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Giant Supermarket Has A Terrace With A View, and a Food Hall

THE GIANT COMPANY CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING OF URBAN FLAGSHIP IN PHILADELPHIA

GIANT Riverwalk located at 60 N. 23rd St. (The corner of 23rd and Arch) Philadelphia, PA 19103. There’s a free parking garage, which you enter on Cherry Street.

The GIANT Company President Nicholas Bertram, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney , Ron Caplan, Developer of RIverwalk, Mural Arts Philadelphia Founder Jane Golden, Founder of Mural Arts Philadelphia, GIANT Store Manager Jessica Fischer (with the scissors) City Council President Darrell Clarke . City Council Allan Domb attended the Opening Ceremony;  $150,000 in Donations to Mural Arts Philadelphia, Reading Terminal Market, City Fire, Police and Schools, and Other Local Organizations

Giant employees look on as the ribbon ceremony commenced.

At 9AM the first customers were allowed through the doors.
The first 250 received these awesome food bags which included so many items bananas, chips, Tastykakes, fruit, chocolate covered pretzels, energy drinks (which you’ll need to navigate the Giant, no really it’s giant, 65,000-square-foot store which takes up the first two floors of the Riverwalk apartment building.)
Giant Riverwalk houses a ground-level parking garage with direct access to the store’s lobby. Upon entering the lobby, which features the work of local artists, customers see a Starbucks cafe and a Giant Direct online grocery pickup station. Shoppers can use an elevator, escalator or stairs to access the full store on the second floor, and a “cartalator” moves shopping carts between levels. Residents in the tower above the store have access to a private elevator that brings them directly to the second level of the store.

When you arrive at the top of the escalators, if you went straight you would find grab & go food choices, as well as flowers, balloons and gifts. You’ll also find the door to the terrace for diners, with a view of Schuylkill Banks and the City Skyline.

A food hall is at the heart of the Riverwalk store, including Mission Taqueria Mexican cuisine; soup and salads from Saladworks; premium sushi from Hissho Sushi; and made-to-order sandwiches, flatbread pizza, smoked meats, hot food and gelato. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the food hall overlooks the Schuylkill River, 30th Street Station and the riverside bike path. Along with an indoor seating area, customers can eat and drink on the food hall and store’s terrace, which has lounge-style furniture and fire pits. (from the press release)

The store also has a Beer Garden — with a self-serve tap wall offering over 40 craft beers, wines, hard seltzer, cider and kombucha — plus Giant’s largest beer and wine collection, including local craft beers and imports, Old and New World wine, prosecco and champagne. (press release)

Giant is a beautiful store, and great addition to Philadelphia, especially Center City West. If you drive it’s really great, and convenient, but I don’t think it’s going to take away too much business from Whole Foods in the Art Museum area or the super markets near South Street or in No Libs, as the prices and offerings are similar . I live about a mile from Giant, and without my granny cart, it’s a far walk to carry two bags of groceries. BUT it’s a winner for everyone who is going to live in Riverwalk, and other high rises nearby and anyone else who wants to shop there. There’s so much to offer.
I will definitely drive over there occasionally as they have my favorite sushi Hissho Sushi. (I have been known to drive to Heirloom in No Libs. to purchase it.)

You will definitely find me on the terrace on a warm day, after bird, people watching out and about. Can’t wait to see the sunset from there. Definitely a unique date spot.

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It’s Spring Time To Think About Your Shore House; Chase Friedman A Miracle

The Shore House Hotels, the popular new digitally-driven
boutique hotel company based at the Jersey Shore, announced earlier this month that it has closed a private, multi-million dollar fundraising and completed the acquisition of the Sandpiper Motel located at 1600 Ocean Avenue, North Wildwood.
The property at 1600 Ocean Avenue, formerly the Sandpiper Motel, will undergo a complete design and branding overhaul prior to its opening this summer as The Shore House Hotel and Swim Club – North Wildwood.
While the team will preserve the structure and retro spirit of the 1960’s mid-century motel, the 21 pet-friendly units will feature a fresh mid-century meets coastal chic aesthetic designed by founder and hotelier Kevin Reardon. The 20-foot heated, salt-water pool will be a focus of the experience and boast private cabanas, fire-pits and designer floral installations. Looking to new growth opportunities around curated events and experience-making as the world emerges from the pandemic, The Shore House has also tapped Peter Zingoni as a new strategic partner. Mr. Zingoni is a veteran of the convention, tourism, and hospitality industries,
and is a former professional hockey player with the Philadelphia Flyers organization. The Shore House made a splash onto the lodging scene a few years ago with its forward-thinking model that leverages cloud-based technology to operate its properties.

