Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Spring 2023

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As part of its annual

to Service”
Blue Sapphire
to individuals
to the
an indelible
generations to
PATTY JACKSON Music Entertainment Award JEAN CARNE Lifetime Music Achievement Award The Honorable ROSE MARIE DEFINO-NASTASI Local Business Success Story Award MICHAEL A. DEFINO Local Business Success Story Award VINCENT A. DEFINO Local Business Success Story Award ANGELA COROSANITE Leaders in Education Award MARK SQUILLA Edward J. McBride Service to Community Award SONNY CONTO Future Leaders Award DECLAN CASSIDY Socks for the Streets Philadelphia RowHome Magazine announces its 2023 winners 2023 Blue Sapphire Award Recipients All great accomplishments begin with a dream Anything is possible if you believe in yourself Join us for the biggest Night of the Year! An Affair to Remember XVI & 2023 Blue Sapphire Awards sponsored by Cescaphe Event Group Vie | 600 N. Broad Street | Philadelphia, PA 19123 | November 2nd, 2023 Guests will meet on the Red Carpet at 6 p.m. for an elaborate cocktail reception followed by a five-course dinner. Entertainment provided by guest band The Business Tickets are $150. Tables of 10 are $1,500 and include sponsorship. Individual sponsorships available. Contact Carol at 215.462.9777 or Philadelphia RowHome Magazine 2023 WishRock Award Winner
Program, Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) will present its 2023
Philadelphia has left
mark on the culture and traditions of our neighborhoods for future
2 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
26_LIFE Justin Gonzalez The music that MS can’t silence
33_HEALTH Priming the pump Dr.
by Jamie Flowers
by Joseph Myers
42_REAL ESTATE Windows of the past Architectural details of old rowhomes have a story to tell
60_THE MENU Bagels - A journey through time!
Folk to Rock: Dave Hause’s Sing Us Home Festival has it all
87_WRITERS BLOCK Strawbridge & Clothier: From Our Family to Yours New book commemorates iconic family-owned department store
photo by Andrew Andreozzi
by Jane Roser
by John Nacchio
by Matt Kelchner
Written by Margaret Strawbridge Butterworth
Lynch, Jr.
Manager IBEW Local 98 KEEP SHINING The world needs your light


RowHome Rollback to 2004!

Before we spring forward, we’re going to look back at some of RowHome’s favorite memories of the people, places and faces that helped us launch a magazine in the neighborhood we know and love.


1940. Atlantic City. George & Clara Roma & Sam D’Amico & Jean Roma.


Members of the Casasanto family, near and far, enjoy brunch at Chick’s the morning after Justin and Julianna’s Engagement Party.


RowHome Remembers

Brotherly Love by Tony Santini


Is it more than just baby blues?

A look into perinatal mental health conditions.

courtesy of Tara Drames, Psy.D. Co-Owner/Licensed Psychologist Live Better Therapy Solutions


On the Block

717 S. Columbus Blvd. #914 courtesy of Jeanne Polizzi

Coldwell Banker Realty


Bridget & Nick

The Lucy Dancing the night away by Joe Volpe


Philly 45s: Heat Wave by Geno Thackara


The Best of PRESSED

To all of you who love to read the last page first, PRH brings you our readers’ top picks of the past in honor of our 20th anniversary next Spring 2024!

The Pen by Dorette Rota Jackson (Summer 2005)


like Jason Okdeh (left) & Brandyn Ortiz

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We are your word of mouth. Bring it to the table Farina Di Vita ON THE COVER 49 REAL ESTATE photo by @shotbybarbuto Contact or call Carol @ 215.462.9777 for details. What are you waiting for? Meet us at our table. Dorette & Dawn See New Business Spotlight / Farina DiVita / Page
New businesses are bringing their business to Philadelphia
Magazine’s marketing table. Just
of Farina Di Vita. Let us jumpstart your business. You, too, can end up on the cover of RowHome Magazine!


Dorette Rota Jackson


Dawn Rhoades EDITOR

Dorette Rota Jackson


Dawn Rhoades


Carol Vassallo


Brenda Hillegas


Omar Rubio


Joseph Volpe


Maria Merlino


Albert Fortino


Andrew Andreozzi

Phil Kramer

Maria Merlino


Theresa Palestino


Michael Rhoades CONTRIBUTORS

Mark Casasanto

David Cava

Joei DiSanto

Frank DePasquale Jr., Esq

Victoria DiPietro

Larry Gallone

Brett Jackson

Matt Kelchner

Maria Merlino

John Nacchio

Vincent R. Novello, Jr.

Stephen Pagano

Anthony Panvini

Santina Pescatore

Lou Pinto

Michael Rhoades

Marialena Rago

Jane Roser

Jade Rota

Debbie Russino

Charles Sacchetti

Anthony Santini

Geno Thackara

Dominique Verrecchio

Robert “Woody” Woodard

Joseph Myers

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 5
Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc. P.O. Box 54786, Philadelphia, PA 19148 Phone – 215.462.9777 | Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine and its contents are copyrighted. Content printed in the magazine may not be reproduced or reprinted, in whole or in part, by any other party without the expressed written consent of Philadelphia RowHome Magazine. 2023 Philadelphia RowHome Inc. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the USA. Published by Philadelphia RowHome Inc.
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Our mission is to preserve
traditions, showcase the neighborhoods and promote the local businesses that strengthen the economy and improve the quaility of life for all of us.


RowHome Rollback to 2004!

Before we spring forward, we’re going to look back at some of RowHome’s favorite memories of the people, places and faces that helped us launch a magazine in the neighborhood we know and love. These were our Letters from the Editors printed in the Summer 2004 edition. It’s our way of remembering how it all began as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in the months to follow.

You knew company was coming when you smelled the coffee. Not just any coffee, either. Nana’s coffee – perked to perfection in an old aluminum pot on the stove. I watched as she poured each cup – carefully straining any mutant grinds that found their way into her brew.

You knew it was Sunday, too. At least you hoped it was Sunday. Nana’s meatballs were more an event than an entrée. No one, nowhere, no-how, makes meatballs like my grandmother. To this day, if you see Nana’s handwritten “gravy” label on a plastic bowl lid in the freezer, you know life is good.

Life in our town is about food and family. There’s no denying it. We turn ordinary dinners into social rituals for friends and strangers alike. If there’s food on the table or grandkids jumping on the couch, you know life is good.

So, what’s my point, you’re asking yourself. Close your eyes for a second. Now imagine your neighborhood without the grocery store, the hairdresser, or the old man who neatly displays his brooms outside his hardware store every morning. Where would you take your visiting friends from New York and San Diego for calamari or roast pork if they closed the corner tavern?

Many of our friends and family members opened a business in this neighborhood – sharing their rituals and recipes with the rest of us. We taste sauces and stews prepared from generations-old recipes. We shop and decorate, build and borrow from family businesses three and four generations in. The faces change, but you know the names. They are the businessmen and women who keep our economy strong, our neighborhoods friendly, and our kids active. Food, family, fun!

Without them, ours would be just another maze of city streets. No cheesesteaks, no artists, no bricklayers. The character and charisma that we associate with our community would be lost. The heritage of our grandparents – people who settled in these neighborhoods with little more than a dream to succeed – would be ignored. I said it before and it’s well worth repeating. Park your cars, people. Take a walk through the neighborhood. Buy a sandwich from the local deli or take the kids out on crab night at the corner bar and grille. Buy your shoes, your shovels, your shingles from a local retailer every so often. Let’s keep tradition alive in our neighborhoods. Let’s make our families proud. Go home to shop. Go home!

“Life in our town is about food and family…”

Okay. I’m going to test your memory right now. Brady Bunch. That famous episode when Jan is stressed out because “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” is always in the limelight.

Welcome to my world!

Growing up in my house with an older sister (Yeah, she’s older!) who’s an English major – I think from the time she was born – wasn’t easy. She’s an edit addict. Edited everything I did – homework, refrigerator art, dinner conversations. My love letters weren’t even safe. So, how did I handle it? I grew up and started a magazine with her!

Yes. She writes most of the stories. Edits all of them. And I’m sure you will all agree, she does a great job. But my job is much more important. I inspire! She calls it writer’s block or something like that. She sits down at the computer and zip! Nothing. Nada. If I wasn’t around to inspire her, I’m talking blank pages, people! My sense of humor gives her an endless supply of material.

Great. So, I’m a clown. She also likes the way I speak my mind. Okay. I’m a rebel. She also likes the fact that I lend a reader’s perspective to whatever she writes. That’s her way of saying that I don’t have a problem telling her ‘It stinks.’

It was my idea, after all, that jumpstarted this magazine. I’ve been asking her for the last three years to sit down and plan this thing out. She has more than 20 years of writing experience; won tons of awards; wrote about the neighborhood when she was a reporter for the local weekly newspaper. To this day, people around here remember her column about “Real South Philadelphians.” You know the one – real South Philadelphians don’t buy meatball sandwiches from a vendor. Everyone remembers reading about her daughter Jade, now 21. I knew if we sat down together, we could publish a magazine that people would want to read. A magazine that highlights everything that’s right about our neighborhood and its people.

So far, you’re telling us that we’re doing something right. I’m sure you’ll let us know if we’re not. After all, this is South Philly. There are other people besides me who don’t have a problem speaking their minds.

And, just in case you’re wondering, the answer is yes. She edited this column.

“My sense of humor gives her an endless supply of material…”


Thank you to the entire South Philly community for all of your support these last few months on my new film, Fuhgeddabout Christmas. Blessed to be from the best city in the world.


I read your magazine cover to cover. Even the ads! I want to spend my money with local shops and your magazine leads me to everything I need. I even found a new dermatologist thanks to you. Keep up the good work!


Love the Steve Martorano cover of your January issue. Can’t wait to make my reservations! I ate dinner at his Florida restaurant while visiting friends there and I still talk about it. Brought back so many happy memories of the foods I grew up with.

8 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 Q: Where can I get a copy of RowHome Magazine? Order your Subscription Today! Your next issue of PRH will be delivered right to your doorstep! Call 215.462.9777 or subscribe online at Thank you for being part of our RowHome family! Dorette & Dawn THEMAILBOX EMAIL YOUR LETTERS TO: INFO@ GOHOMEPHILLY.COM APRIL | MAY | JUNE 2023
SEE THIS AD? Join Our Business Network Today. Rates as low as $250. 215.462.9777 Of course you do. And so do thousands of readers throughout the region and across the country. Advertising brings new business to your doorstep and reminds old customers to keep coming back. PRH Advertisers get results.
Circa 1959. Tommy Kelly & sister Denise Kelly with Father Lynch, Holy Innocents Parish, Juniata. 1963. Liz Juliano & her Dad Art Juliano. 1940. Atlantic City. George & Clara Roma & Sam D’Amico & Jean Roma. 1954. Atlantic City. Rita & Frank D’Ambrosio. 1970. Rita Simirglia.Damiani 1935. Rocco Chuck Abbruzzi & his sister Rita Abbruzzi Barbati. Early 1940s. Gilda Carbone Oliveri in South Philadelphia. 1940. Albert & Lily Roma’s Wedding Day. January 23, 1943. Tony & Toni Liberato’s Wedding at Palumbo’s. 1960s. Marie & Harry Alessi. 1942. Jean Roma DiDomenico. Circa 1952. Tommy Kelly & Grandfather Joe McBride. 3100 block of Memphis Street, Port Richmond. May 30, 1968. Anne & Chubby Anastasio. 1970. Dom & Ann Venezia. December 1959. Ann Pittman with daughter Anna. October 15, 1955. Rita D’Ambrosio with her dad Stanley DiMenno on her wedding day. 1978. Anthony Retallick & Billy Agnes outside St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church. Christmas 1959.Rita, Maria & FrankieD’Ambrosio. 1962. Anthony, Jean, Albert & Annie DiDomenico.



1. The Waldron girls are hangin’ out – Kolette Kontostergios, Rachel Hines, Simona Donatucci, Lila Green & Katalina Kontostergios.

2. The Provoliu Family of Caffe Ida - Arbor, Kem , Zyrafet, Ida and Fiona - wish all their friends and customers a happy spring!

3. Larry & Bernadette Gallone are hangin’ out with Joe & Barb Sculley in Naples, Florida.

4. Hangin’ out at The Capital Grille for February birthdays with Lisa & Ed Costello, Dawn & Mike Rhoades, Harry Alessi, Dorette & Joe Donatucci. Thank you to our fine server Rob for making it a great night!

5. LaToi, Brenda, Noelle, Amanda, Ashley, Naila, and Elle hang at the @PhillyFoodandBarrs milkshake collaboration with Bassetts Ice Cream.

6. Brenda & Jane hang out at the revival of 1776 during the show’s Philadelphia tour stop.

7. Girls’ night out at Dante & Luigi’s with Denise LaRosa, PRH Publishers Dorette & Dawn, MarieElena Abbruzzi, and GM Frank Strati.

8. Greg, Brett, Vincent, Robert, Jay, Michael & Daniel are hangin’ out with RowHome at the Blue Sapphire Awards at Vie by Cescaphe.Tuxedos by Rudi’s Formal Wear.

9. Rowan is hangin’ out at the annual Getaway at the Greenhouse in Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center.

10. Members of the Casasanto family, near and far, enjoy brunch at Chick’s the morning after Justin and Julianna’s Engagement Party.

11. Michael Rhoades is hangin’ out with Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey at the Sixers Youth Foundation Gala at the 2300 Arena.

12. Hangin’ out with Bill Retallick in North Carolina who celebrated his 86th birthday with visiting family members from Philly including his sister Eileen Retallick Eaves, nieces, nephews, family & friends. Entertainment provided by son Cliff on piano. Happy Birthday Uncle Billy!

13. Christening Day for baby Nico Andrew DiDomenico at St. Monica’s Church.

14. Pam Draper, Travel with Pam Draper, & Anthony Lamorgia, CPR Restoration, are hangin’ out in Wildwood.

15. Gene Laielli is hangin’ out with family and friends at a party celebrating his retirement from the Atlantic City Police Department.

16. Jane & Anne hang at the GoldenEye resort in Jamaica where Ian Fleming wrote all the James Bond books.

17. Celebrating the birthdays of cousins Sandy & Jimmy Post at Stogie Joe’s.

18. Dana & Danny Ricciardi with Jerry Blavat.

19. PRH Art Director Omar Rubio & wife Liliana are hangin’ out on a road trip through the Midwest.

12 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 VOLUME _59 ISSUE 69_ 2023 GOHOMEPHILLY.COM
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It was a brisk, bright, Saturday morning in the heart of Philadelphia. As far as late January goes, it was what you might refer to as a “chamber of commerce” type of day. Still, there was a hint of spring in the air as if to tease winter’s soul with the promise that sunny and seventy-five would soon be here. In Philly, you can always tell when something’s abuzz or churning just below the city streets. There’s a next level, if you will, a different gear that goes well beyond the mundane. It’s an acute sense of awareness, as if everyone got the telepathic message. Put simply, Philadelphians always turn out and turn up… Big.

So it was that sunny morning. As I departed the Pennsylvania Convention Center on the first day of the annual Auto Show, I decided to walk to the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. In part, because of the pleasant weather. Realistically, however, I knew I’d be one among many making the trek to the core of our city’s Catholicism. All to say goodbye and pay respect to someone who was larger than life. Someone who not only represented us all, but easily identified with every last one of us, no matter our race, religion or calling in life.

As I walked along the Ben Franklin Parkway, people were stirring and moving with purpose. Almost simultaneously, as the dome of the majestic cathedral came into view, the sound of music suddenly filled the air. Not the customary church bells you’d associate with such a grand house of worship. Not the sound of sad, sullen songs, either. The music I heard was uplifting and happy. It was good-time music that filled the air with celebration.

I took my place in line, just a few bodies deep at the beginning of 18th Street before turning eastbound onto the Parkway. There was no particular pecking order. The notables took their place alongside Marge from Margate, Pete from Pennsport, and Wendy from Wallingford. Soaking it all in for a moment, I couldn’t help but recall specific segments of Howard Cosell’s magnificent introduction to Frank Sinatra’s legendary ABC television special, The Main Event. With Cosell’s brilliance on full auditory display, over and over in my head it went:

“…people from all walks of life people who are young and people who are old here to see, hear, pay homage to a man who has bridged four generations and somehow

never found a gap… Celebrities are here in profusion.”

It was all so very apropos.

As I neared the familiar stairs leading into the Cathedral, just beyond and to the north on 18th Street, seemingly synchronized with the upbeat music and the metered pace of the approaching mourners, a production truck flashed a compilation of photos on a large screen from atop the rig. Inclusive to the point where many of those pictured were now dutifully waiting in line to say goodbye.

Once inside, after a moment of prayerful reflection, and with tears in my eyes, I bid farewell to my friend one final time. I then took my place in a pew and allowed myself to get lost in the music of the Cathedral Basilica Schola’s beautifully haunting renditions of “Love is a Many Splendored Thing,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “Till Then” and “The Impossible Dream.” All, to the surprise of no one in attendance, a final request.

There were touching, even humorous, stories from loved ones, friends, local heroes, and singer Dionne Warwick. Befitting because everyone has their own tale to tell of the man who continuously brought us all together…no matter where… no matter when.

As services go, requiem masses in the Roman Catholic Church are extraordinary and glorious in a sense that the total solemnity is also uniquely comforting in a unified way. Simply stated, you never grieve alone. And never was that more evident than during the final procession out of the Cathedral on that January afternoon.

The Quaker City String Band awaited the congregation on the opposite sidewalk. As an honor guard meticulously removed and folded the city flag from atop the casket, the band played and sang the oft recorded song, “My Buddy.” With one last indelible memory yet to be made, “Oh Dem Golden Slippers” moved those who so desired to dance in the streets.

And this… This would be The Last Dance for our buddy, my friend, Gerald Joseph Blavat.

Rock in peace, Geator. PRH

14 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
April /

CHARLIE GRACIE The Entertainer

In Memoriam

Charlie Gracie

May 14, 1936 – December 16, 2022

On December 16th, South Philadelphia said goodbye to Charlie Gracie, Philadelphia’s first Rock & Roll Star. Charlie’s late 1950’s Cameo-Parkway recordings inspired a legion of young musicians both in the U.S. and in England. Among his many devotees were Paul McCartney, Graham Nash, Van Morrison, Al Kooper and Peter Noone.

As a young guitarist growing up in South Philly, I heard the name Charlie Gracie very often. He was a guy

from the neighborhood who had “made it.” His two biggest hit songs included “Butterfly” and “Fabulous,” both released in 1957.

Back in the late 80’s, my good friends Danny Vanore, Wayne DeCastro and I formed a group called “The Business” with Tom Nataloni, Greg & Drew Carrozza, and Manny Capizzi.

By 1993, The Business was making some noise in the local music industry. Our recordings were getting airplay; we were making TV appearances; and our live shows were selling out. That’s when I met Charlie Gracie for the first time. We played our first show together and began a decades-long friendship.

Back in the day, I used to hang

out with Charlie at Moore’s Inlet in Wildwood during his summer shows there, each year. I was at so many gigs, he put me in his band when I retired from The Business in 2003 due to nerve damage in my hands. For the next 20 years, I played hundreds of shows with him when my hands and/or schedule permitted.

One highlight for me was an outdoor concert we performed for 35,000 fans. I was scared to death! He laughed. “What are you nervous for? We go out and entertain ‘em. Thirty-five or 35,000 people, it’s no different. You give them a show. Now get out there and have some fun.”

That one phrase sums up Charlie Gracie. He was an entertainer. He wanted people to have a good time and forget about life’s problems for a

couple of hours.

Charlie Gracie’s story has been told in Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) over the years. In 2011, PRH presented him with its Blue Sapphire Award for Lifetime Music Achievement. Many entertainers may have remained bitter with the challenges and obstacles that Gracie faced during his early climb up the music entertainment ladder. But Charlie considered himself the luckiest guy in the world. He used to joke, ‘Elvis went to Las Vegas, I went to Wildwood. All in all, I got the better deal.’ He was happily married for 61 years to Joan, raised two wonderful children (Angela and Charlie, Jr.), and loved his daughterin-law Kim as his own.

I last spoke to Charlie Gracie about two weeks before his death. He was tired but seemed to be holding his own. He said, “No matter what happens, God owes me nothing … I owe it all to him.”

Rest in Peace, my friend. I loved you and will miss you. Thank you for the free guitar lessons, the laughs, the life advice, and most of all, your friendship. PRH

16 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHLIFE
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18 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 @glamglowphilly 2504 S Broad St Philadelphia, PA 19145 Available wherever books are sold. W W W . A R C A D I A P U B L I S H I N G . C O M Life & Wellness Coach Teri Lombardo tel: (215) 869-0319 PRHLIFE CONGRATULATIONS AND A LIFETIME OF HAPPINESS to Michael & Meghan Gillen from your family and friends! LIFE Michael Meghan&Gillen Follow your dreams

Row Home Remembers


Our family has been through a rough stretch these past few years, losing our mother in April of 2021 and our father in December of 2022. Life threw us another curveball in January with the sudden passing of our younger brother in January 2023. Like all families, we are dealing with the grief and the aftermath of what the departed have left behind. The physical things have a way of resolution whether you keep them, share them, sell them, or donate them. It’s

the memories, both good and bad, that stay with you much longer.

At my brother’s viewing, a good friend offered condolences which put a lot in perspective for me. She said, “Losing a pet leaves a hole in your heart. Losing a child must be devastating and I can’t imagine that grief. Losing a parent is hard but, if they lived a good life and did not have much suffering, you can almost take comfort in the fact that it’s the circle of life and always keep their memories alive by talking about them often. But losing a sibling is like losing a part of your childhood.”

In the immediate days following Michael’s death, I went through the motions of handling phone calls from friends and family; making the

funeral arrangements; closing out bank accounts, credit cards, and utilities; putting his house up for sale. It is now where the memories are popping up in my head, every day.

Why did we have assigned seats at the kitchen table growing up? Dad was always at the head of the table. I understand and respect that but my sister, my brother and I could have sat anywhere. They liked to joke that I always sat in the furthest seat from the stove and refrigerator so I would never have to get up for anything during dinner. My little brother sat in the furthest seat from my father so he couldn’t reach over to smack him in the head if he was being annoying. My brother did sit next to me, which made it convenient to toss

my green vegetables onto his plate when he wasn’t looking or steal his fries if I could distract him. We were forced to share a bedroom when our middle sister got to a certain age and needed her own room. Being the older brother, I assured him that it entitled me to more drawers and closet space, but I did teach him how he could get along just fine by keeping his clothes under the bed.

