PRH Fall 2017

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Oct | Nov | Dec 2017 vol 37_issue 47_2017 $4.99 US

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VOLUME _37 ISSUE 47_ 2017

Insidethis issue

October | November | December 2017

28_SALUTE TO SERVICE Meet our 2017 Blue Sapphire Award Winners photos by Phil Kramer



Contractors Spotlight: John’s Custom Stairs

Paranormal Investigator Katrina Weidman by Jane Roser photo by Charles Mostoller

57_MENU Eleanor Casciato’s homemade meatballs



Frank DiMichelle: One pitch at a time by Stephen Pagano

Hip-hop artist Chill Moody and his nicethings attitude by Geno Thackara photo by Justin Swan





Saints Neumann-Goretti HS welcomes new president What’s in store for this neighborhood landmark

lly i h P




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FALL FEST KICK OFF FOOTBALL SE ASON AT FISHTOWN HOPS Watch your favorite pro and college football teams on big-screen outdoor TVs while cozying up fireside with craft beer, s’mores, complete game-day coverage, live entertainment and more!


Persons under 21 are not permitted inside the casino.



VOLUME _37 ISSUE 47_ 2017


October | November | December 2017

6_ FROM THE PUBLISHERS We could all use a dose of joy The Phillie Phanatic brings a smile to our faces photo by Phil Kramer

12_ NEIGHBORHOOD NOIR The Sorge family on Daly Street

14_ HANGIN’ OUT PRH hangs out at SugarHouse Casino’s new beer garden, Fishtown Hops photo by Andrew Andreozzi

22_ WINE KNOW Memories in the Making: Wines to enjoy with family & friends by Vincent R. Novello, Jr.

54_ MENU Business Spotlight: Dad’s Stuffing A neighborhood mainstay since the 1920s by Anthony Panvini photos courtesy of Richard Commoroto

60_ BRIDES GUIDE A cocktail style wedding at the Atrium at the Curtis Center by Joe Volpe photos by Mark Louis Photography

74_ THEATRE GEEK Theatre Exile finds a permanent home in South Philly by Marialena Rago

86_ GREEN SPACE Phillies plant 700 trees through Home Runs for Trees by Kerri-Lee Mayland


74 86



brides guide

96_ PRESSED Bad Knees & Ugly Shoes by Dorette Rota Jackson

on the cover

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| All great accomplishments begin with a dream photo by Phil Kramer.

As part of its annual Salute to Service Program, Philadelphia RowHome Magazine will present its 2017 Blue Sapphire Award to individuals whose selfless dedication to the City of Philadelphia has left a positive impact for future generations to enjoy. Join us for the celebration – An Affair to Remember XII – at Cescaphe Event Group’s Vie on November 2. Call 215.462.9777 for tickets or information. (L to R) Dei Lynam, Chubby Checker, Dee Dee Sharp, the Phillie Phanatic, Anthony Messina, Frank Sangiuliano.


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Tony “Papa Luke” Lucidonio Founder, 1992

39 East Oregon Avenue Philadelphia, PA 215.551.5725 Get the real taste of South Philly online:

It’s time we all slowed down long enough    to ask ourselves one question.  What can we do for somebody else?   Because that’s the only way we are going to dig    out of whatever this is we’re buried under.  We can’t do everything. But we can do something.   One small act of kindness will spread joy.   It will make someone smile.   Like every face that sets its sights on the Phillie Phanatic.   If you can use a good dose of joy, join the celebration.

Philly  The Phanatic is getting our Blue Sapphire Award on November     2nd. For finding his way into the hearts of everyone he meets.  For the last 40 years, he has been in charge of spreading joy.    A job he takes very seriously. He is an    endless supply of positivity.   You would think that making the world a better    place is an impossible task for one individual.   But not for this feisty ball of friendly fur. cover credits: photo by Phil Kramer hair by The Cutting Point makeup by Bella Angel Location courtesy of Cescaphe Event Group / Tendenza A heartfelt shoutout to the Phillie Phanatic’s best friend Tom Burgoyne


Beneath that Phillies t-shirt that he wears ever    so proudly beats a human heart filled with enough    love to touch every soul that walks the earth.   He is our hero.   Living proof that when it comes to joy,

we are all one color. Green.

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Dorette & Dawn

River to River. One Neighborhood.

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October / November / December 2017

2017.01.05 appzdepot - ROW HOME - 3.5x9.75 advert.pdf



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VOLUME_37 ISSUE 47 October

| November | December 2017


President | Publisher Dorette Rota Jackson

Vice President | Publisher Dawn Rhoades

Editor Dorette Rota Jackson

Vice President Marketing & Promotions Dawn Rhoades

Creative Director | production Omar Rubio

Contributors Mark Casasanto David Cava Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq Dr. Richard Dittrich Larry Gallone Brett Jackson Maria Merlino Dr. James Moylan John Nacchio





Vincent R. Novello, Jr. Michael Rhoades Marialena Rago Leo Rossi Jade Rota Anthony Santini John Stabeno Robert “Woody” Woodard


Marketing & Editorial Assistant


Brenda Hillegas


Green space Editor Kerri-Lee Mayland




Marketing Communications Coordinator Carol Vassallo

Photographers Phil Kramer Andrew Andreozzi Maria Merlino

Account Manager Theresa Palestino


Published by

Philadelphia RowHome Inc. P.O. Box 54786 Philadelphia, PA 19148 Phone – 215.462.9777 | Fax – 215.462.9770 |

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. 2017 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.


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THEMAILBOX fALL | 2017 email your letters to:

Dorette & Dawn:

This may certainly be long overdue, but better late than never. I’ve watched PRH blossom from the beginning into what it is today. An exemplary literary “gem” that totally personifies the one and only South Philly that we know and love. You are truly exceptional women in so many ways. Your Dad is surely smiling down on you both. Keep up the tremendous work. We love you guys! Tom & Laura Robinson


Thank you so much for including [my mom’s] story [Growing Up on Clarion Street / Summer 2017]. She was so thrilled. I kept the news secret from her, but revealed it when I delivered the magazine to her. Thank you. It was the highlight of her summer. Perry Casciato

Dorette & Dawn:

Wanted to share the picture with you. So, when you think of white water rafting, I am sure my name is the first one that pops into your head. Somehow on vacation this year, my family decided to go rafting. I went with them. The result? Look closely at the picture. I was tossed out of the boat and those legs and sneakers you see are mine. I was fine – only a mouth and nose full of water. Those are my family members and the guide laughing at me. But look at those legs – the Olympic judge gave me 9.5 for the dive! Larry Gallone (Editor’s Note: We loved this photo so much, we had to share it with our readers. Our RowHome writers are multi-talented. We are so proud of Larry Gallone for his high score on this dive!)

Dawn & Dorette:

In loving memory of

James L. Guercio The Gangemi & Guercio families thank their friends, family and neighbors for the overwhelming outpouring of love and continued support during their recent loss.


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I appreciate you both for recognizing my award [Local teacher wins Lindback Award / Summer 2017]. Although I live in Southwest Philadelphia, I still want to subscribe to receive your publications. A lot of my friends enjoyed reading the articles in the magazines. Dr. [Jack] Carr was elated to know that I was featured. As you know, he and Dr. [Angelo] Milicia taught me everything. Debbie Mann / GAMP (Editor’s Note: It is always our pleasure to share the accomplishments of our teachers with our readers, Ms. Mann. Please tell your friends in Southwest Philly that RowHome is written on behalf of every neighborhood in the city. We welcome them to our network of readers who love Philadelphia. River to River. One neighborhood.)




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Peter J. Jacovini 215-334-1717 Supervisor

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Victor L. Baldi, III Funeral Director 215-389-2414

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(top left to right) Matt Riso, Nikol Bent, Kyle Stester, Rachael Fuller, Jade Rota, Vinny Riso (bottom row left to right) John Locascio, Joe Perri, Anthony Grosso, Mark Riso, Nick Grosso


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RowHome Softball




Philly born of an immigrant family who used life to the ultimate level of success. Congratulations to our own RowHome Softball team! With only one loss in the regular season, they beat out three teams for the Championship and finished 13-1!

A South Philadelphia Legend Memorial can be visited Upstairs at St. Rita’s Church on 1166 S. Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19146

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October / November / December 2017

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VOLUME _37 ISSUE 47_ 2017

October | November | December 2017








orette, Dawn & Carol hang out D at SugarHouse Casino’s new beer garden, Fishtown Hops. Photo by Andrew Andreozzi ongratulations to attorney C Dawn Tancredi & Ricardo Longo, owner of Gran Caffe L’Aquila, on their recent nuptials. Photo by Maria Merlino he Tenaglia family – Francesca, T John & Joan – celebrate the marriage of Richard & Holly Tenaglia. Photo by Ashlee Mintz/Clair Pruett Studios


et me to the church on G time! Franco Cima and his groom squad are heading to the wedding.


risten & Rob hang K out in Rome, Italy!


awn hangs out with D Mario Martines.


livia Pino hangs out at her O first Phillies game with her grandfather Dennis Pino & family.


endy Hamilton hangs out W backstage with the Golden Boys: Fabian, Frankie Avalon & Bobby Rydell at the SugarHouse Event Center.


orette & Dawn hang out with D Wendy Hamilton at SugarHouse Casino’s Fishtown Hops. Photo by Andrew Andreozzi

10. R on Jaworski hangs out with Elaine Maffucci at Running Deer Golf Club. Photo by Bill Maffucci 11. L ou Pinto with Loretta & Carmen DeCello at Horror-Con. 12. B rian Stevenson, IBEW Local 98 & Fred Cosenza, Phila. Building Trades, hang out on the 62nd floor of the Comcast Technology Center. 13. C armen LaRosa’ s Pool Party. Music by the fabulous Benny Marsella. 14. Brenda & Patrick hang out at

the Nolet (Ketel One) Distillery in Schiedam, The Netherlands. 15. J effrey Pino and crew are hangin’ out with Nicky Lauria for his 40th birthday. 16. S tate Rep. Bill Keller, Councilman Al Taubenberger & consultant Ken Adams march with hundreds of IBEW Local 98 union members in the Labor Day Parade. Photo by Maria Merlino 17. D awn hangs out with Mario Martines, Michelle Nader, Margaret, Patrick & Stephanie. 18. C armen LaRosa’s Annual Pool Party with his PPACS school teachers and friends. 19. B renda & Jane hang out with the Glengarry Bhoys at the VA Scottish Games. 20. B iagio Genovesi & his Bocce boys are hangin’ out in NYC. 21. T oni Rizzi is hangin’ out with Keith Jones. 22. D onna Diorio & Denise LaRosa are hangin’ out at Stogie Joe’s. 23. R owHome Carol Vassallo is hangin’ out with her grandchildren Michael Rhoades, Anthony Retallick, Brett Jackson, Jade Rota & Nicolette Retallick. 24. A Navy Yard Reunion at Ralph and Ricky’s Pizzeria with Tony Santini, Ricky & Ralph Sciulli, Fran Nangle, Jerry Klien & Tom Wood. 25. B ob and Chris Pettinelli, Tony & Julia Santini, Frank & Michelle Anastasi and Bill & Denise Borger at the MatteoStellabot Wedding Reception. 26. G ina Santini (center) hangs out with her bridesmaids at Seacrets in Ocean City, Maryland. 27. I t’s a GIRL! Jade Rota & John Locascio celebrate the news with a few friends & family at their Gender Reveal.

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Miracle on Smedley Street If you are in search of some holiday spirit this season, look no further than the 2700 block of Smedley Street. Since the early 1960s, generations of neighbors have been decking the walls, windows and a treelined terrace with a breathtaking display of holiday wonder. Nestled between 16th and 17th Streets, Moyamensing and Oregon Avenues, this neighborhood gem known as “The Christmas Street� beckons thousands of visitors every year to bask in the glow of pure joy. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He lives on Smedley Street. photos by Dante Fratto, Angela Madgin, Andrea Mascitti and Nicole Montecalvo


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October / November / December 2017

Row Home Remembers  PRH Life


Amazing Grace by Tony Santini

his past spring, the RowHome Magazine blog (www. covered the Mayor’s 17th annual Centenarian Celebration held at the SugarHouse Casino. The event honors area residents who are more than 100 years old. As of press time, there are approximately 550 Centenarians in the Philadelphia area according to the regional data from the Social Security Administration. I am fortunate to be acquainted with one of these folks. Her

PRH: Where did you grow up?

GSS: I was born around a strawberry patch in Hammonton, NJ, where my parents were seasonal pickers. I lived with my grandmother around 10th & Ellsworth Street for most of my youth. I attended St. Paul’s elementary school for a short time and then the Wilson School. My husband bought our little house on Daly Street where I moved when we got married. I owned the house until I was 105. PRH: High School/College/Career? GSS: (Laughs) I attended the School of Life! My parents pulled me out so I could help with expenses. I went to work in a tailor shop at 12th & Vine making pockets for men’s suits. I was married at age 25, widowed at age 37 and retired at age 72. My career was machine operator, wife and mother. PRH: What is your secret for aging healthy with a sharp mind? GSS: I had nothing to do with it. It’s all up to the Lord. Faith and prayers have kept me alive this long. I loved my Epiphany Church and tried to go to Mass every Sunday until I was about 98. PRH: What do you think was the greatest invention in the past 100 years?


GSS: Refrigeration! No more waiting for the ice man to deliver the blocks of ice for our small ice box. The telephone was good. My husband got our first one the day our son was born and called me every day to check on him. I’m also a big fan of indoor plumbing. That was a good one. PRH: What fond memories do you have of growing up in South Philly? GSS: All the friends that I have made over the years. It’s such a warmhearted place. Neighbors become lifelong friends. You become friends with their families and their friends. PRH: What did you do for fun as a teenager? GSS: Went to a lot of weekend dances. I wanted to roller skate, ride bikes and play sports but my father said these things were not very ladylike. He saw me playing volleyball in a dress once and saw my “bloomers” around my knees when I jumped to hit the ball. That was the last time I played volleyball. PRH: What were your favorite Philly spots that you wish were still around? GSS: Ice cream parlors and movie theaters. We used to go to a beautiful ice cream parlor on Broad Street. There were movie theaters

name is Grace Salvatore Sorge and she is 106 years young. Grace was a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia until age 98 when she moved in with her son and daughter-in-law in nearby Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. Widowed at age 37, she had to raise her two children on her own. While she modestly admits that she had plenty of help from her South Philly family and neighbors, her niece Maria refers to her as “the original single mom.” In a recent interview, Grace was witty and charming, with a memory that makes me hope I can be so fortunate. all in walking distance. I also miss Palumbo’s. We had many big family and friends’ dinner parties there. PRH: What things about South Philly are the same now as they were when you were growing up? What things are different? GSS: New York Bakery is still one of my favorites. I love that “Church Pizza.” What’s different? You used to be able to walk down the street and smell what everyone was cooking because everybody cooked back then and didn’t have all their windows closed with the air conditioning. On Sundays, you could smell the homemade gravy coming from just about every house on our street. PRH: What are your current favorite activities? GSS: Sleeping and watching television. PRH: Do you have any hobbies? GSS: (Laughs) Yes, I like folding my arms. I can do it two ways! Oh, I like reading RowHome Magazine. Will saying this get me a bigger picture? PRH: Do you exercise? GSS: (Laughs) Oh, yes! Every morning I lift one leg and then I lift the other. Two leg lifts every day.

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PRH: Do you have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? GSS: What? I have a cell phone but I don’t know how to use it! PRH: What do you think of today’s pop culture - selfies, texting, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber? GSS: People who take selfies are selfcentered. If I was a parent, I wouldn’t give cell phones to kids until age 15. Too much texting and not enough talking to each other. I don’t know any Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber. PRH: Do you have any advice for today’s youth? Especially young couples who are getting married? GSS: For the youth…Do what you have to in order to be successful. Not everything has to be handed to you. For the young couples… It’s hard to stay together. Don’t give up so easily. Try to make it work. PRH: What advice do you have for others on living a good and happy life? GSS: Be nice to people no matter who they are. PRH: What do you look forward to? GSS: Tomorrow. PRH: Seriously, Grace! GSS: 107? PRH: Grace! GSS: Okay, a peaceful remainder of my life. PRH: Amen to that, Grace!

Real People Real Stories


Italian Coffee House

is a beautiful thing

PRH Life

by Jane Roser

Eight years ago, my cat woke me in the middle of the night when he walked across my chest to knock over a water bottle on my nightstand. It’s funny now, looking back at it. How something so insignificant could turn out to be the most significant moment of your life. The pain was intense. I instinctively touched the sore spot and discovered a lump on my right breast that I swore wasn’t there earlier. At only 37 years old and with no family history of breast cancer, I was concerned enough to quickly have it checked out, but not concerned at all that it could be cancer. Of course, I was wrong. After a mammogram, a sonogram, two biopsies and an MRI, I was diagnosed with DCIS or stage 0 breast cancer. The level of aggressiveness, however, was stage 3, the most aggressive. I heard the term “bizarre” thrown around often when my doctors described my diagnosis. When I asked my surgeon what could have caused this, she told me that I was a woman and that I just had really bad luck, so I immediately switched surgeons. I have a thin build, so when I asked my reconstructive surgeon for nothing larger than B-cup implants and he impatiently told me that a C-cup was the best he could do, I immediately switched plastic surgeons, too. At the time, I was managing a Betsey Johnson boutique at Tysons Galleria in McLean, Virginia. One of my best clients happened to walk into the store soon after I arrived back from the first appointment with my surgeon. Her husband rarely accompanies her to the shop, but he happened to be with her that particular day and they could tell I was upset. My client’s husband also happened to be on the board of directors for INOVA Fairfax Hospital and within an hour, he set me up with the top breast cancer and plastic surgeons in Northern Virginia. I once read that the miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to such an extent that it can change the world as you see it. This is true. It also makes your heart so full you feel as if it could burst at any moment. Betsey Johnson and her business partner Chantal Bacon sent me flowers with a card that read “Love Betsey and Chantal, also a supervisor.” It was supposed to say “also a survivor,” but it took me a few days to realize it was a typo. I was invited to the New

York showroom to visit with Betsey, who sauntered over, shook her head and said, ‘It’s such a bitch, isn’t it?’ When I found out that I needed radiation treatment, a friend offered me the use of his leaky microwave as a more frugal alternative. My plastic surgeon rode a Harley, painted her nails hot pink and wore leather motorcycle chaps to the office. The humor and laid-back attitude of those around me helped me deal with the stress and uncertainty. While reading about John Adams’ daughter Nabby (who died of breast cancer in 1813), I came across a book called “Bathsheba’s Breast,” which is a fascinating, albeit slightly horrifying, history of breast cancer and its treatments. I learned that a 1943 naval disaster in the Mediterranean had jumpstarted chemotherapy research and that before anesthesia, patients were offered the choice of opium, whiskey or a mallet to ease the pain. Reading about these women who braved this disease without the conveniences of modern treatments, medicines or painkillers gave me a bit of strength and fortitude. My oncologist said I was only the second woman she had ever treated with DCIS who needed a mastectomy plus radiation. It’s that rare. The radiation treatment was necessary because the cancer cells were less than .1mm away from the edges. The likelihood of a recurrence would have been 10-15 percent, but radiation can cut that chance in half. I had a mastectomy and was placed on Tamoxifen for the next five years, which caused me to go through early menopause. I was lucky not only to have caught it early, but that my OBGYN recognized the urgency for tests. We have no guarantee of tomorrow, so we do what we can today. There is a lot I have to live for – family, friends, even little guilty pleasures. After I was diagnosed, I took a pole-dancing class, binge-watched every season of “Supernatural,” drove to Toronto and flew to New Orleans. My friend Hugh even threw me a guilty pleasuresthemed party after my last radiation treatment, complete with a monster truck piñata, Twister and tons of ice cream. The classic Charlie Chaplin film “Limelight” has a wonderfully quirky quote that I hung on my fridge as a reminder to myself. “What is there to fight for? Everything. Life itself, isn’t that enough? To be loved, suffered, enjoyed. Life is a beautiful, magnificent thing, even to a jellyfish.” prh

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October / November / December 2017

Searching for a local doctor?

Start here  PRH Life

Your health is their primary focus by Bryan Culver photo by Mark Louis Photography


n this age of social media, you can Google everything from fancy foods to fishing rods but when it comes to finding the right physicians, nothing compares to familiarity. In a city steeped in tradition, the family doctor is a mainstay for generations of family members. Primary Care Physicians build relationships with patients and are a key component to personalized healthcare. If you are in search of a qualified professional with a keen eye on your wellbeing, skip the express line.

To help with your search, Philadelphia RowHome Magazine is spotlighting some of the private practice physicians who have been caring for our community for generations. The office of Dr. Joseph Badolato is conveniently located in the East Passyunk Avenue area of South Philadelphia. Born and raised just a few blocks away, Dr. Badolato has been overseeing the health of his patients for more than three decades.


