This & That: Wanted Poll Workers, Balloon Bocce, Bernard Hopkins & Other Philly Good News

I only took this photo on this post

I’ve never been more excited for September 1st in my life. We’re that much closer to the event of the pandemic, the election, the future, and I believe it looks bright. So much news happening, good news, and I’m happy to bring it to you. Also if you’re a subscriber who gets the blog delivered in full in your email, if you want to see the Instagram photos posted on the blog, click the link at the top and it will take you to my blog. For some reason they don’t show up in the email blasts like all the other photos. OK Let’s get started… although the first post is a nationwide outreach, the Ovarian Cancer charity is run by my sister Janine, in Charlotte, but she’s from the Philly area.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, statewide, Pennsylvania is in need of 15,000 new poll workers to work on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, to work what has traditionally often been a job fulfilled by citizens of a more advanced age.   It is essential that our polling places are adequately staffed with helpful and passionate community members. Enter The Voter Project, a non-partisan organization that seeks to recruit community-minded citizens (such as you!) eager to work the polls and ensure a smooth, seamless, and safe election day.

Potential poll workers (a paid position) can sign up viawww.thevoterproject.com

Inbox: With live sports attendance on hold, Philadelphia is hungry for a big game we can all get excited about. This Labor Day weekend, LUIGI’S Real Italian Ice is serving up a brand-new sport we call Hot Air Balloon Bocce that is sure to satisfy every Philadelphian hankering for a new pastime. Launching from a TBD location, our custom-designed hot air balloon will set flight at dusk and dawn on Saturday, Sept. 5th* and Sunday, Sept. 6th*, bringing the beloved backyard game of bocce to the skies as we float directly over the Swann Memorial Fountain in Logan Square. Should we navigate the winds successfully, everyone in Philly wins free LUIGI’S! The catch? The only thing guiding us toward a win is luck itself. That’s right, we’re turning the city of Philadelphia into a larger-than-life bocce ball court and only the winds can decide if we’ll hit the mark.We’ll be sharing the balloon’s coordinates in real-time on our social channels, so fans can follow along and post, using #LUIGISInTheSky.

I’m always losing my mask, John Wind has come up with a good pivot for the chain which usually holds my glasses.

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We opened up PBJ Soft Serve as a family business in March 2019. After much learning and getting to know our community, we had big plans for a great second season. While COVID-19 restrictions delayed the start of our second season, and that of many other seasonal businesses, we had a great response. Many local families reached out to us to help celebrate their drive by, socially distanced graduations in lieu of formal ones that had been cancelled or postponed. Catering specific food trucks traditionally rely on large, outdoor gatherings to stay up and running, but we pivoted our approach and continued to serve our community where it was needed the most. Given the shift in how the country has become more adept to virtual means of operating, we've encountered great timing for an opportunity to be closer to our families out of state, and are working on making that transition. Unfortunately, we cannot bring our ice cream business with us, and will be shutting down final operations today, Monday, August 31, 2020. To our Philadelphia and Lower Merion Area customers, we're so appreciative of the trust you placed in us and for allowing us to contribute to so many events, whether it was for a festival, birthday party, graduation, or employee appreciation. THANK YOU. While short, we enjoyed the journey and look forward to handing over the reins of PBJ Soft Serve. If you or someone you know is interested in taking over the business, email pbjsoftserve@gmail.com for more details.

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Sad to see PBJ Soft Serve move away. They really built up a nice business over the past couple years. They even served treats to the many movies who filmed in the area. If you or someone you know is interested in taking over the business, email pbjsoftserve@gmail.com for more details.

Tomorrow, World Champion Bernard Hopkins and members of Joe Frasier’s family will be at the dedication of new signage at the entrance to the Boxers’ Trail. On Wednesday, September 2 at 10 am, Fairmount Park Conservancy, community members, and representatives of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation will highlight the history of the Boxers’ Trail in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.