I was always there to offer him advice on Christmas gifts. He especially remembers when I told him how much fun a Monopoly game would be, even if he didn’t know how to read. I assured him that he did not have a need for things like new clothes, a new bicycle, or a new baseball glove because I would be more than happy to give him my old stuff and, they were “better” than new stuff because they were all broken in.

I remember the first time I had to show up as his older brother to strike some fear into neighborhood kids who were picking on him. Good thing they were half my size. I always felt guilty that he had to get that “Little Santini”

moniker through grade school or the comparisons. I used to tell him that I was sorry I set such a high bar and he would say that I had fooled everyone and should have been an actor.

When he was 18, I asked him to be my best man at my wedding. Although he was not old enough to drink in Pennsylvania, he did a nice job with the bachelor party and ensured my other trusted friends and cousins kept things above board, so they did not spoil anything with my future bride. I asked him to be the Godfather to my first born. I imagined he would be a great role model, but what I got was an instructor to teach my son how to pick up girls, sneak into clubs, get fake IDs, and gamble at the casinos. That’s what fun uncles do, right?

In our adult years, our friends and interests differed but one thing remained constant, as with most siblings. I could talk about him but never let anyone else say anything about him. I knew that he was always there for me or my kids if we needed him.

Rest in peace, my Brother. I’ll miss you. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 19
PRH Life

Favors & Flavors Etc.

Row Home Remembers

MaryMiss Mack

and favorite tunes from our jump rope past

It is called the most popular handclapping game in the English-speaking world. Its written form in America dates to 1888, when Miss Mary Mack was included in a book called The Counting Out Rhymes of Children by Henry Carrington Bolton who lived in West Chester, Pennsylvania. In the game, two children stand opposite each other and clap hands in time to a rhyming song like this one.

Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack

All dressed in black black black With silver buttons buttons buttons All down her back back back She asked her mother mother mother For fifty cents cents cents

To see the elephant elephant elephant Jump over the fence fence fence He jumped so high high high He touched the sky sky sky And he never came back back back Till the fourth of July July July Goodbye!

So, who is Mary Mack?

Little is known about Mary Mack. Some believe that Mary Mack referred to the Civil War ship USS Merrimack (1855) named after the Merrimack River that runs through New

England. The theory might be true since the Merrimack’s color was black with silver rivets. Now that I have the attention of a lot of Boomers reading this right now, let me throw a few other tunes your way. I know you’ll be singing along once I shake those memories loose. Unlike Mary Mack, we sang these catchy classics while jumping rope. Of course, every era put its own spin on the lyrics. These were a few of ours.

ICE CREAM SODA with the cherry on the top

What’s the initial of my sweetheart

Is it a, b, c, … (Keep jumping until you miss or jump out when you get to your sweetheart’s initial)


The monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line

The line broke

The monkey got choked

And they all went to heaven

In a little rowboat, clap, clap


And I come from Alabama

My mother’s name is (Amy)

And we sell (Apples)

(Repeat every letter of the alphabet matching the names with the letter)

20 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 FuneralWeddingsLunches and more! 20th St. & Moyamensing Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215-852-4822
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Frank G. Criniti’s love for his family and country inspired him to create a Veterans Memorial called All 4 One at 18th and Bigler Streets in South Philadelphia. The triangular monument was officially unveiled on November 13th, 2022, with a ceremony that included VFW Post 8714 of Glendora, New Jersey, and representatives from several military branches. Criniti, who lives

across the street from the monument, is a retired Army veteran who wanted to honor his late brother Joseph, who served on the USS Ranger, and fellow veterans, with his work.

“This was done with no expense to the city and not a drop of donations, which I don’t want,” he said. Before his brother Joseph died in January of 2020, Frank asked him to buy a flagpole for a flower bed so he could raise a flag on his own property.

Feeling the angst of bereavement, Frank channeled a vision of a plot of land on which to memorialize and honor the heroes of war. Frank always dreamed of being an architect,

but Uncle Sam had other plans for him. He was drafted in 1972, he says. “I was number 43 on the list. I’m the last of the draft because six months after that is when the war in Vietnam ended.” He served in the Army until 1975. “I was sent to South Korea, but instead of making blueprints, they made me a cook. Which was fine with me, because I was in the food business since I was 10 years old and cut meat for my uncle at 13.”

You will see all kinds of flags pertaining to the Armed Services including a POW flag and a few more that are new, such as the Space Force, donated by Citizen’s Bank Park, and a flag with an original design of all four branches of the service with the motto All 4 One. Frank re-purposed and recycled much of the material.

“The cobblestones are from my property. They were six feet in length and I had them cut down to two-foot lengths. Jay Agnes helped, though he doesn’t want a lot of acknowledgements, but he did some of the landscaping for us. Marino Construction poured the concrete and the pavers, gratis. I took care of all the materials. All the expenses were mine, but it was really a team effort.”

There are small flags from each war placed in the flower bed, but the monument is not yet complete.

“The stones are going to be engraved with each war. For instance, during the First World War, we fought Germany. We’ll have a German flag and the dates. For WWII, the flags will be Japan, Germany and Italy and the dates. There will be 10 different wars starting with the 13 colonies. This will honor anyone who lost their life in battle.”

A monument like this is unique with no other like it. An honorable man has given Philadelphia a place to honor all veterans, living or dead, past, present, and future. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 21 PRHLIFE

James Sarkos Atlantic City Police Chief

his Roots Run Deep in this Shore Town

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. – Helen Keller

James A. Sarkos referenced that quote as important to his philosophy during his induction ceremony as Atlantic City’s Chief of Police in November 2022.

After serving as Interim Officer in Charge since October 2020, Sarkos was sworn in (via Zoom) as permanent Chief by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony attended by family, friends, colleagues, and local and state officials. Having that level of person induct you “shows how important it is to faithfully, impartially and justly guide every action you take,” Sarkos noted.

Chief Sarkos also draws inspiration from something much closer to his heart -- his family and his love and passion for Atlantic City, a place where his roots are deep, and his commitment has been lifelong. Together with his wife Michele and their son Michael, they continue the tradition of family life in the Atlantic City region. During his induction speech, Sarkos thanked his family, noting the many sacrifices a police officer’s family makes. “The sacrifices our families make are in a lot of ways greater than our own,” he said to a large roomful in attendance at the Atlantic City Convention Center.


Sarkos can attest to those family sacrifices firsthand while growing up close to this shore town. His paternal grandparents came from Greece to Atlantic City in the 1920s where his grandfather worked in a carpentry shop in Ducktown. His father and uncles grew up in Atlantic City. His uncles were teachers at Atlantic City High School and members of the beach patrol for more than 50 years.

On his mother’s side, his grandparents operated a business in Atlantic City called Keystone Auto Glass.

In his speech, Chief Sarkos remembered their service to this town. “I can’t help but think of my grandparents and the wonderful memories of visiting them at their shop when I pass by. They were proud of their business. And my grandfather would love to park his 1932 Ford in front of this shop for all to see and inquire about.” He also recalled visiting his maternal great grandfather who lived at 10th and Federal Streets in South Philadelphia. PRHLIFE

Sarkos says his brother joined the Linwood EMT Rescue squad as a volunteer when they were younger and he followed him, jumpstarting his career in public service.

“It was this experience that exposed me to my passion for Law Enforcement and the feeling of self-worth and satisfaction I received from helping those in need.” Additionally, Jim’s sister is a teacher, and his mother was an ER nurse.

Chief Sarkos received an Associates of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from Atlantic Cape Community College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Stockton University, and a Master of Arts degree from Seton Hall University.

As his career progressed, he served in law enforcement in Ventnor, Wildwood and Linwood before joining the Atlantic City Police Department.

As a member of the ACPD, his knowledge and passion for serving the community – coupled with his teamwork philosophy – drove him to champion several significant

safety efforts. Among them include the Boardwalk Camera Project, the ACPD Surveillance Center/Emergency Operations Center, and Project P.A.C.T. (Protecting Atlantic City Together) camera sharing initiative.

“Public safety is not just police responsibility – it’s a partnership with everyone,” he stresses.

The PACT program, for instance, entails the public and private businesses working together to benefit the community. Businesses participating in PACT display signs at their workplaces informing the public that they will share their videos with the police department when necessary.

“The goal is to prevent crime,” Sarkos says.

Another priority on the ACPD’s list is to reduce the number of times officers use force, Sarkos explained. Through a combination of specialized techniques and training, Atlantic City was able to achieve outstanding results. In 2021, only one excessive force complaint was registered. It dropped to zero complaints in 2022. Quite an accomplishment considering

the number of fulltime residents and millions of visitors to Atlantic City on an annual basis.

Chief Sarkos is a founding member of the Atlantic City Police Foundation and currently serves as Vice Chair. “Our goal is to pay for additional items for both the police department and community.”

The non-profit raises money for community outreach, as well as for equipment, training, and overall morale-boosting efforts not covered by the police department budget. The Foundation also provides funds for youngsters in PAL to go on trips for STEM program projects, which teaches science, technology, engineering, and math skills to interested kids.

Chief Sarkos has received numerous commendations and recognitions throughout his career including ones from the American Legion, State of N.J. General Assembly, Bangladeshi Association of Atlantic County, Stockton University, and the United States Secret Service. He also was the recipient of the Atlantic Cape Community College President’s Distinguished Alumni Award. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 23
Police Foundation event at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino NJ Attorney General Matthew Platkin with Sarkos Sarkos with former Chiefs



The Story of Medal of Honor Recipient Michael J. Crescenz

Michael Crescenz was a leader, brother and friend who bravely stood up for others in trouble. He lived in a thriving, post WWII Philadelphia neighborhood. His father served in that war – the second of six brothers. Michael had a big smile, athletic skills, grit, and a strong competitive spirit.

Michael grew up surrounded by his family, church, neighborhood playgrounds, and lively Catholic schools that he attended from elementary to high school. These experiences influenced his personality and values. He felt a sense of duty and wanted to serve his country. Doing his part, he joined the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. His unit, the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, faced a tough enemy on Nui Chom Mountain, a hidden “fortress in the clouds” in the far northwest of South Vietnam near North Vietnam and Laos. He had only been in Vietnam for two months when they went into this battle.

The commanders expected

a tough battle, but they were unaware of the more than 250 machine gun bunkers the enemy had set up on the mountain slopes. On November 20, 1968, Alpha Company was caught in a trap on the damp jungle hillside, as the NVA killed the two front men and kept the rest under constant fire.

Private first-class Michael J. Crescenz put the safety of his comrades before his own and grabbed an M60 machine gun to attack the enemy bunkers. He lost his life, but his brave actions saved his fellow soldiers and enabled them to overcome and win. Michael received the Medal of Honor after his death for his courage and sacrifice.

The book, written by military writer John Siegfried and cowriter reporter Kevin Ferris, narrates his story through the

eyes of those who cared for Michael Crescenz most: his family, close friends, retired Lieutenant General Sam Wetzel who was Michael’s commander in Vietnam, and medic William “Doc” Stafford who was near Michael when he was killed by enemy fire and who still believes that he only survived Nui Chom because of Michael’s selfless actions.

The Tri-State Vietnam Veterans Community honored him with memorials, statues, plaques, murals and three street renamings. A VFW Post also was renamed after him, and the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital rebranded as the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz V.A. Medical Center in 2015. His life and legacy still live on in the hearts and minds of his classmates from St. Athanasius grade school, Cardinal Dougherty High School, and many family members and friends in both the Veteran and Tri-State Communities. PRH

John Siegfried is an Author, Military Historian and Board Member of the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation since 2014.

24 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHLIFE
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Real People Real Stories

ROSE Pure Love with Open Arms

Rose is a 13-year-old young lady with a life challenge known as a co-occurring diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism. Through the years, new information becomes available daily about autism and Down syndrome, but there is still much to learn about the dual diagnosis that affects Rose. From the very start of her life, Rose’s mom,

Noelle (DellaBarba) Campolongo, has been a strong advocate for her daughter in every aspect from diagnosis, to training and treatments. She has supported activities like the “Special Olympics” and even coordinated an annual event for Rose and other children called The Rose Ball, “A Special night for Special KIDS,” held at Galdo’s Catering. Made possible by the generous support of donors, sponsors, and volunteers, including its co-chairman, the late Honorable Ronald R. Donatucci Sr., this gala raised both awareness and support for nonprofits and services for children with special needs.

This past November, Noelle took Rose to Children’s Hospital (CHOP) for what she assumed to be a swollen wrist. Within hours, Rose was diagnosed with B-ALL

Leukemia. Rose immediately was admitted to the hospital to begin chemotherapy and a 10-week hospital stay. Mom Noelle moved into CHOP right beside her to provide 24-hour comfort and support to her precious daughter. A single mom since the sudden death of Rose’s father Stephen in 2020, Noelle has assumed full-time care of Rose – which means decreasing her full-time job hours and leaving behind a second part-time job.

After spending weeks at the hospital during the first round of chemotherapy, Noelle was hopeful to be home in time for the holidays. But the treatment was unsuccessful. Doctors scheduled a second round of chemotherapy and an extended hospital stay. Unfortunately, this round resulted in several side effects for Rose, causing seizures, infections, rashes,

and still, no positive results. Finally, after responding well to the last week of treatment, Rose was able to come home with outpatient treatment and weekly visits.

Most recently, Noelle shared that Rose finished her second round of chemotherapy and her family anxiously awaits the results. Since the start of her treatment, Rose’s levels have declined to what doctors consider remission. If all goes as planned, Rose will undergo two more rounds of chemotherapy over the next two years with outpatient visits following the final round.

“I can’t thank you all enough for your continued support,” Noelle said about family, friends and neighbors who are rallying to support them. “Rose needs me more than ever through this. We wouldn’t get through it without all of you.”

“Keep Rose in your prayers,” says Rose’s grandmother Josephine “Jody” DellaBarba. “My family is humbled by the outpouring of support my daughter Noelle and granddaughter Rose have received from the community.” PRH Learn more https://www.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 25

Affable and genuine nice guy, Justin Gonzalez is best known for his tremendous musical talents and classic tenor voice. While he has traveled around the world and performed at many prestigious venues, he is happiest playing with his Queen cover band right here in Philadelphia. Gonzalez is not only a gifted and

extraordinary singer, but a resilient and proud advocate for himself and others with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Prior to his own diagnosis, Gonzalez had to grow up quickly, caring for his mother who was diagnosed in her early 40s. “I didn’t have much time to be a kid, he says. “I did my best to keep up with my schoolwork, work life, all while pursuing a quickly blossoming music career. With an early development of my voice, I had performed in the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden all before my 20th birthday.”

In February of 2006, Gonzalez was diagnosed with MS, as well. “Over seven days, I lost complete eyesight in my left eye. With intense steroid treatment, I was able to regain my vision over three weeks. I also gained over 100 pounds,” he says. “A


The Music that MS Can’t Silence

few years later, I developed a lesion on the part of my brain that affects memory. That was the end of my opera career.”

Around the world, so many people battle Multiple Sclerosis, openly and silently, but here in our City of Brotherly Love, we have some of the best care and research on the planet. Gonzalez recognizes that some of the best MS doctors are in Philadelphia and that Penn, Temple and Jefferson provide exceptional care.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) hosts an annual walk that starts at the Art Museum, which is scheduled for May 6, this year. The NMSS also hosts bike rides, with one called Coast the Coast in Deal, NJ on May 13, 2023. These events help to raise awareness about MS and bring in much needed donations to fund research and support for those impacted by the disease.

Currently, we all are hearing about Christina

Applegate and her emotional journey with Multiple Sclerosis. A year ago, it was Selma Blair. Further back, Art Alexakis (lead singer of Everclear), Jack Osbourne (son of Ozzy), Montel Williams, Richard Pryor, David Lander (Squiggy on Laverne and Shirley), and Annette Funicello. Anybody can be impacted by Multiple Sclerosis and there are many levels of MS Warriors. MS impacts not only the individual with the diagnosis, but their families and ultimately, entire communities.

“At first, I thought that multiple sclerosis had taken everything away. Now, almost 20 years later, I see it has given me just as much as it has taken,” Gonzalez says. “Multiple sclerosis has shown me just how strong and powerful I can be by giving me the situations and opportunities to be nothing less than strong and powerful.”

Gonzalez has faced a life of ups and downs with his physical and mental health, lapses in insurance and, in turn, treatment. His symptoms have caused him to rethink his whole career path and how he performs for audiences.

“There are still days I mourn the life that I thought

I deserved to have,” he says. “It has taken and continues to take a lot of work to appreciate the gift I’ve been given. I realize that I’m entitled to nothing.”

Still, he has continued to perform with organizations like The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Philly POPS. He also originated The Justin Gonzalez Trio, a band of classically trained musicians who riot out on the ukulele, violin, and trombone. You can often find him in a solo concert or cabaret or teaching master classes in schools and colleges, sharing the power of storytelling through music.

“I’m grateful that I still can share the gifts I’ve been given. I still sing classically with choruses and orchestras throughout the region and beyond. I celebrate the Broadway and American songbooks with my jazz trio. I get to be the Rockstar I never thought I would be with 33 1/3 LIVE’s Killer Queen Experience. Since the pandemic, I’ve been sharing my experiences and stories by doing stand-up comedy. And, of course, I continue to work in music, ministry, leading congregations, and a number of different churches

and denominations.”

Justin Gonzalez has had a decades-long career bringing joy to the hearts of all who have witnessed his performances. His ranges from opera singing, to crooning classic Broadway hits, to belting out pop songs better than a jukebox. With a huge range of talents, even an intrusive diagnosis like MS can’t keep him down.

According to the NMSS website, Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Some of the common symptoms of MS are fatigue, gait difficulties, spasticity, vision problems, bladder problems, bowel problems, pain and itching, depression, dysesthesia (the MS Hug), numbness or tingling, weakness, vertigo and dizziness, sexual problems, cognitive changes, and emotional changes. Most people experience one or more of these symptoms on a daily basis, so don’t get scared if you do, too. But if you experience multiple symptoms for an extended period, you should get checked out by your doctor. PRH

26 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHLIFE Real People Real Stories
justingonzaleztenor com
by Jamie Flowers




1/4 cup of tightly packed basil or mint leaves

1/4 cup of ripe fresh or frozen chunks of pineapple (canned is too sweet in my opinion)

1 cup of Greek yogurt (I like vanilla, but plain would reduce your sugar)

1 tsp of honey

1 tbsp of pistachios

1/2 tsp of chia seeds or hemp hearts

A handful of ice cups (more or less depending on taste)


Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend at high speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Serve and garnish with more pistachios, chia seeds and hemp hearts. To make the glass pretty, dip a spoon in the yogurt and use it to swirl a design on the inside of the glass.


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This smoothie may sound kind of weird, but it’s really good and makes excellent use of my prolific basil and mint garden. Greek yogurt has calcium which is good for your bones and probiotics which are great for your gastrointestinal system. Pistachios, chia seeds and hemp hearts contain healthy fats such as omega3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber to help keep you full all day. Pineapple has antiinflammatory and pain-relieving properties and contains a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Local honey can even help with seasonal allergies. This isn’t your average smoothie, but it is healthy and delicious! I hope you enjoy!


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April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 27
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It Takes Courage to Reach Out for Help


An Unending Conversation with

Did you know that an oyster that has never been wounded will not produce pearls?

I recently heard this and was immediately intrigued. I had to dive in with research, aka Google, to prove or disprove the validity of this fact. Well, it turns out to be entirely accurate. Pearls are actually formed as a result of injury, after

foreign elements like grains of sand or parasites find their way inside the oyster’s shell. It is from here that a beautiful pearl will form, as the oyster’s body goes to work, in essence, protecting it from pain.

This simple, newly discovered fact resonated with me and brought about some soul searching. What if we thought of ourselves as pearls, something beautiful created from pain? What if we became more open to acceptance and transformation in our own lives?

I have personally been on a life path dealing with addiction, loss, trauma, and life-changing grief for well over 10 years now. I like to think that I, too, am healing, or let’s say, becoming a pearl.

Throughout my journey, there are two things that have always kept me going, even in my darkest times.

The first is unconditional love for my children, and the second is hope. Both were

there when I needed them most, whispering to my heart that I must keep going.

Hope is never something to be taken for granted. It is when people feel hopeless, they are in danger. When hopeless, it is hardest to ask for help, especially with all the stigma around substance use disorder or any type of mental illness and its impact on the family. It takes courage to reach out for help.

As a community, we have to work harder to allow others to feel safe to say they are not okay. We have to normalize caring about mental wellness. Once talking and sharing, many realize they are not alone in their struggles, and there are resources available to help them. The oyster and the pearl also reminded me how our own bodies and minds work like that of an oyster, shielding us from what we cannot handle. This allows us to gradually process certain lifechanging losses.

When thinking back to my early grief after losing my son, Dean, I know the

feelings of shock and numbness were present to shelter me. So, the question is, how do we move from the trauma, the hurt, the loss, the pain, whatever it is we are carrying, to this place where we begin healing and evolving?

The answer and timetable to this question will be different for each person, as unique as a fingerprint. I think it starts with self-care, conversations, asking for help, being open to healing, and simply going where that leads you.

I am honored to have had so many inspiring individuals come into my life in this chapter. These are true pearls, from whom I have learned so much. These are parents creating legacies in memory of their sons and daughters while impacting the world in a positive way. When we help another, we help ourselves.

Thank you for listening, and remember, I am here. I am a Certified Family Recovery Specialist, a Certified Grief Guide, and Co-Facilitator of For Jonathan’s Sake, a grief group by Steps4hope in Phoenixville, PA. I would love for you to reach out with your thoughts or your story; we all have one. I can be reached at dotsie2721@comcast. net or on Facebook @deansmom.2022. PRH

28 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHHEALTH

Take Steps to Protect Yourself from


Protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays is the first step in skin cancer prevention.

A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns, so don’t skimp on the sunscreen, and don’t forget to protect your scalp and ears. For proper sunscreen use, it should be applied 30 minutes prior to going outside and reapplied every two hours of being in the sun. The sun’s rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so try to stay out of the sun during this peak time.

The FDA recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all uncovered skin. Regular daily use of SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and lower your melanoma risk by 50 percent.