Physician: Joseph Badolato, DO Q: Where is your practice located? How long have you been there? A: I have two offices in my practice. My first office is located in the East Passyunk area of South Philadelphia. I also have a practice in Sewell, NJ. I have been in practice for 34 years. I grew up in South Philadelphia in Epiphany Parish. Q: Who inspired you to become a

doctor? Give us a bit of background on your specialty and education. A: Ever since I was a young child, I could remember wanting to be a physician. I was inspired to become a physician to help the sick and less fortunate. My parents always gave me the strength and motivation that I needed to see my dream come true. I love the feeling of giving back to the community. My specialty is Family Medicine. I see patients of all ages and for any ailments or sickness that they may have. I graduated from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. I did my internship and Residency at John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township, NJ. Q: How many generations of families do your patients represent?

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A: Some of my patients span three and four generations. I see patients from 1 to 100 years old and I have the privilege of gaining new patients every day. Q: What are some of the benefits of regularly visiting a family physician? A: Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better. By getting the right health services, screenings and treatments, you are taking steps that improve your chances for living a longer, healthier life. Contact Information Joseph Badolato, DO 1818 E. Passyunk Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.468.2553

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October / November / December 2017

Wine Know by Vincent R. Novello Jr.

the Making Spring into inWinemaking Memories  PRH Life


utumn is wine time! It’s time to bottle and enjoy your wine with family and friends. All of the effort you put into making your own wine finally pays off. Now your memories are ready for the making. Along with every good time, there’s a good bottle of wine. Think of all the memorable times you have shared that started with a toast of your favorite wine. So share your new wine with the people you love and start building your memories.

Wine Recommendations

❚❙❘ Red Wines

❚❙❘ Excellent Gifts

Pezat Bordeaux 2014 $13

Masi Capofiorin 2013 $19

Lacrimus Apasionado Rioja 2015 $12

Earthquake Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 $25

Francois Lurton Campesino Tempranillo $13 Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina Riserva 2014 $12 Pino Society Pinot Noir 2015 $14 Shannon Ridge Zinfandel 2013 $11 Cantina Malbec La Consulta 2014 $15

❚❙❘ White Wines Housley’s Century Oak Winery Chardonnay 2015 $14 Kendell Jackson Chardonnay $13

…and remember “Never save your good wine for tomorrow!” For more information contact Vincent Novello

J. de Villebois Sauvignon Blanc 2015 $10 Secondo Tempo Pinot Grigio 2016 $10 Cave de Beblenheim Oscar Truschel Riesling $14

Vincent Novello has been making his own wine since 1997 and has competed in and judged the annual Vendemmia. His 2008 Brunello took first and second place in the competition. Today, Novello serves as the Vendemmia’s contest director.


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photo courtesy of SugarHouse Casino

PRHOn the Waterfront

Fall Fest at

Fishtown Hops

by Wendy Hamilton SugarHouse Casino General Manager


re you ready for some football? Grab your friends and gather ’round our fire pits. Share some s’mores, great river views, excellent food and free parking! These are just some of the things that make Fall Fest at Fishtown Hops THE place to be this football season. College and pro fans love watching their favorite teams on our beer garden’s big 80” outdoor TV screens while enjoying an ale, lager or apple cider sangria. Located on the riverwalk behind SugarHouse Casino, Fishtown

Hops has specials for the ultimate tailgate party, or guests can host an event in the beer garden’s private room by making a reservation at We’re also offering one complimentary icecold Schlitz (while supplies last) to anyone who wears a team jersey and checks in or posts their location on social media from the beer garden. Fishtown Hops’ Fall Fest celebration continues through Wednesday, Nov. 22 – the day before Thanksgiving. So, before we close for the winter, put on your midnight or Kelly green jerseys and root on the “Birds” at Fishtown Hops!

Paul Stolfo, Director • Marianne Stolfo, Director

The Tradition Continues the Fourth Generation

SugarHouse Casino Event Center

Put on your laughing pants and come see the great comedians we have booked at SugarHouse. We also have lined up some of the most talented singers in the business. Here’s a look at the upcoming events in The Event Center: Oct. 27:

Brad Garrett and Rita Rudner

– two comedic legends join forces

Nov. 3:

Engelbert Humperdinck

– legendary singer’s 50th anniversary tour

Nov. 10:

Dec. 15:

– contemporary blues group

award-winning singer

Kenny Wayne Michael Bolton Shepherd Band – Grammy®

Be sure to get your tickets for these shows and for all of our events at

The Stolfo

Funeral Home Where Everyone is Treated Like Family 2536 So. Broad Street • Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.334.7376

| rowhome magazine | 23

October / November / December 2017


Faith. Family. Tradition. 2017 St. Nicholas of Tolentine Italian Festival & Procession of Saints



| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017


30 years experience serving Philadelphia & South Jersey

Frank Fioravanti Termite Specialist 215-768-1804

“We Rid Your Pests So You Can Rest”

Pest Control Frankie Bugs, He’s the Best!

20th St. & Moyamensing Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145

Weddings Funeral Lunches and more!


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| rowhome magazine | 25

October / November / December 2017

PRHon the corner

Todd Rundgren

Wastin’ Time ON THE CORNER with Mark Casasanto

T a l k i n’

photo by Jean Lannen



t was a damp, dreary night back in 2012. For all intents and purposes, the good times were over at Citizens Bank Park. Most nights were fairly mundane as the Phillies’ dynamic run slowed to what seemed like an intentional walk. My closest colleague and I developed our own unspoken communication system to pass the time as we worked through the boredom at the ballpark. He shot me that look. With casual yet careful coordination, I altered my position to glance where his nod suggested. I gathered a visual. Text sent: Todd Rundgren. A simple handshake led to an inning or two of small talk during an otherwise lackluster baseball game. Then, suddenly, through the mist in the night, he was gone. Recently, we had the opportunity to reconnect. It was the day after he played the Tower Theater as part of the Yestival lineup and the perfect time to continue the conversation we started years ago.

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

Hello It’s Me

Rundgren’s story starts in Philadelphia where he was born and his father worked. He grew up in Westbrook Park on the western edge of Upper Darby. “My experiences of the city were often what was on television.” He fondly recalls “excursions into town... going to a nice restaurant... the only theater that showed cinerama movies... the Wanamaker’s Christmas Show.”

In true big city fashion, mastering the mass transit system became an integral skillset. “My parents got me comfortable with the subway because we rarely drove into the city.” Amused, he reflects, “I didn’t have any money or anything, so I would take a bus or trolley from Upper Darby High School to 69th Street and then take the subway downtown and do anything that was free in Philadelphia... like wander the concourses.” Proudly adding, “As a matter of fact, traffic was so bad yesterday, I took the subway from our hotel downtown to 69th Street (to get to the show).”

I Saw the Light

Ironically enough, Rundgren saw his first and only live show at the Tower Theater when a musical caravan tour featuring Gene Chandler (The Duke of Earl) came through. “The Tower to me was a movie theater.” He left home at 18 and started living downtown after joining his first band, Woody’s Truck Stop. A short nine months later, the band took a psychedelic drug-fueled change of direction. “I was not there for that and that’s when I formed (The) Nazz.” With an early version of “Hello It’s Me” and “Open My Eyes” garnering industry attention, Rundgren and the band headed for New York. “That was more or less the end of my residency in Philadelphia.” Troubled with the production values of Nazz recordings, Rundgren decided to further educate himself. Not only did he learn how to produce, engineer and master his own music, he did so for acts like The Band, Hall & Oates and Meat Loaf’s 1977 classic album, Bat Out Of Hell. “I did have a few hit records in my career but nothing that would have sustained me.” Ultimately he says, “Record production financed my lifestyle.”

Can We Still Be Friends Many of his latter day collaborations with artists like Daryl Hall, as a member of The New Cars or touring with Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band were the result of his production work. “At first, I probably did not

have the necessary diplomatic skills to deal with a difficult act in the studio but it gave me a comfort level on how to work best with other musicians... you’re adapting to what they do.” Referring to his current tour with Ringo, he laughs. “We had planned on taking this year off but Ringo just got too antsy and couldn’t stand it! He fell in love with this particular lineup and he didn’t want to take any time off for fear that somebody would actually become successful with their own thing.”

Bang the Drum All Day

With Yestival and Ringo’s tour, sandwiched between his own undertakings in support of White Knight, Rundgren has logged some significant miles in 2017. “Set list considerations, curfews, load-ins (and outs) are all challenges,” he says. Considering his tour is a two-hour show with video production and costume changes, the shorter show with Yes, he admits, can be difficult. “The pacing is entirely different and it kills you to have to take certain songs out of the set, but you have to because of the time constraints.” Relaxation? “Oh jeez, I have no time to relax,” he laughs. “I won’t be officially off the road until January but in the intervening time, the label, Cleopatra, has decided it wants me to continue in this White Knight vein, so I’ll be working on soliciting more artists for some collaborations.” That bloodline on the recent release includes Daryl Hall, Joe Walsh, Donald Fagen and Trent Reznor to name a few. Always the innovator, he tends to jump around. “I do a lot of research, check out YouTube or my Napster account for music listening. It makes it fun to discover what’s out there.” At least for the moment, that inquisitiveness has paid off in the form of rediscovery. “I suddenly got fascinated with some Donovan songs,” he admits. “They bring back a certain time to me... where all I really had was music to keep me from going insane...” Why would anyone expect anything less from Todd Rundgren? prh

| rowhome magazine | 27

October / November / December 2017

2017 Philadelphia RowHome Magazine

Philly honors individuals for their Service to our City photos by Phil Kramer

River to River. One Neighborhood. 28 | rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

Chubby Checker Lifetime Music Achievement Award by Mark Casasanto


pring Gully, South Carolina, can lay claim to being the birthplace of Ernest Evans but South Philadelphia is a stakeholder in the life and career of Chubby Checker. Having moved a few states north with his parents and two brothers, young Ernest dreamed of making his mark in show business under the bright lights of the big city. It wouldn’t be long before the street corner harmony singing youngster with the stars in his eyes would take the music world by storm. While working various jobs in the Italian Market, the Settlement Music School and South Philadelphia High School student frequently sang, danced and entertained. His boss, Tony A. at the Produce Market, nicknamed him Chubby while another boss at Fresh Farm Poultry started showcasing his talents to customers via a loudspeaker. Henry Colt, the owner of the poultry store, happened to be friends with legendary lyricist and Cameo-Parkway Records principal Kal Mann. With that connection in play, Chubby was soon in front of the renowned Dick Clark doing a private recording. In a funnel like fashion, the winds of change headed straight for dance floors everywhere. “The Twist” was covered and recorded in June of 1959. It was originally thought to be a B-side recording much like the Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ version released earlier that year. Chubby, however, didn’t share that sentiment. Following a relentless schedule of television appearances, live performances and travel-

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: An entertainer. Q: What was your first job? A: Helping my father in

the tobacco field.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

ing the interview circuit, everyone was doing the twist by the summer of 1960. The song charted twice at #1 in September of 1960 and again in January of 1962, making Chubby the only artist to have a song hold that unique distinction. It also started a stream of dance songs that were precursors to disco dancing. In a singing tutorial, Chubby mastered the moves to songs like “Pony Time,” “The Fly” and “The Hucklebuck,” while the world danced along. Chubby Checker not only taught us how to dance, he kept us dancing for more than six decades. Evident by a 1988 collaboration with The Fat Boys (“Yo, Twist!”) that peaked at #14 on the charts, Chubby found himself in Billboard’s #1 spot for dance tracks with “Knock Down These Walls.” Over and over, his rich, soulful and unmistakable voice has beckoned all to “get up” or “clap your hands” at family celebrations, in bars and nightclubs until this very day. There are not many, if any, recording artists, who can claim ownership for making a nation dance…move and groove… twist and shout…boogie… woogie… bop… hop… slip and slide… like Chubby Checker did. His larger than life personality has always represented Philadelphia at its best and like the tourism slogan of days gone by once proclaimed, Philly Loves You Back!

A: Making people smile.

A: “April Showers”

Q: What’s the best advice

Q: What is your best mem-

anyone ever gave you?

ory from summer 2017?

A: Work hard and you’ll

A: Playing for great audiences.

get what you want.

Q: What lesser-known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia? A: The zoo. Q: Tell us something no one knows about you.

Q: What do you consider your

Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave? A: Work hard and you’ll

happy place/your favorite place in the whole world?

get what you want.

A: Wherever I am is my happy place.

Q: Favorite song from way back

Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols? A: All the people in Philadelphia.

that always makes you smile?

A: Everyone thinks they know everything about me. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? A: If it is food, I like it.

All food is good.

| rowhome magazine | 29

October / November / December 2017

Anthony Messina Frank Sangiuliano Pastificio Deli Local Business Success Story Award

by John Nacchio


n 2004, Anthony Messina and Frank Sangiuliano blazed a trail that led to the opening of Pastificio Homemade Pasta Co., a popular neighborhood deli in the Packer Park Shopping Center. In addition to their signature sandwiches, award-winning meatballs and savory Italian delicacies, they put their stamp of approval on their own line of homemade pastas made daily in an on-site kitchen below the store. Pastificio exemplifies flavorful food selections but is also a unique blend of history, tradition and passion. Two entrepreneurs opened a storefront deli with a simple idea that has distinguished them among many rivals. They formed a partnership marinated with hard work, precision craftsmanship and insistence on quality with an enthusiastic dash of creativity and personality. The New York Times spotlighted their

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

AM: I never really had that “I wanna be a...” moment in life. I kinda found myself along the way. FS: When I was young, I always had an interest in building and helping my Dad fix stuff. And I always had an interest in food/cooking. I was a laborer/carpenter for 16 years. I was part of the first Pastificio 27 years ago (Ritner Street) and now 13 years later, Pastificio (Packer Avenue).

Q: What was your first job? AM: Selling the Sunday newspaper outside Holy Spirit Church. FS: Matteo’s Italian Specialty Store on Ritner Street. That is where I learned to make the fresh mozzarella.


Pope-shaped mozzarella during the Papal visit to Philadelphia and the seasonal Santa Claus cheese is a media favorite during the holidays. Sports figures, celebrities and TV reporters frequently stop by for something that echoes the taste and traditions of Italy. For their loyal following of neighborhood customers, their luscious lineup is a culinary tribute to foods past, present and future. Yes, pasta’s tale has more than 500 years of history behind it and Pastificio has risen to the top of an established market of contenders with its delicious selection of homemade specialties including fettucini, ravioli, gnocchi and cavatelli. Along with a variety of homemade sauces and award-winning meatballs, Messina and Sangiuliano live up to the famous slogan that propelled them into a first generation marketing frenzy: “Got balls?”

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? AM: Playing basketball in the schoolyard. FS: I played sports and just hung out with my friends. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? AM: Life is about relationships. FS: In the happy moments, praise God. In the difficult moments, seek God. In the quiet moments, trust God. In every moment, thank God. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave?

AM: Let your haters be your motivators. FS: “Be humble, be hungry and always be the hardest worker in the room.” Q: Favorite song from way back

Anything that takes me back to my grade school days. (Biggie Smalls, Stevie B.) FS: “Moments in Love” by Art of Noise.

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2017?

AM: Florida with my family. FS: An island getaway with my wife and our weekends at the shore with my family.

Q: What do you consider your happy place/your favorite place in the whole world? AM: The beach...nothing like the sand between your toes and the sound of the ocean. FS: the Top of the Eiffel Tower with my wife and kids (trip of a lifetime 2016). My happy place is just an ordinary Saturday night hanging out with my family.

AM: Pretty much all old

Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols?

school rap and freestyle music.

AM: I really don’t have any

that always makes you smile?

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

idols but if there is someone I had to pick, it would be my mom. She was a widow at a young age. Being an Italian immigrant with no secondary school education, she did everything she could to make sure me and my brother had everything we needed to become successful adults. FS: I don’t really have an idol but I do admire my parents for everything they’ve done in their lives. They have an incredible work ethic (obviously where I get it from). They are both retired yet work every day at Pastificio. That is something I will always cherish and am very fortunate to have them by my side every day.

Q: What lesser-known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philly? AM: Spruce Street Harbor Park. It’s fairly new to the

city so I don’t think many people know much about it. FS: Magic Gardens (1020 South Street).

Q: Tell us something no one knows about you. AM: If I tell you then everyone will know. FS: Well, I’m a private person but I don’t have all the answers. In my life, I failed as much as I’ve succeeded. I love my wife, I love my life and I wish you my kind of success. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? AM: A nice dish of pasta, any pasta! Especially if it’s from Pastificio! What did you expect me to say? FS: I love all the holiday dinners but we have a Valentine’s feast every year with our kids and it’s one of my favorites! Lamb chops, coconut shrimp, fried lobster tails...the list goes on and on!

Dei Lynam Sports Broadcaster Media Award

by Larry Gallone


he sports broadcasting business has changed quite a bit. With Twitter and Instagram and the way people take in information – it is changing every day.” And Dei Lynam would know. Her career is filled with stories, highlights, special interviews and several awards. In Philadelphia, we are most familiar with her work in basketball broadcasting as an analyst, color commentator and play-by-play announcer. During her career, Lynam traveled to China to interview Yao Ming, was mentioned by Allen Iverson at his Hall of Fame induction and received various Emmy Awards. She was awarded a National Emmy for her work in developing and transitioning the NBA entertainment slogan from “NBA action – it’s fantastic” to the phenomenally successful “I love this game.” Another highlight Lynam points to is her first color commentating for the Sixers, which also happened to be Kobe Bryant’s last game in Philly. Lynam was born here but moved around the country as part of being a coach’s family (her father is Jim Lynam). She attended UCLA with a psychology major and began working in broadcasting doing sports updates and games. Her career progressed to include jobs with NBA En-

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? A: I wanted to work in sports. I loved being around my Dad and his jobs. I didn’t know if I wanted to coach or be in sports information or broadcasting, but in high school I became a huge fan of Gayle Gardner on ESPN and later Hannah Storm doing the NBA pregame for the networks. By the time I got to UCLA, I knew I wanted to be in sports broadcasting. Q: What was your first job? A: Kentucky Fried Chicken when I was a sopho-

tertainment, agent Arn Tellem who is now vice chairman of Palace Sports & Entertainment and owner of the Detroit Pistons, and as a sports anchor in Wisconsin. She’s covered figure skating and such prominent skaters as Michelle Kwan and Brian Boitano. Lynam was also on the St. Joseph’s University bench in 1981 for one of the most famous games in college basketball history. The Hawks, coached by her dad, upended the heavily favored and number one in the country DePaul University in the NCAA tournament. Injured Hawks player Mark Dearborn even let her have his seat on the bench. She was keeping stats during the game. Lynam and her husband of 26 years have lived in Center City since 1998. They are avid golfers and juggle their schedules as they raise their two sons. A tireless worker, she always enjoyed searching, understanding and digging deeper into the sports she covers. “Everything is quick these days, but I do believe the longer format is coming back.” Her advice to aspiring broadcasters is to “have sharp skills, be a good writer, be a good listener. What comes from good listening is the ability to ask another question to get more detail for the story. While the format may change, the skills to develop the story will always be needed.”

more in high school. My first job after graduating college was working for Arn Tellem.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

A: I don’t think I had a favorite pastime other than being active. We lived on a cul de sac and after school we would drop off our book bags and go outside to meet the other kids in the neighborhood. We played kickball, football and pick-up basketball in the neighbor’s driveway. My friend Robbie always picked me as his teammate even though I was the only girl; we were a great twosome on the hoops court. Q: What’s the best advice

anyone ever gave you?

A: I am sure it came from my father because he has given me great advice all my life. We have had so many great conversations throughout about a lot of meaningful topics. I have always tried to emulate the way he treats people with such kindness and genuine interest in who they are as people.

Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave?

A: Enjoy the journey; don’t wait until you get to the destination. Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile?

A: “Living Inside My Heart” by Bob Seger

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2017? A: Getting accepted into a Master’s Program in Sports Management and Leadership.

Q: What do you consider your happy place/your favorite place in the whole world? A: Rolling Green Golf Course. It’s a beautiful place to walk and play 18 holes. Q: Who is your Philadelphia-based idol? A: My dad. Q: What lesser known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philly? A: The Dream Garden at the Curtis Center followed by a walk to

the Ranstead Room.

Q: Tell us something no one knows about you. A: A few people know, but likely have forgotten that I ran a marathon, despite having never run more than eight miles prior to the 26.2-mile race. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? A: My mom’s Christmas dinner spread. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and applesauce. If we are talking about my own cooking, I love my chopped salad with veggies from the Fitler Square Farmers Market.

| rowhome magazine | 31

October / November / December 2017

The Phillie Phanatic Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award by Bob Wagner


ollowing the Phillies 1977 season, Marketing Director Dennis Lehman, along with Promotions Director Frank Sullivan, decided the team needed a mascot. They partnered with Harrison/Erickson – a design company founded by Bonnie Erickson, one of the original designers for The Muppet Show – to create the Phillie Phanatic, a happy, oversized, furry green creature that hails from the Galápagos Islands. The Phanatic was formally introduced to the public on April 23, 1978, alongside catcher Tim McCarver, during an episode of Captain Noah and his Magical Ark. The mascot made his on-

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I wanted to be a

tour guide on the Galapagos Islands.

Q: What was your first job? A: I worked at the Charles

Darwin Research Center on the Galapagos Islands taking care of the giant tortoises.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

field debut on April 25, 1978, at the Vet, with a Phillies 7-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. For the past five decades, the Phanatic has brought joy to the faces of Phillies fans young and old. Whether riding around on his ATV, taunting visiting players and umpires or dancing on the roof of the Phillies dugout, his antics have made the trip to the ballpark a joyful experience even during the most dismal of seasons. The Phanatic’s “best friend,” Tom Burgoyne, has “shared” the limelight with this beloved mascot since 1993. He interpreted the Phanatic’s answers for this interview.

advice you ever gave?

A: Smile and have fun – always!

Q: Favorite song from way back that always makes you smile?

A: “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden and Whitehead. It was the theme song for the Phillies 1980 Championship team.

Q: What is your best memory from summer 2017?

A: Rhys Hoskins’ be-

seek with my friends on the islands.

ing called up from Triple-A and lighting the league on fire! Wow!

Q: What’s the best advice

Q: What do you con-

A: Playing hide and

anyone ever gave you?

A: My mom, Phoebe

sider your happy place/ your favorite place in the whole world?

A: Richie Ashburn, Harry Kalas and Max Patkin (aka The Clown Prince of Baseball). Q: What lesser known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philly?

A: There is a plaque in the parking lot next to Citizens Bank Park marking the spot where Veterans Stadium once stood. It was there I saw my first baseball game and fell in love with the Phillies. Q: Tell us something no one knows about you.

A: My assistant picks out all of the green M&M’s from my candy jar in my dressing room at the ballpark.

Phanatic, told me to give 100% of yourself in everything you do.

A: Citizens Bank Park. Q: Who are your Phila-

A: Cheesesteaks

Q: What’s the best

delphia-based idols?

and soft pretzels.


Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

Dee Dee Sharp Lifetime Music Achievement Award by Maria Merlino


ee Dee Sharp, Philadelphia’s first African American female teen idol, has a confession to make. “I couldn’t dance. Not at all! I play piano, I play organ, but I cannot dance.” Her brother, the late Roy LaRue, Sr., taught Sharp just enough to get by but she admits with a laugh to “faking it all these years!” In 1962, “Mashed Potato Time” was one of Sharp’s gold record hits. Sharp’s career began at the age of 13 in North Philadelphia as a background singer for Lloyd Price, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson and Chubby Checker. She took drama classes and attended the Philadelphia Modeling and Charm School to prepare for her career in music and entertainment. “I learned how to project for the stage as I knew nothing about it. I came from a totally Gospel background. My mother’s father was Rev. Eube Gilbert. He was a pastor and Gospel was all I knew. He made me learn piano,” she says. “My family church is Third Eternal Baptist Church, Pastor Michael Burton.” Sharp directed choirs for her Baptist church in West Philly. When she started singing, she earned enough money to move and bought a house in Germantown. In 1967, she married legendary producer Kenny Gamble, moved to Mt. Airy and then Wynnefield. They divorced in 1980 but still

Q&A Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I really wasn’t thinking about anything except playing the piano. I wanted to be the best keyboardist I could be and write the best songs I could. Q: What was your first job? A: Playing piano at Community Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.

Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid?

A: I was a bookworm. I read as much and as often as I could. I didn’t want to go out and play. That did not excite me. Also, since I couldn’t listen to music other than Gospel, my mom would sneak and let me listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Pearl Bailey and Dinah Washington.

remain friends. They worked together, along with Leon Huff, to build what is now Gamble Records & Philadelphia International. “I love nothing better than singing Gospel or secular,” Sharp says. “ I just love singing. My grandfather told me I had a voice. I had an unbelievable relationship with him. If he told me to jump in the river, I would do it - even though I can’t swim. I miss him unbelievably. I was the first born grandchild and we just had a great relationship.” Sharp says she was afraid to tell her grandfather she was getting a gold record. “He didn’t know anything until he saw me on Dick Clark’s show. When I was 11, he told me everybody would know my name. When I was 16, it came true.” “He worked for the old PTC trolleys and one day he came in from work and all of my cousins and grandmother were watching the Dick Clark Show. He looked at the TV and said, ‘What’s Dione doing on the show?’ That’s how he found out I was Dee Dee Sharp,” she laughs. Dee Dee Sharp continues to perform. She will appear at “World Cafe Live” on November 18th in Philadelphia. Sharp was born Dione LaRue on September 9, 1945. Her stage name is a combination of her nickname “D” and her singing in the key of D sharp.

anyone ever gave you?

derful evening with my favorite singer, Jeffrey Osborne.

A: My grandfather was so

Q: What do you consider to be

Q: What was the best advice

wise and had insight. He said, ‘Just be the way you are.’ He told me just be kind and be gracious to everyone.

your happy place or your favorite place in the whole world?

is my cousin. I would tell her to be respectful of everybody. She listened. She’s a teacher now.

A: My mind always drifts to Gospel. The song my mind always drifts to is “I Can’t Live a Day Without You” by Ricky Dillard. That is my prayer, my everything. That is where I go to when I really need to concentrate or meditate. I don’t want to be without the Lord

Q: Favorite song from way back

Q: What lesser-known land-

that always makes you smile?

mark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philly?

Q: What’s the best advice you gave?

A: Cecilia Jane Robinson

A: “Love Ballad” by Jeffrey Osborne

Q: What is your best memory of the summer of 2017?

A: I just had a birthday. I’m 72 now. I celebrated at Corky’s Time Machine. Corky Warren is a really good friend. He gives me a birthday party every year. I also spent a won-

A: The Third Eternal Baptist Church. It’s been there for half a century. It’s on Chew Avenue between Wister Avenue and Cheltenham Avenue. It was originally my grandfather’s church. We all still go there. Q: Tell us something no

one knows about you?

A: My motto is ‘You do or you don’t. You will or you won’t. There is no in between.’ I also have a Goldendoodle - a 90-pound baby named Winston. And I am a lover of Christ. I can’t go a day without Him. A lot of people don’t know unless they know me. I pray constantly. Q: What is your favorite home cooked meal?

A: I make a really good baked macaroni and cheese and baked honey ham. My godmother taught me how to make it because my mother couldn’t be bothered with me trying to cook. My husband William Witherspoon loves southern cooking and that’s how I cook. When you see him, you’ll know! I would like to have a cooking segment on YouTube but that is a future dream.

| rowhome magazine | 33

October / November / December 2017

RowHome Remembers

Edward J. McBride 2017 Blue Sapphire Award

Service to Community November 24, 1937 – June 5, 2017

An Irish Blessing May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, The rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand. May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children’s children. May you be poor in misfortune, Rich in blessings, May you know nothing but happiness From this day forward. May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home And may the hand of a friend always be near. May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you, May pure be the joys that surround you, May true be the hearts that love you.


J. McBride | rowhome magazine | OctoberEdward / November / December 2017

River to River. One Neighborhood.


Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Blue Sapphire Award Honor Roll 2016 Blue Sapphire Award

Jim Donovan: Billy Paul: Frank E. Olivieri: Vai Sikahema: Dr. James Moylan:

BS 3 News Anchor, Consumer Reporter, Media Award C Grammy Award Winner, R&B Soul Singer, Lifetime Music Achievement Award Owner, Pat’s King of Steaks, Local Business Success Story Award Co-Anchor NBC 10 Today, Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Service to Community Award

2015 Blue Sapphire Award

Kevin M. Dougherty:

Merrill Reese:

Lady B: Patti LaBelle:

dministrative Judge, Court of Common Pleas Trial A Division, Community Service Award Sports Announcer, “Voice of the Philadelphia Eagles”, 2015 Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Artist / DJ / Old School 100.3, Entertainment Award Grammy Award-Winning Queen of Soul, Lifetime Music Achievement Award

2014 Blue Sapphire Award

John J. Dougherty: Kenny Gamble: Ukee Washington: Joseph Volpe:

Business Manager, IBEW Local 98, Community Service Award ongwriter/Producer, Lifetime Musical Achievement Award S CBS 3 News Anchor, Media Award CEO, Cescaphe Event Group, Local Business Success Story Award

2013 Blue Sapphire Award Michael Barkann: Sportscaster, Media Award Earl Young: Singer/Drummer/Founder, The Trammps, Lifetime Musical Achievement Award The Philly Flyers Broad Street Bullies: Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Wendy Hamilton: GM, SugarHouse Casino, Community Service Award Tony Luke, Sr.: Local Business Success Story Award

Dick Vermeil: Former Eagles Coach, Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Honorable Annette Rizzo: Court of Common Pleas, Community Service Award

2009 Blue Sapphire Award

Pat Ciarrocchi: CBS 3, Media Award Doug Collins: Philadelphia 76ers Coach, Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Sal Dupree: Vocal Coach & Entertainer, Lifetime Musical Achievement Award Councilman James Kenney: Community Service Award

Sid Mark: Radio Show Host, The Sounds of Sinatra, Entertainment Award Ray Didinger: Sportswriter/TV Commentator, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award Ed Sabol: Filmmaker & Founder, NFL Films, Local Business Success Story Award Steve Sabol: President & Founder, NFL Films, Local Business Success Story Award Cathy Gandolfo: News Reporter, Action News, ‘RowHome Grown’ Media Award Michael Toklish: President, Friends of Jefferson Square Park, Community Service Award

2011 Blue Sapphire Award

Blue Sapphire Award Alumni

Bob Henon: Chairman, Political Action Committee, IBEW Local 98, Community Service Award Charlie Gracie: Entertainer, Lifetime Musical Achievement Award

Sharon Pinkenson: Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Local Business Success Story Award Jerry Blavat: Geator Gold Radio, Entertainment Award Ed Snider: Chairman, Comcast-Spectacor, Sports Award Dr. Jack Carr: Founder, Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP), Leaders in Education Award Rev. Gary Pacitti: Pastor, Annunciation BVM Parish, Community Service Award Michael Neill: Director of Apprentice Training, IBEW Local 98, Leaders in Education Award

2012 Blue Sapphire Award

2010 Blue Sapphire Award Charles Pizzi: CEO, Tasty Baking Company, Local Business Success Story Award Bunny Sigler: Singer, Lifetime Musical Achievement Award Larry Kane: Broadcast Journalist, Media Award

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine congratulates our 2017

WishRock Winners 2017 WishRock Award

missing from photo: Scott Perry

Anything is possible if you believe in yourself by Santina Pescatore photos by Andrew Andreozzi

Nicholas Cirillo Jr. Nicholas began playing the drums at the age of five and has honed his skills as a recent graduate of String Theory High School and a percussion player for Woodland String Band. He recently started classes at Community College of Philadelphia and hopes to work in music production and continue playing the drums.

tivated and pushed me to play sports when I was younger. When I got older, I played junior varsity baseball and soccer.

Q: What is your favorite song? A: “Cashmere” by Led Zeppelin. Senior year of high school I got to play with the advanced orchestra because there are violin parts. We got together with the rock band elective and played [this song] at the spring concert.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Sports, music and Mummers. I play baseball,

Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: Go down the shore or camping. We like to re-

soccer, football and basketball. My dad always mo-

lax, go to the beach, listen to music on the radio


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

and just have a good time. We like to play on the beach, talk and reminisce.

Q: What is your favorite place to hang out in Philadelphia?

A: The Navy Yard. When my friends and I get together, we’ll play basketball [at the courts there]. There are a couple docks and we’ll relax and watch the ships and the aircrafts. I also like the lakes FDR Park. There are baseball fields and golf there. I like to hang out near the [American Swedish Historical] museum.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: As a music producer, a former known DJ, working with technology with music, creating different types of songs, different types of genres and playing back-up drums for a band. I could see myself creating a new type of music that our generation would listen to with classic rock, rap, hip hop and R&B.

Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: Go out to eat, spend time together.

A: A behaviorist working with children who have au-

Q: What is your favorite place to

Q: Name a teacher who has made a last-

hang out in Philadelphia?

ing impression on you and why.

A: Furness schoolyard/2nd & Jackson Park.

A: Mrs. Flannery (Ms. Varallo when I was in high-

ing impression on you and why.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A: Doing what makes me happy and singing.

A: My former teacher, Jeremy Rosa, was my fresh-

Q: Name a teacher who has made a last-

Q: Name a teacher who has made a last-

man through 12th grade music ensemble teacher. He taught orchestra and percussion and helped me out a lot with teaching me new rhythms, songs, everything from how to play one beat to writing music down.

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Neil Peart, the drummer for Rush. The way he plays and his style, he inspires me from his different playing point of views. He plays accurately, fast and has nice accents when he plays with the band.

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you the most proud.

A: Getting this award. Also, I want to thank my

parents, my mom and dad, for which I couldn’t have done this without because they have helped me so much in the field of talent.

Q: What advice would you give to some-

tism and other children in the special education field.

ing impression on you and why.

school). She definitely prepared me the most when I was looking into colleges, in and out of the classroom. She was always there for all of her students and was very beneficial to my future.

A: My eighth grade English teacher, Ms. Kamper,

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Mother Teresa. I would ask about her vows of

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Jim Morrison

chastity, poverty and obedience. She lived such a controversial life that I’m interested in learning first hand.

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment

taught me to think outside the box.

that makes you the most proud.

that makes you the most proud.

A: I made it to the second round of auditions for

A: Graduating college and completing my basket-

Q: What advice would you give to some-

ball career. Also, being able to come back after an injury and break 1000 points.

one wanting to reach their goals?

Q: What advice would you give to some-

the television show, The Voice.

A: Follow your dreams and don’t give up. Q: Favorite memory of summer 2017? A: Going to Wildwood and hanging on the boards with my friends.

one wanting to reach their goals?

A: Stay focused, work hard and be dedicated. You will able to attain anything you set your mind to.

Q: Favorite memory of summer 2017? A: Being able to train and coach the younger gen-

one wanting to reach their goals?

eration in basketball. Also, working more in my field and with children who have autism and behavioral issues. I realized how a little bit of guidance, support and care can go a long way.

A: Make sure you have hard work and dedication,

practice every day and never give up. Anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it.

Q: Favorite memory of summer 2017? A: The RowHome Magazine photo shoot.

Maureen Fiocca

Gabrielle Delisi Gabrielle can remember singing as early as preschool. She has always been surrounded by music. As a student at GAMP, she has been in every musical since the sixth grade and participated in the school’s talent shows. Gabrielle says that being a student at GAMP has enabled her to be open performing on stage. She enjoys singing jazz and R&B music. Her biggest accomplishments in singing were getting called back to be in the second round of The Voice and performing the national anthem for the Philadelphia Soul at age 12. Gabrielle would love to pursue a career in music but she notes she would also be happy if she could just perform locally.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Singing, hanging out with my friends, reading. Q: What is your favorite song? A: “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin

Maureen is currently working on her Master’s of Education at Arcadia University and assisting in coaching the women’s basketball team which she was a member before graduating. She began playing basketball as a child in a local league; playing the sport has been a part of her family ever since she could remember. Maureen hopes to work with autistic children as a behavioral analyst.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: I still enjoy playing basketball and really enjoy working out.

Q: What is your favorite song? A: “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney


Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: We like to have family dinners and just hang

out. I have three nephews and one niece so we definitely enjoy playing with the babies the most.

Q: What is your favorite place to hang out in Philadelphia?

A: This is tough. I love the city and everywhere in

it but I definitely go to Passyunk Avenue the most!

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Kristina Leuzzi Kristina started singing as a child and began taking singing lessons at Waldron Mercy Academy when she was in sixth grade. She has performed in many musicals while in school and believes she became more of a performer under the guidance of her vocal teacher, Jennifer Creed-Rego. Kristina is currently a senior at Bloomsburg University majoring in speech pathology after skipping a full year of college. If Kristina is not singing professionally in the future, she hopes to be able to use her voice to help patients as a speech pathologist.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Singing, cooking/baking, hanging with friends and embroidery.

Q: What is your favorite song? A: This is a tough one, I have so many! I would have to say “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae.

| rowhome magazine | 37

October / November / December 2017

PRHSalute to Service

Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: Eat together and travel when we can. Q: What is your favorite place to hang out in Philadelphia?

A: Stogie Joe’s Tavern, Spruce Street Harbor Park

2017 WishRock Award

Neumann University and plans to try out for the baseball team while in school.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Sports, playing video games and spending time

sixth grade. She recently graduated from Hofstra University and currently writes the “Theatre Geek” column for RowHome Magazine while also maintaining her own blogs. One of her passions is advocating for girls’ education which she worked on while at Hofstra as president of the university’s chapter of She’s the First. Her dream job would be chief theatre critic for The New York Times.

and at any of my cousins’ houses.

with my friends.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A: Working as a Speech-Language Pathologist

Q: What is your favorite song? A: “Times” by Lil Durk.

Q: Name a teacher who has made a last-

Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: Go on vacations and do different activities.

Q: What are your hobbies? A: Reading, writing and going to the theater.

ing impression on you and why.

Q: What is your favorite place to

Q: What is your favorite song? A: “Goodbye” from the musical Catch Me if You

and singing whenever I can.

A: Mrs. Jen Creed-Rego. I had the pleasure of

studying Voice with her for three years at Merion Mercy Academy. She is an incredible person and friend.

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Amelia Earhart. Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you the most proud.

A: Making Dean’s list every semester so far in my

college career.

Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to reach their goals?

A: Never stop dreaming and keep working at

it.Trust in themselves and never compromise who they are.

Q: Favorite memory of 2017? A: Traveling to Honduras to help build a school

with the non-profit organization, Students Helping Honduras. I met the most incredible people and it was truly a life-changing experience.

hang out in Philadelphia?

A: The Christian Street YMCA. Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A: Working, enjoying my career and helping my family in any way I can.

Q: Name a teacher who has made a lasting impression on you and why.

A: My English IV teacher, Ms. Junkerman. She

Can. My favorite non-theater song is “Shut Up and Dance” by WALK THE MOON. It always makes me want to dance.

Q: What do you and your family like to do together? A: We watch a lot of movies together. I think that

is where I get my love of theater because we will always watch either Hello Dolly or Mame.

was always on top of her students, informing them about the importance of college and ways to live a positive life.

Q: What is your favorite place to

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Michael Jackson.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? A: Writing for a magazine or newspaper in

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you the most proud.

A: Graduating from high school and being able to make my mother proud.

Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to reach their goals?

A: Never give up. If you believe in whatever goals you want to achieve, you will achieve them, I promise!

Q: Favorite memory of summer 2017? A: Playing in the RBI Regional Championship, meeting other teammates and getting my license.

hang out in Philadelphia?

A: Rittenhouse Square.

New York.

Q: Name a teacher who has made a lasting impression on you and why.

A: My choir teacher Mr. Borton. He always en-

couraged everyone to do their best and he never put anyone down. He made music class and choir practice fun and always made sure you felt safe to be yourself.

Q: Name a person in history you’d invite to dinner. A: Audrey Hepburn. I think she is the epitome of style and class.

Q: Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you the most proud.

A: Getting a grant for She’s the First. It was a lot

of work but it taught me a lot about planning an event and managing my time.

Q: What advice would you give to someone wanting to reach their goals?

Scott Perry Scott began playing baseball at five years old at the Marian Anderson Recreation Center. He played for three years on varsity at Preparatory Charter as an outfielder and first baseman. Scott notes that his biggest accomplishment so far with baseball was just being able to play the game after an illness left him sick for a year. Scott now attends


A: Be persistent. You will fail, but you will learn

from those failures.

Q: Favorite memory of summer 2017? A: My family and I went to Mexico with a group

Marialena Rago Marialena has always enjoyed writing and telling stories ever since she was first published in the

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

of close family friends. There were about 32 of us and every night, we laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt.

Four Programs for

Four Chaplains by Christine Beady, Executive Director


n February 8, 2018, The Chapel of Four Chaplains will honor the 75th Anniversary of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester in WWII by hosting our Annual Banquet at the Sheraton Society Hill in Philadelphia starting at 5:30 pm. During the past six years as the Executive Director, the Board of Directors and I have worked tirelessly to rebuild the Foundation to where it is today. We have gone from a six-figure deficit in 2012 to a four-figure surplus in

s e rv i c e

2016. This is all due to the generosity, commitment and trust that our donors have in the programs, leadership and management that we have in place here at The Navy Yard. Our programs now reflect the new “Four Programs for Four Chaplains” and we are very proud to post them all here: Legion of Honor Program. This program recognizes ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Those that go above and beyond their day-to-day to give back. This is now an international program that is thriving. National Student Scholarship Competition for students in grades 5 – 12. This program is based on entries received either by essay, art, photography and YouTube. This

year’s guidelines and application are currently available and due March, 2018. Emergency Chaplains Corps is now rebuilding and refocusing to include the First Responder Chaplaincy Training Programs. This national program is planned to go international in the future. Veterans Outreach is our newest and most challenging program. Our focus is to help veterans get their entitlements in the system. Our outreach has gained strength by working with different partners to recognize and assist with veteran PTS, suicide, opioid, depression and mental illness symposiums to allow our veterans to learn from each other and find ways to get help. We also help with securing Chaplains, honor/color guards and funeral honors.

During the course of the year, we are honored to meet people from all over the country who recognize the legacy of the Four Chaplains. Every visitor has an amazing story with memories of the Four Chaplains and the passengers and crew of the Dorchester and their own experience with military service. This is a blessing for all. We have had more than 1000 visitors to the Chapel already this year and that grows with every passing day. The organization is focused on continuing the legacy of these four heroic chaplains for generations to come. The Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Our United Way Donor number is #50075 and our Combined Federal Campaign number is #10083. The Chapel is also available for rentals for weddings, meetings and religious ceremonies, reunions, etc. Please contact us for more information or to visit our historic building/foundation at 215.218.1943 or Visit our website at www.fourchaplains. org. Like us on Facebook/ Follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. prh

| rowhome magazine | 39

October / November / December 2017

PRHSalute to Service


Honor by Debbie Leuzzi


y father, Charles Leuzzi, was born on January 16th, 1920, in Philadelphia. He is the son of Italian immigrants who migrated to the United States circa 1895. His father Joseph was illiterate and his hope in this new land of opportunity was that his son would learn to read and write, get an education and ultimately, a high school diploma. His mother Carmella was confined to a wheelchair due to debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. My father and his two sisters, Rose and Theresa, were her caretakers. The family lived on Tree Street and attended Francis Scott Key Elementary School. Thereafter, they all attended South Philadelphia High School. He completed 10th grade sometime around 1935, but was forced to leave high school to help his family financially. The Great Depression had left them, as well as so many others, in poverty. He obtained a job at the Wricley Nut Company, a small family-owned business that still runs today at 480 Pattison Avenue. My father frequently stops by the factory to reminisce with the current owner, the grandson of his first employer, who loves hearing stories about his family. My father served in the United States Army during World War II as a Sergeant in the 8th Division, 13th Infantry, Company D. He was drafted in 1942 and after boot camp and training, shipped out from Fort Dix on a transport boat headed for Ireland. From there, he landed on Omaha Beach 28 days after the D-Day Invasion. His infantry fought on the front lines across France following General Patton’s tanks as they headed towards Germany. While in Germany, he fought in a major battle of the Hürtgen Forest where the Allies suffered great losses; a battle that is immortalized on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. On



April 1, 1945, my father was wounded in action and received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service. He was Honorably Discharged in November 1945. On June 4, 1949, my father married my mother, Marie (Salice) Leuzzi, at Annunciation B.V.M. Church. They celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary this year. After his service, he continued his employment at the Wricley Nut Company, however, with three young daughters, he needed to earn more money. He obtained a job as a Shipper at After Six Formal Wear and remained in their employment for more than 40 years before retiring in 1994. It has been my father’s only regret in life that he was never able to fulfill his father’s wish of obtaining a high school diploma. The devastating effects of the Great Depression and World War II on his generation denied him this opportunity. My father is proudly part of what is so aptly referred to as “the Greatest Generation” of men and women who unselfishly sacrificed their own lives to make this world a safer and better place. Just this summer, my sister contacted the School District of Philadelphia and told them of our father’s wish to graduate. They reviewed his information and decided to honor him with his diploma. At 97, he graduated from South Philadelphia High School and we surprised him with a graduation party. Since his retirement, my father has continued to lead a full and happy life. Golf is his passion and at 97 years old, he still plays nine holes at Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park whenever the weather permits. My family and friends all marvel at his energy and positive attitude. Our family would be incomplete without him at our center. He surrounds his five grandchildren with his love and guidance on a daily basis. My sisters and I are so very blessed to have our heroic, kind and loving father in our lives. He is truly a remarkable man. prh

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017


burning sense of

by Joei DeCarlo

responsibility headshot by Andrea Noel photos courtesy of Philadelphia Fire Department Brent (Rudy) Edwards is not your average 17-year-old. On May 27, 2017, Rudy rescued his one-year-old nephew Bryce Noel from their burning home. Because of his bravery and selflessness, Edwards was recognized by Mayor Jim Kenney and the Philadelphia Fire Department. Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel spoke about Edwards, explaining that “Bryce’s rescue was the result of a selfless, split-second decision that required a lot of courage. The Fire Department was glad to recognize Rudy’s bravery during a ceremony in June [at the Fireman’s Hall Museum].” Since the rescue, Rudy dreams of becoming a fireman after he graduates from Overbrook High School in 2019. Until then, he is working a parttime job and makes sure he keeps up with his passion for boxing. Despite his act of bravery and recognition, he says if he “had to go into a burning house again to save his family, he would do it again without hesitation.” He is grateful that he was in a position to go back into the home to save Bryce. Rudy’s aunt Andrea Noel commends Rudy, who is modest about his courageous act. “Rudy gave not just the children in our own family, but all children who learn about him, a hero in real life,” she says. Following the event, Rudy has received letters from first grade students at JH Brown Elementary School commending him for his bravery and selflessness. Thanks to Rudy, both he and his nephew Bryce made it out of the burning home safely. Note: Despite the happy ending to Rudy Edward’s story, the Fire Department does not recommend going back into a burning building once you have safely escaped using your home evacuation plan. prh

The Birthplace of Freedom

Still Has a King. 9th & Passyunk Avenue

PRHSalute to Service

A master of his own destiny

Patrick Murphy


by Maria Merlino photo by John Martinez o the Honorable Patrick J. Murphy, life is all about family, his country and God. He says he wakes up every morning at 4 with the same goal in mind – change the world and make a difference. But before he embarks on this admirable journey, he has a few routine tasks that jumpstart his day. He reads Philly. com, does CrossFit and gets his kids ready for school. Maggie Murphy, 10, is a competitive dancer and honor student;

s e rv i c e

her brother Jack Murphy, 7, has played ice hockey since he was three. Both won the Christian Living Award for their grades at Holy Family Regional School, this year – an exciting experience for Murphy and wife Jennifer. “It was one of the proudest moments for me and my wife,” Murphy says. “They may have my drive but thank God they look like her!” he laughs. The son of a Philadelphia Police Officer and a former nun, Murphy’s earliest memory of his childhood is his mother telling him, ‘Make sure you kiss your dad goodbye because you don’t know if you’re ever going to see him, again.’ We’re a family that believes in public service, especially those on the front lines. Our police officers, firefighters and teachers make an incredible difference to our city and our country.” Murphy is an attorney and was America’s first Iraq War veteran elected to the U.S. Congress. He later served as the 32nd Under Secretary of the Army until January 2017. “When


President Obama nominated me to be Under Secretary of the Army and acting C.O., I had my hearing and I was confirmed four days later by the John McCain committee.” Murphy said he’s willing to work on both sides to put our country first. “To see people like that rally around me, the average is a year wait for this position. Four days was a record.” He is currently the Distinguished Chair of Innovation at the United States Military Academy at West Point; an ambassador for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes initiative; a Senior Fellow at the Association of the U.S. Army; a media executive and on-air talent. He also is Executive Chairman of the WorkShop Mercantile, a professional education platform. “The WorkShop Mercantile is a global company that will change the world by training and educating the next generation to help corporate America’s employees,” Murphy says. “It’s a partnership for business-tobusiness clients. They are hiring my company to help train by giving these

dynamic in-person workshops that can earn academic credit in colleges and universities. It’s very exciting to empower organizations, support their responsibilities and to upgrade their greatest assets – the human capital.” As Distinguished Chair of Innovation and Strategic Engagement at West Point, his new project will merge beautifully with the mission of developing leaders of character for a lifetime of service. In 2008, he wrote the book, Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress. It spun off many projects. “I’m very blessed to have my own TV show on MSNBC called Taking the Hill.” He also founded a media company named Taking the Hill, which creates television film programming, films and digital content. His current projects, among many others, include Warriors in Motion (Epix, 2018), Almost Sunrise (PBS, 2017), and Thank You for Your Service (Dreamworks/Universal Films, 2017). Thank You for Your Service, released October 27th, takes aim at the failed mental health policies within the U.S. military and their tragic consequences. “It follows the life of a soldier after dealing with the trauma of war. Miles Teller and Amy Schumer star in it. Jason Hall, who wrote the screenplay for American Sniper, directed it.” Patrick Murphy has some sound advice for his colleagues looking to do their part for the younger gen-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

eration. “How do you guide children that don’t have the positive upbringing? I devote my time to organizations like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. I mentored young kids from West Philly, served on the board and I’m still active with the organization,” he said. “I also coach kids.” I had great parents, teachers and coaches growing up and I try to give back as much as I possibly can in my area. Lead by example and make the time if you care about the next generation of kids growing up. Have a look at yourself in the mirror and be part of the solution, not just complain about it.” He encourages others to participate in organizations that are focused on the next generation. “If you don’t have your own kids or your kids are grown up, the Boys and Girls Club or PAL can make incredible differences and change lives every day.” Murphy says his parents encouraged him to take care of others. He calls it a “row house mentality” – taking care of the person on your left and the person on your right. His parents led by example, Murphy added. “Every one of us was put here to be a force of good,” they told me. “My parents, the 82nd Airborne Division, my Church – they all believed in me and instilled the confidence that I could to anything and I truly believe I can do anything,” he shares. “I instill in my children that we are masters of our own destiny.” prh


More than just a yoga studio

We teach people, not poses

Eat to Win

Balance all you do for others, with a little something for yourself. Mention this ad for 25% off your first service: Class Card or 1-on-1 instruction

Specialized one-on-one Yoga Therapy for Injury Rehabilitation & Prevention

The "Pros" of healthy eating

by Mitzi Jackson photo Credit: Eric Brigham Hair Stylist: Terri Graves (Tresses Salon) Developing a regimen for nutritious eating can help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and enjoy the foods you love again. Food is one of life’s great pleasures. If you follow a healthy eating plan six days a week, you may be able to savor one of your favorite treats on the seventh day – guilt free. Private Chefs have become an asset to the successful athlete or to anyone who wants to “Eat to Win.” A private chef can help you develop a routine that not only improves your game but can boost your overall health. Nutrition for a healthy athlete should focus on carbs for energy, like whole-wheat pasta and whole grain breads – protein that should be spread out through the day. It is important to drink plenty of water. I often make my own recovery waters for my clients that are full of berries and tart cherry juice to help them refuel. Cherry juice also works as an antiinflammatory. If you are serious about your nutrition, here are some of the foods I recommend you eat every day. Paired with exercise, you will feel better, sleep better and perform at a level that you have never experienced before.

Drop-in Classes Mon-Sat Flow Heated Hatha Yoga Friday Mini-Retreats Restorative Yoga & Massage Yogapuncture


Recommended foods for athletes Quinoa contains twice as much protein as other whole grains Berries, like blackberries and blueberries, are full of antioxidants Salmon is loaded

with omega 3 fatty acids. Oily fish is also a great antiinflammatory

Beans – especially for the vegetarian athlete – are an excellent source of protein. My recipes for 3 bean chili and hummus dishes are client favorites Whole grain pasta and breads will fuel your body

Bananas are bursting with potassium and help prevent muscle cramps

Green leafy vegetables like kale and Brussels sprouts are rich in iron

Nuts, almond butter & peanut butter help balance blood sugar when paired with carbohydrates. They are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Nut butters also are a tasty addition to your favorite smoothie

Celebrity Chef Mitzi Jackson specializes in private dinners, catering and meal fit plans for Professional Athletes. Visit or email

| rowhome magazine | 43

October / November / December 2017


Michael’s Giving H.A.N.D. Local organization, Michael’s Giving HAND, formed in honor of Michael P. Donatucci, CFA, who lost his battle with depression last July. Their goal is to focus on helping teens, parents, counselors, coaches and teachers identify and manage anxiety disorders and depression. By partnering with Temple University psychiatrists, the Michael’s Giving HAND team visits local schools to help teens recognize and treat the signs of anxiety and depression.

Recently, they visited: ❚ St. Joseph’s Preparatory School

❚ Villa Maria Academy High School

❚ Father Judge High School

❚ Central High School

❚ Roman Catholic High School

❚ Prep Charter

❚ SS. Neumann and Goretti High School ❚ GAMP (Girard Academic Music Program)

❚ Girard College ❚ Maritime Academy ❚ Philadelphia School District Police Officers

The school program consists of three separate presentations with four areas in each presentation. They present to students, parents, teachers and staff separately, covering: ❙ Anxiety in adolescents ❙ Depression in adolescents

❙ Substance abuse/addiction ❙ Bullying

The Michael’s Giving HAND team covers the causes and symptoms of each area and educates people on how to hear, recognize and deal with these issues once they arise. Their goal is to erase the stigma that makes people feel uncomfortable talking about issues related to anxiety and depression. Problems start when people try to ignore signs and feelings by burying them deep down. Doing so can manifest into something worse, becoming life threatening. They plan to reach even more schools this year. If you’d like to learn more about Michael’s Giving HAND, donate or find out how they can visit a school you are associated with, please visit prh


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

Recognizing the teen with anxiety or depression can be a life saver. For help or to donate go to

Michael P. Donatucci Foundation, Inc.



Law Offices of Perry de Marco Jr. Perry de Marco, Jr. ESQ.



Centre Square West Tower 1500 Market St Suite 4100 Philadelphia PA 19102 215-421-5528-Cell 215-563-6100-Office 215-563-6150-Fax


Why is Steam Coming from the COOLING TOWER? Water is used throughout the refinery to heat fluids during the refining process and to cool various production units while they perform refining functions. In some units, water temperature reaches more than 140 degrees fahrenheit. In order to continually reuse and conserve the water, it is sent to be cooled and stored in the cooling towers. Once in the cooling towers, hot water is cooled by an airstream that is blown at it as it enters the tower. The cooling process causes some of the water to evaporate while the major portion is cooled and stored to be reused in the refinery. The evaporated water mixes with the airstream on its way out of the cooling stacks at the top of the towers. This mixture forms the visible “cloud” over the cooling units. The only thing coming out of he cooling tower stacks is the water in the form of STEAM and AIR that cannot be retained and reused in the refining process.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions believes in going beyond supporting the communities in which we live and work. Through our active support of youth, culture, health, education and environmental opportunities, we strive to improve the quality of life for our employees and our neighbors.

We are focused to be the best every day.


Storm by Rev. John Stabeno


e have witnessed the devastation of hurricanes and natural disasters that develop when conditions are ripe. The addiction epidemic also has its origins in several contributing factors that have come together to create and strengthen our present situation. If I had to assess what the three most critical factors to epidemic are, I would suggest: 1. The spiritual bankruptcy of our times. 2. An entitled generation and 3. The abandonment of professional ethics. In this issue, I will examine the first of these factors. Addiction is first and foremost a spiritual disease. While many people debate whether addiction can even be classified as a disease, few argue that people caught in the grips of addiction seem to be absent of their soul. In one of the best books I have ever read on the subject, Addiction and Grace, Dr. Gerald May states, “Addiction is a state of compulsion, obsession or pre-occupation that enslaves a person’s will and desire. It sidetracks and eclipses the energy of our deepest, truest desire for love and goodness.” In my experience, the people who live with an addiction are truly some of the best people I have come to know. Most are sensitive, intelligent, humorous, personable and resourceful. These qualities go dormant when they are seeking to get “high” through substances or objects. Furthermore, it appears that selfishness, isola-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

tion, depression, combativeness and chaos become the characteristics that manifest themselves in their person. Many describe a Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde experience. At the root of this phenomenon of addiction is a desire for love, completeness, peace and ultimately, for God, that becomes replaced with a need for materials, substances and objects in the restless search for happiness. We search to fill the “hole in our soul” with things that create more of a gap because they are physical and not spiritual. They become our idols that further separate us from God, others and ourselves. In our world today, the trend is towards removing God from society. How ironic that the words, “In God we trust,” are inscribed on our currency and we tend to worship and trust the object of money more than the God who has given us life and the resources necessary for fulfillment. So much of our energy goes into searching for cures that are medical or antidotal when the solution to our brokenness has been right in front of us the whole time. prh Father John Stabeno has a master’s degree in psychology from Saint Joseph’s University and a second master’s degree in theology and pastoral counseling from The Catholic University of America. Throughout his priesthood, he has continuously provided education and support to individuals in various stages of recovery from addiction. He also offers solace for parents and families who are coping with the loss of their loved ones to addiction.


Team In Our Market

Center City South Team

Michael Giuda & Mario Tropea Jr., have built the Center City South Team into a top producing real estate team. Having a strong passion and drive for all aspects of real estate, Center City South Team With Keller Williams has a very impressive and accomplished resume, with an outstanding reputation. With their established and reputable career, you can trust you are in the best of hands. Their knowledge, connections and enthusiasm will ensure a seamless and successful real estate experience.

Michael Giuda Office 215-227-3333 Mobile 215-783-3697 Email

Mario Tropea Jr Office 215-389-2222 Fax 215-389-0337 Mobile 215-783-3698 Email

Philly Dream Homes

PRHReal Estate

Tips from the Pros 10 things you should know about mold

C P R r e s to r at i o n . c o m

1.-Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints. 2.-There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. 3.-If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.

courtesy of CPR Restoration

4.-Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth. 5 Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:

❚ Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside ❚ Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers ❚ Increasing ventilation ❚ Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning 6.-Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. 7.-Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.

8.-Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof or floors) by adding insulation. 9.-In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation). 10.-Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet and foods.

Does your home have mold? Call Anthony at CPR Restoration for: Mold Inspection & Testing | Indoor Air Quality Assessment | Air Sampling Surface Sampling | Visual Mold Inspection | Air & Water Intrusion Investigation Water Damage Assessments | Wall Cavity Inspection Air Check | Thermal Imaging Inspections Licensed and Certified Assessors | Fully Detailed Reports CPR Restoration is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

Prestigious ornamental iron Works in Pa & nJ

We Design, Manufacture, and Install Interior & Exterior Ornamental Wrought Iron Residential & Commercial 1022-26 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19147 (215) 468-8300

1383 New Brooklyn Erial Rd. Sicklerville, NJ 08081 (856) 783-5959



| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017



Brand New 3-story Townhomes with garages starting in the Upper $400’s Invest in a unique and luxurious lifestyle in Packer Park, one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods, with its own fusion of style, culture and personality. Sports and entertainment venues are nearby, and great restaurants and FDR Park are right around the corner.

New Phase Now Open! Ask about Quick Delivery Homes! SALES CENTER LOCATION: 2300 Hartranft Street Philadelphia, PA 19145

Where else will you get this much space, your own private driveway, 9’ ceilings, a private balcony, a gourmet kitchen with stainless steel GE® appliances, hardwood floors, and great views of the Philadelphia skyline?


215.339.5390 | Broker cooperation is warmly invited and appreciated.

DECORATED MODELS OPEN: Mon, Thurs & Sat: 11 AM-5 PM Sunday: 12-5 PM

All prices and features subject to change without notice. Please see sales associate for details.






Contractor’s Spotlight



John Tenaglia’s family-owned business has been providing Philadelphia and surrounding areas with custom designed wooden doors and stairs since 1931. He is a third generation craftsman who, along with Anthony Giacobetti, his cousin and partner of 37 years, provides clients with quality service, design and installation for your home or commercial project. Their attention to detail is unmatched in an industry where old world artistry takes center stage. In addition to wooden and glass doors – incuding custom made and double doors – their inventory includes stairways, railings, balusters and every item in between to ensure your finished project is a masterpiece. John’s Custom Stairs recently completed two projects. One in a private home in Conshohocken where Tenaglia’s team worked in partnership with WJK Associates - an architectural and design firm – to design and install a custom stairway. The second project features a handcrafted, one-of-a-kind stairway for one of Philadelphia’s most luxurious and best-preserved 19th century landmarks, the Divine Lorraine Hotel. Designed and constructed between 1892 and 1893 by architect Willis G. Hale, the once abandoned building has been transformed to include 101 luxury apartments and a lobby with restaurants and retail. More than half of the apartments have already been rented. In addition to doors and stairs, John’s Custom Stairs creates numerous handcrafted projects including custom wine racks. Have a project in mind? Just ask!

John’s Custom Stairs 2115 S. 8th Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.463.1211

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

IBEW Local Union 98

Lighting Philadelphia One Project at a Time John J. Dougherty, Business Manager

IBEW Local Union 98 SaluteS Philadelphia RowHome Magazine’s

2017 Blue Sapphire and WiShrock aWard WinnerS:

The Phillie Phanatic

Dee Dee Sharp

Harry Kalas Memorial Sports Award

Lifetime Music Achievement

Dei Lynam Media Award

Chubby Checker

Lifetime Music Achievement

Anthony Messina & Frank Sangiuliano

Local Business Success Story Award paStificio

Edward J. McBride

Service to Community Award preSident | eoM athletic aSSociation

Nicholas Cirillo Gabrielle Delisi


Maureen Fiocca Kristina Leuzzi

Scott Perry Marialena Rago


& rder LawO

Don’t fall for


by Frank C. DePasquale Jr., Esquire


I received a letter saying that my credit card has been “discharged.” What does that mean?

A: Credit card debts can only

be discharged by filing a Bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or 13. The credit card companies are prohibited from attempting to collect unpaid credit card debt once the debt has been discharged by the Bankruptcy Court. Unfortunately, filing a Bankruptcy negatively affects your credit rating and ability to obtain any type of credit or ability to borrow funds for at least 7 years.


My friend said she “slipped” in a catering hall’s bathroom and sued the owner. I was there and she did not slip. How can people sue for injuries that didn’t happen?

A: They can’t! However, it hap-

pens far too often. It is insurance fraud punishable by large fines, costs and even incarceration. In today’s times with all of the video surveillance capabilities, your friend is crazy to attempt to bring a false claim. If you are ever called as a witness to the fall, you need to tell the truth or you will be subject to perjury charges and insurance fraud as well.


I hurt my arm on the job but didn’t report it because I didn’t think it was serious. It turned out to be a muscle tear resulting in surgery and rehab. I had to use my personal and vacation time from work because HR said it’s not a comp issue without an immediate report. What’s the deal with this?

Once again, Frank DePasquale has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 2017. He heads DePasquale Law Offices, 2332-34 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. P: 215.755.4410. Email him at or visit

A: The Pa. Workers’ Compen-

sation Act states that an employee has 21 days to report a work related injury to his employer. However, an employee has 120 days to advise an employer of a work injury or 120 days from the time an employee first becomes aware that the injury or illness is work related. If you do not report the injury within this timeframe, you will not be entitled to Work Comp benefits.


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

De Fino Law Associates, P.C. Don’t Settle for Less

Buyers Beware Ways to keep your shopping season merry & bright

Michael Anthony De Fino

Vincent Anthony De Fino

Nicholas J. Starinieri

Nicholas L. Palazzo

Attorney at Law Attorney at Law

courtesy of ron Rabena Chief Administrative Officer, Allied Universal

Attorney at Law

Benjamin J. Simmons

Attorney at Law

Attorney at Law

Areas of Practice •Personal Injury •Wrongful Death •Wills and Estates •Real Estate •DUI •Criminal Defense •Corporate •Traffic Violations

2541 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 TEL: 215-551-9099 | FAX: 215-551-4099

Personal safety is an issue that concerns everyone. To help you take charge of your own safety in malls and parking areas, remember these safety tips. Don’t hesitate to report any suspicious people or situations to mall security officers immediately. They are there to help you.

w w w. d e f i n o l aw y e r s . c o m

In Parking Areas ❚M ake a mental note of where you parked your vehicle. ❚ Never park in an isolated area. ❚ Park in a well-lit area as close as possible to mall entrances. ❚ Never leave valuable packages in your vehicle. ❚ Store your packages in the trunk of your car. ❚ Know your vehicle’s license plate number. ❚ When leaving your vehicle, make sure all doors are

locked and windows closed. ❚H ave your keys ready when returning to your vehicle. ❚ Only leave your ignition key with a valet parking attendant. ❚ When walking to and from your vehicle, avoid dark areas where criminals might hide. ❚ If you have car trouble, remain in your car and use a cell phone to call for assistance or return to the mall and notify security.



❚ ❚ ❚

close to your body with the clasp or flap toward you. Never leave your purse on a store counter, on the floor in a restroom or in a dressing room. Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket. Shop with friends whenever possible. Report suspicious people or situations to mall security.

At PHILADELPHIA, we’re proud to be part of the fabric of this community, helping you protect what you care about most. We consider it a privilege to serve you.

JOHN FERULLO PHILADELPHIA 215-468-4116 Not all Nationwide affiliated companies are mutual companies and not all Nationwide members are insured by a mutual company. Nationwide, Nationwide is On Your Side, and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2016 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. NPR-0784AO (04/16) #


P # ROvIDINg# O ^ n YOur Side^ s # ERvIcE FOR 26 yEARs.#

About the author. Ron Rabena is the Chief Administrative Officer at Allied Universal Security Services. He can be reached at Allied Universal Security Services is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.


Here for you in PHILADELPHIA.

As you shop ❚W alk confidently and be alert. ❚ Keep shopping bags in your sight at all times. ❚ Don’t burden yourself with too many bags or packages. ❚ Don’t display large sums of cash. ❚ Use checks or credit cards whenever possible. ❚ Never leave your credit card on a store counter. ❚ Carry your handbag or purse





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October / November / December 2017

Dad s ’

Stuffings by Anthony Panvini

A local favorite for 70 years photos courtesy of Richard Commoroto



lain and simple, Carmen Commoroto knows how to cook. Driven by a passion for cooking since he was a kid, Commoroto has experimented with many different types of meats and foods—creating dishes far from plain and simple. Commoroto, 90, graduated from South Philadelphia High School in June of 1945 and was drafted immediately by the United States Air Force. He served


for two years until he was 20. “I worked at Horn & Hardart when I was 15 years old. I got my working papers a year earlier because of the war and I started out as a busboy but ended up being a chef behind the counter because everybody went in the army,” Commoroto says. “When I came out of the army I wanted to get back in the food business. But I wanted to learn about meat first, so I came here [Dad’s Stuffings] for a job.” John Ruggieri (the then owner of John’s Market which is now Dad’s Stuffings) hired Commoroto as a butcher. That is where he met Annette Ruggieri Commoroto, now 82.


“She [Annette] was 12 years old; I was 20,” Commoroto explains. “She always liked me but she was a kid. When she was 16 years old, my mother sent her a birthday card and put my name on it. When she got the card, she came up to me and said, ‘If you can’t buy your own card and sign it, you can go to hell’ and she threw it in my face. That’s when I knew she wasn’t a kid anymore,” Commoroto jokes. When Annette was 17, she and Carmen were engaged on Valentine’s Day. The wedding followed on Labor Day when she was 18. They have been married for 64 years. When Annette’s mother passed, John turned the store over to Annette and Carmen and John’s

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

“When I came out of the army I wanted to get back in the food business. But I wanted to learn about meat first, so I came here [Dad’s Stuffings] for a job.”

PRHthe menu

Market became Dad’s Stuffings. Their unique selection of homemade foods originate from family recipes enhanced by Commoroto’s signature spin on a variety of dishes. That’s how he coined his famous chicken meatballs. Twenty years ago, things took an unfortunate turn for Commoroto when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Nine years after that, he was diagnosed with urethral cancer. He currently has Lymphoma on both sides. Last January, Commoroto spent five weeks in Jefferson Hospital and endured six surgeries. He decided it was time to retire. But he visits the store at least once a week to lend a helping hand. “I get up in the morning and I thank God because a lot of the men that had prostate cancer with me are dead,” Commoroto says. “I had six operations in the five weeks that I was there. I was in bad shape. I was praying to die. That’s how sick I was. It was terrible but thank God, I came forth. That’s why

today I’m so thankful that I’m still around—I got to see my great-granddaughter be born.” Commoroto credits his wife Annette as the reason for his success—now and when they first started in business together. “She’s the thing that keeps me alive. She takes care of my medicine and even when she didn’t work in the store, she used to take care of all the bills and all of the paperwork—which I hated,” he says. “I took over the store and she took over all the paperwork which to me is a pain in the ass!” All in all, this corner store at 1615 Ritner Street has been a mainstay in the neighborhood for 94 years, dating back to 1923. Commoroto has been greeting customers for 70 of those years. Clearly, he is doing something right. “You know what it is, when my boys were in school, they used to come into the store ‘cause they wanted to make spending money. They would deliver orders and stuff like that. The one

thing I told them was ‘don’t ever sell anything you wouldn’t eat yourself.’ To me, I can’t see that,” Commoroto explains. “I can’t see you selling somebody something that you think you wouldn’t eat. I think that’s why we are in business so long. We might be a little more expensive than the average store, but we guarantee a good product and we try our best to fulfill that.” Commoroto’s favorite part through the 70 years he’s been here? The people. “I remember all my old customers because they were so nice,” he says. “Some people came in religiously at the same time every week and most of the time, I knew what they wanted. The best part about it is that I see a lot of the customers come in and they see me and come up and give me a hug. There’s nothing like it.” prh Dad’s Stuffings is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

Our primary care is you. Your primary care physician is the first person you turn to for your health care, so you need someone who’s highly skilled, close by and reliable. For the convenience of our patients in South Philadelphia, Jefferson Health provides outstanding primary care right in your neighborhood. When it comes to your health care, excellence is close to home.

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October / November / December 2017

PRHthe menu Courtesy of Lombardi’s Prime Meats

Top Round Roast with Herb Rub w w w . l o m b a r d i m e at s . c o m

Ingredients ➜ (1) 4 lb. certified Angus beef roast ➜ 1 tablespoon finely chopped ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜

fresh rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper Directions

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine herbs, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix into a paste. Rub the roast all over with this mixture. Place roast in a roasting pan fitted with a

rack. Sear for 15 minutes in the 450 degree oven. Lower temperature to 350 degrees and roast for an additional 60 minutes for medium doneness. Internal temperature should be 135-140 degrees. Remove roast from oven and let rest for 15 minutes, tenting roast with a piece of foil. Slice thinly against the grain. Serves 6-8.

PRH Signature Wine Pairing by Vincent Novello Guenoc Victorian Claret North Coast 2015 / $12 Lombardi’s Prime Meats is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

Meet me at the Penrose

PENROSE DINER 20th & Penrose Avenue Philadelphia, Pa.

215.465.1097 Open 7 days S-Th: 6 am to midnight F&S: 24 hours

Food for thought 56

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

S E RV I N G B R E A K F A S T, L U N C H & D I N N E R

3120 S 20th St Phila, PA 19145 215.755.7180 SINCE 1993

Courtesy of Eleanor Casciato

Authentic Italian


Meatballs are a staple in nearly every Italian home yet every household seems to make them just a little bit different. My mother, Maria Perri, taught me my meatball recipe. I learned by watching her and helping her when given the chance. Her golden rule was to always make sure that Italian bread was used in the meatballs. She thought the bread added more flavor than just using breadcrumbs. I remember being sent to the corner store to buy day old bread for her meatballs. Day old bread was what my mom wanted to use because she wanted the bread to start off hard and firm. She didn’t use all of the Italian bread. She always cut off the crust and used only the inside of the bread. She then softened the bread by adding milk and mixing it all together. When it comes to the ground meat in the meatballs, I prefer to use a mix of

ground beef, pork and veal, and then add sausage, as well. I think the combination brings out the flavor. I am also not shy about adding cheese. There should always be plenty of cheese. When rolling the mixture into meatballs, my little tip is to keep your hands wet. It makes it easier to roll. When cooking the meatballs, I prefer to use an electric fry pan because it helps cook everything evenly. My best friend makes her meatballs in the oven but I have never done it that way. Again, lots of different ways to make meatballs! My family always asks me to make my meatballs for our family gatherings. I love making them for the family and I love that the meal brings our family together. My children and grandchildren enjoy stealing the meatballs right out of the frying pan as I cook. I have to admit that they are really good that way. I hope you and your family enjoy my meatball recipe, too.

Live entertainment every Friday night with Bob Pantano. And we would like to welcome Benny Marsella and friends back every Saturday night. Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4:00-6:30PM. Visit our website for all oof our upcoming events!

Monday-Thursday 11AM-9PM Friday & Saturday 11AM-11PM Sunday 12PM-9PM

Meatball Ingredients (to make 12 meatballs) ➜ 1 lb ground meat (mix of beef, pork & veal) ➜ 1/2 lb Italian sweet sausage (no casing - broken into small pieces) ➜ 1 loaf of Italian bread

(day old & sliced) ➜ 1/2 cup milk ➜ 2 eggs ➜ 1 cup grated Locatelli cheese ➜ 4 garlic cloves (chopped very fine)

➜ 1/2 cup fresh dry parsley ➜ 1 teaspoon salt ➜ 1/2 teaspoon black pepper ➜ 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions In a large bowl, add and mix these ingredients one at a time and then mix after each ingredient is added in this order: ➜ Inside only of the sliced Italian bread ➜ Milk – mix with bread to soften ➜ chopped gar-

lic gloves ➜ Grated Locatelli cheese ➜ Fresh dry parsley ➜ 2 eggs

Once all of the ingredients are mixed together well, roll mixture into approximately 12 medium sized balls and set aside. Next step is to prepare the electric frying pan. Pour olive oil into pan and preheat to 350 degrees. When

➜ Salt & Pepper ➜ Ground meat mixture ➜ Sweet Italian sausage

pan is hot, place meatballs one by one into the pan. Brown the meatballs on one side and then turn to brown the other side. When the entire meatball is brown and cooked, remove from pan. Enjoy as is or add to your gravy.

Editor’s Note: Eleanor Casciato, 88, grew up on Clarion Street in St. Rita’s parish. Her story – Growing Up on Clarion Street – appeared in our summer issue, which so many of our readers enjoyed. She ended her story saying ‘I still make a pretty mean meatball, so if you ever need a good meatball recipe, just let me know!’ Of course, we took her up on her offer.

PRH Signature Wine Pairing by Vincent Novello Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina Riserva 2014 / $12

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October / November / December 2017

PRHthe menu Courtesy of Ketel One Vodka B E E F / P O R K / P O U LT R Y / V E A L / L A M B / P R E PA R E D F O O D S

Thanks again to the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, The Netherlands, for giving RowHome Brenda and her husband a very thorough tour this summer. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend a visit! Here are three cocktails you can make at home, courtesy of our friends at Ketel One Vodka.

Holiday Crush Ingredients ➜1 .5 oz. Ketel One Oranje® ➜0 .5 oz. Ruby Port wine Flavored Vodka ➜1 tsp. fresh orange zest ➜1 oz. cranberry juice ➜2 dashes Angostura bitters ➜1 oz. simple syrup Directions ➜C ombine all ingredients

Anthony, Vince & Vincent

in a mixing glass ➜S hake with ice

➜D ouble strain into a Collins

glass filled with crushed ice

➜G arnish with an orange slice and cranberry

“Three generations; a team that is a cut above the rest.”

1801 Packer Avenue / Philadelphia, PA 19145 P: 215.940.2211 / P: 215.334.1212 / F: 215.940.2210 Photo by Andrew Andreozzi

Ketel Soda Cranberries & Rosemary Ingredients ➜ F resh Cranberries ➜ 1.5 oz. Ketel One Vodka ➜4 oz. Club Soda ➜ F resh Rosemary Directions ➜ F ill glass with ice ➜ A dd Ketel One Vodka ➜ T op with club soda

➜ F resh cranberries ➜ F inish with fresh rosemary garnish

Ketel Soda Cucumber Mint Ingredients ➜ F resh cucumber ➜ F resh mint

➜ Ketel One Vodka ➜C lub Soda

Directions ➜ F ill glass with ice ➜1 .5 oz. Ketel One Vodka ➜ T op with club soda 58

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

➜ A dd cucumber slices ➜G arnish with a sprig of mint

Courtesy of Chick’s

Braised Short Ribs

with Pumpkin Risotto & Toasted Walnuts w w w . c h i c k s p h i l ly . c o m

➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜

Ingredients 2 tablespoons olive oil ➜ 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 2 pounds bone beef short ribs ➜ 1 1/2 cups red wine (such as chianti) Salt and pepper ➜ 2 cups beef stock 2 stalks celery, diced ➜ 2 sprigs thyme 2 peeled carrots, diced ➜ 2 sprigs rosemary 1 large onion, diced 5 cloves garlic, minced 4 fresh plum tomatoes, diced PRH Suggested Wine Pairing by Chateau Haut Dambert Entre-Deux-Mers ~ Blanc Bordeaux 2016 $14

Directions Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, bring the oil to a high heat and working in batches, brown ribs on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil from pan. In the same pan add onions, carrots and garlic. Cook about 5 minutes to soften, watching that they don’t burn. Add tomatoes, wine and vinegar. Cook until mixture is reduced by half. Add beef stock and return meat to pot. Bring to a simmer. Cover and place in pre-heated oven for 2 1/2 hours. Remove meat to a bowl. Strain sauce and set aside.

Pumpkin Risotto ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜ ➜

Ingredients 1 pound Arborio rice ➜ 2 cups dry white wine 8 tablespoons butter ➜ 2 quarts hot chicken broth 1 large onion, diced small ➜ 2 cups of grated Grana Padano cheese 2 stalks of celery, diced small ➜ 4 tablespoons butter 3 cloves of garlic, minced ➜ Salt and pepper 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into a small dice ➜ 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped Directions

About an hour before the short ribs are done, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion, celery and garlic. Cook on low heat until softened but not brown. Set aside. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain. Divide squash, puree half and reserve the other half intact. Add rice to the butter and vegetables in large saucepan, raise heat and coat well. Add white wine and reduce until dry. Stirring constantly, add chicken broth by thirds to pan until each addition is absorbed, about 16 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in all the squash, butter, cheese and salt and pepper to taste. To serve, place risotto in center of platter, top with short ribs. Pour sauce over all and top with toasted walnuts. Serves four.

Deli l Catering l Gift Baskets

215.463.9666 | 215.463.4975 Fax Give us a call because we do it all j Full-Service Deli j Homemade Daily Specials j Soup j Signature Salads j Hot & Cold Sandwiches j Free Delivery! j Corporate & Private Catering j Event Planning

Gourmet Gift Baskets & Specialty Italian Foods Shipped Anywhere!

| rowhome magazine | 59

October / November / December 2017

PRH Brides Guide

Janine DiTonno & Franco Cima

Cocktail style wedding Is a Dream-Come-True by

Joe Volpe



he beaches, sand, ocean and late nights chasing the kids fade away and become memories. The kids head back to school (thank God! My wife and I would have a mini celebration each new school year) and a new season begins. Here at Cescaphe Event Group, we always are inviting new and ever-changing trends to our weddings. I had the pleasure of meeting with one of our Cescaphe couples, Janine DiTonno and Franco Cima, who were married on Friday, July 7th, at the Atrium at the Curtis Center. As numerous family members and friends of Janine’s have been married with CEG, it was our mission to make her wedding day different from the rest. We blissfully assisted with the planning of their dream Cescaphe wedding. Their cocktail style wedding was a huge crowd-pleaser.

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

How did you meet? Franco and I both work in the Hospitality Industry. I was hosting an event for Franco at my workplace. Our paths continued to cross from that point on. Why did you choose a Cescaphe wedding? We chose Cescaphe because we knew they would live up to their reputation. Cescaphe always exceeds guests’ expectations. Being in the industry, it was important to us that that our wedding was extraordinary. We envisioned something a little bit different and Cescaphe made that vision come to life. Why did you refrain from a sitdown dinner? As classy and elegant as sitdown dinners are, we really

wanted something different. After brainstorming with Joe [Volpe] and his team, we came up with just the vision we were looking for. While we wanted to be considerate of all our guests, we wanted our wedding to be traditional with a sort of modern twist. We love the Cescaphe cocktail hour and the idea of giving our guests the option of dancing all night and eating as they please. Tell us about your cocktail style wedding. We incorporated traditional seating, a mixture of cocktail tables and lounge furniture. We had four stations, which were over the top and amazing! Each station catered to every guest. From tacos to the endless sushi, a carving station, seafood and pasta to name a few. What more

could you ask for? This allowed the dance floor to be packed and that’s just what we wanted. How was the planning process experience? Both being in the hospitality business, it was not as challenging as we thought it would be. Joe took the time to get to know us and find out exactly what we envisioned and what we wanted on our day – Cescaphe handled the rest from there. Our vendors Frannie Erace, Mark Louis, Johnny Looch all had great advice and used their expertise to make our dream come to life.

each play a role in our day. We both lost our grandmothers a few months prior to our wedding. Franco wore a pin with his grandmother on his tux and I had a picture of mine on my bouquet along with a lit candle at our head table, where she would have been seated.

by Joseph Volpe, Cescaphe Event Group

What advice would you give newly engaged couples? Don’t rush the process. Don’t overthink the planning and every small detail that goes into your big day. Enjoy every minute of this special time. At the end of the day, it’s about you both and that’s all that matters.

Cescaphe is a member of the PRH Business Network.

Ever keeping his eyes focused on the latest wedding trends, Cescaphe Event Group CEO/Chef Joseph Volpe is recognized as the area’s leading authority on ballroom bliss. With his innovative approach to the most important celebration of your life, his awardwinning Cescaphe Ballroom, The Atrium at Curtis Center, Tendenza, Vie, The Down Town Club and The Water Works combine a captivating ambiance with exquisite cuisine for an unforgettable experience. Visit or call 215.238.5750.

What did you do to make your day extra special? We included all of our family and loved ones to

photos by Mark Louis Photography VENDOR CREDITS Cescaphe Venue: Atrium at the Curtis Center

Photographer & Videographer: Mark Louis

Florist: Frannie’s Fancies

DJ: DJ Johnny Looch

Invitations and Stationery: Nicole Lannutti – Made of Paper Design

Dress Designer: Berta

Dress Shop: The Wedding Factor

Men’s Shop: Chadmoore

Make-up: Ashley Bohl

Hair: Marissa Campagna

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October / November / December 2017

PRHBrides Guide





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| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

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| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

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Travel with Pam Draper


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Looking for the perfect getaway?

Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya should be on your checklist. Located comfortably close to the Cancun Airport, this Caribbean jewel is ranked by U.S. News as one of the best beaches and top winter vacation spots in Mexico. Paradisus La Perla got the nod for Best Hotels in Playa del Carmen for 2017. Located on a palm-tree-lined beach with sparwling views of the tri-colored sea, its modern décor, extraordinary services and exciting restaurants will not disappoint. “Dawn and Dorette stayed along the Riviera Maya strip, specifically in the coastal resort town of Playa del Carmen. Their resort easily accessed many locations downtown on 5th Avenue [Calle Quinta Avenida] - shops, clubs, great bars and restaurants. Though their resort was adults only, it connects to a sister hotel that welcomes all ages. Resort dining credits are interchangeable at both locations.” Riviera Maya offers so much to do for every age. “Just outside of the resort, you can enjoy zip-lining or visit the Tulum ruins,” Draper suggests. For more information on personalizing your own vacation, contact Pam Draper. She can provide plenty of tips, package ideas and activities for the family or a grown up getaway. Visit www.travelwithpamdraper. com to get started. Travel with Pam Draper is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

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October / November / December 2017

PRHfashion Tips from the Pros

The Bold & the Beautiful ❱❱

by Victoria DiPietro


FLOWERS FOR ALL OCCASIONS “the unusual is our specialty”

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This season, fashion is breaking down barriers.

Designers and makeup artists are sending a powerful message about embracing individuality – setting trends rather than following them. Hair and makeup are forms of self-expression and a feel-good way to express your personality.

Lash out

Daring eye makeup is all the rage this fall, taking the form of chalky stripes in pastel colors, glittery gold eyeshadow swept out on your lid in a wing and metallic shadow with spikey lashes. Audacious looks from the 1960s are also making a comeback – a look I have always loved due to its crazy, sexy, cool brashness. If spikey lashes aren’t your thing, just go heavy on the mascara. Don’t forget your bottom lashes and maybe try colored mascara for the fall in blue, purple or even orange. Fan of false lashes? They might be a challenge at first but after a few applications, it gets easier. Your eyes will look bigger and if you’re tired, they will make you look wide awake.

Rock the Red

If I was stranded on a desert island with just a red lipstick, I would be perfectly satisfied. This season, lips are simple and muted. Lip stains work great since there is no need to have per-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

fectly outlined lips. A smudged faded lip can be more romantic and suggestive. I like using a lip liner stain all over my lips before adding a clear lip protector with an SPF to keep them hydrated and protected while the color lasts all day. If you wear nothing else on your face but a bold lip, you’re still going to look great. Try a dark purple vampy lip for a special occasion.

Brides in braids

This season, edgy is better. Cool short hairstyles, long romantic hair with low knots, long braids, waist length ponytails or even a crimped look will turn heads. I am both surprised and happy that braids are still in style because I love it when one of our brides decides to incorporate them into a hairstyle. Clearly, braids are not only a “bohemian” look any longer. So, go for it. Be bold! Be daring! Make this season your own! Victoria DiPietro and Bella Angel are members of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.


Hip Hops



by Geno Thackara photo by Justin Swan

hile some folks are happy to make a career spinning beats and rhymes, Chill Moody considers it just his opening act. The West Philly native is anything but chill (or moody, for that matter) about any of his wide-ranging endeavors: he’s energized and full of positivity, whether dealing in music, clothing design, business or beer. The attitude defines his life and career so much that he’s adopted nicethings as his trademark name. “It was always about appreciating whatever you had in your life,” he explains. “When music started picking up for me and I was doing more interviews and shows, people started attaching themselves to the nicethings movement and it blossomed.” The term reflects not just the upbeat outlook he’s inherited from a supportive family, but the desire to pay his good fortune forward. The rapper’s robust career has led to running a digital music label to provide a visible platform for other up-and-coming artists as well. Most recently, nicethings also provides the name for his own craft-brewed pale ale - a custom venture with Dock Street Brewery that kicked off to a rousing success at the start of summer 2017. He relates that his cousins lived just a short hop away from the neighborhood staple, though it’s gone through a number of changes over the years. “When [the building became] Dock Street and I was old enough to drink, we would frequent their happy hour. One day I met the lead brewer Vince and the owner, and expressed my desire to collaborate on a signature brew with them.” After all, this is the business whose 2015 saison was barrel-aged to the sound of the Wu-Tang Clan. This yield


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

makes Moody’s yeasty homage to his old hangout of 50th and Catharine: “I wanted to do something for West Philly, and more importantly give a nod to the block that introduced me to hip-hop and taught me so much.” Clearly that Philadelphia past will remain a part of his life’s makeup wherever he goes. “I was really inspired to get into the music industry by my family,” he recalls. “I also wrote lyrics, and the feeling of acceptance I got from my older cousins when they heard my rhymes really made me want to get into music.” His colorful hometown still remains his base when not out traveling - time off the road means time with his family, exploring the best local restaurants and taking in plenty of shows simply because “this is hands down the best live music city in the country.” It’s good praise coming from such a famously energetic performer himself. At the moment he’s focused more on the studio, but no doubt hoping to share the results with audiences in person very soon. “The project I’m currently working on, I think, will be my most important release to date,” Moody states. He hints that the upcoming Horns at the Funeral will see him expanding his role as producer as well as writer, and “it will also have some strong accompanying visuals that I plan to help direct. I’m certain it will be something my fans will enjoy.” Looking forward, it seems like the plan is more: new ways to improve his performances, an expansion of new artists on the label, and hopefully plenty more chill brews developed with his Dock Street friends. Whatever happens, you can count on Chill Moody to stay true to his roots and share the love with the city he’s proud to call home. prh

P RH music

Giving Groove Records gives back

Local artists donate half their earnings to music charities


by Matt Kelchner rtist-friendly, socially conscious” is the short, four-word motto that Giving Groove Records follows. And they just don’t follow it, they live by it. While the Philadelphia based record label just began in January 2017, it has already made a stamp on the local music scene thanks to a truly unique business model – 50 percent of the proceeds generated from an artist’s albums are given to them and the other 50 percent are donated to a music-related


501(C)3 nonprofit of their choice. “There are a lot of companies that are definitely charitable and into giving back,” co-founder Matt Teacher says. “But I haven’t found any whose model was focused on that and broke it down so simply, with the 50 percent to the artist and the other 50 percent to a charity.” Well there is one exception to Teacher’s statement. The philanthropic idea that is the backbone of the label, you could say, runs in the family. When Giving Groove Records was in the beginning stages, Teacher and fellow co-founder Mike Lawson were brainstorming ideas but could not land on something. That’s when it hit Teacher. “My dad and stepmom started a cookbook publishing company called Burgess Lea Press that followed the model where 50 percent of all after-tax profits would go to the author and 50 percent would go to a food-related charity.” Teacher wanted to take this and fit

it into the music world. “I started vetting it through all of the industry connections that we had made through the studio.” Lawson and Teacher’s lengthy list of connections comes from their time at Sine Studios, the recording studio they started alongside Bon Jovi recording engineer Obie O’Brien in 2005. Both were natives to the Philadelphia area and, after separating and graduating from different colleges, came together to open the studio in the Rittenhouse neighborhood. When it came time to getting Giving Groove Records off the ground, there was only one place they had in mind to anchor it. “Mike and I both grew up in and around Philly. We’re big fans of the city. We’re not planning on going anywhere,” Teacher explains. The city has become a hot band for emerging musical talents across many genres. Teacher and Lawson were looking to expand upon that. “We wanted to help bring Philly back to the industry town that

cial business model that it operates under. And while that is one of the cornerstones of the makeup of Giving Groove Records, they also look to the bigger picture at stake. In giving the artists the chance to give back to the scene that brought them up. Teacher notes, “I think it’s most important and most effective for the bands to not only get a good royalty on this project but they also get to give back to the music community that fostered them in one way or another.” Looking ahead, Teacher, Lawson and the rest of the crew at Giving Groove Records all have set their collective bar at a high mark. In the short term, they are looking to get the label and their acts’ names out to more and more people. Spreading the word and getting people excited about not only the amazing releases coming out, but the charities and artist royalties is a major focus. Looking further out, one of the main goals is to grow the roster. With one hand on the pulse of the Philadelphia music scene and the other combing through years worth of colleagues and connections, they are looking for bands that can make an impact. “We want to continue to foster up and coming but at the same time, we hope to see larger national acts want to put out releases on the Giving Groove.” prh

it has been in the past. Not just with great bands coming out but with other facets of the industry, as well.” Currently the label’s roster is a small but mighty crew of local bands that span across the spectrum of rock music - DECONTROL, Hoots and Hellmouth, OOLALA and The Dead Milkmen. “Because of our model, it’s somewhat limiting how fast we can grow,” Teacher admits. It’s something that he and the rest at the label do not see as a negative. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The most recent, and the most notable, signing was local punk veterans The Dead Milkmen. Their new record, Welcome to the End of the World, will be released later this fall. Admittedly a little giddy about the album, Teacher is a longtime fan of the group. “While they’re kind of snarky and sarcastic, they are also always making points - whether it be social or political.” The Dead Milkmen came into the picture thanks to another Giving Groove artist, DECONTROL. A mutual connection between brought everyone together and after a few meetings, the Dead Milkmen were on board. “Their new record is great. We’re excited to be putting it out. It’s a dream come true.” One of the major factors that have attracted each of the bands is the spe-

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October / November / December 2017


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Local Band Spotlight

The Psychedelic Elders


e’re all part of the same world, and every action you do makes a ripple,” imparts Griff Kinsey through a contagious, bearded grin. He’s leaned back against his seat, diagonally across from me. Also seated around the table are Joe Scorza, Campin’ Patty and Albert Fortino. We’re squeezed into a booth at the Collingswood Diner. The 1950s décor looks like it was vacuum-sucked through the space time continuum to our present moment. The scenery fits the narrative though. From the vantage point of the vintage-dressed soda jerk at the counter, it probably looks like I’m grabbing a mid-week bite with family friends or relatives. In actuality, I’m interviewing a band—The Psychedelic Elders. The genesis behind the name Psychedelic Elders was perhaps the most amusing story of the evening. Scorza recounts how after finishing rehearsal one evening, a friend who had been listening in proclaimed, ‘You guys are like psychedelic elders, man!’ There couldn’t have been a more fitting name, so naturally, it stuck. Kinsey and Scorza first teamed up back in 2013. Eventually they invited two mutual friends, Campin’ Patty and her late husband, drummer Tony “Bones” Corrao, to join them for a jam session. They immediately knew they had landed on something special— as Griff recollects, “We were not only connecting musically, we were connecting philosophically.” That philosophy was fully realized in their collaborative songwriting process, which they dub “The Elder Blender.” They draw heavily from bands they have fond memories listening to as teenagers: the Partridge Family, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Mott


1138 W Ritner St. Philadelphia, PA 19148 (215) 467-7644


by Bryan Culver

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

the Hoople, David Bowie and Cream. As such, their songs run the gamut from quaint ’60s-inspired pop tunes to progressive rock and blues. A fifth member, Jim Molinaro, eventually joined in to embellish their tunes with flute, horn and saxophone. In 2015, the Elders recorded their first album, Impressions of a Day. During the recording process, Corrao grew increasingly ill. As they began work on their current album, he passed away. It’s dedicated to his memory. The void left was deep, but new seeds began to take root. The band invited Albert Fortino to sit in on the drums during their next jam session— “Joe was familiar with my style. I told him I was available if they ever needed a drummer,” Fortino explained, “the chemistry was right.” Fortino became an official member in 2016. Spreading love through music became a form of therapeutic healing—it has since become their mission statement. “Nietzsche said, ‘without music, life would be a mistake’,” Kinsey adds. The Psychedelic Elders want to spread their joy of performing music with the world around them and in any capacity they can. As such, they are especially interested in performing charity events—you can get in contact with them through their Facebook page ( or their website ( They also have another album on the way, a concept album titled Elders Under Glass, which they plan to finish recording by November. As our waiter dropped off our check, Scorza summed up his personal sentiment of the band by explaining, “You know, I’ve been playing in bands since I was 15 years old, but this is the most fun I’ve ever had.” prh

Nerd Nite

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ooks like we might not start exactly on time,” Chris Cummins observes. On top of the usual hassle of Fishtown parking, it’s a rainy evening and people are straggling into Frankford Hall whenever they happen to make it. His cohorts Gina Lavery and Simon Joseph agree with a shrug; this is a low-key affair. The presenters are ready and the visual projections are working - for now so things are relaxed. Joseph decides there’s time for a pre-show beer and drifts off to say hello to some friends. Lavery laughingly tells me about packing their all-time biggest crowd of about 400 into the bar’s outdoor courtyard. Soon she’s busy again greeting newcomers and stamping hands, while Joseph returns to mention there’ll be a speech about home brewing next month. This team runs Philadelphia’s Nerd Nite on the first Wednesday of each month. What began as a small Boston fixture has spread to cities around the world: an informal event that gives wonks of all stripes a platform to speak about their interests and obsessions. The Philly branch started in 2010, though these three took over more recently (via getting pulled in by fellow nerds, often after making their own presentations). Lavery leans toward planning and logistics. The gents host the show itself, Joseph making a naturally engaging emcee; Cummins often defaults to A/V tech due to providing the laptop. Everyone shifts around as needed since every show is different. On this occasion we hear talks

on the surprising uses of diatoms (a kind of algae), humorous Victorianera dating rituals and wacky product placement in science-fiction films. There’s live R&B music during the breaks while PowerPoints are loaded and drinks get refilled. Lavery says the entertainment varies, though it’s usually something musical. “We’ve had some stand-up comics but we found that’s one thing that doesn’t really work,” she chuckles. The crowd is grabbing fries or chatting between segments, so unobtrusive is best. The series is going strong and steady, having bounced from MarBar (R.I.P.) to Milkboy among others. It’s unclear whether it might need a bigger space than Frankford someday, but for now it’s a nice routine. The venue is cozy and personal while each outing brings faces familiar and new. They usually have enough willing presenters to fill slots a couple months ahead, and there’s always a wide mix - some about science or history, others on art and pop culture, many simply unclassifiable. Cummins speculates about soliciting particular topics by Twitter, though there’s no telling how it’ll go or what other ideas will come next. There could be themed nights or partnered events run with science-y organizations (something they’ve done in the past with NASA and the American Cancer Society). Whatever form it takes, any Nerd Nite means some good laughs among kindred spirits. It’s one of the smartest and oddest experiences you can find in the city for just a $5 cover. www.philadelphia. prh


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October / November / December 2017


South Philly’s Matthew Delia Makes a Deal in the City


by Brenda Hillegas photo by James Blocker

ocal filmmaker Matthew Delia wrapped production on his latest film The Deal this summer in Philadelphia. He’s from the Lower Moyamensing area of South Philly and appreciates the closely knit (and closely placed) neighbors in his city. “Once when I was in my bathroom and sneezed my neighbor said ‘God bless you’ from their bathroom,” he says. As such, it’s no surprise that he used the city he loves and calls home as the backdrop for The Deal. Filming took


place this summer in South Philadelphia, Roxborough, Center City and nearby Wayne. The Deal focuses on Blake Scottman (Delia’s character) whose family owns a Philadelphia-based energy company that was hit hard during the economic crisis in 2008. As a result, Blake was forced to let some employees go. A few years later, Blake throws a party for his girlfriend (played by Lindsay Mason) and makes a purchase from small time drug dealer Ronnie (played by Rob Latta). Ronnie was laid off from the company in 2008 and sells drugs to survive. The former boss and employee are now at odds, which sets the plot of the film. Delia says the dark tones in the film also show the dark underbelly of Philadelphia. “Some people might not be aware it exists. According to a 2015 national drug threat assessment summary published by the DEA, Philadelphia has a terrible problem


with cocaine, meth and heroine.” The idea behind The Deal came from seeing many people Delia cares about suffer from drug problems. “Drug culture is an ensnaring one that is hard to get out of and truly changes you. I wanted to create a film that danced in the grey area; no clear right and wrong. Everyone is somewhat to blame for the events that transpire,” he explains. Filming took place primarily on weekends with cast and crew on set for 12-18 hours at a time. “Everyone was so gung-ho about the script, which, as the writer of the film, was really encouraging,” Delia says. “The experience working on [The Deal] was rather enjoyable,” adds Rob Latta, who plays Ronnie. “We had our funny moments but got our work done in record time. I can’t wait for our next project once this one is over. It’s bittersweet because I am happy it’s almost done but sad to see some of our crew go.” Don Manigly, who plays character

James Bergun, says the cast and crew immediately felt like an extended family. “The production crew, which consisted of both new and seasoned actors and filmmakers, formed an instant bond,” he says. “I loved working with such a diverse and talented production team. I’d gladly collaborate with everyone associated with this film again.” The Deal is fiscally sponsored by Winter Film Awards, a non-profit that helps filmmakers raise a budget for their film projects. “They helped so much. I was directed to the organization by a friend of a friend who has had help funding his various entertainment ventures through Winter Film Awards,” Delia says. Delia always has been a film buff. He began creating short films in 7th grade as a way to cope with being severely bullied. “I love getting swept away by stories on screen. Filmmaking is a great way to leave a legacy,” he says. “Film is art that surpasses the filmmaker and that always fascinated me. Someone can watch your work and you can have an effect on someone who you may have never met even long after you are gone. You can help someone get through a tough time in their life by just making a film about a common experience.” His first films were a trilogy on superheroes with the lead char-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

acter going through some of the same tribulations that he was going through at that time. “I finally had an escape. A film series that really got my interest in filmmaking going was, without a doubt, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. I felt, and still feel, tied to the character.” Delia also started acting in his films after shedding around 40 pounds. “I set a goal to expand my comfort zone. Acting was something I had always wanted to do but never felt confident enough to try until I slimmed down. Acting is a way to become someone else. You lose any and all insecurities you have...and become a part of something bigger than yourself.” Just before production on The Deal began, Delia created the Marvel comics fan film Hero or Menace. He also performed in his first stage play recently at Manayunk’s Venice Island Recreation Center. “I’m always trying to expand my range as an actor. The saw can never be too sharp.” The Deal will premiere in Philadelphia but Delia also has his eyes set on film festivals and conventions throughout the country. Follow him on Instagram at deliamatthew, Facebook at Matthew Delia and on Snapchat at mdeasy1997. “If you see me on the street you can always stop and tell me how much you love The Deal...and get a hardy high five!” prh

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by Leo rossi

Baltimore Ave.

Writer, Actor, Producer Eastman-Rossi Productions

When was the last time you went into a movie theater? Yes, I know there are many things on your plate: kids, work, sports, etc. Add to that the cost of going to a movie. $20 - $30 for two tickets, plus parking and overpriced popcorn. You ask yourself, “Why leave the comfort of my home where I have HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, ad infinitum.” Well, coming from an avid moviegoer – me – nothing can compare to going into a darkened movie theater with a giant screen and no interruptions. We were weaned on this experience. Think of the great memories you’ve had in this darkened house of dreams. Treat yourself. Get away from the media overload and see a movie. In a theatre! I am getting ready to film a pilot set in Philadelphia and Texas about a Cheesesteak King. My phone is going to be ringing with advice from Tony Luke Jr., Frank Olivieri and Geno Vento. Circle December 15th on your calendar for the theatrical release of Gotti. Since I wrote it and act in it, this obviously means a lot to me. Try to see it in the theater for the full effect. John Travolta is terrific as John Gotti. I want to salute Dawn and Dorette for continually putting out a quality magazine year after year. It ain’t easy yet these two dynamos do it.

Ciao Philly!




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PRHmusic&art The Whale by Samuel D. Hunter Directed by Matt Pfeiffer Kate Czajkowski, Scott Greer


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by Marialena Rago photo by Paola Nogueras

heatre Exile is no normal theater experience according to Deborah Block, the producing artistic director. “We were joking in our office, ‘Oh we need to come up with a new tag line. Theatre Exile: Don’t Slip on the Blood’ [Laughs].” The theatre company has been around for 20 years and is the only company that produces its work in South Philadelphia. It’s work that feels relevant to the world today and showcases a lot of Philadelphia writers. “We produce a lot of new work and we like to, sort of, dig into the human condition. Often exploring things other people won’t tackle.” It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the company. In the beginning of their 20th season, Theatre Exile was in literal exile. The company’s original space went up for sale earlier this year and the company has been wandering ever since. “We had been kinda nomadic like some other theater companies around, where we have been producing around in different theaters. We have always been in [the zip code] 19147, but our shows haven’t always been there.” However, the company got a break this summer when the new owners offered them a partnership. “They are going to take down the building and they are going to build 23 apartments


Call Eileen 215.465.7525

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

They are going to have a commercial space and they are also going to build a theater in there. In about a year-and-a-half, Theater Exile will move back into 13th and Reed and reclaim our location as the only company producing their shows in South Philly.” Exile really relishes in being the only company in South Philadelphia. It has discounts if you live in any of the four South Philly zip codes, does theater development in the neighborhood and offers an outreach program at Andrew Jackson School and Southern High School. Block might not have grown up in South Philly but she understands its heart. “I was very well aware that if I produce a show in that South Philly space and I produce the same show in Center City, I would sell more tickets in Center City. But I was playing the long game here because I believed in this neighborhood…”

Between now and when the new building will be ready, Exile will be located at 2329 S. Third Street with a strong season in the works. The first show is called “Ideation” by Aaron Loeb (Oct. 12-Nov.5) and is said to be “a ferocious and hilarious thriller.” Block says, “The play is really about questioning morals, [your] own morality and problem solving.” So if you want a night out but don’t want to drive 15 minutes to Center City, just go around the corner to Theatre Exile. Block recommends grabbing a drink after and continuing to talk about what you saw. “I want the people who come to the plays to use the ideas in the plays and make the world a better place. My job is to get the conversation started and I want everyone else to go out and fix the world. The play doesn’t end when the curtain drops. In some ways it’s just the beginning.”

Upcoming shows include: Ideation by Aaron Loeb (Oct. 12-Nov.5); Really by Jackie Sibbles Drury (Jan. 25-Feb. 18) and Michael Hollinger’s Sing the Body Electric (April 19-May 13). prh

The 4th annual Yo’ South Philly Phestival photos by Andrew Andreozzi

Philly The 4th annual Yo’ South Philly Phestival kicked the fall season into high gear with its block party style celebration featuring exciting music, fabulous food and the company of hundreds of good friends. Phestival ‘phounder’ Dan Vanore said the event is his way of bringing people together and showcasing the talent of local musicians and entertainers.

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PRHWomen in Business

Talia Schlanger

aces her gift for gab by Bryan Culver

WXPN’s World Cafe is a musical mecca for local listeners photo by Joe Del Tufo, Moonloop Photography


eeling drained? Aces! Need a burst of inspiration? Aces! Repeat the mantra: Aces! Aces! Aces! I recommend sitting down for a coffee with a professional radio broadcaster. Not only are they brilliant at leading in-depth conversations—which is sort-of what they do for a living—they also tend to possess that rare but highly sought-after trait of having a job they are truly passionate about. Talia Schlanger is the host and a producer of WXPN’s


World Cafe, a daily two-hour radio program in which she interviews an eclectic array of musicians, taking a deep dive into their background, inspirations and creative process. World Cafe is distributed by NPR to more than 200 stations nationwide but for many here in Philly, it’s an institution: a goto for music enthusiasts seeking something new. This is not a 9-5 office slog. Schlanger became the host of World Cafe on April 3rd, 2017, after long-time host and legendary Philly radio personality, David Dye, decided to step down from his role after a 25-year tenure. By any measure, this is a daunting gap to try and fill but when asked how she’s adjusted to the role so far, she responded with—well, naturally—“Aces!” And if you’ve listened to the program since her takeover, you know she’s up to the test. Schlanger has an extensive background in the entertainment industry, both as a television and radio host for


CBC, Canada’s national public radio and television broadcaster and as a professional singer and actress. Apart from having a natural gift for gab and a pedigree of musician interviews under her belt, Schlanger also does her homework. A native of Toronto, she already has logged substantial time attending shows in Philly, becoming deeply acquainted with the city’s robust music scene. An expert dedicated to her craft. Favorite local acts include Hardwork Movement, a hip-hop collective that emphasize inclusivity through their music. She is also a fan of resident indie heavyweights The War on Drugs—but she also vouched for the various side projects the band has spawned: The Building, led by multiinstrumentalist Anthony LaMarca; and Nightlands, an atmospheric and ambient folk music project produced by bassist Dave Hartley. To Schlanger, Philly’s music scene overall is “stimulating,” a key attribute that made it “easier to do her job.”

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

Her favorite concert experience so far was seeing Solange perform at Roots Picnic. “It still gives me the chills,” she tells me. She described it as being “spiritually elevated performance art.” A new host also means a fresh perspective—but what does that mean for the World Cafe? Schlanger described taking a venn diagram approach: David Dye had a major hand in developing WXPN’s ‘signature mix’: singer-songwriters, classic rock, indie rock, Americana, alt-country, blues, world music, Latin music, R&B and soul—but there’s an entire realm of creativity in hip-hop and electronic music that seems to particularly encapsulate the millennial generation –finding that intersection is key. But that key is really in the approach more than in any particular genre: “the core of telling great stories, in the service of understanding music better.” No matter how independent music evolves and mutates over the coming years, Schlanger will be there to capture the most sonically compelling, culturally impactful, emotionally pungent music out there and guide you through an intimate conversation with those artists. World Cafe airs at 2:00 PM every Monday through Friday on WXPN. If you’re driving around in Philly, that means tuning your dial to 88.5 FM. prh

Frank E. Olivieri, Founder

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PRHWomen in Business

Chesley  T u r n e r The Girlboss at Saint Rita’s Shrine by Dominique Verrecchio headshot by Karl Shouler / exterior by Fr. Dan McLaughlin, OSA


hesley Turner is a girlboss. Just a few months ago, she was named the new director of the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia, a treasured landmark in South Philadelphia since 1907. She is the first woman to be in charge at Saint Rita’s. Turner grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and attended college at Villanova University. She has a background in business, spending almost a decade in the travel industry via connections with the Augustinians, the same religious group that


oversees Saint Rita’s Shrine. Saint Rita’s started as a church for the Italian Community. “Anyone who’s been around South Philly knows how many people are devoted to Saint Rita…We have daily mass, daily confession and ministry outreach programs. The shrine is really great for people with very strong faith,” Turner says. She describes Saint Rita as a remarkable woman from the late 1300s who managed to broker peace between two warring families. Saint Rita is also the saint of impossible causes, which is why so many people love her. In tradition of their patron saint as a peacemaker, Saint Rita’s focuses a lot on ministry outreach and peacemaking in the Philadelphia community. When the Augustinians came to her, Turner was interested and humbled. “For years, I had the corporate job but I had a lot of involvement in the church, as well. I took a year off from work to volunteer with the Augustinians teaching in a preschool. So, I took the things that I know with marketing and business with me into this position, but I also took what my heart enjoys, which is helping people. I’m so happy that I finally get to work full time and serve the church and give back to the community. It’s a great world when you get to care about


what you’re showing up to work for.” Turner’s key goal for the future of Saint Rita’s Shrine is branding. She wants to update the look and feel online and in print, and build their identity using her business and marketing tools. She would also like to make Saint Rita’s a well-known place outside the walls of South Philadelphia and engage more local and national involvement. “I’m ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to work hand in hand with the Augustinians for over a decade. They find unique ways to give back and serve. They follow their faith and they are connected to human life. Saint Rita’s is looking to stay connected to the people that we reach out to because it is about what the people need and that is why we try to fulfill what the community is looking for.” In the 2017-2018 year, one of their largest initiatives is a project with Catholic Health Care Services to construct a building at Broad and Ellsworth. The top floors will be dedicated to low-income housing for the elderly who want to stay in their neighborhood. The 1st floor will serve as the Cascia Center, a place to support Cascia Ministries for outreach and counseling. When I ask Turner how it felt to be the first woman in charge, she couldn’t stress enough how humbled she was. “It’s really cool,” she ex-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

claims. The Augustinians want a lay minister (a non-ordained person) to head operations and programming. From a business perspective, Turner sees this as a smart move. Due to her business background, she can focus on the outreach while the priests focus on the spiritual and sacramental ministry. “This is an opportunity to give back. It isn’t about me. It is about the Augustinians and the mission of serving people and serving God. Every person wants to be given the opportunity to make a difference and that is exactly what it is for me.” At 34 years old, Turner is younger than someone who would traditionally be a shrine director. Her age enables her to bring a unique energy and perspective to St. Rita’s, helping connect to a younger audience. “Young people know that we’re all still human and like meets like. It’s a cool opportunity for people to see that young people are still wanted in the church and valued here. We value their thoughts, their skills, their knowledge. I hope my age is a sign to a community of all ages that the church is here for all people.” Chesley Turner’s message to the young women in the world who are trying to accomplish great things is to never doubt your worth. “The things that you have to give belong in the world. We all get discouraged and we all second-guess ourselves, but find the people who are going to build you up and take you seriously. And when they don’t take you seriously, come back and demand that they do.” prh For more information on Saint Rita’s Shrine, please visit

PRHWomen in Business

Paranormal Investigator by Jane Roser photo by Charles Mostoller

K at r i n a  W e i d m a n


hen she’s not singing with her four-piece alt-rock band Away From 30 or collecting recipes for her upcoming blog Haunted Kitchens (which will spotlight local haunted restaurants, bars, B&Bs and residential homes), paranormal investigator Katrina Weidman is spending long hours interviewing potential clients for Atherton Paranormal, the research group she co-founded with


former Paranormal State co-stars Heather Taddy and Josh Light. “It’s a lengthy process,” Weidman says. “If people are having issues with a haunted house, they can contact us. If we feel we can take on their case, we interview them and try our best to help. We’re a small group and our resources are low, so we mainly offer remote assistance, but Heather, Josh and I had been talking about doing this for a while. We’re all excited to return to client based cases.” Growing up in a haunted house in Doylestown, Weidman’s experiences with things that go bump in the night started early. When she was a few years old, she was sitting at the bottom of the stairs playing with picture blocks when her sister came down and asked, ‘How did you do that?’ She had just seen Weidman sitting on her bed at the top of the stairs a split second beforehand. Arriving at Penn State in 2004, Weidman signed up for their Paranormal Research Society club and was accepted into their training course. She then auditioned for A&E’s hit show Paranormal State, which follows the student-led club and became a regular cast member during the show’s run from 2007 to 2011. The year after Paranormal State ended, Weidman found herself cohosting a documentary on the Chiller network called Real Fear: The Truth Behind The Movies that investigated the stories behind films like Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror. Now, she’s involved in one of her most terrifying projects to date – investigating some of the nation’s most haunted locations during a 72-hour lock-down with


co-host and executive producer Nick Groff (Ghost Adventures). “Nick told me about this show he wanted to do called Paranormal Lockdown,” Weidman explains. “I thought it was a really cool concept and it just made sense to work together on this.” Paranormal Lockdown premiered on Destination America in 2016 and quickly became one of the network’s most popular shows. It was picked up for a second season for a 12-episode run, this time airing on TLC. The duo investigates places infamous for their high levels of paranormal activity such as the Statler Hotel in Buffalo, New York, Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky and the Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio (which Weidman says took Groff almost 10 years to get the green light to investigate). “The Trans-Allegheny episode is one that always sticks out to me because we captured this figure on camera that was just so weird. I’d never seen anything like it before. It looks like this blob that then turns into a human form, stretches out and slithers away.” Weidman and Groff get consistent (and creepy) results with their talking boxes, such as the GeoBox and GeoPort, which modulate electromagnetic frequencies, vibrations and radio waves into audio. “It could be easy to sit there and try to debunk it,” Weidman says, “but we get things come through that are historically accurate and match evidence we weren’t even aware about at the time.” The White Hill Mansion in Fieldsboro, New Jersey, is a classic example of this phenomenon. Built in 1722, the house was used as a brothel in the 1800s

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

and a speakeasy during prohibition. According to the house’s docent, several psychics say that a young man either committed suicide or was murdered by having his throat slit in the bathtub. Weidman and Groff were the first people to spend a night in the house since it was abandoned and when they used one of the audio boxes in the bathroom, they heard an eerie voice come through that said, ‘Cut his throat.’ The team also uses a 3D mapping camera that gives a shape to movements both visible and invisible to the human eye. In one room, the team captured the figure of a child walking into the room and hiding under a table where it stayed while they attempted to communicate with it, even moving the table to confirm the camera wasn’t mapping out the table. It wasn’t. The figure was still there. After all of these exhausting real-life ghostly encounters, what does Weidman like to do on Halloween? Laughing, she replies, “Well, normally I’m working, but if I’m not then Hocus Pocus is on repeat at my house.” prh Katrina’s favorite Phillyarea haunted spots: Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Ave.) The Logan Inn (Room 6 is supposedly haunted. 10 W. Ferry St. in New Hope) The Jennie Wade House (548 Baltimore St. in Gettysburg) The Farnsworth House Inn (401 Baltimore St. in Gettysburg) Katrina’s favorite Phillyarea haunted houses to scare the bejesus out of you: Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride (1835 Middletown Rd. in Glen Mills. Open until Oct. 31) Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Ave. Open until Nov. 11) Pennhurst Asylum (Church St. and Bridge Rd. in Spring City. Open until Nov. 4)

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From Spectator to Superstar

Nick Lamb


by Anthony Panvini photos by Scott Allison (via smugmug)

outh Philadelphia’s Nick Lamb, 23, breathes sports. A multi-sport athlete growing up, Lamb enjoyed playing whatever sport was in season. In the 5th grade, he took a liking to football when he put on the pads for St. Monica’s C.Y.O. football team for the first time. Despite being undersized, Lamb played quarterback during his four years in middle school and planned to play in high school until his career took an unfortunate turn.

s p o rt

“That feeling kind of just took me away from the game of football altogether,” Lamb says. That “feeling” Lamb describes was a concussion that he suffered in the 8th grade during the final game of the season. “I was the holder for extra points and we put in our backup kicker because we were actually winning the game and wanted to give everyone a chance to play,” Lamb recalls. “This kid came around the edge on the extra point and just came head on and blasted me helmet to helmet.” After the season, Lamb decided to drift away from football and focus on baseball and basketball during his four years of high school at William Penn Charter. Although he was tempted to try out for the football team his senior year, he decided it would be a waste of time and kept his focus on school. Lamb continued playing baseball


when he attended Muhlenberg College during his freshman and sophomore year. He said he couldn’t fully commit to baseball due to his love for other sports during baseball’s offseason and decided to move on. Football started to creep into his mind. Over winter break during his sophomore year, he told his dad he wanted to play football. His father was shocked. He told him he had no idea how big those players were. Lamb thought otherwise. “I thought just after getting popped once or twice it’d be like riding a bike—I’ll be ready to go again,” Lamb said. Lamb started his college campaign during spring ball of his sophomore year with no pads and enjoyed it. He recalled running around and catching passes as well as being complimented by a few players and coaches on his ability. He continued to impress, made the team and eventually inched his way toward 2nd string wide receiver in

the slot position during his junior year. “I knew all it would take was a little bit of action and just a small opportunity and if I could go in at any point in time, I could make a difference. I knew that I could jump in that lineup,” Lamb says. Lamb got his shot during the first game of the season when the 1st string slot wide receiver went down with an injury that sidelined him for five weeks. He stepped up and ended the game with five catches for 99 yards and a touchdown. Lamb’s three years of football eligibility at Muhlenberg flew by despite him having so much more he wanted to learn and accomplish on the field. With a passion for coaching, thanks to camp Tecumseh in New Hampshire, a sports camp Lamb attended from 2004-2010 and as a coach from 2011 on, he decided to pursue a career in football coaching. He wanted to show others how he managed to be so successful in three short years. “I have such a passion for teaching kids,” he says. “I think one of the greatest feelings in the world is to teach somebody something and then go watch them apply exactly what you taught them in the game.” Lamb began by contacting local kids he knew from the camp and other wide receivers that played for Muhlen-

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

berg after him. They were all in. As far as his playing career is concerned, Lamb is convinced that he still has some gas in the tank. An appearance at a regional NFL combine and a Philadelphia Soul tryout are likely in his future. “I probably will end up [trying out for the Soul] just because I don’t want to in 10 years say I don’t know why I didn’t do that,” he says. “I probably will go out for the regional combine, too. I know it’s a shot in the dark but I have nothing to lose and I have a good friend Giancarlo Regni—“realgstrength” on Instagram—that I went to high school with that’s actually a personal trainer. He hit me up right after my season was over and said ‘Nick, go out for the combine. I will train you. I want to be that guy.’” Lamb’s words of advice? “I think the biggest thing is that your path is not paved with quick drying cement,” Lamb explains. “You can switch gears whenever and you don’t have to be afraid that once you take that first step you’re going to be on this path forever. Let my story be that living proof.” Lamb uses social media as a platform to promote his business and can be found at “@84Footwork” on Twitter. prh

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One pitch

at a time


by Stephen Pagano photos courtesy of Frank DiMichele

ost young boys grow up dreaming they’ll become a professional athlete. Even though the chances are very slim, some do make it. The path to play pro baseball could be the toughest of all four major American sports, considering the many challenging levels of the Minor League system. Nevertheless, a South Philly native defied those odds. Frank DiMichele grew up at 9th & Tasker. At the

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age of 10, he fell in love with baseball. “I played little league and then eventually for The Sabres at 7th & Packer,” DiMichele says. He attended Saint John Neumann High School and graduated in 1983. DiMichele was a young and talented left-handed pitcher with a fastball that clocked in around 90 mph, along with a nasty slider. In the last game of his junior year, he noticed a baseball scout in the stands. “There was an old fellow sitting on a beach chair with a bow tie on. I believe he worked for the Phillies, and right after that, I started getting offers for colleges,” DiMichele remembers. He was trying to become the next guy from South Philly to make it to the pros, just like John Marzano and George Riley. Later, he attended La


Salle University for one year before transferring to Community College of Philadelphia. In 1985, DiMichele’s childhood dream came true. He was drafted by the California Angels in the 15th round. “I still think I’m the only person ever to be drafted out of Community College of Philadelphia,” DiMichele recalls. He was eager and excited to start his baseball career with the Angels. He spent 1986 playing Middle A ball with the Quad Cities Angels, where he won the Pitcher of the Year Award. In the two years that followed, he also pitched for the Palm Springs Angels, the Midland Angels and the Edmonton Angels. DiMichele pitched against greats such as Sammy Sosa, Ken Griffey Jr. and Juan Gonzalez in the Minor Leagues. It wasn’t

until 1988 that DiMichele tasted the big league for the first time. He was invited to Major League Spring Training with the California Angels in 1988. In the first game, the first batter he faced was San Diego Padres’ great Tony Gwynn. “I walked him on four pitches even though they were strikes,” he says. “Next up was John Kruk and I also walked him. Now, I knew I was in trouble. Catcher Bob Boone came out to the mound and told me don’t worry about it. He said they were strikes but the umpire wanted to see what I had because I was a rookie.” DiMichele also pitched against Barry Bonds and the “Bash Brothers” from Oakland, Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. DiMichele did make the big league Opening Day roster, however his stint was short. He pitched in only four games with the California Angels before being sent down to the minors. He was invited to three other Big League Spring Trainings but he never made it back to the show. After a few more years in the Minor Leagues, he hung up his spikes and called it a career. From 1991-1995, DiMichele was the assistant head

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

coach for La Salle University and in 1996, he took over the head skipper college job for two seasons. Nowadays, at age 52, DiMichele is an instructor in the King of Prussia area, training young athletes how to pitch and throw. “The keys to being a successful big league pitcher are location, consistency, health and the ability to change speeds with the baseball,” he explains. He also designed a product called The Pro Motion Arm Saver that teaches young players how to throw from the ground up. His personal favorite pitcher of all time is Nolan Ryan and he really enjoys watching Dodgers Cy Young pitcher Clayton Kershaw. DiMichele accomplished what most young kids who love baseball dream of – to play in the Major Leagues. Chicago Cubs coach Joe Maddon says, “When it comes to developing pitchers, Frank DiMichele is at the top of his game. His knowledge, experience and attention to detail are all well displayed throughout his website and material.” You can check out The Pro Motion Arm Saver at prh

The Neumann Goretti Saints Baseball team was honored at the Phillies Night of Champions for its 2017 State Championship. Coach Joseph Messina says, “The NG family is truly a special place and we are blessed to have the support of our administration and the best parents.”

Team Members ❚ Brian Reynolds

Night of Champions

❚ Joe Mastrobuoni ❚ Aidan Baur ❚ Michael Napoli ❚ Billy D’Ambrosia ❚ Eric Nardini ❚ Colin Eiser ❚ Steve Pizza ❚ Larry Longo ❚ Adam Jaep

❚ Anthony Pierandozzi

❚ Cole Shaeffer

❚ Tresean Bouie

❚ Jared Healey

❚ Joe Messina ❚ Joe Burgese ❚ Ryan Boykins ❚ Phil Sanborn ❚ George Masciulli ❚ RJ McGettigan

❚ Mason Smith ❚ Jimmy DeRenzi ❚ Head Coach Michael Zolk ❚ Assistants Joe Messina, Nick Nardini, Ron Malandro

❚ Joe Lafiora



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PRHGreenSp ce

Green goes

Phillies plant 700 trees

through Home Runs for Trees ➺ by Kerri-Lee MAYLAND


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

It comes with the territory. If you are born in Philly, you love sports.

(Clarification: you love PHILLY sports). So, for my 12-year-old baseball player, born at the nation’s first hospital in the heart of Center City, it’s only natural the team he cheers on is the fightin’ Phillies. I get it. I have plenty of my own fond Phillies memories, too. Field anchoring that glorious Halloween Day back in 2008 as the team did their Championship parade through town was one of my favorite assignments as a Philly news anchor. On that same day, fittingly, the same baseball playing kid I just mentioned dressed in a mini Phillies uniform for his school costume parade. If I close my eyes, I can see it like it was yesterday. These days, though, I’m cheering the team on for more than what they accomplish on the field. Their “Red Goes Green” program has this RowHome Magazine Green Space editor impressed, and anxious, to see it come to fruition. This year was the sixth year in a row the team partnered with PGW and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society on the effort they call “Plant One Million.” It’s an initiative that brings together Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey with the sole purpose of planting as many trees as possible to increase the tri-state shade canopy. While volunteers have helped plant nearly 550,000 trees for Phillies’ players, there is a catch: players have to hit a home run to get a tree planted. And trees are good. Really good. According to the Phillies “Red Goes Green” website, “Trees can increase property values and retail sales, reduce energy costs, flooding and crime rates, improve air and water quality and enhance the overall health and quality of life for local residents.” What? All that from a tree? Oprah wouldn’t be surprised. She is a tree fan, too. She even talked about her love of all things arbor in an interview with Essence magazine, last year. “…some people want pocketbooks and cars, but I want me some trees. About three years ago, I was sitting in my kitchen window, making coffee in the morning and I saw the six trees. I was making the coffee. I saw the six trees. I went out on the porch to actually count the six trees, and this is what I noticed: That I could dream the six, but beyond the six trees in my kitchen window are 3,687 trees. How do I know? Because I had them counted. I dreamed the six. That was as much as my small mind and my imagination can see. I dreamed the six, but God can see beyond the six.” Well, the Phillies can see beyond the six, 60 or even 600, because they have planted 700 trees through “Home Runs for Trees.” Should their bats remain hot, their efforts combined with those of the “Plant One Million” workers and volunteers—the goal of shading land by trees in the tri-state area to 30 percent by 2020 should be realized. And that is significant. It would be the greatest coverage in more than a century if, indeed, a million trees are planted in the next couple of years. In the environmental world, that’s pretty much a World Series win of its own.


It’s in their

Hearts by Lou Pinto

When anyone ever mentions

“The Twins” in South Philly, most people know they’re talking about John and Benny Ferrara. The Ferrara brothers are the owners and operators of Twins Auto Body and Twins at Fox Chase Auto Body. They also became involved in community charity after the loss of their infant nephew. In 2000, they joined the Philadelphia chapter of UNICO, an Italian American service organization. Through a united focus and effort, they helped raise awareness for the chapter by building its membership and introducing new programs and events that raised in excess of $250,000 for non-profits like Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Little Sisters of the Poor, Gift of Life and St. Christopher’s Hospital. The Twins also have volunteered at CHOP, Huddle Up for Autism, Reach Out and Read and Toys for Tots. Each winter, they coordinate clothing drives for the homeless and every fall, as members of the 1492 Society, they marshal in the Columbus Day Parade. After 17 years of service with UNICO, John and Benny Ferrara, along with the help of seven like-minded “family” members, founded their own organization – The Founding Hearts Foundation of Philadelphia. The Founding Hearts Foundation is proud of its members and their genuine desire to help and service children and their families, the elderly and individuals experiencing homelessness in our community. Both John and Benny Ferrara have received numerous awards and recognition for their service to our community, including being named in the “Top 20 People Making a Difference in South Philly” by the South Philly Review. To become a member, volunteer or donate, visit prh

2531-35 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19148

Twins Auto Body is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Business Network.

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October / November / December 2017

by David W. Cava

PRH Writers Block

Smoke &



o you remember your old phone number? On Broad Street, it was DEwey-4-0948 and on 10th & Oregon, it was HOward-2-2146. Phone exchange names once defined our neighborhoods and depending on how old you are, you may be able to recall your old telephone exchange name and number. The incredibly reliable copper line service made those rotary phones ring. Today, there are a number of technologies we use to communicate but none of them is quite as reliable as a plain old telephone line. Fancy exhaust fans are common in today’s upgraded kitchens – usually built over the cooking range to vent excess smoke. Growing up, we had a not-so-fancy exhaust fan that was built into the outside wall. I remember it had a pull chain that turned on the switching mechanism. Every once in a while, I’d pull the chain just to see that high-powered fan run. Every time I pulled the chain – you guessed it – the fan went on. Just like hearing a dial tone when I picked up the telephone, fan blades spun, exterior wall louvers opened and all things were right in the world. As I grew older, the desire to randomly pull the fan’s chain waned. Then on this one particular day, as I was learning how to burn up a steak using the broiler, I needed some assistance to clear the air. I reached up, pulled the chain… and no spinning blades. In disbelief, I pulled the chain two, maybe three more times in an attempt to jumpstart the aforementioned reliable exhaust fan. But nothing happened. I frantically opened the kitchen window and tossed the


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

smoke bomb of a steak into the backyard. Recently, I’ve been watching the so-called news channels with the exact same feelings I had that day when the exhaust fan didn’t move. The more I think about it, I’m amazed that something as important as our government no longer works in a reliable, appropriate way. It hasn’t for a very long time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect much from the men and women in Washington, but I do expect them to sit down every once in a while and work a few things out. The fact that the entire process has become nothing more than an expensive television commercial in an attempt to win our vote is appalling. On Election Day, we do what we’re supposed to do to change it up. I reached up, pulled the lever... and nothing happened. In disbelief, I pulled that lever two, maybe three more times in an attempt to jumpstart the aforementioned reliable process of voting. But year after year, nothing happened. As I waited for the smoke to clear, I picked up that old rotary telephone in the kitchen and dialed the pizza parlor to order myself something to eat. After the smoke cleared, I pulled the chrome cover off the fan and realized that my father had unplugged the power cord and stuffed the fan with insulation to keep the winter air from blowing into the kitchen. A rational solution to a problem. Solving one problem created another, though. I wonder if my father had clearly communicated this whether I would’ve even tried the fan or just opened the window first to clear the air. Maybe politicians like it when there’s a lot of smoke. And we are the ones getting our chains pulled. prh

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One race

theHuman Race


by Robert L. Woodard The Wynnefield Barber


he servicemen and women of our Armed Forces deserve the utmost respect for putting their lives on the line to protect our country. I recall an interview I had with the Tuskegee Airmen on my Barbershop Talk Radio Show on WURD 900AM. Those wonderful servicemen shared many of their successes and dilemmas during the time of war with the enemy. They were very proud of their accomplishments in defending this country and they believed that after WWII, opportunities for themselves and others would improve. However, by listening to what happened after they rendered and sacrificed their lives for freedom, justice and equality for all, the question still remained, ‘Can I, will I, should I and am I going to be accepted and respected, equal to the white soldiers after the war?’ Two of the fighter pilots, Eugene Richardson and Roscoe Draper, said they were so proud of their decorated uniforms that it made them feel like they were on cloud nine. They helped win the war and proved to the world that blacks could fly an airplane, not only equal to whites, but they became “Number One” in never losing a bomber plane on any of their missions. I will never forget their account of being treated “less than” by their fellow Americans after the integral role they played in winning WWII. Yet, in their hearts, they knew they had lost the battle at home against bigotry, prejudice, hatred, separation, segregation, discrimination and the “illusion of racism” when they returned to the land of their birth. All servicemen and women deserve much more respect and appreciation for risking their lives. As citizens of the United States of America, we must look in the mirror and ask, ‘What’s going on?’ (Marvin Gaye). We owe these veterans the opportunity to see all citizens of this nation “…just get along” (Rodney King). So, I say to all Americans, remember the words of the late Michael Jackson, ‘Take a look in the mirror.’ Each and every one of us must “make that change” to become a better citizen with love and respect for one another. Then and only then will we as a nation become great.

It is a sad thing to see our government leaders, both Republicans and Democrats, continue to act out political warfare even after an election. These actions will not benefit the welfare of “the People.” We must demand true leadership from our government. A house divided can only fall apart. Americans have a lot of work to do to make things better. I believe we must first change how we view race in America. The illusion that there is more than one race has crippled our society. If we change from viewing race as a plural to a singular, the word “racism” could not exist because there would have to be another race to be against. Science has proven that there is truly only one race - the human race. We should work hard to rid ourselves of bigotry, prejudice, hatred, separation, segregation and discrimination. Just think about it. Even city, state and government applications ask individuals to name their race. If we view race as a singular, it will become a healing force in an ailing society. Charlottesville, Virginia, is a perfect example of the reaction to there being more than one race. In order for white supremacy to exist, you have to believe that a white race is better than any other race. This and this alone creates disrespect for science as well as our human race. On that day in Charlottesville, three people lost their lives because of the illusion that there is more than one race. Two state patrol troopers were killed in a helicopter crash while assessing the situation from above - Pilot, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates. Heather Heyer, a white counterprotester, was hit by a vehicle during the protest. Each time we have an event like this, we create more and more divisive tactics that put our servicemen and women in harm’s way. Charlottesville is a perfect example of having the right to protest but that doesn’t give anyone the right to kill fellow human beings. If we as Americans remember nothing else, we should always salute the sacrifice of our veterans, our fallen and our current servicemen and women. Take the “RACE Test” today for a better way at prh



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| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

To educate, inform and demonstrate healthy eating habits and nutrition in schools and to school aged children through artistic and cooking expressions. Spread the Whiz adopts its first local school Students learn the art of cooking and good nutrition Spread the Whiz plans to adopt a local school every year and educate, inform and demonstrate healthy eating habits to students through art and cooking, according to founder Frank E. Olivieri. The Chester A. Arthur School became the first in Olivieri’s initiative and he, along with his Spread the Whiz team, built an irrigation system to help grow crops for the school. They planted tomatoes, strawberries, pumpkins and various herbs to use in cooking demonstrations with the kids. “We’ll be running recipe prep demonstrations with the students each month [this school year],” says Nancy Schure, Spread the Whiz co-founder and publicist. She and Olivieri launched these classes with students last spring before the schoolyear ended by teaching them how to make a Caprese salad. The group plans on focusing their efforts on just one school a year in order to give students the best experiences and skills possible. While slow and steady may be their motto, Schure is still looking at the big picture. It’s an unfortunate reality that many students don’t have food when they are home during the weekends. Schure’s grand plan is to be able to provide each child with a bag of food to take home every Friday. “We want to do anything we can to change a life,” she says. “It’s important for everyone to give back to their communities. We want to start with the schools.” Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine will host an art auction at its annual black tie gala to help the cause. Business and community leaders joined PRH at “Painting with a Twist” to create their own masterpieces to support Spread the Whiz. Their signed renditions of Van Gogh’s Mountain Sunset will be available for purchase at PRH’s annual Affair to Remember & 2017 Blue Sapphire Awards Dinner on Thursday, November 2nd at Vie. For information or to make a donation, visit

2017 Columbus Day Parade & 1492 Society Dinner Connie Francis, Grand Marshall photos by Andrew Andreozzi



“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” by Joseph M. McColgan SS Neumann-Goretti President

In 1897, the great American humorist, novelist and social critic Samuel Clemens – best known by his pen name, Mark Twain – was in London on one of the stops of an around-the-world speaking tour he’d embarked on beginning in 1895. While in London, a rumor started that he was gravely ill which was followed by a rumor he had died. Now according to a widely-repeated legend, one major American newspaper printed his obituary and, when Twain was told about this by a reporter, he responded: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Well, to paraphrase Samuel Clemens – the reports of SS NeumannGoretti Catholic High School’s death are greatly exaggerated! My name is Joe McColgan and on August 1st 2017, I became the new president of the high school. I have been entrusted with your school - and by “your school” I mean students, teachers, alumni and community – to continue to capitalize on the growth and academic achievement we at Neumann-Goretti have come to expect over the past

few years; to deliver nothing less than the finest Catholic education in the City of Philadelphia. In my short time here, I have often heard the words, “you’re closing soon” from many in the community. That cannot be any further from the truth. I assure you, Neumann-Goretti is alive and well and growing. If you don’t believe me, stop by and I will personally show you. But now it is time to tell our success story ❚ Total enrollment is up 18 percent year-over-year and freshman enrollment is up approximately 24 percent (as of this writing) ❚ Approximately 95 percent of our graduating seniors attend college ❚ More than $21 million in college scholarships and grants offered to graduating seniors ❚ More rigorous academic standards - eligible students can choose from up to 21 Advanced Placement (AP) classes, in class or on-line ❚ Eligible students can earn 12 college credits at no cost through our college partnership program (Students are only

responsible for the cost of books) ❚ All juniors are offered no-cost SAT prep (Students are only responsible for the cost of books) ❚ 100 percent of incoming freshmen receive a Google Chromebook ❚ Catholic League, City and State Championship winning sports teams ❚ Recipient of multiple grants from numerous Foundations to enhance instructional quality and improve student outcomes ❚ Ongoing facility improvements through investments by the Community Design Collaborative, The Philadelphia Water Department and Alumni - especially the Class of ‘52 ❚ Recognized as a Global High School by Catholic Relief Services ❚ Neumann-Goretti students performed more than 2,000 hours of community service this summer So, you can see we are not closing we are just getting started! If you are a Goretti or Neumann alum, come home. The door is always open. If you are a parent thinking where to send your child to high school – Neumann-Goretti is open for business. Give us a call.

IF THERE WAS A FIRE, YOU’D KNOW WHAT TO DO. WHAT IF YOU COULDN’T GO HOME AFTER YOUR HOSPITAL STAY? Waiting until the hospital discharge planner asks you which rehabilitation facility you want to go to is too late. You need a plan so you can stay in control. The goal is to get your life back and get back home as soon as possible. With the newest equipment available and aggressive therapy plans tailored just for you, tell the hospital discharge planner you want your POWER BACK!

CALL POWERBACK REHABILITATION at 888-982-2000. PowerBack Rehabilitation | Center City | 1526 Lombard Street | Philadelphia, PA 19146

By Genesis HealthCare


| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017 By Genesis HealthCare

I am a current

Alumni Spotlight


Class of 2012

Filippello Saints John Neumann-Maria Goretti High School

student at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, enrolled in a rigorous two-year Integrated Biomedical Master’s Program. I completed my undergraduate education at Villanova University where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, while successfully completing all of my premedical science and math requirements. Prior to my collegiate studies, I attended Saints John NeumannMaria Goretti (NG) High School. I was involved in many extracurricular activities while attending NG - captain of the girls’ soccer team and the cheerleading squad as well as playing for the girls’ basketball and softball teams. In addition to sports, I was a member of the student council, National Honors Society and many clubs including the yearbook, literary magazine, Italian Club, Usher Corp. and pro-life club. These extracurricular activities taught me invaluable skills like teamwork and leadership and helped me perfect the work ethic that drives me today. Although these activities took up much of my time, they did not stop me from learning and preparing for higher education. It was at Neumann-Goretti where I built a strong foundation and keen interest in medicine via rigorous science and math courses taught by fantastic teachers. NG prepared me in many ways to get where I am today, but especially through its strong math and science departments.

My math teachers, Mrs. Maria Kane and Mr. John Tomaszewski, helped me master many formulas, equations and operations that I still use today in my clinical lab rotations. My science teachers, Mr. William DiTomasso and Mr. Gino Lomaistro, guided me through detailed mechanisms and biological concepts that I use daily. It was in these classes that my interest in medicine truly piqued. Math and science were not Neumann-Goretti’s only strengths. The unique and diverse faculty has innovative teaching styles and is dedicated to making sure that their students absorb and understand the material. It was never about going through the motions. The faculty always made sure that extra help was available for students who needed it and spent many evenings and early mornings going above and beyond the required school day to help facilitate the learning process. I owe much of my current and future successes to Neumann-Goretti. Not a day goes by that I do not think of the foundation I developed there. I know this foundation will help me achieve my goals of attending medical school and going on to practice medicine as a surgeon. In conjunction with the support and guidance of my parents, grandparents, brother and my extended family, my Neumann-Goretti family reinforced my ambition and focus and became a major reason for achieving what I have so far in my young career. If any Neumann-Goretti faculty is reading this, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

neumanngorettihs . org

SAINTS NEUMANN GORETTI is the only Catholic high school in South Philadelphia Thank you for keeping the tradition alive

❚❙❘ Enrollment is up 18%

❚❙❘ 2017 Graduates received more than $21 million in scholarships

❚❙❘ 95% of NG students go to college

❚❙❘ Our students are active members of more than 30 extra-curricular activities

(the most in the Archdiocese)

❚❙❘ Accomplished Arts Programs ❚❙❘ And so close to home, you can walk to school. ❚❙❘ Come back to the neighborhood.

Schedule a visit or enroll today! 1736 South 10th Street • Philadelphia, PA 19148 • 215-465-8437 x 229

Join the NG Community.

| rowhome magazine | 93

October / November / December 2017


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Jackson ta o R e tt e r o D y


Bad knees & Ugly Shoes by Dorette Rota Jackson


knew we were in trouble the minute we left the women’s symposium on “Nutrition for 50+.” It started out as a mumble but as soon as we exited the glass doors to the atrium, my sister’s voice was loud and clear. ‘Bad knees and ugly shoes. No way. I am NOT heading down that path. We have to get back in shape.’ I did what I do best when Dawn starts barking. I ignored her. Headed straight to the curbside newsstand at Chestnut Street to buy a bag of soft pretzels. She’s on a roll. ‘Did you see some of the chicks in that room! They gave up! Women turn 50 and lose their minds. It’s not menopause. It’s surrender! We start cutting our hair and forfeiting our lip gloss. We wear flat shoes to weddings because our backs hurt. We have to get back in shape.’ I managed to squeeze the mustard from the little plastic packet onto my almost fresh pretzel. Not an easy task while walking. That’s when I realized she was talking about us. “We” have to get back in shape meant the two of us, not the “chicks” at the symposium. I felt a little guilty licking the salt from the pretzel but I didn’t want to share it. Took me too long to get the mustard on. She doesn’t ask for a piece of my pretzel. Too busy yapping. ‘I’m calling little Ronnie [Milandro],’ she says before the quiz begins. ‘Remember Joey [Renzi] from Fitness Works? They’re partners in this new gym. I forget the name. But it’s on the same street as the old D’Anna Hall. Near Southern.’ ‘Dear God,’ I say to myself. ‘Where’s John our Uber driver?’ I start tearing the knots off the pretzels in the bag. I feel pressured to engage in this midday rant. “I told you I will walk around Marconi with you after dinner now that the weather’s cooler,” I offer. ‘Walk? We have to run like Forrest Gump if we ever want to get back in shape! We just got a glimpse of Christmas Future! A sign! We’re looking at a very small window of opportunity before time runs out,’ she says in a panic. She pulls our AARP cards from her wallet and waves them in front of my face. It’s a welcomed distraction. I’m now wondering why she has my AARP card in her wallet. ‘We’re members!’ she announces like it’s American Express Black. ‘Bad knees and ugly

| rowhome magazine | October / November / December 2017

shoes. That’s what we’re in store for if we don’t get a handle on this right now. I don’t know about you but I’m not leaving this life in loafers. I’m wearing strappy sandals.’ Uber John pulls up to the curb just in the nick of time. I put a real hurtin’ on the soggy bag of pretzels. Over the next few days, I notice the shopping bags. Nike. Foot Locker. My sister starts using words like active wear and mesh panels ‘for the ultimate comfort and fit.’ I was sipping a cup of La Colombe on that memorable Monday morning when Dawn walked into the kitchen in her matching gray exercise ensemble. Meshpaneled stretchies and a matching tank that read, Work Now. Wine Later. The wine glass was trimmed in neon pink. ‘I’m off to Boot Camp,’ she announces as she grabs a cold Deer Park on her way out the door. ‘The gym’s called CrossFit PHL in case you’re wondering.’ She has my full attention now. “Did you lose your mind? Why would anybody sign up for a class called Boot Camp? That’s no aerobics class you’re joining. It’s CrossFit! You have to run and lift heavy weights over your head. Standing on one leg! You’re gonna die!” ‘But I’ll feel good on my way out!’ she says. ‘I can’t carry a roll of paper towels from the corner Rite Aid without breaking a sweat. I’m doing this. You’ll see.’ Hard as it is to admit, she was right. I did see. Two weeks later, her stretchies were sagging. Three days a week, she was upbeat and motivated. She talked about Holly, her trainer, and the rest of the team. The girls in her class. How fast the hour went by. The rest of the week we had to listen to her grunt like a pack mule. She shared her boot camp stories with anyone who stopped long enough to listen. She told us how she couldn’t feel her legs after the first class. Or throw heavy balls to the ground then bend to pick them up. ‘I can do 20 Rainbows, now! I couldn’t do one when I first started.’ Her morning jog down Passyunk Avenue to Stogie Joe’s and back is still her favorite workout. She gets to wave to all her friends on the Avenue as she sweats her way to the future. If you, too, feel haunted by the ghost of fitness future, join the gym. Yes. I did. No way I was going to be the sister with bad knees and ugly shoes. prh

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Join the Celebration! An Affair to Remember Blue Sapphires / WishRock Awards Thursday, November 2 / Vie Call 215.462.9777 for tickets & information

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