Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Spring 2021

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Real People. Real Stories. The story of Pat Ciarrocchi & Her Brain Surgery

Lifting the “window on my mind” had illuminated my soul

... in Her Own Words photo by Phil Kramer

Plus+ Inspiring stories of hope, healing & the power of the human spirit

Sean Dugan Colette & John Della Guardia

Helen & Wayne Hulme Tonda Tomasetti

Michael Younkers Simon’s Heart Covenant House




16_ LIFE

Love Our Locals RowHome checks in on some of the friendliest faces in the neighborhood! A shout-out to our local businesses & members of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network

27_ REAL PEOPLE REAL STORIES Pat Ciarrocchi Sean Dugan Helen & Wayne Hulme Colette & John Della Guardia Tonda Tomasetti Michael Younkers Simon’s Heart Covenant House

37_ HEALTH Don’t let social distancing keep you from the dentist courtesy of Robert J. Spennato, DMD & Williamsburg Dental

44_ REAL ESTATE A Kitchen Remodel adds value to your home SLR Construction


64_ THE MENU Quick & Easy Vegetable Stir Fry courtesy of Chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson




Beach Waving on the summer sand courtesy of Diane Bosco

77_ MUSIC & ARTS Theatre Horizon offers Autism Drama Program by Marialena Rago


88_ GREEN SPACE 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show Blooming outdoors at FDR Park! June 5th – 13th by Brenda Hillegas


Ph illy






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John J. Dougherty Business Manager IBEW Local 98


The World Needs Your Light


REGULARS 6_ FROM THE PUBLISHERS A Toast to Wine Season! Follow RowHome Wine Columnist Vincent R. Novello, Jr. every issue

PRH Guide to the best wines of the season! PRH Wine Pairings with every RH recipe!

10_ NEIGHBORHOOD NOIR 1951. Pat Zollo at his Butcher Shop on 11th & Shunk

12_ HANGIN’ OUT Bob & Cindy Roser celebrate their 50th anniversary

14_ ON THE CORNER Decision 55 by Mark Casasanto

24_ WINE KNOW PRH Spring Guide to fine wines by Vincent R. Novello, Jr.

40_ HEALTH Addiction does not discriminate


46_ REAL ESTATE Your ‘Get Top Dollar’ Checklist courtesy of Jeanne Polizzi

52_ TIPS FROM THE PROS Bicycle Safety Find a bike that fits By Ron Rabena Chief Client Officer/Allied Universal



68_ BRIDES GUIDE Stacie & Rich Walters Franklin’s View sets the stage for a beautiful outdoor wedding by Joe Volpe

74_ MUSIC & ARTS BOTE: Best of The Eagles by Matt Kelchner

83_ WRITERS BLOCK Landmarks & Legacies of our historical neighborhoods by Robert L. Woodard The Wynnefield Barber

courtesy of Theresa Collins, BA CADC

Directions Outpatient Centers


96_ PRESSED The PANDbag by Dorette Rota Jackson



ON THE COVER ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Live! Casino & Hotel

The opening of the casino resort destination establishes the Philadelphia Stadium District as the only place in the country to experience big league action from four major professional sports teams, best-in-class dining and entertainment, world-class gaming and luxury hotel 900 Packer Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19148


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| MAY | JUNE 2021


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


Dawn Rhoades EDITOR









Andrew Andreozzi Phil Kramer Maria Merlino ACCOUNT MANAGER


Michael Rhoades CONTRIBUTORS Mark Casasanto Santina Pescatore David Cava Lou Pinto Joei DeCarlo Michael Rhoades Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq Marialena Rago Victoria DiPietro Jane Roser Larry Gallone Jade Rota Brett Jackson Debbie Russino Matt Kelchner Charles Sacchetti Maria Merlino Anthony Santini John Nacchio Geno Thackara Vincent R. Novello, Jr. Dominique Verrecchio Stephen Pagano Robert “Woody” Woodard Anthony Panvini 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. 2021 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.

April / May / June 2021




photo by ANDREW ANDREOZZI photography

Toast1 | tōst |

— a call to a gathering of people to raise their glasses and drink together in honor of a person or thing, or an instance of drinking in this way After months in hibernation, life emerges. Trees are blooming. Grapes are budding on the vine. There’s no time like now to raise a glass of your favorite merlot and toast to sunny days ahead surrounded by family, friends and neighbors. If you need some help deciding which wine to pour into your glass, RowHome columnist & wine connoisseur Vincent Novello shares his top picks of the vineyard in every edition of PRH! (see page 24 for his spring lineup!) Want to pair the perfect wine with one of our amazing RowHome recipes? Vincent takes care of that, too! Look for his PRH Signature Wine Pairings at the end of each delectable dish in The Menu section every issue! Most priced under $20 a bottle! Come out, come out, wherever you are. Be safe. Be kind. Enjoy the sunshine.

River to River. One Neighborhood.


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from the PUBLISHERS Dorette & Dawn

Credits art direction by Omar Rubio Hair by The Cutting Point Tuxedo by Rudi’s Formal Wear Costume Design by Mark Mariani Location: IATSE Ballroom



Exceptionally Built. Eternity of Beauty.

1721 E. Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.551.9070


I always enjoy reading the RowHome Remembers articles by Tony Santini, but “Brushes with Stardom” brought back a fond memory! When I was younger, my family used to go out every Sunday for dinner. One time, we went to a Howard Johnson’s restaurant in a hotel in Cherry Hill, NJ, near the old Latin Casino. Johnny Mathis was also eating at the same time. He came over to our table to introduce himself. He was a very nice gentleman to take the time to talk to us. It was the beginning of his career. I was too young to know who he was, but my mother sure knew! I was just a kid, so it was a real long time ago but the experience of meeting someone famous was something I’ve never forgotten. Best Regards, Kathy Schwartz


Thank you for the beautiful article on my daughter Mia [Messina]. Brenda [Hillegas] really captured her passion. My family is very passionate about NG and we thank you for everything you do for our school. Joseph Messina


Paul Stolfo, Director • Marianne Stolfo, Director

The Tradition Continues the Fourth Generation

The Stolfo

Funeral Home Where Everyone is Treated Like Family 2536 So. Broad Street • Philadelphia, PA 19145 215.334.7376 8

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I am so happy to get [RowHome]. I feel like a part of home comes to visit. Winter 2021 might be my favorite issue because of the recipes. I’m making ricotta cheesecake! I have a recipe but can’t wait to try this one! Carol (Philly girl at heart, living in AZ)


Loving the winter PRH issue. It’s got me crying for Kenny [Jeremiah] and laughing at Dawn and Dorette’s “Bonus Space” [Pressed]. Nancy Hinkie


My family and I would like to offer our thanks for the article written by Larry Gallone about Joe Hand Promotions appearing in the Winter 2021 issue. The article does a great job presenting insight into our family and business and our connection to Philadelphia. Kind regards, Joe Hand Jr. / President


I read with great interest Jim Gildea’s article, “Woolworth’s Basement.” As a former high school math teacher and principal, myself, I very well understand the conditions which Jim describes. Authentic teachers like Jim try to not only get information across to their students but try to motivate them to improve their lives by careful preparation. Jim is an excellent instructor, very empathetic and generous with his students. His article also describes his humility and integrity. (Rev.) Richard Antonucci, O. Praem Former teacher and Principal at St. John Neumann High School

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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:

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angin’ Out with Elle H Rhoades in one of her favorite spring looks!


angin’ Out with Bella H Angel’s Victoria DiPietro & husband Michael Snyder who recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary.


nthony Corrato & A Vince Caputo of NFL Films hang with On the Corner Mark at the NFL Broadcast Compound at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, during Super Bowl LV week.



lison & Julio hang out A with some of the goats from the Philly Goat Project at Awbury Arboretum.




angin’ out with Santino H Mesi & his parents Lana & Joe Mesi at his Ring Mass at St. Augustine Preparatory School. njoying a family Ugly E Sweater Night in the Poconos for On the Corner Mark’s 55th Birthday - Elias, Niya, Justin, Julianna, Mark Jr. & Junie the Chihuahua! owHome reader Gregory R Scallon snapped this shot of City Hall a few years ago when he was out taking a walk. Looks like William Penn decided to take a stroll, too.

Great shot, Gregory! 8.

iaCapri is hangin’ G out with cousin Leanna on her birthday!


angin’ out for Talia & Sal’s H birthday! Jade, GiaCapri, Talia, Sal & Torianne.

10. H angin’ out with Rosie Zavasky on her birthday at Noir Restaurant. Everyone had their Covid vaccines and were out for the first time in a year! 11. H angin’ out with a few friends from The Cutting Point! Dominique, Amy, Dana & Amy! 12. B ob & Cindy Roser celebrate their 50th anniversary with their children. 13. B renda, Jamie, Ashleigh & Danielle - @phillyfoodmoms - grab lunch together for the first time in a long time! 14. R owHome Rowan hangs out at Philadelphia Zoo’s newest attraction, BIG TIME: Life in an Endangerous Age. 15. C ongratulations to RowHome writer Joei DeCarlo & fiance Tommy DiSanto on the purchase of their new home!

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bout 15 years ago, I decided to take a stab at writing. It wasn’t much of a stretch. I had the will and dare I say, the skill. I just needed the push. Odd that the needed nudge came in the way of a fairly serious head injury. That knock to my noggin, however, twisted my life in so many different ways that if I were a soft pretzel, there wouldn’t be enough salt to cover me. With that, writing became a therapeutic release. So, around the time of my 40th birthday, and fresh off a surprise party to remind me of the milestone, I decided to put my burgeoning thoughts on paper. Before long, this column was born. While kicking a few stones down the road of life, I’ve regularly written about my experiences within the hospitality and event industries. I’ve had the remarkable fortune to meet and work with people, and in places, most only know because of what they’ve seen or read on TV. I remain acutely aware that, for as much as I bitch and moan about the crazy hours, sleep deprivation and challenging travel itineraries, no one will weep for me. Nor should they. Despite the assumed occupational hazards and constant challenges to a normal homelife,

I love what I do. The tradeoffs are life-lasting relationships and often surreal, indelible memories. A literal treasure trove of material for any writer, especially this guy. Needless to say, I am a huge advocate for the live event industry. With all props given to first responders, healthcare and other frontline workers, I say to you unequivocally - don’t forget the myriad of diverse talents that bring you live events. From top to bottom and side to side, we are the very people that enable you to write the story of your lives. For instance, you never forget a landmark sporting event, the magic of theatre on Broadway or singing and dancing in a sold-out arena when a hit song is performed by your favorite artist. Maybe it’s nailing a presentation at a conference, fostering a major deal at a trade show or finding your life’s passion at a convention of like-minded people. That, my friends, is the beauty of live events. And guess what? It can’t be done virtually. Late last summer, I was afforded an opportunity to view the workings of drive-in concerts at Citizens Bank Park. Along with valuable insight of an industry floating in a sea of uncertainty, I also found a bunch of event lifers, rallying around each other as if

Despite the assumed occupational hazards and constant challenges to a normal homelife, I love what I do.

on Survivor Island. And, while many of us were steering out of our assorted lanes, none of us was out of our element. As each show began and ended, we learned more about the want, the need and the know-how of safely delivering live events amid a global pandemic. During that run of concerts, I was presented with an interesting offer. The timing was damn near spot-on. As my 55th birthday crept closer, I vowed to make my “double nickels” year something special. After some serious consideration and dancing through many pros and cons, I agreed to trade my experience for the experience of working Super Bowl LV. More importantly, I was honored to join a diversely talented team of industry professionals charged with delivering a crucial victory as the world watched with bated breath. Amongst the crew of 16 that serviced the NFL’s Broadcast Compound for almost three weeks included chefs, restaurant and venue managers, a nightclub owner, a couple of retirees, college students, a Mummers costume maker and even a Coast Guard recruit. All subject to repeated Covid tests, intense security checks and electronically monitored compliance for social distancing. Not one mightier than the next and all contributing to the greater good. Indeed, champions were crowned in Tampa on Super Bowl Sunday. They just weren’t all on the field. PRH

April / May / June 2021


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These are the People in our Neighborhood! They are the familiar faces you see every day at one of many local businesses that cater to our every need. They cook for us, clean for us, teach our kids, starch our shirts and brew our first cup of coffee of the day. They build our homes, paint our kitchens, fix our cars, style our hair and keep us healthy. We have relied on them for generations and now they are relying on us. Now is the time to take to the streets to support our local businesses. These are some of the members of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network! And nobody loves them more than we do!

Join us!


April / May / June 2021


There’s no place like



High School, where members discuss and implement important programs to keep the landmark high school running during these uncertain times of Covid. “Every Catholic high school, like every other business entity, is struggling with issues related to the pandemic and its effect on the economy,” he relates in regard to the current state of affairs. “In addition, enrollment and attrition are real factors that every high school, Catholic or otherwise, deals with annually. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recently announced the closure of two of their 17 high schools and part of our goal as the Board of Directors is to ensure that Ss. Neumann-Goretti never finds itself on that list!” “Toward that end, the school’s Development Committee has been fundraising like crazy to keep Philadelphia’s only Archdiocesan high school viable.” Marino explains, “The opportunity for a quality Catholic high school education is an important option for all residents of South Philadelphia, regardless of their religious affiliation. Plus, the school and its campus, is too prominent a location to the surrounding neighborhood to ever be allowed to become vacant.” The neighborly spirit is the same reason the Passyunk Post has been an area staple for almost a decade now. Marino stepped in to buy the Post and has published it since 2018. What began as a simple amateur blog has grown into more than just a hobby, becoming the neighborhood’s defining online resource through expansive social media and partnership efforts. No longer is the East Passyunk neighborhood the only bit of Philadelphia that’s featured. Under Marino’s guidance, the Passyunk Post has a much broader area of coverage. “When the Post was conceived in 2012, its principal focus was the East Passyunk corridor and its adjacent neighborhoods. Gradually, the coverage area expanded,” he says. “Our focus is now all of Philadelphia south of South Street, from river to river.” Although Marino’s home is in East Passyunk, he has been active in the Whitman and Packer Park neighborhoods and has come to know people from every corner. “I hope to use these connections to create a rich source of information for all residents. I want the news we offer to increase people’s connectedness to the neighborhood and improve their quality of life.” When he says news, he’s referring to a lot more, as well. Besides covering the usual things like food, culture and arts, the site makes a handy hub to promote all manner of events and local businesses. It’s the same collective spirit that underlies all his service. You’d have a hard time finding anyone who loves their neighborhood more than Marino does. Ask him what he enjoys outside of work, and still, it’s all about the community. “I enjoy our wonderful traditions like the St. Nicholas Italian Festival, or newer events like Flavors on the Avenue. I love our litany of restaurants from Moonshine to Noir. I love the walkability of our neighborhoods. I love seeing neighbors sitting out nights on their stoops in the warm weather.” Most of all, Marino enjoys seeing the long-term and newer neighbors interacting and even bonding. “One of my favorite stories to tell is about an interaction I observed during a neighborhood cleanup some years ago,” he says. “I watched a recent transplant to the area who had earplugs, tattoos and a mullet speak for 20 minutes with an elderly gray-haired Italian-American woman dressed in black mourning clothes about the best way to propagate basil!” PRH


by Geno Thackara

ome neighborhood assets are obvious: city landmarks, well-known parks, favorite shops and pizza places that have been around forever. Then there are others that aren’t so visible but just as important - the people that make a community what it is. There’s no telling how different the East Passyunk Avenue neighborhood would look today if it didn’t include Joseph F. Marino. He’s been active in various organizations over the years from co-founding the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association and South Philly Food Co-op, to serving as president of the community center’s advisory board and sitting on the board of Friends of BOK. He also is the publisher of the Passyunk Post website for almost three years now. Perhaps, most important, is his tenure serving on the Board of SS Neumann Goretti


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Row Home Remembers  PRH Life

Never Give Up!


byTony Santini

am an eternal optimist. I play the Powerball and the Mega Millions and have an addiction to the scratch-off tickets. I know they are a long shot, but I also have a friend who won the top prize on a scratch-off ticket. So, I continue to play. Like Dusty Springfield says in her song, “Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’, plannin’ and dreamin’ each night and each day.” A few years ago, I won a trip to Cancun through the WOGL98 FM Vacation-a-Day Contest. I was a diligent contestant listening

for my name to be announced every day, until someone became a repeat winner. I felt the contest was fixed so I cut back on the daily checking. Then, one day at work, my phone and emails started blowing up as friends and family were trying to reach me because they heard my name on the radio. I called into the station and spoke to DJ Harvey Holiday who told me that I was the Winner of the Day. During the on-air conversation, he asked what I was feeling. I said, “To tell you the truth, Harvey, I had given up on this contest.” He said, “Tony, come on man! You’re from

South Philly! We never give up!” Which brings me to this story. I enter contests all the time. Mailin, radio, on-line, it doesn’t matter. I’ve even resorted to ghost writing and entered contests in my wife’s name to increase my chances of winning. Funny story about this… she once won the grand prize in one of those contests. I entered her into a Warner Brothers Pictures contest promoting the movie, Nights in Rodanthe, starring Diane Lane and Richard Gere. When the promoters called to tell her that she won a weekend vacation at a beach house in North Carolina,

she thought they were timeshare solicitors and hung up on them. I think as teenagers, guys hope to be a good athlete with lots of friends and a cool nickname like Sugar Bear, Bobby Loc or Antny Crow. Well, I never gave up that dream. Here I am some 50 years later and, though never much of an athlete, I have the greatest group of friends in the world and a 20-month-old grandson who does not quite say “Grandpop” yet but calls me “Pop” as clear as day. In my opinion, that is the coolest nickname ever. I think Acme Markets is providing a service to the community by keeping retired guys like me off the streets every spring with their Monopoly Sweepstakes. I spend more than a few hours each week opening those game pieces and scanning the codes because quite frankly, I never give up. The effort has paid off as I have won several April / May / June 2021

bagels, boxes of pasta, loaves of French Bread and eight-ounce cans of the Acme Signature Brand vegetables. So, who is the big winner now? I’m also guessing that I’m not the only parent whose married children give them their game pieces and say, ‘Here Mom/ Dad. Check my tickets, too. Let me know if I won anything.’ I’m sure you know someone in your life who has never given up. Maybe it’s a first-time plane ride, a new career, a house down the shore. If you are reading this story online or in print, then it is a tribute to our editors who started this magazine more than 17 years ago and never gave up. I’m a pushover for the news stories of people who get their college degree well into their golden years. Some look at that and say, why bother? I look at it and say, why not? Keep on scratchin’! PRH


Images courtesy of Chapel of Four Chaplains


Four Chaplains These men of faith sacrificed their lives to save others  PRH Life


n February 3, 1943, four army chaplains were aboard the United States Army Transport SS Dorchester that was transporting war supplies and just over 900 servicemen overseas for duty in WWII. After a surprise attack by a German submarine early that morning, the ship began to sink. Though the servicemen were instructed to sleep in their uniforms and lifejackets because of possible attacks, many did not so they could be more comfortable while they slept. As a result, they were unprepared when the torpedo hit. The chaplains – Lt. George L. Fox (Lewistown, PA), Lt. Alexander D. Goode (Brooklyn, NY), Lt. John P. Washington (Newark, NJ) and Lt. Clark V. Poling (Columbus, OH) – grabbed life jackets from storage and started handing them out. When there were no life jackets left, the chaplains took off their own life jackets and handed them to four frightened young men. The chaplains


died that morning after helping to rescue others on board. Only 230 of the 904 men aboard the ship were rescued. Many died of hypothermia in the water. These four men – also referred to as the “Immortal Chaplains” or “Dorchester Chaplains” – are honored each February 3rd for their courage and selflessness on that date in 1943. The Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart were awarded posthumously to the chaplains on December 19, 1944. On January 18, 1961, a one-time only posthumous Special Medal for Heroism was authorized by Congress and awarded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Chapels, sanctuaries, sculptures, plaques, stained glass windows and other miscellaneous remembrances can be seen throughout the U.S. as a way to honor the four men. Here in Philadelphia, The Chapel of the Four Chaplains was built as an interfaith memorial and sanctuary for brotherhood. President Harry S. Truman dedicated the Chapel, originally located

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in the basement of the Baptist Temple on the Temple University Campus, in 1951. On February 15, 2001, the Chapel of the Four Chaplains moved to Philadelphia’s Navy Yard (1201 Constitution Avenue), on the site of a World War II Navy Chapel. For more information about the Chapel and to plan a visit, check out This year (the 70th anniversary year) the Chapel’s annual banquet has been moved to May 15th. Depending on local safety guidelines, a BBQ for their members and friends, plus an evening banquet will take place. Their spring Lost at Sea memorial ceremony will honor two of the chapel’s board members who recently passed: Chief Steve Labov and Lamar Golden. You can also purchase a brick for the Chapel’s Lost at Sea and K-9 Walkway Memorials to honor your own heroes. Police and military service dogs will be honored as well as your beloved dogs (other types of pets can be honored too). Visit the website for event details. PRH


