Manayunk Magazine | Summer 2024

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Celebrating Celebrating
4260 Main Street. Philadelphia 215-709-2888 2916 West Chester Pike. Broomall 610-353-8888 119 Floral Vale Blvd. Yardley 267-682-6888 MANAYUNK LOCATION 4260 MAIN ST, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19127 215.709.2888 NEWLEAFMANAYUNK.COM BROOMALL LOCATION 2916 WEST CHESTER PIKE, BROOMALL PA 19008 610-353-8888 WWW.NEWLEAFCUISINE.COM YARDLEY LOCATION 119 FLORAL VALE BLVD., YARDLEY PA 19067 267-682-6888 WWW.PURPLELEAFCUISINE.COM
4266 Main Street Philadelphia, PA 19127 215-487-2663 Kindness is everything
4 | Summer 2024 Editorial + Production Editors Leo Dillinger, Alexandra Cohen, Janine Gasarowski Caitlin Marsilii, Imani Rather Advertising Joan Denenberg Design Cantor Design, Photography JPG Photo & Video - The Video Content Factory - Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society - Mark Your Calendar Take a peek at Manayunk’s upcoming events. Then & Now A Look at the Past & Present of iconic Manayunk Locations. Manayunk Milestones Celebrating The Neighborhood ’s Legacy Businesses 28 Manayunk Directory Find Your Way Around Main Street and Beyond! 31 Cover Profile Reflecting on 200 Years of “Manayunk” 38 35th Annual Ar ts Festival Legacy Artists Reminisce on a Historic Main Street Event 44 Murals of Manayunk Take a Tour of the Many Community Art Installations 50 Now Open Step inside Manayunk’s Newest Businesses magazine contents Cover Photos provided by Manayunk Development Corporation & Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society SUMMER 2024 Manayunk Magazine is published by the Manayunk Development Corp. Manayunk Development Corporation 4312 Main Street Philadelphia, PA 19127 215.482.9565 |

April 21

Come out to Main Street on April 21 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. for a wide variety of over 60+ unique food trucks and gourmet food vendors. Try a variety of delicious options from tangy to sweet and everything in between. The festival will feature live music from local bands and shopping from local merchants.

Stroll the Street

Thursdays: June 6 through August 29

Join us every Thursday in the summer for the beloved Manayunk tradition of Stroll the Street. Each night, starting at 5 p.m., Main Street hosts live music, local vendors, happy hour deals, and plenty of shopping specials in addition to performances and interactive demos on the MNYK Artbox.

Dog Day of Summer

August 17

Who’s ready to paw-ty! Join us in cel ebrating all of our furry friends on August 17 from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. The day will bring pet-friendly vendors and activi ties including puppy pools, an agility course, and adoption events and more. Don’t have a dog? Don’t fret. Whether you have a four legged pup or you’re going solo; it will be a ball of fun!

Sing Us Home Festival

May 3-5

Sing Us Home is a three-day outdoor music festival curated by singer- songwriter and Roxborough native, Dave Hause. Sing Us Come celebrates the talents and spirit of Philadelphia and is filled with a variety of genres and artists for all to enjoy at Venice Island. Throughout the weekend, patrons can also find numerous local Philly vendors to commemorate the festival. Visit for more information!

35th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival

June 22 & 23

Get ready to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the largest outdoor juried arts festival in the region! The Manayunk Arts Festival features over 300 artists and their work from mediums including glass, ceramics, wood & sculpture, painting & drawing, fiber, jewelry, mixed media, and photography. Show hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11

6 | Summer 2024 MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Manayunk Then and Now

“Then” photos provided by: The Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society (RMWHS) and The Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) “Now” photos captured by: The Video Content Factory

2024 marks two hundred years since our beloved neighborhood was renamed, “Manayunk.”

To commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of Manayunk; below is a collection of photos dating back to the 1920s, compared to their current day transformations.

8 | Summer 2024
The small businesses of Manayunk is what helps the small town vibe thrive in this section of Philadelphia. Main Street has always been a walkable community with boutiques, places to eat, services and more. THE CANDY STORE/CONFECTIONARY SHOP, 1920. MAIN STREET SHOPS, 4300 BLOCK. MAY 15, 1926. ZESTY’S, MARCH 2024, PHOTO BY JPG PHOTOGRAPHY. 4361 MAIN STREET PHILADELPHIA, MARCH 2024. In the 1920s, inside 4361 Main Street candy shop. Though the name of the shop is unknown, the 1920 census provides a few details on this store. The woman in this photo was most likely Emma Gilbert, a trusted store employee who lived above the shop with her five daughters. The candy shop has transformed multiple times throughout the years till it became the current home of a gift boutique. 100 years later, this space holds The Little Apple Gift Boutique. Pictured in the photo is boutique owner and operator, Brandy Deieso. Brandy opened the doors to her shop in 2010. The 1926 photo shows pedestrians waiting in line.Within the crowd is a woman holding a shopping basket, and what appears to be sandwiches wrapped in newspapers. What they are waiting for is unknown.This crowding is standing in front of what is now Zesty's. Zesty’s owner and chef, Tom Konidari, opened the Greek style restaurant in 1993. The Manayunk Bridge officially opened in 1918, and has stood as a symbol of this Philadel- MANAYUNK BRIDGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION. APRIL 14, 1917. MANAYUNK BRIDGE AERIAL VIEW, 2024.

phia neighborhood since. Today it stands as a recreation trail connecting pedestrians from Manayunk to Lower Merion. The Cynwyd Heritage Trail and Schuylkill river train connected in 2015. There have been multiple beautification efforts since, including a lighting project in 2022, allowing 24-hour trail access.

Located at Main Street and Cotton, stands one of earliest buildings in Manayunk. Blantyre Mills was constructed in the late 1840s and originally functioned as a cotton mill. This mill represented succession in construction as it became more complex. The photo shown from 1989 shows Blantyre Mill prior to its transformation into apartments. Today this mill stands as the Canal House Apartments, but is also home to office spaces and the Orbit Art Gallery.

These historic photos showcase Levering Street from Main Street. The 1900 photo shows the Kerkeslager Emory Shirt store on the corner. The one looking down Levering shows Cresson Street before the construction of the train tracks. The corner of Levering and Main is now home to Minor Details Philly Boutique on the left hand side.

9 Summer 2024 |

The Canal Towpath in Manayunk was completed in the 1810s and was open for travel and recreation in 1822. 200 years later, it still functions as a gravel path for joggers, cyclists, and nature lovers. The path is just one section of the Schuylkill River Trail, which are the trails that are currently undergoing construction for the Flat Rock Dam , which will connect the canal to the Schuylkill and improve the water quality.

This photo shows the Canal Towpath near Locke Street. In this photo you’ll see the functioning train tracks, an old street lamp post, and a man strolling the path in a suit and hat. The 2024 photo shows the entrance to the path and the Lock Street entrance to

10 | Summer 2024
RECTOR AND CANAL, 1898. RECTOR AND CANAL, 2024. Across the Canal at Rector today, stands the Venice Island Theater, parking, and the pump station. The old train tracks are still present. CANAL AT LOCK. CANAL AT LOCK, 2024. Venice Island. MAIN AND RECTOR, 1980s. BAR JAWN, 2024. AERIAL VIEW OF SCHUYLKILL, 1915, PHOTO FROM, LIBRARY COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA.