Don’t worry about your vitamin D!

Clinical studies have not determined that daily use of sunscreen can lead to vitamin D insufficiency. Studies show that people who use sunscreen regularly can maintain their levels of vitamin D. Depending on the strength of your sunscreen, anywhere from 2-7 percent of solar UVB rays are still reaching your skin, giving your body the opportunity to manufacture vitamin D.

Schedule your annual skin cancer screening today

While it’s important to check

yourself at home, often, getting an annual skin cancer screening by a professional can be instrumental in identifying any suspicious lesions and treating them early. Scheduling your yearly full-body skin exam with a dermatologist is the most important step in detecting skin cancer.

Melanoma can be found anywhere on the body, and are sometimes overlooked on self-exams, especially on the back or scalp.

Davida Krupnick, MD specializes in the detection and treatment of skin cancers and treats a full spectrum of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails. She is accepting new patients, insurance is accepted, and immediate appointments are available. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Davida Krupnick at our Dermatology Partners - South Philly office, please call (215) 463-3939 or visit to schedule online.

Dermatology Partners is a physicianled dermatology group with 29 offices in locations throughout Pennsylvania and Delaware. Since 2012, its providers treat a full spectrum of diseases of the skin, hair, and nails and specialize in the detection and treatment of skin cancers, including Mohs surgery. The organization prides itself on its ability to offer patients immediate appointments so there is no need to wait weeks or months to receive care. PRH

Dr. Davida Krupnick, MD, Dermatology Partners – South Philly, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 29
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Seven years ago, 13-year-old Akayla Brown founded Dimplez 4 Dayz after witnessing a violent interaction between two children around the same age as her. That day, she vowed to do something about what she had just seen unfold in the streets of her neighborhood. Now, her youth-led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization exists to empower the voice of youths in Philadelphia. Brown strives to reduce youth violence in our city by promoting resources and programs to enable young people to build confidence and fulfill their potential.

In November 2021, she opened The Dimplez Dreamz Resource Center, the first youthfounded and youth-led community center in West Philadelphia. The space is a safe haven for Philadelphia youth. Here, they’ll find mentorship, guidance, and a variety of resources.

Under Brown’s leadership, Dimplez 4 Dayz has grown to support more than 5,000 families in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. She has implemented mentoring programs, service days, bus stop breakfasts, community days, holiday shopping sprees, trunk or treats, field trips, rental assistance, lock-ins advocating against gun violence, and bookbag drives, to name a few.

“The future for Dimplez 4 Dayz, Inc.

looks like expansion,” she says. “We want to establish safe housing for youth in Philadelphia and expand both our programs and services to other underprivileged cities, starting in Washington, D.C.!”

Now, Brown is a Howard University Student majoring in International Business. She is also a recipient of the Bill & Melinda Gates scholarship. At Howard, she launched “Mental Health Mondays” which provides free facials to students to help them alleviate stress.

The Dimplez 4 Dayz Workforce Development program meets weekly and has a few more spots available for sophomores and juniors who reside in Philadelphia. To find out more about the programs offered or to donate, visit

Email: | Instagram: @dimplezz4dayzz

“We are always looking for volunteers, potential sponsors, and donors,” Brown says. “Spread the word about the tremendous impact that Dimplez 4 Dayz, Inc. has had on the Philadelphia community to become a self-sustaining nonprofit.” PRH

Save the date for the Dimplez 4 Dayz, Inc. 1st Annual Gala in June 2023. More details soon.

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Cholesterol and glucose, blood pressure and stroke, osteoporosis heel scans and mammograms for uninsured and underinsured women.

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Family Fun and More: Food and refreshments at no cost to attendees, cartoon guests, face painting, balloon artist AND MORE!

30 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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Oh, no!


Old-time Remedies for a New Age

Everyone grew up with old-time remedies we learned from our parents and grandparents. RowHome reached out to our readers for some of the cures they grew up with. Now may be the perfect time to pass them on to a new generation. Or maybe not.

Vicks Vapo Rub was the cure-all for colds. Rub some under your nose, on your forehead, even on the bottom of your feet before you put your socks on to open those nasal passages.

Mercurochrome – that red liquid that stained everything – really did burn when your mom put it on your scraped knees and cuts.

Warm water & salt gargle relieved sore throats.

And nothing made your teeth sparkle like a paste of baking soda & peroxide on your brush!

Here are a few other favorites our RowHome readers shared with us!

Paregoric for baby’s gums and menstrual cramps.

Warm milk to sleep better.

Homemade chicken soup for a cold (with Acini di pepe if you had the flu!)

Ichthammol drawing salve. It draws out infection from pimples and splinters – an old remedy that still works great!

Drink hot water for indigestion. It will make you belch.

Cod liver oil for constipation.

Water, honey, lemon & whiskey for cold/sore throat.

Pile on the blankets to sweat out a fever.

Whiskey and hot tea to break up congestion.

Apple cider vinegar on a wart to remove it.

Apple cider vinegar and water for fat loss.

Aloe for burns – right off your plant on the windowsill!

Oatmeal for bug bites.

What is the oldest remedy in the world?

The bark of the willow tree contains one of the oldest medicinal remedies in human history. In its modern form, we call it aspirin. More than 3,500 years ago, the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians used willow bark as a traditional medicine for pain relief. (

Olive oil for chapped lips.

Brioschi for upset stomachs.

Stuffy nose? Boil garlic in some water then stand over it and breathe in the fumes.

Hot water and mustard solution can soothe aching feet.

Heather boiled in water and applied warm to the top of the head cured a headache.

A spoonful of sugar gets rid of hiccups.

Banana peels soothe poison ivy.

A paste of baking soda and water will bring splinters to the surface. Rub it on, cover with bandage & the next day, the splinter will rise to the surface so you can pluck it out.

Chew on a few dried apricots to ease digestion.

Crush a strawberry, mix with baking soda and brush onto your teeth to whiten your smile.

Dip a cotton ball into Listerine and dab onto a fever blister until it dries up.

Did you know…

An aspirin contains the same ingredients as many dandruff shampoos (salicylic acid). Crush a tablespoon of aspirin and add it to your regular shampoo before applying to your hair. Leave in for 5-10 minutes. Rinse. (Farmer’s Almanac)

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 31

Pregnancy and early motherhood are an especially vulnerable time for women as they are faced with an abundance of emotional, psychological, hormonal, and physical life changes. Despite the many appointments women attend for their baby, they often receive one routine follow-up visit at six weeks postpartum. At this visit, many OB GYN professionals will screen for postpartum depression. Particularly for first-time mothers, many may not realize they are experiencing clinical levels of depression or anxiety after having a baby. They may also experience shame or embarrassment about thoughts or feelings that may be entirely new to them. Therefore, this follow up visit may or may not be successful in identifying mothers who can benefit from additional support for their mental health.

Perinatal mental health refers to a woman’s emotional state during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. While many may have heard of postpartum depression, perinatal mental health in general is not often discussed enough. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, also known as PMADs, are a category of mental health conditions women suffer from during pregnancy and through the postpartum period. These conditions can include perinatal depression, as well as a variety of anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic disorder, and specific phobias.

PMADs are extremely common, affecting 1 in 5 women. Yet, they often go unrecognized, and therefore, untreated, for many. Signs of

depression may include intense feelings of sadness or anger; difficulty sleeping when given the opportunity; trouble concentrating; loss of interest; or challenges with making decisions, amongst others. Symptoms of anxiety may occur alongside or separate from depression, and may include irritability, an inability to relax, experiencing intrusive thoughts, nausea or panic-like symptoms. PMAD symptoms overall can range from mild, moderate, to severe. In severe cases, women can suffer from episodes of postpartum psychosis, or have thoughts about hurting themselves or their baby. Women with a prior history of depression/anxiety or other mental health conditions are more susceptible to struggling with PMADs. Other factors such as lack of social support, financial strains, or other stressful life events may also contribute to the development of perinatal mental illnesses. Positively, these conditions are very treatable when recognized and addressed appropriately.

The key to successful intervention is early intervention. Treatment may include therapy, medication, or both. The earlier symptoms are identified, the more amenable to interventions individuals will be. While awareness about perinatal mental health has increased, there is still a great need to identify and assess for PMADs. Also of note, fathers may also suffer from depression or anxiety after the birth of a child.

What should you do if you or a loved one appears to be struggling with a PMAD? Talk with your health-care provider (OB GYN/primary care physician) or a supportive friend/family member about your symptoms. Consider therapy with a trained, licensed mental health professional.

32 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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Live Better Therapy Solutions Live Better Therapy Solutions is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. a Look into Perinatal Mental Health Conditions Is It More than Just Baby Blues?
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Though born in Northumberland County and residing in Montgomery County, Paul Varano has earned his stripes as an upholder of life in the City of Brotherly Love. Through employment with Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia (CCP), the focused physician keeps hearts in his adopted

hometown beating more strongly and hopes for longevity take shape by stressing healthy practices in a truly caring fashion.

“I think that people have an advanced collective sense of the importance of self-care,” Varano says of perceptions of his patients. “That rubs off on me as someone who treats them because I want to see them thrive, too.”

The Shamokin native has faithfully followed the Hippocratic Oath for 12 years, with nine of them as a doctor. Blessed with an affinity for science, he has made Center City and South Philly the beneficiaries of his commitment to cardiac care. He believes his youth and considerate bedside manner have won trust at a time when people might even feel prone to deem themselves experts because of the plethora of information available to them.

Priming Pump

Dr. Paul Varano the

“I think this is a good time to be a doctor because it’s great to be able to help people to weed through everything to devise personal approaches to achieving optimum health,” the 34-year-old says of a particular pull that his profession possesses. “In other words, there’s so much to understand about the field, and I don’t see that as anything but a positive.”

While some elements of coronary upkeep will never change, such as limiting salt intake, quitting smoking, aiming for 150 minutes of moderate weekly activity, and addressing even the slightest hint of heart trouble if one has a family history of heart disease, Varano notes that other aspects are evolving. Adding that pondering the lasting benefits of an elevated high-density lipoprotein, also known as “good cholesterol,” the effectiveness of an extremely low-

fat diet, and the definitive effects of certain foods on heart health have become hot topics, he states that those in his vocation, no matter what might come along with regards to research and supposed solutions, will always have everyone’s best interests, well, at heart.

“CCP makes that pretty clear, every day,” he says of the nation’s largest independent cardiac care practice, with whom he has more than 100 cardiologist colleagues. “I’m fortunate to build my love for medicine with a great group of likewise passionate people.”

Varano matriculated at Penn State University before venturing to New York for medical school. Following respective stints at Columbia University for said training, at Pittsburgh’s UPMC Montefiore for residency, and at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for a fellowship, he became increasingly drawn to improving Philadelphians’ lives, finding South Philly especially endearing because it affords him multiple chances to heighten pride in his Italian heritage.

“It’s such a great melting pot

where you’re never lacking in opportunities to meet awesome people,” he said of South Philly’s allure. “No matter where I treat or will treat patients, though, I’m just excited to promote the best choices possible, like getting exercise since it typically helps with everything.”

The Bala Cynwyd resident practices what he preaches by being an avid cyclist and teams with wife Amy, an emergency room physician at Bryn Mawr Hospital, to tout the joys of remaining young at heart by raising Nico, Jack, and Julia. With a busy personal and professional life, Varano enjoys that each part of his existence keeps him on his toes and, more importantly, gives his days, and his heart, a steady beat.

“I like our partnership,” he said of the patient-doctor connection. “It’s been a steady one for a long time, and I think there’s room to grow it as everyone tries to make the most of the resources out there.” PRH

Cardiology Consultants of Philadelphia (CCP) is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 33
by Joseph Myers photo by Andrew Andreozzi

Directions Behavioral Health Centers have added some additional services for our community. Neurofeedback is here! Participate in neurofeedback with or without being a patient in our outpatient center at the Philadelphia location. This is an additional service we can provide to current patients or outside community members. Individual therapy covered by insurance! We are an in network provider that can help get you the individual therapy you need and have it covered by insurance at our NJ or PA location.

The Importance of Aftercare in Your Recovery Process

Get the Help You Need to Put Your Life Back Together


2300 S. Broad Street / Philadelphia

Many adults struggle with mental health and substance use disorders. Getting into a residential treatment facility or a hospitalization is the first step in achieving stabilization or recovery. Although this is a pivotal part in the process, continuing care after stabilization is critical. Like most chronic diseases, substance use disorder is a disease that requires ongoing maintenance and aftercare. The relapse rate for those who struggle with substance use disorder continues to be high with the lack of resources and accountability to patients’ continued care.

Some people believe that outpatient care is the first step in treatment while others believe it is not a necessary part at all. Outpatient care has successfully shown that the longer a patient is engaged in treatment following an inpatient stay, the more likely they are to achieve long term recovery. Outpatient is different from attending 12 step meetings. Outpatient facilities hold patients accountable to random drug screenings, evidencebased therapeutic approaches, case management services, relapse prevention techniques, trauma informed care, group therapy and

individual therapy. Outpatient centers are like one-stop shopping for those who are seeking help with many areas in their life associated with their substance use disorder.

During the aftercare process, patients can begin to really work on their underlying issues in therapy. Most underlying issues are less likely to be addressed during inpatient treatment because the goal is stabilization. The first year of recovery can feel like a roller coaster of emotions and those who struggle with substance use disorder can be easily overwhelmed by the process. Outpatient treatment centers are designed to help you face the challenges in the first year and help you cope with the stress of putting the pieces of your life back together.

Directions Outpatient Centers has helped many people struggling with substance use disorder maintain that first year of recovery, put the pieces of their lives back together, and live a life free of drugs and alcohol. Whether you have recently completed an inpatient facility or have been lost since you last left one, we can help get you back on the right path. PRH

Directions Outpatient Centers is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine (PRH) Business Network.

Directions Outpatient Centers 2300 S. Broad Street | 1 877.228.2073

34 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
Behavioral Health of NJ is now offering treatment in Cherry Hill, NJ
Reach out today so we can get you the help you need!


6711 and 6713 Atlantic Avenue

Priced at $1,199,000

Town houses built and developed by Gary Tavella / Fresh Start Builders. Location is just steps to the beach and boardwalk. Town home living with 3 bedrooms and 3.5 baths and having next to nothing to do, but bring your beach gear.

Town homes feature four levels beginning with the ground floor and a stacked two car garage and storage for all your bikes and beach accessories. The 1st floor has two mini master suites each with a full bath and a front balcony to enjoy the morning sun and warm breeze. A second floor features a living level open floor with a front balcony off the living room. The living room has a gas F/P, dining area, kitchen with counter area with seating, laundry room with side by side clothes washer and gas dryer. Top floor has a master suite and a large roof top deck for all your outside entertaining. There is a four stop elevator from the garage to roof deck for everyone’s convenience.

Great location to make all those lifetime memories at the Ventnor shore. Showings are now available by appointment.

This Property brought to you by:


6703 Atlantic Avenue

Ventnor, NJ 08406

Office 609-823-0800

Cell 609-335-4160



he idea of Women’s Empowerment Day at Keller Williams Philadelphia began with a text from Tori Harkins, the Director of Operations. A handful of women met in a conference room to brainstorm for vendors, speakers, and sponsors. It blossomed into a beautiful event of 56 women, two panels, seven panelists, and a fabulous keynote speaker.

Keller Williams Philadelphia is a full-service real estate brokerage, very education driven and focused on the comradery of its agents. This was the first time they hosted an event planned by women, sponsored by women, and women. “It’s obviously the most important event we’ll ever have,” Harkins said. The room was buzzing with eager, like-minded women, excited to learn from each other.

The first panel, moderated by Juliana Gainsburg of The Juliana Gainsburg Group, Kate Danese and Alyssa Chapnik of Guaranteed Rate Mortgage, discussed real estate investing strategies and things you hear about when you’re trying to break into the industry. When the question arose on how to navigate the male dominated industry, Chapnik advised participants to have the mindset that “you belong here.” should be the news,” Chapnik advised. “The news makes it sound like the world is ending and that’s not the case. Educate yourself. Know everything possible about this topic. You’re not going to know everything, but you have to learn as you go.” When asked what financial advice the panel would give their 20-year-old selves, Chapnik said it would be “to start sooner.” Danese explained that she got distracted and wishes that she didn’t. “I was flipping houses when I was 24 and that’s all I wanted to do. I got this coach that told me I could sell more, and

I somehow ended up building a retail team.” The second panel highlighted secrets to success. The idea came from Tess Adams, the pro-coach at Keller Williams Philadelphia and head of the Tess Adams Team. When discussing what this panel would look like, Adams said there should be no secrets. People talked about where they came from and how they reached their level of success, with no fluff. The panelists included Jeanne Whipple of Philly Home Girls, Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Lynette Medley of No More Secrets, health and wellness instructor Natalie Guss, and Katherine Koob, lawyer and COO of The Junior League. How do you define success? Guss says it’s “waking up in the morning and looking forward to today, going to sleep and knowing that I did my best and continuing to do my best.” Koob said it’s all about “doing better than I did before. Doing better than I did yesterday.” The subject of work-life balance was often discussed. It’s difficult to be focused on your career and the people who depend on you, many agreed. Danese spoke personally about the difficulties with balancing an intense day job and helping to run a non-profit. “It makes you feel terrible when people talk about work-life balance and talk about their labeled pantries and how they’re never late. That is not helpful. Be honest. Your family is really important to you, but so are these causes. On certain days, I’m focused on work. On other days, I’m focused on my kids and my household. It depends on what my week looks like. Look at it on a larger scale.”

Lynette Medley discussed the importance of her non-profit, No More Secrets, supporting Period Poverty. Their mission is to decrease menstrual health disparities in underserved

communities through the eradication of societal stigmas and propagation of resources and scientifically based information.

Once again, the question regarding advice to your 20-year-old self circled the room. Koob said she would give herself a lot of advice. “She needed a lot of help,” she said of her younger self. “You’re tougher than you think you are” for starters. “I was one of those people who did all of the right things. Then I got into my first job and had a horrible round of discrimination about being a woman and being pregnant. People would hide my breast milk, take clients away from me, take pictures of my rear end. There was a long list of things that happened to me that I normalized as a part of being the deal. It wasn’t acceptable.” Koob said she knew she had to stop thinking situations like that were normal. She realized she had to become tougher when confronted with these situations for both herself and the people to follow.

The event’s keynote speaker, Jen Groover, is a one-woman brand, innovation guru, motivational speaker of the year, UN Delegate and author of The More Method and What If & Why Not She led participants through a journey of selfactualization. Her ideology includes naming three things that you want more of in life. “The beginning of self-awareness is self-reflecting,” she explained. Her burning question to her audiences is “what do you want more of?”

The event, which ended with a happy hour and vendor fair, left the group feeling empowered, attendees agreed, as they went their separate ways. The words of Jen Groover lingered in the air. “If someone is going to do it, why not me?” PRH

EVENT HOSTS: Keller Williams Philadelphia


Alyssa Chapnik, Kate Danese, Juliana Gainsburg, Tess Adams, Lynette Medley, Jeanne Whipple, Katherine Koob, Natalie Guss, and Rachel Klein.



Guaranteed Rate, Orange Theory, Cutco, ShopElla Boutique, She Moves Philly, Philly IV Lounge, Myrtle & Magnolia, Philadelphia

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Rachel’s Pantry, Twinkle Photo Booth, Good Buy Supply, Beauty Counter, The Color Room, and Bird Watch.

Stock/Custom Windows & Doors Kitchen & Bath Cabinets Plywood & Lumber Products Metal Studs Pressure Treated Lumber Timbertech Decking Azek Mouldings & Boards Custom-Made Wood Stairs Paints & Hardware Pine & Oak Boards Insulation Ceiling Tile Engineered Lumber Tools & More !!! 60,000 SF New Facility! 12,000 SF Of Hardware Store! 2,000 SF Show Room! Full Service Drive Thru Lumberyard! Benjamin Moore Paint! Free Customer Parking! Daily Specials! Take Your Building Supply Shopping Experience to the Next Level! 215.462.0505 DELIVERY AVAILABLE Hours: Mon-Fri. 7am – 5pm Saturday 8am – 1pm SOUTH PHILADELPHIA 1600-30 Washington Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19146 C &
Products We Carry To Meet Your Needs!!! PRHREAL ESTATE



One important approach to begin a design project is to first identify what interior design style you like best, while also considering what design suits your lifestyle. People’s styles reflect their personality. As unique as individuals are, so are interior design styles. Here are three of the most popular interior design styles.


This type of design was introduced in the 1960s and 1970s as the emerging of artists forsaking previous works of art and seeking simplicity, defined as a feeling of openness. This design focuses on clean lines, effortlessness, and monochromatic color palette. This design style approaches “a less is more environment” - getting rid of clutter and decorations. Focus on shapes, colors, and

textures. Principles of this type of design concentrate on quality furniture and lighting fixtures; an art composition that is the focal point of the space; an open environment. To ensure this design style remains minimal and not boring, ponder adding a mix of simple natural materials such as wood, glass, and pottery in your decor.


A design style that began in the 1950s also known as the “classic with a modern twist.” Until recently, this type of design approach has gained a strong momentum that mixes both modern and contemporary elements with traditional styles. Characteristics of this interior design style includes a neutral color palette, clean lines like modern styles, luxurious fabrics, minimal artwork and décor, and comfortable furniture. If you are a lover of this design,

choose muted colors such as shades of vanilla, ivory, and taupe. Another way to accomplish this look is using organic textures, wooden trays, and stone countertops.


This interior design style commenced in the 19th century in Paris, France, by artisans who valued creativity more than money. This type of style known also as “Boho” blends different cultures and a freespirited attitude; giving birth to an eclectic space of selfexpression with an emphasis on natural elements and the environment. To achieve this look, consider a mix of patterns, add intricate decorative objects, and be sure to include plants in your space. Whatever style you choose, make sure it creates a habitat of comfort, security, and peace. For more tips or design help, consider FDG Interiors for your next design project.