Penn’s Landing sets its sights on a billion-dollar expansion

Rendering courtesy of Delaware River Waterfront Corporation


by Erin Flynn Jay his past fall, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC) Board of Directors selected The Durst Organization to redevelop more than 11 acres across two sites at Penn’s Landing into a mixed-use residential community. Lizzie Woods, VP of Planning and Capital Programs for DRWC, says the selection was the result of nearly eight months of deliberation. The DRWC received four very strong proposals in

response to its request for the waterfront development opportunity. “Since September, DRWC and The Durst Organization have been negotiating the terms of a development agreement for the sites. We hope to complete that process, this summer, and present updated plans to the public at that time,” she says. “The project will be completed in multiple phases and a timeline for final design and construction of Phase 1 is still being determined.” DRWC is also working with the City of Philadelphia and PennDOT on final designs for the Park at Penn’s Landing, a larger space that will span I-95 between Chestnut and Walnut Streets and slope down to the Delaware River. Woods says it is anticipated that

the park will begin construction in 2022. More information on the park and its design can be found at “We’re very early on in the development process and we’re working with stakeholders, including the Delaware River Waterfront Corp., to determine our timeline and next steps,” said spokesperson Anthony Campisi with Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy. The massive project will be built in phases over time with multiple groundbreakings. The Durst Organization has proposed development that includes high quality design, the integration of parks and other public spaces, high standards of sustainability, mixed income housing, community engagement

and leveraging the project itself in a major way to expand economic opportunity for traditionally disadvantaged communities. It was the only proposal that required no subsidy from the taxpayers. In its proposal, The Durst Organization pledged to invest more than $2.2 billion into Philadelphia’s Delaware River Waterfront. Over an expected eight years of construction, the project will create a total one-time economic output of $3.9 billion in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and support more than 28,000 construction and construction-related full-time equivalent jobs resulting in nearly $2 billion of new wages for workers. This activity will generate additional tax revenues of $62 million for the City (including at least $9 million for the School District) and $113 million for the Commonwealth. Once built and operating, the development will create and sustain 1,850 permanent, on- and off-site jobs, and will generate ongoing annual tax revenues of $35 million to the City (including at least $9M for the School

District of Philadelphia) and $21 million to the Commonwealth. DRWC required every proposal to include a component to increase opportunity and build wealth in traditionally marginalized communities. The Durst Organization responded by committing to create a partnership with a minority-owned firm for up to 20 percent of the project. They have also pledged aggressive workforce diversity numbers, including making sure that a large percentage of professional services and construction contracts go to traditionally disadvantaged firms. “I’m pleased with DRWC’s decision and appreciate its collaborative selection process. The Durst Organization’s thoughtful proposal prioritized minority participation and economic impact, without the need for a taxpayer subsidy,” said Mayor Jim Kenney last fall. “This is a very large-scale project that will have a great impact on the waterfront for years to come. I look forward to the continued revitalization of Penn’s Landing.” PRH

April / May / June 2021



Marketing Director  PRH Life

at Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia


by John Nacchio he February 2021 grand opening of Live! Casino & Hotel in the heart of South Philadelphia’s Stadium District marked the beginning of a new era for the City. The newest addition to the local landscape has transformed the neighborhood into a nationally unrivaled one-stop destination for entertainment, sporting events, concerts, dining and now, gambling. Director of Marketing Joe Cottone is an integral part of the $700 million entertainment and dining development. He understands the

complexity and challenges of the casino industry as well as the heart and soul of Philadelphia because he grew up not too far away on Packer Avenue. He views the changes to his corner of Philadelphia as a fantastic evolutionary development over-time with a stadium complex for our major sports teams and opportunities for new South Philadelphia legacies. Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia’s 510,000 square-foot property features more than 2,100 slots and electronic table games, 150 live-action table games and a 29-table Poker Room. A six-room Event Center features 15,000-square-feet of customizable space to accommodate groups of 12 to 1,000 guests. For even more fun, spend the night in one of the 208 hotel rooms on-site and enjoy a variety of dining and entertainment options. Parking is safe and convenient, too, with an attached multi-level structured facility and adjacent surface lot. “The Prime Rib, a top Zagat-rated steakhouse previously located in Center City for more than 20 years, now finds its new home at Live!,” Cottone says. The Prime Rib recently added a Sunday Brunch with handcrafted cocktails, brunch caviar, ciabatta French toast, lobster BLT and so much more.


Among the variety of other dining options, one of Cottone’s favorite choices is Luk Fu with a menu of authentic Southeast Asian flavors as well as dining options in private Karaoke rooms. Many customers have been enjoying the spirited dining of the casino’s Sports & Social Philly, as well. “It’s a one-ofa-kind sports restaurant, gaming venue and social lounge that offers guests the ultimate sports fan experience,” Cottone says. Included in this spot, you’ll find a FanDuel Sportsbook and Lounge with a state-of-the-art AV system, a giant 52-foot LED display and 24 televisions for ultimate sports viewing. As for food options, imagine an American Grill menu that highlights game day favorites, along with short rib cheesesteaks, local beers and specialty cocktails. To kick off your night, Cottone says you should head to the Center Bar if you want to be in the center of all the action. “[The bar] is located in the heart of the casino floor, offering 360° views of the gaming action, screens for sports viewing, communal tables, plush lounge seating and live music.” Live! Casino & Hotel is taking enhanced health and sanitation measures

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to ensure their guests stay safe and comfortable at all times. Thermal screeners upon entry, personal protective equipment and masks are required, and physical distancing is enforced. New cleanliness protocols meet or exceed their already rigorous standards. For complete Covid safety protocols that show how Live! is keeping every part of the hotel and casino clean, visit play-it-safe where you can also download their extensive safety commitment. South Philadelphia has become much more than the place where Cottone grew up. It’s a big city neighborhood with a lot of history and a strong small-town feeling. The community is filled with close-knit families and traditions - the important things that are there to stay. Cordish Companies, the real estate firm behind Live!, also displayed its ongoing dedication to the community by donating more than $50,000 to local non-profit organizations from proceeds generated from a test night held prior to the official opening. These organizations included Philabundance, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, Young Chances Foundation, the Thomas & Woods Foundation and the Garces Foundation. Cottone’s career path has taken him all around the world and it may just be fate and fortune that brought him back home to Live!, where he’s excited to be an important part of such a transformation to his neighborhood. His job requires him to reach out to a community that he already knows very well and for that, he’s pleased to return to his Philadelphia roots. PRH

Getting to know Joe Q: What did you want to be when you grew up? A: I thought I’d be an architect. Q: What was your first job? A: A bus person at the food court in the Gallery on Market Street. Q: What was your favorite pastime as a kid? A: I loved riding my bike, above all. Q: What or how did you get into the Casino business? A: After college (Temple University), I went to Atlantic City to work in the hotels because I love the beach. Q: How does it feel to return to Philly for a job with Live!? A: Exciting, actually. There’s a thrill to be ‘home.’ Q: Tell us what you love about working for Live! Casino & Hotel. A: It’s great to be part of the continued progress of the city, and, as corny as it may sound, there really is a genuine team and cooperative environment here. It’s quite refreshing. Q: What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? A: Breathe. Think. Move forward. Q: What’s the best advice you ever gave? A: Breathe. Think. Move forward. Q: What’s a favorite song from “way back” that makes you smile?

image courtesy of Live! Casino & Hotel

A: “Build me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations. Two reasons - I remember it as a kid and also, I worked in AC with one of the singers in his post-

music career. I can hear his voice in the refrain. [the song] makes me laugh and smile. Q: What is your best memory from past summers? A: Visiting Spain Madrid and Coruna. Q: What do you consider to be your happy place? A: Too many to select one! Sometimes, it’s in the middle of Red Rock Canyon. Sometimes, the beach. Sometimes in the heart of Miami. Consistently, in the middle of my family, always. Q: Who are your Philadelphia-based idols? A: I cherish the city’s history and as such, I’d say Ben Franklin. However, more contemporary, I’m proud and impressed by Will Smith. Q: What lesser-known landmark would you recommend a tourist visit in Philadelphia? A: Elfreth’s Alley for historical context to Colonial life. XIX Bar on top of the Bellevue - sneak out to one of the ‘not really used’ balconies for a feeling of pre-Depression city grandeur. Q: Tell us something not many people know about you. A: I’m a published songwriter. I have a BMI published song. Q: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal? A: I most miss what my mom called Sigi (for Sicilian) chicken that I later discovered is chicken scarpariello. Now, my current favorite is a really easy sausage and penne dish that I make.


What You Mead to Know about Honey Wine  PRH Life

Spring is not only wine prep time

but also wedding time. What a great time to combine both. Mead is the oldest known fermented beverage. Unlike wine from grapes and beer from barley, mead is made from honey. It has been around longer than history itself. In ancient times, mead was made from fermenting honey, which took place by using the water-filled leaves from a substantial rain. The reason, a beehive nested in the tree

above and the rain filtered through, and mead was born. Mead has always been associated with good health and vitality. It has been called “the drink of the Gods” in Greek mythology. A story that has been handed down through the centuries is that newly married couples would drink “honey” mead for a “moon” or month, and if in nine moons (months), a baby was born, the Meadmaker became royalty. Hence the term Honeymoon.

Wine Recommendations ❚❚❙❘ RED WINES




CHATEAU AU VIGNOBLE Bordeaux Superieur $10

SIMPLE LIFE Chardonnay $13


BORDEAUX BIANCO Chateau Fage $13

COTES DU RHONE Chevalier d’Anthelme Blend $12


BORDEAUX Rouge $12

❚❙❚❙❘ ROSE ZACCAGNINI CANTINA Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo $15

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


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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MAY 31, 2021 Become a Live! Rewards® Member today and start earning the benefits you deserve! Present your player’s card from any casino in the area and we’ll upgrade you to a Live! Rewards® Card at a comparable tier level. Visit for complete details.

Hot Waves

PRHLIFE Random Acts of Kindness

RAK Club Philly

It costs nothing to be kind

Maxine’s Uptown Boutique, LLC. •Consignment handbags •Vintage to new •Metaphysical items Jinger Cahill 609.254.5630 4 Second Ave / Pittman, NJ 08071 Like us on Facebook and Instagram

Founder Stacey Altadonna with Paityn Renzulli, Ava Silvanio, Giovanna Girardi

by Brenda Hillegas


WE STAND BY OUR WORK tel : 917-300-8343


tacey Altadonna, the chef and general manager of Fitzwater Cafe, was teaching a weekly cooking class for children at Columbus Square Recreation Center when a thought popped into her head. “If I’m instructing on cooking - which is a life skill - why not capture the attention of the kids and teach empathy, kindness and anti-bullying? I teach my own children to treat people the way you would want to be treated...and maybe a little extra. It costs nothing to be kind.” Altadonna brought that idea to life and created RAK Club Philly - a random acts of kindness club for children ages 7 and up. The focus, of course, is to educate children on the importance of being kind and helping others in need. Prior to the pandemic, the club met twice a month at the same rec center where she held her cooking classes. “A typical RAK meeting would involve a brief topic and discussion. For example, I would talk to the children about bullying and ask what’s going on in their lives. They would fill me in on their own bullying experiences,” says Altadonna, who also remembers being bullied in grade school. Today, she is a mom to Matthew, 14, and Sophia, 12. “I wanted to create a fun atmosphere, not a typical classroom setting.” A meeting also consists of a group dinner,

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usually donated by a local restaurant, and an additional activity like a craft project or guest speaker related to that week’s topic. During the pandemic when group gatherings were prohibited, RAK stayed in contact with the children via Zoom and social media. “We helped a family find housing, which we also were able to fully furnish, and sent out care packages to seniors who weren’t able to get out because of the pandemic,” Altadonna says. After more than a year on Zoom, the RAK Club is getting ready to meet in person, again, with a focus on outdoor activities like sprucing up local parks. New members are always welcome. The club even appointed a RAK President, Giovanna Girardi, a true leader who is 12 years old. If your children are interested in being a part of the RAK Club, visit www.facebook. com/rakclubphilly for more info. In the meantime, encourage kindness. Give a compliment, help your loved ones, draw a picture for a lonely neighbor. As Altadonna says quite often, it costs nothing to be kind. “This past year, I’ve seen the true beauty in others,” she says. “For me, if anything, I would love the RAK children to gain confidence within themselves, see the beauty of the world and not just the negativity. Smile every day. Help someone less fortunate. Sit with the kid eating alone at lunch.” PRH

Real People Real Stories

A WINDOW ON HER MIND The Story of Pat Ciarrocchi & Her Brain Surgery…in Her Own Words

April / May / June 2021


Real People Real Stories


never thought of myself as a Warrior Princess. I did own up to the “Princess” part, on occasion. But never a Warrior Princess. On October 16, 2020, that perception changed, dramatically. I was looking in the mirror, the day after I had brain surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. That day, under the glaring fluorescent lights of a hospital room, I saw a woman with a makeup bare face and a vulnerable, distant look in her eyes. A glint of silver metal peeked out from beneath her curly hair, just above her right eyebrow. Reaching up to touch the metal, she discovered a long track of what looked like staples. Was the track really in the shape of a ‘question mark?’ Did those staples come from an office supply closet? And why could she see those staples so clearly? She remembered. Her hair – a substantial patch of hair – had been shaved to make way for the BRAIN surgery. Up to this point, the only other invasive surgery I ever had was the removal of my tonsils at age 7. Here are the basic steps of my brain surgery: Cutting across the scalp. Moving that skin aside to access the skull where a two-inch by threeinch oblong piece of bone would be lifted. That would reveal the portion of the brain at the right temporal lobe where a growth – or using the medical term, a lesion – had been discovered. Then came “the intervention.” Microsurgical tools guided by MRI navigation would be used to remove the lesion. The intervention took an hour. Replacing the skull and securing it with titanium screws would be next. Finally, a “knitting” together of the scalp with the staples. Nature, and the body’s ability to heal, took the steering wheel from there. What a ride! The neurosurgeon – MY neurosurgeon


– with the steadiest of hands is Penn Medicine’s Dr. Donald O’Rourke. I would come to learn this celebrated neurosurgeon and Penn’s John Templeton, Jr., MD, Professor in Neurosurgery, had performed nearly 5,000 craniotomies. I learned that I most likely was in a rare category of the brain surgeries he has performed. Ninety-nine percent of his cases are removing complicated brain cancers. After looking at the first MRI that had revealed the lesion, the brain expert, Dr. “O” – as his colleagues refer to him – was optimistic that the uninvited growth taking up space in my brain was not a glioblastoma. That is the aggressive brain cancer that killed US Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain, as well as Phillies sports legends Darren Daulton and Tug McGraw. When you learn that and have the agreement of other top scientists who are specialists of the brain, you feel the loosening of the tangled emotion that is blinding fear. Still, there was a gauntlet to traverse. The urgency for surgery became clearer when Dr. O’Rourke explained that there was no definitive answer about how long it took for this “growth” to reach the “size of a grape.” He told me, in a woman of my age, any primary growth – meaning it had not metastasized from another part of my body – could “take off.” It could grow so quickly that the result could be catastrophic: brain damage, or the end of my life. He asked about typical symptoms of a brain growth. Did I have headaches or seizures, periods of time when I would have been “out of it?” No headaches, no seizure. It seemed this growth had done me no harm. But for how long could I say that without surgery? When it came time to set the date for surgery, Dr. O’Rourke looked at me and my husband David – who is my rock and best counsel in all things – and asked if I was “emotionally ready for brain surgery.” I said, “Yes,” and looked toward

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David. He nodded his head. Ready? “Yes.” Our date with Dr. O’Rourke and his surgical team would be Thursday, October 15, 2020. I got to this crossroads in my life through what I call Divine Providence. The growth had been found “incidentally.” On October 1, 2020, I had an MRI ordered by an Otolaryngologist – an ears, nose and throat specialist – who was investigating why I was experiencing a hearing deficit in my left ear. The Neuroradiologist who read my MRI that morning found that my auditory canals were healthy. However, he had detected what looked like a “growth” that could be a brain tumor in the right temporal lobe of the amygdala – an area of the brain where emotions are processed. I was standing at my kitchen counter. I looked up to “the Heavens” and asked, “Are you kidding me?” Then came my plea. “Help me!” The next was a call to my husband. “Honey, we have a problem. I might have a brain tumor.” He was silent. Then, “What?” That was followed by, “I love you!” Did our vows 25 years ago, “in sickness and in health” have a sub-category of “sickness, even if it’s a brain tumor?” In the midst of wrenching anxiety, your brain, even with “this” uninvited guest, can cover a lot of territory in a short time. One thing I knew for sure – David and I were in “this” together – no matter what “this” would look like. There is relief in deep love, too. Days later, another MRI pried into the secrets of my brain. I spent an hour and 15 minutes inside an intimidating piece of medical machinery. The scans were ordered with extensive sequencing by the millimeter. These images would map the suspicious growth to locate its precise position. This second MRI was critical to ensure precision during the excision in an area of my brain that held my personality in its synapses. Dr. O’Rourke had assured me that surgery on the right side of my brain would not affect my

Real People Real Stories speech, my ability to think or my ability to walk. If this growth had been on the left side of my brain, Dr. O’Rourke said our conversations would be very different. Up to this moment, I only ever had my tonsils out when I was 7. It all sounded so ominous. I worried. Would it be cancerous? Would I come through this “whole” – as the Pat my family and I recognized? The answers to those questions would have to wait. Writing has often been a way for me to understand complex circumstances I’ve needed to navigate in my life. That first night, after learning about a possible brain tumor, I scrawled on a legal tablet, “a window on my mind.” What was inside that mind? Would a courageous stance arise? Would fear overcome me? I truly believed this “incidental find” was the work of God’s hand. I felt that I had been given a “grace” in the revelation. It became a humbling gift. I went to Penn looking for one thing and found something else that could have threatened my life. There must be something else I need to do with my life. The realization brought me to tears. October 15, 2020. Surgery Day. I was being held by love and grace. My husband David and a prayerful circle steadied me with their love. The Grace came from a Power greater than me. I was in the hands of an expert and his team. In getting to know Dr. O’Rourke, I had asked him questions about the surgical procedure. I asked, “When you are fiddling in my brain, what exactly will you be doing?” His answer, “For one thing, Pat, I won’t be fiddling. I will be very precise. It’s how we do this type of surgery.” We laughed. We had a rapport. I knew I was in good hands. So, how did you spend your October 15, 2020? For me, five hours in the operating room. Intensive Care overnight. Wow! My head hurt. Medicine kept the pain wellcontrolled. Extraordinary nursing care (My ICU nurse Aliyah was so kind, especially to David who

they allowed to be near me) and an optimistic Doctor helped ease my fears. Dr. ‘O’ told my husband that it didn’t appear that the tissue was malignant. But it needed to be confirmed in the lab. Pathologists – the scientists who study diseased cells – would peer through their microscopes and consult with other experts. This was precise medicine, too. It would determine cancerous or not. The waiting began. Waiting was not suffering. It was just “waiting.” The eyes I saw in the mirror that day after surgery looked tired but patient and hopeful. My new hairstyle was a bit “punk rocker,” but I felt a certain pride in survival. Six days later, the call came. The results of a full pathology review were in. “No cancer.” “No other treatment necessary.” “A surgical cure.” Now, go and heal from surgery…and live your life. For me, relief, tears, gratitude and delight flooded me. There is more to do with this one, precious, beautiful life. Lifting the “window on my mind” had illuminated my Soul. That grace gave me the courage to walk the gauntlet of uncertainty that culminated in a complete healing and recovery. What did I learn? Listen to your body. Do not be afraid. Have confidence in living in a region rich with extraordinary medical expertise, teaching hospitals, waiting to open the door to help. Ask for that help. In asking, I learned, I found it. You can, too. And if surgery leads to doctors shaving a big patch of hair, especially if you are of a certain age, you will also learn something else. EXACTLY how gray your hair really is! One inspirational quote is now imprinted on my Soul. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” I am so grateful for being given the GRACE to have the opportunity to make that choice to BE STRONG. Celebrate with me. E Viva! L’Chaim! To LIFE! PRH

April / May / June 2021


Real People Real Stories


Soccer photo courtesy of Anna Bottoms

The Ladder of Life


rowing up at Richmond and Lehigh, Sean Dugan never truly found a neighborhood identity. While he could easily stake a claim to Kensington, Port Richmond or Fishtown, he spent a fair amount of time in various places, with different faces. His Irish-Catholic family, as he says, “knew crazy and chaos,” but he and his three siblings also knew love. “Honestly, the road to the right was paved for me by my parents,” he declares. “I had good grades, was socially acclimated and excelled at soccer.” For some reason, however, Dugan turned left. His crew started drinking as early as the 6th grade. Playing it straight, however, only lasted until 8th grade. “It’s a learned behavior of life on the tracks,” he reflects. Looking back, there was an unexpected visit by an uncle that blossomed into a night of fun, games and laughter. Unlike his immediate family, outward affection wasn’t this uncle’s style. “It was the first time I felt love with him and I wanted to tell him.” Regretably, he would never get the chance. Later that evening, Uncle Tom committed suicide, putting to rest his alcoholic past. In turn, Dugan took his first drink in the spring of 1997. Always a big kid, during his junior year at Roman Catholic HS, he started working out in earnest. The fuel for his fire was a blindside punch landed


by Mark Casasanto

by an adult as he was trying to quell a dust-up between kids from opposite sides of the city. In an odd way, that pop upside his head propelled him to an enjoyable, successful senior year of soccer. Often uncomfortable in his own skin on the pitch, he says confidently, “It was my best season ever because I decided to put the work in.” Admittedly though, he entered his first training camp at Cabrini College 20 pounds overweight from drinking. Soon he was dabbling in everything. By senior year, dependence had become an everyday occurrence. “Even though I managed to have some good seasons, and was Dean’s List academically, I was a real ass to a lot of people, especially campus police,” he laments. “Mentally, physically and spiritually, I was connected to a drink or a drug.” Besides a degree in liberal arts, another take-away from Cabrini was Sylvia, his future wife. Dugan began to realize the severity of his situation when an aunt, herself an admitted alcoholic, tried repeatedly to convince Syl to leave her nephew. It was that real. When he first entered Alcoholics Anonymous, he chose a location in South Philly to keep away from his neighborhood. “One of the first things I was told was to get an AA Big Book and a black suit. Some of the best people I ever met, I buried.” Dugan still bounced in and out of rehabs through 2011. Even through a streak of sobriety in 2008, when he was seemingly headed up the ladder

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of success in the Philadelphia Fire Department, addiction gripped tight. It culminated the night the Phillies won the World Series and became more than just alcohol. He sought out the help of the PFD Employee Assistance Program. “I was still going to work but I was doing disservice to an honorable job. I didn’t want to live like that,” he says. Having once struggled to obtain his year coin, this June will mark 10 years of sobriety. This time around, he eagerly engages people from the neighborhood. “It’s a blessing,” he says. “If I can prevent one kid from taking the path I did, it’s all worth it.” In an ultimate testament to staying sober, he pays it forward by coaching soccer at his alma mater, Roman, and as an EAP Counselor. Recently promoted to Lieutenant, he’s also the reigning Firefighter of the Year (2020). The honor, in part, coming on the heels of his heroic actions last May. Headed home from a doctor’s appointment with Syl and his daughter, Angelina, in the car, he happened upon a burning car on Easton Road. Instincts took over. In short order, he rescued a two-year old still secured in her car seat, then proceeded to put the fire out – all before the Warrington FD arrived on scene. Like a superhero, he was gone in a flash. No need to wait around for accolades. That is the essence of Lieutenant Sean Dugan. Always in service to others, knowing that in giving, he shall receive. PRH

Real People Real Stories



olette knew something was wrong when John lost his appetite. “We’ve been married 48 years,” she recalls. “I’ve never known him not to eat.” The Philadelphia natives had recently returned home after a cruise with friends. They both felt a little unwell, but not worried. It was early in the pandemic. Reports of the virus raised more eyebrows than red flags then. The thought that a cruise ship could pose serious risks hadn’t yet occurred to them. As working parents, Colette and John had raised five children over almost a half century of marriage. Neither was one to make a fuss about feeling sick. But back at home in Boothwyn, John got worse. He developed a fever. His breathing became labored. Their family doctor administered a COVID test and sent it to a lab. John would be in a coma before the results came back. Within a day of taking the test, John’s blood oxygen approached critical levels. Colette drove him to Riddle Hospital in Media. Per COVID protocols, she wasn’t allowed to walk him in from the parking lot. She could only watch as staff took him away. She didn’t say goodbye. She didn’t think she needed to. The next day, Colette’s symptoms worsened. Her daughter Terry called an ambulance. At Riddle, she was placed in a room next to John’s, though they couldn’t visit each other. With a wall between them, John told Colette over the phone what the doctors told him. He was headed to the ICU. There,

by Conor O’Grady

doctors would put him into a chemically induced coma and onto a ventilator. The conversation could’ve been their last. Still, as in the parking lot, there were no farewells. “He didn’t say goodbye,” Colette remembers. “But I was crying and holding my mouth closed.” A day later, Colette was moved to the ICU as well, though not placed on a ventilator. John’s condition worsened. Despite the logistical difficulties, the hospital arranged for the couple’s children to visit their father. The implication was clear; it was a chance to see him one last time. As the realization dawned, “I just about lost it,” Colette remembers.”I kept telling the staff the kids can’t lose their father and their mother at the same time.” Fortunately, Colette improved quickly, leaving the ICU after three days. John continued to decline. Colette was allowed into his room, a rare and final chance to say the goodbye neither wanted to say. But something in her refused. Through her mask and face shield, she told John he’d get better. “You’re gonna do this,” she said. “It’ll just take a little longer for you than it took for me.” “I’ve always faced challenges with a positive attitude,” Colette says of that moment and her refusal to accept the prognosis. “I believe in the power of prayer. I guess I was trying to project that onto him.” After leaving, she held onto her stubborn hope, calling into the hospital twice a day for updates. Slowly, somehow, John began to improve. His oxygen levels crept up and stabilized. The doctors grew optimistic. After 25 days in a coma, John showed signs of beating the

odds. He was removed from the ventilator and stopped the anesthesia that had kept him unconscious. But for almost a week, he remained unresponsive. Doctors suspected permanent brain damage caused by the long period of oxygen deprivation. Colette’s optimism became harder to maintain. Still, the remote vigil continued. Colette and the children called into John’s room daily. Staff held a phone or iPad up to John’s bedside as the family offered words of hope and encouragement to the silence on the other end. “Wake up Daddy,” Terry pleaded. “Wake up.” It’s the first thing John remembers hearing. “Terry!” he croaked, the fog of a month’s unconsciousness finally lifting after nearly a month in the dark. Overcome, Colette couldn’t speak. She and Terry burst into shared tears. She doesn’t remember what she finally managed to say. “What do you say to someone who hasn’t had a waking moment in 25 or 30 days?” she quips. From an estimated 3 percent initial chance of survival, John had returned from the darkness and the silence to prove her optimism well placed. In the following weeks, John made a complete recovery, a slight limp from prolonged immobility the only lingering physical effect. With her husband back at home, Colette processes the ordeal with her trademark positivity. “John always did like his sleep,” she jokes. For this couple approaching their fifth decade of marriage, goodbye will have to wait. PRH

April / May / June 2021


Real People Real Stories

HELEN & WAYNE HULME Holding onto Hope by Rachel Porter


he coronavirus outbreak shifted the ‘daily norms’ of society in 2020. Covid 19 didn’t hesitate to affect every age group but major concern was geared toward the elderly and immunocompromised populations. People feared that ‘opening up’ the country at a fast pace would put these groups in the most danger. For two senior citizens, Helen Hulme, 76, and Wayne Hulme, 77, they believe the solutions boil down to hope and common courtesy. As instructed during the first set of lockdowns, the Hulmes stayed at home and only left the house to pick up groceries or takeout. Heading into the New Year, though, they both tested positive for the virus. Wayne’s symptoms were less severe, while Helen got very sick. Fortunately, both recovered. “In the beginning, we thought it was more of a bad case of the flu. When we saw people getting hospitalized, we realized it was a lot more serious,” Helen says. “I’d go to bed and act like things are okay but at night, I’d say to myself. ‘Don’t let anybody get it. Let everybody be okay.’” In May of 2020, they anticipated positive news on being able to safely open up the swim club where they worked during the summer but weren’t surprised that it


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remained close. Both worked part-time at the front desk – Wayne for 11 years and Helen for nine years. Between close contact with the public, constant hand touching and working right next to a camp, the Hulmes understood the complications of setting up safe regulations for a virus that was still so unknown at the time. They are optimistic for this summer to be different. Throughout the rough times, they kept their faith, especially upon hearing the news of multiple vaccines becoming more available. The Hulmes are aware that not everyone in the U.S. wants the vaccine for personal reasons and they hope by summer or fall, the majority who want the vaccine will receive it. However, this doesn’t mean they’ll be ready (or encourage anyone) to rush back to ‘pre-Covid’ conditions. “I feel this is not something you should ‘just forget about it’ and go on your way,” Wayne says. Right now, Helen and Wayne want everyone to feel safe, again. Common practices like mask wearing, sanitizing stations and washing hands should continue. They’re little things that are easy to do and should be done to protect your friends and family. “It all boils down to the way people accept things, take precautions, social distance and have common sense. Let’s hope it gets better for people,” Wayne says. PRH

Real People Real Stories

Tonda with husband Freddie & granddaughter Luca

TONDA TOMASETTI Love & a New Liver are Gifts of a Lifetime


by Maria Merlino

onda Tomasetti, 59, cherishes her family – husband Freddie, son Michael, daughter-inlaw Brennan and her granddaughter Luca, who is five. In a circle of life, she moved from Philadelphia to Nashville, TN, to Delaware County and now back to South Philadelphia. A natural born caretaker, Tomasetti never saw a glass less than half full. She always has directed her energy toward helping the sick, the elderly, the mentally ill. Despite the medical hazards she faced daily, her strength only increased as she heeded her calling day after day. There came a time when she started to notice her energy lagging. “I was always tired, and I slept a lot,” she begins. “I was also getting sun sensitivity. My arms would get welts and start to bleed. I went to the doctor because of those symptoms. The doctor thought it might have been auto-immune, but the lab results for lupus tests came back negative.” A liver test, though, uncovered Hepatitis C. A blood disorder. Since the virus is blood-born, Tomasetti realized she must have been infected by one of her patients. “At the time, I was [working at] a mental health facility and sometimes bodily fluids are in the atmosphere. My liver got damaged and went into cirrhosis. Then cancer.” Her innermost compass turned her to treatment at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). “In my opinion, it is one of the best hospitals in the world with the best doctors. I knew that was where I was supposed to be.” Diagnosed with cancer in January 2009, Tomasetti received chemoembolization in April of that year – a procedure where chemotherapy is injected

directly into the artery that feeds the cancer. By November, she was getting a liver transplant. “I was in the emergency room with my aunt Gilda Olivieri, a very much maternal figure in my life. She was there getting admitted for her own medical condition when I got the call. They offered a liver. I said I need time to process this! They gave me 15 minutes,” she says. In this fragile timeline, Tomasetti previously had to turn down a liver. Now, she was able to accept this one. “I talked to my aunt…I was scared to death! She was so happy and said, ‘I was hoping I’d stay alive to see you get your transplant!’ It’s a very emotional story because here she is lying on an emergency bed encouraging me to get the transplant. I did because of her. She died a month later.” Tomasetti was fortunate to not become physically ill after her transplant, something a lot of people struggle with in their recoveries. She was out of the hospital in five days. In the 11 years since her transplant, Tomasetti has needed to adjust her medicine only once. “I’m grateful for all the little things. I look at the positive side of life. I’m not a complainer,” she says. “I was fortunate enough to see a granddaughter be born.” When you receive an organ for transplant, you sometimes have the opportunity to thank the family of the donor. “I wrote them initially, and it’s a tough thing to write,” she says of the 52-year-old man whose liver she received. “I wrote them a couple times after that and in one letter, I thanked them profusely because if it wasn’t for the generous donation, I would have never had the opportunity to meet my granddaughter. For that, I will be forever grateful. It’s a wonderful thing.” PRH

April / May / June 2021


Real People Real Stories

A MODEL YOUNG MAN My Friend Michael Younkers by Patricia Teti


few months ago, I came upon a Facebook post written by Michael Younkers, a 21-year-old from South Philadelphia. He said that he had a lifelong dream – to become a model featured in a magazine! Michael loves to pose and often creates mock magazine covers featuring his passion for fashion and unique sense of style. So here he is, making his RowHome debut! Michael describes himself as just a guy who enjoys having fun with friends and has several hobbies. He enjoys cooking and honed his craft in culinary classes at South Philadelphia High School’s Life Skills Program prior to graduating in 2019. This degree placed him in a job at Anthony’s Broad Street Bistro in Methodist Hospital where he is known to be one of the most dedicated and hard-working individuals that his supervisor has ever seen. He’s also heavily involved with the South Philadelphia Special Olympics team, The


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

Wildcats. This group of young people has developed lifelong relationships that (pre-Covid) resulted in an amazing social life for the members and their families. I have watched this extraordinary team take the Gold on several occasions. Believe it or not, I lost my voice cheering at their very first basketball tournament. Mom Colleen describes him as “perfect as perfect can be.” He’s polite, helpful, a devoted son and brother. Michael, who has a chromosome disorder which leads to a diagnosis of an intellectual disability, often shares via social media very sensitive and informative material about special needs, acceptance and tolerance. His cover photo on Facebook contains this quote…”Those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge.” Pretty powerful words to live by. I am proud to call this special young man my friend. PRH

Real People Real Stories

photo by Nilaya Sabnis


Jennifer Parrado, Executive Director

Saving Young Lives in Memory of a Young Life Lost


n 2004, three-month-old Simon Sudman died in his sleep. The initial diagnosis was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), but when a pediatrician suggested that Simon’s parents, Phyllis and Darren, get their hearts checked, Phyllis was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome. LQTS is a little-known defect of the heart’s electrical system and her diagnosis revealed that Simon had the same condition. The realization that Simon’s death saved his mom’s life led to the creation of Simon’s Heart, a non-profit organization founded by Darren and Phyllis Sudman in 2005 to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and death in children, teens and young adults. Jennifer Parrado, Executive Director, has been an advocate for the health and safety of children and their families for most of her career. Prior to joining Simon’s Heart last year, Parrado served as the Regional Advancement Director for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and spent the last decade raising awareness and funds for similar causes. “Simon’s Heart is a deep reminder that we must always protect our children,” she says. “Combining my passion with the Simon’s Heart mission allows for us all to move the needle forward to protect hearts and save lives.” “We check our children’s eyes and ears, why not their hearts?” Darren Sudman asks. “Sudden cardiac arrest can happen without warning signs, but it’s still important to look out for them.” Simon’s Heart raises awareness about the signs and conditions that can lead to sudden

by Dominique Verrecchio

cardiac arrest. They hope to reduce preventable incidents of sudden cardiac arrest and death by changing the standard of cardiac care. Through awareness and preparation, they also want to create safer places where children learn and play. “We collaborate with local communities, patient organizations, healthcare providers, medical societies, regulators and industry leaders to develop and distribute innovative programs that reach and protect all youth,” Parrado says. “We make medical and scientific concepts relatable and reassuring to drive engagement and to raise awareness, strengthen standards and best practices for the healthcare system through data and research.” Every year, Simon’s Heart hosts awareness events and fundraisers. “A year ago, we were in shock as the world changed. We found ourselves lucky to host Simon’s Soiree just days before the pandemic shut everything down. One year later, we’re still feeling very lucky.” This year’s soiree was streamed in February and enabled Simon’s Heart to share the stories of families impacted by SCA. With a virtual hosting, the team was able to reach participating guests around the world. Since the normal expenses of an on-site gala were non-existent, Simon’s Heart raised more funds for its mission. Despite a quarantine, the generosity and support of Simon’s Heart donors and volunteers enables the organization to donate automated external defibrillator devices through GotAED and teach hands-only CPR to hundreds of students around the country. Donations gave Simon’s Heart the opportunity

to launch pop-up heart screenings and safely check students’ hearts during the pandemic. Simon’s Heart also drafted a bill named the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Prevention Act. The bill offers protection to student athletes by educating parents, teachers and coaches about the warning signs of sudden cardiac arrest. On May 30, 2012, Governor Tom Corbett signed it and made Pennsylvania the first state in the country to protect students from SCA. Since then, the bill has been signed into law in 15 states and is pending in others. Phyllis and Darren Sudman have been recognized for their lifesaving work. Phyllis Sudman received the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth National Honoree in 2014 and Darren was awarded the Be Well Philly Health Hero in 2017. The organization was named a 2020 Recipient of NRG Gives and partnered with Scrub Daddy to produce a special edition heart-shaped sponge for Heart Month that sold out in less than 24 hours. “Simon’s Heart is an innovative leader in the effort to help prevent sudden cardiac arrest and death in children, teens and young adults. Over the next five years, Simon’s Heart will expand their reach to ultimately change the standard of care through advocacy, research and heart screenings,” Parrado explains. Simon’s Heart envisions a future in which parents and communities don’t lose their children to detectable and treatable heart conditions. For more information on free heart screenings, sudden cardiac arrest in children, the organization’s educational initiatives, upcoming events or to donate, visit PRH

April / May / June 2021



30 years experience serving Philadelphia & South Jersey

Frank Fioravanti Termite Specialist 215-768-1804

Real People Real Stories

“We Rid Your Pests So You Can Rest”

Pest Control Frankie Bugs, He’s the Best!

MICHAEL GIANGIORDANO A Sleep Out Helps Homeless Kids get Back on their Feet Realtor


2839 S 13th Street Philadelphia, Pa. 19148 Office 267.668.2020 | Cell 609.636.9783 HARRYSELLSPHILLY @ GMAIL . COM

Superior Physical Therapy delivers the highest level of professional care in a compassionate and friendly environment. 2547 S. Broad St., Phildelphia, PA 19148 Phone: (215) 462-3303 | Fax: (215) 462-3304



by Anthony Panvini

outh homelessness is an ongoing issue in America that is often overlooked. According to, on any given night, approximately 41,000 unaccompanied youth ages 13-25 experience homelessness. While there are many factors that can lead to youth homelessness, one thing that remains constant is the need to get kids off the street. Covenant House, an organization with locations across the U.S., aims to help young people facing homelessness in several ways. “They provide education assistance and work experience. They help the youth if they need to finish their degree or high school, or want to go to college,” explains Michael Giangiordano, a South Philadelphia resident who has volunteered with the organization for about five years. “They even have health services such as on-site medical care and mental health care.” They offer meals, a clean bed, on-site medical care, trafficking survivor services and transportation assistance, as well. A main goal of Covenant House is to build a sense of trust with youth and help them get back on their feet and off the streets for good. “I met some of the youth and a lot of those kids don’t want to go to other homeless shelters because there are a lot of older people. They want to be around people they can trust,” Giangiordano said. “A lot of them have trust issues because the people who are supposed to be the most important to them in their lives are not that secure. Covenant House builds a trust with them.” Covenant House organizes an annual event called Sleep Out which is designed to raise

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

funds and awareness for youth homelessness. To date, Sleep Out has provided 4,000 youth with stable housing, 1,600 with employment and 720,000 nights of shelter. This is Giangiordano’s fifth year sleeping on the streets. His night starts off with a few presentations about Covenant House and the services it provides. Some of the program’s young clients also share their stories. Around 11 pm, Sleep Out volunteers head outside to sleep on the streets. All they get to take with them are a box and a sleeping bag. “The first year I did it wasn’t too cold, but you have a lot on your mind and it can be tough to sleep,” Giangiordano said. “Staff wakes you up around 6 or 7 am. You have breakfast and a reflection, then you go home. I was able to go home to a bed, but these kids can’t do that. Just imagine being on the street, having to go to school, having to do homework, not getting a good night’s sleep, being worried about where you are going to go the next night.” Giangiordano and his family also provide scholarships to some of the youth who express interest in going to college – to help them with books or a computer if needed. After years of volunteering with this group, Giangiordano praises Covenant House and the work they do. “They really do great work; and they are a pretty special organization,” he said. “They care about the kids. They care about helping them find their way and make themselves members of society in doing what they want to do.” To learn more about Philadelphia’s Covenant House or find a Sleep Out to join, visit PRH


from the


courtesy of Robert J. Spennato, DMD & Williamsburg Dental

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

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

Don’t let Social Distancing Keep You

Dentist from the





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


As dentists, we see it all the time. What was a small cavity six months ago is now something more - possibly a root canal, or worse, a tooth extraction. Now throw a pandemic into that mix. Many dentists will say they’ve never been busier. Over this past year, dentistry has faced possibly its largest hurdle - safely navigating an airborne virus. With so much uncertainty, many patients are delaying their periodic checkups. However, during this time, we’ve seen a record number of cases of excessive tooth clenching, mouth breathing from masks, and last but not least, untreated dental disease that has progressed over the past year. Dentistry amidst covid, when exercising proper protocols, can be as safe as ever. Bear in mind, we’ve been wearing masks, gloves and gowns for decades already. Not much has changed on our end! So, if it’s been some time since your last dental visit, don’t wait. Studies have shown that if you suffer from periodontal (gum) disease, you may have a higher risk of mortality from COVID-19. Considering that 1 in 5 U.S. adults currently has periodontal disease, maintaining good oral health these days is even more paramount. If you are unable to visit your dentist, soon, we recommend these tips in the meantime to boost your home care: �� Floss daily before mouthwash to allow the rinse to reach more spaces


�� Use mouthwash to freshen your gums and tongue �� B rush at least twice daily, in circles towards the gum line to prevent decay

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�� Limit your intake of acidic foods and beverages Wearing masks in public will go away at some point. Make sure your smile is ready and healthy for when that day comes! PRH

Advertise with Philadelphia RowHome Magazine & customers will know who you are.

You can COUNT on that. Call or Click. 215.462.9777 or

Dr. Robert J. Spennato, Willamsburg Dental, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network. PhiladelphiaRowhomeMagazine

April / May / June 2021







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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

courtesy of Jamie Flowers, LCSW

A genuine smile is a universal symbol of happiness. We smile to ourselves and to each other. Sometimes a smile can even turn into a laugh. A smile can be an easy and free way to elevate one’s mood. Even a forced smile can be the source of joy. I once took a laughter yoga class and everyone walked around the room practicing prolonged voluntary laughter. The more we faked laughing, the more spontaneous the laughter became. The same is true for smiling. If we smile at a stranger, it often elicits a smile in return. We have spent the past year living in a world where we don’t see each other’s mouths. Masks make it difficult to show and read each other’s true emotions. We learned to compensate by reading each other’s orbicularis oculi – the eye muscle that makes our eyes crinkle up when we smile or laugh – and our body language. It is actually possible to tell if someone is giving a genuine smile or a forced smile under their mask. In a forced smile, the eye muscles don’t engage. A neurobiologist named Guallame Duchenne discovered that it is impossible to activate the orbicularis oculi without first activating the zygomaticus muscle that lifts the corners of your mouth at the same time. Another name for a genuine smile is a Duchenne smile. Try putting a pencil between your teeth to force a smile. Then try to not smile with the pencil between your teeth. It’s really hard to do. The average person uses between 10-12 facial muscles to smile. Since most of us smile frequently, those muscles are stronger. Therefore, smiling is easier than frowning. Practicing your smile! It’s not only a good exercise for your face muscles, it is a mood booster, too. Genuine smiles trigger the brain to release three hormones: dopamine, serotonin and endorphins. These hormones signal your body that you are happy – which increases your happiness. Many studies have been done about smiling and laughter, with a variety of findings. But almost all point to the understanding that smiling is a natural result of true happiness. Smiling relieves stress by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure, which helps you relax. Smiling has psychological and physical benefits so why not do it as often as possible. PRH


Dr. Robert J. Spennato along with Dr. Daniel Tibbetts, Dr. Rachel Wezka, and Dr. Amanda Golshiri, strives to give you a unique dental experience. Their caring and professional manner has made Williamsburg Dental Delaware County's premiere Aesthetic/General dental practice for over 30 years. Dr. Spennato has been voted top cosmetic dentist 7 years in a row by his peers via various publications. The family-like atmosphere promoted by Dr. Spennato and his team make it truly the area's best dental practice for all of your needs. Let us change the way you look at dentistry, call today and schedule an appointment.

Elderly Falls onRisethe


from the


courtesy of American Trauma Society, PA Division


The American Trauma Society (ATS) and the Society of Trauma Nurses (STN) team up annually to plan National Trauma Awareness Month. In 1988, May was chosen as the month for us to dedicate our time and resources to increasing education and prevention about various activities that could lead to trauma. This year’s theme, “Safe & Secure – Safety is a Choice, Prevention is Key,” focuses on injury areas that have been rising during COVID-19. In Pennsylvania, specifically the Philadelphia area, ATS and STN report elderly falls as one of the top three reasons for hospitalization. Here are some statistics and safety tips to help prevent falls, courtesy of ATS and STN. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in an Emergency Department for a fall. Falling is not an inevitable result of aging. Use the tips below to prevent falls in your home. Find a good balance & exercise program. Look to build balance, strength and flexibility. Talk to your healthcare provider. Ask for an assessment of your risk of falling. Share your history of recent falls. Regularly review your medications with your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure side effects are not increasing your risk of falling. Get your vision & hearing checked annually and update your eyeglasses. Eyes and ears are key to keeping you on your feet. Keep your home safe. Remove tripping hazards, increase lighting, make stairs safe and install grab bars in key areas. Talk to your family members. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe. More information and resources regarding trauma can be found at Also please visit our blog at for more safety tips provided by the American Trauma Society and the Society of Trauma Nurses. PRH

2531-35 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19148

April / May / June 2021



Addiction Does Not Discriminate d i r e c t i o n s t r e at m e n t . c o m

by Theresa Collins BA CADC Facility Director/Primary Therapist Directions Outpatient Centers


There isn’t a group of people substance use disorder has not impacted. Black, brown, white, female, male, homosexual, heterosexual, transgender, young, old. Addiction does not discriminate. Years ago, the idea of someone struggling as an “addict” was a vision of a homeless person with a brown paper bag in their hand, dirty and forgotten. Now, it is near to impossible to identify who substance use disorder will impact. We have done a good job at beginning to change the stereotype and treat those who suffer with substance use disorder as a person struggling with a medical and mental health disorder. We still have a lot of work to do. Stand-out high school athletes are still being prescribed harmful drugs following an injury. Moms who just gave birth and are struggling with postpartum are not receiving proper mental health care and being pushed pills. Victims of childhood trauma are being ignored and their pain leads them down a path fueled by drugs and alcohol. People caught up in the justice system lose hope and turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the hopeless state of not being able to just get out. So, how do we do a better job at helping those who are suffering? While this is a loaded social injustice question, there are some things we can do immediately to help. Show compassion and love. If someone tells you they are strug-

gling with substance use disorder, try to put your own judgment and preconceived notions of what that looks like aside and offer help. Sometimes help is as simple as a listening ear. Offer assistance outside of offering money. If someone told you they were struggling with cancer, you wouldn’t immediately hand them a $20 bill. But you might offer them food or assistance with other needs. Educate yourself about your local community advocates. There are local resources that are available to help. Places like Directions Outpatient Center - a local resource that can help with direct care of placing someone in the necessary place to receive the proper care. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. If a loved one is acting out of character or has a complete change in personality, ask questions. Don’t ignore them and hope things will just change. Sometimes it takes the intervention of a loved one asking a simple question to bring the substance misuse to light. Recovery is possible. The positive note in all this is, just as substance use disorder does not discriminate, neither does recovery. The struggles of substance use disorder can bring an unlikely group together for a common goal of overcoming a deadly disease. PRH

Directions Outpatient Centers is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network. Contact: Directions Outpatient Centers 2300 S. Broad Street | 1 877.228.2073


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

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from the


Make a Plan before You Lift

PeterBUILT Construction LLC

From planning to completion. All your contracting needs begin here. Licensed & Insured

Aside from poor sitting posture, poor lifting habits or lifting something incorrectly is one of the leading causes of back injury. Moving into a new house or apartment? Moving some things into or out of storage? Check out these safety tips to avoid injury and back pain. Make a plan before you lift Am I wearing the proper clothing and footwear? How heavy is this object? Can I lift it by myself? Do I need help? There is a difference between what you can lift and how safely you can lift it. For gym goers, there is also a difference between lifting a heavy barbell in the gym and a large-shaped object weighing the same weight. General rule of thumb, the large box should be half of what you can safely lift in the gym.Where am I carrying the object? Do I have a clear path? Can I use some piece of equipment, such as a dolly, to more safely accomplish the task? If the item is heavy, consider placing it on a sturdy table at waist height to readjust your grip before trying to carry it.



courtesy of Gerald Dufour Jr., MSPT Superior Physical Therapy

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Assume a stable position with good body mechanics Get as close to the object as possible with your feet at least shoulder width apart or to the sides of the object. You may want to consider placing one foot slightly more forward than the other which may assist some individuals with balance during the actual initial lift. Bend with your knees (NOT your back) “Slightly” bend your back while still maintaining an upright posture and your head looking forward. Bend into the lift with your hips and knees. Get the object as close to your body as possible.

Nick Liggio (609) 923-4069 | Nick DiValentino (856) 481-2211


Lift with your Legs In other words, push straight upright through your feet and legs. You want to feel the load through your legs and buttocks as you stand upright, not a strain in your back. Your movement should be slow and steady. Jerking or sudden movements can cause injury or be a sign that the load is too heavy for you to lift on your own. Your knees should be the last joints to straighten. Again, keeping the load close to you and against your body. Do not twist your spine while lifting or carrying the object One of the most common ways an injury occurs to your back is when it is in a bent position while simultaneously being twisted. Keep your head and shoulders forward. Keep your shoulders level and turn with your legs and feet, NOT your trunk. Setting the object down Follow the same rules but in reverse. Keep your feet at least shoulder width apart or to the sides of the object. Some individuals may want to place one foot slightly forward from the other, which can help with balance. Bend into the squat while leading with your legs. Again, feel the weight through your feet, legs and buttocks. Keep your head forward and a slight bend in your back. Lower the object keeping it close to your body. Know your limits Do not lift more than you can easily or safely manage. If you are in doubt, get help. If you have bad or painful knees, suffer from a prior back injury or current back pain, you probably should NOT be lifting heavy objects by yourself. Seek help from friends or family. If necessary, pay someone to do the moving for you. Your back and joints will thank you for years to come. PRH

Superior Physical Therapy is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

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Construction & Improvements LLC 215.669.7248 slrconstruction 4@ gmail . com



Licensed & Insured

If you want to increase the value of your home, there’s no better place to start than your kitchen. While families have transitioned to working, schooling and managing life from the home base, the kitchen has become the new living room, family room and hub for loved ones to gather. Sleek finishes, custom cabinets, plenty of storage space and features that reflect your personality like artwork and lighting are transforming the most high-trafficked room in your house to the most memorable one. Cabinets by A&P Custom Kitchens SLR Construction & Improvements is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.



| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021


from City to Suburbs

a Smooth Move is Your Top Priority Courtesy of Kim Porter

Philadelphia has witnessed a building boom for the past few years with the influx of suburbanites who want to take advantage of the restaurants, nightlife and convenience the city has to offer. While the city has much to offer, there also has been a steady flow of residents looking away from the city and making the move to the suburbs. Whatever the reason – the schools, a backyard, a driveway, more room for the kids – the first thing you need to do is make a list of ‘musthaves’ in your suburban home.

LOCATION Is the commute to Philadelphia a concern or proximity to the trains to the city? Are schools a priority? Or are you looking for a smaller town with a big city vibe? Do you like a cozy town setting or a development with winding roads and cul-de-sacs?

DO YOUR RESEARCH It’s important to get as much information as possible when making such a big decision. I recommend you reach out to friends or family that have made the move. Choose a local agent who can guide you through these questions and help you

make the best decision for your life change! Your realtor should be open, available and knowledgeable of the areas you may have in mind when looking to purchase. An agent should also be able to provide insight on your city property, trends, demographics and ways to best market your home for sale while guiding your decision to buying a new one. As an experienced Realtor who grew up in Philadelphia before moving to the suburbs, I work closely with many clients who are doing the same. It can be a pretty significant decision. I still love the city of Philadelphia and enjoy Rittenhouse Square and South Philadelphia, the restaurants, theatre scene, all the attractions and of course, the Italian Market! I loved being a part of both the city and suburbs. So, when you are ready to make your move to an enjoyable new lifestyle in the suburbs and everything it has to offer, Kim Porter Homes is here to guide you through the process. Kim Porter, RE/MAX 440, is a member of the Philadephia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

From the 'burbs to Philly, hipster to historic, one thing is for sure: Kim will service all of your real estate needs with quality service and a smile!

RE/MAX 440

Kim Porter RE/MAX 440 M: 267.249.4991 O: 215.348.7100


Construction & Improvements LLC Licensed and Insured

215-669-7248 215-260-0748 April / May / June 2021


Robin Mitchell


Certified New Home Specialist

from the



Your shore connection in Ventnor, Margate, Longport and Atlantic City.

‘GET TOP DOLLAR’ checklist

Specializing in New Construction, Condominiums, Single Family

courtesy of Jeanne Polizzi Your Local South Philly Agent CERTIFIED RELOCATION SPECIALIST AGENT

9218 Ventnor Ave. Margate, N.J. 08402 Office Direct: 609-487-5013 Cell: 215-266-8334

You want to get the best possible price for your house. Start by making sure it looks its best, inside and out. I always say, remember the 3 Ds: Declutter, Destylize and Deep Clean! In addition, the following checklist offers easy ways you can improve a buyer’s first impression. You want to show the house in its best light, not with your personal decor or stuff.


PHL BUILDERS will turn your vision into reality. We offer one-on-one care to ensure not only the best quality, but the best service from start to finish. We keep our customers happy and coming back!


William Guyon Jr &

Ron Malandro Jr owners


�� Repaint or touch up trim �� Repair/Repaint gutters & downspouts �� Repair/Repaint fences �� Wash all windows & pressure wash house (if applicable) �� Remove all screens (windows look cleaner) �� Trim trees, hedges, shrubs �� Weed & feed lawn �� Pick up tools & toys �� Put garbage cans in garage or out of sight �� Park cars on street or around corner


�� Clear off all counters & tabletops �� Turn on all lights �� Open shades and curtains �� Put soft music on stereo

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

�� Give the house a pleasant aroma - fresh bread, fire in the fireplace �� Make all beds �� Replace burned-out lightbulbs. Do not use “squiggly” bulbs for showings �� Clear cobwebs from corners and doorways �� Wash light switches, handrails and doorknobs �� Clear out and/or organize closets �� Add “welcoming” touches - potted plants, dried flowers, guest towels


�� Check doorbell & exterior lights �� Replace welcome mat �� Repair/repaint storm door and/or front door �� Clear interior entry of all clutter


�� Repaint or touch up walls and ceilings �� Shampoo carpet and/ or wash floors �� Remove excess or unattractive furniture �� Clean & open curtains, shutters, blinds �� Clean fireplace, mantle, shelving

Kitchen/Baths �� Clean or replace faucets and fixtures �� Repaint walls �� Thoroughly clean appliances & clear out / organize drawers �� Remove clutter from countertops �� Remove old curtains to let the windows themselves be the focal point �� Grout tubs and showers �� Find warranties & information for newer appliances Make sure you hire a Realtor who takes the time to walk through and offer suggestions on how to make your house show better. A memorable showing increases your chances of getting your home sold faster and for more money. Check off what applies to your home and you’ll be ready to sell! Jeanne Polizzi, Coldwell Banker Preffered, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.


from the



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



Jeanne Polizzi REALTOR ®, SRS

Certified Relocation Specialist International Presidents Elite Club

(C) 215.767.7814 (Efax) 267.937.1919

courtesy of Fetterman Design Group


This past year has been a season of change and the beginning of a new normal. This has really caused us to adjust and pivot how we live our lives. Nothing has been left unaffected, including the realm of Design and Build. Working from home, home-schooling and home gyms are now taking up residence in our living space. So, how can we seamlessly transition from one function to another? Here are a few tips on how to make your space practical to fit all your needs.

RE-EVALUATE YOUR SPACE The luxury of time at home has caused us to realize what we need to make our home both functional and beautiful. Two specific areas that require our attention are the desire for a workspace and a home gym. With careful space planning, even the smallest of homes can accommodate the new norm. Some tricks to designating space can be

accomplished through the use of color, flooring and furnishings. �� Change your flooring. Add an area carpet or revamp the flooring altogether (tile, vinyl, carpet, hardwood) to instantly change the function of the room. �� Change the color of your space. A color change can help us transition quickly from one area of our home to another based on its purpose. �� Change the placement of your furniture. Well-placed furniture such as a chair or table can easily define the functions of a space. As we continue to adjust to a new way of life, our home should always be a special place of refuge. Check out our Instagram @ fettermandesigngroup to see how we applied these tips to create a multifunctional space. For help in creating a beautiful and functional space, contact Fetterman Design Group.


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

Faux Finish Specialist

Joe LaFiora

Fetterman Design Group is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. April / May / June 2021





STARTING AT: $995,000

photos courtesy of the Marian Anderson Museum & Historical Society

Standard features, 10 year tax abatement, Sub Zero, Wolf Appliances , 2 car garage, 5 stop elevator, ample closets, huge roof deck, dual zone HVAC & more!

Marian Anderson




arian Anderson’s historic home is located at 762 South Martin Street. It was built in 1857 in the same neighborhood where the opera singer and civil rights advocate was born on February 27th, 1897. The row home is a two-story, brick house designed in the Italianate style. This specific style was popularized in the United States by architect Alexander Jackson Davis in the 1840s as an alternative to Gothic or Greek Revival styles. Anderson’s mother purchased this home in 1924 with some of Marian’s money from her career as a musician. A studio was added above the previously one-story, rear kitchen sometime around 1925. The home was renovated circa 1940. This house was Anderson’s primary residence and office, even as she toured non-stop across the country and internationally. A number of her career highlights took place as she lived on South Martin Street, including performances at the White House and a concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped hold the concert at Lincoln Memorial, after officials of the District of Columbia barred Anderson from performing in


All in a Very Safe, Green, Convenient Community adjacent to 350 acres of luscious FDR Park (tennis, pickleball, skateboarding, hiking, biking, birdwatching and more).



the auditorium of a white public high school. She also became the first African American woman to sing the national anthem at a Presidential inauguration. Inside the house, you’ll find hardwood floors, lace curtains and Anderson’s personal collections, photos, tour memorabilia, clothing and many other artifacts that chronicle her life. You’ll also see the Steinway grand piano where pianist Blanch Lyles-Burton sat as a child and entertained Anderson’s famous guests - Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few. The museum looks lived in and not much has changed to the interior design thanks to Lyles-Burton who purchased the home with her own money to honor her mentor’s memory. It’s now known as the Marian Anderson Historical Society and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Anderson lived there until 1943 and owned the property until her death in 1993. Just this past December, City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson presented $5,000 to the museum to help the nonprofit with operating expenses. Three-and-a-half feet of water flooded the basement of the house last June and the museum itself has been closed for in-person tours since March 2020 because of the pandemic.

More about Marian Anderson can be found at

Contact: Barbara Capozzi: 215 551 5100 | Keller Williams Philadelphia 48

To book a virtual living history tour and see more photos of the house, visit Do you often pass by a home in Philadelphia that you’re curious about? Want to know more about a certain style of architecture? Interested in some facts about the childhood homes of Philly icons? Let us know and we’ll feature it soon! Email

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

stay and play with confidence!

The health and safety of our team members and guests are always our top priority. As part of our Enhanced Health & Sanitation program, we have implemented: • Reel Clear – Guaranteed Sanitized Slots and Automated Social Distancing • Air Filter and HVAC Cleaning – state-of-the-art Atmos Air Bi-Polar Air Purification system • Thermal Screeners – at all guest entry points To learn more about our rigorous cleaning protocols visit our website

De Fino Law Associates, P.C.


Don’t Settle for Less

Review your Social Security Earnings Report Michael Anthony De Fino

Vincent Anthony De Fino

Nicholas J. Starinieri

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Attorney at Law Attorney at Law

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

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Serving the Community since 1937

Courtesy of the CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg

Most of us go through life without being concerned with, or ever checking on, our Social Security records. We assume the money deducted each payday and an equal amount paid in by our employer is applied properly to this valuable retirement benefit.

Ignoring is problematic

The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives a vast amount of paperwork each year. They can and do make errors and omissions. Unfortunately, the only way these problems are caught is if YOU catch them. Waiting until retirement may be too late to correct an error made 10 to 20 years back. Common problems and their impact are:

Incorrect amounts.

If the SSA does not receive a W-2 wage statement from an employer, you will not see credit for these earnings. Result: Your Social Security retirement check amount averages your life-time earnings. If you have earnings that are missing, your retirement check will be permanently lower!

Missing earnings.

Vincent C. Gangemi Jr., Supervisor Vincent C. Gangemi, Founder (1915-2005) James L. Guercio, Funeral Director (1954-2016)

w w w. G a n g e m i F u n e r a l H o m e . n e t

In addition to receiving credit for earnings, you also need to work a certain number of quarters to be eligible for retirement benefits. These missing earnings reports reduce your number of working quarters. Mess up here and you may not qualify for benefits at all!

The three-year correction time limit.

Per the SSA, an earnings record Funeral Pre-Planning Available Relieve your loved ones of future responsibility for funeral expenses


Handicapped Accessible

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

can be corrected at any time up to three years, three months, and 15 days after the year in which the wages were paid or the self-employment income was derived. While there are exceptions for fraud and obvious clerical errors, why risk the hassle by not finding errors and fixing them when they happen?

Action to take

Thankfully, it is now easier to confirm the accuracy of your account as the SSA has an online tool that allows you to review your historic earnings statements online at To use the tool, you will need to go through an online signup process that includes many safety measures to ensure your identity is protected. If you see an error on your statement, you should immediately correct it. You can do this by contacting the SSA. Telephone 1.800.772.1213 By mail Social Security Administration Office of Earnings Operations PO Box 33026 Baltimore, MD 21290-3026 Make reviewing your Social Security retirement account part of your annual tax filing experience.

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


Covers Funeral Costs for Covid-19 Related Deaths The Mike Giordano Jr. and Sr. Duo at

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

Q: I just watched the Netflix movie, “I Care a Lot.” Can this really happen?

Q: What is the FEMA Covid19 Funeral Assistance Program?

A: It can but the movie obvi-

agement Agency (FEMA) will provide financial assistance for Covid19 related deaths that occurred after January 20, 2020. The maximum amount of the benefit is $9,000 and can only be paid to the individual who paid the funeral expense. To be eligible, the death must have occurred in the US, the death certificate must list the cause of death attributed to COVID-19 and the applicant must be a US citizen. However, there is no requirement that the decedent be a US citizen. The FEMA benefit cannot be used to reimburse funeral expenses that were paid by a pre-paid burial insurance policy or trust but can be used to reimburse funeral expenses paid by life insurance so long as the life insurance was not designated to pay for funeral expenses. Lastly, the FEMA benefit is not taxable.

ously took a tragic situation to an unlawful and unrealistic end. A person can become a ward of the state if a court deems that person incompetent. And in the absence of a family member that can serve as a guardian, the judge will appoint a guardian usually from county-run social service, mental health or elder care agencies. The guardian does have control over all monetary and property decisions but must act in the best interests of the ward. The court does monitor the activity and actions of the court appointed guardian. So, while it is possible it can happen, it is very unlikely to go unnoticed by the court.

A: The Federal Emergency Man-

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Once again, Frank DePasquale has been recognized by his peers as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for 2021. He heads DePasquale Law Offices, 2332-34 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145. P: 215.755.4410. Email him at or visit



Philadelphia Offices 1510 Packer Ave. 215-467-4300

Broad & Passyunk Ave. 215-389-5500

732 South 10th St. 215-923-8490

April / May / June 2021




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TIPS from the


Find a Bike that Fits

courtesy of RON RABENA Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal

Bicycling is becoming more popular as an environmentallyfriendly, cost-effective transportation alternative. It’s also a fun and healthy recreational activity. Novice and experienced cyclists need to make safety a top priority. These tips will help keep you safe on the road.


Safety equipment begins with the helmet. Wearing an approved helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by as much as 85 percent in the event of an accident. In addition, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing so you can be seen during the early morning and evening hours. Avoid riding your bike at night. You should also carry a small first aid kit in case of an emergency.


The most important factor in bicycling is finding a bike that

fits you properly. You should be able to stand just over the top bar of the bike with your feet flat on the ground. A professional at a bike shop can assist in properly fitting you with an appropriate bike.


Make sure all parts are in good repair and check your brakes, tires and gears often. Have a bike expert teach you the basics so that you can continue routine maintenance. Your bicycle should be equipped with reflectors and lights.


Bicycles are considered vehicles and cyclists should obey the same traffic laws as motorists. Travel on the correct side of the road with traffic and do not ride on the sidewalk. Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings. Use proper hand signals before making any lane changes or turns.


Sometimes the main road may not be the safest way to travel by bike. Look into alternate routes with less motor vehicle traffic or better road conditions. Some cities have even implemented lanes for cyclists.

BICYCLE COMMUTING BENEFITS � Your fitness level will improve. Research shows that regular cycling can cut the chance of heart disease in half. �T rips of less than three miles will be quicker by bike. Trips five to seven miles in urban areas may take the same time or less by car. �Y ou save money on gas and put less wear and tear on your car. �Y ou are reducing your carbon footprint through less CO2 emissions. � I n the city, it may be easier to find a place to park your bike than your car.

Ron Rabena is the Chief Client Officer at Allied Universal Security Services. He can be reached at


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

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

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

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


RIVERS CASINO Social Distancing with a side of fries!

by EMILY DOÑES, Rivers Casino Community Relations Manager

As we welcome the warmer weather, I love that people are getting out and enjoying all the city has to offer, including the return of outdoor dining at Rivers Casino Philadelphia. In addition to safe indoor seating, guests can savor the fabulous menu items from Jack’s Bar + Grill on the patio beginning Friday, May 7.

A perfect night at Rivers

Hot food, cold drinks and a cool breeze along the Delaware River are part of a perfect night out at Rivers Casino! On their way to Jack’s, guests can walk through the casino, past the wide selection of slots and table games, as well as the BetRivers Sportsbook. Guest parking is always free at Rivers.

Try a Rocky Burger

Jack’s serves classic American fare, including the juicy Rocky burger, house smoked ribs, grilled salmon and more. The menu features mouth-watering apps, delicious sides and scrumptious desserts, highlighted by the warm brownie skillet topped with chocolate sauce, crushed Oreos and whipped cream.

Sip a Mango Margarita

Spring and summer mean the amazing food and drinks can be enjoyed on the Riverwalk behind the casino, where guests have a front-row view of the Delaware River and Ben Franklin Bridge. Jack’s signature

cocktails include the Mango Margarita, House Sangria and Rum Runner. Plus, guests can choose from a full beer menu along with game-day specials.

Safety is top priority

As always, safety is a top priority at Rivers Casino Philadelphia, which meets or exceeds all health and safety requirements from the CDC, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. These standards and practices help ensure the well-being of all Team Members and guests.

Dine with us

Reservations through OpenTable are suggested for Jack’s, as well as for Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House, and Mian—the casino’s authentic Asian cuisine restaurant. Walk-ins are welcome, pending capacity limits. For complete menus and additional information, please visit Philadelphia. We look forward to seeing you at Jack’s, soon!

Jack’s Bar + Grill Menu Highlights

Burgers & Beyond - BBQ Burger, House Smoked Ribs, Turkey Club • Appetizers - Liberty Bell Pretzel, Philly Eggrolls, Jackpot Fries • Seafood - Grilled Salmon, Lump Crab Cake, Fried Shrimp • Sides - Mac and Cheese, Grilled Vegetables, Corn Bread

Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

A Taste For Tradition 700 Haddon Avenue Collingswood, NJ 08108 Call 856-854-2156 for reservations w ww . kitconcafe . com

Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 9:30pm

Friday: 4pm – 10:30pm

Saturday: 12pm – 10:00pm

Book your private parties | Home catering available

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Let’s face it, there are some nights that you just don’t have the time for a major dinner prep and an extended cooking period. That’s why I love the ease and flexibility of a good stuffed pepper. Far and away, the cubanelle is my favorite pepper. So, in a twist from the traditional stuffed bell pepper, when I can get dual colored cubanelles, it’s game on! The other great perk associated with a stuffed pepper is you can choose your favorite type of ground protein - maybe the type you just happen to have on hand in the refrigerator or freezer. Or go meatless with vegetable options that pair with rice for the stuffing. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Buon appetito!

INGREDIENTS ❍ 6 cubanelle peppers (dual colored if possible). Choose firm and lengthier ones ❍ 3/4 lbs ground veal ❍ 1 cup of jasmine or basmati rice (not instant) ❍ 1 1/2 cups of water ❍ 1 small (15 oz) can of tomato sauce such as Pastene or Cento ❍ 1 cup of shredded mozzarella or pre-shredded

Italian blend cheeses ❍ 1 cup canola oil ❍ Coating and a drizzle of olive oil ❍ Minced Garlic (about a tbsp) ❍ Salt ❍ Cracked pepper ❍ Onion powder ❍ Dried basil ❍ Sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese

Philly DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring rice to a boil in water until tender enough to eat. Do not overcook. Wash the peppers, pat dry. Cut off the stem and top of the pepper just enough to remove the veins and seeds without ripping or tearing. Shake the remainder of the pepper seeds out in a sink to discard along with the tops, stems and veins. Set aside. Coat a midsize skillet with olive oil, heat, then add garlic to lightly brown. Add ground veal and brown while using a spatula to continually separate until meat is cooked but not overcooked. Turn off heat. When the rice is ready, drain excess water then mix into the skillet with the veal. Once mixed, pour the entire can of sauce into the mixture and combine thoroughly over medium heat until sauce begins to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool

for about 10 minutes. Mix cheese into the veal/rice mixture. Season with the dry spices to your taste and blend well. Once complete, take a spoon and begin to stuff your peppers. Tip: Shake the mixture down through the length of the pepper to completely stuff. Coat a medium baking dish with the canola oil and lay each stuffed pepper into the dish. Be sure they are not on top of each other. Once placed in the dish, drizzle a little olive oil onto each pepper then top with more salt, pepper and grated Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until pepper skins start to blister. Do not burn. Remove and let cool for five minutes. Use a spatula to serve lengthwise. Great as a main dish or as a side or starter. Mangiamo!

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Black Elk Tempranillo $11


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021




My Aunt Emily (left in the photo) was born in Naples, Italy, on March 13, 1935. She came to Brooklyn in 1953 but returned to Formia, Italy, in 1957 to marry my Uncle Tony...only to return again and settle in Rhode Island where she raised five children. Aunt Emily was an amazing cook and very good at sewing, knitting and gardening. She made her famous wine cookies all the time for family and friends. ❍ 1 cup red wine ❍ 1 cup sugar

When Aunt Emily couldn’t make them anymore, my mom, Anna (on the right), carried on the tradition. Aunt Emily passed away last November. She was very loved in her community. There are many varieties of the wine cookie recipe. One, for example, includes 3 tablespoons of fennel or anise seeds. My aunt never used those, though. Every region had their own take on these cookies.


❍ 1 cup olive oil ❍ 3 tsp baking powder

❍ 1/4 tsp salt ❍ 5 cups flour, sifted


Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix the wine, sugar, oil, baking powder and salt. Add flour in gradually. Roll and shape. Bake for about 20 minutes.

April / May / June 2021



Gram Moylan’s


Talia RoTa PhoTogRaPhy @taltography 267.240.5302


CREPES ❍ 3 eggs ❍ 1 tbsp of oil


❍ 1/2 tsp of salt ❍ 1 c. sifted flour

❍ 1 c. milk



Mix in a blender to pancake batter consistency. Let it rest for 1 hour. Heat a non-stick 7-inch frying pan and brush with oil. Pour about 2-3 tbsp of batter, swirl pan quickly to cover the bottom (if there are holes, fill in


FILLING Mention ROWHOME Magazine & Receive 10% OFF Catering

with more batter if you prefer). Cook until it bubbles (golden brown). Flip and cook on the reverse side for about 30 seconds. Continue making these crepes until all batter is used.

❍ 3 lbs of Ricotta ❍ 1 egg ❍ Parsley


❍ Grated mozzarella cheese ❍ Salt and pepper, to taste


Life & Wellness Coach

Teri Lombardo

Mix all filling ingredients together. Place a tablespooon of filling down the center of the crepe. Fold each side to meet the middle. Line a pan with red gravy. Place the manicotti folded side down onto the pan. Put a dollop of red gravy on top,

tel: (215) 869-0319


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

sprinkle with some grated cheese and bake at 350 until heated through (about 15-20 minutes). You can freeze the manicotti to make later. Cook time will take about 10-15 minutes longer.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Mendoza Argentina Malbec $15

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❍5 eggs, plus one egg for egg wash ❍3 tbsp vegetable or canola oil ❍3 cups flour, sifted, plus more as needed

❍ Pinch of salt ❍ 1 tsp milk

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Mix the 5 eggs and oil together. Mix the flour and salt together. Slowly fold in the flour into the eggs, either by hand or by using a dough hook on a mixing machine. Add the milk. Continue to fold/mix for about 8-10 minutes, until well incorporated and a dough ball forms. Add additional flour if needed to avoid sticking. Place the dough into a lightly sprayed bowl, cover with a towel and let it sit in a warm area for one hour. *You can make one day ahead of time and refrigerate. Be sure to wrap the dough

ball in clear plastic wrap prior to refrigerating. Roll dough out to approximately 1/8″ thin. To help with this process, I used my pasta machine for a more consistent thickness. Of course, you can roll it out with a rolling pin if you do not have a pasta machine. Be sure to keep the dough floured to avoid sticking. Once rolled out, you can use a cookie cutter (approximately 3″-3.5″ wide) or a juice glass to cut the dough into circles. You should get 24 circles from this batter.

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INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING ❍3 /4 cup grated Parmesan cheese ❍ 3 eggs, beaten ❍3 /4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese ❍ Dash of ground black pepper ❍3 /4 cup grated Fontina cheese *Mix all together using a spatula*

DIRECTIONS / ASSEMBLY Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Add a heaping teaspoon of the filling to the center of each circle. Fold the circles in half, pinch them together and seal them with the edge of a fork. Lightly scramble the remaining egg for the egg wash and brush the tops of each pie. Place them onto lightly sprayed

baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 325˚ and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool completely. Serve once cooled, or you can refrigerate them for up to one week. You can warm them in the microwave oven for up to 30 seconds before serving.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Capo Vero Bianco $12

April / May / June 2021



Lemon Ricotta

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Two absolute staples in my kitchen are ricotta cheese and lemons. I enjoy that combination almost as much as I enjoy any other kitchen pairing when it comes to ingredients in, or out, of my recipes. Here’s a great, refreshing and moist pound cake that will help you welcome ❍ 1 1/2 sticks of butter (Must be softened, so get an early jump on bringing it to room temperature) ❍ 15 oz whole milk ricotta

spring. Do yourself a favor, though. Serve it with some fresh fruit – especially blueberries. In my opinion, blueberries are the third ingredient of the holy trinity formed by lemon and ricotta when baking! Mangiamo!


❍ 1 1/2 cups sugar ❍ 3 eggs (also at room temperature) ❍ 1 tsp vanilla ❍ 1 large lemon (zest & juice)

LEMON GLAZE ❍ 2 cups of confectioners sugar

❍ 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ❍ 1/2 tsp baking powder ❍ 1/2 tsp baking soda ❍ 1 tsp salt



❍ 3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice



Start with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Then gradually start adding and stirring in the powdered sugar until you get a nice fluid but thick consistency for the glaze. Remember, you want to be able to drizzle it onto the top of the cake and let it

trickle down the sides. Do a quick finger test. If you’re okay with the taste, drizzle onto the top of the cake. You can add a little water to cut taste or aid consistency. With glazes and icings, you learn as you go, so don’t be afraid to scrap it and start over again.


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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Then butter yes butter - and flour a Bundt cake pan and set aside, away from heat. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Add ricotta and blend for about five minutes until light and fluffy. Mix in eggs, one at a time. When all three have been well incorporated, add vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Mix to combine. Sift the dry ingredients together.

W W W . G R A N C A F F E L A Q U I L A. C O M

Then add the dry ingredients, half at a time, to incorporate into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes (cake should be set and toothpick insert should come out clean). Let cool at least 15 minutes before removing and inverting onto a wire rack. Drizzle glaze over top of cake and let drip down on its own over sides of cake.

Good luck and enjoy! Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello La Segretta Grillo $12


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021


Filet MIGNON 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

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

Anthony, Vince & Vincent “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


❍ 2 filet mignon steaks, 6 ounces each ❍ Coarse salt, to taste ❍ Freshly ground black pepper, to taste ❍ 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

❍ 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ❍ 2 sprigs fresh rosemary ❍ 1 clove garlic, peeled and put through a garlic press



Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Remove filets from refrigerator and place on cutting board. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes. Season generously all sides of the filets with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together the butter rosemary and garlic. Set aside. In a large cast iron skillet or other oven-safe pan, add oil and heat over medium heat until wisps of smoke appear. Add the filets to the pan. Cook without turning for 2-3 minutes, until a crust has formed. Using tongs flip the filets over, then add the butter mixture to the pan. Tilt the pan and spoon the butter continuously over the steak for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven for 7 minutes for a medium rare steak. Remove from pan and set on cutting board to rest for 10 minutes. Slice and drizzle with pan juices. LOMBARDI’S PRIME MEATS IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILADELPHIA ROWHOME MAGAZINE (PRH) BUSINESS NETWORK.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Liberty School Paso Robles Sauvignon $16

1805-07 Washington Ave Philly, PA 19146 215.546.2233


W W W. C H I C K S P H I L LY. C O M Large selection of CRAFT BEERS available for Dine In or Take Out. Signature Cocktails. Wine. Spirits. April / May / June 2021


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APPLESAUCE DELIVERY AVAILABLE Hours: Mon-Fri. 7am – 5pm Saturday 8am – 1pm SOUTH PHILADELPHIA 1600-30 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19146


My grandmother would make this applesauce and deliver it to everyone for the holidays. My father continued the tradition when she passed and now, I make it and bring it to holiday dinners.


❍ 12-15 Granny Smith Apples ❍ 2 tsp of cinnamon

❍ 2 tbsp of sugar ❍ 2 cans of whole cranberry sauce ❍ 1/2 cup water


Quarter the apples, cut out core and seeds. Place in a pot with 1/2 cup of water. Add cinnamon, sugar, cranberry and cover the pot. Simmer for 1.2 hours until the apples are soft. Let cool for two hours. Pour through a mill and stir.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

The Birthplace of Freedom

Still Has a King. 9th & Passyunk Avenue


Quick & Easy Vegetable

STIR FRY i n s ta g r a m :




❍ 1 tbsp of olive oil ❍ 1 tbsp of sesame oil ❍ 1 medium onion, sliced thin ❍ 1 cup of diagonally sliced carrots ❍ 2 cups of broccoli florets ❍ 1 cup of mushrooms of your choice ❍ 1/2 cup diced zucchini ❍ 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips

❍ 1 tbsp of reduced sodium soy sauce ❍ 2 scrambled eggs ❍ 3 cups of pre-cooked jasmine rice (make sure your rice is cool, you can even refrigerate if needed) ❍ 1 tsp garlic powder ❍ 1 tsp of ginger ❍ 1 tbsp of sesame seeds



A toast to the past with a taste of the future. PEZONE CELLO is a traditional Italian liqueur with a modern row home grown flair.

For purchases visit us at PEZONECELLO.COM or call us at (267) 374-7590 64

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

Heat your sesame oil in a wok or large deep skillet on medium high heat. Add your onions and carrots, stir/fry for two minutes. Add the remaining vegetables, scrambled eggs and rice, stir/fry for 5 to 7 minutes until vegetables are tender and crisp. Add soy sauce, garlic powder and ginger, stir/fry until well blended. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.

Eat well while eating well. Yields 10. Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Black Elk Shiraz $11




❍ 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil ❍ 1 large onion, chopped ❍ 1 lb ground turkey ❍ 2 garlic cloves, minced ❍ 1 tbsp taco seasoning (recipe below) ❍ 1 large bag tortilla chips

❍ 2 c. shredded cheddar ❍ 2 c. shredded Monterey Jack ❍ 1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained ❍ 1/2 c. jalapeños ❍ Salt to taste



In a large skillet, add olive oil and onions. Cook on medium heat until onions are soft. Add turkey and cook until it’s fully cooked with no pink. Add fresh garlic and your taco seasoning. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray a little oil cooking spray onto the foil. Next, start layering your pan. I like to do several layers, so each nacho has a delicious combination of flavor and toppings. Do a single layer of nachos, add some turkey and onion mixture, add some shredded cheddar and Monterey jack, beans and a few jalapeños. Do a second layer with the same steps. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes or until the cheese melts fully. While nachos are in the oven, start chopping lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, scallions, cilantro and sour cream. These ingredients are optional, but they will make your nachos so much more flavorful.


❍ 1 tbsp chili powder ❍ 1/2 tsp cumin ❍ 1/2 tsp garlic powder ❍ 1/2 tsp onion powder

❍ 1/2 tsp oregano ❍ 1/2 tsp black pepper ❍ Pinch of cayenne pepper or more if you like it hot!

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Aime Roquesante Rose $14

April / May / June 2021



Hot Milk CAKE

Monica DiDonato and Nadia Petruzelli, owners

-custom airbrush tanning - b o d y b ro n z i n g x camo - b o d y h yd ra t i o n t re a t m e n t s - m a ke - u p application

In Memory of Marie Scalfaro This is my mom’s traditional hot milk birthday cake. Mom would either top it with powdered sugar or her own flour icing (optional). It’s just delicious and it’s my daughter’s favorite cake. Although browning from age and crinkled from use, I still cherish my mom’s typewritten version of this recipe from at least 35 years ago.

921 Haddonfield Road Suite B32B Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 Garden State Town Center

(near Nordstrom Rack, 2nd floor). Handicap elevators available.


glowlabnj 856-320-4011

❍ 3 beaten eggs ❍ 1 3/4 cups sugar ❍ 1 3/4 cups flour, sifted




1921 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 215-336-3557 800-248-3557 66

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

❍ 1 tsp baking powder ❍ 1/4 tsp salt





❍ 3/4 cups milk ❍ 1/2 cup butter ❍ 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F. Beat eggs until light. Add sugar, continue beating until smooth. Stir in sifted flour with baking powder and salt. Heat the milk and butter together, add to the batter. Mix thoroughly. Stir in vanilla. Bake in a greased and floured tube or loaf pan for 45 minutes.

❍ 1/2 cup milk ❍ 2 heaping tbsp flour

ICING INGREDIENTS ❍ 1/2 cup butter ❍ 1/2 cup granulated sugar

❍ 1 tsp vanilla


Cook milk and flour together until it is thick and wraps around your spoon. Set aside and let cool thoroughly. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Pour in the flour/milk mixture and beat until smooth.

Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Signature Wine Pairing courtesy of Vincent Novello Fabre Rose $16




❍ 1 part gin ❍ 1 part St. Germain elderflower liqueur


❍ Splash of lemon juice ❍ Splash of cranberry juice ❍ Champagne


Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, St. Germain, lemon juice and cranberry juice. Shake and pour. Top with Champagne.




Andreozzi Photography



❍ 2 oz coconut water rum ❍ 1 oz fresh lime juice ❍ 6-8 mint leaves, muddled

❍3 /4 oz simple syrup ❍1 oz Club Soda

Andrew Paul - Photographer “QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY FOR LESS”


Add ingredients (except club soda) into a cocktail shaker. Shake. Open shaker and add in the club soda. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with lime.

(484) 614-1952 April / May / June 2021


PRH Brides Guide

Stacie & Rich Walters

Franklin’s View sets the stage for a beautiful outdoor wedding by Joe Volpe

H 68

ello Philadelphia and all of our Brides Guide readers! There is no doubt that we all are ready for some sunny days and looking forward to a fantastic year ahead. Cescaphe has been hard at work getting ready to safely celebrate all of our couples. More than ever, we are ready to bring joy back to Philadelphia. I

recently had the pleasure of speaking with newlyweds Stacie Batten and Rich Walters about their wedding at Franklin’s View, our new outdoor venue that debuted in Fall of 2020. Stacie and Rich were one of the first couples to share their special day with us at our newest venue which features a rustic garden-chic and contemporary design under translucent tents, accented with luminous lights and a romantic

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

aesthetic. I am delighted to share with you their story and advice for other brides and grooms affected by Covid. How did you meet? We met online through Bumble and officially met each other at Revolution House in Philadelphia for our first date. How did the proposal happen? Rich took me to the first place he saw me, which was a cobblestone

street at 2nd and Church Streets. He got down on one knee and had a very thoughtful and beautiful speech planned out. He then took me back to Revolution House where our first date was, and we celebrated with a glass of champagne. After champagne, he had dinner planned for us and when we got to the restaurant, he surprised me with our parents being there. Later in the night, I mentioned that I wished we would have taken a

picture where he proposed, but little did I know, he had a team of photographers shooting the proposal, paparazzi style, to capture the emotional moment. A couple weeks later, he gave me an album with all the pictures and it was at that point that I realized he had photographers there that day. Why did you choose a Cescaphe Wedding? Cescaphe is well known throughout the city for their reputation of food, quality and courteous staff. Also, having attended past events, we knew they could throw a great party that our guests would really enjoy. Having met and gotten engaged in Philadelphia, we really wanted to have a wedding here, as well. We thought Cescaphe had such great venue options in the city. We enjoyed all of the food options as well as not having to worry about how many appetizers we could pick or which entrees were in a certain price range. It was a turnkey process which we really appreciated. It was one less thing we had to worry about. We originally planned to have our reception at The Lucy in June, but due to Covid, ended up at the new venue

called Franklin’s View a few months later in October. Can you talk about the process of moving your wedding date and venue? The unknown was very stressful. Was the city going to open? Would we ever get married? Would our guests feel safe? WHEN would we even be able to have our wedding? We had to learn to be okay with not having a “set in stone” plan. However, Cescaphe, and honestly, all our wonderful vendors, were so understanding and accommodating as possible. Cescaphe was very proactive about having us pick a backup date, listening to our concerns, and coming up with viable solutions which turned into creating a new outdoor venue option. I think in most situations, a lot of brides and grooms might panic if you told them two months before the big day that their wedding would be moved to a new venue that was not even built yet. For us, though, we felt comfort knowing that no matter what, we were in good hands with the staff and that they would not steer us wrong. Overall, they took a lot of stress out of the process

because we knew 1) they had their stuff together, staff, decor, etc. and 2) the staff was extremely understanding and validated our feelings and always made us feel heard. What was your favorite part of your wedding? That despite the circumstances, so many guests were still able to attend and were as excited as us for the wedding. It was great to celebrate with family and friends that we had not been able to see in months. Our first dance was one of our favorite parts for many reasons. It was a special moment between the two of us surrounded by all the people that love and support us. I think it was in that moment we both had a sigh of relief. After all the stress of postponing, we were finally here, enjoying the moment we had waited a while for. We also loved the ambience of the Franklin’s View venue. It was a beautiful venue with the lighting/draping, and we got so lucky with beautiful weather in late October.

cocktail hour, my husband and I had an opportunity to enter the reception area before our guests. We took that moment to stand there, hand-in-hand, to soak it all in. Honestly, after having to postpone and with so many unknowns, just being able to still have this beautiful wedding is what made it extra special. We were thankful for the extra protocols put into place that kept our family and friends safe. What advice would you give to other brides and grooms whose weddings have been affected by Covid? It is easier said than done but try to only worry about the things you can control.

Update your wedding website to keep guests informed and send out your invitations or change the date notes. Have trust in the vendors you selected that they will all make it come together seamlessly when you finally get the go-ahead to have your wedding. Communication with your guests is critical. They want you to get married and they want to attend your wedding, but over-communicate what is going on, even if things are still up in the air. Most of all, be flexible. This is unknown territory for most of us. Understand that it is okay for things to change slightly. It may not be your original vision, but that does not make your day any less special or less memorable.

CESCAPHE Credits Client Development Associate: Betsy Shoustal

Event Coordinator: Kelsey Sweeney

Event Manager: Nikki DiJosie

Maitre D: Dan Fleishmann

Head Server: Carlene Acello


Cescaphe is a member of the PRH Business Network.

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

What did you do to make your wedding day extra special? Shortly after arriving at the VENDOR CREDITS

Venue: Franklin’s View by Cescaphe Florist: Beautiful Blooms Band/DJ: Scott Yanney Band of Faze4 Orchestras

Invitations & Stationery: Designed by Melissa Noucas Printer: Cecilia Torres of Casa Papel

Calligrapher: Michele Bates of East Coast Calligraphy

Videographer: Lorenzo Media Productions

Photographer: Tyler Boye Photography

Transportation: Albert’s Limo

Dress Designer/Dress Shop: Designer: Enzoani / Dress Shop: Country Way Bridal

Rings: Kusturiss Jewelers

Menswear Designer/ Shop: State and Liberty

April / May / June 2021

Hair & Makeup: CE Facial Artistry

Church: St. John the Evangelist Hotel: Cambria

Bride Shoes: Badgley Mischka



from the

Pat & Anna Scioli


Beach Waving on the Summer Sand

Brand Name Designer Suits from Italy Sports Jackets • Pants • Dress Shirts Ties • Cashmere Top Coats Custom Alterations for men & women 1744 E. Passyunk Avenue 215.334.0990

Courtesy of Diane Bosco We’ve all been coasting through one of the most unprecedented times in our history. Pampering and self-care were only a few remaining feel-good experiences offered to those who needed an outlet. It was simply an hour or two to remove oneself from all of the adversity and focus on feeling and looking better. When our clients entered our salon after our reopening in late June, we greeted them with a huge smile (no hug). We were just as excited to see them as they were to see us. It had been 3.5 months without them and we found it difficult to bear. When our doors opened, safety was the number one luxury item we offered our customers and it really mattered to us. We took temperatures and scheduled our guests far apart as we followed the CDC guidelines. Disinfectant is the most used product in our salon as we wipe down chairs and surfaces after each client leaves the area. When the weather warmed up, we created a patio setting outside for our waiting clients. It was pleasant and effective. Clean and cautious made everyone feel safe and secure. After each guest enjoyed a consultation, a therapeutic scalp massage and shampoo, our artists could then release the latest and the greatest in hair designing. Hot Waves puts education first, so everyone receives the best of the best in

hair fashion for today’s trends. As for what’s trending in hair fashion...

Beach Waving is #1. Many

women are now working from home which calls for a wash, a bit of product, and quick dry kind of styling. This is perfect for a home-working environment or a trip to the shore.

Reds are ahead. Hair color is loaded with light and dark reds or browns. Hair painting applications.

Enhance the perfect cut with hues of blues, pinks and greens lacing throughout your new style.

Shags are sassy. They are easy to manage and extremely flattering to many face shapes. Face framing bangs. Change long hair into a fun and flirty finish for all our mane lovers.

Short cuts stand out. They’re sharp and striking and we can add color to your cut!

Hot Waves is in the “Feel Good Business.” Our team loves making every guest feel good while looking great. We promise to deliver a strong dose of calm and a whole bunch of beauty for all to enjoy

Hot Waves Salon is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

t ing a r b e l Ce ARS!

50 YE


Spring Makeup Trends

from the


Glow Big or Go Home


“The Unusual Is Our Specialty”



FLORIST & DECORATORS John & Joann Vacca Flowers For All Occasions

Winner- 2018 Readers' Choice Award!


2515 S. Broad Street / Philadelphia, PA 19148

Bella Angel Bridal Hair & Makeup

– including our collective beauty and self-pampering habits. Many of us were in “lockdown” at home, unable to get manis and pedis. We stopped wearing makeup. Some even started cutting and coloring our own hair. Like so many easily accessible activities, the luxurious days of going to a salon or spa were taken away. Some did, however, find new ways to beautify at home by buying hydrating face masks, hair conditioning treatments and ring lights for online video sessions. The world is constantly changing and hopefully, with the world slowly reopening, we will be ready for our “new,” reinvented selves. In the spirit of new beginnings, the new spring trends are not for the faint of heart. They are for a Phoenix, rising from the ashes of lost time. This springtime, you should turn on your glow. I truly mean it! Matte is out and glowing, shiny, highlighted faces are what’s hot. “Glow big or go home.” If that wasn’t a saying before, it is this spring!


We come to you! Locations in Old City Philadelphia & Cherry Hill, NJ

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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

I have a few favorite products to help you get your glow on starting with Glo Luminous Liquid Foundation™. This foundation both covers and corrects. It’s fortified with Vitamins A, C, E and green tea with an SPF 18. An application leaves you with a dewy finish. As a bonus, it’s cruelty-free.


My latest choice for eyeshadow that focuses on shimmer is Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes™. These palettes come in four blendable, buildable, color-coded shades. They offer

a variety of colors including palettes that feature maroon, copper, green, purple and gold. Also, they are cruelty-free.

Eye Pencil

If you are truly ready to bring your glow to the next level, put your black eyeliner away and step out of your comfort zone by trying Urban Decay 24/7 GlideOn Eye Pencil™ in a metallic shade. “Love Drug” and “Roxy” are my current favorites and these products are cruelty-free.


Highlighters are all the rage and my Spring picks come from the Too Faced Love Light Prismatic Highlighter™ line. This brightening highlighter creates a flattering glow with a pearl finish and metallic shine. The MAC Extra Dimension Skinfinish Highlighter™ is a liquid-powder highlighter with prismatic reflections. It is designed to sculpt and highlight your face, leaving a luminous, well-defined finish. Experiment with placement. Use it on your cheeks, brow bone or anywhere you want to glow. Finally, as you know from past articles, I am a big fan of Charlotte Tilbury™. If I do not tell you about her amazing Hollywood Flawless Filter™ highlighter, I wouldn’t be doing this article justice. It can be used as a tinted primer, under foundation, mixed with foundation or as a highlighter on high points of the face. It smooths and visibly brightens skin for a more youthful appearance. So, there you have it. Time to emerge and shine with a fantastic spring glow.

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

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Stay at Live! Casino and Hotel and immerse yourself in luxury in one of our 208 scenic rooms. Experience the thrill of world-class gaming with 2000+ slots and 150 table games. Indulge in flavors from around the world at our nine restaurants. Plus, enjoy live sports betting at the FanDuel Sportsbook & Lounge.




Best of the Eagles



by Matt Kelchner t’s sometimes challenging to put a set together when doing a 90-minute show,” says Joe Vadala, guitarist and founder of BOTE Best of the Eagles, while discussing the band’s live performances. But when you’re talking about a catalog of songs from The Eagles, it’s not a bad thing. The most challenging issue for him is, “What songs do you leave out?” The Eagles has always been one of those lifelong favorite bands for Vadala. “I love great vocals and a great catalog of


music. The Eagles have all of the above.” The idea to take the stage, performing the group’s hits and deeper cuts, came to Vadala in 2012. While planning, he knew it would take a special group of people to do the songs justice night in and night out. The result was assembling a group of musicians that he is proud, and fortunate, to be among. And over the years, the fans seem to agree. The impressive lineup of local musicians that join Vadala on stage each night has extensive resumes that reach many different corners of the music industry. BOTE includes Marc Hoffman on drums; John Bushnell on rhythm, lead and slide guitar; Jerry Steele on guitar and pedal steel; Dan (Dano) Miller on bass and Dave ‘Squiggy’ Biglin on keyboards. When they’re performing,


BOTE likes to stay as true to the original recordings as possible, right down to each member handling his own individual vocal duties. Each vocalist plays and sings spotlight songs, mirroring the traits of their counterparts in the actual Eagles band. This is a characteristic of BOTE that they wear as a badge of honor. “I love the fact that The Eagles share lead vocals. It keeps the night interesting,” Vadala says. The set list really depends on the night and the audience, though songs like “Take It to the Limit,” “Hotel California” and “Heartache Tonight” are consistent pleasers. “They seem to be favorites,” Vadala says. “Plus, the Joe Walsh songs that seem to bring it all together. Our aim is to get the show to flow so it’s balanced.” As venues and events begin to open back up, Vadala and BOTE

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

are eager to return to the stage. “People really want to get out and hear live music,” he explains. “I think The Eagles catalog carries a lot of fun memories for a lot of people.” Just as they’ve done with the few shows they were able to perform live with an audience this past year, the group continues to take precautions to ensure a safe and healthy environment for their fans. BOTE always tries to create a Broadway quality performance, so once you get a chance to see them, it certainly will be worth the wait. “The idea of the band starting in 2012 is hard to believe because it still feels fresh,” Vadala says. BOTE has been selling out shows all along the East Coast and beyond for almost a whole decade. Their late spring/summer calendar kicks off on May 21 at the Sidney Theater, Sidney, Ohio, and they head to Tibbits Theater in Coldwater, Michigan, the next day. With a tour building, they plan to add more and more dates as gatherings are allowed. Check out www. for local show dates and videos, or on Facebook at for their latest updates. PRH

45s Philly

Clara Ward

"How I Got Over"


Geno Thackara t sounds like a cliche out of an old blues song: growing up poor, the whole family having to work hard to get by, often roaming away from home for long stretches at a time. And then there are other incidents and troubles that occasionally add to the struggle. Still, Blues and its cousin Gospel also find the silver lining by having everyone share the highs and lows. Coming together and singing about those things is one of the best ways of coping. Sometimes, it even becomes


the key to finding a way out. Such was the case for the Ward family. Gertrude Ward started singing with her daughters Willa and Clara during the first 10 years of the Great Depression, probably to scratch out a living as much as anything else. Clara turned out to have an unusual talent for singing and song-arranging, even as an adolescent. Poverty forced the family to move from one part of Philadelphia to another to another while the sisters were still growing up - almost 20 times in all. Through it all, they kept singing anywhere they could around town, always proclaiming faith in God and a belief that surely, surely, surely, he was able to carry them through. The three honed their craft as the Consecrated Gospel Singers, then the Ward Trio and eventually the Ward Singers, taking more than a decade to reach a recognizable level of success, then touring relentlessly through the ‘40s. It’s not hard to hear why the

group won over more listeners in each new place. Gospel’s traditional call-and-response drew in the crowds and the sunshine-bright chants had them clapping and dancing like mad. When new members Marion Williams and Henrietta Waddy came on board, they brought some crowd-pleasing stage shtick and choreography, as well. The group scored some highly visible TV appearances near the end of the decade and finally moved into the world of studio recording. The new steps took them from being Philly’s finest to one of the hottest singing groups in the whole country. A couple of the Wards’ singles were among the first Gospel hits to sell a million copies, even if they were somewhat overshadowed by other singers’ versions in the end. “Surely God Is Able” was also recorded by Aretha Franklin, while “Move Up a Little Higher” is most famous as a hit for Mahalia Jackson - and to be fair, it’s no shame for any group (however

talented) to not quite match that. While those two hits were borrowed from other songwriters, “How I Got Over” may prove to be Clara Ward’s own most famous work. If you want a defining encapsulation of the spirit of Gospel itself, her song of praise checks all the boxes. It’s a celebration all about praise and gratitude, timeless enough that it could have been written centuries before, and infectiously happy enough to have just about anyone dancing in the aisles. As the story was told by sister Willa, the tune actually resulted from an ugly (yet inevitably common) brush with racism. The Wards had done so well that they could finally afford to tour in a Cadillac, which made a group of white men in Georgia angry enough to surround the car and harass them with threats of violence. It was mother Gertrude who scared them off by raving as if she was possessed. Maybe that’s what Clara meant when she wrote lines like “thank him for heavenly vision / thank him for old time religion.” Whether that’s the case or not, the piece certainly doesn’t dwell on the unpleasant side of humanity. It’s as uplifting as worship songs are meant to be. It rolls along over some driving boogie piano; a layer of organ

adds a continual pleasant shimmer in the background; and Clara’s lines leave spaces for a backing chorus of cheerful “oh yeahs” in just the right spots. The message of salvation made “How I Got Over” an inspiring choice for a particularly inspiring occasion. At 1963’s Great March on Washington, Mahalia Jackson sang it to the quarter-million-strong crowd just before the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. While the Wards still had more than their share of troubles to come in later decades - fights over money spoiled several partnerships and Clara’s alcoholism led to an early death at 48 - the music itself stands without a scratch. This signature song in particular has been honored by a line of fantastic voices, from Aretha Franklin to the Blind Boys of Alabama. It can’t be a coincidence that the title also was used (for a different song) in 2010 by The Roots, who always know their history when it comes to music in general and Philly legends in particular. You never know how a simple timeless piece of art will inspire people in any of those unexpected ways. The best ones are always there waiting for another artist who’s ready to sing and never get tired. PRH

April / May / June 2021



LOCAL SINGER Starts Digital Program for Opera Prospects Around the Globe

Panel of top singers & coaches provides feedback


by Jane Roser ohn Tenaglia did not want to go to the opera. It was 1978 and his parents were taking Tenaglia and his brother to see a performance of Madame Butterfly at the Forum Theater in South Philadelphia. “My parents’ friends were in it, but I wanted to stay home. They dragged us there and it ended up changing my life.” Tenor Frank Munafo played Pinkerton that night. Tenaglia was so mesmerized by his performance, he decided this is what he was going to do for the rest of his life.


“Then my voice changed and that was the end of my tenor career,” Tenaglia laughs. While attending South Philadelphia High School, Tenaglia passed by the choir room and heard someone singing La Boheme. “I looked inside and there was choir director, Bill Yeats, playing the piano and singing because he had a concert that night. I snuck in and was leaning on a desk when something must have slipped and made a noise. He turned around and promptly asked me what I was doing there. I said, ‘What are you singing that for? You’re not Italian!’ We became best friends.” Mr. Yeats gave the Tenaglia brothers free voice lessons every day after school with the promise that they would one day pay it forward. Tenaglia went on to have a successful 40-year opera career. He attended the Philadelphia College of


Performing Arts and graduated early with a Master’s in Opera and Voice. “I was singing professionally by the time I was 19 and I don’t recommend that for anyone. It was too early,” he says. “Looking back, I should have stayed in school because my voice was not ready, and I wasn’t mature enough to handle the career I had. But I was fortunate. I had a natural voice and got hired a lot. I was in New York for a while, singing at The New York City Opera. The only place I never sang was at the Met.” When his father passed away in 1994, Tenaglia decided it was time to stay put. “I was booked for shows almost six years in advance, but I just didn’t have the drive anymore. I eventually went back on the road, but I like staying in my house - it’s an Italian thing. I had our family business [John’s Custom Stairs] and my kids, so I decided if it’s close to home, I’ll sing it, but I’d

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

rather just stay here and work.” Last November, almost a year after COVID-19 stopped live music in its tracks, Tenaglia found a way to keep his promise to Mr. Yeats. His new MASTER CLASS program is a digital platform to showcase performances of singers from all over the globe while providing them with the training they need to succeed in their careers. Tenaglia reached out to several friends who didn’t hesitate to donate their time and knowledge for the new series. “We give singers over 18 years old – either opera, classical or Broadway – a place to perform, coaching and voice lessons at no cost,” Tenaglia says. “We’ve had people audition from all over the country and we just broke international barriers with a Russian soprano, two from Korea and one from Mexico.” So far, Tenaglia has listened to more than 480 auditions. Once selected, each singer performs two songs for five panelists of their choosing. The panelists who provide feedback are some of the best singers and coaches in the United States: tenors John Horton Murray, John Packard, Mark Anderson; Broadway actresses Bernice Wood and Denise Neri; actor Roy Wilbur; mezzo sopranos Barbara Dever,

Jody Kidwell, Contralto Judith Skinner; sopranos Helen Ralston, Melanie Sarakatsannis; basses John Cheek, George Hogan and Michael Riley; baritones Todd Thomas and Sandor Schneller; coaches Lisa Harer de Calvo and Gina Marrazza; conductors Stephen Lord, Richard Barrett and Hugh Kronrot; Directors of Concert Operetta Theater Daniel Pantano and General Director Julia Cooke. They provide positive, constructive feedback on everything from style to delivery. The video is streamed on Facebook Live every Sunday at 3 pm and also posted on YouTube. “We pre-tape it,” Tenaglia laughs. “You know, I went to the Joe Pesci school of wind whistles, so I have to edit these before they’re posted!” Tenaglia speaks passionately about his great love for opera – its dramatic narrative, vivid storytelling and themes we can all relate to: love, death, loss, jealousy, humor, happiness. “Opera is real life. That’s what I love about it,” he says, “My career was verismo opera which is realism. You just live, eat and breathe music. You can’t do it any other way.” You can find MASTER CLASS on Facebook or on the YouTube channel Italianoperalvr. PRH

Images courtesy of Theatre Horizon

THEATRE HORIZON OFFERS AUTISM DRAMA PROGRAM Pandemic Helps Expand Reach to more Participants


by Marialena Rago the theatre geek efore the pandemic, Theatre Horizon’s Autism Youth Drama Program was planning on having its students perform a live show for family and friends. When theatres were forced to go dark, Educational Director Mydera Robinson received many calls from parents asking when the program would return. “This has become such a routine for our students,”


Robinson says. “Something they value and look forward to, and with everything that was changing and being taken away from them, it was just this very strong, clear fact that we needed to do something.” Robinson moved classes to Zoom right away. By doing so, she realized they had tapped into a need that had been ignored for a long time. “We never really imagined the reach we could have,” she says. “The pandemic showed us something very great about our capacity to reach people and our capacity to build and encourage environments and social groups amongst students who, oftentimes, feel pushed out or separated and not connected.” The Autism Youth Drama Program, for ages 10-17+, is based on a model of theatre games and improv. Robinson does not categorize the program as therapy, but classes can

help students develop social skills, expressions, empathy for others and a sense of accomplishment. Most importantly, though, it’s simply a place for kids to be kids. “There is nothing but joy and fun and opportunity here,” Robinson says. The program began almost 15 years ago, specifically to help one child. Theatre Horizon founders Matt Decker and Erin Reilly had a friend whose son was on the autism spectrum. His parents, theatre artists themselves, knew from experience that theatre games can help children on the spectrum and asked if Theatre Horizon could step in with assistance. After a year of weekly meetings, the child made significant strides in communication skills. “He’s much better with eye contact. He is still non-verbal, but there are different ways he has learned to communicate,” Robinson says. “We have grown to serve over 1,000 students within our

program. More and more families are reaching out left and right.” The year 2020, pandemic included, saw the highest enrollment the program ever had. Robinson strongly believes that the truth in a quote from founder Erin Reilly is the reason why students from all over the U.S. and Canada are signing up. “We have found that these students have easy access to their imagination.” “We found that when we encourage them to tap into their own creativity, when we encourage them to tap into their own wealth spring in themselves, it was just a flood,” Robinson says. “They have no problem once you remove the barriers and open up the floodgates.” Ava Boggi, 16, has been involved with the program for three years. She loves to perform and hopes to become an actress and do voice over work. Ava was preparing for a performing role in the theatre’s live production when it was postponed. “I’m sure once the pandemic is over, we can do the play,” she says. Ava’s mom Christina Boggi sees how the program has helped her daughter. “She’s been doing really well with her focus and confidence. She has always been really friendly,

but she has been a lot more engaging. It helps that she wants to be an actress; she wants to be a voice over actress. She wants to try all these things. It gave her an opportunity.” The opportunity to create is within everyone and Theatre Horizon hopes to keep encouraging its students to create long into the future. In 2019, they won the Victory Foundation’s theater education award at the Barrymore Awards ceremony for the program. In her acceptance speech, Robinson said she hoped her students would one day be on that stage, as well, accepting their own awards. Students like Ava, with enthusiasm and a love for performing, are well on their way to making Robinson’s hope a reality. The Summer Session of the Autism Youth Drama program is pay what you can and takes place every Saturday from July 10 – August 14. The sessions plan to be held via Zoom. Theatre Horizon also offers a storytelling and playwriting class for students ages 17-30+ on the autism spectrum. Visit www. for details. PRH

April / May / June 2021




Earth Spaceship


uch of last year, I felt as if forced to live on a space station. Floating through days and months doing all that was required yet longing for the day I could return to the life I knew before. Everyone experienced last year differently, but we all had to persevere and adjust to being cooped up within the safe confines of our homes. Work, school, family get-


togethers, birthday parties, holiday celebrations - mostly on-line, traveling at the speed of life, creatively adhering to the appropriate safety protocols while we waited for some good news. Some were able to avoid the virus. Others became infected and recovered. While thankful for those instances, we mourn too many, reflecting on their lives, wondering if more could have been done. On the space station, astronauts exercise at least two hours a day to help counter the effects of living in zero-gravity. Loss of bone and muscle mass happens when you live in such an environment. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day then jumping over to the couch to binge watch our favorite television programs has contributed more than a little loss of muscle and a


significant increase in my own personal body mass. All kidding aside, our bodies are not built for living in space any more than they are for being locked down and devoid of normal social interaction. Our minds are not either, as mental health was put to the test as much as anything this past year. When astronauts return from living in space, their bodies must readjust before resuming normal activities. Something as simple as walking takes weeks of therapy. We’ve been away from normal for such an extended period of time that a return to our old way of life will be approached gradually. Glove boxes full of face masks and hand sanitizer won’t be going away any time soon and I can only imagine how long it will be before we feel comfortable with crowds again. Back in February, missions from three nations reached the Red

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

Planet of Mars. The year 2021 will be the most illuminating year in the history of Mars research. Earthlings have been blasting things towards Mars since the 1960s and both human nature and natural curiosity make us pretty good at exploring the unknown. What a wonderful coincidence that NASA’s most recent Mars rover is named Perseverance and accompanying that rover is the small robotic helicopter aptly named Ingenuity. Both will explore and send back data so that we can learn more about the unknown. Here on Earth, we already have learned so much more than we knew a year ago and learning will continue so that an even greater understanding will be acquired over coming months and years ahead. So, as we open wide the fuselage doors of our homes, we are more prepared and ready to explore the new world that awaits. We bring with us the knowledge, ingenuity and perseverance to move forward through the unknown even though it might be scary. Bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it’s the ability to overcome it. And overcome it we will. PRH


The Heart of the Matter O

by Jim Gildea ne of the ingredients that has become essential to my childhood Christmas memories is our annual holiday visit to Aunt Nellie and Uncle Charlie’s home. Each year, as my parents settled in the living room, my aunt would lead the Gildea children through the kitchen to their home’s inviting breakfast nook. As we assumed our places on the benches, Aunt Nellie lovingly presented


to us a plate of the best butter cookies that I have ever tasted. Before we piled into my parents’ car to head home, my family patiently waited as I headed to the closet under the steps that led to the second floor. I would open the door, listening to the sleigh bells attached to a leather strap that hung there. Its sound has underscored my Christmas reminiscences, as have the bubble lights that illuminate our family’s tree, the Glass Wax stenciling that decorated the living room mirror and the manger scene positioned in the foyer.

The subject matter of The Repair Shop, a BBC series streaming on Netflix, might appear to be about precisely what its title indicates. People bring items to a repair shop to be repaired. However, so much more constitutes the heart of the show. Each episode showcases the loving craft and skill of the artisans who painstakingly mend wounded clocks, battle-scarred rocking horses, ill-treated stereopticons and an assortment of heirlooms. People seek out the shop because what they hold in their hands – and hearts – invoke fragile, treasured memories, needing to be restored because, while being broken and

bent, so appear to be connections to the sources of such memories. The word impressionable is anything but pejorative. There are pieces in your homes that, without your knowledge, are responsible for triggering vivid remembrances of growing up for your children and your grandchildren. It could be that a lamp that fills your living room window or a leather strap lined with sleigh bells becomes as much a catalyst for associations and recollections as a photograph. When my aunt passed away, I asked my cousin if I could have the sleigh bells. Eager to oblige, my cousin Betty, Aunt Nellie’s daughter, searched everywhere, fruitlessly. That following Christmas, I opened a gift from my sister Kathleen: a weathered leather strap lined with sleighbells, a keepsake that resonates throughout my home each year as I open the front door for beloved holiday guests. PRH

April / May / June 2021



Happy Mother’s Day Welcome to the land where dreams come true


by Josephine B. Pasquarello y mother Romania Pescatori was born in Rome, Italia, on Tuesday, September 17, 1907. She was an only child to Pasquale and Grazia Pescatori. At the age of five, she and her mother sailed across the ocean on the SS Taormina. They arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on Friday, October 18, 1912. Her father was patiently waiting on the dock for their arrival

and heard a child’s voice screaming, “Padre! It’s me, Romania, your daughter.” In all the confusion, he couldn’t see the child, but he knew


that sweet voice was his little girl. After searching for a few minutes, he felt someone tugging on the leg of his trousers. When he looked

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

down, there was his baby girl, smiling at him and saying, “Padre, I love you.” It had been two years since he held her in his arms. He came to America first so he could make the money to pay for their passage here to America. My mother always remembered her voyage on that ship. She never forgot that ordeal. Growing up, she would tell us stories about her experiences on the ship! She would



tell us how dirty and smelly it was. There were 2,500 people down in the hull of the vessel where she slept with her mother. Every morning, her mother would take her up on the deck for the 14 days they sailed. It was sunny up there and they would sunbathe and smell the fresh air until suppertime. Then, back down in that dark hole for the night. Her mother would tell her wonderful stories about America during the night. She would always say, “It’s the Land of Opportunity for all immigrants. Where we can all work and eat.” They were so full of happiness because they believed their dreams would finally come true. When old enough, Romania worked in a factory alongside her mother. They would sew buttons on men’s shirts and jackets. One day, when my mother was down on 9th Street walking, she passed a produce cart. Every day for a week, she would go by that same cart. Until finally, the dark, tall, handsome Italian man said to her, “Ciao.” She was immediately smitten. She would laugh as she would tell us how her heart was jumping inside her chest. She blushed and walked over to him and shook his hand and smiled at him. She would laugh and say, “I used my ‘I like you’ smile on him.” She would laugh even harder and say, “He fell for it.” He was Michael Pasquarello. My father. On Monday, November 7, 1932, Michael C. Pasquarello and Romania R. Pescatori married at City Hall of Philadelphia in Room 415, after dating

for only three months. They married quickly because they didn’t want to wait for the Catholic Church to give them permission to marry. She never had a boyfriend before and now, all of a sudden, she had a husband. She was madly in love! She believed that their love was an eternal love like no other. When telling us stories about their love, her dark brown almond-shaped eyes would sparkle with joy. To watch her reminisce about her one and only true love was pure joy. It made us kids believe in true love. When one of us would do something wrong and my mother seemed angry, we would always ask her questions about my father when they dated, and like magic, the dreamy look was back on her face. Her favorite pastime was to indulge in her enjoyable recollection of past events. Though nothing made her smile more than when my father would come home from work and kiss her while all of us kids were trying to get his attention. This would be what any of us would want to experience from love. After 22 years of a happy marriage and 12 kids later, my father died. I don’t know if mom really wanted to stay here with the living. She loved us kids with her whole heart but half of her died with my father. Her life, on her own, with us kids was extremely hard. She had no family to help her. Being a single parent of 12 children for the first time was extremely difficult in the beginning of life without her husband and was a huge responsibility to accomplish every day. However, somehow, this petite woman, who was under five feet tall, had no formal education and

spoke with a heavy accent, achieved everything she put her mind and efforts into. She had an inner strength that wouldn’t allow her to fail or accept failure from any one of us kids. Every morning, mom went to pray for God’s guidance at the 6 AM Mass. She always made it back in time to wake all of us up for school and give us a homemade breakfast. She raised us to have good morals, to be honest and to be hardworking people. Not one of us got away with anything. We were told at a young age to get a job and buy what we needed because she couldn’t afford to buy us anything fancy. Every day, she would have conversations with no one else in the room. We all knew it was our dad giving her the moral support she needed. She missed him so much, but she knew she had to stay until we were all grown. She would never allow anyone else to raise us. During the 19 years without her husband, my mother would tell us that when her youngest child was 21 years old, she would die and be with her husband for all eternity. I would laugh and say, “No you’re not! You’re going to stay here with me!” My mother died on Thursday, March 21, 1974, at the age of 66 years. While the EMS workers were carrying her out of the house, she called to her parents and each of her children. Of course, the last name she called was her husband’s – “Michael.” Her wish came true. She passed away on the youngest’s 22nd birthday. She died and rejoined the love of her life. Mom, I will love you forever! Your number 10, Josephine. PRH

April / May / June 2021




Root of



by Charlie Sacchetti ot long ago, I received a surprise phone call from Bob, a childhood friend who lived across the street when we were kids. He decided to touch base to make sure all was well in light of the Coronavirus that the world’s brightest minds are trying to outsmart. It was great to hear from my old pal who went on from 64th and Buist Avenue in Southwest Philly to become Dr. Robert Teears, noted Pathologist liv-


ing and working in Boise, Idaho. I’ve always been amazed by the number of my friends from our little section of town – barely onesquare-mile – who went on to become wonderful physicians. Aside from Bob, there was Radiologist Pat Inverso; Nephrologist, the late Joe Pitone; Ophthalmologist Ron Kimball and my very close friend, Michael DellaVecchia, Ophthalmologist, Anatomical and Clinical Pathologist with a PhD in Engineering and Physics. Mike is also the current president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. So, where did all of these guys get their brains? Could it have been something in the water ice or the Italian hoagies? Probably not or I might be heading up NASA. At least part of the answer is that like me, they all were raised in good, hardworking, middle class


families. Our work ethic and other values were taught to us by wonderful parents who sacrificed daily to take care of their children. My friends’ achievements and success stemmed from the hard work and sacrifices they themselves made to become leaders in the medical field. Their roots were the beginning of it all. So, it was inevitable that during Bob’s call, our conversation would touch upon our childhood and the old neighborhood. It was easy for me to remember stuff about my old friend. He’d join in our many games of half ball, stick ball and two-handtouch football. The long driveway behind his house served as a ballfield of sorts. His younger brother Gary would pitch semi-hard sponge balls while another one of us would put on a catcher’s mask. As the batter stepped to the plate, Bob would take his position behind the catcher preferring to call balls and strikes.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

He even bought an umpire’s clicker to make sure he was accurate with the count. As all of this action was occurring, you could see Bob and Gary’s grandfather, Mr. Thompson, up above on the rear porch cheering Gary on and sometimes booing the ump. To this day, I still tell Bob he was the best (and only) ump on the block! But Bob had no trouble mixing it up as a player, too. In fact, I am certain that one summer, Bobby led the league in broken half-ball broom sticks – victims of his competitive wrath when he failed to come up with a big hit and took his frustration out on an unsuspecting brick wall! It soon became apparent to me that the passion he demonstrated in those games was miniscule compared to his passion for studying and learning. Among other things, while the rest of us were outside at night fooling around, you could see Bob’s bedroom light on as he studied those tough courses while excelling in his different levels of education. I remember waving to him on more than one occasion as he embarked upon his late-night jogs around the block when he decided to take a break from his extreme mental workouts. So many years have gone by since

those days of our youth. When I speak with my old friends, whom I still see frequently, or to a guy like Bob who has been away for years, there is more than one common thread. First of all, no one has forgotten where they came from. The upbringing and values we shared are still vivid in our minds as are the things we did together. Even if there has been no contact for years, when that reunion occurs, it’s as though one never left. Most importantly, the bonds of youthful friendships seem impossible to break. I’m really happy that I received his call that night. Sharing a few laughs with my old friend was just the right prescription I needed to pick me up during this time of uncertainty and suffering. May God bless and protect my friends and the rest of our nation’s healthcare professionals Charles Sacchetti is the author of two books, It’s All Good: Times and Events I’d Never Want to Change and Knowing He’s There: True Stories of God’s Subtle Yet Unmistakable Touch. Both are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online outlets. Contact him at PRH



Landmarks & Legacies of our

Neighborhood historical

by Robert L. Woodard The Wynnefield Barber


hen I think about real people and real stories, South Philly always stands out. Let’s take a walk down memory lane. At 15th and Christian Streets, Kenny Gamble started his empire with Philadelphia International Records and the Universal Companies Family of Schools. Mr. Gamble and Leon Huff, along with Thom Bell and Linda Creed of Bellboy Records, are all examples of real people who have done extraordinary things. As we continue to travel further West down Christian Street on 16th, we find the historical First African Baptist Church. This Church attracted many fair-skinned Black people as members. I recall being invited to go with my friend, Richard Daley. Richard’s family were very light complected people. When we arrived at the church, I was told to go upstairs to the balcony. Richard and his family went to the front of the Church’s first floor. As a young Black child, I never understood what was going on until I became much older and aware of prejudice and segregation in our own community. Moving down to the next block at 17th and Christian was the E.

M. Stanton Elementary School. I attended that school for just one year, for the sixth grade, to finish my elementary education. I never understood why, in the middle of a school year, the City decided to demolish the old school building. Now as an adult, I wonder if it could have been asbestos. From first to fifth grade, I attended Chester A. Arthur Elementary School at 20th and Catherine Streets. I only covered a small part of Christian Street. If you were to go just another block down, a famous actor, Mr. Sherman Hemsley, from the hit show The Jeffersons, lived on Christian Street. The YMCA was in the middle of the next block. Mr. Morton was the director of that building. I became a Boy Scout at the Christian Street YMCA. My Scout Master was Mr. Herman Suggs and my Troop Number was 572. I still have a photo of me and my Troop at Camp Heart. Ollie Johnson was one of my Troop members. He later played for the 76ers. The YMCA had many athletic superstars like Bobby Lewis, Andrew McCarter and John Robbins, a star swimmer. Moving right to the next block of Christian Street was Dr. Richardson’s Pharmacy. Dr. Richardson and my

father, James Woodard, Jr., were best friends. When my father closed his business at the end of the day, he and Dr. Richardson would play checkers on my front porch as if their lives depended on it. They both loved the game of checkers. The neighbors would all become the audience that enjoyed the competition between these two great men. I thank God that Dr. Richardson’s building is still standing. However, the developers built new buildings all around and behind the historical neighborhood business. Hats off to a real person doing extraordinary things, like the new owner of the Christian Street Pharmacy, Mr. Jerome Wack. He is truly a hero of the community for not selling his building and having the guts to stay, even though they built all around and behind his historical neighborhood property. In the present years, the area is being gentrified. The places of my childhood are being erased. The history of Philadelphia was built on the values of brotherly, sisterly and motherly love for all neighbors. I am an original long-term resident of the community. Remember, South Philly is all we have left of our neighborhood history and we all should never forget. PRH

April / May / June 2021



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| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

Don’t Take a

Single Day for Granted


by Lou Pinto

walked into my living room and flipped on the TV to the movie Creed II. This film was the latest in the Rocky saga. I always loved all the Rocky films and have seen them each about 50 times or so. My son in-law was over helping me finish a cabinet in my kitchen and confessed that he had never seen any of the Rocky movies! I reminisced about the first time I saw this classic. It’s kind of weird how I remember the exact day and date – Friday, December 10, 1976. It was snowing lightly and I told my friend Nicky LaPergola about this new movie that was set in Philadelphia. We headed to the now longgone Eric Theatre at Rittenhouse Square. There were about a dozen people in the movie theater but the cheering at the end of the film made it feel like a full house. Movies and actors through the years have shaped our lives without us even noticing. Rocky Balboa is Philadelphia’s wellreceived and beloved “son” with a statue of him in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum. This fictitious character has become an icon of the City of Brotherly Love. How many of us, not just locally, but worldwide, have come to the famous Art Museum to do that run up those steps? It has been a year since the pandemic began. It has changed our lives and our way of living. This past year, we have self-quarantined; we have watched a ton of TV; we have Zoomed and FaceTimed with friends and family. We have missed the feeling of touch, hugging and kissing. Some of us contracted Covid-19. Tragically, some of our friends and loved ones succumbed to it. At the time of writing this article, although a vaccine has been developed, we are all still looking for the old norm. A way back to how our lives used to be. That’s still going to take a bit more time. The world we live in today is much different than the way it was 45 years ago when Rocky changed many of our lives. Today, we all need to be our own “Rocky,” the underdog. Please don’t take a single day we spend on this Earth for granted. Hug your kids, call that relative you’ve put off calling. Support your community. Purchase a meal from a local restaurant. We will get through this together because we are all winners like Rocky in our own right. “The world ain’t all sunshine and will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. It ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” — Rocky Balboa


St. Monica School


St. Anthony of


The Colonial Theater I W R I T E R S B LO C K

Administered by St. Nicholas of Tolentine &

Annunciation B.V.M. Parishes

by Debbie Russino

always have been a major movie buff and some of the most memorable moments of my life have been in a movie theater. The Colonial was my neighborhood theater. It opened in 1910 on 11th and Moyamensing Avenue, just a block away from where I lived. This soon became my home away from home. I always was anxious to see the latest blockbuster. It was a two-hour break from reality and there were many times I really needed that escape. When the lights went out, I would leave my world and go right into the fantasy of whatever movie I was watching. One of my biggest problems with movies is that somewhere in the middle of a film, I usually figure out the ending. I absolutely was stumped and shocked at the ending of The Sixth Sense, though! Something happens to me when I walk into a theater. I get a spark of excitement as the lights go out and the curtain opens. At the Colonial, I even looked forward to watching the coming attractions and cartoons in the beginning. We would stand at the snack counter to get our candy and popcorn with extra butter and hope to get a prime seat in the center. If not, we may have to settle for the front rows that would guarantee a stiff neck the next day. Hopefully, the movie was worth the pain (it usually was). The list of movies I’ve seen there are endless, but some of my most memorable are Rocky,

Regional Catholic School

The Godfather, Raging Bull and the one closest to my heart, Saturday Night Fever. We were young and going to clubs in the ‘70s, so we were in awe watching a movie portraying the disco life we were living! The dances, music and fashion were us and it was very surreal! Those were the days when theaters had ushers who walked up and down the aisles with their flashlights making sure we were all behaving. If that light was in your face, you knew you were in trouble. Some would be told to leave. In the end, this sweet neighborhood theater that was once filled with a simple charm, became very rundown. They charged only one dollar for admission. The usually overfilled snack counter was almost empty and when you walked down the aisle, your feet would stick to the floor. This was the last South Philadelphia movie theater. They closed their doors in 1989. It was the end of an era. At the Colonial Theater, I had the opportunity to travel around the world, live through many generations and survive the most dangerous adventures. This magic happened in a dark room and I never even had to leave my seat. I have a different outlook on the theater experience today for many reasons. With easy access to movies in the comfort of our home, it is very likely that one day soon, this experience will become obsolete. I am eternally grateful for the great classics I’ve had the opportunity to watch on the big screen and the memories of the movie theaters past. PRH

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2021-2022 School year Call for a school tour with Principal,

Sr. Mary Esther 215-468-0353 www . stanthonyofpaduarcs . org

April / May / June 2021



Meet Writer LARRY GALLONE the

Q: When did you start working for Philadelphia RowHome Magazine? A: From the first edition!

Q: How did you discover RowHome?

A: I know Dorette from our time that we worked together for the South Philly Review and we have stayed friends. When she told me about her magazine, I thought it was a great idea and concept. I was in!

Q: Name a story you’ve written for RowHome that makes you proud.

A: Hard to pick one, but I would say the profiles of all the Blue Sapphire Award winners. Learning more about these extraordinary people is always interesting and fun. The other would be my profile of Joseph Stefano, screenwriter for the horror movie classic Psycho and producer, writer and director for the original Outer Limits TV series – you know the one – “There is nothing wrong with your television set…” He passed away so I never got to actually interview him but reading and researching his story was fascinating.

Q: Did you grow up in Philly or live here at some point? What neighborhood? A: South Philly. 18th and Oregon. St. Monica Parish.


Q: Who was your best friend growing up? Why?

A: Three of them - Steve DeAngelo, Ray DiSanto, Landy Elberson. Still friends today. We went to St. Monica and Neumann together and have been close ever since. Why? We just clicked – our interests, our families – it’s a “row home” thing!

Q: What’s your favorite quote?

A: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” No better advice.

Q: What’s your favorite row home memory?

A: As a kid, those summer nights just sitting on the steps, playing street games, hanging with the guys and girls. Staying up late. No school pressure, no work pressure, shooting the breeze with everybody. Talking to the “old guys,” also still “hanging” on the corner, listening to the Phillies on a transistor radio with the “tinny” sound jacked all the way up so everyone could hear as they complained about Frank Lucchesi and the way he was managing the baseball team. Not wanting to go in but knowing that tomorrow night would bring the same comfortable feeling of a summer row home night. It was home. It will always be home.

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Q: What got you into writing? A: It’s more than one thing – it’s several people. At the top of the list are my teachers and a mentor. Arnold Ronzoni, who I had at Neumann, a great teacher, great guy, and Elizabeth “Jo” Buckmaster, who was my English teacher at Penn State. I can’t thank either of them enough for their encouragement, guidance, support and, in the case of Arnold, good-natured busting on me every chance he got. And Chuck Gagliardi at Neumann, who was always supportive and encouraging and who also kept Arnold under control! A special thank you to Joe Biscontini, who was my mentor at Penn State – he set the standard for how to be a communications professional. I also was inspired by the sportswriters in Philly. What an outstanding group of professionals! I loved to read the sports section of the papers with Ray Didinger, Jack Chevalier, Frank Dolson, Bill Lyon, Bill Fleischman and many more. They were great to read and told the story – not just repeating the scores and giving you the sports interview clichés. I was completely fascinated by Watergate and the reporting and writing that went into that. To this day, it still amazes me how it all came together as the result of hard work, boldness and a little luck. Thanks, everybody.