These aerial shots show Manayunk on the left side and Lower Merion on the right side. The Manayunk Bridge connecting the two is visible, as well as the Canal and Schuylkill. The 1915 version was taken via airplane. The current day photo was taken using a drone camera.


The Empress Theater opened its doors in 1914. The building held everything from live skits, screened movies, music shows, and burlesque. Loring Building Products acquired the space upon the theaters closing in the 1960s and have been there ever since. Structural elements of the previous theater remain.

What was once the Substation is now a beautiful wedding venue by Artesano Iron Works. Their buildings were built in the late 1920s. Couples can tie the knot in the Substation and cross the street for their cocktail party and reception in their venue space nestled under the Manayunk Bridge. Artesano paid homage to their buildings by renovating them and filling them with their beautiful iron sculptures. Shown here is the substation in 1989, when it was occupied by Mike’s California Detailing, who is still local in the neighborhood.

11 Summer 2024 |
12 | Summer 2024 • Garden Style Apartments • Private Entrances • Patios/Balconies • Free Off-Street Parking • Dog Park & Canine Trail • 24 Hour Fitness Center • 1 mile to SEPTA train • 2 miles to Main Street • 1 & 2 Bedroom Plans | 215.482.4889 Carefree Living Around Manayunk YEARS ON MAIN STREET Celebrating 21 (215) 508-9000 4169 Main St., Philadelphia, PA 19127 RENTERS • SMALL BUSINESS • LIFE AUTO • HOME Contact us today for a free quote! "This was the first time I got a commercial insurance policy. The process was absolutely seamless and I was very pleased with the price and the outcome. I would highly recommend McCollum Insurance Agency!" Maureen V.
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180 Green Lane, Manayunk PA, 19127 267-297-5316 hello @

Manayunk Milestones

tous milestone this year.

“Manayunk” turns 200 this year, but Main Street wasn’t always the bustling business district we know today. We’ve all heard bits and pieces of its history–a little mill town with roots that trace back centuries to the indigenous Lenape people.

The waterways and expansive acreage are said to have attracted the Lenape. The industrial boom proved bountiful for cotton, wool, and textile mills. But what made Manayunk a great place to open up shop and stay put for generations? I asked some of Manayunk’s long standing business owners to get their perspectives. Here’s what they had to say.

Made in Manayunk

You’ve seen their logos as you’ve walked down Main or Cresson Street with your pup or friends. It’s impossible to miss the buildings that have housed these Manayunk manufacturers for more than a century combined. RichardsApex, Inc. creates lubricants, protective coatings, and cleaning compounds for the non ferrous and ferrous metal industries. Loring Building Products, Co. offer contractors gutter and roofing materials, vinyl siding, skylights, windows, and more.

RichardsApex, Inc., 120 years


Q: Why did your family decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: Maybe Manayunk chose us. One could speculate that the industrial nature of our business was a good fit for early Manayunk.

Realistically, the family resided in the Philadelphia area, and Manayunk became the home of G. Whitfield Richards Company and Apex Alkali Products.

Over time, these two businesses were merged into one, now known as RichardsApex, Inc. During those early years, we purchased some old mill buildings that once housed the Schofield and Imperial Textile Mill businesses.

with our 100-plus years of history in Manayunk. An occasional celebration in some of the favorite Manayunk establishments has been part of the family and business culture over the years. Several family members have supported the various local boards and community-driven programs that still help define Manayunk as a desirable place to work, live, dine, and play.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since your family first opened your business?

A: Looking at our long history in Manayunk, change has been the one major constant during our tenure. The area has certainly transitioned from its industrial and textile roots into the thriving and robust residential community it is known as today.

RichardsApex employees not only work in Manayunk, but they also live, dine, and are active socially and recreationally in the community. So, our employees enjoy the rich history of manufacturing in Manayunk coupled with experiencing the improved streetscape in the neighborhood with access to the activities, businesses, and natural beauty in and around the canal and Schuylkill River areas.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: There are so many reasons to highlight Manayunk as a great place to own a business. Depending on one’s business model, business owners find more upsides than downsides to being in Manayunk.

One would suggest that being a part of this exciting and vibrant community culture is rewarding enough, but owning a business here adds to the long history of successful businesses in Manayunk. Highlighted by the diversity of the early manufacturing days in Manayunk, business owners and customers find the historical flair mixes well with the diversity and attractiveness of the current restaurant, retail, and recreational businesses that thrive here today on the same streets we call home.

Devoted leadership in the Manayunk community ensures that the community will continue to thrive and be an attractive place for residents, businesses, and recreation seekers alike.

16 | Summer 2024

Loring Building Products, Co., 45+ years

Terri Loring, Co-Owner

Q: Why did your family decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: When we first opened, we were in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia. My father rented space not too far from City Ave. at or around 54th and Lancaster Ave., but we were quickly outgrowing it. At this time, I was still in high school in the late 1960s. We moved to Manayunk mostly because the space was available and part of the Albert M. Greenfield personal estate. So, my father and my first cousin, who is also my business partner, found this spot and bought it. That was around 1969 or 1970.

We’ve been here ever since. We’re one of the few buildings that have entrances on Main and Cresson Streets. There were even a couple of old houses we did a swap with so we were able to build an addition in the back.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since your family first opened your business?

A: Everything is a sign of the times. Kay Sykora was one of the people responsible for Manayunk reinventing itself in the late 80s and early 90s. It’s amazing what she did. She paved the way to get government funding. She knew how to do that. So, she made it a very exciting place. We worked to get the first ovarian cancer mural by Mural Arts Philadelphia.

My tombstone is going to say “consummate consumer” because I love to shop. There have been some unusual boutiques and the restaurants were wonderful. In the 2000s, we had the dot-com boom and then the crash in 2008. Things really fell apart with real estate. I don’t really shop much now. Change is to be expected. People pass away and retire, and I like seeing the area get refreshed. I hope it continues. Like any community, it has its issues but it’s a nice street and I’ve known a lot of people and business people. back into the neighborhood. I don’t think brick-and-mortar will ever be dead.

17 Summer 2024 |

Hindsight is 20/20

When Jack and Jane opened The Eyeglass Works in Manayunk more than 40 years ago, they could only dream of their impact on the community. Their luxury brands and unique styles are hand-picked by Jack and Jane, with special attention to each person’s individual needs when they walk through the door.

The Eye Glass Works, 40+ years Jack Goldberg, Owner

Q: Why did you first decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: In 1983, I was approached by a guy who had properties on Main Street and he knew me because I had a large company (For Eyes) and I sold it. I also had a factory on Tower Street where I made lenses. He’d come in and talked to me about coming down here and opening a retail shop because there was absolutely nothing here. There was one restaurant called the Canal View Inn at Main and Grape Street.

We opened a little shop. It wasn’t a big splash or anything, but people knew of my reputation and I made connections. Back then, we put fliers on cars and did different things because the internet was nothing at that point.

My connections led to a few people coming in to buy glasses. It was an organic kind of thing where they told their friends, and they told their friends, and before we knew it, we had people coming from the Main Line, Chestnut Hill, and downtown. We didn’t advertise that we were in Manayunk. We used Roxborough to promote business because Manayunk wasn’t a destination like it is now. And at that time, there was plenty of parking. Gradually, Manayunk started to become an area people wanted to visit.

Jane and I wanted to put a good product out, and we took care of everybody. We are still focused on providing quality service and keeping our reputation for having premier products.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: It’s changed in about 20 different iterations. There was nothing here until suddenly there were a few people who started recognizing Manayunk as we already did.

