alpha Bravo Canine, which provides trained service dogs to U.S military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other combat-related disabilities. WMMR, BEN FM, WMGK, WXTU and WIP on-air personalities will be at each of the three White Dog Cafe locations (Wayne Haverford and University City) dining with guests and hosting drawings for prizes including the opportunity for a commissioned 30” by 40” pet portrait (valued at $2650), by artist Jay McClellan, who’s artwork adorns the walls of the White Dog Cafe locations. Raffle tickets for $20 are available now through August 19, 2019 at all three locations for the Jay McClellan portrait. The drawing will take place August 20, 2019 and guests will be notified by email/phone.

There will also be puppy-kissing booths at each location where guests can make a donation to cuddle and kiss one of the Alpha Bravo Canine puppies! Guests can also donate $25 and book a VIP table (very important puppy) where they are guaranteed outdoor seating for the event with their pup (based on availability – at Haverford and U City only).  Guests can enjoy our the new signature Barc Echo cocktail with a portion of the proceeds going too Alpha Bravo Canine now through August 20, 2019.

We hardly knew you, Frankie Ann’s, formerly Rembrant’s in Fairmount has closed. The eatery located at 741 N. 23rd St. was open just about a year, but never took hold. Recently they filed for a variance to have a roof deck and faced opposition from the neighborhood.

But that wasn’t their only problem, their food was never above bar standard. I had the worse nachos in my life there last month. Marilyn and I were just shocked, as we’re big nacho fans. I didn’t post it because I could tell they were hurting, and didn’t want to be the last person to put a nail in the coffin. I had met the owner last year and he was super nice guy, plus he named the place after his wife, I really wanted it to succeed, but you have to have good food. We now have two iconic Fairmount restaurants looking for new operators – The London Grill and the former Rembrandt’s.

I always tell my readers if they want to meet new people to check out a meetup.com group of their interest. It’s a no pressure way to meet people, folks who have similar interests as you, maybe a future BFF or spouse. I went to the Fairmount Photo Club on Saturday. I learned a few things, you don’t have to be from Fairmount, there were people from all over Philly, the burbs and even SNJ there. Plus you don’t have to own a camera, some people used their phones, like the guy there 2nd from the right. So join us next time of check out one of the other 1000s of groups to find your interest.

Monday a new advertiser started with PhillyChitChat – Maria Quattrone, real estate expert CEO of RE/MAX @ HOME – Philadelphia. Check out this featured listing at 730 Fitzwater.

Ghetto Cowboy starring the sexist man alive – Idris Elba – will begin filming in North Philly in August for a month. They’re looking for cast and crew.
Grab an August issue of Vanity Fair as Idris Elba is on the cover, with a great story inside to familiar your self with the man.

I caught Patti LaBelle at Parx Casino’s Xcite Center on Friday. She was flawless as can be, performing a 90 minute set on stage as if she were 40 years younger. The godmother of soul is 75 years young she told the crowd. Have you been to the Xcite Center yet. It’s an intimate setting with about 5,000 comfortable seats, everyone with a decent view. There are still tickets left for Cheech & Chong, Air Supply, JB Smooth and Jethro Tull.


Happy Anniversary Mike Toub, How We Got to 25 Years

Today is our anniversary. How did we get to 25 years, Mike has a lot of patience.

How did we get from there to here. I wrote on FB: Whenever anyone ever asks how did we make it 25 years, I tell them it’s thanks to Mike’s parents Eleanor Toub and Jerry Toub. They were kind, patient, assertively loving, and had strong core values which they instilled in Mike. He’s genuinely one of the most caring and concerned people I know. Both his parents were teachers, and were used to de escalating meltdowns by hot headed Irish guys like me, no really it’s hard to argue with Mike unless you do it unemotionally with facts and common sense, LOL. Mike’s always there for me, especially as I navigate the uncertainty, sadness and triumphs of life. AND come on it’s not lost on me on how easy on the eyes the guy is, he just keeps getting better looking as we grow older. I love you Michael Toub. It’s been a great 25 years, and I look forward to spending our acorns in retirement. I’m a much better person than I imagine all those years ago when I pictured how my life would go.

