Archives: neighborhood profiles

A chat with Marissa Brooks, Realtor

Posted on: January 20, 2017

Where are you working today / where are your appointments?

All over! I spent the morning in West Philly, quick stop in Mt Airy, the afternoon in Port Richmond, and happy home to my fam in South Kensington.

What is your favorite on-the-go lunch choice?

Reading terminal all the way. So many great stalls to choose from! Some days a piece of cheese from Downtown Cheese and a baguette from Metropolitan OR Four Seasons Juice Bar (next to Market Blooms) and a pretzel from Miller’s twist.

Do you have a favorite new local restaurant or business that you are really excited about?

PlayArts at Front and Thompson opened in September and it is a wonderful business! It is a beautifully rehabbed old municipal pool building turned into a spectacular play space complete with sensory, art, music, and dance classes. From infants on up, it is a great addition to the neighborhood.


What do you like to do in your free time – besides sell real estate?

When I’m not showing houses or chasing a toddler around, I love to cook!!

iPhone or Android? 


What is your favorite dessert?

Pizza ūüćē

Tea or coffee?

Coffee – I’m very spoiled since the flagship La Colombe is just a few blocks from my home.


La Colombe Coffee Roasters, Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia

What is your favorite part of being a realtor?

Helping people take the next step in their lives. In my experience, physically moving is usually a manifestation of change in life, and it isn’t always young people starting fresh or growing into a “dream home”(though that is really fun!). Sometimes it’s because of death, divorce, retirement, or downsizing. A house can come to symbolize so many very personal things for people; a loved one that resided in it, a relationship that may not have worked out, a space that whole generations of a family have been raised in… It isn’t always an easy thing to do, but it is extremely rewarding. The purchase or sale of real estate is a very empowering experience.

Visit Marissa’s Facebook page here!

Marissa Brooks




Neighborhood Profile: NEWBOLD

Posted on: August 19, 2013

History: ¬†Real estate developer John Longacre, known to residents as ‚Äúthe original founder of Newbold,‚ÄĚ saw potential in the undeveloped area, so he started purchasing properties that turned into residential and commercial spaces in the early 2000s. Later, he developed the nonprofit, Newbold Community Development Corp., which later shared its boundaries ‚ÄĒ Tasker to Wolf, Broad to 18th streets ‚ÄĒ with Newbold Civic Association, which launched around ‚Äô06.

Other, mainly newer, residents spanning Washington to Passyunk avenues with like ideas of how to improve their neighborhood began meeting at one another’s homes in ’07. Soon those neighbors formed Newbold Neighbors Association.

This area is historically part of Point Breeze, however Longacre (also the owner of the South Philadelphia Taproom) dubbed the neighborhood “Newbold” in 2003 in an effort to differentiate it from the rest of Point Breeze. Longacre drew inspiration for the name from the original name of Hicks Street.

Famous residents include¬†singer/pianist Buddy Greco, a native of the 2000 block of South Chadwick Street; disc jockey Jerry Blavat, formerly of of 17th and Mifflin streets; singer Al Martino, a 15th-and-Tasker-Street native; The Four Aces’ lead singer Al Alberts, of the 1800 block of Chadwick Street. (From Wikipedia, South Philly Review)

Boundaries:  Washington Avenue to Wolf Street, Broad to 18th streets.

Zip Codes:  19145, 19146

More Information: Newbold Neighbors Association, Newbold Civic Association

Schools: George W. Childs School,  St. Thomas Aquinas

Public Transportation: SEPTA Ellsworth Federal Station


Neighborhood Profile: ELKINS PARK

Posted on: August 5, 2013

History:  Elkins Park is in Montgomery County, Pa and is split between Abington and Cheltenham Townships.  Cheltenham Township, as it exists today, is the product of over 300 years of history. The interactions of numerous generations have created a tapestry of events and people that have shaped both the physical and cultural development of the Township.