It’s a great neighborhood story: how the Boxers’ Trail got its name, the history of boxing in Strawberry Mansion and across the city, and a way to tell stories of predominantly Black communities. Follow along with the ceremony HERE.


Paws for Suicide Prevention Kicks off Today

Paws for Prevention Campaign

The for Suicide Prevention’s Paws for Prevention team raises funds and
awareness for support to survivors of suicide – as well as education, advocacy and research.
Paws for Prevention supports the Greater Philadelphia Out of the Darkness Experience happening across the region on October 4th INFO HERE

Between 8/31 – 9/10/2020, donate $10 to AFSP
AFSP will then email you to get your home address and size of the bandana needed for your dog.
Once you get your bandana, you can snap a pic or a video of you and your pup and post to social media using one of our hashtags:





Your pictures and short videos will be used in our montage that will air on October 4th for our annual Out of the Darkness Experience.


Midtown Village Update 8/28 2020

In another series of Hughe Around Town I’m updating you on the progress of Midtown Village. It looks great. Lots of places re-opening, a new business, and two places saying good bye to the neighborhood.
For the third week Midtown Village / Gayborhood will be dining outside with many of the streets closed. It’ll be the 2nd time for McGillin’s Old Ale House to participate, after a sold out weekend. Make sure you make reservations at the eatery of your desire before heading there, so that everyone can socially distance safely.

I wrote about it on my blog earlier this month in greater detail.

One restaurant/bar you won’t be hanging out at in the future is Tiki Bar. It is permanently closed. I had been watching it for a few weeks and even saw them cart the Tiki’s off about 2 weeks ago. It was a cool spot, but like the ones before it, and the spot before that, it just never took off. I don’t know why, I love the corner location especially their roof patio.

Good News: Opening between the former Bella Turka and the re opened Duross & Langel is Morton Contemporary Art Gallery at 115 S 13th St in the old Paper on Pine location. It opens on 9/1/20. The owner Debbie Morton is no stranger to Midtown Village as she used to operate another gallery nearby. I stopped by earlier this week, and really enjoyed all she had to offer. She has many local artists as well whom we all enjoy. Check out their website to see her art, as well as the store to welcome her back to the neighborhood.

Speaking of Paper on Pine, they love being in Midtown Village as well and moved just around the corner to 1310 Sansom Street. The store looks great and is stocked with all the items we love about Paper on Pine.

It’s right across from TIME, which I’m excited to see is now re opened. Great to see our City, especially Midtown Village bouncing back. Have a great weekend. See you on Social where I multiple times a day of things I see, for you to do or birds and flowers I come across. This weekend I’m in Cape May, then next weekend I’ll be going to Lancaster, for more than just my normal day trip. Have a safe weekend, be kind, and thank you so much for stopping by. xo HughE


Great News: Cake Life Bake Shop Hopes To Re Open in the Future

Good news, although Cake Life Bake Shop is currently closed, they’re optimistic about re opening. After my blog post this morning, so many people were upset and word did reach them and they issued a statement. They were very kind about my blog post. I did have a legit good source who told me, someone close to them, their phone and info email was disconnected. BUT I AM STOKE they might re open in the future. It would be a loss to our sweet tooth if they didn’t!!

@cakelifebakeshop was incredibly understanding and apologized for the confusion. That was very nice for a mistake I made. It’s a lesson learned. A lot of times I do usually give these unconfirmed stories to other people, reporters, outlets, but I thought with all those elements in place they were closed for good. I’m glad I was wrong, and excited for their future and for our sweet tooth.

In the 13 years I’ve been writing PhillyChitChat the only other story I got wrong was saying Wegman’s was going to Broad & Washington. They didn’t and I donated $500 to a school when I lost the bet over that prediction. I’ll be giving Cake Life Bake Shop an ad when they re open, a $500 value. Thankfully they really are closed right now….