Another Big Influence: For years we listened to Dr. Joy Browne who was on WORNYC. Dr. Joy gave us the tools that were instrumental in helping sustain our relationship in the early years, as well as today. She also helped us in ordinary day to day living when we were stuck on a problem whether it was work, or family issues. We started listening to her in 1995, and it continued until her untimely death August 27 2016, at age 71. (We randomly ran into Dr. Joy in Times Square in 2006)

Dr. Joy gave advice on how to have a long lasting relationship, as well as succeeding at other life relationships. Always good advice. One of the first rules we followed was the balance of money. Mike made much more money than I did at the time we met. I was a file clerk, so we divided chores and bills based on a 1/3 to 2/3 balance. We didn’t want the money factor to become an obstacle in our relationship. Then we assigned fines to the habits that annoyed us about each other, like Mike would always forget to shut the cabinets after getting a cup out, or I would leave my shoes in the living room. Each offense was $10 fine. It definitely worked, we were more aware of these habits and were able to break them, or definitely cut them back. Finally big one, we all have disagreements, and over 25 years you can have arguments that spin out of control with no clear path to resolving the issue. Dr. Joy told us about these arguments. She said assign a fun word for such an impasse, and use it, sparingly, and we did. In 25 years we might have used our word “Kangaroo” maybe 5 – 6 times. More in the first few years when the memories of single hood and “no responsibilities”, was fresh in my mind and the compromise factor of a relationship seemed like we were giving up too much of us; but using Kangaroo reminded me that these same issues I’m running away, would arise in the next relationship as well. Kangaroo was a tool to remind of us why we were drawn to each other, why we fell in love, and the goals we were working towards. – Kangaroo meant we had to drop the subject. We could not bring it up again. We could not try and solve it. An argument which would invoke a kangaroo was an emotional, heated argument, a division on an opinion. – We eventually came up with another word, “Kuala”, there’s so cute. That word is used when we have a smaller argument, or disagreement. Used most often after an argument, or during a small argument. When used you can just accept the other person apologizing and go on with your life. Or you can table the argument for 24 hrs and if you want to bring it up again you can. It works, if you work it. xoxox HughE & Mike 1994 going forward…


Welcome To Philly’s Billionaires Row Touts the Website…

Soaring 22 stories over the intersection of Center City’s cultural and residential districts, The Atlantic offers unrivaled craftsmanship and sophistication in a historic beaux arts building and according to the developer – The Post Brothers, it’s also the first building on Philly’s Billionaire Row.

Completely reimagined from the inside out by starchitect Rafael Vinoly, The Atlantic heralds the arrival of Billionaire’s Row residences and lifestyle amenities to Philadelphia luxury apartment rentals.

The beautiful lobby is on Spruce Street

In March The Atlantic apartments held a hard hat tour of the newly renovated building at Broad and Spruce, featuring breathtaking rooftop views with great amenities including grills, a chef’s table, lounge chairs and an infinity pool.

Unique Features

  • •24-Hour Concierge
  • •24-Hour On-Site Maintenance
  • •24-Hour Valet Parking With Text Services
  • •Calacatta Gold Marble Quartz Countertops
  • •Children’S Play Area With Splash Pad
  • •Children’S Playroom; Art Studio, JR Gym
  • •Coffee Service & Ice Bar
  • •Complimentary Daily Group Exercise Class
  • •Coworking Space & Private Meeting Rooms

Check out additional features and how you can live on Billionaires Row…HERE


Julie Ertz Skips ESPY’s, Queer Eye Eats & Hugh Jackman Fights Cancer in Philly

If you weren’t already in love with the story of super athletes, and Philly residents Julie and Zach Ertz after you read today’s romantic gesture you’ll be caught up in their rapture of love. I remember meeting them the first time at Fashion Touchdown a few years ago, it was before they married, they were super chill and friendly. No airs about them. Then he proposed. the question at the stadium where they met.