Q: What other sites/ magazines/papers do you/did you write for?

A: South Philly Review, Chronicle as a writer and editor, and then as a columnist. I write for a website that I also manage that has stories about what Christmas ornaments mean to each person and the stories behind them. Visit and please submit your stories (cheap plug!)

Q: Favorite memory with RowHome Magazine?

A: The first meeting with Dorette and Dawn and the staff – you knew it would be something special. You felt the vibe. Another funny moment was recording a radio commercial for the magazine and I did the voiceover. We were having some audio issues with the microphone and to cut down on the interference, we decided to use pantyhose to cover the mic. We received some strange looks as two 40-year-old men and a nineyear-old Brett Jackson walked into the store on Snyder Avenue about 9 PM looking for pantyhose. Hard to explain that away.

Q: Are you on Instagram? What’s your handle?

A: I do not have Instagram but if I did, it would be @volare, which is my cell phone ringtone... the Bobby Rydell version! PRH


Earth Day Exhibit Debuts Across the River!

A New View – Camden Artists transform trash to treasures

RESTAURANT & BRICK OVEN PIZZA 250 Catharine Street Philadelphia, PA 19147 Call for reservations:

215-468-1689 Tues thru Sun: 4:00pm to 10:00pm

Parking available w w w . o s o l e m i o i ta l i a n c u i s i n e . c o m Available for private parties or funerals up to 30 people. Call 267-466-6721 for details

by BRENDA HILLEGAS 15-foot-tall steel creature/trash receptacle will be on display at Camden’s State Street Pedestrian Bridge

Artists from across the country will take part in an Earth Day exhibit on the Jersey side of the Delaware River to raise awareness of the impact of illegal dumping. The illegal disposal of household and industrial waste – including garbage bags, tires, electronics and appliances, yard waste and construction debris – is costing Camden, NJ, more than $4 million annually in cleanup costs and taking its toll on the environment. Last February, Camden Mayor Frank Moran, along with the City of Camden, Cooper’s Ferry Partnership and the RutgersCamden Center for the Arts, announced a new, six-month long exhibit to raise awareness about illegal dumping. Funded by a $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge grant, A New View - Camden will debut on Earth Day, April 22nd, with six larger-than-life environmental art installations on display throughout the city. This innovative, one-of-a-kind, family-friendly project will help raise awareness about the impact of illegal dumping on not just the community, but the environment as a whole. More than 130 artists from across the country submitted applications to be a part of this exhibit. The following were selected:

1. Don Kennell and Lisa Adler, “Invincible Cat” Designed from repurposed automobiles 2. Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim, Vivian Kuan, “Bio-Informatic Digester “ A machine that utilizes mealworms to eat Styrofoam packaging from e-waste 3. Amanda Schachter and Alexander Levi, SLO Architecture, “Turntable” Plastics dumped at the shoreline are unearthed to create a spinning, wind-powered display 4. Athena Steen and Josh Sarantitis, “Touching Earth” Clay/earth installations constructed in collaboration with Camden families, residents and artists 5. Tyler FuQua Creations, “Mechan 11: The Collector” A 15-foot-tall steel creature doubling as a trash receptacle 6. The Myth Makers, Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein, “The Phoenix Festival” 22 feet tall sculptures made out of bamboo, decorated with colorful recycled objects

Along with these six main installations, New Jersey artists, Tom Marchetty and Erik James Montgomery, will add their own details to the exhibits. Marchetty, a local woodworker and owner of The Factory Workers, designed and built pod parks with unique seating areas for each site. James, a photographer, will display his photography series, “Camden is Bright not Blight,” on abandoned buildings throughout Camden. Visit for exhibit locations, video views and additional details of each site. Please also visit the “artist info” page for even more about the visions of each project and the teams behind them. The installation sites are close to major transportation corridors, the PATCO Speedline, NJ Transit’s River Line, and Camden GreenWay. The city hopes that daily commuters will notice the installations and encourage them to learn more about the pieces, the impact of illegal dumping and to take “a new view” of the city.

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PRHGREENSP CE June 5th–13th



Flower Show Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece

Blooming outdoors for the first time in history at FDR Park

By the time you read this, you probably know that the annual Philadelphia Flower Show presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is taking a new and historic approach to this year’s event. In fact, you may have your tickets already (If you don’t, we suggest you get on that asap). Now in its 193rd year, the annual floral event has been reimagined and will take place on 15 acres of FDR Park’s natural beauty, allowing for close to 450,000 square feet of outdoor exhibits, events and experiences. Thanks to the open-air space, this year’s event almost doubles in size from last year’s show making the 2021 Flower Show – Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece – one for the books. With all the new renovations to FDR Park and its ability to safely host outdoor events of all sizes, it’s a no brainer that the 348-acre park, designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1914, would host the Flower Show, this year. Here’s what you should know before you go!




| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021

EXPLORE THE FLOWER SHOW’S DISTRICTS The show will be divided into three districts with beautiful horticultural displays, music, food and drink, shopping and interactive experiences in each space. ❙❘ Plant District. Plant lovers unite! With so many of us becoming novice gardeners during quarantine, this district is great for upping your game and getting to know more floral and plant varieties. Browse, learn, get expert advice! ❙❘ Garden District. Perfect for anyone who wants to start a garden this summer. Get some how-to tips, join an information session and browse the on-site gardening library. Grab your PHS merchandise in this district, too! ❙❘ Design District. The largest district of the show will feature floral and landscape displays from various designers across the country. Each complements this year’s theme and highlights the current trends in landscape design, floral art and sustainability. This is the perfect spot to take photos!


The 2021 Flower Show is hosting more designers and exhibits than ever before, along with more diverse flowers and plants. Here are some highlights. ❙❘ Balmori Associates, a womenled, NY-based international urban and landscape design firm. ❙❘ Donald Pell and Donald Pell Gardens, a designer of immersive gardens with naturalistic plant communities. ❙❘ Lakeside School will demonstrate how birds and bees assist in the pollination process and how their dwindling numbers affect human food production. ❙❘ Philadelphia Society of Botanical Illustrators, an educational and philanthropic organization that celebrates the artistic development of their members and provides opportunities to bring their exhibits to many audiences. ❙❘ Wambui Ippolito, a horticulturist based in NYC who works for Martha Stewart.

SPECIAL EVENTS ❙❘ Butterflies Live! June 5-13. Experience native butterflies in a socially distanced outdoor exhibit. Additional fee. ❙❘ Evening at the Flower Show. June 5, 6-10 pm. An evening fundraiser that supports PHS’s year-round work. Held outdoors with safety measures in place. Additional fee. ❙❘ Flowers After Hours. June 11. With a “Hort Couture” theme, guests should wear their floral best! Tour the grounds with live music, food and beverage options. Held outdoors with safety measures in place. Additional fee. ❙❘ Family Frolic. Saturday, June 12, 10 am-3 pm. Perfect for anyone with children looking for a fun day outside with kid-friendly activities, sights and sounds. Held outdoors with safety measures in place. No additional fee.


The Flower Show always features a wide variety of foods. This year, you can preorder Park Picnics when you purchase

tickets or visit the Food Bazaar to peruse multiple food stalls before making a choice! The Beer Garden is in the Garden District where you’ll find local beers, wines and floral-themed cocktails. There’s plenty of seating within the Park’s Boathouse and additional outdoor designated eating areas will be available to safely enjoy your meals and snacks. PHS is also identifying a local non-profit as the recipient of unconsumed food at the show.


Leading up to the opening of this year’s show, look for floral-themed window displays at select local businesses. The PHS Bloom Philly! contest takes place April 26-May 24 and involves the creation of displays for you to enjoy as you shop your favorite spots. There are lots of new categories to vote on this year, including Best Streatery and Best Outdoor Container / Window Garden Display using plants. Visit the PHS website for this year’s participating businesses. From May 8-31, the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District will host Garden Days. The three-week series features socially distanced events with the area’s small businesses and restaurants celebrating flowers, plants and the environment.

SUSTAINABILITY EFFORTS ❙❘ Pre-Show. PHS and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation are actively working on improving and preparing FDR Park for this year’s Flower Show. PPR has cleaned up many areas of the park by removing old brush and shrubs to create a clear view of the lake, removing tree stumps (tree debris will be turned into mulch) and eliminating graffiti. PHS will clean up lawn areas and walkways prior to the show. Volunteer clean-up days also will take place to remove trash throughout the park prior to the show. ❙❘ D uring the Show. By managing waste, PHS will decrease the amount of materials headed to landfills such as cans and plastic, hardscape, mulch, plants, cardboard, shrink wrap, food and compost. Volunteers and staff will receive training materials and proper signage to ensure that items are recycled and disposed of properly. Solar Energy will be used whenever possible to reduce reliance on standard diesel-powered generators. They also hope to use solar powered phone charging stations and solar pathway

lighting, this year. The Flower Show’s official volunteer Green Team will support recycling before and after the show, and guest education efforts during the show. Members of the team will be stationed at waste “hot zones” to educate guests on the PHS recycling efforts. ❙❘ Post-Show. PHS will donate and recycle as much of the hardscapes, plants and trees used in the show as possible. Keeping plants out of landfills and providing them with a second life is a key initiative of PHS. Every effort will be made to remove and reuse mulch supplied for the show, as well. Any remaining hardscape that cannot be re-used or donated will be recycled at a facility that turns it into construction material. Many of the plants used during the show will be re-homed with local PHS clients, supporters and organizations looking to improve their green spaces.

SAFETY ❙❘ Daily attendance will be capped to allow for social distancing. ❙❘ Cleaning and disinfecting will take place on an enhanced schedule to ensure that all public areas are sanitized as much as possible each day. ❙❘ All visitors will be advised of these measures and will be required to self-monitor their health prior to attendance. Stay home if you’re sick. ❙❘ Masks are required! A beautiful floral mask featuring your favorite blooms would look great in photos! Or coordinate colors with your friends! ❙❘ Visit the PHS website for updated safety guidelines now and throughout the duration of the show.

GET YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE! Timed and dated tickets must be reserved in advance at or from an official sales outlet (ACME Markets or AAA). Choose between a morning session or an afternoon session. Adults: $45; Young Friend (18-29): $30; Child (5-17): $20; Ages four and under: free. Young Friends tickets are available only during weekday afternoon sessions.

Complete details for the 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show can be found at By purchasing a ticket or becoming a PHS member, you’re helping PHS to further its annual work of planting trees, making neighborhoods greener, creating and maintaining community gardens, providing jobs, and connecting our community with horticulture.

April / May / June 2021




Welcome to





New plans call for a Welcome Center & Playscape Mayor Jim Kenney and the City of Philadelphia recently announced $4.5 million in new funding to implement two flagship projects in the FDR Park Master Plan. A partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), the Commonwealth’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) and the Fairmount Park Conservancy will commit to new funds to create a Welcome Center at FDR Park and design a world-class destination playscape in South Philadelphia.

| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021


The first phase of the master plan will enhance the visitor experience by restoring and transforming the 5,500 square foot guardhouse at FDR Park’s Broad Street and Pattison Avenue entrance into a Welcome Center. The shared space will be used by Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff and community organizations to engage park visitors and deliver a rotating calendar of programs. The Welcome Center will include a courtyard to offer a one-stop shop for park users with restrooms, a staffed information center and equipment rentals. The Welcome Center project will also transform the existing stables into a cafe and event space overlooking the Pattison Lagoon. “We know from speaking with over 3,000 residents in seven languages that when families visit FDR, they want to stay longer and do more,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. “The Welcome Center will provide the basic amenities that allow visitors to extend their stay and so much more with dining, event and education space and community workspaces.” The Welcome Center project is being funded through $3 million in State of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant funds and $1 million from the City of Philadelphia’s capital budget.


South Philadelphia’s Destination Playscape. The funding will also go toward the design of a signature playground and picnic area celebrating FDR Park’s unique identity. The Children’s Play Area, located in a grove of mature trees, will include high quality, interactive play elements set within a landscape of natural features including barrier-free paths, hills and planted spaces. “Throughout the master planning process, we learned that park-goers wanted more nature and more play at the Lakes. The Pattison Playground will bring both to South Philadelphia, thanks to the generous support of the DCNR grant,” says Maura McCarthy, Ph.D., Executive Director of Fairmount Park Conservancy. “Fairmount Park Conservancy has been committed to the future of FDR Park since day one and we can’t wait for families to enjoy this one-of-a-kind playscape.” Design of the Children’s Play Area will be funded by a $250,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which is matched by a $250,000 contribution from the Fairmount Park Conservancy. The new projects build upon 18 months of work to address early recommendations from the FDR Park Master Plan, which included:




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❙❘ Paving the roads. In Partnership with the City of Philadelphia Streets Department, 58,911 square yards of loop road and parking lots were repaved in the summer of 2020, representing an investment of $750,000. ❙❘ Improving bike lanes. Official bike lanes were installed throughout the park. ❙❘ Staffing the park. Prior to the launch of the Master Plan, FDR was an unstaffed, mostly passive parkland. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation appointed Justin DiBerardinis as FDR Park’s first Executive Director in March 2020 to support programming and help steward the effective implementation of a multi-year Master Plan. ❙❘ Recruiting more than 100 regular volunteers. Each weekend, FDR Park welcomes a dedicated group of regular volunteers to clean and green the park. As a result of this renewed and expanded volunteer program, the park is cleaner and more welcoming to visitors with each passing week. For more information about the Master Plan of South Philadelphia’s iconic 348-acre park, visit the Fairmount Park Conservancy

April / May / June 2021



Green Block

Need a free tree? Just ask!


Let’s all work together to make Philadelphia a greener city. Here are just a few simple ways to make your block and your neighborhood a little more environmentally friendly. What have you been doing to go green? We’d love to hear your ideas and see your photos!

ASK FOR A FREE TREE. Trees planted in sidewalks and other public spaces will beautify your neighborhood, reduce energy costs and clean our air. TreePhilly can also help you find trees to purchase for your personal yard, too. For more info and request forms, log onto and

JOIN & CONTRIBUTE TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD’S BUY NOTHING PROJECT. Everyone has a fun find that they trashpicked before the garbage truck came along! Keep unwanted items out of the landfill by gifting them for free. And ask for items that you may need, too. Visit www. to find your group.

START (OR FIND) A PLANT & SEED EXCHANGE. Social media, like Facebook, is a great way to connect with your neighbors, right now. Exchange groups can help neighbors trade plants, seeds and share pictures of their plants for inspiration. Even if you don’t have much outdoor space, a few flowers in a pot or flower bed can brighten up your block.

FIND A COMMUNITY GARDEN & JOIN IN. Don’t have one nearby? Start one! Get involved at programs/community-gardens

HOST A CLEAN-UP ON YOUR BLOCK. It can be as simple as giving your neighbors a plastic bag, pair of rubber gloves and encouraging them to pick up a few pieces of trash when they are walking the dog (speaking of - always clean up your doggo’s poop and dispose of it properly). PRH Email your Green Block photos to


Celebrating 86 Years of Catholic Secondary Education in South Philadelphia

Now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 School Year!


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SNG ENROLLMENT KEEPS CLIMBING! Greetings from 10th & Moore!

Joseph M. McColgan


President, Ss. NeumannGoretti High School

pring is in the air and in a few short months, another academic year will come to an end. It’s hard to believe there are fewer than 100 days left! As I’ve stated in the past, this has been a rough year for everyone and though there is some light at the end of the tunnel, we need to remain diligent and follow protocol until this virus is no longer part of our daily lives. It may

never go away in its entirety, but possibly enough so we can return to some sense of normalcy.


Kudos to students, faculty, staff & parents SNG students have been great throughout this exercise and have overcome quite a few starts and stops due to the quarantine and having to close the school. I can say for certain, however, that not one student, faculty member or staff member contracted the virus through contact in the school. Every exposure we tracked happened outside of our four walls. We remain committed to keeping everyone safe who walks into our

building, whether for 180 seconds or 180 days. Our parents have been gracious and understanding throughout this crisis, as well, and for that, we thank you. With so much stress in our lives over the past 12 months, things could easily have gone downhill. We greatly appreciate you working with us to educate your children during these challenging times. Record-breaking enrollment The Class of 2025 is shaping up nicely. We already have exceeded our enrollment goal for the incoming freshman class and our overall enrollment and registration has surpassed last year - and we still have six months to go until the 2021-2022 academic year begins! Once again, SNG is the only

secondary school that continues year-over-year growth, adding more students to the bottom line. We continue to grow and have bold plans for our future. I’ll be the first to say that the building is not in the best of shape, however, we expect to see ongoing improvements beginning this summer, as well! Class of 2021 For the Class of 2021, we are doing our best to see to it that there is some resemblance of an in-person graduation ceremony come June. Obviously, some things are beyond our control, but we are putting the pieces in place and have our fingers crossed. You’ll be hearing more in the coming weeks. Direct your State Tax Dollars to NG students One area we could use some help from the South Philly community is in helping us offset tuition for our students. I do my best to not raise tuition every year but with fixed costs continually increasing, it becomes challenging. For alumni,

April / May / June 2021

please remember us in our annual fund solicitation that will be coming to your mailbox soon. Every dollar donated remains at the school and is used to help offset tuition for our students. If you are a local business owner and you pay Pennsylvania taxes, what better way to use your tax dollars than in educating our children in our community. Through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) – and this is the best part - YOU get to decide where YOUR tax money goes, and not the politician on the other side of the state. You get to direct YOUR tax dollars to SNG! I know it is hard to believe, however, we receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in this manner to help lower tuition costs for our students. If you have any interest in hearing about the program, reach out to me at the school and we’ll take it from there. SNG is so important to this community so let’s make certain we not only survive, but thrive. Until next issue – keep smiling! PRH


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D E S S E R P Pand-bag the


ta Jackson o R e tt e r o D y B


rdering online has replaced those mindless walks down the dollar store aisles before Covid rocked our world. You could always find a ‘must-have’ gadget on a trip to the dollar store. Dawn said she can’t believe the bargains flooding Facebook. She says ordering gadgets calms her nerves. “We’ll never go back to the way it was before!” she starts her rant. “This covid [crap] changed everything and everyone. Like this! (She grabs her handbag and holds it way too close to my face.) I can’t stand carrying this big thing around with me anymore! I feel like I can’t breathe.” She reaches inside her bra and starts dumping everything out on the table. Mask, keys, cell phone, deposit slip, atm card, quarters for the meter…. “You can’t carry everything you own around in your bra,” I repeat to no avail. Before we leave the house every day, I remind her of what she needs with her. And every day, we leave the house without something she needs. Like the key to the post office box. It dangles from a blue cord she wears around her neck so she won’t forget it. Which might work if she remembered to dangle it from her neck before we leave the house. We get about two blocks from the house before we have to make a U-turn to get the key on the cord. One night, she was scrolling through some gadgets when she came across it. “Oh, I have to have this,” she mumbled. A few days later, there it was on the doorstep. The perfect undersized handbag, uniquely designed to fit everything you need in minimal space! It comes complete with a cross body strap so it’s with you when you need it! We nicknamed it the “pand-bag” to mark the times. “Look!” she squeals. “My phone snaps into this space. My glasses go here; my license and atm cards go here; cash, coins…There’s even a spot for keys and your facemask! And it doesn’t trigger my anxiety like that suitcase I carried around all my life. I feel free again!” The whole time she’s babbling, I’m thinking to myself – sure, it’s a perfect size but she still has to remember to put everything into those handy dandy compartments. And knowing my sister, the bag is so small, she’s going forget where she put that, too. Midway through day 1 of Dawn’s new


| ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April / May / June 2021


“pand-bag,” she lost her cellphone, her sunglasses, her debit card and her facemask. And a few times, she even lost the pand-bag. “You’re supposed to wrap the strap around your body so ‘it’s always with you,’ I keep reminding her. “You were better off leaving everything in your bra!” Nope. She was determined to get her money’s worth out of her pandemic purchase. “It got 5-star reviews!” she reminds me as we stop at the Acme for peppers and Proseco. She pulls into the parking space and cheerfully points to the pouch positioned perfectly across the front of her jacket. “Look. I have my mask in here; my debit card in this zippered section; my glasses, my keys and kiwi-scented sanitizer so we can keep our hands covid free!” After shopping, we parked, unpacked and sat down to sort through a pile of paperwork when she started pacing the room. “Did you see my glasses? Did I give you my debit card? I can’t find my phone. What time is my hair appointment?” “You had everything packed neatly in that bag you carry,” I reminded her. I knew from the look on her face. “You lost the pand-bag, didn’t you.” “It’s not lost. I just don’t know where it is at this very moment,” she shot back. “With all those bags we carried in! The mail, the bank slips, the rolls! I can’t take living like this anymore. I’m a mule. It’s way too stressful! They shut the world down and made us stay in for a year! It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my mind! People can’t take much more of this stress!” Thank God for the doorbell. I needed a break from her “life as it used to be” speech. “Oh, my God,” I heard her gasp. “Can you believe this was in the middle of the street next to my car? I must have dropped it carrying in all those grocery bags! Thank God we have good neighbors. Andrea hung it on the doorknob and rang the bell.” “Look, everything is right where I put it,” she points out as she flips through the pand-bag. Nobody would steal anything from that bag, I’m thinking to myself. It’s hideous. And just when you think the coast is clear, she hollers from the kitchen… “I ordered one for you, too. It comes with a matching facemask.” PRH

Next time you think of beautiful things, don’t forget to count yourself in.

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