Everything was kind of ahead of its time when Main Street got hot. We had stores that had cool retro clothing. I once bought a tuxedo jacket with tails. It was great.

Gradually there were restaurants. On Saturdays, all of the big shots would go to the U.S. Hotel Bar & Grill. Then, Bruce Cooper opened, and there was a place called Jamie’s where Blondie’s is now, and Sonoma where Mia Rigazza is now. Before you knew it, there were four or five different restaurants that were really good.

Manayunk became the place to go for innovative shops and great restaurants. It got a bad wrap for a little while, but it was never not safe. It’s all cyclical.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: The proximity to the expressway. It’s safe here as opposed to downtown. You have a nice element of people young and older, and diversity is good here.

We’re all close with our storefront neighbors. It has a small-town feel. It’s a nice feeling and the Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) has done a nice job on the streetscape project.

We have a reputation for quality and service. We don’t just sell any brand. Our products are great because Jane picks independent lines from Belgium, France, Italy, and all over the world. We know what’s hot and what’s not.

In other words, you can’t go to any place and get what we have. We don’t try to compete with low-end stuff. We get people from downtown and we have longtime customers all over the area that keep coming to us. We stand by our products.

18 | Summer 2024

Order up!

Whether you’re interested in taking a wine class while snacking on a meat and cheese board, dining on Mediterranean cuisine, or picking up pepperoni bread before the game, Manayunk’s food and drink scene has it all.

Jake’s and Cooper’s Wine Bar, 37 years Bruce Cooper, Owner

Q: Why did you decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: I had never been to Manayunk until I thought about opening here. I was looking at buying other restaurants, but everyone’s opinion of what their restaurant was worth was much more than I wanted to spend. Then, I took a class on location, location, location, and it said, “If you can do as good as the person down the street, go for it.” And that’s what I did. We opened on Black Monday in 1987.

We did it with very modest expectations and it worked. At the time, the majority of my customers came from the Main Line. Now, the majority of my customers are from Manayunk and Roxborough.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: It was much different. There were only a couple of restaurants. Walnut Street wasn’t even what it is today. Old City was just an old part of the city. There was nothing there yet. I didn’t know the city well enough to go into to start looking for a location, so it was easier to start my own business here.

I saw places like the U.S. Hotel Bar & Grill and Jamie’s flourishing, so I thought, “OK, I think I can do this here.” People were coming from the Main Line and Chestnut Hill. I would walk around and look at the people around the neighborhood. We didn’t have analytics back

then. I did it by hand. That’s how we decided to move forward, and a lot of it has changed. Manayunk saw a big surge, but it slowed down in retail. There was a five-year moratorium on liquor licenses. Everyone who lived here hated it. It was quite the clash. A lot of places were switching over to bars and it became a bar scene. Something that may have helped drag that out was the real estate. It changed our client base. There are still college students in the area, but not as many as we used to have.

We’ve also had to switch from our original plan several times. We used to have French linens on these tables, people wore ties, and the servers wore ties, vests, and long aprons. It was a different vibe then and it’s more casual now. If you don’t go with the flow, you’ll be lost. We were able to buy the building next door because of the 2008 crash. It all worked out. It’s also 30-plus years later, so people who are coming in are much older, and we’re serving their children now.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: It’s the neighborhood, especially today. A lot of people aren’t working in offices anymore. COVID changed everything. We shortened our hours and did better because things changed. There was a time when this was a shopping district for women’s clothing.

I like that customers are coming in who aren’t interested in a showy event on a Saturday. It’s more fun. It’s more of a neighborhood. It’s a different environment than what we started with but it’s a lot more fun. I own both buildings and that makes all the difference. That’s really the key to a long-term restaurant, I think. We have more neighborhood people here than we ever had in 36 years.

19 Summer 2024 |

Marchiano’s Bakery, 40 years Daneen Marchiano, General Manager

Q: Why did your family decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: That’s where my grandmother, Nunziata, settled. My grandmother and grandfather immigrated here from Italy. There were a lot of Italian neighbors in the neighborhood back then. St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church was right up the street.

Marchiano’s started in my grandmother’s home. There was an option to relocate and my dad, Frank, did open several different businesses in different places. My dad always said, “You can take the man out of Philly, but you can’t take Philly out of the man.” It’s that way with Manayunk.

A long time ago, it was a really big thorofare. With City Avenue so close, having all the television stations, we used to get a lot of celebrities. There was a lot of talk about our place. You’d be surprised how many prominent people still come in here on a weekly basis. We want to stay here because this is our home. I spend more hours here than my house.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since your family first opened your business?

A: Manayunk was a blue collar family town. Obviously, the whole world changed. You could count on one car per household at that time. When I was little, Manayunk was full of boarded up old buildings. Ridge Avenue used to be where all the shoes and school clothes stores were.

My grandmother (not the one who started the bakery) was always proud of Manayunk. There used to be something called the Manayunk Stroll that, as kids, we’d stroll up and down Main.

I remember when Manayunk took a turn. In the 90s, the night club was the River Deck at the time. There was a place called Derek’s where celebrities would go eat, and we had this infiltration of college students. It changed the dynamic. The old Manayunkers were unhappy with the new Manayunkers.

But, my dad took everything in stride because he saw it as they were here and they’re welcome; they’re making it better. It was hard. My dad helped get a lot of the neighbors on board at the time. Then COVID hit and changed the whole town.

My grandmother passed away in 2022. She was the block captain and they all looked to her. She loved when the new kids came into Manayunk.

After the pandemic, we had an influx of New Yorkers. They bought homes, and with all the change, I wondered if we’d still feel safe like it’s always felt safe. There’s so much potential on our end out this way. Now it’s starting to be developed.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: I think Manayunk is a wonderful place to own a business because I’m partial to it. I grew up here. There’s not as much foot traffic as in Center City, but I think that’s the charm of it. People move here hoping it’s a little more removed from the city but close enough to walk to Main Street, and close enough to get downtown.

Most people my age and older have wanted to move out of Manayunk. There are so many amazing Manayunk businesses. The newer Manayunk businesses could be more successful if the older ones worked together and vice versa. We have to change the way we do things. I know that the newer generation still wants to come to us because we’re older.

I’ve seen so many families bring their children and grandchildren here. I think it’s so neat they bring them back. I think that’s what makes Manayunk great.

Zesty’s, 31 years

Tom Konidaris, Owner

Q: Why did you decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: Because at the time, it was the number one destination. Manayunk was the place to be at the time. People used to dress up and come with their families. I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me. It’s been a good investment. I made the right choices at the right time.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: Manayunk has changed a lot. In the 90s, it was a very vibrant place where people used to come. There were male and ladies boutiques. There were many restaurants they could go to. After the crash in 2008, Manayunk changed a lot. At one point, there were 20 storefronts for rent. It’s coming back now. I love what I do. I’m going to be here until the day I cannot do it anymore.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: That’s a tough question. After 31 years, if you want to come here, great. I do whatever pleases me and I want to offer my customers the best they can get for their money and everything else.

Bayou Bar & Grill

Joe Abruzzo, Owner

Q: Why did you decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: My friend Joe Jowett and I came down to Manayunk in 1990. We were managers at Pitcher’s Pub. After we were there a couple of years, our lease had expired and we decided to buy our own place on the street. We were kind of like pioneers. There was nothing here. The only thing that was here was the River Deck and U.S. Hotel Bar & Grill. We’re both from Fairmount, so we knew everybody up here because high school used to be territorial. We saw how well the neighborhood was coming along and decided to plant some roots here. We were only 23 years old.