This & That: Cake Life Bake Shop Closed for Now, Engagement & Marriages. PhillyWood News

Its Thursday and time for another column of This & That Philly. SUBSCRIBE to PhillyChitChat blog at the top left and get Philly News you want to chitchat with your friends.

UPDATE Cake Life Bake Shop is closed for now but reopening soon.

It looks like Cake Life Bake/Shop the popular Fishtown bakery where Jay-Z would buy Beyonce‘s birthday cake and present it to her on the last night of the Made In America festival, has closed. The bakery has cited they couldn’t survive Covid. After a source tipped me off, I sent them a note and this is what I received:
Unfortunately, due to the hardships of the COVID-19 outbreak, Cake Life is closing its doors. Thank you for your email! That means that this email address is no longer active (no one will see your email or reply to it). Their phone number is disconnected as well. If you have an urgent business to address with Cake Life’s owners, please email hello@cakelifebakeshop.com. I contacted them there and they had a standardized message saying they’d review their email and answers would be delayed. We’ll miss them. I know they’ll do something delicious in the future. Cake Life Bake Shop did get back to me after my post published, and an outcry of sad cake fans responded.
It looks like Phillywood is bouncing back as Heery-Loftus Casting has sent out a casting call for background actors, as well as basketball players and SAG-AFTRA talent fluent in Serbian actors for a new Netflix film titled “Hustle”, starring Adam Sandler. Head on over to the Heery-Loftus Facebook page for more info on what they’re looking for as well as where to apply.

In other Phillywood news, Kate Winslet, who was in the middle of filming the HBO TV Series “Mare of Easttown” in the Philly area this past winter, has revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that starring in Contagion gave her a jump on preparing for Covid-19, leading to her wearing face masks months before the rest of the US. She states in the interview she plans to return to Pennsylvania to finish the final 21 days of filming in September. The cast also includes Julianne Nicholson, Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, Cailee Spaeny and David Denman. (source)

The Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Philly’s primary liaison with Hollywood, has had their budget slashed by Covid19’s Pandemic.
Let’s Save Philly Film
To donate go to: Greater Philadelphia Film Office
Legendary DJ Patty Jackson tweeted Warmdaddy’s on Delaware Avenue put on her social media Warmdaddys Soul Food and Live Music has closed. They’re looking for another place to open. My guess is the parcel is being optioned for development as the shopping center which houses the Covid currently closed United Artists theaters, has a lot of empty storefronts as well. Head on over to their FB for their official statement and how you can still order their delicious food. BTW have you watched Auntie Patty’s Hollywood Gossip. She delivers the goods, better than TMZ I think. Give it a listen.

This past weekend Flyers TV and In-Arena Host Andrea Helfrich (when I met her a decade ago, she was Miss Philadelphia) had plenty to celebrate as the Flyers won their first Stanley Cup Playoff series since 2012 and her boyfriend, Antonio Presta, proposed at the Four Seasons in Center City. The couple shared their special moment on Saturday overlooking the city of Philadelphia and was accompanied by their beloved mini Australian Shepard, Benji.

Helfrich, a Richboro native and graduate of Council Rock South High School and West Chester University said, “He got me good!  A proposal perfectly sandwiched in between playoff rounds, I don’t know how he did it but it was an absolute surprise!” Presta, who is Managing Partner of Craft Manayunk, is an Abington native. Helfrich said “I’m so grateful to my fiancé, family and friends who made this a day I will never forget. (Thanks to the Flyers for providing this information. The photos were taken by Philip Gabriel Photography)

Congrats Keith Leaphart, Founder of Philanthropi and Ebonne Ruffins, Vice President of Local Media Development (LMD) at Comcast on their wedding Saturday. Looks like it was a beautiful affair, attended by his son Jayden at the Waterworks behind the Phila Art Museum. The reception was held at longtime friend Chase Lenfest’s home on his patio at Liberty Place 50 stories above our Philadelphia. The couple who met through a mutual friend 3 years ago, were scheduled to be married in Jamaica in June, but the global pandemic had other plans. Way to pivot, love will find a way.
Congrats to Frances Vavloukis and Ken Gross on their backyard wedding on August 19, 2020. Ken’s the Chairman at Connect America Medical Alert (You know them from their popular commercials “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” and she’s a chef at Body X in Bryn Mawr.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing about Midtown Village, and how the business’ have come together to create a wonderful community. A new business is just about to open, and sadly a couple have closed. In the meantime, have a great day, be kind to one another and I’ll see you on Social Media. xo HughE


The 2020 Calendar Goes to the Dogs

The internet is a rabbit hole of enjoyment. I really like this idea.

The best one, woof. Have a good weekend. See you on Social. Subscribe to my blog, upper left hand corner. Thanks. HughE

Walnut Street: Ulta Beauty Closes, Madewell, Warby Parker and others Re-Open,

Monday I woke up late, as usual in my new normal, but instead of hanging out on the computer I decided to go for a walk. It was one of those walks I take through Center City to see how the City is re opening as well which business have closed during the pandemic. I’m happy to report that folks have returned to the streets to shop, to see friends, to exercise.

I’m happy to report that in my latest walk around the City, more than half, no almost 2/3rds of the folks I saw out and out were wearing masks!! Definitely much more than I had seen earlier in the summer. Good job!! And it’s amazing how much the street changes from day to day with openings, and closings. Which is where we will start.
I don’t like to start off with a business who has closed because of the pandemic, but I began my walk up Walnut from Midtown Village. I reported that Hats in the Belfry closed on Chestnut Street a few weeks ago, so I was curious about Goorin Bros. Sadly they’re permanently closed as well. A Covid casualty. But across the street Williams Sonoma was open.
The Verizon Store always has a line with helpful clerks in the que. Across the Street AT&T, and TMobile are open as well.

Welcome Back Ubiq (I can’t wait for the next limited edition sneaker) and Warby Parker, both now open.

To get into the Apple Store (1607 Walnut St) you’ll need an appointment as well as to shop at the new store on Rittenhouse Row, Interior Define. (Formerly Thomas Moser furnishing. Remember when I got the tip they closed last year, and then they wrote me to tell me they weren’t closed, and then they closed a few days later. Annoying.) It was just the wrong fit for Walnut St. We have a CB2, which is also open by appointment. Pandora Jewelry store is also re opened.
As of last week Madewell (1716 Walnut St) was still closed (I called their headquarters in July, and they couldn’t tell me of the status whether it would open or not.), and I noticed Indochino had moved from Chestnut St to Walnut St and is now located where Intermix was. Intermix closed before the Pandemic. (Note that Madewell’s boards are painted black, you can thank Center City District for painting the stores who are still closed and boarded.)

BUT Yesterday I was like an excited kid when I saw that it was finally re opened!! It’s perfect to have Madewell (women’s wear) and Indochino (menswear) next to each other.

Across the street Loft is open, but H&M is still closed. Every day I walk by the doors are exposed like this, but the sign on the door still says closed, and when I peer in the store is restocked, but with summer clothing. We’re now headed into fall. Note H&M’s boards are not painted. Very annoying too.
One store I heard several rumors about closing was Ulta Beauty on Walnut Street. It was one of the last stores on Walnut Street to remove their boards (which had been painted black as well). I noticed over the past few weeks they removed their promo posters and replaced them with a signs that say “We’re Closed”, and are directing people to the Fashion District as well as a store on Delaware Ave. I wrote 8/19 I had a feeling this was going to close.
Monday I walked by and noticed the letters above the door have been removed.

I wish I had a better photo, I should have crossed the street. As you can see on the left photo, which I took last Thursday, the sign is still up and projects from the wall. The photo on the right has the letters removed. Signs directing customers to the other locations are in the window. I don’t think Ulta Beauty closed because of the pandemic, it was always rumored they would move once the Fashion District opened, but that’s just my gut feeling, as is most of my reporting. See you on Social Media. Remember your umbrella today.


