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Philly is Open

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Ready Set Philly We’re On The Verge

In the wake of a devastating year in which COVID has critically damaged Philadelphia’s economy and taken thousands of lives, City officials and leaders from the region’s business community today announced Ready.Set.Philly!, a year-long initiative to promote the safe return to Philadelphia for work and play, aimed at restoring the city’s economic and cultural vibrancy.
(This photo by Sam Sassano)
Left to right: Jerry Sweeney of Brandywine Realty Trust; Susan Jacobson, chair of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia; Angela Val, executive director of Ready Set Philly!; Mayor Jim Kenney; Bill Hankowsky, former CEO of Liberty Property Trust; and Michael Rashid, Philadelphia Commerce Director.

Last week I attended a great press conference to publicly launch the Ready Set Initiative which is a collaborative effort with the City of Philadelphia, the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, and coalition of businesses and organizations who will work together to provide information that will encourage, support, and promote safely bringing people back to Philadelphia – the heart of the region. I was bursting with joy as that is basically what I’ve been doing for a better part of the year.

Philly is Open, safely. Soon We Will All Gather.

How many of us dreamed of working from home for so many years, and now that we have for the past year, how many dream of returning to work. We miss the early morning walks to work.
We miss our friends, office mates, copy machines, 30 second elevator chats, we miss happy hour, we miss our train mates, theater nights, live entertainment, Philly streets, people watching, so much about what is connected with working in an office we now realize it’s missing from our lives, and was a big part of us.

Sunsets, especially from the Four Seasons lobby.

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Save The Date: Kimmel Center Re-Opening

Happy Days Are Here Again as the Kimmel Cultural Campus is ReOpening
THE KIMMEL CULTURAL CAMPUS ANNOUNCES REOPENING IN FALL 2021

With positive news and reports from Broadway touring industry organizations, the Kimmel Cultural Campus is announcing the return of live Broadway programming to Philadelphia in the fall of 2021 after being closed for more than a year due to COVID-19. The Kimmel Cultural Campus kicks-off its season, presented in partnership with The Shubert Organization, with 13 magnificent shows that will finally bring audiences together again for the unparalleled live theater experience. In anticipation of reopening its doors safely and resuming mainstage performances, Campus management continues to work in consultation with health and safety experts and in accordance with City and Commonwealth guidelines in the development of its reopening plans. Additionally, the Kimmel Cultural Campus is working collaboratively with its esteemed Resident Companies to support their season plans which will be announced in the coming months.

The 2021/22 Broadway Philadelphia season premieres with the return of Hamilton and continues with an astounding lineup of Tony Award®-winning productions including fan favorites, an innovative reimagining, and beloved classics.  The upcoming season boasts 42 Tony Awards and 37 Drama Desk Awards™, and several Philadelphia premieres.

Hamilton (October 20 – November 28, 2021, Academy of Music)
My niece Ella and I caught it when it debuted in Philly in 2019. It was magnificent.

Rain – A Tribute to The Beatles (October 29 – 31, 2021, Merriam Theater) – I loved it , yeah yeah yeah
Anastasia (November 23 – 28, 2021, Merriam Theater)
Stomp (December 28, 2021 – January 2, 2022, Merriam Theater) – Toe tapping, aisle dancing show
Pretty Woman: The Musical (January 4 – 16, 2022, Academy of Music) – I Feel Pretty

Hadestown (February 9 – 20, 2022, Academy of Music) – Make me feel ALIVE
Beautiful – The Carole King Musical (February 22 –27, 2022, Academy of Music) – You’ve got a friend in this musical. Go with your best friend.
Rent: 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour (March 4 – 6, 2022, Merriam Theater) One of the best. I’ve seen it on Broadway at least 10 times, and in Philly 5 times.
Only about 1,171,200 minutes away from seeing this again and singing “525,600 minutes in the year.”
Oklahoma! (March 8 – 20, 2022, Forrest Theatre) – Mike’s Mom’s favorite show!!
Waitress (March 29 – April 3, 2022, Academy of Music) – Adorable
Hairspray (May 16 – 22, 2022, Merriam Theater) – You Can’t Stop The Beat >>> I’ve seen the movie 37 times.
To Kill A Mockingbird (July 12 – 24, 2022, Academy of Music) –
Classic, timely.
Dear Evan Hansen (August 16 – 28, 2022, Forrest Theatre) – Oh dear, I never saw this either

Beginning in the 2021/22 season, Kimmel Cultural Campus is pleased to present a Safe & Clean Commitment + COVID-19 Subscriber Guarantee as outlined below:

Safe & Clean Commitment + COVID-19 Subscriber Guarantee

We will always put the safety of our guests, artists, and staff first. We will not hold performances until City and Commonwealth guidelines allow, and we are working closely with our union partners, producers, artists, and other performing arts centers around the nation to develop the most comprehensive plan to safely reopen our doors. We are committing to a healthy and clean environment with increased disinfection, enhanced ventilation, and will enforce all recommended health authority guidelines. We want you to return when you are ready, we will stand behind any subscription tickets you purchase now for our future events with our COVID-19 Subscriber Guarantee. For more information on COVID-19 Subscriber Guarantee and our Safe & Clean Commitment, please visit kimmelcenter.org.

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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.)