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ChitChat: Ben Simmons Engaged, Big Plans for the Bellevue, Harriet Tubman Unveiled

Apropo sign on Franklin Institute. I hear we might get some kind of a storm Sunday into Monday. Don’t let that deter your MLK plans, here’s a list of places you can volunteer.

Saturday night I headed to Sugar Factor to photograph DJ Pauly D and noticed a new spot opening where Grocery used to be at 13th and Chestnut Streets. It’s called Boba King USA. It’s a Bubble Tea Shop, Bubble tea is a Taiwanese recipe made by blending a tea base with milk, fruit and fruit juices, then adding the signature “bubbles” and tapioca pearls that sit at the bottom. Basically it sounds like a another kind of milk shake, or smoothie. They have another location in University City.

Excited I had another national placement of DJ Pauly D in Us Weekly

In other Philly celebrity news, congrats to BB player Ben Simmons on his engagement to British personality Maya . I heard about it from a friend back in December who was going to give me details on the ring, but thankfully someone arranged to capture photos of the duo out and about in Philly recently Check out the story on the Daily Mail.

Williams Sonoma is closing their Center City store at Broad & Walnut Street. Sales are happening, but I hear there is not a lot of inventory. A few years back I wrote about the owners of the building with big plans which included returning the famed hotel back to it’s luxurious self, creating an expansive lobby, lounge area similar to the popular Ritz-Carlton up the street. The Bellevue recently changed hands with Lubert-Adler buying the building through a $650 million fund established by Lubert-Adler. They plan on investing $100M for apartments, new restaurants, rooftop pool and skating rink. The rooftop will turn into what Adler described as an “urban oasis” with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant, ice skating rink and garden. Much much more at Biz Journal

Vocalist Valerie Gay who performed a musical tribute of Wade in the Water and Go Down Moses. sculptor Wesley Wofford, Wofford Sculpture Studio; Vanessa Garrett-Harley, First Deputy Managing Director; Kathryn Ott Lovell, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner; Marguerite Anglin, Public Art Director, Sheila Hess, City Rep and Michael Newmuis, Visit Philly

The sculpted figure of Harriet Tubman, the abolitionist and political activist who led hundreds of slaves to freedom, will stand tall at Philadelphia’s City Hall through March 2022.

A 9-foot tall bronze “Harriet Tubman – The Journey to Freedom” sculpture was unveiled  Tuesday by the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy.