Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Fall 2023

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Salute to Service

2023 Blue Sapphire




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INSIDETHIS ISSUE 16_ SALUTE TO SERVICE Our 2023 Blue Sapphire & WishRock Award Winners The DeFino Family Jean Carne Sonny Conto Angela Corosanite Patty Jackson Councilmember Mark Squilla Declan Cassidy




27_ LIFE Salute to Service Barbara Ricci The South Philadelphia Lions Club by John Nacchio

56_ TIPS FROM THE PROS Thinking about Refinancing? Things you need to know before you get started by Joe Mesi, Director of Residential Leasing Tioga Franklin Savings Bank


60_ THE MENU Wissahickon Brewing Company is a barrel of fun The family-run neighborhood brewery has the entire city’s attention by Matt Kelchner


74_ MUSIC & ARTS Retirement fits John DeBella to a “T” Square by Pat Ciarrocchi

86_ WRITERS BLOCK The house my family built by Larry Gallone





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IBEW Local Union 98

Mark Lynch, Jr. Business Manager Salutes Philadelphia RowHome Magazine’s

2023 Blue Sapphire & WishRock Award Winners Patty Jackson

Angela Corosanite

Music Entertainment Award

Leaders in Education Award

Jean Carne

Mark Squilla

Lifetime Music Achievement Award

The DeFino Family

Local Business Success Story Award

Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award

Sonny Conto

Future Leaders Award


Declan Cassidy Socks for the Streets




6_ FROM THE PUBLISHERS Welcome to IATSE! This beautiful venue is making waves near the banks of the Delaware

10_ NEIGHBORHOOD NOIR 1981. Dolly Froio at Melrose Diner with Fabian, Frankie & Bobby.

12_ HANGIN’ OUT Sisters Grace & Anita Tirotti are hangin’ out on Mount Etna in Catania, Sicily.

29_ LIFE Your childhood row home The place where our memories live by Tony Santini



52_ REAL ESTATE Make an entrance Courtesy of Cindy Rosario-Fetterman




Michael & Dominique Rhoades A Water Works wedding is a night to remember by Joe Volpe photos by Andrew Andreozzi


An Unending Conversation with Hope Grief cannot be solved or fixed by Dorthi DiGilio

Philly 45s Jim Croce “I Got a Name” by Geno Thackara

96_ PRESSED The Best of Pressed! Winter 2004 edition of PRH




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Our 2023 Blue Sapphire & WishRock Award Winners

All Great Accomplishments Begin with a Dream

photo by Andrew Andreozzi Back Row / Councilmember Mark Squilla, Vincent DeFino. Esq., Sonny Conto, Michael DeFino, Esq. Front Row / Angela Corosanite, Patty Jackson, Declan Cassidy, Honorable Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi *missing from photo – Jean Carne Hair by The Cutting Point Makeup by Bella Angel Location – The American Swedish Historical Museum


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Family owned & operated since 2004 Mission Statement Our mission is to preserve the traditions, showcase the neighborhoods and promote the local businesses that strengthen the economy and improve the quaility of life for all of us. PRESIDENT | PUBLISHER


Dawn Rhoades EDITOR






Joseph Volpe

Northeast Cardiology Consultants, Inc.


Nazareth Hospital - Physicians Office Building 2701 Holme Avenue, Suite 105 Philadelphia, PA 19152

(215) 335 -4944



Andrew Andreozzi Phil Kramer Maria Merlino ACCOUNT MANAGER


Michael Rhoades CONTRIBUTORS Mark Casasanto Anthony Panvini David Cava Lou Pinto Joei DiSanto Michael Rhoades Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq Marialena Rago Victoria DiPietro Jane Roser Jamie Flowers Jade Rota Larry Gallone Debbie Russino Brett Jackson Charles Sacchetti Matt Kelchner Anthony Santini Maria Merlino Geno Thackara John Nacchio Dominique Verrecchio Vincent R. Novello, Jr. Robert “Woody” Woodard Stephen Pagano Joseph Myers

Exceptionally Built. Eternity of Beauty.

Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc. P.O. Box 54786, Philadelphia, PA 19148 Phone – 215.462.9777 |

Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine and its contents are copyrighted. Content printed in the magazine may not be reproduced or reprinted, in whole or in part, by any other party without the expressed written consent of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. 2023 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.

1721 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.551.9070 October /November /December 2023


IATSE Ballroom by

Anthony’s Caterers



The IATSE Ballroom

a large room used for dancing.


/ /ˈbôlˌro͞om / noun /

2401 S. Swanson Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 W W W. I AT S E B A L L R O O M . C O M


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from the PUBLISHERS Dorette & Dawn River to River. One Neighborhood.

Philly photo by ANDREW ANDREOZZI photography When IATSE Ballroom GM & Co-owner Giovanni LaRosa welcomed Giovanni Virgi aboard as Executive Chef at this dazzling venue, their creative collaboration clicked, and guests keep booking their celebrations at one of the hottest spots in town. Anyone who has sampled his menu understands why Giovanni Virgi is counted among the city’s rising young chefs. At the center stage of the IATSE Ballroom, you will find bountiful presentations - antipasti selections, flowing hors d’oeuvres, raw bars, fresh homemade gnocchi, veal chops, crab cakes, and center cut choice filets. Merging authentic old-

world flavors including Southern Italian, Northern Italian, Traditional American, Vegetarian, Latin American, to name a few, with contemporary cuisine, you will leave with a taste of the finest IATSE has to offer.

Planning a wedding? The IATSE Ballroom accommodates up to 300 guests for a lavish reception and can host the ceremony, too. Its seasoned staff and experienced production team provides you with a full-service venue including a full stage, theatrical lighting, large dance

floor, free secure on-site parking, and multimedia options. Let this top-notch team cater to all your needs from memorable décor, lighting, flowers, entertainment, to creative ideas to bring your vision to life. With more than 30 years of catering experience, Anthony’s Caterers, the exclusive caterer of The IATSE Ballroom, is ready to book your party, corporate event, black tie affair, fundraiser, family reunion, funeral luncheon, sports banquet, and class reunion. A toast to G&G and IATSE Ballroom for being a gem in the city we know and love!

The IATSE Ballroom is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

October /November /December 2023



MARIA [MERLINO] & PRH: Thank you so much for all your hard work. The article (Summer of Mummers / July 2023) was amazing. Hopefully, we can pick up some new members. Joe Accetta, Captain, Pennsport String Band Thank you, Philadelphia RowHome Magazine! Reading your magazine is like taking a walk through the city we love so much! Be sure to subscribe! LJPhillyDance

1805-07 Washington Ave Philly, PA 19146 215.546.2233


W W W. C H I C K S P H I L LY. C O M

Thank you, Dawn & Dorette & RowHome Magazine for honoring Mrs. Trish Pizzo! (July 2023) She has inspired 1000s from our neighborhood and we always wanted to make our teacher and coach proud. Still do! Monique Impagliazzo Desiree Caldwell

DORETTE & DAWN: I love the magazine! Every issue brings me home. Annette Baiada

DEAR DORETTE, DAWN & PRH TEAM: Renewing my subscription with pleasure. Thank you for a great publication. You guys are the best in the business. Janet B.

Large selection of CRAFT BEERS available for Dine In or Take Out. Signature Cocktails. Wine. Spirits.

Q: Where can I get a copy of RowHome Magazine?

Order your

Subscription Today! Your next issue of PRH will be delivered right to your doorstep!

Call 215.462.9777

or subscribe online at gohomephil Thank you for being part of our RowHome family! Dorette & Dawn


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

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1. Christine, Amanda, Jeanmarie, Teri-Ann, Brenda & Meg are hangin’ out at Nomad Distilling in Jim Thorpe. 2. Denise LaRosa & Co. are hangin’ out at Girasole in Atlantic City.



3. Superior Court Judge Dan McCaffery campaigning for Supreme Court on East Passyunk Avenue with Biagio Genovese & brother Seamus McCaffery. 4. Ava, Juliana & Dom Condo are hangin’ out at the Phillies game. 5. Your South Philly family & friends will miss you, Linda Mariani. Thank God this magazine can be sent to Florida. 6. Sal Arcure & Bill DiCola, two of 1050’s finest, hangin’ out at Penrose Diner.


7. Amelia & John Fogarino at Nights in Venice in Ocean City. 8. Sisters Grace & Anita Tirotti are hangin’ out on Mount Etna in Catania, Sicily. 9. Hangin’ out with Jules on her first birthday.


10. Andrew Juliana, Allisondra Postiglione & Lucas Postiglione are hangin’ out at PopPop’s house. 11. Thor Galasso & Jax Rotandi hangin’ out in Wildwood Crest.

13. The Ciociola family is heading to the Phillies Game. 14. Carmen LaRosa, Stevie Gongs, Anthony Liberato & Sneakers are hangin’ out at the LaRosa Resort and Spa. 15. On the Corner Mark with “just a few friends” at the End of Summer Block Party in Wildwood, NJ, on Labor Day Weekend. 16. Santino Mesi is hangin’ out with Mom & Dad, Lana & Joe Mesi, Uncle Lou & Aunt Denise Gentile, at Sea Mario in Pompano Beach before the start of a new school year. 17. Tyler Nord is hangin’ out with brother Raymond who played center field, pitched & scored a homerun for his team, DV Senators, at Cooperstown Baseball Dreams Park 2023 Week 14. 18. Hangin’ out with some of the many Retallick cousins who gathered for a brunch in late July at the Venetian Social Club in Chestnut Hill. Many thanks to cousin Rita for organizing such a wonderful time. 19. Lorenzo Pezzetti is reading a copy of RowHome Magazine at his dentist’s office. A sports story caught his eye. A new generation of RowHome readers is joining us! 20. Donna Lamaine & friends at their 20th annual Girls Weekend in Atlantic City.

12. Cescaphe CEO Joe Volpe is hangin’ out with Richard Merlino & John Maleno at The Lucy by Cescaphe.

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6 5

7 10 8












October /November /December 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 13


Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff

Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Thom Bell

Chuck Gamble



Philadelphia International Records Celebrates 50 Years of Music


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his past summer, I was walking through a section of Philadelphia International Airport that was relatively unfamiliar to me. It was ungodly early as I headed to my remote gate for the much too early flight. In my quest for an open gift shop in the still, somewhat dormant airport, I passed through a rather catchy display, illuminated by neon. Curious, I pulled a spontaneous, Philly style U-turn. Bucking weary-eyed travelers, I wheeled my carry-on around in a tight 180 and headed back in the opposite direction to check out the bright lights in the big city airport. As I neared the dual-sided exhibit, through sunglasses and coin-slotted eyes, I immediately recognized the iconic symbol for Philadelphia International Records. Forgetting all about the chase for my in-flight “go-tos,” for the next 15 minutes or so, I allowed myself to be transported back to a time when music filled every room in my childhood home. One by one, I reminisced and sang along as I read what Billboard Magazine selected as PIR’s top 50 songs. Talk about “Wake Up Everybody.” As a child of the ‘70s, I was caught in the crossfire of multiple musical tastes. Mom was an Engelbert Humperdinck devotee; dad was still singing Hank Williams; and upstairs, everything from Three Dog Night, Yes, Springsteen, and disco banged off the walls di casa mia on the 2200 block of South 19th Street. What a glorious time to be musically alive! Somewhere in that magical cornucopia of vinyl, 8-tracks, and cassettes, I heard this jumping little number by The Jacksons called “Enjoy Yourself.” Damn, if I wasn’t the coolest Italian singing into a hairbrush in my bedroom’s mirror. I was, or at least in my vanity, the sixth member of the Jackson 5! I was awakened to the Sound of Philadelphia. Song after song, hit after hit, I routinely went on to borrow from my brothers’ collections and in some cases, that’s the last they had seen of those assorted Sam Goody purchases. Hey, what can I say? Little brothers do things like that. With time now at a premium, and still without my onboard essentials, I snapped a few pictures and made a note on my phone to follow up. I wasn’t about to let Philadelphia International Records’ 50th Anniversary play on without notice. Off I went into the wild blue yonder.

While away, I reached out to Chuck Gamble, who is the gatekeeper of this treasured collection of music. In his role as Executive Vice President for the now legacy label, all things PIR run through him. Upon my return, we sat and spoke for what may have been the quickest hour I can remember. So many questions, so little time, so much to digest. Chuck’s uncle, Kenny Gamble, met Leon Huff back in the 60s. Both were playing as session musicians, primarily with Cameo-Parkway Records. Along the way, Huff was invited to join Gamble’s band, The Romeos, as a replacement for Thom Bell. The three later formed Mighty Three Music, which would become the publishing arm of Philadelphia International Records. Like any successful business, there were a few stops, starts, twists and turns along the way. Excel and Gamble Records was formed, and The Intruders were signed. Based on that success, Neptune Records was soon spun and with major capital behind it, the pair signed The O’Jays and The Three Degrees. Change would come again, however, with the eventual disbanding of Neptune by its parent company. This, however, was the closed door that kicked open the birth of Philadelphia International Records. Detroit had Motown. Memphis had Stax. Philly had Philadelphia International Records. If there was a soul, funk or rhythm and blues hit on the radio back in the 60’s and 70’s, chances are, it emanated from one of the big three. PIR’s success among them was the ability to take deep rooted soul music and blend it with funk and amazing arrangements stacked with strings and horns for a completely unique sound indigenous to Philadelphia. Thus, Philly Soul. The genre allowed for the massive successes of The O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, The Stylistics, The Spinners, Patti LaBelle and so many more. It’s truly awe-inspiring to think all this beloved music that formed the soundtrack of so many lives - globally loved and critically acclaimed - was written, produced and recorded blocks away from where most of us resided and danced and sang along. How apropos that as I buckled in for takeoff, donning my headphones with my snacks safely secured, I asked Siri to shuffle all songs. “When Will I See You Again?” by The Three Degrees just happened to be first out of the gate. PRH

Cheers to 50 Years!

October /November /December 2023




RowHome Family of Readers about the Blue Sapphire Award There are so many people out there who mean a lot to this city of neighborhoods. We want to let them know. We want to thank them for their contributions. Let them know that they have not gone unnoticed. That is what our Blue Sapphire Award is all about. It’s our way of thanking people for their Philly spirit. For leading by example. For making a difference through their life’s journey. For all of us. Then. Now. And for generations to come. We chose the color Blue. It signifies the two rivers - the Delaware & the Schuylkill - that surround our city. Converging into one abstract shape of glistening glass. Each one different. But always united. River to River. One Neighborhood. It also is a tribute to our father - Thomas Joseph Retallick - who loved everything


about this city where we were born and raised. He had an endless appreciation for its history. Its landmarks. And the diversity of people who were born and raised in rowhomes. People who appreciate family. Traditions. Knowledge. Leadership. Big things like the Tall Ships on the Delaware. An event we never missed as kids. And small things. Like a cheesesteak from the corner shop. Where pinball machines and a jukebox shaped the lives of anyone who twirled themselves simple on a barstool at the familiar formica counter. Adjacent to the grill that turned ground beef into cheeseburgers and thin slices of sirloin into one of childhood’s fondest memories. Blue like our father’s eyes. It is a reminder to us that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. And a gift of gratitude to the people we meet along our journey in life.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023


South Philadelphia born and raised Patricia Nolan, who was rebranded with the urban radio name Patty Jackson, has become a beloved part of Philadelphia radio culture. Her accomplished career over a span of 41 years in the broadcast spotlight has been diverse. It has included being a radio DJ personality for country and urban formats, including Philly WXTU 92.5 FM and Power 99 FM. But it is her warm and soulful voice that found its true home with adult radio listeners at WDAS-FM. She writes a weekly entertainment column in The Philadelphia Tribune titled “What’s the 411?” and hosts on WDAS’ “The Wide Wonderful World of Butter” and “Gone-But Not Forgotten,” and a summer series that pays tribute to the icons of R&B music who have passed away. The hardest working woman in Philadelphia radio, known always for taking on scores of hosting engagements, public appearances, interviews, and podcasts, is devoted to family life with her son. Her long list of interviews, interactions, and social media is filled with a record number of music legends, newsmakers, and local personalities. Jackson has become a major social media influencer. She’s created her own podcast “Patty and the Millennials” and a YouTube channel. In 2021, the City of Philadelphia named a street in her honor, “Patty Jackson Way.” The street is in the neighborhood where Jackson grew up at 23rd and Ellsworth. In 2023, she was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Hall of Fame, commemorated with a plaque installed on South Broad Street’s “Walk of Fame.” It is clear that Patty Jackson’s talents have extended far beyond radio, becoming a staple in our local culture, and is considered one of our legendary broadcast pioneers. Her pre-recorded (unique/enchanting) voice was chosen and has greeted hundreds of thousands of passenger arrivals from around the world at Philadelphia International Airport.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: As a kid from South Philly, I never saw myself being on the radio, but it happened and flourished into a great career. My broadcasting path first emerged while I was a student at Southwark Motivation High School, where I was the announcer on the school PA system every morning. I was also the basketball announcer and did announcements at my church. After graduating, I attended the American Academy for Broadcasting. It seemed I always had a microphone in front of me from a very young age and look at me now!



Music Entertainment Award

Q: What was your first job? a: I didn’t go to college because I started my broadby JOHN NACCHIO casting career six months after I graduated from high photo by ANDREW ANDREOZZI school. I got my work ethic from my dad, who worked long and hard at the Navy Yard when the USNAVY was building and overhauling ships. I started my on-air radio career with an opportunity at WSSJ in Camden, N.J. The big break came when a DJ didn’t show up for work at the radio station where I was interning, then owned by Broadcast Pioneer Pat Delsi. The station manager then asks me to go on the air and do the news. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: TV dance/music shows like American Bandstand, Steel Pier, and Soul Train. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: Stop giving your power to others by giving them a stick to hit you over the head (be your own best friend). Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave? a: Don’t be afraid to be a doer. Always be a person of your word. Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: The Spinners “Mighty Love.” Hey, hey (mighty love) / I can feel the world gettin’ brighter, brighter with your lovin’ (mighty love). Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: Great mini trips to the shore, Baltimore Harbor, NY, and finally getting to Coney Island! Q: What do you consider your happiest place in the whole world? a: Whenever and wherever I am with my family. Q: Who is your Philadelphia-based idol? a: Patti LaBelle. Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist? a: FDR Park (The Lakes-League Island). It is so peaceful and is close to nature, mostly recalling so many wonderful memories of growing up. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? a: Love a dish of rice with gravy topping. I especially like to bake peach cobbler, pound cake and whipping up a batch of my recipe for mac and cheese. Q: Any words to share with our RowHome readers? a: Make sure you smile and be kind, because you might be the only goodness that a person sees all week.

October /November /December 2023




Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award



hat I really like about my job is the ability to help people. Many times, constituents try to resolve issues on their own, and they are frustrated when they cannot get an answer, but when you can help them, it is so rewarding.” With those words fueling his tenure, it’s no surprise that City Councilmember Mark Squilla is receiving the Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award. More than 20 years ago, before public office, he organized the neighborhood to renovate and upgrade Burke Playground near 2nd and Jacksons streets. Working with then First District Councilmember Frank DiCicco, Squilla spearheaded efforts to help clean up the playground – and securing the resources needed to do that. “Our goal was to get more people involved. We started on weekends to clean the playground, alleyways, empty lots – we were able to get funds to rehab the playground.” From landscaping to clean, open spaces, the park is now home to basketball and hockey leagues and plays host to community days and events. As for the Blue Sapphire Award, Squilla knew Ed McBride from the neighborhood. “I am very honored to be considered and receive this award. This is special and humbling. EOM was part of my upbringing. Ed McBride was an icon. He showed that everyone can come together for a cause,” Squilla says. Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: A fireman. Q: What was your first job? a: Lifeguard on the water slide in Wildwood Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: Going outside to play on the street. Basketball, fastball, half ball. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave? a: Enjoy every moment of your kids growing up. Don’t try to rush it or wish it away. Each moment is different. Each age brings different joys and challenges.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

“My community experience got me thinking about getting more involved in the politics of the neighborhood,” he continues. Squilla was elected committee member and then President of Whitman Council. When DiCicco retired, Squilla decided to run. This will mark his 4th term representing the First District. In the new term, he is hoping to run for the vacated City Council President post. As for priorities, “We hear it in every community - public safety is the highest priority.” One of the bills he had pushed for and passed is a $15 an hour living wage bill. “We need to move people out of poverty; provide jobs and provide jobs that pay well.” Another bill focuses on no longer allowing plastic bags to be given out at stores in the city. “We believe that it helps us to be more sustainable.” Squilla’s family fuels his dedication to the community. His wife Brigid, children Danielle, Mark, Brigid, Gabrielle, and three grandchildren, Luciano, Vincenzo and Rosina, all still live in the area. One of his more infamous experiences was jumping in a city pool in his full suit a few years ago. “Every year, the mayor picks a pool to open the season. I was at Murphy Rec Center, and I was all dressed up. Watching the kids jumping in and seeing how much it meant to them, I got caught up in the moment and decided to jump in, too. Thank God my phones were in the pocket of my jacket [which I had taken off]!”

Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: Chuck Berry, “My Ding-A-Ling.” Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: We had a Christmas in July seafood fest with family. Making great memories for the next generation. Q: What do you consider your happy place/favorite place in the whole world? a: Key West, Florida. A place where all walks of life can be together enjoying each other. Q: Who is your Philadelphia-based idol? a: My mother. She’s somebody who always worked hard even when she was a young kid, quit school to help raise her family - never complained and always looked out for people who needed help, that rubbed off on me.

Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist? a: Magic Gardens on South Street. The art is amazing and it’s a place that really makes you feel good. Q: Can you tell us something that not many people know about you? a: I was a computer programmer. And I love playing basketball. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? a: Homemade macaroni fettuccine. I always liked frutti di mare – with all the seafood over pasta.


Leaders in Education Award



ngela Corosanite is the CEO and cofounder (along with her husband Joseph Corosanite) of the String Theory Schools. String Theory Schools are a non-profit Design and Education Management Organization that currently oversees both the Philadelphia Performing Arts (K-12) and The Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences (K-8). This incredible woman is the 2023 winner of our Leaders in Education Blue Sapphire Award because of her selfless work for the children and future of Philadelphia.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: Like most little girls, I wanted to be a ballerina when I grew up. When I was very young, my friends and I would put on shows for whoever would watch us. I grew up experiencing the incredible world-renowned arts organizations in Philadelphia, such as the Ballet, the Opera, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. While most teenagers at the time loved American Bandstand, the Beatles, and our sports teams, I was even more excited when Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev performed. I was extremely disappointed when I discovered that most families in Philadelphia never traveled outside their neighborhood, went to a live performance, visited museums, been to Center City or City Hall, or had even seen the Wanamaker Eagle. The arts were being cut from most school curriculum despite the Department of Education ruling that Arts Education was a mandatory requirement for all students. By the time I was 18, I knew what my life’s mission would be: to bring the arts and culture back to education. That was, and still is, my passion. Q: What was your first job? a: My first job was as a professional dancer at age 13. I earned $90 dancing at a country fair in northern Pennsylvania for three days. I thought I was rich. Ballet dancers don’t make much money, but the discipline, hard work, and commitment are reflected in their accomplishments. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: Ballet classes, practicing, listening to music especially classical music, going to the library, reading books about classical ballet, art and watching as many old musical movies on TV. I also loved to bake.


Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: I am fortunate to have been given very good advice by many very smart people. Most of the advice I have received has proven to be true and has served me well. One of my favorite pieces of advice is that you can’t buy honesty and loyalty. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave anyone? a: I know it sounds cliché to say “never give up,” but I give this advice because it is important to understand that failure and disappointment are a part of life. Failing at something will only make you stronger and more determined. Never blame anyone for your failures, instead, pick yourself back up and continue to work. Be humble, and never forget what your goals are.

the city of Philadelphia, and worked every day for her constituents. I have always looked up to her and hoped she would be proud of our schools. Grace Kelly is another of my Philadelphia idols. She will always be remembered for her commitment to her family, giving up her career, and coming back to Philadelphia where her family continues to support environmental issues through their foundation to this day. The foundation dedicated to her legacy, Princess Grace Foundation-USA, provides scholarships and career assistance to emerging talent in theater, dance, and film.

Q: What is your favorite song from way back when that always makes you smile? a: My friends always thought my husband and I looked like Sonny and Cher, so anytime we heard the song “I Got You Babe,” we would smile. We still do this today after 50 years of marriage.

Q: What lesser-known landmark in Philadelphia would you recommend to tourists? a: One of the least known is FDR Park where the Swedish Museum is located. I do not think many tourists have it on their list of places to visit, but they should. There are so many landmarks in the city, and I have always enjoyed looking at the amazing architecture when driving. I still find myself looking up and seeing landmark buildings I’ve never seen before.

Q: What do you consider your happy place / favorite place in the world? a: My happy place has always been at our schools spending time with the children. Especially when they are performing, as the theater has always been another happy place of mine. Watching past performances of the students throughout the pandemic is what kept me going during those challenging times.

Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you? a: People think I am very outgoing, and that I love to be in the forefront. This could not be the furthest thing from the truth. I would much rather be in the background. Something else people may not know about me is that I am always thinking five years ahead. I love planning a production and watching it come to life. As soon as it does, I am already thinking about the next project.

Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols? a: Former City Council President Anna Verna. She was a leader and a woman in politics before women held such positions. More importantly, she cared about the children, loved

Q: What is your favorite home cooked meal? a: I have been a vegetarian since I was born so it is not surprising that my favorite home-cooked meal is spaghetti with marinara. Can’t live without bread, especially in Philadelphia. October /November /December 2023




Lifetime Music Achievement Award



“There’s nothing like that feeling. You and the audience both feel it, and that way everybody goes home happy.” 20

nyone who’s spent several decades in music has plenty of stories and memories to share, and once you get her going, Jean Carne will happily bounce from one to another. Her singing range brought her from Atlanta to the music meccas of the northeast, from the jazz combos of former husband Doug Carn to the legendary Philadelphia International and Motown Records. The first boost to success came from singing behind the iconic Earth, Wind & Fire, a stroke of luck that pretty much happened by accident. “Doug and I sojourned to Hollywood at the time Earth, Wind & Fire had just come from Chicago,” Carne explains. “We all lived at the same hotel called the Landmark. I was rehearsing one day, and someone knocked at the door - Maurice White! He introduced himself and said, ‘I heard the voice of an angel, so I followed it upstairs,’ and told me what his group was doing. Doug and I ended up on both their early albums, and that was literally my first recording.” Carne is the kind of musician who had a natural knack right from the start, singing in church at four years old and piano lessons at five. Soaking in music with her family and choir led to proper studies at Julliard in New York, taking cues along the way from heroes

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

like Dionne Warwick or Aretha Franklin. “I would imitate Aretha growing up,” she recalls. “I had the pleasure of seeing her in Atlanta when she was traveling with her father, the Reverend C.L. Franklin. I must have been 12. Then just a few years ago, I got invited to sing at a concert the day before her funeral service. She’s been quite a mainstay in my life.” It’s made for a colorful career tripping through the worlds of pop, jazz, soul, blues, and anything between, most recently on record with The Jazzy Soulful Sound of Jean Carne and Friends in late 2022. These days, Carne splits her time between her native Atlanta and adopted home of Philadelphia, which she happily calls “the best of both worlds.” She regrets that concerts remain fairly scarce these days because “the pandemic is still very present. I haven’t gone to Europe this summer, which used to happen every year. I have some [safety] stipulations, and a few promoters have gone along with those demands. But I’ve avoided Covid when my whole family and practically everybody I know has had it.” Still, Carne hints that there are always more recordings and more performances in the cards and making that in-person connection is worth the obstacles. “There’s nothing like that feeling. You and the audience both feel it, and that way everybody goes home happy.”

Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: A fashion designer, and also, I loved teaching. I taught my younger brother to sing. My mother tells me how I would do a mini concert for anybody who came to our house. If she or my dad asked me to sing for them, I was delighted. My future was cast already. Q: What was your first job? a: Singing solo with the church choir – again, I was drawn to music and performing, always. Artistry has been a part of my life since before I can remember. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: I was a television buff, and I loved to read. I’ve been an obsessive reader from an early age. I loved teaching all my friends. I’ve always been an educator, even on the juvenile level. I’ve taught singers and musicians ever since. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: My mother taught me to not be overly impressed with people before they show you who they are. My dad always said, if you say you’re going to do something, do it. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave someone? a: For my singers, listening is first and foremost. I urge them to grab an instrument and become proficient, because I’ve seen how frustrating it can be for a nonmusician trying to instruct a band on what they’d like to hear. Q: What’s your favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: There’s a beautiful song called “Because” that I learned when I was very young - “Because you come to me with naught save love, and hold my hand and lift mine eyes above, a wider world of love I see, because you speak to me!” I used to sing that at weddings when I was little. Aretha Franklin sang one that I put in my repertoire called “In a Land Where You’ll Never Grow Old.” I sang that at funerals from age 12 through college, and on occasion, even now, I’ll go back to that song because it’s so inspiring.

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2023? a: I performed in Selbyville, Delaware, at a tribute to Dionne Warwick, which was put together by the friend and manager who produced her biopic Don’t Make Me Over. There was a questionand-answer session with her, which was delightful. She’s sharp as a tack and just wonderful. She’s been a favorite of mine since high school. Q: What do you consider your happy place? a: Atlanta, because I grew up there. I was born outside the city in Columbus, Georgia, but my childhood made Atlanta my happy place. Q: Who are your Philadelphia idols? a: Most are my former labelmates at Philadelphia International Records. Teddy Pendergrass, Lou Rawls, the Three Degrees, and the whole M.F.S.B. crew - that was my band. Q: What lesser-known Philadelphia landmark would you recommend to tourists to visit? a: 309 South Broad Street, the home of my label and Sigma Sound Studios. I love the Philly Museum of Art, seeing all their exhibits and the folks who perform there. There’s also the Paul Robeson house. I never got to meet him or see him live. I once saw James Earl Jones do a one-man show as a tribute to Paul, which was an amazing experience. Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you? a: A lot of people are fascinated with the fact that I speak Russian! I got to study it in high school and then at Morris Brown College in Atlanta.

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Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? a: Growing up - collard greens, sweet potatoes, or candied yams. I guess baked chicken or baked turkey would go with those early favorites. My mother’s cornbread. After I became enlightened on nutrition and things metaphysical, it changed. I lived in Hollywood at the dawn of the vegetarian movement and learned a lot of healthy habits that I’ve kept to this day. My current favorites would be roasted veggies - broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts. October /November /December 2023





Defining the Letter of the Law & Life


n the mid 1950s, a young father, recently returned from Army service during President Truman’s Marshall Plan era, found himself bouncing around the Philadelphia school system as a substitute English teacher. Far from a traditional type of educator, he preferred a more avant-garde style of teaching while trying to earn a decent living. It wasn’t long before he decided to follow a different career path. Combining his quest for knowledge with his talents as an educator and a straightforward communicator, he focused on furthering his own education. He began with night classes at Temple University on his journey that commenced a legacy of law identified by the surname DeFino. Anthony J. DeFino and his wife Rose were the parents of eight children. The oldest of them, Michael, and the late Julia, often were pressed into service as jurists around the dinner table as dad had them presenting and defending mock cases. “I feel like I went to

law school twice,” a laughing Michael DeFino says about his dad’s penchant for bringing him to class and court with him every now and then. Michael, indeed, remained rooted as both he and younger brother Vincent are managing partners of the family law firm, DeFino Law Associates, P.C., founded by their father. “It’s amazing. I used to carry Vinnie everywhere. Now we are partners in the family firm,” Michael says. “I wanted to be a financial planner,” Vincent says. “I told my dad I was going to go to Wharton and he quickly asked, ‘What are you going to go get? A steak at 10th and Wharton?’ That was the end of that,” an amused Vincent recounted. And, like Michael and Vincent, their sister, Rose Marie, followed the family’s legal footprint. A judge for the past 22 years, she and her dad shared the great honor of being the first father and daughter to serve simultaneously as Philadelphia judges on the Court of Common Pleas. As for some sage advice from dad? “Just use your common


sense,” Supervising Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi remembers. So, who are the DeFino siblings you may not read or hear about as often as the forward-facing litigators of the family? Eugene is a master plumber who Michael says, “is probably the smartest of us all, as well as our comic relief!” Carmella also traveled the legal road and is currently a paralegal working with local attorney Pete Bowers. Tommy, a longtime restaurateur at Chiarella’s in both Philadelphia and Wildwood, now works as a clerk in the criminal courts. And, Anthony, like Tommy, found his calling in restaurants “with his Donny Osmond-like good looks.” He currently is a casino chef in Atlantic City. The DeFino family embodies everything their dad envisioned for them, in life and in law. Summed up in a masterful quote by former Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association, Kathleen D. Wilkinson, “Judge DeFino exemplified the ideals of personal character, sound judgement and professional commitment.”


Local Business Success Story Award Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: A lawyer from when I was four years old. Q: What was your first job? a: When I was eight years old. I racked balls at my grandfather’s pool room. My first paying job was a short order cook in Wildwood. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: Playing and watching baseball.


Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: My father always told me when you do someone a favor, never expect anything in return, and you will never be disappointed.

Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: Spending time at the beach with my nine grandchildren.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave anyone? a: Always treat people the way you would want to be treated.

Q: What do you consider your happy place / favorite place in the world? a: My house in Wildwood Crest.

Q: What is your favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: “High Hopes” by Frank Sinatra

Q: Who are your Philadelphiabased idols? a: My father, Judge Anthony J. DeFino.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist? a: Cape May, NJ. Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you? a: I taught 8th grade CCD for 27 years. Q: What is your favorite home cooked meal? a: Clams & macaroni.




supervising judge

Local Business Success Story Award Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: A lawyer. Q: What was your first job? a: Waitress at a coffee shop on the beach in Wildwood NJ. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: Disco dancing.

Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: Always trust your first instinct.

Q: What do you consider your happy place / favorite place in the world? a: The beach.

Q: What is your favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: Hot Shot by Karen Young.

Q: Who are your Philadelphiabased idols? a: My dad, the late Judge Anthony J. DeFino. He was so loved by everyone.

Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: Playing on the beach with my great nieces and nephews.

Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist?

a: Driving through South Philly during Christmas time and seeing all the beautiful decorations. Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you? a: I love gardening. I have the biggest fig tree in the city. Q: What is your favorite home cooked meal? a: Escarole soup, Ravioli, Meatballs.


Local Business Success Story Award Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: I wanted to be a Baseball Player from a young kid, then later, a Financial Advisor.

a: My father told me to treat people fair and represent them to the fullest to the very end and you will be able to put your head on the pillow and go to sleep at night.

Q: What was your first job? a: My first job was a busboy at Bal Harbor. Later, a busboy at The Ravioli House with Bonsey.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave anyone? a: My advice to my kids. Karma is a relentless bitch. Be respectful to others and humble, otherwise, the relentless bitch will bite you in the ass.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: My favorite pastime was ripping it up on 2500 Garnet Street with at least 10 regulars from morning until bedtime - football, handball, hand hockey, dinky, hockey, stickball. You name it. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Q: What is your favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: As a little guy, my favorite funny tune was The Streak (Ray Stevens), but I also liked a multitude of songs: Whip it (Devo), Rock Lobster (B-52’s.), Fantasy (Earth Wind and Fire), On the

Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? a: My favorite home cooked meal is Lombardi’s roast beef that my wife makes in the slow cooker.

Radio (Donna Summer). Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: During the summer of 2023, my daughter got married, my son got engaged, and granddaughter #1 was on her way. Q: What do you consider your happiest place in the whole world? a: My favorite place in the whole world was 2505 S 20th Street. Memories galore. Q: Who is your Philadelphia-based idol? a: My Father Anthony J. DeFino. He would walk 10 miles a day and knew what seemed like everyone. And he had a joke ready to tell.

October /November /December 2023

Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist? a: I would recommend they stop at Nitty’s for pizza, stromboli, and peppered chicken. Q: Can you tell us something not many people know about you? a: I’m an open book. I don’t believe there is much that people may not know about me.




Future Leaders Award by STEPHEN PAGANO photo by ANDREW ANDREOZZI


onny Conto, 27, was born and raised in South Philadelphia at 9th and Porter Streets. At a very young age, his love affair started with the sport of boxing. Conto was always into sports. He enjoyed wrestling, karate, and baseball, but his true passion was for boxing. In his amateur career, he was a two-time Pennsylvania Golden Gloves Champion in two separate weight classes. He was also a silver medalist in the 2018 National Golden Gloves, and a bronze medalist in the 2017 National Golden Gloves. Conto exhibits an impressive 6 foot 5, 230-pound frame, along with lightning speed and strength. With his impeccable training, conditioning, and sparring, Conto was destined to be a professional fighter. Nicknamed “The Bronco,” Sonny made his professional debut on February 8th, 2019, at 2300 Arena on Swanson Street in South Philly. His first opponent was Jimmie Levins from Kentucky. Conto destroyed Levins in the first round in front of a sold-out home crowd, and he earned his first career pro win by knockout. “It was a blessing to earn my first win in South Philly. I had a lot of friends and family there cheering me on, so it was perfect. A lot of fighters don’t get to experience that,” Conto says. Since winning his debut in 2019, Sonny has reeled off a spectacular unblemished professional record, which currently stands at 11-0 with 9 knockouts. “When I step in the ring, personally, I want to give everyone who bought tickets what they were looking for, and that’s knockouts.” Nowadays, Conto continues to train and climb the ladder of the professional boxing world. His ultimate goal is to be a champion, and he’s ready for the challenge. “I wanna be the next heavyweight champion in Philadelphia. The last one to do it was Joe Frazier. I believe I have the tools and skills to do it. Plus, I have the support of the city of Philadelphia,” he proclaims. Q: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? a: A professional athlete. Q: What was your first job? a: Boxing. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? a: Hitting home runs on every field I played on and winning Super Bowls as a quarterback down DV. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? a: Worry about yourself. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave? a: Your friends are in your pocket. Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile? a: Any Michael Jackson song.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Q: What will you remember most about the summer 2023? a: The summer spent with my kids and watching them grow. Q: What do you consider your happy place/favorite place in the whole world? a: My kids and spending time with them. Q: Who is your Philadelphia-based idol? a: Joe Frazier. Q: What lesser-known attraction or hidden gem would you recommend to a tourist? a: Donkey’s Place in Camden, NJ. Q: Can you tell us something that not many people know about you? a: I like to fish. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? a: My mom’s spaghetti.


philadelphia row h o m e m ag a z i n e 2023 w i s h ro ck awa r d




ive years ago, Declan Cassidy decided to collect socks. Not as a fashion statement, but as a necessity for homeless people – many of whom are veterans - who went without, especially during the winter months. With the help of family and friends, he collected 1000 pairs of socks during his first drive. Cassidy, now 14, is currently working on his fifth annual sock drive for his nonprofit program called Socks for the Streets. His goal for 2023 is to collect more than 20,000 pairs of socks, just as he has done for the past two years. A student at Swenson Arts & Technology High School, Cassidy has been an active member of the Bucks County 4-H Club for the past eight years and recently became an Ambassador. His mission to reach out to help others through Socks for the Streets has earned him RowHome Magazine’s 2023 WishRock Award, presented annually to young dreamers whose passion to succeed has inspired a new generation of believers. The WishRock symbolizes one of many steps along their journey to success and is a reminder to “believe in yourself, follow your dreams, and reach out to help others along the way.”

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? a: I see myself having a college degree, a house, and the job I want. I am not sure what job I want right now. Q: Name a teacher who made a lasting impression on you and why? a: My sixth-grade science teacher Mrs. Cicirello. She was so nice, and she helped get C.C.A. Baldi Middle School to support my sock collection. Q: Who inspires you? Why? a: My brother. He is the one who got me to like a lot of the things that I like today - chickens, agriculture, and 4-H. Q: What do you look forward to next year? a: I look forward to spending time with my friends, this year.

Q: What are some of your other hobbies? a: I am trying to learn how to play the piano and I like to run.



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Q: What do you and your family like to do together? Do you have any traditions? a: My family and I like to watch movies together. A family tradition I have is that I am in the Mummers Parade. Q: What is your favorite memory from Summer 2023? a: Going to Punta Cana. Q: What advice would you give to someone who is working on achieving their goals? a: Go one step at a time and take your time with it. Don’t do it all at once. Q: What is your message to the world? a: Don’t judge people. Everybody is important.

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Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that made you the proudest. a: An accomplishment that made me the proudest was accepting the Philly’s Youth Hero Award from the Mayor.


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BARBARA RICCI The South Philadelphia Lions Club

by John Nacchio


or the past 25 years, Barbara Ricci has been serving her community as a member and former president of the South Philadelphia Lions Club. The International Association of Lions Clubs is a non-profit group founded in 1917 that has grown to include more than 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million members in 200 countries around the world. Its “unselfish service to others” includes projects for the blind and visually impaired, as well as many programs focusing on the needs of seniors. At 90 years old, Ricci plans to continue her volunteer service with the group, a cause that has brought her much joy in giving her best to others. RowHome sat down with Barbara to talk about her life, her mission, and her motivation to serve others.

Q: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you? Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, submit to Him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Q: What is the best advice you ever gave? Be compassionate and loving toward all mankind regardless of their skin color, religious beliefs, or national origins. And do not be judgmental! Q: W hat do you consider to be your happy place? My two happy places are far apart. I love the Lord and going to church. I do my best to be a good Catholic woman. Now the other extreme is the casino! I guess you can call me a gambling woman. I am treated

like royalty at Rivers Casino, and it is my home away from home. Q: Who was your inspiration in life? My parents were my inspiration in life. Being an only child, I was always with them and older relatives. I was not spoiled, and I was hardworking. I helped with the family business from a young age, and they instilled beautiful values. Q: C an you tell us something that nobody knows about you? My love for animals, especially cats, is a big part of my life. Throughout my entire 90 years on earth, I always owned cats. I even used to feed colonies of cats in Southwest Philadelphia. I performed this kind act for many years until I no longer could. Now, my dear fried Janice Ghanayem took over the reins. God bless her. Q: What is your favorite home-cooked meal?

My favorite home-cooked meal is everything! I enjoy eating no matter what! Q: Do you have any advice to share with our RowHome readers? Be loving, caring, comforting and compassionate to others. Spread positive vibes and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Q: Where did you grow up? What people or things influenced your life? I grew up, most of my life, in Philadelphia. When I was seven years old, my family moved to Bristol, PA, where we lived until I was 16. I attended the Bristol Schools from second grade until a Junior in Bristol High. We moved back to the city where I graduated from South Philadelphia High for Girls in 1951. The two teachers that influenced my life were my second-grade teacher, Ms. Paul, and my fourthgrade teacher, Mrs. Harvey. They motivated me toward becoming a “teacher.” I wanted to follow in their footsteps, and I am glad that I did. Q: W hat was your favorite pastime or experience as a kid? My favorite pastime as a kid was reading and hanging around with my best friend Antonette, when I lived in Bristol.

Q: In your career as a schoolteacher, what, where and why did you teach? My teaching career began in Philadelphia in 1955, where I taught for 43 years. I basically taught at three schools – grades 4-6. I chose this profession because it was my lifelong dream and being an only child may have had an influence on my decision. The highlight of my teaching career was being chosen as Teacher of the Year in Philadelphia in 1982. It was a beautiful honor and recognition. Q: T ell us about the Lions Club – your membership, leadership, and the reason you joined. When I retired from teaching in 1998, I joined the South Philadelphia Lions Club. My motivation being that my grandfather was blind and as a small child, I had such compassion for him. I knew that one day, I wanted to help non-sighted people. This club is now my heart, and I can’t do enough for this organization. I was president for three years from 2017 to 2020. I worked tirelessly to raise funds by having events and fundraisers. In 2018, I had a fundraiser at the Waterfall Room with more than 250 people attending. The “Rat Pack” were the entertainers and I profited $7,700 for the club. It was a total success, and I was so proud. I am now a member for 25 years and I will remain so until the Lord calls me. PRH

October /November /December 2023





Treasure Tour a must-see collection of memorable Americana

by Brenda Hillegas

Just a short drive from Philadelphia, you’ll find The American Treasure Tour. This Oaks, PA, attraction, set in an old tire factory in Montgomery County, is an absolute must for all ages. If you’re a Philly-area local and haven’t visited yet, what are you waiting for! If you have family visiting from out of town this holiday season, pack them up and book a tour! Part guided via a tram and part walk-through, The American Treasure Tour is a private collection of one person (who remains anonymous at his request). You’ll view so much Americana, pop-culture, items you may have had growing up or ones you never knew existed. From simple movie posters and celebrity photographs to vinyl records, store displays, signs, classic cars, stuffed animals, Christmas items, dolls and dollhouses, model airplanes, music boxes, toys…this place has everything. Seriously! Look for some fun Philly items The world’s largest Slinky. The Slinky was created by Philadelphia American naval engineer Richard T. James and his wife Betty James in 1943. The couple convinced Gimbel’s Department Store to carry the toy for Christmas 1945. A collection of Halloween masks from the defunct Collegeville Costume Company. The entire Lit Brothers’ Department Store holiday village. For more info, visit the American Treasure Tour website and purchase tickets in advance!


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Row HomePRHRemembers Life

your childhood

ROWHOME The Place Where our Memories Live by Tony Santini


t’s inevitable unless you don’t go away to college, never get married, or get married, but decide to live with your parents. Leaving the comfortable and memorable confines of the South Philly row house you grew up in as a child is going to happen one way or another. For some, the transition is upsetting enough when you first leave, and your parents remain in the house. For others, it’s even more painful when you are selling that same house because time has passed and maybe, so have your parents.That time has come for me.


My childhood row home was on the 2300 block of South 11th Street in South Philly. Everything I needed as a kid was right there or within a four-block radius. My church was two blocks away, my grade school… three blocks. My best friends were across the street or around the corner and most of my extended family were within walking distance. My parents never had to drive me or my siblings anywhere. Okay, I’m lying. My father did have to take his turn one Saturday a month to drive my friends and me to our Saturday morning bowling league at Oregon Lanes (shout out to Mr. Frank Scotti for running that league for so many years). Other than that, the streets were our playground, and we could walk to the park at Marconi Plaza if we wanted to see grass and get water ice.