Sly Stallone shared the story of courageous, determined LA resident, Chase Friedman who slipped and fell on his friend’s bathroom floor on New Year’s Day in Philadelphia. The freak accident severely injured his spine and left him unable to move his arms and legs. Doctors said he would never walk again, and in less than three months, with his determination and lots of work, and a miracle or two no doubt, he climb the Rocky Stairs. Something he told his doctors he would do before heading back home to LA.

Read more about his journey here in the Philadelphia Inquirer. and follow his TIKTOK here.

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Fashion Friday: St Patrick’s Day Standouts

Wednesday I headed out to see who was wearing their St. Patrick’s green to celebrate the Irish holiday. Definitely the standout was Chris Mullins co-owner of McGillin’s Old Ale House wearing his orange, white and green pants, which he told me he wears once a year for the past decade or so. Love it!! McGillin’s didn’t disappoint with their patrons who brought the green, and drank the green sensibly all day long. Let’s see who was there….

I headed to a few other bars, but most weren’t open at noon when I walked the beat, so til next year peeps I will look for ya all. Have an awesome weekend. Stop by on Sunday as I will do a round up of things in Philly, new businesses and random stuff.

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DiBruno Bros. Celebrates New Store in Wayne, Pa

The 8,000-square-foot location at 385 W. Lancaster Avenue in the Strafford Shopping Center, DiBruno’s Wayne will be an “eat-shop-learn experience,” according to company president Bill Mignucci.  

“For over 80 years and three generations, we’ve served the Philadelphia region and brought some of the world’s most exciting culinary experiences and delicious specialty products to our hometown,” says President Bill Mignucci, Jr., third-generation owner and grandson of Danny Di Bruno. “This new location is an evolution of our beloved, homegrown shop with even more energy, expertise, and enthusiasm for all things edible.” Mignucci continues, “The Di Bruno Bros. tradition of storytelling and shopkeeping inspired by my grandfather Danny and Uncle Joe Di Bruno will be on full display at our location in the heart of Wayne.”

Largely inspired by its Italian Market legacy, and old-world European food markets, where visitors leisurely peruse and graze as they fill their baskets, Di Bruno Bros. Wayne is a place where guests may taste – and with a full liquor license – sip their way through the specialty market, spending hours exploring and discovering new favorite products with the help of knowledgeable and friendly team members. In Wayne’s location, one place to stop and sip will be Bar Alimentari, a smaller, focused version of their restaurant concept opened in summer 2019 on the second floor of their flagship store in Center City’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. This 20-foot circular bar will offer curated small plates of cheese and charcuterie, antipasto and wine. Next is the Cucina, another 20-foot bar with open kitchen, serving Roman-style pizza and “cicchetti”, or small snacks, and sides dishes, along with daily specials from Di Bruno Bros.’ Director of Culinary Chef Ashley James. It will double as an area for cooking classes and demonstrations from local purveyors and chefs, as permitted by the CDC’s COVID protocols. Finally, at Café Di Bruno, guests may enjoy expertly brewed beverages, paired with parfaits, house-made pastries and breakfast sandwiches. This full-service coffee bar is a collaboration with Seattle-based Caffè Umbria, an artisan coffee roaster and, like Di Bruno Bros., a third-generation, family-owned business.

Dori Desautel Broudy cards and gifts are offered at DiBruno Bros. stores

“We’re excited for the opportunity to be part of the Wayne community because we’ve only received the warmest response since opening our location in Ardmore, so much so, we even expanded our space there,” says Emilio Mignucci, Vice President of Culinary Pioneering, third-generation owner and cousin of Bill Mignucci. “We are proud and honored to join our close neighbor, the Lancaster County Farmers Market which has been a staple in Wayne for almost 70 years. We look forward to pursuing opportunities to collaborate because our family comes from a community of merchants who truly thrived together, side by side.” Mignucci continues, “We think the combination of the authentic old-world farmers market with our offerings will complement and provide the Main Line community a unique shopping experience not readily found outside of the city.”