38 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 Residential & Commercial New Construction, Luxury Kitchen & Bathrooms, Finished Basements, Additions, Commercial Buildout 215-626-6405 bowers_constructioninc
PRHREAL ESTATE www fdginteriors com
courtesy of FDG Interiors
ONLY A FEW SPACIOUS, BRAND NEW LUXURY TOWNHOMES REMAIN - FROM THE MID $600,000s There’s still time to personalize your new home at Siena Place, and make it your own! Discover the unique lifestyle at Siena Place in Packer Park, one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods. Brand new 3-4 bedroom brick townhomes featuring abundant green space, private garages & ample parking, easily accessible, convenient to FDR Park, airport, Walt Whitman Bridge & more! EQUAL HOUSING OPPORTUNIT Y GOING. GOING. GONE. TWO QUICK MOVE-IN HOMES AVAILABLE • CALL TODAY! BROKER COOPERATION IS WARMLY INVITED & APPRECIATED. All prices and features subject to change without notice. Please see sales consultant for details. 215.339.5390 • 2300 Hartranft Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145 between Penrose Ave. and 26th St. Open By Appointment Only: Mon, Thurs thru Sat: 11am-5pm • Sun: 12pm-5pm Full 10 Year Tax Abatement

Coastal interior design is a style that reflects the relaxed, natural and laid-back atmosphere of coastal living. It is a popular choice for homes that are situated near the ocean or any other water bodies. The core components of coastal interior design are the use of natural materials, neutral color palettes, textures, and patterns that evoke the ocean, and a casual, comfortable feel. In this article, we will explore these components in more detail.


The use of natural materials is a key component of coastal interior design. This includes materials such as wood, rattan, wicker, bamboo, and jute. These materials provide a natural, organic feel that are reminiscent of the beach and the sea. They can be used in furniture, flooring, and décor elements such as baskets, trays, and vases.


A neutral color palette is an important component of coastal interior design. The use of soft, muted colors such as beige, white, and cream create a calming and relaxing atmosphere. These colors also reflect the natural tones of sand, sea, and sky, which are all essential elements of coastal living. Additionally, blues and greens are commonly used in coastal design, as they also reflect the colors of the ocean and the natural environment.


Textures and patterns play a vital role in coastal interior design. Textures such as linen, cotton, and wool add a cozy and comfortable feel to the space. Patterns such as stripes, polka dots, and checks are also commonly used in coastal design, as they evoke the feeling of the ocean and beach. Additionally, patterns such as sea life, seashells, and nautical symbols are often used as accents to enhance the coastal theme.


A casual and comfortable feel is an essential component of coastal interior design. The goal is to create a space that feels relaxed and inviting. This can be achieved by using comfortable furniture such as oversized sofas, plush armchairs, and large pillows. Additionally, adding elements such as natural lighting, soft lighting, and plants can help create a calming and peaceful environment.

Coastal interior design is a popular style that reflects the natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere of coastal living. By incorporating these components into your home, you can create a serene and inviting space that embodies the essence of coastal living.

For assistance with designing a coastal space, let the design team at 1600 Spruce St. Home, Design & Gift help you. Schedule a complimentary initial interior design consultation today.

40 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
Furnishings, Lighting, Rugs, Décor & Gifts for the Well Appointed Home 1600 Spruce St Philadelphia, PA 19103 267.209.3350 | •Shore Sales and Rentals •Summer Robin Mitchell Certified New Home Specialist Margate Sales Office 9218 Ventnor Ave.Margate, N.J. 08402 Direct 609-487-5013 | Cell 215-266-8334 Office 609-822-4200 PRHREAL ESTATE Core Components of DESIGN TIPS 1600 Spruce St. is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. 4COASTAL INTERIOR DESIGN courtesy of 1600 Spruce St. www . 1600 sprucest . com



After many years of working in the construction industry, Chris Bowers launched Bowers Construction in 2017. This Center City based company serves many neighborhoods throughout the city including Rittenhouse Square, Old City, Fishtown, Center City, Chestnut Hill, Queen Village, Northern Liberties and Washington Square West.

Bowers Construction specializes in luxury kitchen and bathroom renovations, as well as new construction and commercial build outs. Their projects are exciting, and the outcomes aim to impress.

Chris Bowers and his dedicated and knowledgeable staff understand that there are many reasons that clients want to start a home improvement project - a desire to improve functionality, eliminate inconveniences, upgrade to fit

personal styles and current trends, boost the resale value of a space and even improve energy and water efficiency. No matter the project, the experts at Bowers Construction take their time to truly listen to their client’s concerns, creatively solve any issues, and work their magic on time and within budget. Bowers Construction strives to exceed expectations and bring their clients’ dreams to life. They understand that the smallest details can be so transformative, and meticulously plan every feature in their blueprints. Whether designing the bathroom or kitchen of your dreams, this highly skilled team will bring both beauty and functionality to every space in the room. From modern and luxurious to classic and sleek, superior materials and skilled expertise is the Bowers signature at the end of every project.

Let Bowers Construction inspire you.

RowHome (PRH) Maga-


Our team of Pros and our sturdy, steel frame Tri-Axle are ready for your next big job.

Specializing in the REMOVAL, TRANSPORT & DISPOSAL of all commercial rubble & debris

Contact Michael Rhoades

A proud Associate of the Philadelphia RowHome Magazine Business Network

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 41
Bowers Construction is a member of the Philadelphia zine Business Network.

Windows of the



Old houses are windows into a bygone era. Whether they still have their original Formica countertops, mirrored accent walls, stained glass windows or acoustic ceiling tiles, there’s no denying that the features of these ghosts of the past have a story to tell. With the benefit of solid craftsmanship and unique architectural elements, older houses can age gracefully when they are well-loved and appreciated. South Philly art educator Sue Liedke understands what makes these homes so special. In 2019, she started an Instagram page celebrating them, never expecting her passion project to go viral. @s.philly.time.capsules currently has 12K followers and counting.

Q: How did you come to start your Instagram page?

A: In 2018, I was thinking about buying a house and dived headfirst into online listings. I was truly excited about some of the houses I was seeing. I’ve always had a penchant for the past - in my musical taste, fashion choices, and home decor, so my new hobby of online house stalking fit right in line with those leanings. I took screenshots from the listings and slowly began to curate them on an Instagram account dedicated to celebrating South Philly style. Most of the homes I feature are in South Philly, but once in a while, a great house will pop up in a different part of the city or a suburb that’s so

good, I’ll post it with a little disclaimer that it’s not in South Philly proper.

Q: How do you find these vintage houses?

A: When I first began, I was using real estate apps. I had strict parameters as far as price and location and discovered a sweet spot for outdated houses selling for around $175-$225k. I quickly learned which streets were likely to have houses with a story to tell, but as the project grew, I expanded my limits as far as price and location were concerned. These days, I discover about half of the houses myself, and the rest are sent to me by nostalgia-


loving followers or friends who work in real estate.

Q: What is one the more unique house features you’ve come across?

A: One of the most exciting home features I’ve seen this year was in a house on S. 13th Street. It had a basement entirely covered in bathroom tile. Every pastel color was represented, creating a crazy rainbow of patterned walls. The floor was a hodgepodge of mix and match mosaic tile. It was truly a sight to be seen. I visited the house and made a reel that over 70k people have watched. I love knowing there’s so many other wonderful weirdos out there that find a basement in our neighborhood so exciting. My followers had a lot of great theories about how and why this basement was created.

Q: What are some of the most commented on features?

A: Houses drenched in color tend to get the most attention. A deep red carpet, metallic blue wallpaper, or an elaborate lighting fixture such as an oversized chandelier or a perfect mid-century floor lamp will speak to followers. Oh, and let’s not leave plastic-covered furniture off the list! People love to talk about it. I think the sight of

one of those couches brings back visceral memories.

Q: Do any of the houses have interesting, historical backstories?

A: Every once in a while, I post a house that someone will share a personal anecdote about. It may have been their grandmother’s house and they have great memories about it. I love to hear those stories and feel so lucky that people share them with me. Some followers have shared stories about a house being haunted when they lived there.

Q: Why is it so important to preserve these older homes?

A: While I hope that some of these homes can be saved from colorless makeovers and gray flips, preservation is a side effect rather than the goal of this project. My aim is to celebrate how people historically made these spaces shine. A follower described rowhomes as “little blank canvases” and you never know what might be inside. Decades ago, people were making these spaces their own, updating them to their tastes and needs which makes them so special today. There’s no rigidity of true preservation in my account, instead we see peeks of previous homeowners’ unique visions and celebrate their bold choices.

Q: Could you share a “time capsule” success story?

A: I love to hear from

people who buy the houses I’ve featured. One follower shared that the vestibule, pink tiled kitchen, and fancy wrought iron banister of a home influenced her to schedule a tour. However, it was the little touches like the jalousie windows, fancy switch plate covers and the light fixtures that sealed the deal for her. A few realtors have reached out to let me know their client purchased a house they found through my page. Those in a position to buy a time capsule house of their own get to put their spin on an already charming and nostalgic space. Some of the houses I feature aren’t for sale, however. I encounter those through owners or tenants who want to share their homes.

Q: What would you say are some of the benefits to owning an older house?

A: For me, the value of old homes is their charm and quality. I can only speak for my own taste, but new construction in Philadelphia tends to stick out like a sore thumb. I don’t have any interest (nor do my followers) in seeing vinyl sided boxes with gray interiors. Give me arches, old wood floors and scrolling ironwork! I think we’ve all heard some horror stories about new builds in Philadelphia. Leaks and foundation issues which surface shortly after purchase. Most of the houses in our neighborhood have been solid for a hundred years and will hopefully be solid for another hundred. Why wouldn’t you go old?

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 43
Please contact us at 215-882-4380 for your free estimate! Posh byPainting Rita llc. Rita Coccia Trombetta 856-986-0252 Specializing in interior and exterior painting FBI Pest Control 30 years experience serving Philadelphia & South Jersey Frank Fioravanti Termite Specialist 215-768-1804 “We Rid Your Pests So You Can Rest” Frankie Bugs, He’s the Best! SOUTH PHILLY TIME CAPSULE

Landmark Architectural Design is proud to share a rendering of an upcoming project located on the corner of 10th and Catharine Streets in South Philadelphia. The architecture of this building is another example of Landmark’s desire to incorporate classic building design elements, blending the line between classic and modern designs. The site at 769 S. 10th Street will contain 13 residential units ranging in size from one to three bedrooms. The ground floor offers ample commercial space as well as a landscaped courtyard for the residents. At 752 S. 16th Street, Landmark was commissioned to design a multifamily building with aesthetics that reflect the style of the former firehouse that previously occupied the site. Keeping with those proportions, the structure incorporates large windows that fill the 12 residential units, that range from one to three bedrooms. Among the many amenities, the design includes a private courtyard as well as roof deck access for the residents. See for more of their work.

Landmark AIA is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

44 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
Elements Classic MEET MODERN DESIGN courtesy of Landmark AIA

Location, location, location! That’s the realtor’s mantra for selling homes. I’m a native South Philadelphian who started my Real Estate career more than 30 years ago, first in Philadelphia, and for the last 15 years, at the Jersey shore in Ventnor, where I live and work fulltime. There are so many South Philadelphians living in Ventnor and its surrounding beach towns these days that I’ve nicknamed it South Philly East.

Growing up in South Philly, like many others, I spent every summer at the Jersey shore, usually heading to Atlantic City or Wildwood. I fell in love with the beach, getting my tan on in the sun, swimming in the ocean and walking the boardwalk. The fond memories of those summer days frolicking with friends and family in the sun and sand will stay with me forever. It was pure paradise. The shore is where I always knew I wanted to be. After many rentals, I finally purchased a condo in Ventnor and within one year, decided to make the big move to live at the shore full-time. Ventnor immediately felt so comfortable to me because I knew lots of people from South Philly who also made the move!

The start of the casino industry in 1978 with the opening of Resorts International brought a big boom to the economy, creating a huge migration of South Philadelphians to Atlantic City. Anyone who is from South Philly knows someone who headed to Atlantic City back then in search of employment opportunities. Many settled down in Ventnor and other nearby beach communities to raise their families. Ventnor remains a great place to live and work with

so much to see and do. One of my favorite things about Ventnor is its boardwalk. It’s the only non-commercial boardwalk in New Jersey so it’s a great place to grab a bench for some people watching while the waves crash on the ocean. Or you can watch the sun rise, go for a morning walk, or bike ride. Ventnor also features a fishing pier, ski-beach with a public boat ramp, great restaurants (many BYOB), shopping areas, a terrific movie theater, fantastic public school system and library, and public tennis courts. Unlike many other shore areas, Ventnor has a thriving yearround population, so most businesses remain open even in the winter.

Several of my family members and friends have purchased homes in Ventnor, or in nearby towns, and later decided to make it their full-time home. And many Philadelphians have had great success in opening restaurants in Ventnor, too!

Although I am still hunting for some great cannoli, Ventnor is a wonderful place to live, especially for South Philadelphians, as it’s only 55 minutes away from home. Ready to invest? Real Estate values have soared, here, but it’s still one of the most reasonably priced shore towns on the New Jersey coast. Join me for a visit or stay for good

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 45 TIPS from the PROS
Construction & Improvements LLC Licensed and Insured 215-669-7248 215-260-0748 SL PROFESSIONAL PAINTING OF DISTINCTION INTERIOR • EXTERIOR Faux Finish Specialist Joe LaFiora Office: 267-930-3420 www . facebook . com / fauxpaint REAL ESTATE
Certified New Home Specialist Sales & Rentals Summer Rentals Available Margate Sales Office 9218 Ventnor Ave. Margate, N.J. 08402 Office Direct 609-487-5013 Cell 215-266-8334
Robin Mitchell is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

Warmer weather is coming and soon enough, hot and unbearable temperatures! When the peak of summer hits, you want your home to stay cool and comfortable. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your air conditioner while keeping energy costs low.

1. INSTALL AND SERVICE EARLY. Don’t wait until summer! Get your AC serviced or installed in spring before you need to run it on a regular basis. An annual service will keep your AC unit in the best condition, running efficiently and free of preventable repairs when it’s hot out!

2. CHECK YOUR FILTERS MONTHLY. Old air filters put strain on your system and increase energy use. Clean and replace them regularly to improve performance, efficiency, and longterm use of your AC system.


If your unit is outdoors and surrounded by plants, it won’t run as efficiently. Clear away any dirt, weeds, debris, and plant overgrowth to allow

proper airflow. It’s also important to keep your outdoor unit in the shade. Direct heat and sunlight causes it to get hot and work harder. Provide shade if you can.

4. LOOK AT YOUR LANDSCAPING. Asphalt, concrete, and rock close to the walls of your home absorb and radiate heat. This increases the temperature around your home and makes your AC work harder to keep the inside cool. Consider some well-placed trees to provide shade.

5. KEEP WINDOWS AND DOORS CLOSED. Open doors and windows mean you are letting cool air out and hot air in. Your AC will have to work harder to maintain a cool space. It’s inefficient and adds to your energy bill. Small leaks or cracks around doors, windows and even in the attic, can also increase your costs over time - both on your energy bill and in AC unit repairs.


A professionally installed system likely has the ther-

mostat placed in a prime spot. However, older or DIY installations might not be in the best location. If it’s near the kitchen or a bright, sunny window and gets in a position where it’s too hot, the system will think your whole home needs more cooling than it really does. No matter what, make sure there are no appliances plugged in nearby that can generate heat and interfere with the temperature readings on the device, too. Sometimes, getting a new air conditioner is a more costeffective option than trying to repair your current one. Even with yearly servicing and maintenance, AC systems have a limited lifespan. If your unit is breaking down regularly and costing too much to run, it may be time to upgrade. We can offer sound advice on different units that would be right for your space. We offer financing upon credit approval, so you can get your AC system repaired without worrying about the cost. You can rely on us to remove your old unit and dispose of it properly. You’ll also be shown how to operate your new cooling system before we leave.

46 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
PRHREAL ESTATE Condino HVAC, Inc. is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. TIPS from the PROS courtesy of Condino Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.
The perfect pair for your air. Offer expires June 16, 2023. only. Rebate claims must submitted (with proof of purchase) www. no later than July 2023 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Rebate paid the form Lennox Visa Prepaid Card. Prepaid card governed by the Cardholder Agreement, and some fees may apply. Please note that prepaid cards are subject expiration, so pay close attention to the expiration date the card. Conditions apply. See ©2023 Lennox Dealers are independently owned and operated businesses. 215-468-8116 Since 1979 FREE WIFI THERMOSTAT WITH EVERY INSTALL** lwelch;Philadelphia;Condino Heating and Air Conditioning;A86523-609005;3.5x9.75-4c (23Sp-Early) RECEIVE UP TO $1,900 IN REBATES on a complete Ultimate Comfort System™* Perfect Together-23Sp-4c-Early.indd SERVICE OR INSTALL YOUR AC EARLY
Home Cooler this Summer Ways to
THE PHILLYDREAM DIFFERENCE Let us help you find your Dream Home! Serving the Philadelphia Real Estate Market for 40 years We understand the market. That is why most of our business comes from referrals and repeat customers whose trust we have earned. Our agents live in the same communities where we do business. This is our home. We want it to be yours, too. It is our privilege to share our knowledge with you. honesty. integrity. respect. Keller Williams Realty 1601 W. Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145 Office: 215.389.2222 | Mobile: 215.783.3698 | Buying Selling Rental Properties Property Management Full-Service Realty Services Serving Philadelphia & New Jersey Mario Tropea Jr. & the Dream Team
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We will turn your vision into reality. This project is in the lead as one of our favorite builds, this year. We highly doubt this project is going to be topped in 2023! The total transformation of this Sports Complex District home really set the bar high with wow factors in all the intricate features throughout the house. PHL
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Live the life you’ve always dreamed in this resort style condo community on the Delaware River with sweeping views spanning the Center City skyline to the bridge and the river.

People who could live anywhere in Philly choose Dockside not only for this, but for its incredible amenities - secure gated entrance, 24-hour concierge, onsite staff to attend to your needs, and your own deeded covered parking spot. You also have the option to ride the community’s own private shuttle. It’s so easy to “get away” into your own lavish retreat, but at the same time, be a quick five-minute walk away from a collection of great Philly neighborhoods like Queen Village, Society Hill, Old City, and Bella Vista, all with some of the best dining and shopping in the city.

Take a walk or jog along the newly refurbished Delaware River Trail or a dip in the community’s private saltwater pool and sauna.

Everything is meticulously cared for here, including the expanded health club and fabulous redesigned community entertainment center.

On the 9th floor, you will fall in love with this absolutely stunning 1300’ft. 2 bed 2 bath condo w/ large private terrace where every inch has been thoughtfully designed and renovated with finishes that even the most discerning buyer will adore. Fabulous gourmet kitchen with massive peninsula, spacious and bright living area, and 2 stunning full baths with frameless showers and beautiful marble tilework; custom wood finishes throughout including a fabulous, oversized window seat where you can unwind with a drink while taking in the gorgeous views.

There is so much to love here. You must tour this home and community to truly appreciate all that it has to offer. Minutes to Stadiums, the Airport and a short drive to the shore and NYC!

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 49 The perfect pair for your air. Offer expires June 16, 2023. *Rebate requires purchase of qualifying items between March 13, 2023 to June 16, 2023 from a participating Lennox® dealer. Contact your local participating Lennox® dealer for promotion details. Qualifying items must be installed by June 23, 2023. This offer applies to residential installations only. Rebate claims must be submitted (with proof of purchase) to www. no later than July 7, 2023 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Rebate is paid in the form of a Lennox Visa® Prepaid Card. Prepaid card is governed by the Cardholder Agreement, and some fees may apply. Please note that prepaid cards are subject to expiration, so pay close attention to the expiration date of the card. Conditions apply. See terms-and-conditions for complete terms and conditions. **See dealer for details. ©2023 Lennox Dealers are independently owned and operated businesses. 215-468-8116 Since 1979 FREE WIFI THERMOSTAT WITH EVERY INSTALL** lwelch;Philadelphia;Condino Heating and Air Conditioning;A86523-609005;3.5x9.75-4c (23Sp-Early) RECEIVE UP TO $1,900 IN REBATES on a complete Ultimate Comfort System™*
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by Jeanne Polizzi, Realtor Coldwell Banker Realty
Call Jeanne Polizzi for a tour @ 215-767-7814 Jeanne Polizzi, Coldwell Banker Realty, is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

1921 S. Broad St. Philadelphia, Pa 19148

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During Women’s History Month, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties hosted its annual Women Build. The month-long campaign engaged the women in Habitat’s affordable home building project and empowered them to work on their own homes.

Female homeownership is on the rise and womenheaded households account for half of all households in the United States.

On International Women’s Day this past March, volunteers who identify as women constructed walls of Habitat homes and participated in a woman-led workshop called “Taming Your Toilet Troubles.” Beth Allen, Founder of HIP Chicks, taught workshop participants how to stop a running tank, level a wobbly seat, fix a toilet flapper, or swap it out for a new one. No experience is necessary to sign up for a workshop.

“As a leader in the male-dominated field of construction, Habitat understands the importance of celebrating women in the trades and making space for them to share their skills,” said Rebecca Cain, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of MontDelco. “Women helping women and learning from each other sends a powerful message.”

Women Build offered free workshops throughout March along with volunteer building days. The workshops covered a variety of topics including a crash course in power tools, getting to know toolbox essentials, and ways to transform a room with a simple coat of paint.

Women Build is made possible thanks to the generous support of AVE Living.

Learn more about this program and Habitat’s international Women Build sites and trips at near-you/women-build.

50 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
For Every Occasion
photos courtesy of Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery and Delaware Counties

Make sure THAT GIFT doesn’t Cost you more than Counted on

In an effort to keep taxpayers from transferring wealth from one generation to the next tax-free, there are specific limits to the amount of gifts one may give to any one person each year. Amounts in excess of this limit are subject to filing an annual gift tax form. For most of us, this is not something we need to worry about, but if handled incorrectly, it can create quite a surprise when the tax bill is due.

The Gift Giving Rule. You may give up to $17,000 (up $1,000) to any individual (donee) within the calendar year 2023 and avoid any gift tax filing requirements. If married, you and your spouse may transfer up to $34,000 per donee. If you provide a gift to your spouse who is not a U.S. citizen, the annual exclusion amount is $175,000 for 2023.

Gift Tax Reporting.

Amounts given in excess of this annual amount are subject to potential gift tax reporting. The amount of tax is currently unified with estate taxes with a maximum rate of 40 percent. The donor of the gift is responsible for paying any associated tax. When you exceed the annual gift giving amount, this triggers the need to file a gift tax form with your individual tax return. The excess gift amounts are netted against your lifetime unified credit. If your lifetime gifts do not exceed the credit, you may not have additional taxes owed. Here are some instances when a gift tax problem may occur and ways to manage the problem.

