Archives: June 2013

Elfant Wissahickon's Katey McGrath and The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Turning the Page for Change on June 11th!

Posted on: June 10, 2013

by Katey McGrath

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook is a catalyst for change, an advocate for equity and excellence, and an information source and forum for the supporters of public schools in Philadelphia. As a member of the Notebook’s board of directors and a parent of students in Philadelphia’s public schools, I am proud to be a part of the Notebook’s work. I invite you to show your support for the Notebook by coming out to the Turning the Page for Change annual celebration on June 11.

My husband and I decided that we would send our children to public schools before they were even born. I attended Philadelphia’s public schools from kindergarten to 12th grade and knew that I wanted my children to have a similar experience in a neighborhood school. But I know that it’s not the ’80s anymore. I didn’t know how to find more information about navigating the system, or how to connect with others going through the same process.

That changed when I was introduced to the Notebook. At last year’s Turning the Page for Change, I met the Notebook’s board and staff, witnessed how many people work to be an active part of the conversation about the School District, and heard insight from a dozen people about my family’s decision to send our children to public school. That night I decided to become a Notebook member, and with each issue I become more informed, more aware, and more proud of the work that the Notebook does to advocate for Philly’s public schools — and especially for the students. Joining the board has allowed me to further participate in theNotebook’s necessary and exciting work to share strong, consistent information about education in Philadelphia.

This year, our oldest son is finishing his first year at J.S. Jenks Elementary School, and we appreciate public education even more. Good public schools can help to ensure that many more Philadelphia students are well-prepared to go on to college and gainful employment. They also keep young professionals and families (and their tax payments) in the city, and contribute to safe corridors and healthy neighborhoods. A quality neighborhood school increases property values and can generate foot traffic in a business district.

Attending Turning the Page for Change is the perfect way to learn more and get involved in the work to improve our schools! You’ll meet parents, educators, students, politicians, connectors, and leaders from all over the city, while providing essential support to sustain the Notebook’s journalism.

So come on out! For tickets, click here. To further show your support for theNotebook, consider joining this year’s Host Committee, and invite your friends!

Katey McGrath is a Philadelphia public school parent and member of theNotebook’s board of directors.

Jazz it Up! this Sunday to Benefit the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia.

Posted on: June 7, 2013

Elfant Wissahickon partner Larry DiFranco is an at-large board member of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia and has been for over 9 years: “The NPIHN is an organization of approximately 30 church congregations that provide emergency shelter and hospitality for families in need throughout Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia. Due to cutbacks in funding for organizations like this, we are always seeking alternate ways of fundraising and Jazz it Up! is one of those ways.”

Friends of NPIHN and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Present: JAZZ IT UP!: A Benefit for Interfaith Hospitality Network of Northwest & Northeast Philadelphia (NPIHN)

WHEN: Sunday June 9, 2013

WHERE: 7165 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia PA 19119 (formerly North by Northwest)

Enjoy some of Philly’s most exciting jazz groups and 2 delicious buffets by Centre Caterers!

JAZZ BRUNCH – 12 Noon to 3 PM

JAZZ PARTY – 3 to 7 PM

Half or Full Day tickets available online at: or by phone reservation 215-247-4663 Ext. 102


Donors $150 – all-day music/buffet/bar beverage/donor recognition
Patrons $100 – all-day music/buffet/bar beverage
Patrons $50 – Jazz Brunch or Jazz Party w/ buffet/bar beverage (limited number of tickets available)


Jazz Brunch

12 Noon- 1:30 pm – Jeannie Brooks and the Jazz Doctors  (Classic jazz and blues with one of Philly’s most dynamic vocalists – a “singer’s singer”)

1:30 -3:30 pm –“ Jazz Fiddler on the Roof” with the Mark Kramer Trio (Rare performance of all-original arrangements, written and recorded by brilliant pianist/composer Dr. Mark Kramer)

Afternoon Jazz Party and Buffet

3:30 – 5:30 pm –Kevin Valentine Quartet (Creative new interpretations of old jazz favorites by an exciting young singer rapidly winning fans all over the region)

5:30 – 7 pm – Los Medicos de Jazz with very special guest Pablo Batista (Latin jazz grand finale featuring a percussion master who has recorded and toured with Alicia Keys, Patti Labelle, Kirk Franklin, Jill Scott, Gerald Levert, Jeffrey Osborne, Phyllis Hyman, Teddy Pendergrass, Diane Reeves, Norman Brown, Manny Oquendo and Libre, Eddie Palmieri and Musiq.)