           

The Di Bruno Bros. Wayne store opens on Friday.
More details for the Di Bruno Bros. Wayne will be shared as available. In the meantime, please visit www.dibruno.com and follow along on Instagram (@dibrunobros) and Facebook (@DiBrunoBros).

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This is no Blarney, My Dad’s Ghost Visited Us on St. Patrick’s Day

I retell this story on the anniversary of when this happened to my family, and that happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. It’s very appropo as my dad had a party every year to celebrate his heritage on this day.

Our family is of Irish descent, my dad was about as Irish as they come and every year as we were growing up he would throw a big party on St. Patrick’s Day. So when he died one of his requests was that we spread his ashes in the Atlantic Ocean off of the island he lived on for half the year in Florida on St. Patrick’s Day and have an Irish Wake. Every year on the anniversary of this event I retell this story, it’s a story of hope, and it really happened to us and I want to share it with you…

Today marks the 16th year anniversary since we spread my dad’s ashes in the Florida Keys as per his wishes on March 17, 2005. My father died suddenly at their house in Florida May 3, 2004. We had a St. Patrick’s Day memorial party in the afternoon at the house as dad had requested with all his friends, but none of my young nieces or nephews were there. The younger ones didn’t know why we were all in Florida, they thought we were just on a family vacation.

I took this photo the day my dad died, he had just bought this boat the month before. The boat was given away before we returned to Florida the next year, there were no boats docked at our house that day.

In the evening (about 9PM) the family (including the nieces and nephews) gathered on the patio to enjoy mom’s key lime pie and other desserts by CANDLELIGHT. My nephew Kevin (my sister gave me permission last year to use his name) was the only youngin’ to join us on the patio as the other kids ate inside watching TV. Kevin was a little over 2.5 years old (he had only met my dad about a handful of times as my parents lived fairly far away.)

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He had never been to my parents house in Florida, and he was never in the backyard before this night (we all rented houses on a different parts of the island and had dinner at each others house the previous nights.)

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AS we sat around the table on the patio enjoying each others company, two and ah half year old Kevin suddenly stands up and points into the darkness towards the water where my dad’s boat use to be docked (as it was given away after dad died) and states “POP-POP, boat.” He says this a few times. He goes on to say Pop-pop, minnow. “Pop-pop, home” “Pop-pop hello.” “No bait to fish” .

in 2005 my digital camera didn’t have video but here’s the photo of Kevin pointing at the photo of dad. I’ve never published this photo before today 3/17/21

A very emotional Mom then asked me to go get a photo of dad and give it to Kevin’s dad. His dad pointed to the photo and says to Kevin , “Who is this? Kevin said Pop-pop.” Kevin where is pop-pop? said his dad; then Kevin pointed towards where the stern (back) of the boat would be, and where my dad spent many hours tinkering (I think the boat was 22 feet long and has a definite stern, middle and bow section). We were all sitting to the left, at the far right in the darkened part of the patio is a hammock that dad spent lots of hours on reading and snoozing).

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As time went on, things got quiet and bob sat silent, my sister Tracy said to me that it was like the movie the Sixth-Sense, I leaned over to her and said “Can Kevin see dead people?”. (I don’t think Kevin heard me, but his mother came over and tapped me on the head and looked at me with a disapproving look.)

THEN Kevin jumped up and happily states, as he was raising his arms in the air like he was going to do a cheer, “NO ONE is DEAD,” “NO ONE is DEAD,” “No Sad, No one Dead,” Don’t be scared, No one dead.” After about a minute or two he stopped and began playing patty cake with Pop-pop? Then he played hide and go seek, even stating BOO a few times. Then he walked to the far (and less lit) side of the patio, about 25 feet from where we were all sitting, to where the empty hammock was. He then started pushing the hammock with TWO HANDS gleefully squealing “WHEEEEEE WHEEEEE ISNT THIS FUN….” Finally running back to where we were sitting stunned, Bob stated one last time “NO ONE DEAD, DON’T BE SAD” “Pop-pop HOME”

At this point kevin went on to play a game of stepping on someones toes, and then someone trying to step on his toes. This was a sight to see as he was clearly communicating and playing with someone (Pop-Pop?) as he was squealing in laughter and looking up. After a bit, as we were all sniffling and in a bit of shock, Kevin’s frazzled dad said it was late, and time to go, at that point the usually mild manner boy just burst out crying and actually threw himself on the ground backwards (not violently though). As his dad picked him up, Kevin turned 180 degrees towards the water, where the stern of the boat would have been, where my dad spent so many hours, and said bye pop-pop, bye as he blew Pop-pop a kiss good-bye

We all know how blessed we are to have had this amazing experience. And for months following this incident, Kevin would occasionally see Pop-pop and announce it to his mom and once had his mom call Nana to tell her, but sightings haven’t occurred in about 2 years, and eventually he didn’t see pop pop anymore and really doesn’t remember him.