Gifts for college.

Grandparents like to help with the tremendous expense of funding a college degree and amounts donated can quickly surpass the annual gift threshold. To avoid the gift tax problem, consider making payments directly to the college as this form of payment can be excluded from the annual gift giving limit AS LONG AS the funds are not used to pay for books, room or board on behalf of the donee.

Be careful with 529 plan funding.

If your children are anticipating going to college, many consider creating a 529 college savings plan. You may then fund the savings plan (or have someone else fund it) on behalf of your child. However, remember the deposits into 529 accounts are considered a gift and are subject to the annual gift giving limits.

Gifts to cover medical expenses.

It is very easy to mount up a large medical bill. While you may want to step in and help by giving money to the individual with the medical bills, you may be creating a gift tax obligation. Make payments directly to health care providers for medical services on behalf of the patient to avoid gift tax exposure.

Gifts to help make a down payment.

It is becoming more common to have family members help their kids with the down payment on a first home. This can be tricky. Lenders will look for recent deposits in bank accounts and ask the prospective buyers to substantiate the source of funds. Providing the funds as a loan may disqualify the couple for taking on the mortgage. Even worse, if the purchasing couple claims the funds are a gift, this action may create a gift tax obligation to the person providing the funds. Care must be taken to provide the correct audit trail to prove the gift does not exceed the annual amounts.

Gift of real estate.

If you give property to a relative for little or nothing in return, this generates the need to file a gift tax form as well. Recent IRS studies suggest more than 50 percent of taxpayers fail to declare property transfers as gifts.

Other things to consider

You may provide gifts to or receive gifts from ANYONE. There are no limits or restrictions on who you may give a gift to or who may provide a gift to you. Creative gift giving can be a useful tool to help someone in need without creating a tax obligation. Do not give a lump sum gift for the maximum amount.

If you provide a gift for the maximum allowable to an individual, you may not provide any other gifts to this person during the year, or the event would be deemed excess gift giving and require filing a gift tax form. For example, a grandmother gives $17,000 to her granddaughter for college. She also pays for a vacation trip to send the family to Disney World and provides a wonderful birthday gift. Technically, the additional gifts are in excess of the annual limit and would present a gift tax event.

The IRS is paying attention to the massive non-compliance in the timely filing of the annual gift tax form. So much so, that it is actively researching property transfers in key states to ensure the gift tax filing is taking place. So, identifying when to file the gift tax form is your most important takeaway from this tax tip.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 51
The CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. courtesy of the CPA Firm of David M. Spitzberg cpaforbusiness com

Cities are wonderful and exciting places. Whether you commute daily for work, visit occasionally for cultural events, or live inside a metropolitan area, you would most likely agree that the city offers something for everyone. However, the city can also create an environment that fosters crime. Because metropolitan


Respect your building’s access control system. Don’t prop open secured doors or let people you don’t know into the building, even if they claim to live there or tell you they are visiting someone. Notify your landlord immediately if a light bulb needs to be replaced in the hallway, stairway, storage room, or laundry. Intruders may use the darkness in those remote locations to lie in wait for solitary victims.

If you must put your name on your mailbox, try to use your first initial only. An attacker may be able to gain access to your building by convincing you or your neighbors he/she knows you and needs to come in for a legitimate reason.

If an intruder breaks in, try to leave your apartment safely and contact the police from another location. If you cannot leave, lock yourself in a room with a phone and call the police.


Don’t Present Yourself as a Victim

areas are diverse and highly populated, they offer a great opportunity for all kinds of people to “blend in with the crowd.” While most of those people are honest and hardworking, some of them may be criminals just looking for the next victim. The following are a few tips to help keep you from becoming a victim of urban crime.


Don’t present yourself as a victim! Stand straight, walk purposefully, avoid staring at the ground and pay attention to your surroundings. Avoid displays of wealth. Try to conceal expensive jewelry by tucking it into your clothing and don’t pull out a roll of cash (or full wallet) when paying for items. Try to visit ATMs during the day or when there are other people in the area. Remote cash machines attract thieves. Be suspicious of anyone walking toward you with only one hand in their pocket. Studies have shown that people tend to have both hands in their pockets or hanging freely at their sides unless they are trying to conceal something, possibly a weapon. While choosing to fight an attacker is a personal decision, most self-defense experts would encourage you to give in to an attacker with a weapon. Material possessions can be replaced, but YOU can’t!


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

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

52 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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W. Moyamensing Ave Philadelphia, PA 19148 215-952-2500 PRHTIPS FROM THE PROS TIPS from the PROS
Are you having financial, criminal, or family trouble? Bankruptcy || Criminal Defense || Family Law 1727 Snyder Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145 215-439-7899 || www themarkkachhilawfirm com Big Nick’s
courtesy of RON RABENA Chief Client Officer, Allied Universal

LAWORDER & Thinking of Adding Your Kids’ Names to Your Deed? THINK AGAIN

Q: Is it a good idea to put a parents’ home in their children’s names?

A: Simple answer is no. If parents transfer their home to their children, they lose complete ownership of their home. If there is a falling out with their children, the children can literally kick the parents out of their home. I have seen it done. If parents insist on transferring a home to their children, I strongly recommend that they do so by granting a life estate to themselves in the deed which allows the parents to remain in their home for the remainder of their lives.

There are other reasons not to. If their children incur debts like credit cards or personal or student loans they are unable to pay, the house could be foreclosed upon to satisfy their debts. If the children become involved in a divorce, the home becomes a marital asset subject to equitable distribution.

In PA, there is also a 5-year Medicaid “look-back” rule that allows Medicaid to determine whether the person seeking benefits gifted or sold assets below fair market value to artificially impoverish themselves before seeking benefits.

Lastly, such a transfer can have significant capital gains tax implications. When children take the property by deed with no consideration or for little consideration such as $1.00, they accept the property with their parents’ tax basis - what they paid for it - which is usually an amount far less than the fair market value at the time of transfer.

There are occasions when parents want to add their children to their deed. This does lower the amount of inheritance tax due as the children’s ownership interest would not be subject to inheritance taxes (4.5% from parent to child in PA), but the transfer would still be subject to the disadvantages mentioned above.

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

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For centuries, women have been told that their place is in the kitchen. In fact, as far back as slavery times, women were forced to work as maids and cooks for their slave owners in silence. Then, cook for their own families with what little scraps they were given, which required tons of creativity. Sounds familiar? Every day, women are thinking of meals to feed their family every week. Some on a tight budget with rising food costs.

It’s crazy, but some of that stigma is still around. Many men still feel that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Meaning that we don’t need to be at the forefront of decision-making and that our silence is golden. I’ve dealt with some of that being a female chef in a male-dominated kitchen. Even as the leader of the kitchen, I’ve had male direct reports try to silence me or encourage me that their way is best.

Today, I am so proud of the female pioneers in the chef industry. Many women are running their own kitch-

ens and are skyrocketing to the top of the culinary world with their creativity and authentic recipes. Taking traditional cuisines and fusing them with their own ideas. I, myself, like to take traditional French and Southern Cuisine and add my own flair.

You may find this funny, but I do feel my place is in the kitchen. Not because it silences me, but because it’s the place I speak the loudest. My love and passion for food and culinary artistry has opened doors that I never imagined. I’m thanking God for that one!

For many, my food has become a segue into intimate conversation and I’m just so proud to be a female chef. To all my culinary pioneers, I salute you! The work that we do is not easy. Whether you are a chef in your own home or a chef with your own business, make your food speak loudly! For me, it’s the best way to spread my love. Not just through the food, but also with the hope and faith that I’m able to share with the people that I’m blessed to cook for.

54 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
De Fino Law Associates, P.C. Don’t Settle for Less Michael Anthony De Fino Attorney at Law Nicholas J. Starinieri Attorney at Law Vincent Anthony De Fino Attorney at Law Nicholas L. Palazzo Attorney at Law Benjamin J. Simmons Attorney at Law Areas of Practice •Personal Injury •DUI •Wrongful Death •Criminal Defense •Wills and Estates •Corporate •Real Estate •Traffic Violations 2541 South Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19148 TEL: 215-551-9099 | FAX: 215-551-4099 S ROAST - INGLEY AGENCY, LLC T INSURANCE TROAST-SINGLEY INSURANCE AGENCY, LLC Your Insurance Professionals Excellent Rates & Excellent Customer Service Auto Homeowners Business Life Insurance 2700 S. 18th Street * Philadelphia, PA 19145 Call For A Free Quote! 215-339-0333 PRHTHE MENU
by chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson
Welcome to Chef MJ’s Corner, where we feature stories about food, nutrition, health, the latest trends and hotspots and, last but not least, stories that give inspiration to each reader. You know my motto… Food is a segue into intimate conversation! So, take a load off and let’s get intimate Is it True that a Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen? Chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson Instagram: mj_thechef Chef Mitzi Jackson-Robinson is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.
photo by Yvette Kerns at Model Home for Empire Builders / Charlotte, NC


This was a recipe that I put together years ago, influenced by my grandmother’s rice pie. I never got the recipe from her, but this is very similar. It has become one of my daughter Ava’s favorite recipes, so she has taken over with making the pie every year. It is now her recipe.


3 cups flour

3 tbsp sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup shortening

1/8 cup milk

1 egg, beaten plus 2 tbsp water (for brushing top of crust)


Mix the flour and sugar together. Make a well in the center, add the 3 eggs, shortening and milk, mixing together until dough is easy to handle. You can add a few extra drops of milk if the dough is too dry. Roll out the dough and fit into 9×13-inch baking pan. The dough can be rolled in small portions and patched together in the pan. Any additional dough can be set aside to make a lattice or other pie topping design if you’d like.




Preheat oven to 350º. In a bowl, mix rice, beaten eggs, Ricotta, sugar, lemon juice/zest, cinnamon, and vanilla. Pour the filling into the dough lined pan. Spread filling evenly. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Add any additional pie crust to the top if you’d like. Brush top of crust with 1 egg beaten with two tablespoons water. Bake until firm for 1 hour. Let pie stay in oven for at least 1 hour after it’s done.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 55 215-315-9004 19th & Wolf Scan for website and menu Featuring over 35 Flavors 215-645-9401 2020 Penrose Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19145 Follow us on Instagram @perfect.scoop COURTESY OF DOMINIC CONDO AVA’ S EASTER ITALIAN RICE PIE Inspired by Great-Grandmom Condo’s Easter Rice Pie
cup cooked rice
eggs, beaten light
lbs Ricotta cheese
and zest of one lemon
cinnamon, plus additional for sprinkling
cup sugar Juice
1/4 tsp
1 tsp vanilla
domskitchen com

As a single man, I often find myself preparing too much food for just me. Thus, I’ve become legitimately good at repurposing leftovers. You can be as creative or as experimental as you’d like, but these are the ingredients that were on hand for this frittata. Leftovers are noted as such. This is perfect for a Sunday Seashore Brunch and it keeps well for several days refrigerated.


6 eggs

1/4 lb Cooper Sharp American or American cheese

1/4 stick of butter (salt or unsalted)

8-10 leftover roasted potatoes with garlic and cherry tomatoes

8-10 leftover grilled asparagus (lemon pepper seasoned with EVO)



Chives (optional)

Parsley (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use a potato masher to reduce your potato leftovers so that you form and shape into a crust. Melt butter in a 9” skillet on low heat (no larger as it will offset the balance of ingredients). Carefully form your potatoes to form a bottom crust to your skillet. Cover all or as much of the bottom as possible. Heat until potato crust is warmed through. Layer the asparagus across the top of the potato crust. Continue on low heat. Crack and lightly beat the eggs in a bowl. Layer the cheese over the crust and asparagus. Try not to let it melt before topping the entire skillet with the beaten eggs. Use a potholder to lift and tilt the skillet to allow egg mixture movement to cover all ingredients. You can add an egg or two at this point if needed or desired. Season with spices keeping in mind that the potatoes and asparagus were previously seasoned. Careful not to overdo it! Bake 25-35 minutes until the egg is no longer fluid and top begins to brown a bit. Let stand at least 15-20 minutes before cutting into pie wedges and serving.


Follow me on Instagram @mcasascucina to see what’s cooking in La Cucina! Mangia Bene!

56 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 Creating Culinary Classics Since 2020 With The Old World Charm of Italian Comfort Foods and a Unique Flair for a New Generation. From Takeout to Tailgates, Let Uncle Mark Handle All the Details! Open Thursday Through Sunday for Pick-Up or Delivery. Call or Text Directly (267) 394 9044 | (267) 239-2062 Find Us on GrubHub | DoorDash | UberEats | Square | GoldBelly For Online Ordering Options, Weekly Menus & Special Announcements, Follow Us On Instagram & Twitter @unclemarkscucina
For Sales and Catering:
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Philly Philly

Rosewood Bar

A Milestone Year

It all began back in 1973 when Temple grads Robert and Donna Kubicky bought a bar from another family of proprietors, making them the fourth owners of the corner tavern at Rosewood and Shunk Streets. Today, Rosewood Bar is among the top 10 oldest bars in Philadelphia of the 20th and 21st centuries. The bar business began booming shortly after the Federal Law of Liquor Prohibition ended in 1933. Owners point out that one of the bar’s names prior to their purchase was The Friendly Tavern, which sums up its character to this day.

“Opening at 7 am for years, we welcomed customers who were just finishing a night shift and also those who are retired. This is more than a place to get drinks. It’s a second home for many,” Robert Kubicky says.

“The camaraderie you will experience is like no other. You will feel comfortable the second you step into the Rosewood Bar. Our morning group is known as The Breakfast Club, but you will see a friendly family face any time of the day. We have the best bartenders and drinks in town. You only have to follow one rule, which is our motto - Be Nice or Leave!”

In the ‘70s, Rosewood offered treasured highlights that included access to PRISM, a cable TV premier service with limited availability in Philly. Everyone got to watch the Flyers games. Most nights, there was standing-room-only as patrons on the east side of Broad Street – which didn’t have PRISM - crossed over to Rosewood Bar on the west side to watch the games.

“Saturday nights were jumping in the seventies,” Robert says. “Live music, waitress service, dancing. It allowed for a perfect night out. Pope John Paul II visited Philly in October of 1979. We have a picture of everyone in the neighborhood watching the motorcade go by. You can see me in the middle of the crowd

standing on the top of a ladder!”

Lori Kubicky, MBA/CFO, Robert’s daughter, adds her skillful talents and expertise as business and creative coordinator for the bar. “Over the 50 years, our family had an integral role in the success and daily operations. My dad’s parents helped on weekends. My mom’s father Joe was the Monday night bartender for many years – also the lunchtime bartender.” Robert’s daughter Rita Ann, MD, helps as needed for big events.

“The kitchen was open for dinners, but it was in the ‘80s when we started a nice size lunch menu,” Robert fondly remembers. “My wife Donna and her parents were there every day with me to take care of business. Everything was delicious, from the corned beef specials to the cheesesteaks, but other popular requests were Rita’s roast beef and homemade soups.”

In the 2000s, the classic Rosewood Bar went Hollywood. The interior remained authentic to an era with little change from the 1970s, so the bar was perfect for

filming scenes for movies like Emmet’s Mark, Equity and most notably, Invincible with Mark Wahlberg More exciting was establishing a dear friendship with Eagles’ player and now motivational speaker Vince Papale. His jersey hangs on the wall along with other cherished photos and memorabilia.

All of this came to a complete halt when the world shut down at the height of the Covid pandemic. Strict operation guidelines allowed them to eventually reopen at 25 percent capacity and outdoor tents. “We made it and our customers were great during it all,” the family says.

Rosewood Bar invites you to enjoy daily socializing, karaoke, Bingo and Quizzo. Currently, the kitchen is only opened on very special occasions like Taco Tuesday, catered events from off-site parties, and a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings every Thanksgiving. You will find a lot of fun, charm, and love at the Rosewood50 years and counting. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 57

Ablock away from Philadelphia’s famed Fabric Row, tucked neatly into the corner of a quaint intersection of rowhomes and local businesses, lies Philly’s newest culinary destination. To be clear, you’re not walking into a neighborhood spot that just happens to make sandwiches, either.

Shortly after the new year, Farina Di Vita quietly sprung onto the local food scene. Childhood friends and now business partners, Jason Okdeh and Brandyn Ortiz, have turned the sleek storefront at 250 Catharine Street into every foodie’s newest bookmark.

Literally translated, Farina Di Vita is Italian for Flour of Life. For the man behind the flour, his passion for pasta started as a toddler, watching, waiting, and eventually getting his hands messy, many times over, in family kitchens with his Aunt Michelina and Grandmom Mary (Marie). Along the way, he perfected his craft and eventually, his own pasta dough.

While working for a popular Italian deli in South Philadelphia, Okdeh also was able to learn about deli operations and most especially, customer service – all while growing as a man. “I needed to mature quickly,” he says, alluding to becoming a new father. Without the support and guidance of the family and staff of that business, “I don’t know if we would even be having this conversation” he says with sincerity.

After 13 years and another child in tow, Okdeh joined corporate America with successive stints at Coca Cola, Comcast, and Subaru. While rounding out his business skills, he never lost the desire to learn and create in the kitchen.

Working his way back to the kitchen full-time wouldn’t be easy, though. Enter childhood friend Brandyn Ortiz. Like his partner before him, Ortiz kicked around many regional food and beverage haunts from the shore to the ‘burbs. Front of the house positions mostly, all the while garnering an acute operations and business finance IQ along the way. He was the perfect ingredient to Farina Di Vita’s recipe, and the ultimate roadmap for success. Unlike Okdeh, who holds down the daily operations, Ortiz is in house as much as possible when not on duty as an EMT with the Philadelphia Fire Department or helping raise his three youngsters at home.


Boutique Pasta Shop & Italian Deli in Full Bloom in Queen Village

The pair makes it clear. They aren’t trying to reinvent the hoagie. They know there are plenty of places that do what they do. In time, they feel the creativity, consistency, and quality of their daily offerings, coupled with their passion for the neighborhood and friendly personalities, will establish a loyal clientele. A place where everyone knows your name. Very

Philly Philly MENU

reminiscent of the corner stores we all grew up with back in the day. Their agenda will remain ambitious and customer friendly. They remain committed to highlighting favorite specialties from other local establishments in their shop, as well. And moving into the summer and fall months ahead, they plan to introduce a small dinner club called Il Pasto Junto. The exclusive sit-down will

feature five courses, one sitting from 7 pm-10 pm, serving fresh pasta and other homespun dishes. For more information, daily, weekly and catering specials, visit online at PRH

Mangia Bene!

Farina Di Vita is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

58 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHTHE MENU
photos by @shotbybarbuto




8 peeled cloves of garlic, smashed

3 celery stalks, diced

3 carrots, diced

1 yellow onion, diced

1 lb ground lamb

5 Calabrian chiles, chopped

3 tbsp Calabrian chile oil

4 Calabrian chiles, whole

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

YIELD: 4 Servings

COOK TIME: 2 Hours

PREP TIME: 20 Minutes

3 tbsp kosher salt

3 tsp cracked black pepper

1/2 cup red wine (Bordeaux preferred)

3/4 cup grated

Pecorino Romano

6-8 leaves of fresh basil

1 (105 oz.) can of ground tomatoes (7/11 brand preferred, if not a kitchen ready tomato will work as well)


Heat Calabrian chile oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the 5 crushed Calabrian Chiles and the lamb to the pot. Give the lamb a quick sear and be sure to remove from the heat before browning. During the sear be sure to break up the lamb and give a good mix with the Calabrian chiles. During this process, add 1 tbsp of kosher salt and one tsp of cracked black pepper to season the lamb. Once the lamb is seared, remove from pot, and set aside.

Add garlic to the pot and give it a nice toasted golden color. Add the mirepoix mix (celery, carrot & onion) and cook on medium heat until translucent, but do not brown. After 8-10 minutes, add in red wine and reserved lamb. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and allow the red wine to reduce. Continue to break up the lamb during this process, as well.

3) Stir in ground tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for one hour and 15 minutes, covered. Stir every 15 minutes. Add remaining kosher salt and black pepper to season the tomatoes.

4) After an hour and 15 minutes, uncover and stir in 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano. Add in basil leaves. Reduce heat to low and allow sauce to cook for an additional 20 minutes.

5 The last 20 minutes, heat a salted pot of water and bring to a boil. Add in 1 pound of your favorite pasta (we serve our bolognese with either pappardelle or rigatoni). Follow instructions on your pasta package for doneness. Once completed, strain the pasta, and add half the sauce to the pasta and stir coating the pasta in the bolognese.

6) Plate the pasta and top with more bolognese, a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano and a whole Calabrian chile for each dish.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 59
BY 100% PHILLY THING MAY 20-21, 2023 · 11am to 6pm Wharton To Fitzwater Sts
Farina Di Vita is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.


Calling all bagel lovers. Indulge yourself in a basic bread with infinite possibilities! Bagels are not just one thing, but many. They are often made with a diversity of grains like wheat, rye or exotic new wave health food combinations. They sometimes have fruit or veggie bits and are topped with different aromatic seasonings, salty to sweet to savory herbals, and at times, have a rainbow of colors to make a statement. The results are a wonderful, invigorating cascade of different types to choose from, offering a universal mix that excites the sense of smell, eye appeal, tastebuds and fulfillment to satisfy hungry tummies.

Covrigi from Romania

Bublik from Ukraine



To me, what might be the biggest part of the bageleating experience is the sensation that they offer. It’ s a comforting feeling more than the unique taste of biting through the circular chewy, slightly crunchy crust and tender baked insides. However, both are a true sensory delight. From a young child to mature adult, this excitement has never ended. I love them with passion. A bagel journey begins! Many cultures around the world have their version of the roll with a hole. These bagel-like breads are common all-over Eastern Europe, especially, starting with written accounts in the 13th century.

krakowski from Poland

Taralli from Italy

Bucellatum from Rome

Girde from China

The big wow is it seems that it was the soft pretzel (which is more ancient and that may have its origins in Germany or France) is a direct cousin of the bagel and that had migrated to Poland in the 14th century. The story that is told is that the pretzels in German monasteries evolved into a circleshaped roll becoming a roll with a hole in the center. This became known as obwarzanek, a popular street food in the Market Square. This bread grew in popularity because Queen Jadwiga of Poland replaced the consumption of bread and pastries with obwarzanek for Lent. For Polish people of the 16th and 17th centuries, the bajgiel was considered a staple. The Polish word bajgiel comes from the Yiddish word beygal.