But Manayunk is more unique than anywhere else because it’s still in the city but has that small town charm. Now that Manayunk has reestablished itself after COVID, it’s probably doing better than it’s ever done.

Dan Neducsin had a vision for the area and followed through on it. He was the guy who started the arts festival. He got people to come here.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: When we got here in 1990, half the buildings were boarded up. I believe that Manayunk has had its ups and downs but not many downs. In the early 2000s, Manayunk lost a lot of traction to Center City, because in the 90s, nobody went downtown. Other areas of the city started to revitalize the way Manayunk did. I think that a lot of smaller neighborhoods saw what Manayunk did and copied the model a little bit.

The events that the MDC are doing are top notch. But people don’t understand Manayunk always had top notch events. In the late 90s and early 2000s, the bike race was a weeklong affair.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: The way synergy is going, especially the balance between commercial and residential, right now it’s at a perfect balance. There’s enough really good places down here and it’s busy enough for everybody. There are great restaurants down here and you can walk around. And the best part about Manayunk that I always say is it’s safe and it’s a community.

21 Summer 2024 |

Platinum and Gold Retailers

Some jewelry stores have come and gone, but Gary and Norma Mann have brought a bit of sparkle to Main Street for more than 35 years. On the other side of our neighborhood, Main Street Music offers a variety of CDs, vinyl, and in-store concerts. You might say these two retailers have reached platinum status for shoppers looking to find a diamond in the rough.

Gary Mann Jewelers, 36 years Norma Mann, Co-Owner

Q: Why did you decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: We explored different neighborhoods to open our startup custom jewelry store. Gary worked in the trade for several years and comes from a long line of jewelers, appraisers, goldsmiths and silversmiths. But this was to be a brick-and-mortar retail store.

We really were looking for a business community that instinctively felt like the best fit. One that could support our efforts to get a new business off the ground, and bring a good return to our investment, in a district with like-minded entrepreneurial creatives.

Main Street Manayunk was booming with investment, excitement, inspiration, shared customer bases and many new imaginative, and supportive business owner neighbors. Many of our business neighbors were similarly minded. Our shared customers knew us on Main Street, both as small business owners and true “Moms and Pops” that so many of us were. The corridor was developing and continued to develop, as it still is. Literally, when we would come in each day, there was always something new and different in the best way.

We are so proud of all the “blood, sweat, and tears” we and all the business owners, the true pioneers of Main Street, contributed to build the district at that time and going forward, to this day, to build the best business corridor in the city.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you family first opened your business?

A: Manayunk has gone through many cycles, as has our city, the world, and of course

conducting business in general. But dedication, creativity, customer service, and the love of what we do has not changed. Manayunk, as a neighborhood, has grown tremendously. The residential community development has skyrocketed and the community loyally supports our businesses and our street, probably more than ever. Manayunk has stayed strong and stable, with continued upward growth and development and is a good solid place to start and grow and continue your business, as it has always been.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: Manayunk is a fabulous place to own a business! Business is strong, the community is supportive, our buildings are unique, historic, interesting and beautiful. Customers like coming to see us, like coming to Main Street, like getting to know us all as small business owners and people too!

There is continued investment in infrastructure and development, which make the district strong and stable. The MDC and Manayunk Special Services District’s mission is to support continued growth, and provide an attractive place for customers to come and visit our businesses.

Manayunk is the best neighborhood in the city to live and work and visit and welcomes new businesses that contribute to the spirit of what we have been building for decades.

22 | Summer 2024

Main Street Music , 32 years

Pat Feeney, Owner

Q: Why did you decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: A friend of mine recommended Manayunk because he said it was up and coming. I live in Bucks County, but he used to come down here to have drinks at Pitcher’s Pub and saw restaurants popping up. I had a good feeling about it and got in at the right time in October 1991, and it started growing immediately.

Better to be lucky than good, I guess. I hated the drive but it felt like a good location, just up the Schuylkill and not far from Center City. I just felt like it had real possibilities as opposed to Bucks County.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: It’s changed a lot, but it’s been on the upswing. We moved down here to our current location in 1997. We were originally to the left of Taqueria Amor. There’s still a restroom there with band stickers on the door. We were there from 1991 to 1997.

When I first opened, Sonoma opened and started doing good business. A year later, a friend of mine opened a lingerie store where Taqueria is now. We’d be open late because the wives would shop on Main Street and the husbands would come in after drinking. I’d be selling CDs at 11 p.m.

It used to be a real destination–from 92 or 93 to at least 2002 or 2003–then it started slipping. One reason I think is because people didn’t want to open without a liquor license. It stagnated the whole street.

And then we had our own problems because people were downloading, burning, and streaming music. We were slipping because of our industry. We were saved by the resurgence of vinyl.

For so many years we’ve counted on allegiance which many others who are niche like

we are would say. We count on our regular customers above anything else. Since vinyl, I haven’t worried.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: There’s a lot of nice people. I haven’t walked away even though I’m old enough. It’s because of my social circle. People who come here have so much in common. Whether it’s music or even sports and even politics. Our customers are into the arts and they’re music lovers. I know which customers have the same music taste as me.

I have good relationships with other store owners, too. I don’t see them all the time because I don’t leave the store that much. Some of the people I used to know aren’t here anymore. It’s so good to still see Winnie and other places do well. I don’t think that’s ever waivered either. It’s gotten better, younger, and people seem to embrace it more. It was more transient years ago.

I can’t believe we’re still here.

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Keeping Things Legal

You don’t have to look far for legal advice or tax preparation services in Manayunk. And while they may not serve your favorite slice of pizza or offer designer eyewear, they’re a vital amenity in our neighborhood.

Manayunk Law Office , 39 years William J. O’Brien, II, Owner

Q: Why did you first decide to open a business in Manayunk?

A: In early 1985, I was a single, 30-year old attorney living and working in Center City. My employer, a boutique law firm, made an offer for my third year that was disappointing, but also an opportunity. If I was to survive on a meager wage, I might as well hang my shingle. Prior to law school, I had been employed in a state-wide political campaign and then as a Staff Assistant to Senator H. John Heinz III. That experience had sparked an interest in public service, so I focused on finding, not a Center City office, but rather a commercial property in a Philadelphia neighborhood.

A year earlier, I took a scuba diving course through Aqua Hut at 4325 Main Street. Helen Link, the owner of Aqua Hut, introduced me to Hilde Sponheimer who had a ceramics studio across the street. On a sunny June morning, I left my Rittenhouse Square apartment and endured numerous unexpected detours (due to the first CoreStates U.S. Pro Cycling Championship) on my way to tour Hilde’s building. My purchase offer was accepted and 4322 Main Street became my home and office.

Q: How has Manayunk changed since you first opened your business?

A: There has been a longstanding tradition of many business and property owners who generously volunteer their time and energy for the good of the community. The introduction of the Arts Festival and the Special Services District, together with the assembly and management of five parking lots, have provided the resources to support an incredible team of community managers at the MDC.

The coordinated effort of those volunteers and MDC staff makes for a well-respected and effective advocate that helps to achieves remarkable, tangible results: elimination of utility poles, painting the Cresson Elevated rail, Canal stabilization, Venice Island Performing Arts Center, restoration of the Manayunk Bridge Arches, Green Lane Bridge lighting, Towpath improvements, Manayunk Bridge Trail and Main Street pedestrian lighting.

