Parade of Chariots

imageIf you didn’t know what was happening, you still could have easily stumbled upon a grand festival held in front of the art Museum and been a apart of something unique and special to Philadelphia. The Parade of Chariots featured beautiful singing, vibrant attire, and free food, There were rows of merchants selling everything from books, to jewelry, to traditional Indian clothing. They gave out information about the festival, the Hare Krishna organization and were some of the friendliest people you might’ve ever met.image
The chariot floats were gargantuan, with wheels just over 5 feet tall, draped in decorative flowers, balloons, and awnings. A very interesting sight to see if you’ve never been apart of the Indian festival. The presentations were elaborate. The atmosphere was full of love, joy and celebration. We could all use more of that in our day to day lives. Philadelphia is known as a tough, underdog, Rocky Balboa town, and this bit of an abstract-all inclusive culture was the perfect amount of harmony, fun, and discovery for a sunny Saturday.image
Directly in front of the Art museum was a college festival, so the entire areas was filled with people happy to be outside, getting involved and interacting with each other. Mingling has nearly become a lost art as some would rather “poke” and “like” instead of be somewhere and participate. The events were free, everyone was welcome and there was something to do at every booth, and every turn.
Our place in Brewerytown is such a desired area because of things like this – it’s close proximity to the parkway where you can have an Indian Festival, a Made In America Tour, a Fourth of July concert and so much more. Take advantage of all the beautiful things outside, you’ll easily find something to do on a nice day. In all honesty, even I stumbled upon the celebration while biking to the UPS store. There was certainly something magnetic about the festival going on.image
Brewerytown has become a great place to live, to party, and to meet people from interesting cultures. All the cool stuff comes here. And if it hasn’t already, it will- because we, as the citizens of Brewerytown are striving to make this the cleanest, coolest, and most desirable place to live in the city.

Greater Brewerytown CDC

imageThe Greater Brewerytown Community Development Corporation is located on the corner of 30th and Master Streets. If you haven’t heard about it, then maybe it’s time you get acquainted with this resource that is at your disposal. There are monthly meetings, which are open to residents, and a need for new participants. The CDC provides an open forum for ideas and the sharing of information amongst community members. Charles Holliday is the point man and mouth piece for the Brewerytown CDC. He’s a go-getter, who’s spent many years living in Brewerytown.

imageThe CDC offers a range of programs, including a technology lab that is excellent for job seekers. There are 25 stations within the computer lab, just don’t waste your time playing Minecraft all day. Members of the CDC are on hand to teach you the basics of email, web research, and how to navigate Windows software and use Microsoft office. It may come as a shock to the incredibly tech savvy generation, but these are essential skills that many job candidates lack. The value of learning to use this technology can make a huge difference in the lives of those who grew up without a computer at home.

There are also youth sports teams, winter basketball and spring baseball. Children often need a reason to get out of the house, away from television, and engage in a social and physical environment. It’s a healthy way to instill the values of teamwork and sportsmanship. Athletics builds resiliency and character; you may win some, and you may lose some, but you have to keep on trying.

Additionally, the Brewerytown CDC coordinates a youth chess club, and a youth advisory council for studious and academically inclined children. This is a great way to encourage advanced learning and critical thinking; empowering youth to plan and organize events for their peers, and experience what it’s like for these plans to come together. Cultivating young leadership in a structured environment provides freedom and agency, while nurturing the qualities necessary to succeed at life’s challenges. Your little tyke could learn quickly how to get her way even more effectively-which may be annoying but will surely make you proud when she runs for state representative. The CDC nurtures the possibilities in these children, encourages them and provides a platform for them to grow in these areas.

imagePreviously the CDC offered Zumba and line dancing classes. Should interest increase, and volunteers be willing to coordinate, these offerings can be expanded. Health and fitness is a focus of the CDC, and our community. When you feel good, you look good, and you shine your light onto the world. Everyone is welcome to attend and the fee is nominal. Contact the CDC for the current class schedule, and to learn more about available health and wellness offerings.  Call the CDC at (215) 769-5220 or you can find them on Facebook by searching: Greater Brewerytown CDC

The Greater Brewerytown Community Development Corporation is a hub for excellent communal activities. Comeimage share your voice, give of your time, and add your own flavor to the mix of ideas being considered and events being offered. Everyone is encouraged to participate. It’s our community, come and enjoy the many resources at our disposal. The next monthly community meeting is October 9th, at 6:30 pm. I hope to see you there.

#Brewerytown Community Garden

 

imageDo you like playing in the dirt? If you’ve got the desire to grow your own vegetables, if you think worms are cool, and if you want to show off your green thumb to your friends over the salad you prepared with the ingredients you’ve grown then you should be a part of the Brewerytown Community Garden.

No, life isn’t about lording your accomplishments over your neighbors, but there is a special feeling that comes from reaping the rewards of your own labor. Not many people get to grow their own food or even know the effort it would take.

imageYour great grandparents could probably grow their own food, sew their own clothes, and cobble their own shoes if necessary. I’m willing to bet your old grand dad could even kill his own lunch. Ah, the good old days. Of course, things have been made easier by the advancement of technology. Buying your steak is preferable to slaughtering animals on your own. I enjoy the simplicity of walking to the deli and placing an order. I speak only for myself as I do have some friends who love nothing more than sitting in a tree for hours with a bow and arrow, waiting for the perfect shot. That’s too brutal for my tastes.