The story of Philadelphia’s first suburb is filled with names of local, regional, and national significance. The physical manifestation of this history is the unique building stock that lends Cheltenham Township its sense of place and character. It is the express desire of the Township to promote and preserve these historical artifacts through the expansion of regulatory tools and historic preservation efforts.

Cheltenham Township was created in 1682 as part of Philadelphia County. It was not until September 10, 1784 that Montgomery County was formed and Cheltenham became its smallest Township. William Penn deeded land grants to fifteen fellow Englishmen. Each was deeded a small parcel of land in the City of Philadelphia and a larger area, comprising of between 100 and 500 acres, in Cheltenham Township.  (Cheltenham

Boundaries:  Elkins Park borders the City of Philadelphia along Cheltenham Avenue, and is roughly 9 miles from Center City, Philadelphia.

Zip Codes: 19027.

What to See and Do: Frank Lloyd Wright’s¬†Beth Sholom Synagogue, Lynnewood Hall, Richard Wall House, High School Park

More Information: Abington Township, Cheltenham Township.

Schools: School District of Cheltenham Township.

Public Transportation: SEPTA bus routes 28, 55, 70 and 77 and  SEPTA Regional Rail trains on the Warminster Line, West Trenton Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line at the Elkins Park Station.


Neighborhood Profile: PENNSPORT

Posted on: July 29, 2013


History:  According to the Genealogy of Philadelphia County Subdivisions, Pennsport was originally part of Moyamensing Township. Most of the area north of present-day Mifflin Street was included in the Southwark District from 1794 until the consolidation of Philadelphia in 1854. At that point, it was mostly contained in the First Ward. The First and Second Wards ran east of Passyunk Avenue and were divided by Wharton St. (First to the south, Second to the north). The southern boundary of the First Ward initially spanned south to the river, but it was stopped at Mifflin St. in 1898.

Pennsport is a riverfront enclave that’s been building up exciting momentum in recent years. The influx of energy is welcome in a neighborhood already rich in Philly tradition.

The stretch between Front and Third, better known as ‚ÄúTwo Street,‚ÄĚ is the home of the Mummers, the bedazzled paraders who‚Äôve been tearing up Broad Street on New Year‚Äôs Day for more than 100 years. Mummer clubs and pubs blend into the neighborhood‚Äôs quaint, narrow, well-maintained blocks in this historically residential part of town.

A growing number of new restaurateurs and shop owners are breathing new energy into the area, helping expand the neighborhood’s already robust identity.

A network of quiet, safe streets, Pennsport is not most convenient neighborhood to access via public transport, though buses do run north-south on Front and Moyamensing and east-west on three streets below Washington Avenue. The unorthodox nature of Pennsport’s more prominent corridors, especially the diagonally oriented Moyamensing, can make driving a little murky for the unfamiliar, though it’s close to 95 and there is typically street parking. (Visit Philly, Wikipedia)

Boundaries: Snyder Avenue to the south, Washington Avenue to the north, The Delaware River to the east, Fourth Street to the west.

Zip Codes: 19147, 19148.

More Information: Pennsporter, Naked Philly.

Schools: Abigail Vare, George Sharswood, Furness Horace High School.

Public Transportation: SEPTA 57 Bus Line


Neighborhood Profile: EAST OAK LANE

Posted on: July 22, 2013

History: ¬†Settled in 1683, East Oak Lane, located at “The Northern Gates of Philadelphia”, is William Penn’s first neighborhood- his first “Green Country Town.” Rich with history, gorgeous architecture, green space and cultural diversity, this neighborhood is truly a jewel in the crown of Philadelphia.

Convenient to the newly restored Melrose Park Train station, Fernrock Subway Station and many bus lines- residents have access to all the City of Philadelphia has to offer, yet they enjoy the quiet and beauty of a suburban environment.

The vision of William Penn to create a pastoral oasis for city dwellers is shared by the residents of East Oak Lane. Neighbors are passionate about preservation of their beautiful landscaping and their rich Philadelphia architecture. This community comes together to celebrate their shared respect for the “quality of life” of all of its neighbors. As a result, East Oak Lane continues to attract Philadelphia’s great minds and talents who love to call this neighborhood their home.