Q: What makes Manayunk a great place to own a business?

A: For over 150 years, Manayunk has been an incredible place to work in all kinds of businesses – retail, office, restaurant, service and industrial. In 1973, Main Street, Manayunk was recognized as a National Historic District. Since that time, the business district has attracted substantial investment from individual entrepreneurs, the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

As a result, the business district is now a thriving and diverse mix of retail, service and restaurant uses. The Main Street district is served by reliable public transit and enjoys convenient access to extraordinary recreation, including the Schuylkill River Trail and Wissahickon Park. Most important, however, is our open and welcoming atmosphere that not only attracts thousands of visitors each week, but also encourages entrepreneurs to invest in Manayunk.

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Celebrating 200 Years of Manayunk

My wife and I have become a Manayunk couple. When we moved in together five years ago, we did it here. Choosing this area was a pragmatic decision because the location made sense for where each of us worked. What we didn’t know at the time was just how deeply the community of Manayunk would imprint itself onto our lives. So many firsts and amazing memories for us are wrapped up in the neighborhood—our early dates at Lucky’s, Saturday mornings at the Pretzel Park Farmers Market, and we got engaged in front of the mural under the train at Roxborough and Cresson where our painted handprints reside. We even had our wedding at Manayunk Brewing Company. This town is a major part of our growth as a couple, so in 2021 when the opportunity to own a home in Manayunk fell into our laps, it felt natural to make our residence here more permanent.

It was mid-spring of 2022, just before year one of being first-time homeowners came to a close, when we began to notice our front door frame had a crack. It didn’t take long for the old wood to degrade even further under the pressure of strong April storms. Though we were the newest owners of this home off Main Street, we were very aware that this building had many lives in the last 120 years (according to the earliest records we could find). There was no telling how old the door frame was or even the last time it was given any care besides a coat of paint, so we reached out to a local handyman to assess and repair

the damage. At the time, we were pretty confident of two things: It would be an easy fix, and there was no way this was the original door frame.

Before Manayunk

The land that became Manayunk was originally inhabited by the Lenape, an indigenous people who migrated to fertile land throughout Pennsylvania when farmed soil would no longer produce. As time passed, they frequently relocated as needed along rivers and creeks, utilizing natural resources to build their homes. The Lenape inhabited this area centuries before the Europeans ever arrived.

In 1681, William Penn received a giant land charter from King Charles II, to repay a debt he owed to the Penn Family. Penn went to work finding purchasers for the hundreds of thousands of acres. By the early 1700s this land would be owned by founding families such as Holgate, Wood, Rinker, Rittenhouse, and Levering. And in 1716, Jacob Levering built the first house in the Manayunk area, which today would be located approximately at the corner of Green Lane and Silverwood Street.

Despite mainly goodwill relations between the Lenape and Willian Penn, brokering purchase agreements and preventing the sale of lands where Lenape villages were located, peaceful relations between the European settlers and the Lenape people would change shortly after

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Photos & History provided by Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society

May-June 2022: Wood & Nail

It didn’t take long for Jon, our handyman, to determine that the door frame couldn’t be repaired but needed to be rebuilt—a process that would take phases, especially if we wanted the final product to resemble the handcrafted aesthetic of the home we purchased. We started this thinking it would be easy—replace a piece here and there, slap on some paint, and call it a day. Nope. As soon as we started poking at the problem, the frame started to crumble like paper. How old is this wood?

Complicating matters, the dismantling of the door frame had to be done carefully and in segments for two reasons—to prevent any unnecessary damage to the exterior of the house but also to measure and take stock of each dismantled bit. Jon basically disassembled a puzzle, took measurements of each piece, and recreated the puzzle as close to the original as possible. During this process, Jon handed us a souvenir—a handmade, flathead square nail, one of many used in constructing the original frame. After a bit of investigating, we discovered that this type of nail was used mainly between 1860-and 1890, before machine-manufactured nails became commercially available. Forget the wood–just how old is this house?

A Fine (Second) Name

The town of Manayunk was originally named “Flat Rock”—a distinct neighborhood with-

personality all its own. Its distinct individuality was fortified after the dam, canal, and locks were completed by the end of 1818. The power provided by the water begat the establishment of mills and factories along the canal and river, the first opened by Capt. John Towers in 1819. Flat Rock had quickly become one of the area›s most important manufacturing hubs. With this newfound importance, the townspeople were no longer enamored with naming their home after a literal flat rock that sat along the side of their bridge

Based on the accounts of Charles V. Hagner, author of “Early History of the Falls of Schuylkill, Manayunk, Schuylkill and Lehigh Navigation Companies,” it was on May 14, 1824, that a series of meetings began among the citizens of Flat Rock, determined to land upon the perfect moniker for their town. According to Hagner, it was his own brother who suggested the name Udorvia, a Greek word for “place by the water.” A majority of the people at the meeting liked and adopted the name, even printing it on a large board and posting it in town for all to see

Not days after the name’s reveal, proprietors of the mills and townspeople did not like it and strongly campaigned to change it. A push to change the name to a Lenape word won out, Hagner noting that doing so was a “popular idea at the time.” They landed on the native name for the Schuylkill River, manaiung (approximately meaning “where we go to drink”). They also decided to replace the ‘I’ and ‘G’ with a ‘Y’ and ‘K’ in an effort to make it more phonetic and memorable. MANAYUNK was officially born in the summer of 1824.

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Philadelphia Comes Knocking

Manayunk was incorporated in June 1840, officially becoming a separate borough from Roxborough Township. However, the town’s newfound autonomy didn’t last as long as intended. Manayunk and the rest of the boroughs, townships, and districts of Philadelphia County were officially merged into the City of Philadelphia with the Act of Consolidation of 1854. Regardless of the new status quo, Manayunk continued to maintain its individuality— something that’s apparent even today amongst Philadelphia, “the city of neighborhoods.”

The area’s earliest development may have consisted of mill buildings and worker housing, but by the late 19th century, a broader range of commercial development emerged. Banks,

warehouses, and retail gave Manayunk a growing reputation as a business center Little development on Main Street had occurred after the turn of the 20th century with the overall physical appearance of the strip not changing much, save for the occasional restoration or rehabilitation of existing retail and business spaces.

One very visible way that Manayunk has maintained its personality over the centuries is its consistent repurposing and rejuvenating of existing and historical buildings. Mills changed from cotton to wool or paper to dying and eventually industry became retail and residential, but the buildings remained. The aesthetic character and charm of Manayunk has endured due to whatever adaptation and progress was required to thrive.

July 2022: Two Feet of Stone

As Jon meticulously peeled the last layer of the door frame, he revealed slabs of stone randomly stacked with what looks like concrete between them. We learn that our exterior walls are two-feet of layered rock called schist, originally from the Wissahickon, instead of red brick like similarly aged buildings in other areas of Philadelphia. This information leads us to believe that our first home may be anywhere between 20-50 years older than any available documentation—definitely older than 1900. These revelations led us down countless rabbit holes of old maps and photos of the area, as we tried to pinpoint any vector of specificity regarding the history of this house.

Curiosity would eventually fade away to assumption, and focus would shift to paint color selections for the new door. The speculation was fun while it lasted, but we resigned to the idea that we may never know the whole history of this house.

Industry and Commerce of Manayunk: Adapt, Rise, and Decline

During the Civil War, cotton from the South became unavailable, closing many mills. Surviving mill owners switched to wool production for the Union Army. Wool and wool-blend

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textiles would continue to be an important aspect of the Manayunk industry. After the war, the industrial expansion declined despite diversifying, and new mills were generally less profitable. However, textiles and textile-related production continued to play an important role through the 1920s.