60 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHTHE MENU

Beygal comes from the German word beugel, which means bracelet or ring.

Halfway through the 19th century, bagels started to be sold in parts of London, England. Bagels then came to North America with the immigrant populations. Polish Jews brought bagel-making to the United States through New York City in the late 19th century. Although bagels were quite popular in New York City, they did not really become popular with the

rest of North America until the last 25 years of the 20th century. Its popularity grew due to automation of food production from handmade products to factories. The first commercially viable bagel machine was invented in 1958. Then, bagel baker Harry Lender leased this technology and pioneered automated production and distribution of frozen bagels in the 1960s. It was the convenience of frozen bagels for a quick breakfast

My Top Bagel Spots

Westmont Bagel

674 W Cuthbert Blvd, Haddon Township

Nat Acchione started Westmont Bagel back in 1993, striving to make the best boiled bagels around using a 100-year-old recipe. Nat’s daughter and son-in-law, Donna and Pat Leuzzi, are now owners and operators. You can really feel the love at this family spot. There’s a great variety here, including everything from rye to marble to whole-wheat everything bagels and novelty promotional colors and favors (like Eagles/Phillies etc). Classic old style luncheonette seating.

Kismet Bagels

113 East Girard Avenue in Fishtown and 1700 Sansom in Rittenhouse

Husband-and-wife duo Jacob and Alexandra Cohen started as a bagel pop-up bagel bakery by marketing during the pandemic with wide distribution and skyrocketed to the top of everyone’s bagel list. Go early or you’ll miss out! Kismet Bagels are also available at many local retail stores and farmers markets.

or snack that put them on everyone›s table. Pop them in the toaster or toaster oven – instant meal. Add cheese and sauce, it’s a mini pizza! The success of bagels inspired Kraft Foods to acquire Lender’s Bagels in 1984. This was a great business move for Kraft as they already made Philadelphia Cream Cheese (the most popular bagel spread). During the mid-90s, bagels became a multibillion-dollar industry!

The Bagel Depot

2504 Delaware Avenue in North Wildwood

Sandwich-sized fresh baked daily bagels of many varieties, and fresh baked bread and pastries. Serving only breakfast and lunch 7 days a week, and proudly claim they are “Building Better Bagels!” Worth the trip. Great seashore vibe with ample seating.

Sharky’s Bagels

4 Somerdale Rd, Unit 8, Blackwood

Sharky’s Bagels tends to draw a friendly neighborhood crowd and doesn’t disappoint! They offer all the classic bagels, plus a few fun options like chocolate chip.

Plan a bagel road trip with more of my favorites: Philly

Kaplan’s New Model Bakery // 901 N 3rd St.

Bart’s Bagels // 3945 Lancaster Ave.

The Kettle Black // 631 N 2nd St.

Schmear It // 3601 Market St.

K’Far Cafe // 110 S 19th St.

Spread Bagelry // 262 S 20th St.

Bagels & Co. // 1001 N 2nd St. and 1317

Frankford Ave.

Knead Bagels // 725 Walnut St.

Four Worlds Bakery // 4634 Woodland Ave.

The Bagel Place // 404 Queen St.

Essen Bakery // 1437 E Passyunk Ave.

Vanilya // 1611 E Passyunk Ave.

Korshak Bagels // 1700 S 10th St.

Fishtown’s Philly Style Bagels // 1451 E

Columbia Ave.

New Jersey

The Bagel Spot // 600 Kings Highway N. Suite #5, Cherry Hill Bagel University // 1406 S. Main Road #3, Vineland

Moore Bagels // 65 E. Route 70, Marlton

Ry’s Bagels // 800 Delsea Dr., Glassboro

Victoria’s Bagel Bistro // 3131 NJ-38, Mount Laurel

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 61 FARINA DI VITACatering We specialize in providing delicious and beautifully presented food for any occasion (267) 639-5185 @farinadivita 250 Catharine St , Philadelphia , PA 19147 Our Service: About Us: Contact Us: Entrees Antipasto Trays Hoagie Trays
Giancarlo Cambria Owner/Head Chef 267-971-7127 @carloscatering

Welcome to my kitchen,”

Executive Chef Giovanni Virgi exclaims among the clatter of pots and pans. His tone of voice is calm and confident as he passionately prepares a menu for 150 guests - soon to arrive. He greets me with a personal charm like a family member stopping in to see what’s cooking.

I was passing by IASTE Ballroom and decided to stop in after noticing a crowd of cars arriving in the parking lot. In the years before the pandemic, I attended some alumni events there and was wondering aloud - what’s it like now? You surely have arrived as you walk through the bright marquee entrance on South Swanson Street to find yourself draped in the ballroom’s appealing decor and warm theatrical lighting. I entered the doors into the divided ballroom and felt like I just walked into a fine dining heaven. The decor was stunning with spectacular table settings and the bar boasted sparkling glasses and antipasti delights.

Anthony’s Caterers, owned by Anthony Foster, has 30 years of experience in the restaurant and banquet industry and operates four ballrooms in Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Sea Isle City, NJ. Additionally, they also offer off-site catering packages. At the IATSE Ballroom location (2401 S. Swanson Street), it’s the team of GM/Co-owner Giovanni LaRosa and Executive Chef Giovanni Virgi that creates with devoted attention a festive and delightful dining experience for hundreds of events and special occasions.

At the center stage of the IATSE Ballroom, you can find stations with bountiful presentations - antipasti selections, flowing hors d’oeuvres, raw bars, fresh

IATSE BALLROOM sets the stage for your next celebration

homemade gnocchi, veal chops, crab cakes, and center cut choice filets. Add a menu of fine dining entree choices, along with, of course, Anthony’s award-winning red gravy!

Cuisine choices include Southern Italian, Northern Italian, Traditional American, Vegetarian, Latin American, to name a few. Giovanni LaRosa expresses the finest moment of the meal is with, “Curtain call ladies and gentlemen - homemade gelato, mouthwatering sorbet, and assorted Viennese pastries!”

The 500-guest capacity IATSE Ballroom offers a full stage, theatrical lighting, large dance floor, PA Audio System, free secure on-site parking, and multimedia options. Prideful of the staff, IATSE is composed of seasoned management and an experienced production team ready to create everything you need from a fullservice venue including memorable decor, lighting, flowers, entertainment, and conceptual ideas.

IATSE stands for the Worker’s Union International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees,

2 lbs risotto

1 lb of 21-25 shrimp, shelled & deveined

1 tsp each of salt, pepper, hot pepper seeds

1 large white onion

Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE). It was founded in 1893 to advocate for fair wages and working conditions. Union membership is at 168,000 today and members work in live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting, and concerts, as well as equipment and construction shops that support these areas of the entertainment industry. The Union Hall on 2401 South Swanson represents IATSE Local 8 with the Jurisdiction of Philadelphia, PA/Camden-Mercer County, NJ.


6 oz of fresh parsley

1 qt of chicken stock

1 qt heavy cream

2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 lb of butter

1/2 lb Pecorino Romano cheese

1/2 cup of Chablis white wine

6 cloves of fresh garlic


In a medium size saucepan, add olive oil and let it come up to heat. Add onions, garlic, allow it to caramelize. Add butter. When melted down, add risotto. Give it a nice mix. Reduce heat to low then add shrimp, white wine, salt, pepper, and hot pepper seeds. Allow to caramelize a little bit more. Add chicken stock frequently. After allowing it to cook for 45 minutes, check risotto. If it’s soft enough, you can add the heavy cream. Let it cook for an additional 15 minutes. Add cheese. Serve.

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

62 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHTHE MENU


Shrimp Toast

{bánh mì chiên tôm}

Yield: 12 - 24 appetizer pieces

Chef Mimi Lan is a personal and popup dinner chef who curates thoughtful, global culinary experiences with storytelling to connect with people from different cultures. Her specialty is VIGLO (Vietnamese with global influences) cuisine- innovation in cooking while honoring traditional recipes of the past. She considers herself a global chef, thanks to extensive travels, cooking classes, and apprentices at Michelin starred restaurants.

Chef Mimi’s family immigrated to the US after the fall of Saigon. Her aunt’s makeshift pho shop taught her the power of food. Watching strangers congregate in her aunt’s tiny one-bedroom apartment, connecting with each other over delicious bowls of pho, showed her that food is nourishment not just for the body, but also the soul and shaped her journey as a Global chef. She is the creator of “Food is Religion Club” on Clubhouse.


1 organic French baguette (from Trader Joe’s) or any artisan baguette

Grated ParmigianoReggiano cheese

1 lb deveined, deshelled shrimp (tails off)

1 stalk chopped scallions or a handful of minced parsley

1 big shallot (minced)

4 cloves garlic (minced)

2 tbsp sriracha mayonnaise (1/2 tsp sriracha + 2

tbsp mayo) or plain mayo

1/2 tsp to 1 tsp paprika powder (or annatto seeds powder)

1 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/2 tsp of white pepper

2 tsp cornstarch

1 egg white

Optional: 1/2 tsp of sesame oil for mix and 1-2 tbsp sesame oil for brushing on top before serving bread


When using frozen shrimp, thaw at room temp for a couple hours or overnight in fridge. Rinse thawed shrimp in a colander and drain while you do the next steps. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice baguette into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 10 minutes (or until slightly golden) on the middle rack. Bake one tray at a time. Let cool for 10 minutes.


Mince shallot & garlic, and fresh herbs and set aside separately. Sauté minced shallot until fragrant, add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat before adding minced herbs to keep their bright green color. Cool and set aside. Place shrimp in a mixing bowl. Add seasonings, egg white, then the sautéed ingredients last. Use a spatula to mix everything together. Put the shrimp concoction into a food processor to 3/4 full and pulse a few times. Be careful NOT to turn it into a paste. Leave chunks for texture. Remove shrimp concoction and continue until all the shrimp is pulsed. If you don’t have an electric food processor, use a knife to mince the shrimp, leaving some chunks to the side, and mince the rest finely before mixing both together. Season shrimp paste to your taste before baking (adding sesame oil if desired.) Cook 1 teaspoon of the shrimp mixture over low heat to taste it. Make it slightly saltier because the bread makes it taste less salty. Cook mixture same day - does not preserve well.


Increase oven to 400° F. Spread a generous amount of shrimp paste on each baguette slice. Bake in middle rack for 7 minutes, then broil for a couple minutes, adding one minute at a time until you get some golden edges. When done, brush sesame oil (or olive oil) on the surface of each shrimp toast, sprinkle with micro greens and serve immediately. Live deliciously! Note: Baked shrimp toasts freeze well. If you want to freeze, skip the broil. Put baked shrimp toasts in a Ziploc bag in a single layer. Push as much air out of the bag as you can, and seal it (to keep them fresh longer and prevent ice crystals from forming). When ready to eat, preheat the oven to 350° F, then bake for 5 minutes, and broil for 2-3 minutes until golden.

Topping ideas: Sage leaves sautéed in butter until crispy, thinly sliced heirloom carrots, baby arugula, baby spinach, toasted sesame seeds.

This recipe is featured in the Philly edition of Cooks Who Care Community Cookbook: Entertaining for Mental Health.

The book is available digitally at; print edition coming soon. Cooks Who Care, founded by Maria and Scott Campbellis, is a Media, PA based not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the mental health and well-being of food and beverage industry workers. 100% of proceeds from book sales will benefit a community fund to provide mini grants for food service workers in the Greater Philadelphia Region who are in need of mental health support.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 63
shrimp toast photo by SCOTT CAMPBELL





1 lb ground turkey

3 cloves minced


6-8 large fresh basil leaves chopped


6-8 sundried tomatoes in oil chopped

1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated

1 egg

1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs

Salt & pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands just until evenly combined. Form into patties and cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. If you don’t want burgers, mold into a meatloaf pan.

64 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PENROSE DINER 20th & Penrose Avenue Philadelphia, Pa. 215.465.1097 Open 8am to 10pm daily Meet me at the Penrose Food for thought SERVING BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINNER PRHTHE MENU
Philly Philly





2 lbs thick cut bone-in

porterhouse pork chops

Salt & pepper to taste

2 tbsp high smoke point oil

such as safflower or peanut

3 sprigs of mixed fresh

herbs such as rosemary, thyme, & parsley, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp butter at room temperature


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove pork chops from refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. In the meantime, mash butter with herbs and garlic. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. In oven-safe skillet, such as cast iron, heat oil over high heat until smoking. Add seasoned pork chops to pan and cook 3 to 5 minutes for good sear on first side. Add the herbs, garlic, and butter. Flip chops and lower heat to medium-high. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes to sear bottom side. Place pan in preheated oven and cook 20-25 minutes or until meat registers 145 degrees with a meat thermometer. Meat juices will run clear. Remove pork chops to serving plates and let rest for 10 minutes. Pour pan juices over them.


April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 65 “Best Stuffed Breads” South Jersey Magazine 2022 Shop at www . boaggiosbread . com or in-person Wednesday to Friday: 11am – 5pm | Saturday: 10am – 4pm 823 Eastgate Drive, Suite #3, Mount Laurel, NJ 08054 856-642-9955 Boaggio’s Bread Now Offers Catering for all of your events. Check out our extensive menu online. If there’s something you don’t see, ask! Pick up only at this time. Great for any occasion! P: 215.940.2211 / P: 215.334.1212 / F: 215.940.2210 BEEF / PORK / POULTRY / VEAL / LAMB / PREPARED FOODS Anthony, Vince & Vincent “Three generations; a team that is a cut above the rest.”
Photo by Andrew Andreozzi Lombardi’s Prime Meats is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.
lombardimeats com Philly


This is a quick, simple, and delicious meal that you can prepare in a half-hour!


1 lb bag of large, frozen shrimp (cleaned and deveined), fresh if available

1 lb box of pasta shells (medium size)

1 bag of frozen peas

1 can of cherry tomatoes or crushed

tomatoes (jar sauce is also fine)


Black pepper, to taste

Garlic, to taste

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Parsley, to taste

Romano cheese


Sauté shrimp in EVOO, garlic, black pepper, red pepper flakes and parsley. Remove shrimp. Add tomatoes to sauté pan and cook until bubbly. Turn down heat. Cook pasta as directed (I prefer al dente and remove it a minute or two before it’s “done”). Save the pasta water. Add pasta right into tomatoes. Add about two cups of pasta water. Add about three handfuls of Romano cheese, bag of peas and mix until everything comes together. Add shrimp back in and mix well.


Boaggio’s Bread is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

66 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023


Jack’s Lavender MARTINI

Philly Philly

Enjoy Jack’s Bar + Grill lavender martini on your deck or patio, this spring. This simple recipe yields a soothing drink that’s perfect for any occasion.


1.5 oz Ketel One vodka

1 oz Lavender Syrup

1 oz Lemon Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

Lemon garnish DIRECTIONS

Add vodka, lavender syrup, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15-30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Enjoy your lavender martini!

Jack’s Bar + Grill at Rivers Casino Philadelphia is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 67


& Nick The Lucy Dancing the Night Away
PRH Brides Guide PRH Brides Guide


Venue: The Lucy by Cescaphe

Florist: Beautiful Blooms

Band/DJ: Masquerade

Invitations & Stationery: The Papery of Philadelphia

Photographer: Kseniya Berson

Transportation: Cescaphe Trolley and First Class Rolls Royce

Dress Designer/ Dress Shop: Pronovias/ Designer Loft Bridal NYC

Menswear Designer/ Shop: Chadmoore Formal Wear


VideographerAbominable Productions

Headpiece: Bridal Styles Boutique

Hello, beautiful Brides Guide readers. We are so happy to introduce you to Bridget and Nick, a glamorous couple with a dreamy wedding at The Lucy by Cescaphe. We are so excited to share these stunning photos that show not only the beauty, but the joy that is so visible throughout the night. From a ceremony at the Church where they first met, to the beautiful atmosphere of The Lucy for their reception, their whole day was a dream come true. Our favorite moment of the night has to be Bridget’s wedding cake – which she perfectly matched to her dress.

How did you meet?

We met in Kindergarten at St. Richard School, now known as St. Pio Regional Catholic School. How did the proposal happen? It was Labor Day Weekend, and we were in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey. Nicky asked me to take a walk to Sunset Lake to meet his parents who were walking their dogs. It was a beautiful day with not one cloud in the sky until we started walking towards the lake. It started raining, so I began to head back to my house to get an umbrella without knowing my family was inside decorating and preparing for our engagement party. Nicky had to quickly ask me outside my shore house before I walked into the surprise!

Why did you choose a Cescaphe Wedding?

We have been to many Cescaphe weddings, and we were always impressed with the venues, food, and service. We loved the look of The Lucy and as soon as we visited, we knew that is where we wanted our reception. What was your favorite part about wedding planning? Everything about wedding planning was enjoyable. We are very blessed to have supportive parents that allowed us to plan an amazing wedding. With their help, it was a stress-free and wonderful experience! What was your favorite part of your wedding?

Our Wedding Day was perfect from the beginning to the end, but our favorite part was dancing at our reception with our family and friends.

What did you do to make your wedding day extra special?

We were able to get married at St. Richard Church and that was extra special to us because that is where we met and grew up together. What advice would you give to future brides and grooms?

Wake up in a great mood and tell yourself this is going to be the best day! Try not to stress because not everything will be perfect. The main thing you will remember is the fun that you had, that day, so do not sweat the small stuff and just try to take in each moment because it goes by really fast!

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


Here Comes the

Sun Pink & Periwinkle Set the Tone


Since makeup is a great way to express yourself, let’s talk spring beauty trends. Like the return of greens, soft pinks and purple. Expect to see lots of gorgeous iridescent shades in lavender and periwinkle tones, too.

The perfect eye palettes

I recently discovered a company called Sugar Drizzle on social media. Their eyeshadow palettes are nothing short of fabulous, and their price point is, too. Shadows are very versatile with a creamlike formula, so they have major staying power. Their palette -- irreverently called MILF –Man, I Love Frogs™ -- has the perfect shades for spring. The fun packaging arrangement and artwork alone could make it worth the purchase. And the best part, they are vegan and cruelty-free, so they never test on animals.

A Little Liner

Another trend is “Doe” eyes, also called “Bambi eyes” or “doll eyes.” This look is created with lots of mascara and little or no eyeliner. And don’t forget false eyelashes. Strip lashes are preferred instead of individual

lashes for more drama. With this look, we are aiming for fun, sexy, and flirtatious. Think The Queen’s Gambit with Ana Taylor Joy. Innocent, sweet and wide-eyed.

Lots of Mascara

My favorite mascara for years has been L’Oréal Voluminous™ You can purchase this at any drugstore for about $10.99. If you prefer high-end makeup, then give Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes™ a try. The wand is my favorite because it lets you get close to the base of the lashes to create a longer looking lash. It sells for about $29.


Lipstick will finish your look and MAC has what you need. Matte Lipstick/Richard Quinn is something new at MAC. They offer 4 perfect shades of coral, bright fuchsia, magenta and peach

They sell for about $25 and are, in my professional opinion, worth the money for the quality and ultimate look. You can also use a primer for more staying power. So, there you have it. Embrace the light. Time to rise from the Winter doldrums and shine like spring!

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I can’t help it. I love Italy. If you have never been there, you need to put it at the top of your bucket list. On my last visit to this amazing country, I spent one week along the Amalfi Coast followed by one week in Tuscany. Two very different experiences and both beautiful in their own way.

A very dear client once told me that you must remember to use all your senses when visiting the Amalfi Coast. He was right. So, with this being my second visit to this region, I made sure to use all

As you drive along the coast, the scenery is breathtaking. No matter which direction you look, you will see colorful homes built into the cliffs and the blue water of the Tyrrhenian Sea. There are many hotels along the coast, but I prefer to stay in Sorrento. The town is easy to access with many stores and delicious restaurants from which to choose.

From here, you can easily visit the towns that make up the Amalfi Coast. Take a ferry to visit the coastline or have a private driver help you plan your day. I feel most

comfortable using a private driver that I have worked with for many years. Tony and his drivers will take you to locations that you would not find on your own. By the end of your stay, you will feel like you have spent time with your Italian uncles! Feel free to hug him when you leave. You will feel the warmth of these people. Each town is buzzing with activity. As you walk around, you will hear the chatter of vendors in the local stores, and in the evening, the sound of music in the square. Listen for the ferry to arrive at the pier to take you for a short ride to visit the Isle of Capri!

And then there’s the food!

Whether you are enjoying fresh fish at a restaurant on Marina Grande, or a lite lunch at a beach club on Capri, or maybe even a restaurant overlooking Positano, your tastebuds will never be disappointed.

Most importantly, be sure to close your eyes and sit under a lemon tree and smell the wonderful fragrance that is the Amalfi Coast.

Enjoy your limoncello. Next stop, Tuscany! PRH

72 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
2515 S. Broad Street / Philadelphia, PA 19148 215.463.5485 FLORIST & DECORATORS John & Joann Vacca Flowers For All Occasions Celebrating 50 YEARS! “The Unusual Is Our Specialty” Winner- 2018 Readers' Choice Award! PRHTRAVEL
Travel with Pam Draper is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network. THE AMALFI COAST an Awakening of the 5 Senses

Spring is all about new beginnings and starting fresh. It is my favorite time to reassess my beauty routine and get re-inspired. This is the perfect time to go through your skincare drawer and makeup bag and toss anything that has expired or does not serve you. In the summer and winter months, I’ll make a few tweaks to address seasonal concerns – but spring is where we purge and renew!

Hydrate & Brighten your skin

I like to shed the weight of heavy creams and serums. Whether we’re talking skincare or makeup, I opt for more lightweight formulas in the spring. Skincare is very personal and if you’re struggling, work with a dermatologist or esthetician to

manage concerns. Personally, I love to add hydrating essences during the spring. Naturium is a wonderful and affordable brand that has effective essences to hydrate and brighten your skin. Using essences before my Vitamin C serum brings my skin back to life after those cold months. Naturium’s Vitamin C Complex Serum and Dew-Glow Moisturizer SPF 50 work synergistically to protect your skin and effectively improve your complexion and boost radiance. The combination is skincare magic.