My row home was a typical twostory, three-bedroom, one bathroom row house on a main street. It was shared by two parents and three children. The first time I left it for an extended period was the day of my wedding and the thoughts of “this is the last time I will be getting dressed here” filled my mind. Following the wedding, my wife and I moved into a duplex apartment and then our first house where we had two and a half baths. I remember thinking, how did we ever survive growing up with five people and one bathroom? When I enter my childhood row home now, a giant wave of memories hits me all at once and then memories come and go like the smaller waves that lull in and out when I’m sitting by the water’s edge on the beach. I can picture my mother at the gas range cooking a complete dinner for five people in under 20 minutes

in some big silver pot that she called a pressure cooker. I can see my father in his chair intently looking over the newspaper and various sports magazines as he filled out his football pools for the week. I’ll reminisce at the kitchen table where so many family dinners were held at precisely 5:30 pm every weekday night including Friday. We all had assigned seats that didn’t change, even as adults. The dining room, though small, somehow managed to hold up to 30 people for the holiday dinners where dishes, glassware and linen napkins were the norm - never paper or plastic! The living room or, as we called it, the parlor, where the five of us shared one television had not changed in years. It still has broken glass on the vestibule door. Mom said, ‘Why bother fixing it? You kids are only going to break it again.’ The dropped ceilings and paneling, which were trendy at the time, are now considered “retro,” maybe? Our unfinished basement stayed unfinished. I was so jealous of my friends who had finished basements that I once stapled red cardboard to the beams in our cellar and salvaged furniture and rug remnants to make a den for my guests. The staples and

some cardboard pieces can still be found on the beams. A mechanical pencil sharpener is still affixed to the railing. And then, there was our huge backyard that held our 3’ x 8’ aboveground pool every summer. Since we couldn’t get into the Packer Park Swim Club, we affectionately called our yard “the South Eleventh Street Swim Club.” The realtor asked me for a price I wanted to list the house. I said, I don’t know…one million dollars? Two million dollars? How can I put a price on all those memories? I really want to just keep the house and be able to go back there occasionally and just sit in it. I guess we never forget the house we grew up in. The memories are stored in our brain just like photographs are stored in an old album. Up until Alzheimer’s clouded my father’s mind totally, he would still recall memories of growing up in their row home on the 600 block of Sigel Street and how he shared three bedrooms and one bathroom with two parents and seven brothers and sisters. It’s so hard to walk into my childhood row home these days knowing that we will be letting it go soon, but time passes, and things change. It’s inevitable. PRH

October /November /December 2023


Row HomePRHRemembers Life


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very week, the South Philadelphia Review was delivered to each row home in the neighborhood. It was reliable, consistent, and very much anticipated. People looked forward to reading about the neighborhood, people, events, and Tom Cardella’s column - a mainstay of the publication which made it special. From 1965 until his final Review column in April 2023, Tom Cardella’s words impacted thousands of local

readers as well as many Review writers and colleagues who were fortunate enough to cross his path. Sadly, Cardella died of kidney failure this past June at the age of 84. His column spoke to everyone in the neighborhood. It touched on our daily lives, struggles and successes. On our shared experiences. On politics. Family. Love. Death. Sports. Tom Cardella was a reflection of us. And when he needed someone to lend a special viewpoint or to emphasize a point, there was Uncle Nunzio, a charming, opinionated, lovable character he created to deliver the message via his column. The people who spoke about Cardella for this memorial tribute tell his story as well as anyone. Randy Giancaterino, Cardella’s editor in the 1990s says, “Tom was

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

a true treasure, a steady light that shined through the history of the South Philadelphia Review. He was a precious link to the newspaper’s past. “His observations, musings, wit and opinions were part of telling the South Philly story, especially in the Italian-American community where the air is fried and the “fireplugs” once flowed with the joyous sounds of kids. He created such legendary affable characters as Uncle Nunzio. It was here that he would not drill you with his opinions but show you. “To read his work is to understand a little more about life and specifically about living the South Philly experience. The man and his voice are missed.” Tom was more than a columnist and broadcaster. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, friend, and row home treasure.

“We were married 59 years,” his wife Fran Cardella shares. “I met Tom when he was a social worker at the Department of Public Assistance. I was a typist. A woman who I worked with said, ‘See that guy over there – I predict you will marry him.’ I didn’t even know his name!” Their first date was dinner and a show (Fats Domino as Fran remembers) in Wildwood. “We started to date and before you knew it, we were engaged and married.” The two were inseparable and completely compatible and nothing said that more than when Fran was able to donate her kidney to Tom in 2009. “He lived 14 years with that kidney. We were able to travel and enjoy life.” Cardella worked at the Quartermaster but according to Fran, his real passion was writing and broadcasting. While at Temple University, he met his lifelong friend Merrill Reese. “Nobody ever had a better friend than Tom,” Merrill says. “Our friendship endured for more than 60 years. Tom and Fran were family to Cindy and me. I miss him every day. We’ve been friends since 1959 when we were at Temple at WRTI. Tom was a mentor to me – he coached me when I went for my first audition. I’ll especially miss him on Sundays. After every Eagles game, on my way home, the first thing I would do is call Tom to get his assessment, to hear his opinions. Tom always told you what he felt. He was honest. He was one of the most generous and kindest people ever.” Paula Sapienza Hoffmann, Review editor in the 1980s says, “I remember Tom as the guy you could count on. He would turn his column in every week on deadline. When he came into the office, he was always polite. Maybe it was his background as a social worker, but he had a deep understanding of the human condition, and he could spin a story that included a life lesson. Tom could be witty and clever, too, in getting his many messages across.” “Tom Cardella was a true gentleman. He was soft-spoken and kindhearted, but tough as nails when delivering a message or commentary on life and current events,” says Dorette Rota Jackson, a features editor and Review columnist for more than a decade. “I learned so much from his writing style, especially the way he delivered key points through his fictional Uncle Nunzio persona.” Tom Cardella was inducted into Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communication Alumni Hall of Fame in 2005. Many also remember him for his work at WIP (starting back when he would fill in for Merrill Reese on Tuesdays on the Ken Garland show) and then hosting Eagles pre- and post-game shows among other on-air appearances. He also hosted a community-focused talk show on Sunday morning on WMMR. “He absolutely loved it, interviewing special guests and talking about what was happening,” Fran says. And true to his nature, after the show, he would take her to Sunday brunch. In addition to his wife Fran, Tom is survived by son Craig, daughter Lauren, son-in-law Keith, and grandchildren Eliza and Grayson. PRH

October /November /December 2023





Game Day Central in the Stadium District

photos courtesy of LIVE! PHILADELPHIA


South Philadelphians are passionate and know how to cheer on their beloved Birds. As a proud member of the community, Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia has quickly become game day central and a must-visit destination in the Stadium District. On any game day, you’re sure to find Philadelphia fans not only cheering on their favorite teams, but also participating in gaming and dining promotions, meeting alumni players,

Keep the celebration going and stay the night! Live! Philadelphia features over 200 luxurious hotel rooms and 30-plus suites on site. These upscale rooms feature views of the Center City skyline or the vibrant Stadium District, and all offer premium amenities including luxury robes and linens, marble bathrooms, and


competing to win Philly sports swag, and exuding a palpable team spirit that can be felt throughout the property. Eagles alumni flock to Live! Philadelphia to join the FanDuel PreGame Show Hosted by 97.5 The Fanatic. In conjunction with Philly Sports Trips’ Ultimate Tailgate Party, the show turns Live! Philadelphia into the perfect home game tailgating HQ complete with awesome food catered by the new JuneBug BBQ pop-up, drink specials and a live DJ.

in-room Nespresso coffee setups. Live! Philadelphia radiates Eagles energy throughout football season. You’ll see it on the outside of the building – all lit up in green – to the variety of entertainment, dining, and gaming options inside to celebrate gameday. It’s time to make Live! Philadelphia a part of your game-day ritual.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

New this football season is JuneBug BBQ, located outdoors at Live! Philadelphia’s 10th Street Patio. The space is the perfect place to witness the sights and sounds of Philly football fans making their way to the Linc. The menu draws on the rich, flavorful, and diverse traditions of the South and includes specialties like slow-smoked brisket, smoked chicken wings and loaded mac & cheese cups. The BBQ heats up four hours before each home game kickoff. The fun at Live! Philadelphia goes beyond food! Throughout the football season, Live! Rewards members – it’s free to join – can test their luck by picking the winning football team each week. The top 10 winners will win free slot play each week and at the end of the regular season, the top 200 members across all Live! properties

Head over to Sports & Social at kickoff where the game will be broadcast (with sound!) on the 52-foot LED display and 24 bigscreen TVs around the space. Guests can snag swag including foam fingers, rally towels and more. They’ll also have the chance to take the perfect fan photo in a Birds-themed locker room display. Don’t miss the Half-Time Wing-Eating contest for a chance to win signed memorabilia during home games and the raffle to win two tickets to the very next home game during all away games.

with the most correct guesses will win up to $10,000 in cash. Not a Nostradamus? Live! Philadelphia will also award prizes for members who made the least number of correct guesses throughout the season. Live! Philadelphia has America’s number one sportsbook app on site with FanDuel Sportsbook & Lounge. For every home game and select away games, guests who place a $500 parlay sports bet will come with a selected entrée from Sports & Social where you’ll be able to watch the game on their giant LED big screen. And forget pricey parking at the stadiums, Live! Philadelphia has you covered. Live! Reward Gold Card members and above receive FREE parking for all home games. Existing Classic Card members will get reimbursed for parking fees in free slot play PRH

Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.





Frank “Frankie Bugs” Fioravanti

July 7, 1958 – September 6, 2023

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023



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“Life is not always what you expect. It seems some paths are written for us, and, for me, that has been a wonderful experience.” Tom Lamaine is well known for being on the air in Philadelphia for more than 30 years. He is being honored at the Broadcast Pioneers Gala this November as Person of the Year. Lamaine has been a member of the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame since his induction in 2003. Lamaine became one of Philadelphia’s most trusted weathercasters as meteorologist for Eyewitness News. Before joining KYW TV full-time in 1984, he had been an on-air personality, announcer, and sportscaster for WIP-AM radio where he hosted Eagles and Flyers pre- and postgame programs and broadcasted ‘76ers basketball telecasts. Lamaine traces his career back to high school. He grew up in Atlantic City and attended Holy Spirit High School where he played football, but unfortunately sustained an injury. He was off the playing field

and recruited by the local radio station with (what he thought at the time) would be a oneoff play-by-play commentary on-air. “Before I knew it, I was doing the entire commentary at the microphone,” he says. “This was totally unexpected!” From there, it was off to the big city. Lamaine was accepted at Fordham University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English. After college, he became a Navy Officer and, as a pilot, has flown with the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds awarded him with a special commendation for achieving 9Gs (nine times the force of gravity) during a flight. Lamaine says he strongly identifies with Tom Cruise in the Top Gun movies. “After I graduated, I wanted to serve my country and entered the Navy,” he says. “There, I became a jet pilot. That’s where my early forecasting skills were honed in pilot training at the Aviation Officer’s Candidate School in Florida.” In 1984, during a National Hurricane Center reconnaissance flight, Lamaine flew into the eye of Hurricane Gloria

as part of the data-collecting team. Though he was sportscasting full time and had just been on the air at 6 pm with a sports report, he learned that the person doing the weather suddenly called out. “The producer says, ‘Tom! We need you. You’re on at 11 tonight doing the weather!’ That became my new history. So, while on the air in Philadelphia to make viewers feel that I really knew about the weather I was broadcasting, I went back to college full time and earned a degree in Meteorology Science from Drexel University,” he says. In the Spring of 2008, Lamaine retired from CBS3, KYW-TV. Now, he’s enjoying his downtime. “In the past, I considered myself a lifelong surfer. I also owned and rode a Western Performance Horse, Sky King, in competitions,” he says. “And I stay active in public service groups and am interested in advocating for fellow citizens. Mostly, as they say, I have sand in my shoes. As a native of Atlantic City, I enjoy my home at the New Jersey seashore, where I grew up.” PRH

Big Nick’s

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October /November /December 2023



Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular

courtesy of Comcast Spectator

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The “Tinseltown Holiday Spectacular presented by Dietz & Watson’’ makes its way to FDR Park just in time for the holiday season. This one-of-a-kind winter wonderland experience opens its doors in FDR Park on November 17 and runs through January 1st, 2024. Tinseltown showcases breathtaking light sculptures and displays powered by more than 1.2 million light bulbs. Explore larger-thanlife sculptures, a 60-ft light tunnel, glowing baubles, a walk-through Liberty Bell, and illuminations representing Philly sports teams, just to name a few. Shop for holiday gifts, enjoy treats and beverages, meet Santa Claus, and more. In addition to the new backdrop of FDR Park, Tinseltown will feature new activities and returning favorites that are sure to bring joy to every visitor. Highlights include:

BRAND-NEW Ice Trail. The trail, spanning 13,000 square feet, will guide guests through the central parcel of the event’s 9-acre footprint for a one-of-akind light-viewing experience. Guests are encouraged to make skate reservations at the time of ticket purchase. Walk-up in-person sales will be based on availability.

Ice Slide brought to you by Independence Blue Cross. This four-lane slide will provide guests, both young and old, with a thrilling 160-foot-long ride.

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Union Forge Tinsel Lodge. This heated lodge offers ample seating for guests to warm up and enjoy some of Tinseltown’s delectable eats!

Photos with Santa. Get your iconic portrait with Santa. Tinseltown’s premier photographers offer high- quality, comprehensive photo packages.

Storytime with Mrs. Claus (FREE). Visit Mrs. Claus’ reading room where she’ll share the magic of the season with live readings of her favorite holiday stories.

Waggin’ Wednesdays. On Wednesdays, guests are welcome to bring their furry, canine friends. Owners must keep their dogs leashed at all times.

Gritty Claus Nights. Every Friday in December, the oneand-only Gritty Claus will be at Tinseltown spreading the holiday cheer to all guests!

Sensory-Friendly Entry Times. These entry times are geared toward guests with autism and other sensory needs. These designated times will have limited capacity and the volume of our holiday music will be lowered to make the atmosphere more comfortable for our guests during these discounted entry times. December 1st, December 14th, and December 28th, at 4:30 pm. Tickets for Tinseltown are on sale now at TinseltownHoliday. com. Tinseltown tickets start at just $15.99. At the time of purchase, visitors will be asked to select an entry time. Please purchase tickets early as this event is expected to sell out. Guests visiting Tinseltown on Santa Savings Days, Monday through Thursday, can expect the full experience at a lower cost. PRH

Strawbridge & Clothier

From Our An interview author Meg Family with Strawbridge to Yours Butterworth A tribute to the oldest family-owned Department Store in America

by Jane Roser


As the snow falls, children sing carols while a family decorates the Christmas tree. Two young siblings peek up the chimney hoping to catch a glimpse of Santa and a soldier is welcomed home with hugs and kisses. Strawbridge & Clothier aired this simple, heartwarming holiday commercial in 1988 which ends with the line, “Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.” Now, 35 years later, the great-great granddaughter of co-founder Justus C. Strawbridge pays homage to her family’s enduring legacy with her new book Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier: From Our Family to Yours. Meg Strawbridge Butterworth currently resides in Seattle, but grew up in Merion, PA. She has many fond memories of the iconic store, which at the time of its 1996 sale to the May Department Stores Co., was the oldest familyowned department store in America. Q: What inspired you to write this book? a: In 2019, I flew back to Philadelphia for a special event. The city was installing a historical marker for S&C in front of the flagship store on 8th and Market Streets. Several former employees were there, and we all got to go inside the building. It was completely vacant and had a bit of a ghostly feel. Afterwards, I learned there was a Facebook page for former S&C and Clover employees, and I was so entertained by the stories people were posting. I thought it’d be great to capture what it was like to

work there and tell the company’s history through the lens of its employees. I also wanted to pass this bit of history on to future generations. I think my generation of Gen Xers is the last to know what it was like when regional department stores dotted the landscape and were very much a part of your city’s identity. For better and for worse, the retail world and the shopping experience in America has changed considerably in the last few decades. Q: What was your research process like? a: The book is a history of the store from its beginning to its end, but I wanted it to be interesting and entertaining. I interviewed over 40 former employees - many had humorous, emotional, and sentimental stories to tell. I did most of my research at the Hagley Museum in Delaware where many photos and documents were sent after the store was sold in 1996. I did online research and read several books about the history of department stores which was helpful to put it into the larger context of retail history in America. Also, before I started this project, my mom shipped me a couple of boxes filled with photos, company magazines, annual reports, and newspaper articles that my dad had collected over the years. Q: What are some of your fondest memories of S&C? a: I loved being at the stores during the holidays - seeing all the decorations was very special. As a family member, I’d get to attend a special event for the employees and their families. We’d sing Christmas carols, and the president or chairman of the board

would say a few words. My great-uncle Stockton Strawbridge would wear special socks for the occasion. He would gently lift up his pant leg during his speech that would reveal what color socks he had on. If he was wearing two green socks, that meant it was a successful year. One green and one red sock meant it was an okay year and two red socks meant it was not a great year. I never saw two red socks, though! Q: How would you describe Strawbridge & Clothier’s enduring legacy in the historical record of US department stores? a: The story of S&C is in large part the story of the American department store. The company came into existence at the dawn of the age of retail and was sold when regional department stores had become all but obsolete. Particularly, a family owned and managed department store. Five generations of Strawbridges and Clothiers chose to become part of the Store Family. That’s several generations more than most family run businesses can boast. But, beyond its longevity and family ties, S&C’s real legacy is its employees and what they have to say about the company culture. Twenty-seven years after the sale, employees from all levels of the company continue to stay in regular contact with one another. As one former S&C employee put it, “We’re still talking to each other.” That speaks volumes. You can buy Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier: From Our Family to Yours by Meg Butterworth online at Amazon,, Barnes and Noble, and PRH

October /November /December 2023



Civil War-Era Cannons An FDR Park Landmark

Courtesy of the American Swedish Historical Museum



One of the ASHM cannons in front of the museum in November 1955

On the edge of FDR Park, a pair of large cannons flanks the American Swedish Historical Museum, a position they have occupied for decades. Originally on board the wooden, steam- powered USS Osceola and USS Ticonderoga during the Civil War, these cannons were put into storage in the latter half of the 19th century before finally arriving in South Philadelphia in 1938 when the ASHM celebrated its grand opening. This type of cannon, called a Dahlgren gun, was designed by Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren, the son of a Swedish Consul in Philadelphia, hence why the cannons now decorate the park-facing façade of the American Swedish Historical Museum. Dahlgren guns, nicknamed “soda bottles” for their distinctive shape, came as a significant advance in naval cannons that made the weapons both safer and

more powerful. As the Navy and Marines gear up for their 250th anniversary in October 2025, ASHM and the US Navy have planned to restore this pair of cannons to bring them back to their original glory. In the decades that these icons have resided in FDR Park, there have been accounts of South Philadelphia newlywed couples posing for photos by the cannons, perhaps with one spouse pretending to fire a cannonball at the other. If you or your family members have any photos taken with the cannons, or with the front doors of the American Swedish Historical Museum, we would love to see them! Send any photos to Founded in 1926, the American Swedish Historical Museum is located in FDR Park, 1900 Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19145, PRH

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

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Fr. Bob Guesetto, Fr. Paul Galetto, Anthony Giunta, & Marie Giunta attend the first anniversary pasta dinner.

ST. PAUL PARISH New Heart Brings New Life to Historic Church Community


by Anthony DiFlorio hen Rev. Paul Galetto, OSA, arrived at St. Paul Parish in South Philadelphia, he looked at the most recent parish bulletins with few activities and thought, “I’ve been sent to Catholic Siberia!” Not really, but Fr. Paul realized he had his work cut out

for him. Born in Vineland, N.J. to an Italian American immigrant farming family, he was educated by the Augustinian Order and found himself called to a vocation. Ordained in 1982, Galetto spent most of his years as an educator and administrator at various Augustinian institutions in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. He did brief stints in the missions in Peru, Nigeria, and South Africa, and served as an English language tour guide at the Vatican.


Fr. Paul’s ministerial career was interrupted by cardiac disease in his early sixties. It became so severe, he had to undergo a heart transplant in 2019. Fr. Paul feels that he has been given a new lease on life and vowed to spend his bonus years living it to the fullest. Before Fr. Paul’s arrival, St. Paul Parish was in debt and facing hard decisions about the fate of its two aging church buildings: St. Paul, established in 1843, and St. Mary Magdalen dePazzi,

established in 1852. Health issues forced the retirement of the parish’s former pastors, Fr. John Large, who retired in 2021, and Fr. Daniel Dwyer, who retired in 2022. St. Paul Parish was thrown into a period of uncertainty. It had to rely on visiting priests to celebrate a reduced number of Masses. There were no priests available through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to serve as pastor. Then the Augustinians came to the rescue. For almost 20 years, Fr. Rob Hagan, an Augustinian priest, served as a weekend assistant at St. Paul Parish. In 2022, Fr. Hagan was elected Prior Provincial of the St. Thomas of Villanova province. He was aware of the situation at his adopted parish and,

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

inspired by the Holy Spirit, he petitioned Archbishop Nelson Perez for permission to bring St. Paul Parish under the umbrella of the Augustinian order in South Philadelphia. Upon further reflection, he came up with the ideal candidate for pastor - Fr. Paul W. Galetto, OSA. At his first Mass, Fr. Paul’s booming voice and vivacious personality revitalized the parishioners. He opened the doors of St. Mary Magdalen dePazzi Church for weddings, funerals, and Christenings to accommodate the requests of legacy members. Attendance increased as word spread about the dynamic, biscotti-baking, bike-riding new priest. New, younger faces appeared, collections increased, and

the lay ministries flourished. Fr. Paul humbly gives credit to the workings of the Holy Spirit as personified by the Augustinian presence in South Philadelphia for this Miracle on Christian Street. He promises that great things are coming. Fr. Paul’s most ambitious and hopefully successful event will be the BLAST. Based on his productive fundraisers for the Augustinian prep schools he has administered, The BLAST will be a formal evening at the Ballroom at the Ben Franklin, featuring a 50/50 drawing, live and silent auctions and a special surprise dedication. All of this will take place on Sunday, November 12th, 2023 – an Eagles bye week for Philly fans. PRH


An Unending Conversation with


Grief cannot be solved or fixed

by Dorthi DiGilio


alk into any retail store and you know that the joyous holiday season is upon us. This should be a time when we are warm in our homes with those we love. Although my journey has taught me to hold on tightly to hope and gratitude, I know first-hand that there are


grieving people out there and the holiday season is a harsh reminder that someone they love dearly is gone from this earth. Grief is a state of being that isn’t talked about nearly enough. Most people are unsure of the right words, so they say nothing. Others can unknowingly say the wrong thing and use “toxic positivity” or “at least” statements, which can be hurtful. As a result, the isolation around grief continues to grow. Grief is not something that

Grief is not something we can prepare for. We can, however, converse and begin needs to be solved or fixed. A grieving person simply needs to lead with empathy their pain witnessed. Quietly listen or just “be” with them in and compassion. Grief grief. Say their loved one’s name needs awareness and share stories about them. Sadness and loneliness can both and acceptance, be exacerbated by the holiday season. Marketing execs would have never judgment. us believe that the world is merry and bright, like a Hallmark movie. Meanwhile, we are left feeling lost and unnatural. The depths of grief can take us all by surprise. Grief is not something we can

prepare for. We can, however, converse and begin to lead with empathy and compassion. Grief needs awareness and acceptance, never judgment. I lost my mother 57 years ago, only three hours after I was born. I grew up in a grief illiterate world. I had no idea what grief was and that I have lived with unresolved grief my whole life. When I lost my 22-year-old son, Dean, 10 years ago, my entire world was shattered, and I began educating myself. I learned about “old wounds” and how they become completely intertwined in our acute grief. Both need healing. Guilt and regret are often companions to grief. People are more comfortable feeling guilty than out of control. A grief guide can help reframe these misguided thoughts, which ultimately control our feelings. Guilt, regret, and unspoken grief can lead to shame. Shame needs secrecy to survive. Talking is healing. Connection is healing. It can be a good time of year to join a therapeutic grief group or seek an individual grief counselor. Remember, it is brave to reach out for help. Your heartbreak will become less heavy as it is shared. It is important to speak with your doctor about your grief, especially if you

are experiencing “complicated or prolonged” grief. This usually accompanies a traumatic death, an “out of order” passing, or a life-changing loss. Complicated grief can include physical symptoms, forgetfulness, mood swings, confusion, trouble concentrating, irritability, feeling numb, nightmares, anxiety, deep sadness, appetite issues, or sleeping issues, just to name a few. Grief is not only “depression,” and it needs to be treated as such. An individual’s grief is as unique as their fingerprint. Not everyone will experience every “stage” or layer of grief. Grief is not linear. We do not “get over” it, we navigate through it. We do not “move on” in time, we move forward. The good news is that healing is possible. Your life can grow around grief as you create new meaning, finding ways to bring your loved one with you. Life becomes more about love and less about pain. You can also design a holiday season that is deeper and more fulfilling to you, no matter what the rest of the world looks like. Grief is a natural response to love and loss. If you are living and loving, you will experience loss. The grief will last as long as the love and there is no expiration date to healing.

Please reach out with any concerns or help with your grief. Email me at addictionrecoveryandthegrief@ Visit my website PRH Thank you for listening! October /November /December 2023



CCP Cardiologist

Dr. Eron Sturm never skips a beat by Joseph Myers


A New England native whose educational breakdown includes time in Connecticut and Tennessee, Dr. Eron Sturm says he considers the Philadelphia area his true home. Having completed his medical residency and a cardiology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, the 47-yearold makes each day in the City of Brotherly Love an opportunity to grow his understanding of community and bond with likewise zestful individuals. The husband to Carmen and father of Sophia, Anna, and Alex, explains the pleasure he derives from interacting with residents, particularly those who live in South Philly, and addresses the longevity we can all enjoy when we properly tend to our tickers. Q: What is the geographical breakdown of your work for CCP?

Q: What are the thrills that your vocation provides to you?

a: I primarily work out of Jefferson Center City Hospital, as I am an interventional cardiologist working in the Cardiac Cath lab three days a week. I see patients in my office-based practice in South Philly and Center City the other two days a week. If patients come to Jefferson for a cardiac catheterization from any of our amazing physicians in our large South Philly cardiology practice area, I have the honor of taking care of them during this time.

a: Part of my job is taking care of cardiac emergencies and acute heart attack patients. This is the most exciting part of my job. Despite the high-stress and high-stakes nature, it is very rewarding to work with my excellent colleagues in the Jefferson Cardiac Cath lab to provide highlevel emergency care to the patients and families in their time of need.

Q: What is your perception of South Philadelphians and the care you provide to patients from this neighborhood and the city overall? a: South Philadelphia patients and residents are a joy to take care of! They have a certain passion for life, their family, and their city. They are loyal and generous people, and it is an honor and privilege to do my part taking care of Philadelphia and South Philadelphia patients in their time of need.


Q: What are some misconceptions that people have about cardiovascular health? a: Misperceptions of patients regarding their cardiac care is mostly focused on a lack of cardiovascular risk prevention. Waiting until you have a heart attack to start preventive cardiac care means you’ve waited too long. Cardiovascular care should start in our thirties with a heart-healthy diet, a commitment to an active lifestyle, and [resolve in] making smart lifestyle choices. This can be further optimized by counseling with a cardiologist, like our group of doctors at CCP, to assess your individual cardiovascular risk and

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

see if more advanced testing or treatment options are appropriate. Q: What led you to choose your specialty? How has the field evolved over your time within it? a: I chose interventional cardiology because I love working with a professional and dedicated group of people in a team-work setting, as we have at the Jefferson Cardiac Cath Lab, to help people in emergency settings. Acute heart attack care is one of the most impactful things that exist in modern medicine to save lives and preserve a patient’s longterm quality of life. Although the hours and stress level can be tough, it is an amazing opportunity to use my skills and training to be able to help patients in their time of need. Q: What do you see the future of your field involving? a: The future of Interventional Cardiology and the Cardiac Cath Lab is constantly evolving. Over the next 10 years, we will see advancements in Artificial Intelligence, more Advanced Imaging modalities, and likely, more bio-absorbable stent technologies enter our space to enhance both the prevention and treatment of our sickest patients. Q: What is your top cardiovascular health tip? a: My best tip is to maintain an active lifestyle. That doesn’t need to mean being a triathlete. Develop habits to stay active by incorporating walking into daily routines and to avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Q: What are some non-job pursuits/ interests that keep you going? a: I love to exercise, spend time with my family, and watch my kids play sports. Each of the past four summers, we have taken a family hiking trip to the Western United States with our kids to explore the U.S. National Park System, visiting nine national parks in that span. When I have personal free time, I like to spend it fly-fishing or biking the Schuylkill River Trail. Q: Aside from your wife and children, do you have family members you wish to mention? a: I have an identical twin brother who is a pediatric emergency room physician in Connecticut. I guess we both like the challenge of a fast-paced, impactful career where we are able to help people at their most vulnerable moments. Q: Why should people seek to see you as their cardiovascular health specialist? a: I view myself as a Cardiologist who takes great care of his patients, is empathetic to their personal needs and goals, and is constantly working to offer the most up-todate and appropriate care individualized to their needs. Cardiac care is not and should not be a cookiecutter approach. I pride myself on taking care of each patient as the unique individual they are to help them achieve their goals in life. PRH Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

a little vitamin C goes a long serum way for healthy skin

by Dr. Davida Krupnick, MD Dermatology Partners - South Philly


While the intensity of UV rays might diminish with the waning of summer, it’s crucial to recognize that these rays can still wreak havoc on your skin throughout the autumn and winter months. Safeguarding your skin against damage and the potential life-altering consequences involves establishing a comprehensive skincare routine. Here are some of the top skincare recommendations we’ve curated for fall. •S hower Mindfully. Long, hot showers tend to strip away natural oils that protect your skin from drying out. Shorter, lukewarm showers counteract this effect as the temperature drops. •E xfoliate with Care. Cooler weather often leads to skin dryness. This induces your body to compensate by producing additional oil, which can potentially clog your pores. Exfoliants remove surface dirt and debris, which can help aid in avoiding clogged pores. However, the selection of a gentle exfoliant is paramount to prevent the elimination of vital oils. • Moisturize. Cool air can make your skin dry, causing discomfort, itchiness, and cracking. Make sure to use a combination of hydrating and vitamin c serums, followed by a moisturizer into your routine. This will ensure your skin is healthy, protected, and moisturized during the day. • I ncorporate Sun Protection. Applying sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin during daylight hours is pivotal in maintaining skin that’s both safeguarded and radiant. It can slow down skin aging and is key to preventing skin diseases caused by UV light.

• Have a Nighttime Routine. Have a nighttime routine that encompasses cleansing and moisturizing. By cleansing away pollutants and allowing your skin to regenerate, you set the stage for optimal skin renewal. • Hydrate. The significance of hydration extends beyond skincare into overall health. Sufficient hydration not only bolsters general well-being, but also plays a pivotal role in skincare. Skin that’s well-hydrated possesses increased resilience against the array of challenges that autumn and winter might pose. • See a Dermatologist for a Regular Check-up. Dermatologists are skin care experts. We can do a lot on our own, but when it comes down to being certain your skin is healthy, seeing a dermatologist is essential. Regular checkups facilitate the detection and treatment of skin concerns, including potentially hazardous conditions like skin cancers. Schedule your next dermatological appointment as early as you can, and have at least a consistent annual appointment, to ensure your skin and general well-being are in ideal condition. Davida Krupnick, MD specializes in the detection and treatment of skin cancers and treats a full spectrum of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. She is accepting new patients, insurance, and immediate appointments are available. Please call (215) 463-3939 or visit to schedule online. To find out more about Dermatology Partners, or to book an appointment at one of their 30 locations, visit or call (888) 895-3376. PRH Dr. Davida Krupnick, Dermatology Partners, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

Andreozzi Photography


Andrew Paul - Photographer “QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR LESS” (484) 614-1952 October /November /December 2023



Get ready for


Thanksgiving a thoughtful approach

courtesy of 1600 Spruce St.


Thanksgiving is synonymous with gratitude, family, friends, and, of course, bountiful meals. A successful celebration entails thorough preparation, enabling you to savor every moment with your loved ones. Here, we suggest ways to tackle Thanksgiving to ensure your preparations are both smooth and enjoyable. •P lan early. Planning ahead is the first step toward a stress-free Thanksgiving. The guest list. Who is attending and are any special requirements needed? (dietary restrictions). Menu. Choose recipes that cater to your family and friends’ preferences & dietary needs.

• Menu preparation. Thanksgiving is notably food centric. Opt for potluck. Encourage friends & family to contribute a dish. Prepare ahead. Identify which dishes can be made in advance & frozen. Delegate tasks. Assign small tasks to family members. Keep it simple. Stick to recipes you’re comfortable with & consider store-bought options for certain items. • Home preparation. A welcoming environment enhances the celebration. Clean & declutter. Ensure common areas are tidy & inviting.

Décor. Decide on a theme & ensure you have all the necessary decorations.

Seating & tableware. Ensure you have adequate seating & tableware for all guests.

Location. Ensure the chosen venue is appropriate for the number of guests.

Decorate. Add festive décor to elevate & reflect the Thanksgiving spirit.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

• Craft a festive atmosphere. Aside from the decorations… Create a playlist. Select music that creates a festive mood. Plan activities. Organize games & activities that cater to all age groups. Gratitude activity. Include an activity where everyone shares something for which they’re thankful. • Mindful celebrations. As we celebrate, be mindful of the broader community & environment. Sustainable choices. Opt for reusable tableware & decorations. Food waste. Be mindful of portions to minimize waste & consider donating excess food. Inclusivity. Ensure that everyone, from small children to the elderly, feels included & valued. • Embrace the unexpected. Despite thorough planning, be prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

Be adaptable. Flexibility allows you to handle unexpected situations with grace. Focus on connections. Remember, the essence of Thanksgiving is togetherness, not perfection. • Reflection & Gratitude. Amidst the hustle, take a moment to reflect. Express thanks. Show appreciation towards your guests & helpers. Enjoy the moment. Amidst the organizing, be sure to pause, savor the moments & create lasting memories. Thanksgiving, at its core, is a time to express gratitude and revel in the company of our loved ones. Through careful planning, a dash of flexibility, and a spirit of thankfulness, your celebration can be both joyful and memorable. So, get in the festive spirit and make the most of the time with your family and friends, creating cherished memories that will linger for years to come. 1600 Spruce St. is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.


A WORKOUT YOU’LL NEVER REGRET! What we have to offer: — CrossFit — Bootcamp — Olympic Lifting — Personal Training — Kids

— Sports & Team Specific Training (10 yrs to Collegiate level) — Access to Fitness Works with Pool & Sauna!

Join our PHL Family Today! 2017 Juniper Street, Philly, PA 19148 267.240.1086 phlathletics . com

Block On the

538 Mifflin Street East Passyunk Crossing Philadelphia

asking $499,900

Call Jeanne Polizzi at 215-767-7814

for a private showing. Coldwell Banker Realty

8-year-old brick three-story home 4 bedrooms / 3.5 baths w/ finished basement Approx. 3000 sq ft of total living space 2 outdoor areas: Huge patio & fabulous roof deck Extra wide & open floor plan with high ceilings Solid hardwood flooring throughout Gourmet Chef’s Kitchen w/ more than 20 custom painted Cabinets & Walk-in Pantry Jeanne Polizzi Realtor is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.


will turn your vision into reality. We offer one-on-one care to ensure not only the best quality, but the best service from start to finish. We keep our customers happy and coming back! William Guyon Jr Ron Malandro Jr Dominic Novelli owners October /November /December 2023




All systems go! by Tony Santini c o n d i n o h vac . c o m


There is no better time to think about the condition of your home heating system than now. Are you sure your system is ready to make it through another season? Locally owned Condino Heating & Air Conditioning has been dedicated to offering the residents of Philadelphia, South Jersey, Delaware County, and Lower Merion exceptional, fairly priced heating services since 1979. By staying up to date with the latest heating technologies and a company philosophy of quality work and customer satisfaction, they are a top choice for your heating and cooling needs. Owner Rocky Condino operates the family-owned business out of locations at 2032 S. Percy Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148, and 736 Haines Lane, Springfield, PA 19064, providing customers with trained technicians that are fully licensed and insured for your safety. “We want our customers to have

peace of mind when we come to their homes,” Condino says. “Having a functional, efficient heater is important when the temperatures start to drop outside. No one wants to freeze when winter hits its peak. We specialize in the difficult and out of the ordinary installations and this includes our unique row homes, which present challenges regarding custom ductwork and tender loving care.” When it comes to residential heating systems, it might be time for a repair when your heater isn’t working as efficiently as it once did. After about 15 to 20 years, your system may start to perform poorly or not at all. Some signs of system problems can include a bad smell, strange noises, and cycling on and off. If you are noticing these signs, call a professional. If the repair is too expensive, you might be better off replacing your heating system, instead. You can trust Condino to offer sound advice before moving forward with your request. They will make sure everything is set

up correctly so that your heater works efficiently and keeps you comfortable. Condino recommends regular maintenance on your home heating and air-conditioning systems. This is key to preventing a total system replacement. His team can suggest the best options for regular maintenance but, if signs of repair arise, they are there to help. His technicians can diagnose a wide variety of problems and offer free estimates for any repairs needed. Having a functional, efficient heating system in the winter and a reliable air-conditioning system in the summer is essential when it comes to enjoying your home to its fullest. Contact Condino Heating & Air Conditioning at (215) 468-8116; Delaware County, (610) 544-1172. Or visit Condino Heating & Air Conditioning is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.






| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

GOING. GOING. GONE. ONLY A FEW SPACIOUS, BRAND NEW LUXURY TOWNHOMES REMAIN - FROM THE MID $600,000s There’s still time to personalize your new home at Siena Place, and make it your own! Discover the unique lifestyle at Siena Place in Packer Park, one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods. Brand new 3-4 bedroom brick townhomes featuring abundant green space, private garages & ample parking, easily accessible, convenient to FDR Park, airport, Walt Whitman Bridge & more!


Full 10 Year Tax Abatement

2300 Hartranft Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 between Penrose Ave. and 26th St.

Open By Appointment Only: Mon, Thurs thru Sat: 11am-5pm • Sun: 12pm-5pm

BROKER COOPERATION IS WARMLY INVITED & APPRECIATED. All prices and features subject to change without notice. Please see sales consultant for details.



Interior Design Services Starting at $499 per room

1600 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA. 19103 267.209.3350 |



Heroes Group

by Maria Merlino R E A L E S TAT E

Local realtor Harry Alessi knows the importance of giving back to the community. That’s why he and his team, including Marco Messina and Chris DiBiase, are known as the Home Heroes Group. “We are so happy to provide this non-profit program to our clients,” he explains. “We offer a rebate after closing to our home heroes, including nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, active military members, retired military members, police, firefighters and teachers.” Alessi said he and his team were introduced to this program by Louis Tumolo, another local realtor looking to make a difference. “Our group gives back 30 percent of our commission to a third-party charitable organiza-

Furnishings, Lighting, Rugs, Décor & Gifts for the Well Appointed Home 1600 Spruce St. Philadelphia, PA. 19103 267.209.3350 |


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

tion that, in turn, rebates a sizeable portion to the hero,” he says. “On average, buyers can expect a rebate of about $700 per $100,000 of the sale price.” For example, a $300,000 sale would return an approximate rebate of $2,100 to the hero buying a new home. “We, as realtors, don’t make as much commission,” Alessi says. “However, it’s important for us to give back. We want to make sure that our heroes enjoy a high-quality lifestyle and bright financial future.” For more information, contact The Home Heroes Real Estate Group at 215-999-9789 or visit Harry Alessi, The Home Heroes Real Estate Group, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

lwelch;Philadelphia;Condino Heating and Air Conditioning;A86523-146127;3.5x9.75-4C (23Fa-B1)



Your Lennox® system. Your Lennox dealer. Perfect together.


by Brenda Hillegas

$1,500 IN REBATES when you purchase the Ultimate Comfort System™*


Scented candles and oils fill the air with your favorite aromas, but if you’re looking for new ways to freshen up your space this season, here are some tips. Whether you’re enjoying a cozy night at home under a blanket or hosting guests, these ideas are bound to be a hit.

CREATE A FALL BOIL Grab a pot, fill it with two cups of water and a combination of cinnamon sticks, orange slices, vanilla, lemon, cranberries, rosemary - whatever you have on hand that pleases your senses. Set to low heat and add water every couple of hours.

WHIP UP A BATCH OF SLOWCOOKER APPLE CIDER Place apple cider and brown sugar in a 3-qt. slow cooker and stir. Cook on low for 2-3 hours. You can also wrap cinnamon sticks and cloves in a cheesecloth (don’t forget to tie it up), throw that in with some orange slices, too.

DIY POTPOURRI Pinecones, cinnamon, dried apples…the possibilities are endless. Add some favorite essential oils like orange or cedarwood and stir. You can put your mix in shallow dishes around the house - kitchen, bathroom, living room. Or pack up some batches in cellophane bags for gifts. Pick up some wine, call some friends, and make a night of it!



DISPLAY FRESH FLOWERS With so many fall fests, farmers markets, and pick-yourown farms in our area, you’ll be able to find the perfect mix and match of flowers for your home. Play around with different scents and colors that fit best with your home aesthetic.

BAKE A PIE! While it might not be easy to find time to gather ingredients and bake a pie, the end result will sure be worth it! Enjoy a freshly baked apple, pumpkin, or pecan pie while your home smells just as tasty.

215-468-8116 Since 1979

Offer expires December 1, 2023. *Rebate requires purchase of qualifying items between September 11, 2023 and December 1, 2023 from a participating Lennox® dealer. Contact your local participating Lennox® dealer for promotion details. Qualifying items must be installed by December 8, 2023. This offer applies to residential installations only. Rebate claims must be submitted (with proof of purchase) to starting September 26, 2023 and no later than December 22, 2023 11:59:59 p.m.ET. Rebate is paid in the form of a Lennox Consumer Rebate Visa® Prepaid Card. Prepaid card is governed by the Cardholder Agreement, and some fees may apply. Please note that prepaid cards are subject to expiration, so pay close attention to the expiration date of the Card. The Lennox Consumer Rebate Visa Prepaid Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A., pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. The Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. The Bancorp Bank, N.A.; Member FDIC. Conditions apply. See for complete terms and conditions. ^Lennox Industries Inc. (“Lennox”)/dealer is not acting in the capacity of a legal or tax advisor and does not make any representation, warranty, guarantee or other assurance as to whether a particular matchup qualifies or is eligible for a tax credit or rebate. This document has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax or legal advice. The IRS, DOE and state energy offices are responsible for the implementation and administration of tax credits/rebates. There are important requirements and limitations for the homeowner to qualify for tax credits/rebates. Moreover, the laws are subject to change. As a result, Lennox/dealer highly recommends that you consult with a tax advisor or attorney regarding your qualification for a tax credit/rebate in your particular circumstance and verify and review the applicable laws and regulations. Lennox/dealer expressly disclaims all liability for damages of any kind arising out of a homeowner’s claim for a tax credit/rebate. © 2023 Lennox Industries Inc. Lennox Dealers are independently owned and operated businesses.

October /November /December 2023




PHL Builders


The Mike Giordano Jr. and Sr. Duo at

WILLIAM GUYON JR. & RON MALANDRO JR Owners, Licensed & Insured photos by @SHOTBYDANIELK

Your favorite South Philly father/son real estate duo for all of your real estate needs in PA and NJ! 1608 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19148 Cell: (calls and texts) 267-688-1449 | office: 215-334-3333 50

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

An open-concept feel in this Rittenhouse renovation is accentuated by the natural light and contemporary finishes – hardwood flooring, stainless appliances, clean lines, and splashes of color introduced into the room. The custom kitchen is now the highlight of their first floor. PHL Builders is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

THE PHILLYDREAM DIFFERENCE Let us help you find your Dream Home! Mario Tropea Jr. & the Dream Team

Serving the Philadelphia Real Estate Market for 40 years We understand the market. That is why most of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers whose trust we have earned. Our agents live in the same communities where we do business. This is our home. We want it to be yours, too. It is our privilege to share our knowledge with you.

honesty. Buying

integrity. Selling

Rental Properties

Property Management

respect. Full-Service Serving Realty Services Philadelphia & New Jersey

Keller Williams Realty 1601 W. Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 Office: 215.389.2222 | Mobile: 215.783.3698 |



PAINTING OF DISTINCTION INTERIOR • EXTERIOR Office: 267-930-3420 w w w . fac e b o o k . co m / faux pa i n t

Faux Finish Specialist

Joe LaFiora


Entrance an

courtesy of Cindy Rosario-Fetterman

POWERFUL RESULTS. 17 years of experience as a full time realtor working throughout the Philly area with a network of incredible clients. Most of my business is “Word of Mouth” from past very satisfied clients. My “Hands On” approach sets me apart - taking fewer clients at a time ensures that you have my undivided attention throughout the entire Buying and Selling process. EIGHT Time Winner “Five Star Professional” as seen in Philadelphia Magazine.


Jeanne Polizzi REALTOR ®, SRS

Certified Relocation Specialist International Presidents Elite Club (C) 215.767.7814 (Efax) 267.937.1919 52

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023



It is a known fact that you have approximately 20 seconds to make a good impression. This first impression also includes your home. Here are a few design tips to make your entryway the best first impression. Your entryway gives a glimpse of the atmosphere of your home. Adding a few design elements and principles will create an inviting and interesting space.