Boundaries: Cheltenham Avenue at the north, Broad Street on the west, Godfrey Avenue at the south, and North 5th Street to the east.

Zip Codes: 19126, 19141.

More Information: East Oak Lane Community Action Association, Oak Lane Tree Tenders, Friends of the Oak Lane Library.

Schools: Ellwood School, Philadelphia High School For Girls, Central High School, St. Helena’s.

Public Transportation: Melrose Park Station, Fern Rock Station.


Neighborhood Profile: PASSYUNK SQUARE

Posted on: July 15, 2013

History:¬†¬†Passyunk Square traces its roots to Colonial times, when Gen. George Washington housed many of his soldiers on the 800 and 900 blocks of Federal. Passyunk Avenue from Tasker to Broad got its start as an upscale shopping mecca. Restaurants, specialty food stores, pharmacies, furniture shops, clothing and shoe and jewelry stores dotted the avenue, just as they do now. In 2002, a city ordinance created the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, which was modeled after merchant-funded initiatives in Center City and Manayunk.¬† Major landmarks of the neighborhood include East Passyunk Avenue; the Lower Italian Market, said to be the country‚Äôs oldest open-air market, Ninth from Washington to Wharton; Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks,¬†Ninth and Passyunk and the fountain at the junction of Passyunk, 11th and Tasker.¬†(South Philly Review)

Boundaries: Broad Street to the west, 6th street to the east, Tasker to the south and Washington to the north.

Zip Codes:  19147.

What to See / Do: Visit East Passyunk

More Information: PSCA

Schools: Andrew Jackson (K-8), Eliza Kirkbride (K-8), George Washington (K-8), Southwark (K-8), South Philadelphia (9-12), Neumann Goretti High School, Christopher Columbus Charter School.


Neighborhood Profile: NORTHERN LIBERTIES

Posted on: June 17, 2013

History: ¬†In 1682, William Penn referred to the area north of Philadelphia as the “Liberties” because it consisted “Liberty Land or Free Lots”‚Äď additional land that was given away for free with a land purchase. The subsequent Northern Liberties township, which once contained the areas of Northern Liberties, Spring Garden, Kensington, Bridesburg, Penn, Richmond, and Aramingo before being whittled down to its current size, became one of America’s largest cities.

Situated on the waterfront, Northern Liberties was a thriving hub of trade, featuring lumber yards, farmer’s markets, mills, breweries, leather tanneries, paints and chemical works, tool making factories, and iron and stove foundries¬†and other wholesale and retail shops. It also holds the status as a famous red-light district¬†in the United States.¬†Prior to annexation, the township was created as a less densely populated alternative to nearby Philadelphia. Because of this, it was later known colloquially as “Philadelphia’s first suburb.”¬†In 1854, the Township officially became part of Philadelphia.

Today Northern Liberties is a beautiful neighborhood home to some 4,500 people and known for its vibrant community, outdoor spaces, and ever-growing collection of restaurants, shops, art galleries, and bars.¬†In recent years, Northern Liberties has become a major enclave of young professionals, students, artists, and design professionals. Large improvement and revitalization projects have also been undertaken recently, causing a large jump in property values. The neighborhood’s proximity to Center City has made it one of the city’s most desirable development districts, both for commercial and residential real estate. Like most Philadelphia neighborhoods, the housing stock is primarily made up of row houses, although new development in recent times has brought apartment and condominium complexes.¬†( Wikipedia)

Boundaries: 6th Street to the West, Front Street to the East, Callowhill Street to the South and Girard Ave to the North.

Zip Codes:  19123

What to See / Do: The Edgar Allan Poe Historic Site, Yards Brewing Company, Liberty Lands Park, Northern Liberties Historic District, The Piazza at Schmidt’s / Liberties Walk, Many Bars and Restaurants.

More Information: NorthernLiberties.Org.