My Mike wasn’t on this trip with me, and being Jewish/Agnostic he was skeptical of my story as he doesn’t believe in heaven, and of course reminds me I got an A in Drama. He asked each of my sisters separately about the incident and the stories matched. He’s still Jewish/Agnostic, but knows that we saw Kevin interact with dad that day. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! God Bless You!! I Believe!!
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One Year Later: Cope, Woke and Hope

I went back and forth on whether I wanted to “celebrate” or note this anniversary. I am so grateful to be here, and several times I didn’t think I would make it. Normally I suffer from depression, and this year it was magnified by the interruption of normalcy, isolation and growth. Growth you say, how did that happen. Well coping in the new normal made me look at things, people, my life differently. What matters, what really matters. Time, moments, connection. I’m still not there yet, but I can control time and my life. Why did I let my life get out of control, and stressful, I don’t want that, and you shouldn’t either. Remind me next time I do an elevator chat discussing how stressed I am.
Thank you all for an incredible year of support. Today is the one year anniversary of my experience with Covid19. I honestly did not think I would survive. I will forever be grateful for your prayers, good thoughts, healing vibes for the 10 days of hell. Every day I think about it, as well as all those who also suffered and the 500ks plus who died.

Today I reflect on a year where we all suffered so much, especially mentally, not knowing when or how this would end. I know most of you lived with fear of catching this deadly disease, and despite that many showed up to work to serve us, or made their voices heard. There’s hope on the horizon.

Thanks to my friends as I mentioned earlier this week, I’ve become a better one. Thanks to my husband Mike, I’ve become a better one. Thanks to you my readers who educate me when I stumble, and to those who thank me when I add value to your lives. A special thanks to all the frontline health workers, and scientists, to the reporters their work and bravery is admirable, I believe them, and thank you to the government. I have hope for a brighter future. Thank you again. Looking forward to getting back to work, photographing events. Glad I’m here, glad you’re here, I look forward to seeing you soon. ❤️

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Philadelphian’s Enjoy Spring Like Temperatures Thursday

It was a beautiful day, and wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying life.
Philly Is Open, come and enjoy, safely. Wear Your Mask, nearly everyone was sporting them still.
Carole Serena and Joanne Berwind,
Spotted out and about Jeff Brown, who is rumored to be running for Mayor, Mark Nicoletti, Dani Maiale Eric Gutshall, Rev. Bonnie Camarda,
David Alexander Jenkins
Sabaah Folayan (c)
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1700 Block of Walnut Street Buildings Demolished

The 1700 block of Walnut Street May 2020

As we approach the 1 year anniversary of the country’s shutdown, and the opening of the country, I noticed businesses, the City and people are planning to move forward as soon as it’s safely possible. I took a walk around town earlier this week and noticed so much life, actively and a sense of relief that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Google Screen Shot of the buildings that housed McDonald’s, Vans/Ferbers and Doc Martens

On May 30 these historic designated buildings at 1706, 1708 and 1710 Walnut Street were destroyed by arsonists.

The fire burned through the night into the next day, gutting the McDonald’s Vans/Ferbers and Doc Martens, where the fire originated.
Stopping short of decimating the Wells Fargo on the first floor and CODA night club on the 2nd floor.

Last summer I wrote about hearing a rumor where these three buildings, and maybe the Wells Fargo building at 1712 would be razed (it was not). Then these dumpsters showed up in the fall and it seemed imminent. Yesterday I walked by and saw that indeed the buildings were razed, everything but the first floor facades, which makes me so happy they saved these historic details of the federal style buildings, which were built in the 1800s.

UPDATE: Howard B Haas: At 4 PM yesterday, the facades were gone from the 2 western buildings, rubble. I expect the McDonalds facade will be gone today.

The lots are owned by three different people. I wonder if they’ll get together and build a high rise, or rebuild a low rise as it was previously.