Home Staging Tips

Posted on: June 6, 2013

(From Metro.Us, By: Linda Laban)

If your home’s For Sale sign is becoming a fixture, still there in this red-hot spring real estate market, you might be doing something wrong. Staging is what designers do to give a home maximum eye appeal. Ave Bradley, Kimpton Hotels’ vice president of design, is responsible for creating welcoming atmospheres that appeal to a wide group of people, which is exactly the effect a home seller wants. “The important thing is to create a space that’s warm and inviting, a place people want to linger,” says Bradley. She tells us how to get our home ready for prospective buyers.

Bag the clutter … and the laundry

“Never underestimate the impact of clutter. A room that’s clean and well organized is more inviting. Also, I don’t want to see the remnants of someone else’s life. I don’t want to see their toothbrush, or their bra on a sofa! Throw everything in a trash bag and put it in a cabinet.”

Say it with flowers, not food

“Nothing is more welcoming than flowers. I like to see a big, vibrant, fresh flower arrangement. Put one in the bathroom and the living room. I see people offering these extravagant food spreads. It’s just not necessary. Also, be careful about cooking smells like bacon or fish. People want to smell lemon or lavender when they walk in, not pizza.”

Paint walls a neutral color

“In older Victorian- or Spanish-style homes, strong colors work. For most modern homes, a neutral but warm scheme is best: taupe, celadon green, white. The same goes for furniture. The bigger and bolder, the fewer people can relate. It increases the sale chances if a room’s colors are quiet and people can imagine their lives there.”

Bring on sunshine and smiles

“It’s important to get the right broker with a welcoming attitude. When you walk in, you don’t want to see a selling agent who’s arrogant. And open up drapery — there’s nothing more off-putting than walking into a place with the drapes drawn. It reminds people of sickness. Let the sunlight shine in.”

Neighborhood Profile: FITLER SQUARE

Posted on: June 3, 2013

History:   Fitler Square is named after Edwin H. Fitler, a well-regarded 19th century mayor of Philadelphia. The Square was dedicated to his memory shortly after his death in 1896.

From the city’s earliest history, the Fitler Square neighborhood was a shipping, shipbuilding and brick-making center that became home to some of the city’s most prominent citizens. While the majority of the buildings in the neighborhood date from the mid-19th to the early 20th century, the history of the neighborhood’s development can be traced through the changing styles of its remarkably varied architecture.

Before the 1950s the neighborhood was a prime example of the urban blight that had overcome much of the city. The park itself was described as a “mudhole inhabited by drunks and empty bottles”. In the mid-1950s, The Center City Residents’ Association successfully petitioned Mayor Clark to do something about the decline of the neighborhood. Working together, they freed up mortgage money for the construction of new homes and rehabilitation of the neighborhood.

Also threatening the neighborhood was the proposed Crosstown Expressway. The threat of its construction, which would demolish much of the neighborhood, was enough to reduce property values and add to the neighborhoods blight. The Residents’ Association was successful in changing the plans and following years saw drastic neighborhood improvements.

Today the neighborhood is mostly residential and composed of single-family homes, and it is within a short walk of the commercial areas of Center City. On the television show Philly, Kim Delaney’s character “Kathleen” was portrayed as living in a small apartment building overlooking the park. Hojun Li, co-editor of the film The Sixth Sense, claims to have been inspired by children in Fitler Square.

(Wikipedia / Fitler

Boundaries: 21st Street on the east, the Schuylkill River on the west, Locust Street on the north, and South Street on the south.

Zip Codes:  19146.

What To See / Do: The Fitler Square Farmers Market, The Philadelphia City Institute, The Spring Fair.

More Information: Fitler Square.

Schools: The Philadelphia School.

Public Transportation: SEPTA Routes: 7, 12, 40.