ILLUMINATION Quite often, foyers and entryways are dark. Substantial lighting can create a nice ambience that feels safe and comfortable.

DECOR Mirrors, artwork, and area rugs are a few pieces to incorporate in this space. Mirrors instantly make your space feel larger. A tight, small, cramped entryway is instantly spacious. In addition, mirrors reflect

light, making it appear brighter and more functional by enabling you to take a final glimpse as you walk out the door.

FUNCTIONAL Console tables are highly recommended in an entryway. These furniture pieces are the perfect place to add a table lamp or a decorative bowl for keys. Baskets will help store shoes, gloves, and scarves for convenient access. Lastly, hooks and shelves are a great way to store items neatly when you do not have a coat closet. Remember, the most attractive small entryway ideas are the ones that take on two roles - beauty and function. FDG Interiors FDG Interiors, LLC 434 Virginia Avenue Collingswood, NJ 08107 856-264-6816

Cindy Rosario-Fetterman, FDG Interiors, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.



MEDICAL AID decisions may shift soon in PA


Q: Is physician assisted death legal in Pennsylvania?

A: Unfortunately, no. Currently, Pennsylvania does not permit compassionate medical aid in dying. Today, 10 states (including New Jersey and D.C.) have death-withdignity laws that allow a terminally ill individual to end their life peacefully and on their own terms. Pennsylvania is not on that list yet, but possibly not for long, after Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced the Compassionate Aid in Dying Act, this year. This legislation seeks to ensure that terminally ill Pennsylvanians remain the driving force behind their end-of-life care decisions. Pennsylvania’s pending bill would permit terminally ill individuals - with less than six months to live - to request medication that would allow them to end their life in a dignified and humane manner. Naturally, legislators, medical professionals, and individuals within the Commonwealth may be concerned

with conferring such medical decisionmaking solely to the terminally ill. However, there are strict safeguards in place for the states with current deathwith-dignity laws, showing less than 1 percent of patients ultimately obtain compassionate medical aid. In addition to shifting the decision-making power to the patient, there are other benefits of compassionate medical aid. The pending Pennsylvania legislation will generate more frequent and open discussions among terminally ill patients, their families, and physicians; decrease fears and the feeling of being powerless; and help the terminally ill to live their final days to the fullest. While advancements in modern medicine have been able to extend the lives of our loved ones, many terminally ill people feel this extension of life merely prolongs unnecessary suffering when pain management becomes unbearable. Terminally ill Pennsylvanians should have the freedom and right to decide for themselves to end their unbearable suffering and pass peacefully.

Once again, Frank DePasquale has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 2023. He heads DePasquale Law Offices, 2332-34 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. P: 215.755.4410. Email him at or visit

October /November /December 2023


Robin Mitchell

Certified New Home Specialist

Available in

Ventnor Beachfront condo 2 bedroom, 2 bath, pool, gym, luxury residential building




from the



Two new luxury townhouses 1 block from the beach elevator, ocean views

courtesy of RON RABENA Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal Cities are wonderful and exciting places. However, the city can also create an environment that fosters crime. Because metropolitan areas are diverse and highly populated, they offer a great opportunity for all kinds of people to “blend in with the crowd.” While most of those people are honest and hardworking, some of them may be criminals looking for the next victim. The following are a few tips to help keep you from becoming a victim of urban crime.

Margate Sales Office 9218 Ventnor Ave.Margate, N.J. 08402 Direct 609-487-5013 | Cell 215-266-8334 Office 609-822-4200

SAFETY AT YOUR APARTMENT on’t prop open secured doors D or let people you don’t know into the building, even if they claim to live there or tell you they are visiting someone. otify your landlord immeN diately if a lightbulb needs to be replaced in the hallway, stairway, storage room, or laundry. Intruders may use the darkness in those locations to lie in wait for solitary victims. I f you must put your name on your mailbox, use your first initial only. An attacker may be able to gain access to your building by convincing you or your neighbors he/she knows you and needs to come in. I f an intruder breaks in, try to leave your apartment safely and contact the police from another location. If you cannot leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police.

SAFETY ON THE STREETS S tand straight, walk purposefully, avoid staring at the ground and pay attention to your surroundings.



2101 Penrose Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19145

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

ry to conceal expensive jewelry T by tucking it into your clothing and don’t pull out a roll of cash (or full wallet) when paying for items. Visit ATMs during the day

or when there are other people in the area. e suspicious of anyone walkB ing toward you with only one hand in their pocket. Studies have shown that people tend to have both hands in their pockets or hanging at their sides unless they are trying to conceal something, possibly a weapon. hile choosing to fight an attackW er is a personal decision, most selfdefense experts would encourage you to give in to an attacker with a weapon. Material possessions can be replaced, but YOU can’t!

SAFETY IN A RESTAURANT/CLUB P ay attention to the location of ALL exits. If a fire or threat occurs, most people are injured because they ignore alternative escape routes and try to leave the same way they entered, causing an impassable crowding at the main door. on’t get involved in arguments D or fights. If you think that someone may get injured, notify security. Often, people who mean well get involved to help a victim only to find that both parties turn on him/her. If you witness an argument, get out of the way. or leave the location completely. For more information on urban crime, visit the National Crime Prevention Council at

About the Author: Ron Rabena, Chief Client Officer at Allied Universal, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network. Allied Universal is the leading global security and facility services company.


Cash in on


Capital Gains Tax Rate

courtesy of the CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg

While the maximum capital gain tax rate can be as high as 23.8 percent, most taxpayers pay 15 percent. But there is the possibility to have your capital gains go tax-free... yes, zero percent! In fact, this tax break has been around for more than a decade and comes into play more often than you may think. Here is what you should know:

Qualifying for the 0% capital gains rate You qualify for long-term gain treatment if you sell stocks, bonds or real estate (and other capital assets) you’ve owned longer than a year. For 2023, the zero percent rate applies to long-term capital gains for single taxpayers with taxable income up to $46,625 and married filing joint taxpayers up to $89,250. This zero percent rate can apply if you’re having a low-income tax year due to: Temporary job loss A tax loss passed through to you from an S corporation or partnership Income fluctuation for a commission-based job Retirement Moving to part-time employment But you could also have a higher income and qualify for this zero percent rate. For example, if a married couple earns $116,950 in 2023, their taxable income will equal the $89,250 zero percent rate threshold after subtracting the $27,700 standard deduction for a married couple.

Awareness is the key While you may not always have the zero percent capital gains tax rate available to you, it is important to note when it comes into play.

Here’s an example: Adam and Eve Johnson recently retire. They have a number of mutual funds they’ve owned for years and have retirement savings accounts. Their current income is $58,700. Should they withdraw money from a retirement account or sell some of their mutual funds? Because they’re aware of the zero percent capital gains, they decide to sell mutual funds with $25,000 in capital gains to get the money tax free! Plan your own tax moves So, keep the zero percent capital gains rate in mind as the year winds down. Know your projected income for the year and depending on your situation, you might realize capital gains that are subject to no or lower tax rates. Remember other factors often come into play, including the taxability of Social Security Benefits, so call if you would like a review of your situation.

The CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

October /November /December 2023




REFINANCING? Things You Need to Know Before You Get Started

by Joe Mesi, Director of Residential Leasing Tioga Franklin Savings Bank

When is it a good time to refinance?


Most people refinance to lower the rate on their home mortgage, which will lower their payment. The common rule is, if you can save 1 percent on your rate, it is worth refinancing. Cashing out is another option for refinance. Some people cash out to pay off debt (credit card, student loans, etc). Some people cash out for home improvements, vacations, investments. Although rates are high right now for a home mortgage, it is still better than paying 18 to 29 percent interest on a credit card bill. Your best bet is to discuss your options and your goals with your loan officer, who should be able to guide you to your best options.

Factors to consider before refinancing Refinancing is similar to a purchase, so you still need to qualify for the refinance. A lender will review your home equity and, in most cases, require an appraisal to determine this. Your credit score will also be reviewed along with your income to determine your debt to income. Lenders are required to complete a net tangible benefit worksheet to determine your breakeven point and


whether refinancing is your best option. If you recoup the cost of the refinance (closing costs, fees, etc) in a 36-month savings, you most likely pass the net tangible benefits costs. There are other factors, but this is the most common way to determine your eligibility.

Benefits of refinancing at the right time The biggest benefit is the monthly savings in your mortgage payment. Long-term benefits include the interest you save over time.

Everything you want to know about HELOCs before you sign on the dotted line With the rates of home mortgages at an all-time high, HELOCS (Home Equity Line of Credit) are a very common product, right now. Many people have a first mortgage in the 3-4 percent interest range and do not want to lose that rate, so they are opting for a HELOC. As with a standard mortgage, you still need to qualify (debt to income, credit), but this loan is directly based on the equity you have in your current home. If your property is worth $200,000 and

you currently have a first mortgage of $100,000, then you have $100,000 in equity. Most lenders will cap you out at 75 or 80 percent of the equity that you have in your house. Speak to your loan officer about this product because the rates and terms can vary depending on your credit score and home equity.

Serving the Philadelphia area since 1873 Tioga Franklin Savings Bank began as Tioga Building & Loan Association on March 31, 1873, in the city and county of Philadelphia. As the recently reunited Union was early into the reconstruction era, TFSB planted roots to begin with the rebirth of a nation. TFSB stayed local and remained a facet of the banking community for many years. TFSB was present for the beginning and end of the Spanish-American War, WWI, The Crash of 1929, WWII, and every financial event up to the OPEC oil shock of 1973, when the Tioga Building & Loan Association merged with the Franklin Savings & Loan Association to form the Tioga Franklin Savings Association. As of July 2000, TFSB became Tioga Franklin Savings Bank and a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Joe Mesi has been in the mortgage industry since 1987 and has been with Tioga Franklin Savings Bank since 2017. He is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network. P: 215-219-1428. Email him at

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023


Anthony Messina, Dorette, Dawn, Frank Sangiuliano

Pastificio RowHome Rollback


We are looking back at some of RowHome’s favorite memories of the places and faces that helped us launch a magazine in the neighborhood we know and love. This photo was taken when a brand-new family business named Pastificio opened its doors featuring homemade pasta, authentic sauces, fresh mozzarella and Italian specialties that keep customers coming back for more.

Q: Top-selling pastas for the holiday season? 1. Cheese Ravioli 2. Cheese Manicotti 3. Stuffed Shells

Want something ready to go? There’s bound to be an award-winning sandwich, side, or salad on their mouthwatering menu that you can’t leave without trying! We recently caught up with Pastificio owners Anthony Messina & Frank Sangiuliano, who will mark 20 years in the family business! The season is a busy one for them after two decades of serving customers their holiday specialties.

Q: What other specialties should our RowHome readers know about? Italian gift baskets are always a big hit for holiday shoppers. Arancini (rice balls) are perfect for holiday gatherings. We sell a variety of different flavors from Original (meat, marinara & peas), Parmigiano Reggiano, Sausage & Broccoli Rabe, Cheesesteak, and a few others.

Q: Favorite holiday tradition? Christmas morning. Cooking and enjoying dinner with the family makes the holiday bustle worth the wait. Of course, having two days off from work to enjoy it helps a lot! Pastificio is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

October /November /December 2023



by chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson


Food for Thought


Welcome to Chef MJ’s Corner, where we feature food, nutrition, health, the latest trends, hotspots, and stories that inspire every reader. You know my motto, “Food is a segue into intimate conversation! So, take a load off and let’s get intimate.” As a chef, people often ask me the same questions about food, one of my favorite small talk topics. In this article, I’ve decided to answer some of those questions. More importantly, this is a great time to help RowHome readers with meal prep and offer delicious ideas for family favorites. Here is my food for thought.

What is my favorite place to eat?

2342 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19145

215-914-3200 w w w. l i p s a n d d r i p s l lc . c o m

Botox On Broad Specials $11/unit

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If I’m in Philadelphia, I am a big fan of the mussels at Popi’s Restaurant. In Cherry Hill, NJ, I love Caffe Aldo Lamberti. It has a great vibe and beautiful decor. They offer craft cocktails and some of the freshest seafood I ever tasted. They also offer fresh pasta, which is one of my favorite foods. If I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina, my favorite place to eat is Emmet’s Social Table in Waxhaw. They offer craft cocktails (you see the trend). They also offer some of the best fried deviled eggs I ever had. If you are just looking for a place to chill, head to The Marquee Charlotte. They offer some of the best jerk lamb chops I ever had. I attribute this to Head Chef Dion Jackson and Sous Chef Joshua Williams.

What is my favorite thing to cook? Honestly, I don’t have a favorite thing to cook. I like to cook what-


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

ever puts smiles on my clients’ faces and makes them do the little happy food dance. I am a French trained chef, so I will often take French dishes and infuse them with my southern roots. That’s my jive.

Am I strict about my mealtimes or flexible? I’m flexible with everything but dinner. I don’t like to eat past 8 pm. If you see me eating later than 8, it’s a special occasion. I am also strict about drinking my water. It’s important to hydrate.

What are some ways to come up with meal prep ideas? How can we get our creative juices flowing to prep family meals? First, think about the foods your family likes to eat. What are their favorite dishes? I also think it’s easier to create meals a la carte. This gives your family options during the week. I normally suggest cooking fish or seafood, a beef option (make sure it’s organic, if possible), and a chicken or turkey option. Then just pick a couple of veggies and starches and you’re good to go. If you need help with ideas, you can always check out The Menu section of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine, Pinterest or social media channels from chefs in your area. I hope this helps answer some of your questions! The next time you’re out, ask someone a question about food. I promise it will be one of the best conversations you ever had. CHEF MITZI JACKSON-ROBINSON IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME (PRH) MAGAZINE BUSINESS NETWORK.

The best year-round snack! Look for Lokal Artisan Foods French Toast Bites year-round at Cherry Street Pier. You currently can find these delicious bites (with unlimited toppings) at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Halloween Nights and coming up at Christmas Village in Love Park. In the summer, visit the Spruce Street Harbor Park location.

Enswell recently opened in Rittenhouse and you can’t go wrong with any of their cocktails. During the day, you can get coffee and cafe items. At night, drinks and dinner.

Last month, I attended a catering showcase for Neuman’s Kitchen at Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (this is a free museum to visit). I hope one of my friend’s hosts an event there and invites me, because I loved every bite they served. My favorite, though, was Pad See Ew. The Neuman’s Kitchen menu truly has something for every event style and taste!

But nothing beats staying in and enjoying your coffee, slowly. Especially with chilly weather ahead. Save this for your upcoming holiday gift ideas - a bag of ground or whole bean Horn & Hardart Coffee. Finally, taste the iconic flavors of this historic automat coffee.

El Fuerte de Loreto in South Philly serves up Mexican and Italian! It’s also BYOB. I hear the brunch options are fantastic, so check it out and make some weekend plans!





And if I’m on the other side of Broad Street, Craftsman Row is the spot for holidaythemed menus and cocktails. The Halloween pop-up is ending soon but look for an upcoming Christmas theme. Shakes can be made boozy!

I’m always looking for a great happy hour around the Kimmel Cultural Campus. Vinyl is a new go-to with creative cocktails and a delicious HH menu. These pierogies, made by Mom-Mom’s Kitchen, are perfect to share. South Philly’s own Steve Martorano opened Martorano’s Prime in Rivers Casino Philadelphia. The cheesesteak - on the appetizer menu (!) - is good to share with some cocktails or even before diving into a pasta or steak. And it’s made with Boaggio’s bread.

Iron Chef Jose Garces announced the launch of weekend brunch at Amada’s Radnor location this summer. I run errands in that area often, so of course I had to go. His “Por La Familia Family Style” option is a no-brainer with plenty of food. I loved the Tocino (thick cut smoked pork belly) and Tortilla Espanola (potato & onion omelette).

Almost every night, I’m out celebrating a new restaurant opening or seasonal menu, the latest cocktails, a pop-up event, kid-friendly activities, and so much theatre! It’s a lot of fun and if you want to see more of what I’m up to, follow along at @shamrockenroll or @phillyfoodmoms on Instagram. Hungry? Thirsty? Here are some of the best things I’ve tried recently, and you should too!

I just recently discovered Founding Fathers Sports Bar which is another excellent happy hour. If you’re looking for a place to watch fall sports, it’s a good option. This Santa Fe pizza is unique with fried chicken and fire-roasted corn. Runner up - their Buffalo chicken spring rolls. If you’re in King of Prussia, the Town Center has lots of casual and fine-dining options. Davio’s hand-rolled potato gnocchi with mushrooms, basil and truffle butter is an excellent choice for lunch…because you’ll have leftovers for dinner!

October /November /December 2023




Wissahickon Brewing Company E


ver find yourself looking for somewhere to put up your feet after venturing through Wissahickon Valley Park? Maybe rehydrating with a cold, fresh beer in hand? Stationed close by is Wissahickon Brewing Company, the perfect rest stop to visit. And with the recent opening of its Wirlybird Coffee, they can now help provide the morning jolt you might need


before hitting the trails, as well. “We are very proud of our IPAs and lagers, which receive high praise,” founder Tim Gill, Sr. shares while discussing their showcase beers. “Those styles represent the yin and yang of beer palettes, so we know everyone will find a beer to love at Wissahickon Brewing Company.” One of these IPAs, their signature Devil’s Pool Double IPA, started receiving international recognition after winning a coveted bronze medal in the Imperial India Pale Ale beer-style category in the prestigious World Beer Cup in 2022. Inspired by its surroundings, the brewery named Devil’s Pool after the history and beauty of Wissahickon Valley, an indigenous region and home of the Leni Lenape Native Americans of the Northern Woodlands dating back to the 1400s. As noteworthy as its beers, Wissahickon Brewing Company’s philanthropic efforts are just as remarkable. Whether it’s a major event hosted throughout the year or specific beers brewed for a cause,


Wissahickon Brewing Company is actively engaged in the community. “We are proud to give back to the community through fundraising collaborations like Ales for ALS, Legacy of Hope, Resilience - Fundraiser Beer for Camp Fire Relief, and Kokua Maui Strong,” Tim Sr. adds. “When the opportunity arises to help others in a meaningful way, we are eager to pitch in because we feel there’s unity in community.” Wissahickon Brewing Company’s story began years ago with a dad and his children dabbling in the art of home-brewing. In 2015, after getting paperwork in place, the family began to take the beer-making knowledge they developed and expanded it into professional beer-production practices. Next was the hunt for a home base. Tim Sr. notes that the search was no easy task. They visited a number of sites within the city and beyond. However, a fateful East Falls listing from the internet’s classifieds section ended up being just what they had envisioned. “It was a chance encounter looking for commercial

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

space on Craigslist that a location popped up,” he says. “When we visited, it was love at first sight.” While it may have been their ideal place to call home, a little TLC was needed to get things ready for brewing. “The building was in terrible condition and just a shell.” After “bootstrapping” the repairs, installing their 15-barrel brew system with fermenters, and, as Tim Sr. puts it, “navigating the maze of building and health regulations and policies,” they were ready to greet the public. Wissahickon Brewing Company opened its doors on April 1, 2017. And the rest, as they say, is history. WBC is now a 15-barrel full-production natural craft brewery manufacturing more than 30 brands of beer and hard cider, with many new creations on the horizon. And the multi-purpose, pet and family-friendly facility reflects the creativity of the beer selections. Take, for instance the clever barreled tables and bar in WBC’s Tasting Room; they are made from 150-year-old wood harvested and up-cycled from the old Christian Schmidt Brewing Company, once one of Philly’s largest brewing companies, in Northern Liberties. To help the company spread its wings and grow, Wissahickon Brewing Company recently began catering to a slightly earlier crowd, with the opening of a slightly dif-

ferent bar. The craft brewer added beans to its brews. Wirlybird Coffee, a coffee shop nestled within the brewery, debuted back in March to meet the needs of those looking for their favorite caffeinated beverages. Similar to their ethos of the brewery, it takes cues from the natural surrounding environment of historical scenic Wissahickon Valley Park. Self-described as “fun, whimsical and memorable,” this is no better represented than by their local native mascot, the Pileated Woodpecker. To help provide a steady supply of beans, Tim Sr. linked up with another local company, Moonraker Coffee Roasters, based in the Kensington/Fishtown area. While describing their partnership, he mentions that “their family coffee farms in Central America produce some of the best, aromatic coffees [they’ve] sampled. And they are just really nice people to work with.” Now, Wissahickon Brewing Company will have you covered morning, noon, or night with the same level of craft. Whether you’re seeking to warm up with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or with a toasty dark ale, as we head into the winter months, check out what’s brewing at the Wissahickon Brewing Company. WISSAHICKON BREWING COMPANY IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME (PRH) MAGAZINE BUSINESS NETWORK.

39 East Oregon Avenue Philadelphia, PA





ROAST l o m b a r d i m e at s . c o m

 1 beef bottom round roast (about 3 lbs)

1 tsp pepper, divided

 1 tbs minced garlic

1 cups of assorted root vegetables of your choice, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, white potatoes, onions, turnips, rutabagas, about 3 pounds, cut into a one-inch dice

 1 tsp salt, divided

1 tbs vegetable oil

 1/3 cup salted butter  1 tbs minced garlic  1 tbs chopped rosemary or parsley


DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 325°F. Pat roast dry with a paper towel. Line a large-rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Combine butter, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and rosemary. Spread over the roast. Place roast in pan. Place vegetables in a large bowl. Add oil, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and remaining 1/2 tsp pepper; toss to coat. Arrange vegetables around roast. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours for medium rare. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes (temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare). If vegetables are not tender, return to oven and roast until tender. Carve roast into thin slices. Serve with the roasted vegetables.



SCALLOPINE @ l i l n i ck s 4 u

INGREDIENTS  2 lbs veal cubes (cut to your liking)  10-12 cloves of fresh garlic, minced  1 medium-sized onion (minced & mixed w garlic)

 4 bell peppers (sliced in strips)  3/4 lbs fresh sliced mushrooms  (2) 28 oz cans of tomato puree (San Marzano)

DIRECTIONS Sauté garlic and onion with olive oil, salt & pepper for five minutes on low. Add veal and brown lightly (10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Add the pureed tomato and simmer (and stir) for 1-2 hours until veal and veggies are tender. Serve as a dish (but don’t forget the loaf of your favorite South Philly bread to dunk & clean your bowl), or in a sandwich, or even over white rice! LIL’ NICK’S DELI IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME (PRH) MAGAZINE BUSINESS NETWORK.


Serves 4-5 62

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Love at First Bite!



“Yo Cuz!” Steve Martorano’s well-known catchphrase was loud and clear when the celebrity cook and South Philly native cut the ribbon on his newest restaurant — Martorano’s Prime. The Italian-American Steakhouse recently opened at Rivers Casino Philadelphia in Fishtown and is already receiving high praise from its earliest guests. “People love it,” Martorano said. “I’m

finally home to personally serve my worldfamous meatballs for all of Philly.” Martorano’s Prime is the acclaimed cook’s first Philadelphia signature restaurant in over 30 years. It fuses the founder’s renowned ItalianAmerican menu with high-end steakhouse staples. “It’s Italian-American cooking with an extra flair of prime steaks and seafood. It’s different from your usual steakhouse because here you can get meatballs, long hot peppers, broccoli

rabe, linguine and clams, and the best steaks and lobsters, which will knock your socks off,” Martorano said from his brand-new kitchen. Martorano takes pride in providing a restaurant experience that hits all the senses — while guests enjoy richly flavored dishes, the smell of authentic Italian-American cooking fills the air. Old-school Hollywood movies are on screens throughout the restaurant, and hip music plays in the background.

Famous Meatball Salad — enjoy Steve’s famous homemade meatball with Sunday gravy, Calabro ricotta, pecorino Romano, long hot pepper and Martorano salad.

Linguine Yo Cuz — this sumptuous seafood pasta dish features half a South African cold water lobster tail, shrimp, colossal crab and little neck clams. The delicious linguine is topped with Italian parsley and Calabrian red pepper flakes.

16 oz. New York Strip Martorano — steak lovers will savor the USDA Prime New York strip with San Marzano tomato, hot and sweet peppers, and Auricchio sharp provolone.

Reservations are filling up fast. Click the QR code to book your table at

“It’s a beautiful restaurant with a vibe,” Martorano said. “Old movies are playing on the TVs, there’s a DJ booth where you’ll get that Philly sound. You’ll eat, you’ll drink, you’ll dance in one place — Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino. Who doesn’t want to be Italian, Cuz?!” Delicious desserts complete a great meal. Martorano’s serves up Lilly Cakes, a premium line of “All-American Desserts for All Occasions.” Red

velvet, cookies and cream, triple chocolate, brownbutter Heath bar cakes, and banana cream pies are just some of the restaurant’s classic desserts. The early buzz means that large groups and those looking for holiday reservations should secure their reservations now to beat the end-of-year rush. For restaurant hours and menus, please visit and follow Rivers Casino Philadelphia on Facebook and Instagram.

Martorano’s Prime at Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

October /November /December 2023




CHILI @ m j _ t h e ch e f



MACARONI & CHEESE INGREDIENTS 1 1/2 lbs ground Turkey

 2 tbsp chili powder

1 onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, crushed

 1/2 tsp of Sex on the Beef seasoning

2 cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed

 2 tsp cumin  1 tsp dried oregano

1 (28 oz can) diced tomatoes

 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 (6 oz) can tomato paste

 1 tsp hot sauce

1 bunch of chopped scallions

 1 tsp sugar

3 cups beef broth (or water)


In a large pot, fry turkey and drain excess fat. Add in the onion and garlic, sauté until soft. Add in all the spices, beans, chilies, tomatoes, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip.

INGREDIENTS  1 box of elbow macaroni  1 1/2 lb of Velveeta  3 cups of milk

 1/2 stick of butter  Salt & white pepper, to taste  1/2 to 1 lb of shredded

cheddar  4-6 slices of Swiss cheese  1/4 tsp of dry mustard  3 eggs

DIRECTIONS Rinse pot with cold water. Pour in milk. Beat eggs and pour in. Add salt and pepper. Mix well. Heat on low. As it warms, cut the Velveeta into cubes. Add to milk and let cook until it’s melted. Boil the elbows but add oil and salt to the water. Drain water. Add elbows to a 9x13 greased pan. Add in cheese mixture from stove. Add shredded cheese. Place Swiss slices on top. Bake 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes.





| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

NEW YORK BAKERY Located in the heart of South Philly, we’ve been providing the neighborhood & surrounding area with quality service for more than 90 years.

2215 S. 11th Street Philadelphia, PA 19148

215.389.5912 Fresh brick oven bread, rolls & tomato pie baked daily.




CHICKEN NUGGETS Not only are these chicken nuggets packed with protein, but they are also very delicious. I have been making these for quite a while and I enjoy them at least once a week. Skip the fast food. Kids will love them and so will you.

INGREDIENTS 1 chicken breast cut into small pieces (or 1 ground chicken breast) 1 egg

 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

dar & mozzarella)  1 tbs flour

 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese of your choice (I mix ched-

Stephen Candeloro Owner

The Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC has your best interests in mind. At the Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC it’s not just our job to help guide you to a future worth looking forward to, it’s our passion. The way we see it, putting you first means understanding your needs and making sure you get coverage at the right price.

LET’S TALK TODAY. John Ferullo 1636 S FRONT ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19148 215-468-4116

DIRECTIONS Mix ingredients together in a bowl and form them into the shape of nuggets. Place them in a 425-degree pre-heated air fryer and drizzle with olive oil. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until a golden brown. They will be crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside!

OPTIONAL RANCH DIPPING SAUCE 1 cup light mayonnaise 1 cup light

sour cream  2 tbsp fresh dill  1 squeezed

fresh lemon  Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Mix. I store the dip in a mason jar, so it stays fresh longer.






Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Life insurance is issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company or Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, Nationwide Is On Your Side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. ©2020 Nationwide CPC-0435AO (09/17) 12071560

October /November /December 2023






Russell Shoemaker, President

Join Today


COFFEE for a Cause

Anthony’s Coffee House supports kids with dyslexia BY MARK CASASANTO


About Us: We specialize in providing delicious and beautifully presented food for any occasion.

Our Service: Entrees Hoagie Trays Antipasto Trays


Contact Us: (267) 639-5185 @farinadivita 250 Catharine St., Philadelphia , PA 19147


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

dancing while spinning the latest and greatest tunes in between dinner courses. Each table featured a charcuterie selection with Italian breads and crackers, a festive salad and a delicious pasta and meatball dinner served courtesy of the culinary talents of the staff of Tenuto’s. Other sponsors included Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, Rosa Food Products, 12 Steps Down, Triple Play Sports, Petal Pushers, DiBruno Brothers and Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. The night concluded with raffles for prizes and gift baskets totaling more than $1500 as well as a 50/50 split netting another $300 for the cause. For more information, visit



espite the poor weather that forced a move off 9th Street in the iconic Italian Market to inside the historic St. Mary Magdalen De Pazzi Church, all was sunny and bright for the annual Anthony’s Coffee for a Cause. The event supports children with dyslexia and benefits programs like Mighty Writers. Now in its sixth year, the cause remains near and dear to Anthony Anastasio, owner of Anthony’s Italian Coffee and Chocolate House. He credits his daughter’s kindergarten teacher with recognizing the early signs of dyslexia, a reading disorder that often creates a negative stigma on children. Anastasio continues to do his part to bring the silent disorder into the light. DJ Eric Bartello was tapped to keep everyone


Michael & Dominique Rhoades a Water Works Wedding is a Night to Remember


Hello beautiful Brides Guide readers! We are so happy to introduce you to our amazing couple, Michael & Dominique Rhoades, who celebrated their wedding day at Water Works by Cescaphe. Under clear blue skies and the stunning backdrop of this historic landmark on the Schuylkill

PRH Brides Guide

River, the day unfolded as every moment was marked by the beauty and details these newlyweds set in motion. Guests were mesmerized by the magnificent views and exquisite landscape overlooking

by Joe Volpe 68

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Boathouse Row as they sipped on cocktails while awaiting the arrival of the bride and groom.

VENDOR CREDITS Venue: Water Works by Cescaphe

Dress Designer: Calla Blanche

Concierge: Devan Ruggieri

Grooms Wear: Rudi’s Formal Wear

Event Manager: Ciaran Cleland, Connor Lucas Florist: The Petal Pusher Band/DJ: DJ Johnny Looch Invitations: Zazzle Photographer: Andrew P. Andreozzi Photography Transportation: Cescaphe Trolley

Wedding Bands: Olivieri Jewelers Groom’s Hair: Dana Barone, The Cutting Point Bride’s Hair & Makeup: Flawless Finish Breakfast Catering by Kay Kay’s Additional Vendors: Beautiful Blooms

How did you meet? Michael and I both grew up in the same neighborhood, just two blocks away from one another. He was also best friends with my cousin, Jack.

How did the proposal happen? The proposal happened when Mike and I were on vacation in Cape May. We were at our favorite restaurant, The Lobster House, where we went for a walk on the dock. We were watching the boats go by and I noticed he seemed a little nervous. Seconds later, he was on his knee asking me to marry him!

Why did you choose a Cescaphe wedding? I personally feel that no other venue compares to an amazing Cescaphe wedding. From the outstanding food, the kindhearted staff, and the gorgeous atmosphere, there was no hesitation when deciding that we wanted a Cescaphe wedding. I also have always been obsessed with Water Works. Its beautiful history and spectacular views make it truly unforgettable.

October /November /December 2023


What did you do to make your wedding day extra special? Including our daughter Elle, all our nieces and nephew, made our wedding day extra special. They truly made every part of that day even more memorable.

What advice would you give to future brides and grooms? My best advice would be that when the big day finally arrives, take in each and every moment. It all goes by insanely fast and even though it may feel stressful at certain points, try to remember what the day is really about and enjoy it.

What was your favorite part about wedding planning? Other than finding my dress, I’d have to say my favorite part about wedding planning had to be creating our menu. Going over all the amazing salad and entree choices and getting to pick out what we wanted, even though we pretty much wanted it all, was such a fun experience and got us even more excited for the big day. I also loved how Cescaphe included a choice of any of their delicious sorbets as a palate cleanser between your salad and entree.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023


Cescaphe is a member of the PRH Business Network.

Ever keeping his eyes focused on the latest wedding trends, Cescaphe CEO/Chef Joseph Volpe is recognized as the area’s leading authority on ballroom bliss. Creating Oncein-a-Lifetime, Distinctive Events with Genuine Care and Passion, Treating Our Guests Like Family as We Exceed Their Expectations. Visit or call 215.238.5750.


from the


Unveiling the Hottest Makeup Trends for Fall

Eyes on Plum, Green & Burnt Orange by VICTORIA DIPIETRO

As the leaves change color and the air feels crisp, it’s time to embrace the beauty of fall. Whether you prefer bold and striking or soft and understated makeup, there is a trend to suit every style and occasion. From dramatic eyes and natural complexions to berry lips, statement brows, and graphic liners, this season’s trends offer unlimited possibilities for self-expression.

staple. Cranberry, wine, and plum will be particularly popular. My personal favorite is Fenty Poutsicle Hydration Lip Stain. New shades in Gem and I or Banger Berry are sure to give you that pop of color. These stains are moisturizing, long lasting and cruelty-free. Exfoliate and moisturize your lips first to achieve a smooth, flawless application.

Dramatic Eyes

Statement Brows

Embrace bold, expressive eyes. Experiment with rich, deep shades like plum, green, and burnt orange to create captivating eye looks. I love oranges so much that I wear them all year long. I just change how deep the pigment is as the seasons change. Smokey eyes with a twist will be particularly popular, combining darker shades with a pop of color in the inner corners or lower lash line. You can also play with textures by incorporating metallic or glitter eye shadows for a touch of glam.

Well-groomed and defined eyebrows continue to dominate the beauty scene. Embrace your brows’ natural shape and fill them in with a soft pencil or powder to add definition and depth. You may have seen MADLUVV® brows trending on social media. I purchased this and I’m obsessed. It includes six stencils, a stamp in the color you choose and a spoolie brush to blend. Match your brow with a stencil and just fill it in. Use the spoolie and brush your own brows into the pigmented color. MADLUVV is a crueltyfree company with no synthetic fragrances, parabens, or sulfates.

Natural While bold eyes take center stage, a natural and radiant complexion remains timeless. The “no-makeup” makeup look continues to be a go-to trend this fall. Achieve a flawless base using lightweight foundation or tinted moisturizers. Focus on enhancing your skin’s natural beauty rather than covering it up. A touch of highlighter on the high points of your face will impart a healthy glow. Follow with a soft natural tone of blush to add a hint of warmth to your cheeks.

Berry Lips Luscious, berry-toned lips are a fall

SWANCATERERS Family-owned & operated for more than 50 years Now serving at two locations:

The Waterfall Room 2015 S. Water Street Philadelphia, PA 19148

215 . 3 8 9 . 8 8 8 8 Free Parking Our full-service banquet facility is available for weddings, parties, and any type of event 1500 Shunk Street Philadelphia, PA 19145

215 . 3 8 9 . 2 0 4 5 Call Swan Caterers today & start planning the event of your dreams!

Graphic Liner If you are looking to make a statement, bold geometric shapes and unconventional lines in shades like jet black or metallics will be all the rage. Experiment with double wing liner, floating eyeliner, or graphic shapes extending beyond the outer corners of your eyes. The key is to let your creativity flow and have fun with it! My favorite is tarte emphasEYES™ high-definition eyeliner. They offer black, brown, and bronze, which are all you really need.

Victoria DiPietro, Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

October /November /December 2023



by Rachel Porter image by MrGuerra

LIPS & DRIPS A Medical Spa for all your Cosmetic Needs

Lips & Drips, a medical spa offering customized IV therapies and cosmetic injectable treatment plans, opened officially in March of 2022. The Broad Street business, located in South Philly, offers services such as botox, fillers, IV drips, and Morpheus8, to name a few. Co-owners Erica Mendez, a former medical surgical nurse, and Erica Hammel, an aesthetic nurse injector who primarily specializes in lip filler, have several years of experience working in a clinical background. They continue to seek higher education to expand their services for their clients and newcomers. Mendez and Hammel met from networking through aesthetics and shared a desire to pursue more with their expertise. “I always had a passion for beauty and medicine, and knew I’d eventually end up injecting. I always dreamed of owning my own empire and am still in awe to know that I am co-owner of one of the best Medical Spas in the tristate area,” Mendez says. The two women are very passionate about aesthetics, their brand, and owning their business the way they see it as women entrepreneurs and as mothers. “We both wanted


to be on our own. We both juggle being a mom and having the business, together, and the opportunity presented itself,” Hammel says. Lips & Drips provides a fun, noncomparable vibe while stressing the importance of comfort and confidence for their clients. When visitors walk in, they can expect high-level professionalism and they will be thoroughly informed of what each service entails in order to achieve their desired goals. Newcomers are asked to provide a medical history so any questions they have can be answered in advance. “We wanted it to be like a hip and cool, luxurious vibe for people to come in,” Hammel says. “If they decide to get a treatment, especially that day, they make an appointment. We want them to feel as comfortable as possible,” Mendez says. In the fall months, Lips & Drips plans to offer “Skin Rehab.” This includes signature L&D facials, Morpheus treatments, PRF micro needling and chemical peels. Current “must haves” include Botox and their signature lip glaze. “Whether you receive lip filler or not, our lip glaze will make sure

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

your lips are well hydrated with a natural plump,” Mendez says. Hammel and Mendez attribute much of their success to a great team. “I’m really proud of our business what Erica and I built so far and the team we have with us. Truly, I’m thankful for all the patients we have that follow us and support us. We appreciate our patients. It’s our passion to promote self-confidence,” Hammel says. Although this lifestyle isn’t unfamiliar, it’s a great reminder to all the moms out there that are operating a business while attending to the daily needs of motherhood and life. “Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you can’t pursue business goals, as well. Balancing time with your children and business is a management thing and it pays off in the end,” Hammel continues. Lips & Drips also holds training sessions for their injectors and outside providers, as well. For a list of services, pricing, and contact info, visit PRH Lips & Drips is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

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BRIDAL TRENDS Focus on Lashes & Skin by Nicole Massimiani b l u s h e v e n ta r t i s t ry . c o m

As a wedding professional, I stay mindful of seasonal makeup trends. One trend that has been persistent this entire year is a focus on luminescent skin. This winter, I anticipate the most requested wedding makeup look to be what I call, “elevated-natural.” This look hovers between “nomakeup” makeup and glam, with a focus on lashes and skin that looks lit from within. Soft, velvety skin that has a luminous sheen is the cornerstone of the bridal makeup trend this season, striking the perfect balance between dewy and matte finishes. The color palette is an array of neutrals and browns for the eyeshadow with gorgeous

shades of soft pinks and mauves to give the cheeks a healthy flush. For lips, I anticipate seeing a lot of pinks with neutral or brown undertones. To enhance the overall style from understated to elevated, wispy lashes will tie the entire bridal look together. With this makeup trend, brides can enhance their natural features while embracing aspects of a bolder look. An elevated-natural look with a focus on dewy skin and lash emphasis will be a beautiful and timeless choice for brides. Blush Bridal & Event Artistry is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

October /November /December 2023



Retirement fits

John DeBella to a “T” Square by Pat Ciarrocchi


hen I stepped into the workshop of Philadelphia radio legend John DeBella, the music of his life in radio was silent. The new DeBella workshop, in the basement of his Montgomery County home, is abuzz with the spinning sound of a round saw, cutting through lengths of fine-grained wood. The wood colors and their grains speak to John like a sculptor finding his figure inside a block of marble. “Trim here. Sand and buff a smooth edge there,” they seem to say. “Let the live edge peek through. The knot on this walnut plank isn’t the wood’s imperfection. Imagine it as a design on that table-top you’re building.” DeBella has found a synergy here.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Philadelphia’s “iconic radio guy” took off his headsets in the studios of 102.9 WMGK in late June, after 48 years in a career he loved. Now, DeBella has turned his creative focus to the wood and tools he’s collected in his workshop. John DeBella is building his post-radio career life out of the fine walnut he calls his handsdown favorite. And he’s excited about it. We stood at his table saw, an intimidating silver disc with sharp teeth. This is the disc DeBella now happily spins as he reaches to be a cut above an amateur woodworker. “My odd table here and there were all suitable for what we needed, but they didn’t show craftsmanship. Now, I’m working on craftsmanship.” In between the sawdust DeBella churns up, there are decorative cutting and charcuterie boards, tabletops, shelves and even wine

racks emerging. A craftsman is being reborn. Lengths of wood waiting for a saw stand tall against the walls of the DeBella workshop. Work benches are scattered with projects in progress. And hanging on a peg was a tool John wanted me to see because it represented the spark that ignited his life-long love of woodworking. “This is my “T” square,” John says with reverence. “I made it in a shop class when I was 12. I still use it today.” A T-square is a tool used on a drafting table, primarily to ensure that a horizontal line is straight. DeBella’s has traveled with him through his school years, up every rung of the ladder that defined his dizzying success in Philadelphia radio. Now, it’s the tool that’s aligning him for his retirement. A new routine needed to be crafted. His first morning without a 3AM wake-up was surprising. “I got up, walked about a mile with the dog. Came back. Had breakfast. I showered, shaved, and had to do four different errands. When I got home, it was 10:30 in the morning,” he says with a twinkle in his eye and a wide grin, clearly visible under his trademark mustache. “My whole life has been about deadlines and one of those deadlines has been about going to bed to be rested enough to handle what’s thrown at you.” Radio morning show hosts are not scripted. DeBella’s Morning Zoo zaniness with his comrades in comedy spilled from minds with a creativity that couldn’t be contained. Now, after running a million miles an hour by ordinary human standards, he says he’s adapting to “no rush.” “You go through life saying, if I only had the time. Now that I do, it can be difficult to answer, “Now, what do I do?” DeBella’s close friend, Steve Morrison from

the Preston & Steve Show, asked him, “You do have plans beyond radio, right? Please don’t become a retired zombie. They sit around the house, they veg, and they die young.” “Don’t become a retired zombie” is the central advice DeBella has for anyone retiring after working at a long and loved career. Even if you didn’t love your job as much as he loved his, a happy life needs a “playlist.” “The prime time to explore that,” he says, “is before you retire.” Volunteer, work on shared passion projects, or find a way to grow a hobby into something even more satisfying. DeBella loves seeing the finished product of his artistic effort. He finds it fun to sell his pieces, too. Originals are being displayed proudly in kitchens across his fan base. But finding the sap line in a milled piece of walnut he’s about to work with really thrills him. The sap line creates a variation in the wood’s color. It’s also a reminder that the tree that surrendered this plank for a piece of furniture was alive. Sap coursed through its veins. When you see the emotion in John DeBella’s eye as he gently holds out the wood for you to admire it, too, you know he’s honored to give it new life. With a little sawdust in my hair that sprinkled me from the rafters and a gift of a wooden wine carrier, complete with a burned stamp of his signature, I left the workshop knowing clearly that John DeBella is making new music and conversations with his life. And as the saying goes, retirement fits some people to a “T.” Retirement fits John DeBella to a “T-square.” If you’d like to contact John and see his work, check out PRH October /November /December 2023




by Jamie Flowers


and George Clinton. Unfortunately, he couldn’t attend the ceremony and gala because of health issues but he was overwhelmed when he received the award in the mail. King Arthur wants everyone to know that he is “honored and humbled, still on cloud nine.” “I’m grateful for everyone who nominated me,” he says. “I want to thank Lamont and the other lovely people at the NRBHO.” Although he is known as the King of Doo Wop, Alvarez said he is just an average guy who had the luck to do the things he loves, like playing music and getting to share that with people. His favorite things about being a radio personality are playing fan requests and “getting to meet people from all over the world who come to the Doo Wop festival.” When he’s not on the radio, you can find him at his wife Janet’s shop - Cedrone’s Flowers. He’ll be waiting on customers and just enjoying time with his “Queen of Doo Wop.” The King of Doo Wop started out listening to the radio (mostly WIBG, WCAM, WNGC and Joe Niagra) as a kid and immediately began buying records. In eighth grade, he was paid to DJ a graduation party. Soon after forming his first rock & roll band - Carlo and the Jades – he was playing record hop parties on the rooftop at the Jewish YMCA at Broad and Pine, and at South Philadelphia High School. Of course, he then decided he wanted to, had to, be on the radio. If you look at his high school senior yearbook, you’ll see he was even voted “Most Likely to be on the Radio.” To


King of Doo Wop still spins the Crown Sound


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

arlos “King Arthur” Alvarez, aka the King of Doo Wop, was recently inducted into the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame after more than 60 years of spinning the music he has come to know and love. Among the other notable 2023 nominees were Beyonce, Berry Gordon, Clive Davis, Anita Baker, this day, he still is. Daily. King Arthur even built a home studio, so he doesn’t have to go anywhere to connect with the music. His lucky break happened when he started spinning the Delfonics and their song “LA- LA-Means I Love You.” He loves Motown almost as much as he loves Doo Wop and a few years later, he was a guest at the Copacabana Nightclub in NYC, when The Temptations released their “Live at the Copa” album. All of Motown was there and the press took a photo with him that became famous. He had the photo printed and gave each of the members of The Temptations their own copy of the picture. David Ruffin kept it on him for a long time. That is how Alvarez ended up meeting Lamont “Showboat” Robinson, President and CEO of the National R&B Hall of Fame. With support from Lamont, he later joined the East Coast Music Hall of Fame Advisory Board where he is a voting member. You can listen to The King of Doo Wop on simulcast on CrownSound, DooWopRadio.Com, and If you call his studio 215-413-0240 - during LIVE shows, he is always available to chat. Feel free to make requests via email too, at You can catch him live at Rivers Casino Philadelphia in February. He also is looking forward to playing for Congressman Bob Brady (President of the Democratic Party). King Arthur has been keeping Doo Wop alive for more than 60 years and plans to keep spinning records with his Queen right by his side. PRH