Focus on fresh, polished skin

The proper skincare puts you in the best position to revamp your makeup look and opt for less coverage. For me, springtime is about clean,

bright looks. My focus is fresh and polished skin, with a natural blush and lengthened lashes. Anything that feels youthful and vibrant as the flowers bloom makes my heart happy.

Don’t forget the SPF!

Use this time to reevaluate what makes you feel happiest and more confident. There is no wrong answer. That’s the real beauty of a beauty routine. As the days get warmer and the sun shines longer, it’s the perfect time to reinvigorate your commitment to wellbeing. Use the energy of this fresh start to let go of anything no longer practical, incorporate what fills you with joy, and take care of yourself inside and out. Happiness is the real secret to glowing skin. Just don’t forget the SPF. PRH

74 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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Add Some Sparkle to Your Smile

Looking to add a little more sparkle to your life with something unique? Attaching gemstones to your teeth might make some people a bit skeptical, but according to a 2022 business report from Pinterest (Pinterest Predicts), adding some shimmer and rhinestones onto your teeth could be one of this year’s biggest beauty trends.

If you’re unfamiliar with this trend, a tooth gem is glued to the outer enamel of a tooth, applied in the same way as braces. The gems are temporary and painless to apply. They don’t require any drilling and cause no harm to your tooth enamel. Most gems can last up to six weeks or even longer with the proper care. And while it may seem like tooth gems are “in” and “new,” their use dates all the way back to ancient Mayan civilization! Teeth embellishments were likely indicators of wealth and status. Archaeological excavations have found that elaborate dental work often meant a person held a high

position in their society.

Tooth gem technicians allow for a safe and long-lasting way to apply this trend to your pearly whites. There is a certification process that must be passed for establishments like Glam + Glow to offer this procedure. Having it done professionally, you won’t have to worry about subpar materials being used.

Make an appointment to add some sparkle to your smile. One session (60 minutes) includes up to three added gems. While you’re there, why not consider a teeth-whitening session, too.

From now through June, Glam + Glow offers $50 off teeth whitening services:

60-minute session $149 (regularly $199)

80-minute session $199 (regularly $249)

Receive $10 off Tooth Gems, as well.

Visit for a complete list of services and to book your appointments! PRH

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76 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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Ialways thought of Venice Island as a place where you can go to break beer bottles and smoke weed,” singer-songwriter and former Roxborough native Dave Hause admits. “In the subsequent 30 years since I’ve been a kid, it’s nice!” Come the first weekend in May, Hause will return to his old stomping grounds for the inaugural kick-off of his Sing Us Home Festival. And the location? None other than Venice Island.

“Ultimately, my dream is a scenario where both of my main music passions are represented. The ideal lineup is Friday night, the Indigo Girls play and Saturday night, Bad Religion plays.” While neither band will be present for the festival’s debut, the Sing Us Home Festival still reflects Hause’s unique blend of sonic tastes.

Friday night will start off with what Hause likes to call “a bunch of senior citizens who play Stones and Beatles covers,” Circle of Syn. The group helped introduce and shape Hause’s musical tastes growing up, largely due to the fact that the band is comprised of his dad and “sort-of” uncles. “I told them the one caveat for playing is that they can’t play ‘Secret Agent Man.’”

The familial line continues as Hause’s longtime collaborator and brother, Tim Hause, will follow things up. Having recently released his debut album, the performance will mark Tim’s first time playing on a festival stage. Rounding out the night will be the Hause Family Campfire, a collaborative event that is sure to be one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. Dave will be joined on stage with The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and songwriting-great Kathleen Edwards.

“I think there’s something magical when you put three or four songwriters on a stage who are mutually admiring each other’s work, but don’t necessarily know it all,” Hause says, “and then throw them in front of a crowd to really test their front-person abilities.”

The inspiration for the songwriter’s round came partially from a similar concert Hause remembers seeing at the Keswick Theatre years ago that featured Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Emmylou Harris. His past experiences touring as a part of Chuck Ragan’s Revival Tour


years ago played an equal part, as well. While sharing some of the lessons learned from this outing, Hause recalls, “a camaraderie that builds between the songwriters and the crowd from everyone experiencing something that’s a little bit risky, a little bit weird and really, really fun.”

Day two kicks off Saturday and will be headlined by Hause’s group, Dave Hause & The Mermaid, followed by the Drive-by Truckers. In between bands changing over, The Ocean Avenue Stompers will be marching through the crowd, second line style, playing songs from a playlist Hause has helped put together. “There will be just as many Rancid songs as there will be Beyonce and Al Green songs,” Hause proudly notes. “We want to make them the party.”

From Catbite to Craig Finn, Hause is a fan of every group. While some logistical aspects like schedule did play a part, stitching together groups that best represented his unique and diverse musical tastes was one of the most important of the festival. “There’s no one on the bill that I don’t listen to or wouldn’t go see.”

As we continue talking about the lineup, Hause isn’t shy to admit how humbled he was while helping piece together. “We were shocked that Kathleen Edwards and Driveby Truckers were available AND willing to play.” He goes on to add, “In a sense, there’s this pinch me element of ‘Oh My God they agreed to do this.’”

So, what better way to take in a spring weekend in the city than catching an eclectic group of bands and enjoying food and drink alongside the water? Come May 5th and 6th, make your way over to Venice Island in Manayunk to welcome the Sing Us Home Festival. In the meantime, head over to visit to see the full lineup and ticketing information. The show is family friendly with ages 12 and under free. We hope to see you all there! prh

Sing Us Home Festival has it all

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 77 PRHMUSIC&ART

45 s Philly Heat Wave

Wait a minute. Isn’t this recording more of a Detroit 45? Martha and the Vandellas were one of that city’s biggest girl groups all through the ‘60s, and of course the song itself is pure Motown - bluesy sax, bright doo-wop harmonies, and a fast-moving beat made for clapping and dancing. This 1963 bopper was one of the hits that helped create the iconic sound everyone associates with the label to this day.

Okay, that’s all true and maybe “Heat Wave” isn’t widely known as a Philly tune. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of the late Jerry “The Geator” Blavat, you probably can’t hear that snappy beat without expecting the man to start rapping over it a moment later. His knack for rhythmic patter was one thing that made him a natural-born entertainer, and the song itself became a trademark opening theme for his DJ sets which kept the city dancing for more than 60 years.

Philly Philly

Corporate programmers were starting to dictate radio playlists at that point, but Blavat refused to follow along and insisted on playing the music he wanted to play. The freedom let him spin a one-ofa-kind mix with something for everyone. He was the fellow who started playing the oldies before “the oldies” even became a thing. He would assemble a sequence with whatever felt good, resurrecting ‘50s tunes alongside the then-current ‘60s hits, then slipping in tracks from less-known names such as the Four Seasons or Little Richard. If the acts people heard on his show weren’t widely known, they usually didn’t stay that way for long.


In the decades when rhyming nicknames were in fashion, Blavat was so cool, he needed more than just one. Radio listeners knew him as “the boss with the hot sauce,” “the man with the plan,” and - most famously of course - “the Geator with the heater.” But you won’t find that term in the dictionary. It was a slangy mash-up of “heater” (because kids his age would often turn up the car’s heat until their parents complained) and “gator” (because of how quickly his hosting personality would snap up your attention). What mattered was that it was unique and instantly memorable. The phrase meant that you were in for a mix of music, always colorful and cheerful, just like the man himself.

Blavat was a fellow who wore a lot of hats from the start. He first emerged in 1953 as a teen dancer on Bandstand (a precursor to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand), then got into the actual business as a road manager for Danny and the Juniors, and by the early ‘60s, got to try his hand at spinning records on the air. As fate would have it, a sudden snowstorm shut down the whole area the evening he was scheduled for a radio broadcast. His one-hour stint turned into an off-the-cuff marathon for half the night. The managers loved it, and the rest was history.

It must have been only natural that the “heater” catchphrase would mesh with a song like “Heat Wave” - a fun, surefire way to warm things up as soon as the party kicks off. Just as crucial, the opening one-two-one-two beat made a perfect bed for some banter and rhymes. The personable chatter would make for a unique connection with every crowd. This was the thing that always got them to keep on rocking and follow him across a variety of radio stations and TV programs, not to mention his popular New Jersey club Memories in Margate, where his weekly summertime broadcasts ran for a golden half-century.

Blavat once told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his secret was having “the rhythm of a dancer.” When words follow a pattern you can hear and feel, that’s when they hit deep down and stick in your headoften forever, as so many lifelong fans can attest. Detroit can (deservedly) claim its share of hits, but “Heat Wave” is one that it will have to share. PRH

78 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023 PRHMUSIC&ART
Blavat once told the Philadelphia Inquirer that his secret was having “the rhythm of a dancer.”


kicks off new season at Bucks County Playhouse

Are you already counting down the days to football season? Well, you can get a taste this spring when Bucks County Playhouse brings Tommy and Me back to the stage. The play is written by and based on the real story of sports journalist Ray Didinger’s decades-long friendship with Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald. The autobiographical story is one that is about the love of the game and the dreams of a little boy coming true. I spoke with Alex Fraser, Producing Director of Bucks County Playhouse, about the show and why Eagles fans will

enjoy this heartwarming, true story.

Q: Why did you feel it was important to bring Tommy and Me back to Bucks County Playhouse?

a: I told Ray when the touring production stopped here last winter that one day, I wanted to do our own production. When the opportunity arose to do it this year, we jumped on it. The Eagles’ great season didn’t hurt.

Q: How is this new production different from the one you ran last spring?

a: We produce our MainStage productions, which means that we start from scratch. We’ve brought on a terrific director, Nick Corley. I think I first met Nick when we worked on a new musical by Jimmy Buffet 25 years ago. He’s worked at the Playhouse several times over the past two

years. He flipped for the play as soon as he read it. Together, we’ve hired new designers, and are working on a new cast for the show as we speak. We’ve had great interest from some prominent actors…. stay tuned!

Q: What was Ray Didinger’s reaction when you told him the plan to bring this show back?

a: I think shock would be an appropriate response! We discovered last year he’s a big theatre fan, too, and he was proud to have his play on the stage where so many great careers began. Ray told me that Joe Canuso, the director of the original production, always told him a sign of success would be when one day, a theatre would come along that wanted to do their own production. Ray and Joe have been enthusiastic supporters of every step we’ve taken… and I know they are excited to see what we come up with.

Q: Our Philadelphia Eagles had a big season. What will the team’s fans love about Tommy and Me?

a: Ray’s love of the Eagles is felt throughout the play. The long-time Eagles’ fans in the audience last year were often moved to tears, remembering the many great players of their day referenced in the story. Ray’s play will also carry fans through the off-season and keep them connected to their hometown team, even when they’re not on the gridiron.

Q: What if you aren’t a sports fan? Why should people come to see the show?

a: The hurdles Tommy had to jump to get on the team to begin with can be appreciated by anyone who had the experience of being the underdog and makes the ending triumph all the more sweet. And we all have heroes… this play is a tribute to heroes and those they inspire to follow their dreams.

Q: Who are your sports idols? Have you ever met any of them?

a: I’m just a theatre guy. I was watching old movies in the other room while my father was yelling at the game on TV. What impressed

me is how similar sports fans are to theatre fans…we both are passionate about our faves and the Tony Awards is our World Series.

Q: What do you hope audiences take away from Tommy and Me?

a: The play inspired me to remember and appreciate those who I looked up to throughout my life, and make sure I pass it along to the next generation. It’s also funny and with a happy ending!

Q: Do you have any suggestions for some “must visit” shops and restaurants before the show?

a: The best river-view in town is from our restaurant, the Deck, just behind the Playhouse right on the riverbanks. As for shopping…Love Saves the Day on the corner of Bridge and Main Streets is a hoot. Fred Eisen Leather has beautiful hand-made everything leather, and a lot of our patrons stop in The Ferry Market before and after the show.

Tommy and Me runs from May 19 to June 20.

Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 215-862-2121. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 79
by Marialena Rago photo by Maria Gallagher The Theater Geek Ray Didinger (r) with Tommy McDonald

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Spotlight - Museum for Art in Wood

The Mashrabiya Project

Through July 23rd

Now on Display by Brenda Hillegas

Did you know there’s an entire museum dedicated to contemporary art and creativity made with wood? Tucked into Old City at 141 N. 3rd Street, just steps away from many of Philadelphia’s historic sites, the museum welcomes the public to browse two floors of objects and exhibitions.

Currently on display, guests can experience The Mashrabiya Project, which showcases Egyptian wood-turned mashrabiya. Jennifer-Navva Milliken, the museum’s Executive Director and Chief Curator, curated this interactive exhibition to showcase these lattice screens that are often attached to windows or interior spaces. The architectural object, commonly used in Islamic and Egyptian cultures, allows privacy from public view while still offering ventilation. Seeing Through Space at the Museum for Art in Wood is the first exhibition in the U.S. to examine these objects and their prominence in Islamic and Egyptian craft.

Through July 23rd, you can view never-before-seen works by six artists from across the Islamic worldAnila Quayyum Agha, Nidaa Badwan, Susan Hefuna, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Majida Khattari, and Hoda Tawakol - and learn more about how the mashrabiya inspired their pieces literally and metaphorically.

On Saturday, May 6th, the museum will present Nazariy’: The Dancer’s Gaze - A Guided Tour of The Mashrabiya Project. Dancers from Usiloquy Dance Designs will take over the gallery with interpretations of the exhibition through the South Asian dance style Bharatantyam. Nazariy’ is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to view an interactive, choreographed response to The Mashrabiya Project: Seeing through Space. It will take place one night only. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved on the website for two time slots - 5:30-7pm and 7:30-9pm.

The Museum for Art in Wood is a non-profit and admission is free. Along with permanent and rotating exhibitions, visitors will also find a research library, workshops and classes, and a gift shop filled with wood crafted items for all ages and tastes. For more info on hours and exhibits, visit PRH

80 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
photo by Hoda Tawakol

BLOCS, the Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools, started in 1980 as a financial campaign to aid parochial schools. The purpose of this crusade was to ensure a qualified labor pool for Philadelphia firms once students graduate, search for employment, and become productive members of their communities.

The Archdiocesan schools were the eighth largest educational institution in the U.S. and fueled much of the labor force. BLOCS has been able to keep the city’s economy strong in many ways by committing to a Catholic education, high academic standards, and job readiness.

BLOCS is funded by your taxes through the establishment of the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. Donors can receive up to a 90 percent tax credit against their personal Pennsylvania state tax liability by making their gift through BLOCS. Many types of taxes can be offset by this credit, such as personal income taxes and business taxes. Becoming a donor is simple. To take advantage of this amazing program, you become a member of BLOCS Scholarship LLC and make a two-year commitment to fund the LLC. Then you sign the LLC agreement and write your check to BLOCS. BLOCS then disperses the funds to the school of your choice or to the school with the greatest needs (if the gift is undesignated). You are then provided with a K-1 for your donation and the 90 percent tax credit is issued to you by the state. You can use that tax credit to either fund your Year 2 commitment to BLOCS or it can nearly double your annual donation. Schools are then able to award scholarships for tuition assistance to families with economic hardships. Anyone can apply for a scholarship, but an independent third-party company called FACTS collects the family’s past tax returns, proof of income and other financial data to determine if the student(s) qualify and recommend the amount of tuition assistance. Once the application is processed, BLOCS issues a check to the school, which is then dispersed directly to the student.

Rory Sweeney, interim president of Neumann Goretti High School, said he knows firsthand how the EITC impacts the school’s students.

“When our families are faced with rising tuition costs to realize a quality, faith-filled education, scholarship dollars from the EITC program help ease their financial burden and allow them to be comfortable with Neumann Goretti as their chosen school. And BLOCS is a key partner that ensures an EITC participant’s donation supports our students in need.”

Applications for the 2023-24 school year are now open and will close on September 30, 2023. To begin an application, head to the FACTS website ( Students, grades Pre-K-12th grade, must be registered at the school of their choice prior to applying for a BLOCS scholarship. Schools make the final decision on who is awarded a scholarship, and the Commonwealth of PA requires that a third-party qualifies the family’s eligibility for need-based scholarships. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia uses FACTS to manage and screen the qualification process, but some private schools use other fact-checking companies. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the school you are applying to for guidance.

BLOCS provides more than 16,000 students and families in the greater Philadelphia area with opportunities, hope and promise. Many scholarship recipients have been so inspired by their Catholic education that they have made huge impacts on their neighborhoods, their larger communities and even the world. Past students have gone on to college, become community leaders, business owners, started families and spearheaded their own campaigns to give back. BLOCS has started a storytelling campaign called #BuiltByBLOCS that has showcased nearly 100 students through storytelling videos and log posts. Many have overcome incredible adversities to achieve success. These students and families are grateful to those that choose to donate to their individual and collective success. PRH

Ss Neumann Goretti High School is a member of the Philadelphia RowHome (PRH) Magazine Business Network.

Neumann Goretti High School interim president, Rory Sweeney
#BuiltByBLOCS Turn Your Tax Dollars into Scholarships for Local Students

Lehigh University’s HAYLEY HUNT ‘PLAYER OF THE YEAR’ named

Hayley Hunt, a junior at Lehigh University, was recently named The Patriot League’s Goalie of the Year for the university’s women’s lacrosse team. The Patriot League, an athletic conference that highlights college students from private institutions of higher education, is based in the Northeastern United States. In the Patriot League, athletes are selected for pre-season awards of the season based on how well the players performed and who did the best in their position. Hunt received the news first from her mom, who saw the post on the school’s social media.

“I didn’t realize it was in the cards for me, especially seeing it was the only award not won by the number one team in the league,” Hunt says.

Hunt has been a goalie since she first started playing lacrosse in the spring of seventh grade. To her, it’s “the most swaggy position on the field.” Though she also participated in water polo and basketball, she felt the most natural with lacrosse. By her freshman year of high school, a handful of colleges, including Lehigh, reached out to recruit her. She originally attended Stony Brook University but transferred to Lehigh University last spring. Hunt says she loved the school, particularly for their academics. She insisted she didn’t want to decide solely on lacrosse. Motivation played a huge role in her athletic accomplishments. Hunt reminds herself to never settle for subpar when she knows she can be great. As a result of her determination and resilience, Hunt was featured in a few lacrosse related publications during her sophomore and junior years of college - Inside Lacrosse (an ESPN affiliate) and USA Lacrosse Magazine. She also made the Women’s 2023 Watch List in The Tewaaraton Awards, an annual award for the most outstanding American college lacrosse players.

“I won’t reap the benefits if I don’t push myself and know I can be better. There’s always room to grow and keep getting better,” Hunt says.

Hunt is majoring in economics with a minor in international relations. Her goal is to attend law school to pursue corporate law. PRH
photo by Stephanie Palmieri photo by Hannah Ally

Philadelphia bleeds green, always!

From Lincoln Financial Field, away games, and all the way to the 2023 Super Bowl, we fly with our Birds!

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 83 1716 CHESTNUT STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19103 215.568.5600 W W W . G R A N C A F F E L A Q U I L A. C O M The historic rebirth of one of Italy’s premier cafes Authentic Italian on-line market & restaurant Mail Order Gelato Award Winning Coffee Luxury Chocolate Italian Olive Oils DOP Salumi & Formaggi Bath/Beauty * and more
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York, PA based author Raven Eckman will release the third children’s book of the Booglie’s Adventures series (best for ages 3-7) on June 25, 2023 via Fox Pointe Publishing. Eckman is also the author of Shadowspeak, a psychological thriller/horror for readers, ages 17+ years. Books and info can be found on Raven’s website at, at select independent retailers, and at


Itchy Pants (October 2021). There once was a little monster named Booglie who was very lonely. His roommate, Henry, was scared of him and Booglie didn’t understand why. Booglie knows he’s different from Henry, but that doesn’t make him scary, does it? Perhaps, with the help of some itchy pants, Booglie can make himself less scary. Will it work, or will the itchy pants be too itchy to bear?

Spooky Treats (September 2022). After a night of trick-or-treating fun, the little monster Booglie returns in triumph with plenty of spooky goodies. Just as he’s about to sample his Halloween hoard, however, another monster arrives unexpectedly! Who is this monster and why does he sound like Henry but look like Boo? What is so cool about being a monster, anyway?

Fuzzy Pests (June 2023). When Booglie the little monster encounters a strange beast at his friend’s house, he’s a bit scared. The creature has four legs, a tail, and a very fierce personality. Is this fuzzy pest dangerous? Will it attack? Nope! This little pest just wants attention. Booglie is about to learn what it means to befriend a cat, toe beans and all.

84 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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PRHWRITERSBLOCK Raven Eckman’s Booglie’s Adventures


I’ve been a hairstylist, makeup artist and fashion enthusiast for most of my life. I have seen many styles and trends come and go. I started on South Street doing mohawks and straight bobs. The crazy, big hair perms soon followed.

As a child, every year for Christmas, I asked for a Barbie hairstyling doll and all the accessories. I loved creating different styles and experimenting with makeup. I believe doing hair was in my blood. This profession has been a rollercoaster ride of adventure. You had to be there to believe some of the crazy stories that happen in a hair salon. To say that life is stranger than fiction is an understatement. You cannot make this stuff up.

Self-care is so important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am a firm believer that where your mind goes, your body will follow. One of the many things I love about being a hairstylist is the ability to make people feel good about themselves. I can-

not count the times a client came into the salon saying, ‘I just don’t feel myself, today’ or ‘I feel very down.’ After their hair was done, I could see the transformation - not only with their physical appearance, but also their mental state. I’ll never forget the time I was in line at a store during the holidays and the guy in front of me turned around to talk. He told me he was a therapist and I replied, “So am I. I’m a hairdresser.” He laughed but also agreed. Confidentiality and trust have always been a special part of a client/stylist relationship. This gratification makes the challenging times worthwhile.

Taking time out for yourself and doing something uplifting could be the best medicine.

The greatest battles are the ones we fight in our mind with faith, hope and a tenacious spirit.

I have made my living by encouraging women and making them feel beautiful. Not only on the outside, but also on the inside. I could not have asked for more. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 85 RSVP by Monday, April 24, 2023: or call 302-757-6095. invites you to an… EDUCATIONAL IMPROVEMENT TAX CREDIT (EITC) INFORMATION SESSION Wednesday, April 26, 2023 Neumann Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th Street Session A: 5:30 - 6:30 PM, Session B: 7:00 - 8:00 PM Hot dinner will be available!