Then that epic wedding the following year. Then last month he dropped everything to cheer on his wife as she played in the playoffs leading up to the World Cup champion in Europe. I just photographed him at DeSean Jackson’s Welcome Back party, on June 7, and the next day he left Philly to support his wife.

Fresh from the ticker taper parade in NYC earlier in the day World Cup soccer standout Julie Ertz and her husband Philadelphia Eagles player Zach Ertz headed for a celebration dinner at one of their favorite spots Chef Jen Carroll’s (3 time Top Chef contestant) newish restaurant Spice Finch in Center City (220 s 17th street) last night. The dinner was arranged beforehand as a surprise by Zach for his wife. Julie and Zach posed with Chef Jennifer Carroll and Chef Billy Riddle, staff and friends of the Ertz’s. What they ate:
Chef Jen Carroll chose their menu! Garlic yogurt, beet borani,  chicken Kebabs and Zach’s favorite >>  date truffles. I sent this story to both my media partners Fox29 and CBS3Philly << head on over there to see more photos and to see what was for dessert, a Philly favorite. (photos provided by Spice Finch)

Speaking of the World Cup Champs, and the ESPY’s players South Jersey’s Carli Lloyd, Kelley O’Hara, Lindsey Horan, Tierna Davidson and Emily Sonnett all carried Simitri bags at the event. The company was founded by two sister-in-laws, Simran Kaur and Gayatri Chopra, the latter who lives in Philadelphia. (Photo provided by their rep Ilana Waber)

Dining Out:
Antoni Porowski from Queer Eye ate at Pizzeria Beddia, 1313 N Lee St, in Fishtown last night.

Peter from ABC’s Bachelorette stopped by McGillin‘s last week. “Peter is one of the semi-finalists on the current season.  Pete is absolutely charming!  He posed for countless pictures with his fans, worked the room & even sang karaoke.  When Gaby, our manager, introduced herself to Pete and mentioned one of our regulars Ryan “Roller Boy” was also cast this season.  He was thankful for the reminder Ryan lived in Philly & phoned him immediately.  They were reunited at McGillin‘s in minutes!! (Photo credit: Gaby Gock)

The first day of filming for Sally Field in Jason Segel’s anthology series “Dispatches From Elsewhere” starts on Monday. So if you see the Flying Nun around drop me a note – HughE @phillychitchat.com I might be able to get it on TV with your photo credit.

Please save the date for Saturday, October 26th for Philly Fights Cancer: Round 5. Talent for this year’s event was just announced, and will star master of screen and stage Hugh Jackman, former SNL writer and Emmy-winning comedian John Mulaney, as well as Multi-platinum selling pop artist Andy Grammer.

Philadelphia’s most impactful annual charity event returns this year to the Philadelphia Navy Yard on Saturday, October 26th. Last year, a sold-out crowd of over 1,800 grateful families, generous benefactors, faculty, staff and friends attended Philly Fights Cancer: Round 4, raising an extraordinary $10 million. Past headliners for this annual event have included Carole King and Jim Gaffigan; Lionel Richie, Jennifer Hudson and Tig Notaro; Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend, and Earth, Wind & Fire; and Jerry Seinfeld & Maroon 5. More information about the event can be found here.


John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge is A Nearby Treat

At least three times a month I like to walk the trails at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge which is close by, basically near the PHL airport and perfect for my new hobby – bird watching ie photographing. They have a visitor center where you can see exhibits to introduce yourself and kids to nature, and what you might expect to see in the wildlife refuge, and it’s free.

America’s First Urban Refuge was established in 1972 for the purpose of preserving, restoring, and developing the natural area known as Tinicum Marsh and promoting environmental education. They have a calendar of events for activities, talks and nature walks. (Website) Fishing with a permit is also permitted.

There are two parking lots, one off of Lindbergh Blvd, which is paved and plentiful, and another off of Rt. 420 which is gravel and limited. Sunday I went to Rt. 420, which has great bike riding trails as well as rustic trails, and has several fishing spots. I suggest a family, or for self discovery to go to the 8601 Lindbergh Blvd., Phila entrance that is where the Visitor Center is located and is easiest to walk. There’s more people on that side.