New Comic Brigade Joins the Lineup for 2024 by Maria Merlino


orty-two years ago, Anthony Grosso was an eighth grader at Epiphany of our Lord School when he first marched down Broad Street in the Mummers Day Parade with his friend Robert “Boots” Nocelli. Both started out with the 9th Street Strutters, representing the neighborhood around 9th & Ritner Streets, where

he grew up. Fast-forward 30 years, Grosso and Boots formed the South Philly Strutters with a group of 25 guys, which eventually disbanded. But those golden slippers never stopped marching as they joined various brigades through the years. Last February, they got together and decided to form another brigade. Word of mouth spread quickly and by April, they had 150 members and as many as 50 marshals committed to the cause. Most importantly, a new generation (or two) of Grosso and Nocelli Mummers lined up to be counted. That’s when they decided to blend the past and the present to meet the future and restart the South Philly Strutters. Grosso’s children - Anthony

(31), Jami (29), Nicholas (26), granddaughter Charlotte (7), and grandson Anthony (2) - have been marching in the parade most of their lives. So have the Nocelli children, Mia (18) and Nina (16). What better way to preserve this iconic tradition than to form their own brigade? The South Philly Strutters are currently in search of a clubhouse where they can meet and practice, preferably a corner property. In the meantime, they are busy organizing events and fundraisers to get this group of Mummer-loving marchers in place for New Year’s Day, 2024. Grosso’s garage holds all the props and a recent beef & beer party netted such a huge turnout for a Phillies’ game,

they were featured on TV. This year’s theme is “Broad Street and Beyond,” a play on the movie Toy Story. As members of the comic division, the brigade is prepping for its debut performance in front of the judges at City Hall. Grosso, who recently retired from the Carpenters Union, said he ordered all the materials for the costumes, and his aunt, Barbara Roselli, is busy making the suits. Already, 100 of 150 costumes are ready for January 1, including 32 custom-made costumes for kids ranging from 6 months to 15 years old. The group will strut in honor of their friend, George “Georgie” Piccoli, who was their DJ for more than a decade. Picolli died after contracting COVID-19 during the height of the pandemic but will be remembered every step of the way as the South Philly Strutters keep the music alive in his memory. PRH

October /November /December 2023



Monique Impagliazzo Philly Born Filmmaker Knows which way to Go by John Nacchio photo by Bahareh Ritter


director, writer, and producer with more than 15 years of experience in film, television, and documentaries, Monique Impagliazzo was born and raised in South Philadelphia. A graduate of St. Maria Goretti High School, her imagination, creativity, and personality radiate enthusiastic energy. At Temple University, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film & Media Arts that provided her with a foundation in the craft of film production and fueled her passion for storytelling and creative expression. Impagliazzo gathered vast experience in film and television which also includes working with some of the biggest names in Hollywood - Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Post Malone, and Jane Lynch, to name a few. She worked on several projects for Barbra Streisand’s production company, Barwood Films, such as Paramount's The Guilt Trip, Back to Brooklyn, and the singer’s studio album, What Matters Most. Impagliazzo’s made her directorial debut with the short film, Turkey's Done, starring SNL's Cheri Oteri. The film won Best Director, Best Actress and Best Comedy at various film festivals in the US and Canada, including the Just for Laughs Film Festival in Vancouver, the Women's Film Festival of Philadelphia, and the Burbank International Film Festival. Most recently, Impagliazzo completed direction on an impactful six-minute music video short, “Which Way to Go,” for actor and musician Malek Hanna. This video, available to view on YouTube, has captured industry attention and screened on opening night of the 2023 Women’s Film Festival in Philadelphia. “I’m proud to be honored with this recognition by a group of filmmakers from my hometown,” Impagliazzo says. “It’s a group that celebrates, inspires and cultivates the powerful contribution of women in the film and entertainment industry.” “Which Way to Go” is the first of many music videos for Malek Hanna, looking forward to the release of his upcoming album later this year titled, On the Right Track. “It’s a declaration of independence and freedom that one takes on their way to self-discovery. Here, we told a


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Impagliazzo made her directorial debut with the short film, Turkey’s Done, starring SNL’s Cheri Oteri.

story that places the artist, Malek, at a crossroads of life, between following his heart and passion for singing. His challenge is potentially living a life in the limelight or leaving that behind in order to keep the family legacy and business alive,” Impagliazzo says of the video’s concept. “The mountaintop filming was an exciting staging production for me as a director in applying the technique of drone camera work to bring forth visually the climax of his struggle. I worked closely with our Director of Photography, Justin Knodel, to achieve these powerful shots. The lyrics and strong visuals are blended and exemplify his inner struggle to decide. Which path will he follow? Will he listen to his heart as the lyric proclaims or live the conventional life that is expected of him?” Currently, Impagliazzo is prepping a music video for the legendary Roslyn Kind and up next, she plans to direct the feature film, Ready, Set, Christmas. She’s also teaming up with Producer Wendy Cox and developing a series titled Agency. The main character is an ambitious female sports agent from South Philly who sets her sights high despite her family’s legacy of involvement in illegal sports betting. PRH

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William DeMeo Filmmaker & Actor Soars with Gravesend Series Featuring Philadelphia Notables

by John Nacchio


William DeMeo got his big break in A Bronx Tale, and you’ve likely seen him in The Sopranos, Analyze That, Gotti, and Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn (which he also produced). He directed the documentary Cruisin 86th St. and was the star, writer, and/or producer of countless other projects. Currently, you can catch him as Benny Zerletta, the lead character on Prime Video’s Gravesend, a Brooklyn-based TV series set in the mob scene of the 1980s. DeMeo also has written and directed multiple episodes.

Q: How did you get your first acting break? a: I was just a neighborhood kid who was a movie buff and attended Bishop Ford Catholic School. The guys played all the urban street games, like stick ball. They were filming A Bronx Tale on location in the neighborhood

and wanted “authentic kids” cast as extras. My uncle gave me some guidance. They lined us up and I was picked to be an extra, then surprisingly they upgraded me and I had a spoken line to say. Never thought in my life of ever pursuing a career in acting. This path seemed to find me, and I certainly owe a lot to actor Robert DeNiro for my first opportunity, inspiration, and interest in acting.

Q: Tell us more about Gravesend. a: We have completed two seasons. Besides the storytelling of the 1980s mob scene in Brooklyn, we have assembled an incredible ensemble cast in both recurring roles and one-time appearances. Some of the actors we choose are from Philadelphia, like Rene Kobeitri (owner of Rim Café in the 9th St. Italian Market), Tony Luke Jr. (actor, musician,

restauranter), Steve Martorano (restauranter) and others. I just take great pride in being from Brooklyn. The one great thing about growing up in Brooklyn is that, as a filmmaker, there are so many stories to tell. We didn’t grow up ordinary. These life experiences shaped me and there is so much to draw from as an actor.

Q: What else would you like to say to our readers? a: My best hour of the week is attending Sunday Mass. I say, ‘Trust in God. Have faith.’ No matter what lies ahead of you, God is already there. When I am not behind or in front of the camera, I’m excited about designing a clothing and accessory line of Brooklyn Brand, paying homage to my home borough. For more information on Brooklyn Brand or to purchase items, you can visit PRH

SEE THIS AD? Of course you do. And so do thousands of readers throughout the region and across the country. Advertising brings new business to your doorstep and reminds old customers to keep coming back. PRH Advertisers get results.

October /November /December 2023

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PRHMUSIC&ART by Geno Thackara


Jim Croce “I Got a Name”




45s Philly

aybe it’s a cliche to say that the good don’t last too long, but like most cliches, it’s true at least some of the time. The music world seems especially packed with figures who were gone too soon, from famous names like Holly and Hendrix to who-knows-how-many lesser known. Of course, a city as big as Philadelphia will have its share, if only due to the sheer odds of numbers. Fate seems to have been a little extra cruel in the case of Jim Croce, whose fatal plane crash happened just on the brink of his biggest success. This wasn’t a case of some rock star with a planet-sized ego self-destructing in some spectacular way. The image of Croce is more of an anti-rock star, simply a working man in plain clothes with an acoustic guitar and usually a cigarette in hand (back when smoking was considered cool). To his credit, he also arguably claimed the second most iconic mustache in Philly music history, and that’s only in second place because it feels wrong to rank anyone above John Oates. That fundamental humility remained a constant through both the man’s life and his music. Croce grew up the son of two immigrants on the south side of town and eventually became the first in the family to attend college. On the side, he also maintained an interest in music from an early age, often tinkering with a guitar and learning the basics of rock and folk and blues when he wasn’t busy working somewhere. There was a certain pressure to leave the music behind and adopt a proper career – not least from some of his family – but Croce wouldn’t or couldn’t give up. His college studies had to share time with a group called The Villanova Singers that performed everywhere all over town. His girlfriend and soon-wife Ingrid was just as musical, and the couple inevitably ended up traveling and singing as a duo with some small album sales to their name. Jim worked a variety of blue-collar jobs to keep the bills paid. The grind was far from glamorous. Instead, the slow climb towards fame helped him shape a writing style as rootsy and personal as it gets. Croce’s songs were full of characters right off (or on) the streets, such as the pool shark in his first single “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim,” or the titular tough guy of the boogie romp “Bad Bad Leroy Brown.” His string of manual jobs was

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

reflected in the disillusionment of “Railroad Song” and the workaday fantasies of “Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues.” In true anti-rock star fashion, he kept the scale small and spun simple poetry from life’s most plain and ordinary moments. Life changed at the end of 1970 when the couple discovered they were expecting a child. It meant that Ingrid couldn’t continue touring and Jim would have to work even harder if the music career was going to support them all. The night they got the happy news, he sat down and jotted the lines that would become “Time in a Bottle” – a haunting meditation about impermanence that became extra tragic a couple years later when it became a posthumous #1. All the hard work was ready to pay off by the late summer of 1973. The stream of singles and ever-growing word of mouth finally had Croce on the verge of success – not anything as tacky as superstardom, but enough to keep the family comfortable. His fifth album I Got a Name was being prepped to hit the shelves at Christmas. The title track had been set for an early single, and he and a band of friends found themselves playing on a campus in Louisiana the day before its release. After a warmly received duo set with his key collaborator Maury Muehleisen, Croce finished things off with the new feature tune, barely an hour before the crew boarded the plane that would crash on takeoff. If there’s one song that encapsulates what he was about, “I Got a Name” would have to be it. That might feel strange since it’s one he didn’t even write, but with that warm gentle croon, he owns it as much as anything he penned himself. Croce chose the song because it felt practically autobiographical, all about a rambler happy to go his own way – “if it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud.” The arc of his own life is all there in the cutesy-quaint verses. This is a singer who knows and believes in what he’s doing and isn’t going to let anyone else’s doubts stop him from living the life he wants. Fittingly enough, this also ended up as perhaps the most unreservedly bright song in his catalog. The recording is boosted by some swelling strings, the tone is a little more wide-sweeping than most of his personal portraits, and for a few minutes, we can leave behind the small real-life sadness that often tinged Croce’s other works. If it happened to be the last song he ever sang, such a warm positive statement made a heck of a high note for anyone to go out on. PRH

The Theater Geek


Must-See Musicals to Add to Your List by Marialena Rago

Leslie Odom, Jr. in Purlie Victorious, by Marc J. Franklin


Broadway is bright this fall with new plays and musicals gracing the stage. There are many wonderful shows to see, and some even have connections to Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Here are a few to add to your “must see’’ list.

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch Philly native Leslie Odom Jr. After his Tony-winning run in Hamilton, Leslie Odom Jr. (a 2023 inductee of The Philadelphia Music Alliance’s 2023 Walk of Fame) is back on Broadway. The comedy is set in the Jim Crow era; a traveling preacher returns to his small hometown in Georgia hoping to save the community church while emancipating

the cotton workers on an oppressive plantation.

Merrily We Roll Along Lancaster native Johnathan Groff Perhaps the most anticipated show of the fall, Merrily We Roll Along is the late, great Stephen Sondheim’s most misunderstood musical. After its premiere in 1981, the show ran for only six performances. This revival has star power and just opened on Broadway after a sold-out off-Broadway run. Along with Groff, the show features Daniel Radcliff and Tony-winner Lindsey Mendez as three friends who navigate ups and downs in life and show business. *As a child, Sondheim lived with his mother in Bucks County (where he also was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein II). Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd is on Broadway

as well, with performances through January 2024. His final musical, Here We Are, currently is playing offBroadway for a limited run that also ends in January.

Fall is the perfect time to take a trip to New York City. Walk around and take in the beautiful foliage in Central Park. Here are some showtune picks for your journey to the Big Apple.


“It Might as Well Rain Until September” – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

Temple University graduate Ashley D. Kelley This Tony-Award winning country musical brought together two of Nashville’s top songwriters, Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally, and stage and screen writer Robert Horn to create one of the most hilarious musicals on Broadway. Follow a group of small-town heroes as they tear down the conventional to make way for a new way of preserving the life they love. The show features Temple Graduate Ashley D. Kelley as Storyteller 1. Look for a Q&A with Ashley on our blog! PRH

Fall into Broadway

“It’s Quiet Uptown” – Hamilton “Oh, What Beautiful Mornin’” – Oklahoma! “Wake Me up When September Ends” – American Idiot: The Musical “Prologue/Little Shop of Horrors” – Little Shop of Horrors “Masquerade/Why So Silent” – The Phantom of the Opera “Dead Girl Walking” – Heathers: The Musical “Finishing the Hat” – Sunday in the Park with George “Gold” – Once: The Musical “Turkey Lurkey Time” – Promises, Promises “Any Way the Wind Blows” – Hadestown “Morning Glow” – Pippin “Happiness” – You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown

October /November /December 2023


PRHMUSIC&ART Local Band Spotlight

Posh Painting by Rita llc.

Rita Coccia Trombetta 856-986-0252

Specializing in interior and exterior painting

Modern Yesterday by Jamie Flowers Image by Becca Haydu Photography



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

guitar, attending Northeast HS; Alison Haydu, 13, playing rhythm guitar and attending GAMP; Aidan McGlone, 16, playing bass and attending Father Judge HS. The band has been through some member changes with several leaving for college or to pursue other interests, but they are hopeful that the group they have now can stay together (the musicianship and chemistry is amazing) and see this thing through to the ultimate goal of getting signed by a label/touring the country/releasing hit music. In 2022, Modern Yesterday placed in the Top 25 Nationally out of 575 bands in the Journey’s Sad Summer Battle of the Bands Contest. In both 2022 and 2023, they won the local Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by Nazareth Academy High School. The future of Modern Yesterday is looking bright as they were even invited by sponsoring/endorsing company Anatomy of Sound to The NAMM show in Anaheim, CA in January 2024. This is the biggest music industry show in the world and they will be playing several shows around the LA area, as well. Modern Yesterday’s original song “No Way Out” is available on all streaming services. They are currently working on original singles #2 and #3, and hope to release an EP early in 2024. Catch them at a local venue soon before they are headlining the arenas. To stay up to date with the band’s activities, visit and follow them on social media. PRH



odern Yesterday is the teen rock band that you didn’t know you needed to know. They have been playing songs all over PA, DE, NJ and NY for the last few years and coming up are appearances at several festivals, shows at famous Philly music venues, a radio appearance, and private events. They play everything from cover songs of the ‘70s through current music, but their main influences are Paramore, Foo Fighters, ‘80s female rockers like Pat Benetar, Joan Jett, and Heart, and ‘70s-’80s music with big guitars and drums. They are also influenced by the ‘90s-2000s pop-punk style. They have a very wide variety of tastes in music but have determined that the big anthemic sound of the 70s-80s is what they most identify with. “Heartbreaker” by Pat Benetar is their favorite song to play live. Modern Yesterday’s four high school students and one middle school student are multi-instrumentalists who dedicate almost all their free time to music. The band started with Riley Haworth, 14, who is the lead singer and attends CAPA. She has wanted to be a Rockstar since she was two years old. Riley formed the band with their former lead guitarist at the age of 10. After playing in a garage type band at a music school, she decided with the help of her family, that they could run a band themselves, and so Modern Yesterday was born. Current band members include Victor Rosa, 15, who plays the drums and attends GAMP; Seb Braganza, 16, lead



Philly dance studio

My Wife (Karin in the Studio), 1912, Carl Larsson, Courtesy of Carl Larsson-gården

Flowers on a Windowsill (From A Home watercolor series), 1895, Carl Larsson, Courtesy of Carl Larsson-gården.

Day is Done, Goodnight!, 1908, Carl Larsson, Courtesy of Carl Larsson-gården.

Ballet • Tap • Jazz • Hip Hop Lyrical • Acro • Cheer Theatre • Pre-Ballet/Tap WWW.LJPHILLYDANCESTUDIO.SQUARE.SITE

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Pre- Registration available online July 17th. In person registration will be held from September 6th until the 9th.

Let the Hand Be Seen courtesy of the American Swedish Historical Museum


Visitors can walk through the world of Swedish artist Karin Larsson when the exhibition, Karin Larsson: Let the Hand Be Seen opens at the American Swedish Historical Museum in FDR Park, this fall. This marks Karin’s artistic debut in America. Karin Larsson can be felt in every aspect of the home she shared with her husband, the internationally famous painter Carl Larsson. Each carpet, chair, vase, and floral display passed by her artistically trained eye, and many of them were designed by Karin herself. It was Karin who gave Carl the idea of depicting their home in his work, and it was her approval he sought after finishing each painting. To the Larssons, beauty was a necessity of life, not a luxury. No other place perfectly showcases the Larssons’ adherence to these ideas than their home Lilla Hyttnäs in Sundborn, Sweden. The home was a shared creation between Karin and Carl. Karin did,

however, oversee much of the house’s construction and remodeling between 1890 and 1912. Karin’s willingness to abandon her life as a public artist to one focused on the private interiors populated by the family she was raising, found her creativity refocused on textiles and furniture. While the work of other artists continues to live on in the galleries of museums, Karin’s work remains a tangible and experiential world we can still encounter in her home, Lilla Hyttnäs, which is presented as it was when Karin passed away in 1928. At ASHM, visitors will be immersed in the interiors of the Larsson home, greeted by the subjects in Carl Larsson’s paintings printed in large scale, and surrounded by exact reproductions of Karin’s textiles and furniture. The exhibition invites you to visit Karin and Carl at their home, where celebrations, quiet moments, and beauty come together. Karin Larsson: Let the Hand Be Seen will be on view at ASHM from October 19, 2023 to February 18, 2024. PRH October /November /December 2023


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elissa Deutsch is the creative mind behind the beautiful creations at Moxie Florals, which she started in the Rittenhouse neighborhood just over a year ago. She creates Moxie Boxes (aka window boxes) for each season, bringing fresh colors, textures, and variations to storefronts and homes. The meaning of Moxie is energy, pep, and determination - inherently perfect to describe this delightful individual. Deutsch’s adventure into floral design started with a single flowerpot in front of her home which, over the years, grew to be a full garden with the addition of window boxes. People passing by often complimented her garden and asked for help with their own. This word of mouth is how the business grew and Deutsch is humbled by the many clients she has gained in the past year. Deutsch has been fascinated with color and nature since she was a little girl. In fact, one of her first words was “fuschia!” Her love for nature came from her Papa (her dad’s dad), who was a professional landscape photographer and saw the beauty of the world through the camera lens. Her favorite flowers are Dutch hydrangeas, Italian ranunculus, peonies, and pink garden roses (as she and her florist friend call them, chubby roses). She loves to spend Saturday mornings at the Rittenhouse Market making her own bouquet and visiting her favorite local

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

florists, including Avanda, Walter Pine and Pure Design. While Deutsch finds so much joy in the city of Philadelphia, her most beloved activity is beautifying her community. She truly believes that small things can bring people great joy, but especially having a garden as a place to sit and take a breath, laugh, cry, talk with neighbors, strangers, friends old and new. Fall is Deutsch’s favorite time of year. She loves everything about it, especially creating displays with all things fall hay-bales, cornstalks, pumpkins and mums. She also loves all things haunted. Some of her favorite fall activities include haunted walking tours in Old City/ Washington Square and Eastern State Penitentiary. Like the rest of the world, she can’t stay away from pumpkin-spiced anything. If you want to know more about Moxie Florals, just ask one of her happy customers like Richard Eib at 1600 Spruce or reach out to her directly on Instagram @Moxie_Florals or email her at Deutch works in tech sales by day, but hopefully, someday she will be able to run Moxie Florals full-time with a storefront in the neighborhood. Her dream is to combine her love for animals and florals, and partner with a local animal rescue to have adoptable cats in the store (along with her own storecat, Mr. Wally, who is often hanging out on the front step or in the garden). Come in for flowers and leave with a fur baby, too! PRH


learning a Legacy of Learning

by Tim Cairy ‘94 M.Ed., MPA President, Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School


o all who have asked me how my first two months have gone in my new role as President of Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School, I have answered, “There are a lot of opportunities on 10th Street.” As a lifelong South Philadelphian, I have been blessed with returning to support my alma mater. Yes, I am a “Pirate” who has evolved into a “Saint.” Ss. NeumannGoretti High School has a legacy that goes back to 1934 and will continue to flourish into the next generation. Our legacy was on display on August 5, 2023, at the Millay Club “Saints at the Shore” event. We welcomed almost 300 alums representing classes of 1952 to 2014 and beyond to Keenan’s in North Wildwood. Recently, we welcomed our class of 2027 into the building for the start of what we hope is a wonderfully transformational experience for these 150 students. When I spoke to these young men and women, I wanted to impress upon each and every one of them that they need to make the most of their opportunities here. SERVING YOUR SCHOOL. Get involved. Join our Student Government and create a fantastic learning environment for you and

your classmates. Join one of our nationally recognized athletic programs and get out there and support our student athletes on the field. Leave a legacy in the classroom, at the school and on the playing field. SERVING YOUR FAITH. We are blessed at NeumannGoretti to be under the guidance of Archbishop Nelson Perez and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The student and staff diversity is one of the most appealing parts of our community. Our differences make us who we are, but we also live by our Catholic Faith, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”- Galatians 5:14 SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY. You will see our students, faculty and staff in the community supporting events, each other in competition and raising awareness. We are blessed to have a platform that allows us to do these wonderful things. “But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”- Matthew 23:11 If you are interested in supporting the school, please consider joining the Millay Club, our Alumni Association. You could also go to the Ss. Neumann-Goretti website to donate, find our athletic schedule and other upcoming events. We look forward to a great year filled with Saint and South Philadelphia PRIDE. PRH

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October /November /December 2023



House The

My Family Built

by Larry Gallone


he statue of the Italian fisherman lit up. I never knew it lit up. Not until we were cleaning out my mom and dad’s house in South Philly getting ready to sell. For years, this statue of the fisherman with a background of a sea, hung on the wall. When we took it off the wall, we saw the cord and the plug. It lit up. It was as a definitive decorating statement that reflected my mom.