Main Street in the early 1900s was a business and commerce center tied to industry rather than a retail shopping district. However, by the 1920s, the south side of Main was fully developed, breaking any visual link between the commercial district and the canal industrial zone. Also, as suburban residential growth boomed in Roxborough, the character of Main Street shifted to retail shopping and entertainment, catering to local trade. The Empress Theater and department stores found homes on Main Street, and the character of Manayunk that we know and love today began to take shape. Unfortunately, progress would temporarily be halted as the rest of the country entered a period of hardship.

The Great Depression shuttered many Manayunk mills, and Main Street slowly declined as a commercial destination. Vacant storefronts, reduced dining, and social options were signs of gradual change. Manayunk never disappeared completely, but it was in critical condition for a while, and it took time after the Depression to fully recover.

February 2024: Happy 200th

The opportunity to write this article reignited my curiosity and interest in the history of our home. In the last two years, my wife and I have learned stories from our neighbors, people like Bob and Marie—Manayunk legends in their own right, having lived here for nearly seven decades. They’ve told us stories about when the house at the end of the block used to be a butcher shop and how as a kid, Bob would buy candy at the convenience store next door. It’s a perspective of Manayunk that I hadn’t held when I previously lived on Main Street, rarely venturing to the residential blocks. I always understood that Manayunk had centuries of history, but I never really comprehended what that meant. How many stories does each of these buildings have, housing generations of families, some still living on the same blocks, and in the same buildings, as their ancestry?

The Birth of Modern Manayunk

The makeup of modern Manayunk began to take shape in the 1980s as the transformation of mills into apartments and condos laid the foundation for new growth in retail and restaurants. The first Philadelphia International Cycling Classic in 1985 closed down Main Street and took cyclists from all over the world up and down “The Wall,” the treacherous incline of Levering Street and Lyceum Avenue. The decade culminated with the inaugural, and still running, Manayunk Arts Festival in the summer of 1990. As the area grew in prominence, the demographic shifted to a younger professional crowd, now mingling with the working-class families up the hill. By 1999, Manayunk was one of the top spots in the city for dining, shopping, and bars—a social destination at the edge of Philadelphia.

Reality shifted in the early 2000s with hurricane flooding, 9/11, and the recession all impacting the local economy as well as social events and destinations throughout the region. The regrowth of Manayunk was slow but deliberate throughout the 2010s, with revitalization in the form of more new housing, the Venice Island Performing Arts and Recreation Center, and an investment in murals and beautification throughout the town as well as along the trails and canal towpath.

Our Shared Community

The lived experiences of our block, juxtaposed with the transient population of students and renters, is a dichotomy familiar to these streets if you look back far enough. Manayunk has largely been a tale of two neighborhoods since the mid-1800s—one of blue-collar industry at its heart and another of a retail and entertainment destination attracting people throughout the region for well over a century.

A place of lifelong, generational locals, but just as many passersby, visitors, and newcomers on a seasonal and daily basis. It’s a neighborhood of two parallel stories with equal weight on the character of a larger Philadelphia. Art and industry cohabitate with just as much reverence afforded to each other.

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Manayunk Today and Tomorrow

Approaching its 200th birthday, Manayunk is showing no signs of slowing down. Much like the rest of the world, the pandemic caused uncertainty, with more than one local institution shutting down or shifting operations to get by. However, housing is showing no signs of slowing, a canal revitalization is underway, new shops and restaurants are quickly becoming staples, and people are still clamoring to be a part of this community. The future of Manayunk is still to be written, but if history is an indicator, it will continue to reimagine itself over and over again to remain a vital part of Philadelphia’s expansive footprint.

But Wait, There’s More…

There are so many stories and details that aren’t included here, but they’re equally as fascinating and important. For more information, please check out the Roxborough Manayunk Wissahickon Historical Society ( ).

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The Manayunk Arts Festival

Celebrating Three Decades of Artists

Each June, Main Street Manayunk welcomes over 300 artists, makers, and creatives to the street during The Manayunk Arts Festival, and this year is especially exciting because the festival is celebrating its 35th anniversary! It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than 3 decades since the festival’s beginning and how the festival has evolved ever since. Back in June of 1990, festival founders closed the street, lined it with juried artists, and gambled that people would travel far and wide to spend the day in Manayunk, and the bet paid off. That very first year attracted record crowds packing the street from Green Lane to Shurs Lane, and from there, Manayunk as a district was off and running largely in part due to the festival having put the neighborhood on the map.

The festival has since built itself into being the tri-state area’s largest outdoor juried art festival featuring approximately 300 different local and nationally known artists and crafters along with over 30 up-and-coming, emerging artists. Featured works include pieces from eight different disciplines: ceramics, fiber, glass, jewelry, mixed media, painting & drawing, photography, and wood & sculpture. Each year, the show welcomes first timers, legacy artists, and everyone in between, and it goes without saying…that the arts festival wouldn’t be what it is without the artists! Legacy artists like Beth Palser, Gretchen Hulse, Charles

Cushing, and Jennifer Hirt have been bringing their talent and creativity to Main Street Manayunk for over 20 years, and to say the least, that’s no small feat. As we celebrate The Manayunk Arts Festival’s 35th birthday, we must call out those who have been with the festival for most of its journey.

Beth Palser

Beth Palser Fine Art

Beth Palser has been a part of the Manayunk Arts Festival for over 22 years and remembers the different years by the people, the friends, and the memories. She notes how she met Jane Seymour one year, Fox 29 News’ Mike Jerrick the next, and even a Detroit Lions player. The faces, in addition to the variety and energy, are really what keep her coming back year after year.

“I think it’s the vibe, the people, and the happy festive energy,” says Beth. “I get my collectors who keep coming out and who are very knowledgeable of the arts as well as a lot of young people who are looking for a new piece of art. I also love talking to all my artist friends.” She also encourages those who have never been to an art show or gallery to come

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out and enjoy the atmosphere without pressure to buy. “Just come to the show and enjoy the atmosphere and the creativity that’s out there,” she said. “It’s an individual experience, and anyone’s sure to find something they like.”

Beth recounts being new to the art world when she was just getting her start in high school followed by her time at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Her passion, which she partially credits to her grandmother, has deepened over time, and through her experiences with formal art training and a particular silk screen printing job, her own distinct style was born. That job shaped the way for Beth as she began experimenting with color separation and furthering her work with watercolor. Today, Beth’s style has depth, texture, and contrast as bold colors are layered. It’s non-traditional, recognizable, and something that truly stands out. Through her work and style, Beth loves getting lost in her own little world and having the freedom to express herself. “Above all, it’s about having fun and creating for yourself,” she said. “Art is personal, so you should be loving what you do, putting it right back on your wall, and enjoying it.”

Gretchen exhibited at the Manayunk Arts Festival for the first time in 1997, only 3 years after starting her business, Crescent Moon Clothing, in 1994. As she put it, she was just a child starting out in the scene, and Manayunk was her first prestigious festival. “A lot of things changed once I started doing the Manayunk Festival,” she said. “Since I’m local to Philly, it gave me that connection to so many of my customers - many which I still have today.” She also mentioned how it further connected her to the festival community, new friends, and how the artists together are a tribe.