Schools: General Philip Kearny School, James R. Ludlow School, Laboratory Charter School, Walter D. Palmer Leadership Academy, Bodine High School For International Affairs, Kensington High School, Benjamin Franklin High School.

Public Transportation: SEPTA’s 43 and 57 buses or SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line.


Neighborhood Profile: PLYMOUTH MEETING

Posted on: May 13, 2013

History: ¬†¬†The township was originally settled by members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, who worshipped in the Plymouth Friends Meetinghouse.¬†They sailed from Devonshire, England, on the ship¬†Desire, arriving in Philadelphia¬†on June 23, 1686. The township takes its name from the settlers’ hometown of Plymouth¬†in Devon.

What is now Germantown Pike was ordered laid out by the Provincial Government in 1687 as a “cart road” from Philadelphia to Plymouth Meeting. The actual road was not finished until 1804, when it was built at a cost of $11,287. A road from Plymouth Meeting to Gwynedd appears to have been built in 1751. What is now Chemical Road, following Plymouth Creek, was opened in 1759 to provide access to a new gristmill.

In the early 19th century the Hickorytown Hotel, on Germantown Pike opposite Hickory Road, was a prominent road house. Robert Kennedy, an officer in the Revolution, operated the inn in 1801. In 1806 it was kept by Frederick Dull and in 1825, Jacob Hart. In the beginning of the 19th century it was a training place for the 36th Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia and the Second Battalion of Montgomery County. The Friendship Company for the Protection against Horse Stealing was organized there in 1807. Township elections were held there as well, and a post office was established there in May 1857. The Plymouth Meeting Post Office appears to have been established sometime prior to 1827.

Among early industries in Plymouth Township was the Hickorytown Forge operated by the Wood family, and a forerunner of the present Alan Wood Steel Company. The name Plymouth Furnace appears in the records about 1847 and was engaged in the manufacture of nails.

The Plymouth Railroad was built in 1836 to serve some 20 lime kilns operating along the route between Conshohocken and Cold Point. In 1870, the line was acquired by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad and was rebuilt and extended to Oreland at a junction with the North Penn Railroad.

Prior to the building of the Plymouth Railroad, the Philadelphia, Germantown, and Norristown Railroad was built along the Schuylkill River through Plymouth and commenced operation on 1835. The Schuylkill Valley Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, the tracks of which parallel those of the Reading Railroad, was opened in 1884, and the Trenton Cut-off branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad was built in 1891.

Plymouth became a township of the first class in January 1922. Mr. Isaac J. Sheppard became township secretary at that time and served as secretary until his voluntary retirement in 1952. Under the new form of government the board changed from one of three “road supervisors” to one of five “Township Commissioners”. Many gradual changes commenced at that time. Street lights were installed in the built-up sections, fire hydrants were installed at critical locations. By 1924, two fire companies were in operation, the Plymouth Fire Company and the Harmonville Fire Company.

In 1925, the Board of Health was organized. Plumbing¬†inspection began in 1934. In 1939, Plymouth adopted a “modern” zoning¬†ordinance. A building code¬†ordinance was also adopted. In 1947, the first subdivision¬†ordinance was adopted. In 1952, the Township Planning Commission was created, and a Recreation Committee was established to study the recreation needs of the township. Growth continued throughout the 1960s and 1970s, which saw the advent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Plymouth Meeting Mall, high rise and garden apartment complexes, and many modern industries and offices.

Plymouth Township adopted a Home Rule Charter in 1972. Government under a Home Rule Charter allows a municipality to take any governmental or administrative actions it requires, unless such actions are prohibited by general laws of the Commonwealth. With this charter in place, citizens and their elected officials are given more governing power, and there is more of an opportunity for public involvement in governing procedures and decisions. (Wikipedia)

Boundaries:¬†It lies primarily within Plymouth Township, with a smaller portion lying within Whitemarsh Township.¬†It is the northern terminus of the “Blue Route” and the southern terminus of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension.