Life’s Journey

Chapter 11

Wednesday, September 13th, 1899

Raffaele has dark olive skin, smooth and unblemished. Thick dark curls adorn his head. He is beautiful, this man I am to marry. I hope he thinks the same of me. We Italians do not believe in divorce so I will be his wife forever. I hope the happiness I see in his eyes will be present in our future together.

“We are very happy you made it safely here to America,” Mr. Pasquariello tells me. “And we are delighted to have

you as part of our family.”

As the three of us begin to walk to Market Street, Raffaele gently takes my arm, and we begin our first journey together. I am suddenly self-conscious about my body odor. It has been two weeks since I have taken a bath and I am in dire need of clean clothes.

Raffaele says to me, “Geltrude, when we reach our house, I will show you to your bedroom and introduce you to my mother and brothers. The entire family is waiting to welcome you. I cannot wait to sit and talk with you. I have so many questions about your trip to America! It has been 11 years since I came here as a youngster, so I have forgotten much about it.”

We walk across Broad Street, and it is so big, this city. Carts, wagons, and horses are bustling noisily down the streets. There are so many people, I find myself looking from one side of the street to the other. Most are well-dressed men and women out enjoying themselves.

Mr. Pasquariello turns to us, making sure no one is running us over. As we walk up onto the stone walkway, I hear someone shout, “Mr. Pasquariello!” A man on his horse is waving at us, saying, “Come over here! I will take you back to 8th Street.”

Raffaelle and I climb in the back of the wagon while Mr. Pasquariello sits up front with the driver.

The driver asks me, “How was your journey? Were the seas rough? When I came over 10 years ago, it was brutal for

me and my family. We were all seasick for days, Now, we are all happy to be here in America as Americans. I am sure you will be delighted with Philadelphia and the Pasquariellos. They are generous people.”

Before I can respond, I hear a lady calling out to Mr. Pasquariello asking to meet the young girl who just came in from Italia. The driver stops his horse and yells down to her, “Come see the beautiful young lady!”

She walks over and tells us she is so happy I got here safely.

“You will be happy with the Pasquariellos,” she says.

Mr. Pasquariello tells her, “We must get Geltrude home. She must be tired and hungry for some good food.”

I thank the lady for her kind words, and she leans into the wagon to kiss my cheek. “I will see you tomorrow at the celebration,” she says.

I wave to her and say goodbye, thinking, there will be a party for me tomorrow! PRH

86 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023

Strawbridge & Clothier From Our Family to Yours

New book commemorates iconic family-owned department store

From its flagship store on Market Street in the heart of Philadelphia, Strawbridge & Clothier strove to meet the needs of its customers for more than a century. The store was built on a foundation of integrity and character, and founders Justus Strawbridge and Isaac Clothier made sure that the customer was always right and the price just. Strawbridge’s later branched out to nearby New Jersey and Delaware in the mid- to late twentieth century, becoming one of the region’s largest employers. At the time of its sale in 1996, the retailer was the oldest department store in the country with continuous family ownership and management.

Author Margaret Strawbridge Butterworth charts the history of Philadelphia’s iconic Strawbridge & Clothier, including vivid stories from past employees as she invites readers to join the “Store Family.”

Philaelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier: From Our Family to Yours will be released on May 8th by the History Press. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 87

Finding the Cash

I’m sure that my first baseball coach, Charlie D’Amico, rests in peace. He was a hard-working father of about a dozen kids who held a full-time job as a truck driver and devoted most of his spare time to the Southwest Colts baseball team back in the late 50s. Charlie always stressed that it was important for a team to be and look “organized.” And we were. We had nice uniforms, “Louisville

Slugger” bats and “Spalding” or “Reach” brand baseballs. It goes without saying that a man who had the responsibility to feed all those hungry mouths back in those days had very little extra cash to spread around. He’d spring for water ice and soft pretzels after every victory and even though it came to about 25 cents a kid, it added up – especially the year we won 40 games, playing in two leagues! In the big picture, the team had to come up with the money to buy the uniforms

and equipment. Since we couldn’t expect Charlie to pay for everything and the rowhomes of Southwest Philly housed very few families of affluence, we had to find the money to pay for all these necessities.

Ergo, the annual neighborhood “Collection.”

It usually took place on a Friday evening in the late spring about a month before the season started. By then it was daylight savings time, and we officially had a few hours to charm our neighbors. About 10 teams of 2 guys each, all wearing our clean “SW Colts” uniforms, would be assigned several blocks


to knock on doors, smile and ask the people to part with a buck or so of their hard-earned money. If at all possible, the player’s own block would be part of his territory. This could be a double-edge sword. If you were the kind of kid who all the neighbors liked, you would do very well. But if you were a pest who caused trouble on your street, the most you’d get was a scowl and the door slammed in your youthful face.

I would usually be paired up with a kid from across the street. Our block had several guys on the team, so it was a pleasure going up and down our street and most neighbors were nice enough to give us something. It’s important to note that each block contained at least 50 homes, so by the time you finished your territory, you knocked on several hundred doors.

The whole Collection strategy was well thought out. They took place on Friday evenings because most of the fathers worked in the factories, usually GE or Westinghouse. The men were paid on Friday so after they cashed their checks, they had money in their pockets. We all dressed up in our uniforms because most of the ladies thought we were adorable, looking all spiffy and smiling when they opened the doors. Most of the kids did ok and most teams would contribute about $50 to the coffers. These guys made it a point to stay in their area and only solicit homes.

A few others would “take a walk on the wild side.”

After most of the kids handed in their money and darkness descended, a few daring lads would venture into a place that could possibly be a bust or a bonanza.

Eddie’s Café on the corner of 65th and Dicks Avenue was just

two blocks away from Charlie’s house. Eddie’s was the neighborhood watering hole where many men would venture to have a beer or two on a typical Friday night. If you walked in when they were in a bad mood or had a tough day at work, you might be booted out in 10 seconds. However, if the guys were in a celebratory mood, for whatever reason, you could hit the jackpot. I usually did okay at Eddie’s, 10 bucks or so, but there was one time that stands out in my mind and was the largest single contribution I ever received. About 8 o’clock, my buddy and I walked into the bar, and I immediately saw a guy who was laughing and whooping it up. As I perceived this to be friendly territory, I approached and learned that he had just found out that he hit the “daily number.” Of course, this contest was not sanctioned by the state of Pennsylvania. It was, instead, the enterprise of the local “bookie.” Nonetheless, the cash was still green, and the guy hit for several hundred. He was a pretty happy patron. By now, he had downed several bottles of Schmidt’s, a favorite Philadelphia beer of that time, and was a little wobbly but still upright in his stool. When I uttered my tagline, “Would you like to make a donation to the Southwest Colts baseball team?” He looked at me and said, “Oh yea. My son plays for the Bolts.”

Now, to this day, some 65 years later, for the life of me, I can’t ever remember a neighborhood team called the Bolts. Nor did I recall one at the time he uttered his answer to me. But I figured everyone is entitled to a slip of the tongue.

I thanked him for the 20-dollar bill and “bolted” out the door.

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

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 89


Life’s journey can take us many places. It did for me. A job transfer 20 years ago took me out of South Philly to another place – Columbus, Ohio. I left the roots of my South Philly neighborhood where I was born and raised. As the saying goes, “You can take the person out of South Philly, but you can’t take South Philly out of the person!” Moving away

never erased how I was brought up. I grew up in the typical South Philly row house and graduated from St. Monica’s and what was then Bishop Neumann High School in 1972 and 1976 respectively.

The connection to my hometown is no different from many others who share in this upbringing. I like to say that South Philly is in my DNA. For me, my ancestral roots start with my paternal (Santa Caterina dello Ionio – Calabria) and maternal (Comune di Biccari – Puglia) Italian immigrant grandparents who, more than 100 years ago, journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean and settled in South Philly to seek a better life.

Last November, I made a memorable journey - a homecoming of sorts - back to my South Philly roots. This visit was jam-packed with family, friends, and places/ events dear to my heart. As a thirdgeneration Italian American, I attended my first FILITALIA International Gala event that was held at the Overbrook Golf Club. Sure enough, here I am 500 miles away from Columbus, Ohio, and as fate has it, I meet my old next-door South Philly neighbor Alida and her daughter Silvana from 17th Street. It was a true sense of coming home, back to my South Philly roots for me and a wonderful time to see my neighbor and reflect on our “shared row home wall” experience.

My visit back to the old neighbor-

hood included time to catch up with family and friends. I met my two first cousins Thomas and Angelo for breakfast, who still live in Philly. I also made a stop to see my first cousin Patricia and her husband Joe who have resided in Packer Park for many years. I met up with my childhood friend of more than 50 years, Vince DiLorenzo, who is a long-time member of the Palizzi Social Club where we had dinner one evening. Vince’s family lineage is from Vasto, Abbruzzo, from where the original Italian members who formed the Palizzi Club emigrated. Vince’s family had a little restaurant called the “Dugout” across from Southern High School on Snyder Avenue.

However, the most eventful time of my visit was truly the book presentation my cousin Erick Lucera and I were able to hold at the History of Italian Immigration Museum (HIIM) on East Passyunk Avenue. This was the culmination of coming home to my dual roots – South Philly and ancestral. Erick had col-

laborated with our Italian relatives in our ancestral village of Comune di Biccari (Puglia) and wrote Birth of New Biccari in Philadelphia. The book is the story about those many early Italian immigrants, including my grandparents (Aniello & Elisa [Basile] Lucera), who settled in Philadelphia. Almost all those who attended the book presentation were descendants of relatives from Biccari who settled in Philadelphia. Afterwards, it was time to eat so we all headed to Popi’s Italian Restaurant for a late lunch.

A grateful thank you to my sister Elaine, family, friends, and those paesani at FILITALIA International/ HIIM for hosting our book presentation and making it a memorable homecoming. For me, having walked the ancestral village of my grandparents has enabled me to touch my Italian roots. It is so fitting to say that you should never forget where you come from. I have not and am so lucky to have dual roots – South Philly and those in the boot! PRH

FILITALIA International 35th Annual Gala Ball / Rich Leto, Silvana and her mom, Alida Mirarchi.

a Rich Man

Afew years ago, I was offered a scenario that would have brought a lot of money into my life. Don’t get me wrong, that would have been great. But from a very young age, I was raised and taught to appreciate what we had. Food on the table, clothes on my back and a roof over my head.

Now, when I say a lot of money, I mean “lifechanging” money. Yes, it was going to change my life significantly. I looked forward to it. Not only would it have changed my life, but it would have enabled me to make a difference in the lives of my family and friends. Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out. I know you are curious, but please don’t ask me what it was all about.

I always have believed that all things happen for a reason. I would have been able to do a lot of good for a lot of people, but that doesn’t mean I still can’t. Every

day, I share my Louieisms to add some humor to the lives of others. I like to think I’m always there for my kids and grandkids. I think if you asked them, they would say so, too. In my current job, I set up captioned phones and train the hearing impaired how to use them.

I am a South Philly Lion and I belong to the South Philly Business Association. I help the less fortunate when I can. This doesn’t make me a saint, but I try to live my life to the best of my ability.

I am rich because I am blessed with friends that I consider family, and family that loves me because of who I am, not because we are blood related. Being rich is not how much you have, but how much you give. Whether it be of your time or money or giving a part of you – your inspiration or your humor – to make others smile or laugh or feel good when they don’t think they can.

That is a special gift. I will never forget just how rich I am. PRH

April /May /June 2023 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | 91 John Ferullo 1636 S FRONT ST PHILADELPHIA, PA 19148 215-468-4116 www ferulloinsurance com LET’S TALK TODAY The Ferullo Insurance Agencies LLC has your best interests in mind AU TO | H O M E | B US I N E S S P rodu ct s u n de r writ te n by N atio nwid e M utu a l I n su r an ce C o mpa ny a n d Af fi liate d C o mpa n i e s H o m e O f fi ce: C o l u m b u s O H 432 1 5 L ife in su r an ce i s i s su e d by N atio nwid e L ife I n su r an ce C o mpa ny o r N atio nwid e L ife a n d An n u it y I n su r an ce C o mpa ny, C o l u m b u s , O h io N atio nwid e , N atio nwid e I s O n Yo u r Sid e , an d th e N atio nwid e N a n d E a gl e a re s e r vi ce m a r k s of N atio nwid e M utu a l I n su r an ce C o mpa ny ©2 02 0 N atio nwid e C P C- 0 43 5AO (0 9/ 17 ) 12 07 1 5 6 0 At th e Fe r ullo I n su ra n ce Ag e n cie s L LC it ’s n ot ju s t o u r jo b to h e lp g uid e yo u to a f utu re wo r th lo o kin g fo r wa rd to, it ’s o u r pa s sio n Th e way we se e it , p ut tin g yo u fi rs t m e a n s u n d e rs t an din g yo u r n e e d s an d m a kin g su re yo u g et cove ra g e at th e rig ht p rice 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
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Sonny Hopson

In the beginning of this year of 2023, Philadelphia lost one of its greatest Disc Jockeys. His name was imprinted into the minds, hearts, and souls of many of the youth’s memories of the 1960s to 1990s. Mr. Harold Sonny Hopson was known as “The Mighty Burner” to his fans.

popular because he would never stop the music. He would play one song and merge it with the next one without stopping the music. This was his style and creative art of playing hit after hit song on the radio.


Sonny became a permanent fixture at Woodard’s Barbershop, located at the corner of Bryn Mawr and Lebanon Avenues, in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia. Each time Sonny would enter Woodard’s Barbershop, he would bring a wealth of information about Philadelphia history from a musical perspective. His list was long. I can remember people like Will Smith, The Delfonics, The Intruders, Bunny Sigler, Cody Anderson, Kenny Gamble, Tom Bell and Linda Creed, Georgie Woods, Jocko Henderson, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, Carl Helm, E. Steven Collins, Joey Temple, Gary Shepherd, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin and the Temptations, just to name a few.

Sonny had a show on WHAT 1480 AM, a Radio Station that he was intricate in making famous. He was truly one of the “Legends of the Airwaves.” He became

Sonny became so famous that I recall when Muhammad Ali was a guest on WHAT. Ali, because of his religious beliefs, refused to take part in the Vietnam War. State after state revoked his boxing license after he was convicted of Draft Evasion. Sonny Hopson was the man who allowed Muhammad Ali to speak on his radio show. As a result, thousands of people showed up in Fairmount Park to tell the world of boxing – and people around the world – to give Muhammad Ali his license back so he could fight Joe Frazier.

That historical moment happened right here in Philadelphia because of Mr. Harold Sonny Hopson. Muhammad Ali was one of the greatest fighters of all time. However, he came to the greatest communicator of all time to help him get his boxing license back. And that’s a fact that will never be forgotten in the history of this city of Philadelphia and the rest of the world. May you rest in peace, Mr. Harold Sonny Hopson, “The Mighty Burner.” You will surely be missed.

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Team America

It’s time to Win!

Yikes! I can’t believe baseball is back! I’ve only recently stopped bemoaning the outcome of the World Series and I need a bit more time to work out the way the Super Bowl ended. All things considered, we had a pretty exciting run here in Philly despite the Union, Phillies and Eagles all lost in epic fashion. Superstitious me won’t be commenting on the upcoming Sixers playoffs as I’m not sure my heart can take much more of this. Living in a city that is known for its passionate fan base, we love our teams and love to hate our rivals even more. Sports, for many of us, is a deeply personal investment. It truly sucks when we have to watch the other team win, but sports aren’t life or death. It’s just entertainment.

The dictionary defines sports as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Sounds a lot like today’s politics, doesn’t it? I’m old enough to remember when Republicans and Democrats worked together based on an underlying belief that despite party loyalty, they worked for the people. Hard to believe that Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were confirmed almost unanimously from both sides of the aisle. Fast forward to the three-ring circus pretending to be Supreme Court nomination hearings and the recent results were quite divided. One Democrat voted to confirm Brett Kavanugh and three Republicans voted for Ketanji Brown Jackson. I would understand this result if we were asking Eagles fans to vote for a Dallas player, but US Senators aren’t supposed to act like green-faced Philly fans.

St. Monica School

Imagine how counterproductive it would be if the fitness trainers for our favorite sports team implemented workouts that utilized and focused solely on one side of an athlete’s body. How quickly do you think the organization would put up with that? Crazy to think about it, but in many ways, that’s exactly what’s been going on with our elected officials. Fueled by 24/7 television coverage that more closely resembles a sports-talk radio program than an impartial news report, we are more interested in cheering for our side and booing the opposition. I get it. It’s entertainment and it sells. Bloviating talk-show hosts get much higher ratings, make much more money and enjoy the brightest lights of fame. The issue is that most people don’t realize that it’s all just entertainment and they take the opinion from these superfan talk-show hosts as the gospel truth. I appreciate their passion, but where is the objectivity? Where is the truth? And most importantly, where are the referees to throw a flag when there’s a blatant foul?

As Americans, we shouldn’t be taking sides and rooting against each other. We should be seeking out representatives that represent the interests of we the people. One of the greatest players of all time once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Sure, there are going to be disagreements. That’s the point of a democracy. But if we are going to win, we need the offense and the defense to both play well. Everyone needs to be on the same page and learn to work together towards a common goal. Let’s go Sixers – let’s go Phils – let’s go America, time to win! . PRH


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Register today

To visit or register, call the Senior School Main Office at 215.467.5338

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Reverend Joseph Kelley

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of Our Past Committed to Our Future

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Networking Events


We’ve been going crazy for the last few months. It’s getting to the point where we live out of my car. Dawn hates my PT Cruiser. She said we look like the Baldwin sisters from Walton’s Mountain. If you’re too young to remember Walton’s Mountain, don’t worry about it. You probably wouldn’t get the humor anyway. As you can imagine, the cell phone rings. A lot. And we never have a pen around when we need one. Except for the hook & eye. That’s what we call this ugly gray pen with a huge metal hook at one end of it. The pen itself is half the size of a real pen and twice as fat. It’s the most ridiculous excuse for a writing implement we’ve ever seen. Strange thing about the hook & eye. Neither of us knows where it came from. My sister said it’s a bad omen. Some kind of jinx pen that pops up unexpectedly to keep us grounded. I figured she might be onto something. So, I tossed it into the recycling bucket outside her house. Adieu bad karma! The next morning, we left the coffee shop by 9 and headed for our 30-minute workout at Fast & Fit. Dawn doesn’t believe in turning the cell phone off for a halfhour while we exercise. She says it pumps her up to listen to her coat pocket ring 40 times as she wrestles with the gut buster machine. As we sweat our way back to the Cruiser, Dawn dials voice mail. Every day is Groundhog Day in the Cruiser. Dawn listens to the messages without a pen or paper in her hand. Her idea of efficient phone follow-up is shouting the names and numbers of the callers out to me to memorize while I drive us to our next appointment. ‘It’s a guy named Steve. He wants us to drop off ad rates. Before noon. Remember this number – 267.249.7863.’ Then she hits the erase button. Same routine for the next 20 calls, then she asks, ‘What was that guy Steve’s number?’ I shoot her the look. Followed by the speech. “Why can’t you get a pen and paper out BEFORE you listen to the messages? How do you expect me to remember names and phone numbers and drive the car at the same time?”

‘This car is ridiculous,’ she counters. ‘I don’t even have my own arm rest.’ Then she frantically searches the glove compartment, the cup holders, the door panels, for a pen. I’ll never forget the panicked look in her eyes when she reached under the seat and came up with the short, stubby pen with a metal clasp at the end. The hook & eye. ‘I thought you threw this in the trash.’ “I did,” I answered in a low, deliberate tone. “How did it get back in the car”? I asked. We each came up with a handful of possible explanations. Maybe there were two pens. ‘No, this is the same pen,’ she shot back. ‘I used the hook to pry the window open the other day. Remember? I was locked out. I scratched it up. See?’ We spent the rest of the day asking everyone about the hook & eye. No one knew what we were talking about. No one cared about the pudgy pen. Except Dawn. ‘You know. This pen has energy. Maybe

The Pen

someone is trying to give us a message. Maybe it’s Daddy. He knows how to get my attention.’ Great, I’m thinking to myself. She never paid attention to his advice when he was alive, why start now? “What could Daddy possibly be telling you with a pen?” I asked. ‘Maybe he wants us to be careful about things we sign,’ she answers. ‘Maybe he wants us to pay more attention to our surroundings.’ “Maybe he wants you to use a pen and paper to take messages,” I snap. “Maybe he thinks it’s a good idea to be prepared before you dial voice mail.” She shrugs her shoulders and dismisses me with one of those z-shaped waves through the air. Like Zorro without a sword. ‘That’s your problem,’ she barks. ‘You’re one of those non-believers.’ “Oh, no I’m not,” I holler back as we head to the car for our afternoon ad calls. “I believe the people we love are always with us. I just don’t think Daddy has anything to do with the hook & eye. If he had a message to deliver, he’d tell us through a dream.” ‘Daddy doesn’t work like that. He always did things his own way.’ Right, I answer. Like fix your car, last month? ‘Why is that so hard to believe?’ she asks in a stunned tone.

My father left Dawn his car – a 1994 Ford Taurus. We call it a “drive-by” because it looks and sounds like something that belongs in a bad neighborhood. But it has sentimental value and my sister refuses to give it up, no matter how much it costs in repairs. Last month, a piece of metal broke loose from under the car – making a deafening sound when Dawn started it up. She called her husband to report the problem. Mike is a service manager for BMW. Taurus. BMW. You get the picture. My sister thinks he can fix any car problem over the phone.

‘It’s time to junk it,’ he yells into the receiver. ‘I know it means a lot to you but it’s costing too much money.’ Dawn decided it was a good time to talk to my father about it. His divine intervention came only hours later when she got back into the car. No noise. No piece of metal dangling underneath. The problem, as she sees it, miraculously disappeared because my father wants her to keep the car in the family. Which brings me back to the hook & eye. Since it keeps finding its way back into the PT Cruiser, it can’t possibly be a jinx pen, Dawn reasons. It’s a special pen – our father’s way of keeping us organized. Way to go, Dad. Now, if you can figure out a way to write down the messages left on voice mail, we can use the pen for more practical purposes. Like fixing a flat or changing the oil. Anything but writing down phone numbers.

96 | ROWHOME MAGAZINE | April /May /June 2023
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To all of you who love to read the last page first, PRH takes a walk down memory lane with our readers’ top picks of their favorite PRESSED columns in honor of our upcoming 20th anniversary in Spring 2024!
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The Pen

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