Prior to Manayunk, Gretchen studied Arts Management at Stockton University where she launched a line of boutique hand painted shirts that she sold at craft shows and Grateful Dead shows. She started sewing at the age of 7, and her passion stems from her aunt who helped teach her. As a teen, Gretchen began thrifting and making pieces of her own, and her work has evolved ever since. This year, she looks forward to exhibiting her new line of recycled, repurposed, sustainable fashion in addition to her Frida collection which was inspired by her daughter, her battle with breast cancer, and Frida’s story. “Frida gave me strength during that time,” she said. “She had a tragic life, but kept making art. Now, I’m back to where I started - traveling to shows, keeping it simple, and depending on myself. I love what I do and work so hard physically. I feel strong.”

Charles Cushing Charles Cushing Fine Art

Charles Cushing is a Manayunk fan favorite. He has exhibited in The Manayunk Arts Festival for over 20 years, competed in Manayunk’s Plein on Main Competition, and has collaborated with local galleries and businesses throughout the area. The painter, who’s based out of Philadelphia, was exposed to oil painting at a young age thanks to his father who was an amatuer artist. Charles started attending night classes at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts as a teenager, and eventually enrolled full-time, graduating in 1988. At PAFA, the curriculum was largely based on painting the nude from life, but after graduating he began to paint outdoors in a more-or-less ‘impressionist’ style. He worked part-time for years as a waiter or bartender in various restaurants, keeping his dream alive, and for the past 25 years, Charles has been able to support himself exclusively through his artwork. He paints in all traditional representational genres: landscape, cityscape, still-life, portrait, figures, and also paints from memory or imagination. He’s known locally for his Philadelphia scenes but has also captured several scenes from other U.S. locations, as well as other countries, especially Italy. He’s traveled there quite a few times to paint. Overall, he’s influenced by the “Old Masters,” and the Impressionists, but also 20th-century artists like Edvard Munch, Giorgio DiChiricho, and Edward Hopper.

Throughout his career now, he’s sold roughly 600 original oil paintings which are mostly featured in public and private collections in the Philadelphia area. Some of his prints have also been published. At The Manayunk Arts Fest he exhibits both original oil paintings and prints made from the paintings. He looks forward to interacting with all those who are interested in

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Gretchen Hulse Crescent Moon Clothing

his artwork. “I have always had a great experience at this show, which provides an opportunity to display my work to literally thousands of people,” he said. “The exposure at the show has brought me many clients, some of whom have commissioned paintings from me, and I look

Jenna Hirt has quite the story. From her jewelry to all the travels, it all ties back to her love of skateboarding. Back in 1990, Jenna moved to Daytona Beach and started skateboarding.

She was determined to get to the skatepark every day and needed to find a way to make consistent gas money for consistent rides to be able to skate. While wearing a necklace she created for herself, a girl in her 9th grade class asked if she could buy the piece from her, and her business only grew from that point on. She sold frequently on Daytona Beach after school, and when high school ended, she began her nomadic lifestyle that she still lives today. She started going “on tour” selling at Grateful Dead and Phish concerts across the country until she found art shows in 1997. Jenna has been a part of The Manayunk Arts Festival since 2004, and loves seeing her customers each year still wearing the pieces she made for them in years prior.

“The best part is being able to create special custom pieces for my customers with their cherished collected treasures, and that includes everything from shells and rocks found on their vacation, grandpa's antique fishing lure, olive pits, hair, sacred relics passed down from descendants, everything in between and of course, beads,” she said. “There’s always a story behind it, and to be able to make that special piece they love, cherish, and wear everyday just makes me feel so grateful.”

Over the past two decades, she’s been able to see the festival transform and remembers it fondly for one favorite memory. At the 2010 show, she was entered to win a $51,000 21 day adventure to Antarctica as a blogger and remembers rallying her customers - and the Engine Company 12 Fire Station - to vote for her. Better yet, they helped her win and followed her blog along the way. Overall, Jenna’s jewelry Tying Tribes is influenced by her world travels and the different cultures around the world - both ancient and current. With her business, she highly values customer service, quality, and giving back using the proceeds from her jewelry sales to fund her non-profit, Donate For Skate where she brings skateboarding to kids in developing countries all around the world.

Stop by and meet these featured artists and more at the 35th Annual Manayunk Arts Festival!

Artwork by Signe Sundberg-Hall , 1990 Artwork by Eric Dorris , 2017 Artwork by Barrett Smith , 1994 Artwork: “Tangled” by Anita Rundles , 2023 Artwork by Michael Madzo , 2015 Artwork” “Frida’s Monkey” by Shannon Almanzar , 2018 Artwork by Mathew Frank Keiper , 1992 Artwork: “Bird in Hand” by Magnus and Brenda , 2022 Artwork: “Garden Reliquary” by Gary Owen Pelkey, 1999 Artwork by Charlie Barton , 2012

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Exploring the Vibrant Murals of Manayunk: A Journey Through Art and Community

Philadelphia has rightfully earned the title of the ‘Mural Capital of the World,’ and Manayunk proudly contributes to this vibrant mural culture. The neighborhood boasts an impressive collection of fourteen murals, each telling a unique story and capturing the essence of the local and surrounding communities. As you stroll down Main Street on a warm day, sipping on your iced coffee from a nearby café, let the murals unfold around you, turning your walk into an enriching visual experience. Keep an eye out for new additions that may surprise you, as Manayunk continues to evolve its artistic landscape, ensuring there’s always something fresh and exciting to discover on the streets.

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Photography by The Video Content Factory

4000 Main Street: “Manayunk at Dusk” by Evan Lovett & Glossblack

The collaborative effort of artists Evan Lovett and Glossblack has given rise to “Manayunk at Dusk,” a captivating mural adorning 4000 Main Street. Set against a backdrop of intertwining street names that traverse the neighborhood, this mural features majestic deer, serving as poignant symbols of Manayunk’s natural beauty and allure. Lovett highlights how the design seamlessly integrates into the essence of Manayunk, aiming to leave a lasting impression on all who come across it. Through their artistic vision, Lovett and Glossblack have created a mesmerizing tribute to the neighborhood’s charm and character, inviting viewers to pause and appreciate the beauty that surrounds them.

Multiple Locations: “Look Long & Look Good” by Mat Tomesko

4418 Main Street: "Birds of Fairmount Park" by Josey Stamm & Students

Make sure to visit Canal View Park to admire these stunning mosaics. Crafted by Josey Stamm and students from Gesu School in 2001, “Birds of Fairmount Park” showcases 83 bird species native to Fairmount Park. Additionally, a second mosaic titled “Animals of Fairmount Park” depicts various park animals and can be found on the rear facade of the building. These intricate works of art beautifully capture the essence of the park, making visitors feel as though they’ve stepped into its natural beauty. Don’t miss the opportunity to marvel at these masterpieces during your visit to Canal View Park.

Mat Tomesko’s portraits adorn various locations throughout Manayunk, paying homage to the diverse faces and stories that define the community. From honoring historical figures to celebrating everyday residents, these murals serve as a heartfelt tribute to the rich tapestry of life in Manayunk. As you stroll along Main Street or the Towpath, keep an eye out for these beautiful works of art that Tomesko has brought to life within the community. Each portrait not only captures the essence of its subject but also reflects the interconnectedness and vitality of Manayunk, highlighting the individuals who contribute to its vibrancy and significance. Take a moment to pause and appreciate these portraits, recognizing the beauty of human connection that thrives within this thriving neighborhood.