Looking forward … (After writing this while looking up the history of the properties I found this
great article by Inga Saffron, Philly Inquirer you should read as well.)

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Wanamaker Renovates Entrance way to Office Building, and now Sign Boy is gone

The owners of the Wanamaker building are nearing the completion of a renovation to the landmark Center City building across from City Hall. Over the past 4 years Rubenstein Partners and Amerimar Enterprises Inc. have renovated office space, the gym, the 9th floor event space, the lobby of the office portion of the building and now the sidewalk and curbside landscaping . Above is the Passero’s Coffee Roasters and cafe. Before the renovation the coffee counter used to be located on the west side of the space before moving to it’s current location on the north wall.

Everyone’s favorite landmark, the Sign Boy, located at Juniper and Market Streets in front of the Wanamaker Building, was designed by sculptor Thomas Miles in 1994 (Photo by Wally Gobetz)
The sidewalk and landscape renovation started during the pandemic. I shot the Sign Boy with his mask on last spring.

On the fence were several drawings depicting what the area would look like after the renovation. I didn’t see the Sign Boy? I thought maybe it was mistake, and he would show up somewhere else on the property. I waited for 6 months for the completion to see.

Every couple weeks I would stop by the construction site to check on Sign Boy, and indeed he disappeared.

I would ask the construction workers if they had seen him, and they had no idea where he was.
Where is he? I bet McGillin’s Olde Ale House would add him to their collection of iconic Philly items.
The entrance way was coming together and looked nice.

A few weeks ago I visited again and a new sign was installed, big bold and lit at night.

Yesterday I stopped by and grabbed these shots, the sidewalk looks beautiful and distinct. There are benches built into the wall on the right where people are sitting. It was really very nice, but no Sign Boy in sight.

But I guess there was a problem with the new sign as it was missing yesterday as seen on right.
Maybe they’ll return The Sign Boy?

Probably not. We’ll miss you sign boy.
(I’m hoping someone can look into where he went. I wrote an email to
the Association of Public Art. Crossing fingers they know. The Parkway could use a few more signs.)

The missing Sign Boy reminds me of the story of the Umbrella Man statue which used to reside outside the Prince Theater Created by J. Seward Johnson, it stood at 17th and Locust before it was donated to the Prince theater by Joseph Shine (according to the Philly Weekly in 2005) on Chestnut Street near Broad. I wrote about it in 2015 on PhillyChitChat. After years of financial problems the theater was put up for sale, but to pay off debts a lot of the theater was sold off to pay bills. My source tells me that since the Umbrella Man was donated to the Prince Theater owners, they had the right to sell it and they did. I hear they sold the $120,000 work of art for a mere $25,000. Let us weep now. (PhillyChitChat)

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EM Race Vine Venture, LLC, Breaks Ground For Apartments Next to Cathedral

Shot from the new 18th on Terrace apartment building in February 2021

In 2016 I first wrote the story about the the plan for building housing units as it was presented to my condo building which is also on the Parkway (here).

In 2019, the Archdiocese selected EM Race Vine Venture, LLC as the master developer for the redevelopment of the Cathedral Block. In September 2019, the parties entered into a Master Development Agreement. On November 23, 2020, the Archdiocese entered into a 99-year ground lease agreement with the Master Developer. (Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)
(Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

CATHEDRAL PLACE – PHASE 1

The roughly four-acre block located in center city between 17th and 18th streets and between Race and Vine streets overlooks the city’s main locus of arts and culture, Logan Circle and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which hosted visits by St. John Paul II in 1979 and Pope Francis in 2015.

The building will be twenty-three stories containing 273 apartment units, 2,500 square feet of ground-floor retail, and include 18 underground parking spaces.

CATHEDRAL PLACE – PHASE 1 at 17th and Race Streets (Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)

Financial terms of the agreement on the Cathedral Block Project with master developer EM Race Vine Venture were not disclosed in an announcement Nov. 23. (Catholic Philly) EM Race Vine Venture was incorporated in Delaware in August 2019 and selected as the lead partner for the project on Sept. 27 of that year.
Chicago-based firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz has been selected as the lead architect for phase one of the project.

(Rendering by the firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz)
For more in-depth info and renderings head here

According to KYWNews “Proceeds from the project will be directed to the compensation fund for victims of clergy abuse.”