What Your Not Going To See at this Year’s Naked Bike Ride

The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international, summer, clothing-optional cycling event that usually takes place in as many as 80 cities across 20 countries including Philadelphia. The Philly Naked Bike Ride 2020 is the latest victim of the pandemic and covid19 virus, and has been cancelled for 2020. Every year the ride takes place at the end of the summer, winding it’s way through Philadelphia on a route released to the riders and the media an hour before the ride kicks off. The mission of the ride is to highlight body positivity and bring awareness towards fuel consumption.

Several cities across the world did hold their annual bike ride including Spain where riders covered their faces as well as their genitals with masks. (Source)


Newly Listed: Ten Rittenhouse – 130 S 18TH STREET #1502-1503

It’s a buyers market, and you’re in luck as friends of mine are selling their side by side units at 10 Rittenhouse.

Condominiums 1502 (2210 sf) and 1503 (1860 sf) present its next owners limitless options in one of the city’s most coveted buildings.

They can easily be combined to create one unit, or be used an in-law suite, or for a recent college grad who moved back home, a home office without working IN your actual home. My friends are empty nesters now and are looking for a new adventure.

No detail has been left undone!Condominium 1503 is a deluxe corner one bedroom, one and a half bathroom with sunrise views over Center City. This unit has also been upgraded with crown molding throughout, customized closets, hardwood floors, Stark carpet in the bedroom and more.The great room boasts two bay windows and a faux fireplace with a marble hearth and custom millwork. A hall closet was converted into a home office with built-ins. Both bathrooms are also appointed in marble.Two parking spaces in the building?s garage are included with the condominiums, as well as two separate storage units

The chef’s kitchen in 1502 & 1503 have the same designer finishes

The lavish master bedroom has a built-in wall unit and a leather upholstered headboard wall with sconces and the two additional bedrooms are generously sized.

The heart of the home is the great room with floor-to-ceiling windows that literally bring the city skyscape into the condominium.

The bathrooms are all appointed in marble, the master bath has an additional custom vanity/make-up table.

For more on this listing head on over to the MLS Listing: HERE


Dîner en Blanc Philly 2020

Today would have been the 9th annual Diner en Blanc a magical night under the stars for which Philadelphians packed their own dinner, bring their own chairs and tables, meet their table leader somewhere in Center City, and then wait until the 6:30 p.m. phone call which tells them where their “secret” dining location will be. No Complaints. People want to go and schlep their items and enjoy a unique night out with friends.
In 2012, the very first one took place. Moi and 1,300 people dressed in white to take part in the pop-up culinary event. It was spectacular and something to remember; it was one of those moments you’d tell people, “I was there that night.” The first one held in Philadelphia took place at Logan Square on the Ben Franklin Parkway, which was designed in 1917 to emulate the Champs-Élysées in Paris. A perfect choice. I knew that night I wanted to attend every single one, and I did.

Diner en Blanc is held in 90 cities across 30 countries and began 31 years ago in Paris, France as a small dinner party. Participants arrive at a designated departure point with their table, chairs and picnic materials, and then make their way to the secret location with their table leader by chartered bus or organized public transportation. They take all of their belongings with them at the end of the night, including leftovers and trash.

The second-annual Parisian-style foodie event in 2013 attracted 2,200 people and took place on the JFK Bridge over the Schuylkill River.

Despite the threat of inclement weather, Philadelphia’s 3rd annual Diner en Blanc was a resounding success! 3,500 people dressed in their finest white attire for a pop-up dinner on Broad Street in Philadelphia!
Kory Aversa and his team at Aversa PR

Le Dîner en Blanc is always held in a public location with space limitations, and local organizers must therefore limit the size of the tables to optimize the given space. The space is measured out in the planning stations, with the groups of people arriving in a fashionable order to place their tables in order of how they were planned on the grid weeks before the event.