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118 Green Lane: "Flower Mural"

A delightful surprise awaits those who take a leisurely stroll along Green Lane – Lauren West’s vibrant flower mural. Crafted in 2021, this masterpiece serves as a testament to the resilience and beauty inherent in nature. West’s choice of lively and colorful flowers goes beyond mere aesthetics; it symbolizes the enduring spirit of life, offering a powerful message of hope and renewal. The burst of hues along Green Lane not only adds a touch of artistic flair to the surroundings but also highlights the unique characteristics that make Manayunk a special and vibrant community.

3901 Main Street: “Philly Marathon” by Kala Hagoplan

Kala Hagoplan’s mural stands as a vibrant celebration of the esteemed Philadelphia Marathon, honoring its rich history and the diverse individuals who participate in this iconic race. Manayunk holds a significant role in the marathon, marking the pivotal twenty-mile marker where runners approach the conclusion of their arduous yet fulfilling journey. As they enter Manayunk, runners are greeted by the inspiring sight of the mural, showcasing the joy and why they began this journey. The bustling atmosphere of Main Street welcomes them, echoing with the resounding cheers of the local community who rally to support the runners. Businesses along the route fill the air with uplifting music, while spectators display an array of motivating, humorous, and sometimes lightheartedly embarrassing signs. With each loop around Manayunk and a glance back at the mural adorning the Triumph Building, runners are fueled with a renewed sense of determination and pride, propelling them toward the finish line. This mural serves as a testament to the endurance and spirit of all who partake in the Philadelphia Marathon.

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Shurs Lane: “Road Race (Aluminum Bikes)” by Artesano Iron Works

The “Road Race” mural, skillfully crafted by Artesano Iron Works, stands as a testament to the cyclists who frequent the bustling streets of Manayunk. As a creation by the iconic ironworks, it holds a special significance within the neighborhood. Against a striking red brick backdrop, colorful aluminum bikes come to life, capturing the dynamic energy and spirit of the local biking community. Positioned below the mural are the Indego Bikes, inviting passersby to embrace the inspiration offered by the artwork and embark on a spontaneous biking adventure through the vibrant streets of Manayunk.

Shurs Lane Bridge: “Manayunk Textile” by Henry Morales, supported by Daniel Lipshutz

The newest addition to Manayunk’s vibrant mural scene is “Manayunk Textile,” a collaborative masterpiece by Henry Morales, supported by Daniel Lipshutz. This striking artwork draws deeply from the neighborhood’s historical roots as a textile manufacturing hub while also paying homage to Morales’ familial heritage. Inspired by traditional Guatemalan textile designs, the mural intricately weaves together elements that celebrate Manayunk’s natural beauty and iconic architecture. From depictions of historical landmarks to symbolic representations of indigenous flora and fauna, “Manayunk Textile” serves as both a visual homage to the area’s past and a vibrant celebration of its present cultural identity.

4595 Main Street: “The Liberty Classic” and “The Philadelphia International Championship” by Eleanor Dalkner Manayunk has long been embraced by the biking community, drawing enthusiasts from far and wide to explore its scenic trails, including the iconic towpath and grueling hills. Once renowned for the historic Manayunk Bike Race, the neighborhood attracts cyclists eager to conquer its challenging hills. Nestled beneath the regional rail trestle on Leverington Ave, Eleanor’s murals vividly portray the exhilaration and vigor of the men’s and women’s pro races that have thrilled Manayunk for generations. These vibrant artworks serve as inspiring landmarks for cyclists as they navigate the area’s undulating terrain, encapsulating the dynamic essence of the racing community.

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107 Levering: “Sandy’s Dream (Ovarian Cancer Mural)” by Ann Northrup

4410 Main Street: “Amor Flota”

“Amor Flota,” brought to life by Gloss Black, presents a heart formed by floating letters, gracefully adorning the façade of the iconic Taqueria Amor restaurant. Created in 2020, this mural stands as a moving symbol of love and resilience, infusing the streets of Manayunk with a whimsical and heartwarming presence. Much like the feelings evoked by indulging in a refreshing margarita and savoring a plate of delicious tacos, “Amor Flota” radiates a sense of joy and contentment, enriching the vibrant atmosphere of the neighborhood with its charm and allure.

“Sandy’s Dream” stands as a poignant tribute in the battle against ovarian cancer, symbolizing resilience and raising awareness. Crafted by Robin Cohen and Adriana D’Alessandro in memory of Sandy Rollman, this mural located at Proper View Apartments serves as a powerful testament to the ongoing fight against cancer. More than a mere artwork, it serves as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the critical importance of cancer advocacy and support in our communities.

With an ever-expanding array of murals gracing its streets, Manayunk boasts a truly dynamic art scene. Be on the lookout for exciting new additions popping up in the coming months, whether adorning the walls of your favorite local coffee shop or adding flair to the façade of a beloved pizza joint. To fully immerse yourself in the richness of Manayunk’s mural culture, consider embarking on a mural tour. Visit and navigate to the “Murals of Manayunk’’ tab to delve into the history and significance behind each mural, enriching your exploration of this vibrant artistic landscape.

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49 Summer 2024 | 50 | Winter 2016 AND RELIABLE PET At City loving, Jen Colahan ReMax Eastern, Inc. Trusted local specialist for all your real estate needs. Buyers, contact me free meeting on the buying process. @ Manayunk PHSPOPUPGARDENS.COM FOR THE 2024 SEASON! Open Daily FOOD | DRINK | LIVE MUSIC | GAME ROOM | DOG-FRIENDLY | GARDEN PROGRAMS 106 Jamestown Avenue just 1/2 block o Main St. 4231 Main Street Phila, PA 19127

Main Street Market by Winnie’s

4250 Main St. Philadelphia, PA 19127

The anticipated Main Street Market by Winnie’s has recently opened its doors. The market is located a couple doors down from the restaurant and is the perfect grab and go option. The market offers ready to order sandwiches and pastries, grocery essentials, coffee, and more.

All Canines Academy

4143 Main St, Philadelphia, PA 19128 |


10 Shurs Ln, Philadelphia, PA 19127

Creative Collective is your go-to for all things creative. The creativity studio and event space is perfect for parties, weddings, corporate gatherings, music events, pop-ups, etc. and offers packages with their in-house event designer and photographer/videographer. They also offer all inclusive creative production services in addition to curating their own events like creative panels, poetry nights, concerts, artisan markets, and more.

Philly’s only positive reinforcement based training facility is now fully open and operating on Main Street. Through specialized and individualized training, All Canines Academy provides a new and exciting way to encourage obedience while strengthening the relationship between you and your furry friend. All Canines offers a number of services to cater to your furry pal.

Sissy Pooh

3901A Main Street, Suite 102, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19127

Sissy Pooh is a term of endearment and affection for friends and family. Sissy Pooh wants to encourage women through fashion. Sissy Pooh offers many options from apparel to tiaras that you can add to your wardrobe. With the help of designers, staff, and even other cus tomers, Sissy Pooh provides unique styles to make its customers’ visions a reality.

Tierre One Vintage

4331 Main St Philadelphia, PA 19126

Feeling nostalgic? Tierre One Vintage offers curated vintage clothing span ning from the 80s through the 00s. Whether you are looking to sell an animal print leather jacket or buy a sixers jersey, go and check it out.

Dara’s Mediterranean

4401 Cresson St, Philadelphia, PA 19127

Coming soon to Cresson Street is Dara’s Mediterranean, an eatery specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. Details coming soon.

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ry street tells a s filled with Let’s find your hood we love!



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