That, along with the full-length mirror with gold veins that completely covered one wall. It wasn’t the painting of Venice in velvet with the 3-D gondolas that gently rocked, but it was close. The steps leading upstairs had a landing, so when you stood on the landing, you could see yourself in the mirror. It was the perfect stage for all little kids to sing, dance and act as they watched themselves in that mirror. It’s amazing what you come across when going through 60-plus years of a house. Not only physical objects, but also the memories that pop up each time you step into a room, open a box, or look at an album. Like finding all my St. Monica report cards kept in order from grades 1-8. And my safety patrol certificate. (Hey, I was a good student!) Selling the house was one of the


most difficult things I have ever had to do. It was where I grew up. Where I played. Where my family and friends lived and loved life. Where I was anchored. It was the place I came home to from St. Monica’s every day for lunch. Where I sat on the sofa staring at our first color TV – not believing we had one. You know the ones – a piece of furniture that covered half the living room and served as a TV, stereo, and bar. Of course, it was a Zenith, purchased from Frank’s on Passyunk Avenue. I saw the moon landing on that TV and watched Gene London and Sally Starr. We were lucky enough to live on the west side of Broad Street, so we had cable TV before the city forced cable companies to stop wiring the rest of the city. That meant our house was one of the prized ones where friends came over to watch the Flyers (at that time, they were winning Stanley Cups).

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

Not only that, but PRISM, which carried the games, showed movies. Yes, many of them were “R-Rated.” Nothing better than watching the Flyers steamroll another victim and then settle in for a movie that had bad language (no big deal), or violence (no big deal) and maybe – just maybe -- nudity (BIG DEAL for adolescents already testosteronefueled by the hockey action.) It was a quick cross of Oregon Avenue for my mom to get to the “beauty shop” where she worked; a place filled with the smell of Aqua Net and Jean Nate, where all the news of the neighborhood was laid out. It was a great location for dad to get to the Navy Yard where he worked for 40-plus years. The house was perfectly situated so that I could walk a block to McCusker’s Tavern at 17th and Shunk for our regular Thursday night crowd gathering – every Thursday night -- including a few Thanksgiving nights. It was the house where we waited for the priest to come for the block collection. There were three photos of me on the wall that showed my high school and college graduation pictures. The priest said, ‘Your sons look exactly alike.’

My mom and dad didn’t have the heart to tell him that they should look alike –it was the same person. As the years wore on, my old school pictures were replaced by my wedding pictures of me and Bernadette. It’s where Bernadette settled in, as it became her home. That was one of the captivating things about the house and the feeling it generated. No matter who you were or where you came from, that house felt like you were home. That was a legacy built by our family. When our daughter was born, it was wall-to-wall pictures of Katie through the years. It was where Katie played on the stairs in front of the mirror and enjoyed lunches and dinners filled with macaroni and meatballs or black olives that she put on each finger before eating. Christmas Eve was one of the big celebrations and was the setting for our family seven fish dinners. Although nobody really liked the baccala, smelts, and some of the other fish so it wound up being shrimp served 7 ways (fried, cocktail, scampi – you get the idea.) Nothing compared to the New Year’s Day celebrations. On Broad Street, we would tell each string band as they went by, “You’re number 1”

and then whisper to each other, “Not a chance” before heading back to the basement where planks placed on folding chairs gave us more seating. Soup, pork sandwiches and Sambuca all around. We didn’t even know half the people coming into the house as they drifted in and out, probably following us from Broad Street. Mom and dad didn’t care. It was the fun of having everyone there and the life and energy they brought that made it special. And that basement was special. It was where my mom hung the peppers to dry out and where she baked. Didn’t matter that the “new kitchen” on the main floor was re-done. She didn’t use that oven. It had to be the oven in the basement to make the pizzelles and biscottis. The oven was so old, she used a shovel to hold the oven door in place as she baked. The basement always had about 6 dozen Cento tomato puree cans stored away. Mom would lose her mind when it was time for the ShopRite “Can Can” sale. She would dial me on the phone so fast, and I had to get to the store right away! Somehow, all those cans were used as mom made batches and batches of gravy, froze it in Tupperware and sent it to us so we had some. The basement was where we also snuck to listen to George Carlin albums – yes, those albums, with those words. And where we listened to the “Boss Jocks” on WFIL and the WIBBAG gang when AM radio

incessantly played “American Pie.” It’s where my love for Jethro Tull, (as an aside, my mom had a conniption when I put up the Aqualung poster in my room), The Band, Elton John and Chicago was born. Quite a contrast to mom and dad’s WIP with Ken Garland and his Cash Call jackpot. Or their boom box playing Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, and Engelbert. It was a happy house filled with love. Most of my mom’s side of the family lived in Camden and other parts of South Jersey. It was common for one of my aunts or uncles to call on the rotary phone and say, ‘Put the pot on!’ – a reference to getting a pot of coffee started for an impromptu visit. The trip from Jersey to Philly was about 10 minutes or so over the Walt Whitman – just long enough for the coffee to brew. And, of course, a shot of Sambuca went into the coffee. The house was also ground zero for Eagles games. Our family had two rows at the Vet. We walked back from the games and no matter what happened on the field, there were always ravioli, gnocchi, bracciole, and meatballs waiting for us. We would eat and then fall asleep in front of the TV during the second game. The Eagles had a barefoot kicker named Tony Franklin. My dad had his 15 minutes of fame as he made a sign, “Tony’s Tose” (spelled Tose after Eagles’ owner at that time, Leonard Tose). The letter “O” was


carved out and he would put his bare foot through the sign every time Franklin lined up for a field goal try. Our seats were the first row behind the goalposts in the end zone at The Vet, so we had the perfect location. It got him notoriety and one day, the meter reader saw the sign and asked my dad for his autograph! In more recent years, the celebrations had given way to the effects of health and age as my mom took care of dad as his memory loss and dementia wore him and her down. After mom’s stroke, she lived with us, and heartbreakingly, never was able to get back to the house that meant so much to her. The last big celebration was the Eagles Super Bowl win. The house was full, and I hadn’t seen my mom so excited in years to have everyone there laughing and celebrating. Things change. They always do. When we first moved in, there was a Sinclair gas station across the street. I collected so many inflatable Dino the Dinosaurs that it served as my own South Philly Jurassic Park. It’s now a Dunkin’ Donuts and they built new homes across the street where the industrial pipe place used to exist. When I saw the homes going up, the first thing I thought

of was the fireplug that used to be there. We turned it on every summer – our city version of the slip & slide – always waiting for passing cars to ask us for a “car wash.” After both mom and dad had passed, it was time to sell. My cousin Joanne has some of the decorations from the house to remind us of how wonderful things were there. Bernadette had a rock painted with a replica of the house on it. Harry Alessi, our realtor, was the perfect person to help us sell. He got it. He knew the emotions of selling your childhood home. I will always be grateful to him. As we walked through the house one last time, Bernadette, Katie and I held hands. It was very emotional for all of us. The house that held so many memories. So much life. So much love. What that house meant to me and our family can never be told. It can only be felt. It was integral in molding me into who I am, as your homes are essential to who you are and what the neighborhood is. A piece of our souls and spirit will always be there. And yes, I still have that fisherman. . PRH

October /November /December 2023



harm no


FOWL by Charlie Sacchetti


guess I have always liked animals. Although we didn’t have a lot of pets when I was a kid, I learned to appreciate the joy animals can bring to a family. There were enough dogs in my Southwest Philly neighborhood, both owned and stray, to play with. My father believed that a dog needed a lot of land on which to run and play, hence his lack of enthusiasm in procuring a canine to live within the confines of our row home. However, we did

have a string of parakeets and one of them, Whitey, played a key role in one of my favorite childhood remembrances. More on him later. As for me, the fact that we didn’t have many pets didn’t deter me from bringing the wildlife experience home during some of my more courageous moments. For instance, there was the time when I was about 10 years old. In the rear of our home was a set of 12 metal steps that led up to a metal catwalk-like landing that we shared with our wonderful next-door neighbors, Sal and Anne Barbella. The back doors of our kitchens provided easy access to the


landing that provided a safe resting place for our garbage cans and several plants. I’d sit out there and throw stones across the common driveway while watching the squirrels playing in the trees and foraging for acorns under the large oak in our backyard. One day, I decided to conduct a little experiment. It was between Thanksgiving and Christmas and our home was full of the wonderful food that typified an Italian American household. Included was a large variety of fruits, nuts, and pastries. As I looked at a large bowl of nuts, including walnuts in the shell, I decided to see if I could entice a particular

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

inquisitive squirrel to partake of an easy snack. On Tuesday after school, I placed a walnut on the second step from the bottom. He ran over and grabbed it as soon as I went up to the landing. The next day, I put the walnut on the fifth step. Same result. On the third day, I placed the nut on the top landing. He climbed all 12 steps, snatched it, then scooted down to the bottom. Since there were no steps left, the next logical thing to do was to prop open the kitchen door and put the walnut on the floor. The squirrel saw me on the landing and started up the steps. As I went into the kitchen, he followed, jumping over the threshold, grabbed the walnut and ran out of the house. Of course, this maneuver and my animal training lessons were done without the knowledge of either parent. So, on Saturday, I decided to show Dad how clever I was. Without telling him why the door was open, I asked him

to sit down at the kitchen table. He gave me a strange look as I placed the walnut on the floor. I stepped onto the landing and on cue, the squirrel climbed up the steps, hopped into the kitchen, took the nut and ran out. I don’t think I ever saw Ward Cleaver respond to Wally and the Beaver the way Dad did! ‘What the hell are you doin’? Are you crazy? That thing will tear up the house!’ I suppose Henry Sacchetti didn’t want any animal trainers in the family. Then there was the time I was walking home from playing basketball at my high school’s gym. It was 8:30 pm and as I approached the corner of 65th and Buist Avenue from about 50 yards away, under the street light, I could see a cat playing with something. He would paw at it and the object would become airborne for a few inches. As I moved closer, I could see that the object was actually a mouse. The

making the gravy for our Sunday dinner. The pot was uncovered as Mom was removing the meatballs, sausage and pork prior to boiling the water that would cook the spaghetti. Well, Whitey decided to change his normal flight path that included the parlor and dining room and ventured into the kitchen. He must have become disoriented, perhaps from the new surroundings, and landed inside the pot of gravy. Thankfully, it had cooled and Mom was right there to pull him out. She reflexively turned on the faucet and gave Whitey a quick rinse of cold water which served to remove most of the gravy. For a few weeks, Whitey had a pinkish tint and it’s a good thing for him that he wasn’t in the wild. Very few predators could have resisted the fragrance of Mom’s gravy on such a tasty morsel! Whitey was just fine, uninjured and lived a good long life. Of course, this episode begs the question - Did Mom throw that pot of gravy away after Whitey’s brief encounter? I’ll let you speculate but I’ll give you a couple of hints - there were no aristocrats among those wonderful residents living on the 6400 block of Buist Avenue. Mom lived to be 94 and Dad lived to be 91. Kathy is in her 80s and I’m no spring chicken. No harm, No FOWL! . PRH


cat saw me and took off leaving his playmate all alone. The little mouse was not injured, just a bit tired. Actually, he was kind of good looking for a mouse that had been the subject of a feline juggling act. I picked it up by the tail and carried him home. I figured I’d have a little fun with Mom who was fearless. Instead of using my key, I knocked on the door so she would answer and become the brunt of my joke. Unfortunately for me, my father answered instead and was not amused. Obviously remembering my squirrel episode from six years earlier, he decided to give me a similar reaction! This time, he questioned my intelligence level in addition to that of my sanity. I quickly released my companion in the front garden where he no doubt took a well-deserved nap. Our aforementioned Whitey provided an anxious moment which occurred on a Sunday morning. Appropriately enough, he was a beautiful, white parakeet who had been in the family for several years. We would allow him to fly around the downstairs every day for a short bit of exercise. Whitey was a great flyer and loved to talk, mimicking words and songs of the day. His favorite line was “Come on baby, let’s do the twist.” He had heard my sister, Kathy, play Chubby Checker’s hit record so many times, that he naturally added that line to his vocabulary. Mom had finished

Charlie Sacchetti is the author of three books: It’s All Good: Times and Events I’d Never Want to Change; Knowing He’s There: True Stories of God’s Subtle Yet Unmistakable Touch; and his newest, Savoring the Moments: True Stories of Happiness, Sadness and Everything in Between. Contact him at

October /November /December 2023



The historic rebirth of one of Italy’s premier cafes


Authentic Italian on-line market & restaurant by Debbie Russino


always have been two things: a movie buff and music lover. These are my favorite ways to escape reality. A movie theater is where real life ends and the fantasy begins. I am instantly transported to another time and place. I have been to more concerts, plays and musicals than I can count. I consider myself a throwback from another era. Although my style varies, I feel the most comfortable when I am in vintage fashion. I guess I’m an “old soul.” I remember traveling to retro and antique stores long before they were considered cool. I never asked my friends to come along. They didn’t understand some of my eccentricities and I’m sure they still don’t! I always have marched to the beat of a different drummer, and I believe I always will. When I need an extravagant getaway, I imagine myself having dinner in an elegant Supper Club in the 1940s. I am wearing a fitted black lace dress with gloves to match, a pearl necklace and a hat with a veil, slightly covering my eyes. Glenn Miller and his orchestra are playing “Moonlight Serenade.” I glance over at the dance floor where everyone is impeccably dressed. Men and women in their best formal attire. These were the days of style and class. A kinder and simpler time to live. This is the place I love to visit and where I always have believed I was meant to be. Life has been extremely challenging these last few years. I describe it as going to sleep in one world and waking up in another. We have to find creative ways to keep our sanity and make the best of a difficult situation. This is where diversion and distraction come into play. Our survival instincts kick in and shield us when we need it most! I believe the hardest battles to fight are the ones in our mind. I am grateful for the ability to break away from the entrapments of reality when my troubles become too much to bear. I love the end of Gone With the Wind, when Scarlett O’Hara says, ‘I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.’ I agree with this philosophy. We need time to process what we’re going through to mentally prepare ourselves before we can move on. We all will be tested in this life. The secret is to figure out ways to make it an easier trip. . PRH


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by Lou Pinto Dad, like the blessing the Pope bestowed on you in 1979, I have and always will feel the blessings that God bestowed on me by giving me you as your son. Dad taught us two things. “Louis, live your life like you want to be remembered.” I hope I’m living this life and I am remembered fondly. I try, as my dad did, to make a difference in the lives of everyone I meet and to help when I can. Dad was a hard-working middleclass guy who did his best to take care of his family. He never had any real money and, at times, had trouble making ends meet. One day, my brother John and I overheard my dad and mom talking about the window business my dad was involved in with a partner and how the partner wanted someone who was more successful (meaning had more money) to be partners with him instead. My parents invested all they had in this window business and were trying to figure out how to pay the household bills that month. John and I pooled whatever money we had and offered it to them saying, “Dad, here’s some money so you can show your partner that you are successful!” With tears in his eyes, he said, “Louis, you and Johnny are my success.” . PRH

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very September 26th, I celebrate the memory and life of my namesake, my hero, Louis Salvatore Pinto, Sr. Dad would have been 106 years old on this day. He passed in ‘87. Mom in ‘92. I thank God often that He blessed my brother and me with these two remarkable, wonderful people. I owe it to them that I am the person I am today. On September 26th, 2016, Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia. It seemed fitting that the Pope would arrive on Dad’s birthday, especially when I think back to the day when Pope John Paul II visited in 1979. I had seen Pope John Paul II a few years earlier while on a student trip to Italy. My mom was going to see him with her South Philly Ladies Club. My dad, my brother John and I decided to wait on Broad Street in South Philly to see the popular pontiff. We were at Broad and Tasker standing about four deep as the Pope approached in the “Popemobile.” The Pope’s vehicle stopped. The Pontiff turned and looked directly into my dad’s eyes. I said, “Dad, he’s looking right at you!” People around us saw this and placed their hands on my dad. The Pope made the sign of the cross, blessing my dad, turned, and continued his route. I looked at Dad. He had tears in his eyes, and he didn’t say a word.

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reflection of Reverend Jesse Jackson came to my mind for this Salute to Service edition of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. It reminded me as a Tonsorialist how proud I was to have cut the hair of Reverend Jackson as he ran for the highest office in America, the President of the United States. I was very honored to add Reverend Jackson to my list of great customers who have come through the historical doors of Woodard’s Barbershop, located at 5031 West Diamond Street at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Lebanon Avenues. This city is known as the place where ‘Brotherly Love’ is supposed to exist. On that day of Reverend Jackson’s arrival, I became a witness that

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

‘Brotherly Love’ is a reality. I can recall my own brothers, whom I trained to become barbers, working at Woodard’s Barbershop: my brother the late Reverend Bernard Woodard, Timothy Woodard, and my youngest brother, the baby, Nathaniel Woodard. On that day, I can even remember the DJ that was on the air. He was known as Mr. Georgie Woods, “The Guy with the Goods.” He became famous for playing the most popular and latest songs. The hit song he played that day was “Oh Happy Day” by the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. As I cut Reverend Jackson’s hair, I could feel the spirit of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was truly a blessing and an honor to have contributed that historical haircut on the first Black man to run for President of the United States of America. The

memory of the conversations that went on that day will live on at Woodard’s Barbershop, spiritually and historically, forever. I salute you, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and I thank the Creator for sending you as His gift to us, for our Human Family. I also sincerely respect and salute people like you and Dr. King for all your humane contributions to Human Society. You both embraced that we were all created equal. As I like to say, “We are ‘One Race’ called ‘Human’ with many cultures and ethnicities and ‘One Color’ called ‘Melanin,’ which comes in many shades.” As a Human Race, we all inhabit this planet, Mother Earth. Remember, we live on Earth and Earth lives in space. It’s our only home. There is no other place to live in the Universe. Take the “RACE Test” today for a better way at www. PRH



Just Another Day at the

Beach Amidst the splashing from random younglings and the cleansing mist from the waves of the Atlantic, inspiration found me. I’m always searching for interesting things to write about so when an idea hits, it must be captured immediately or risk being lost forever. Like filling a pool with a bucket with a hole in it, I raced from the water’s edge back through the hot sand towards our umbrella in search of pen and paper. Back at our camp, I began rummaging through my wife’s beach bag. Panic was creeping in as my attention drifted towards my burning feet and an onslaught of sand that was being thrown at an intense rate of speed at my body. If I was going to have any chance of capturing the thought, I needed to write it down quickly. After a few moments of misplaced violence towards the contents of the pink and green cloth bag, I realized that this particular bag did not belong to my wife and the sand that was pelting my wet body was being thrown at me by a little girl in a failed attempt to get me to stop searching through her mother’s beach bag. In my defense, I’m colorblind. I had no idea what color that woman’s bag was, nor did I have any idea what color my wife’s bag was. I needed a pen and paper and all I know is, if she was carrying anything remotely close to a writing instrument, you would be reading a completely different story right now. According to my wife, who isn’t colorblind, their umbrella was red and yellow and should not have been mistaken for our blue and white one. Our bag is green and the bag belonging to the mother of the very violent little girl was orange and purple, not pink and green as stated in the last paragraph.

Just so you guys know, I only have difficulty with pinks, greens, and purples. That said, I was in a hurry and the onslaught of laughter and sand wasn’t helping my focus. Embarrassed and covered in sand, I walked back to the water’s edge to clean off and cool down from my misadventure. Just ahead of me was my aunt with her two grandchildren. Focusing on the three of them as they laughed and played together in the surf, I watched as they ventured deeper into the ocean. As the waves grew larger, they appeared to join in on the fun, playfully knocking my aunt to her knees. Their laughter grew louder as my little cousins took it upon themselves to do battle with the rolling water while helping their grandmother back to her feet. For a moment, the world around me faded as I watched not two, but three children having the time of their lives playing in the ocean. A fourth kid snuck up on me and smacked me back to reality with a direct hit from a sopping wet handful of sand. It was that nasty little devil girl having a bit of fun at my expense. I reached down and grabbed a baseball sized handful of wet muck and packed it tightly as I could. With the accuracy of legendary Phillies pitcher, Steve Carlton, I connected with a fastball right on her smug little face. Ok, that didn’t happen - but I did watch her joyfully return to her mother and their orange and purple beach bag. I spent the rest of the day sitting in the sunshine trying to remember that which I couldn’t remember. Maybe it had to do with being young and carefree. Maybe it had to do with getting older and wiser. Or maybe, just maybe, it was about never forgetting to have a bit of fun. . PRH October /November /December 2023


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A Surreal Family

Christmas {Winter 2004}

The Best PRESSED of

To all of you who love to read the LAST page FIRST, PRH takes a walk down memory lane with our readers’ top picks of their favorite PRESSED columns in honor of our upcoming 20th anniversary in Spring 2024! This one was published in our Winter edition, 2004


Just so you understand, Dawn cooks. I write. She doesn’t care about punctuation. I have no interest in caramelized onions. But Christmas Eve is one of those occasions when families share their time, their interests, their concerns. It’s that time of year when chaos reigns supreme.



y sister’s very quick to point out my flaws. I walked past the mirror and thought I noticed the beginnings of osteoporosis. I was concerned. I told her that it might have something to do with my sitting at the computer screen 24 hours a day. She was bored. She told me not to worry. She said I always had a bit of a hunchback. That’s the way our relationship has always been. We pretty much say what’s on our minds. Comes in handy now that we’re together night and day, day and night, thanks to RowHome. It got us thinking about the upcoming holidays and how we’re going to pull it off, this year. Dawn wanted to talk about it in depth. Just so you understand, Dawn cooks. I write. She doesn’t care about punctuation. I have no interest in caramelized onions. But Christmas Eve is one of those occasions when families share their time, their interests, their concerns. It’s that time of year when chaos reigns supreme. By the time we’re on the third of the seven fish feast, I remember why I don’t spend the other 364 days a year amidst the flurry of familial havoc. I told her it wasn’t a good time. She proceeded to ramble on about U-10 shrimp, king crab claws and who’s going to drive Uncle Ben back to his assisted living apartment. Don’t get me wrong. I like Uncle Ben, but the guy’s a whacko. I asked him for a flashlight one day

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | October /November /December 2023

and he handed me two Double D batteries. And he never combs his hair anymore. Every home movie includes a closeup of Ben’s bed head. He has two finches named Visine and Murine. Thinks it sounds exotic. Anyway, I told Dawn that I was not driving Uncle Ben back to his home. It was her turn. She said she was afraid the iguana will come out from under the brake pedal while she’s driving. We haven’t been able to catch the critter since it escaped from its pet carrier back in August. It’s been living in the car ever since. We take turns changing its water and filling the food bowl with chopped kale. We figure that soon it will be too big to fit under the brake pedal and we’ll be able to catch it. I knew she’d find a way to weasel out of it. Uncle Ben could spend the night. She said no. Last time he stayed over, he was looking for the toilet in the spare bedroom – walked through the house naked. Nope. We’ll talk somebody else into driving Ben back across the bridge. I told her to stop talking. I was trying to concentrate on the magazine layout. She told me she invited a few extra people to her open house, this year. How many? About 30. Where did you find 30 extra people to invite, I screamed? Our advertisers. And the people we’ve written stories about. Some of them never celebrated the Seven Fishes. You have to move the tree, I told her. Put it in the yard. Next to the case of flounder you’re going to have to fry for our new guests. At least we have a few more options as far as Uncle Ben’s drive back to his home. We’ll make sure he keeps his pants on. PRH

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