Zip Code:  19462

What To See / Do: Plymouth Friends Meetinghouse, Plymouth Meeting Mall,  Alan West Corson Homestead, Hovenden House, Barn and Abolition Hall, Livezey House, Hinterleiter House.

More Information: Plymouth Township

Schools: Colonial Elementary School, Colonial Middle School, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Plymouth Meeting Friends School.

Public Transportation:  SEPTA Route L


Neighborhood Profile: FISHTOWN

Posted on: May 6, 2013

History: ¬†¬†Fishtown¬†is a neighborhood in Philadelphia located immediately northeast of Center City.¬†The name “Fishtown” is derived from the area’s former role as the center of the shad fishing industry on the Delaware River. The name comes from the fact that a number of 18th and early 19th centuries German and German-American families bought up the fishing rights on both sides of the Delaware River from Trenton Falls down to Cape May, New Jersey.

The area was originally inhabited by members of the Turtle Clan of the Lenni Lenape Indian tribe (who the Europeans named the Delaware Indian Tribe). The first European settlers were a group of six Swedish farming families, later replaced by British landed gentry, then British shipbuilders and German fishermen.

The neighborhood has been working class¬†for centuries. While poverty grew after jobs left in the deindustrialization¬†which afflicted many “rust belt” cities, Fishtown’s workers continued to maintain a stable working-class community. Most long-time residents trace their ancestry to Irish, German, and Polish Catholic immigrants.

In recent years Fishtown has experienced gentrification characterized by significant rises in housing prices and the opening of upscale art, entertainment, and dining establishments. An influx of artists and professionals has joined the ranks of police officers, fire fighters, nurses, carpenters, electricians, stonemasons, plumbers, sheet-metal workers, and teamsters. (From Wikipedia)

Fishtown is home to many well known bars and restaurants. The more well known bars and restaurants include Fette Sau, Frankford Hall, Pickled Heron, Pizza Brain, Pizzeria Beddia, Loco Pez, Barcade, The Barbary, M Room, East Girard Gastropub, Memphis Taproom, Sketch, Interstate Draft House, Lloyd, Cedar Point Bar and Kitchen, The Rocket Cat Cafe, ¬†Kraftwork, Johnny Brenda’s and Ida Maes Bruncherie.

Boundaries: The neighborhood is a triangle, bordered by the Delaware River, Frankford Avenue and York Street.

Zip Code:  19125

What To See / Do: Penn Treaty Park, The Trenton Avenue Arts Festival and Kinetic Sculpture Derby, Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor, Greensgrow Farms, Philadelphia Brewing Company, Walking Fish Theatre.

More Information: Uwishunu

Schools: Adaire Alexander School, Penn Treaty Middle School, St. Laurentius School, Kensington High School For The Creative and Performing Arts.

Public Transportation:  SEPTA Market / Frankford Line, The Route 15 Trolley Line, Septa Bus Lines 15 and 25


Neighborhood Profile: BALA CYNWYD

Posted on: April 29, 2013

History:  Bala Cynwyd is a community in Lower Merion Township which is located on the Main Line in southeastern Pennsylvania, bordering the western edge of Philadelphia at US Route 1. It was originally two separate towns, Bala and Cynwyd, but is commonly treated as a single community. Bala Cynwyd lies in the Welsh Tract of Pennsylvania and was settled in the 1680s by Welsh Quakers, who named it after the town of Bala and the village of Cynwyd in Wales.

(From Wikipedia)

Boundaries: Bala Cynwyd extends west of the Philadelphia city limits represented by City Line Avenue from Old Lancaster Road at 54th Street west to Meeting House Lane and then along Manayunk and Conshohocken State Roads north to Mary Watersford Road, then east along Belmont Avenue back to City Line.

Zip Codes:  19004.

What To See / Do:  West Laurel Hill Cemetery, History and Landmarks

More Information: The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd

Schools: Cynwyd Elementary School, Bala Cynwyd Middle School, Lower Merion High School, Catholic Merion Mercy  Academy, Waldron Mercy Academy, French International School.

Public Transportation:¬†SEPTA’s ¬†Cynwyd Line