The 6th annual Philadelphia Diner En Blanc was held at Franklin Park t. A record number of 5300 guests dressed in white, scored a coveted seat to the 6th annual pop up dinner.
5,500 attended the 7th Annual Dîner en Blanc held in Philadelphia at City Hall on Aug. 16, 2018.

The location of Philly’s 7th annual Diner en Blanc was kept secret until hours before the event was held outside Philadelphia City Hall at Dilworth Park on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 where thousands of guests donned all-white and dressed to impress.

In its eighth edition in Philadelphia, Dîner en Blanc took over Boathouse Row with a sea of people 6,000 dressed head-to-toe in white.

This blog post is dedicated to Kim Pinci who passed away earlier this summer. Kim adored Diner en Blanc! I looked forward to shooting her every year, always looking Hollywood glamorous, with the best, well thought out table and delicious food. Every year she returned with her loving husband Bob, with old friends at her table, some were friends she had met the year before at DEB. She was the life of the party.
She’ll be missed.

Thank you to Natanya and Kayli who do so much behind the scenes for Dîner en Blanc. You wouldn’t believe the sacrifices they make all in the name of creating memorable moments for Philadelphia. A labor of love no doubt. Check out this story on some of the behind the scenes.
I Love My Job: Meet the Two Women Behind Philly’s Dîner en Blanc

A Message from Le Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia Hosts:

Today: Thursday, August 20th, would have been the 9th Le Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia.  While we can’t all be together this year, we know many of you are planning your own socially-distanced dinners with family and members of your pod. 

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This Thursday, August 20th, would have been the 9th Le Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia.  While we can’t all be together this year, we know many of you are planning your own socially-distanced dinners with family and members of your pod.  We want to see your celebrations on Instagram and we want to recognize your creative efforts with a #giveaway of NINE complimentary registrations for two to next year’s event #debphl21! The rules of DEB still apply- square tables set for two with white tablecloths, dishes, chairs and guests adorned all in white.  However, this year you can safely use your good china, glassware and your grandmother’s antique linens; create an over-the-top centerpiece you wouldn’t normally be able to transport; and include your kids and pets!   Get your napkin-waving hand ready, cue up Coldplay’s Viva la Vida, and light those sparklers as you snap the perfect shot of your #debphl20! We can't wait to see your unique celebrations from balconies, porches, yards, lawns and stoops! To be eligible for consideration, your posts (photos/videos) must be posted to Instagram as a static, in-grid post between August 20th and August 31st and you must use the hashtag #debphl20 and tag us @dinerenblancphl. We'll be sharing some of our favorites via stories, but only those posted to your grid will be eligible to win! Also: we can't see your posts if your profile is private. Please note: a multi-city virtual DEB event may take place this Fall. We will share details once they are available!    📸 Sean Corbett Photography  #dinerenblanc #debphl #debphl20 #whyilovephilly #visitphilly #dinerenblancphl

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We want to see your celebrations on Instagramand we want to recognize your creative efforts with a giveaway of NINE complimentary registrations for two to next year’s event!

The rules of DEB still apply- square tables set for two with white tablecloths, dishes, chairs and guests adorned all in white.  However, this year you can safely use your good china, glassware and your grandmother’s antique linens; create an over-the-top centerpiece you wouldn’t normally be able to transport; and you can include your kids and pets!   Get your napkin-waving hand ready, cue up Coldplay’s Viva la Vida, and light those sparklers as you snap the perfect shot of your #debphl20!

We can’t wait to see your unique celebrations from balconies, porches, yards, lawns and stoops!   To be eligible for consideration, your posts (photos/videos) must be posted to Instagram as a static, in-grid postbetween August 20th and August 31st and you must use the hashtag #debphl20 and tag us @dinerenblancphl. We’ll be sharing some of our favorites via stories, but only those posted to your grid will be eligible to win! Also: we can’t see your posts if your profile is private.

Please note: a multi-city virtual DEB event may take place this Fall. We will share details once they are available!