Enough of the meats, there’s not a community meat market at least not yet. (There’s a free idea) The community garden is a place where you can buy a plot, grow your vegetables and reap your harvest when the season is right. There are plenty of plots left that can be purchased for about $60, depending on the time of the season. If you start late, you can probably get a discount. If you start early which is highly suggested, you will probably get a bountiful harvest.

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Eddie, the grounds keeper is a great guy. You can reach him by cell or email at 267.266.4003 or farmereddie215@gmail.com. Eddie knows exactly what crops you’ll need, and if you’re busy but still want to be a part of the gardening magic, like I do, he will even give yo updates and tend to your garden. Donations are highly recommended as he does this service free of charge. Sounds like a good deal to me. I tip my bartender heavy, even if all he does is pour my beer into a glass.

The Garden is hard to miss as it takes up most of the corner of 27th and Master streets and has a giant mural as it’s backdrop.image

You can plant nearly anything, beets, carrots, lettuce, turnips, cabbage (my personal favorite), garlic; if it comes from the ground you can grow it. This is a great time to have your own organic produce fresh from your community garden for consumption. It will save you money, and fulfill that need for creating something all your own, we all have that need. It also helps the environment and beautifies the neighborhood. Eddie suggests finding a farmers almanac and seeing what crops you can grow immediately. Then, in the spring, you can consult your almanac and start allover again.image
Community gardens create a sense of community ownership, build communal identity, and are one of many unique things that make Brewerytown great. Gardens bring peope together and should you visit, you’ll see plots assigned to people from all backgrounds and cultures.

Come down to 27th and Master, meet your neighbors, and see the bounty that’s in store in your own back yard.

Are you down dog?

imageIf you haven’t yet tried it, maybe it’s time to check out what’s going down, dog. Yoga! And it’s becoming more and more popular. There’s a reason for that, actually there are as many reasons as there are poses. I’ll try to go over a few, some of the more public reasons, and maybe some of the personal.

For one thing, yoga is basically an exercise that is low impact on the joints, focuses on clearing the mind, often has a meditative element to it, and is typically full of beautiful people. We’re all beautiful, and that positive energy is encouraged in the yoga studio more than any other place you may go to break out into a hot sweat.

B-town’s got a yoga scene! It may be subtle, but it can be found and if you’re looking to practice heavily or just learning a few basic poses, you can find your enlightenment in a few places not too far from all the other wonderful small businesses popping up around this special area.

Yoga improves flexibility, brings strength to your core, helps you find balance and promotes a peaceful and calm state of awareness. Some of these benefits will spill over into other areas of your life. Practicing a vigorous physical activity while bringing your mind to a calm state can bring value to your relationships at home, and at work, as you will learn to keep your head about you when everyone else is losing theirs.

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imageSo, where do you go to get all this cosmic goodness?
Try Wake Up Yoga on 2329 Parrish street
215.235.1228 Wakeupyoga.com
Alane is one of the nicest people you will meet there and will help you find the best classes to join. Make sure you grab a monthly schedule, and show up a few minutes early.

There are morning and afternoon classes nearly everyday so it should be easy to find the right one to fit your time schedule and the level which you are comfortable. WakeUpYoga offers a lot of classes from prenatal yoga, classes where you can bring your children, the “Mommy and Me” class, and my personal favourite, Kundalini yoga. In my experience, it has been a practice a bit more intense than beginner level yoga, and has powerful poses involving the spine with concentrated breathing. I always come out of the class feeling like I can take on the world.

Perhaps you will to. Or, if you take a more passive approach and need to mellow out, you can find that space in your practice as well. Yoga is the type of practice that can give you both the eye of the tiger, and the peace of mind you will need to survive in our dog eat dog world. Because “You don’t see the world as it is, you see it as you are.” -Krishna Saagar That’s because yoga actually aims to enlighten the individual through the physical practice as well. Don’t forget to breathe deeply, focus on all the things that bring you joy, and feel the abundance of love all around you. You’ll find your center, this will be your new default setting. A happy, beautiful, wondrous place, in you and all around you. Namaste.image

#BrewerytownisBooming

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What does that mean exactly? First thing, is to describe what it is not. It is not a trend, it is not a fad. It is not a viral tagline. It is an awakening of motivated, beautiful people living together to make a stronger community today than what existed yesterday. It’s the fruition of our great imagination of what is possible- a neighborhood unified, rich with life, value, compassion and creativity.

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Booming means new stores, new homes, and new life. Throwout any notions of an empty slogan. It’s a value placed upon every citizen of Brewerytown to look out for each other when we can. There’s a value placed upon the very streets we walk on, to keep them clean so that children can play in a part of the city that’s not flooded with trash. It’s about the value on the local businesses we support and the lifestyles we create just by virtue of being a tight knit community. Philly might be big and crowded like most East-coast metropolis, but this part of town, is what we claim as our own, and it’s also where we harness the power to transform the way we live in it.

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Booming is when we see value in each other, from Millenials, to Baby Boomers. Booming is making good deals, forming good partnerships, creating a new alliance. Booming is raising our children as a village, no, a community. Booming is never going back to any unproductive old ways, old habits, or drift, or neglect. Brewerytown is a reason to have pride when someone asks you, “Is that North Philadelphia?” You bet your suburb, it is!

Look all around you at the many ways Brewerytown is booming. We can also create a great initiative to keep brewerytown booming by focusing on all the things we love about b-town and where we live. This community belongs to us all and we should take great pride in residing here. Many people already know it, but many more are due to find out. hashtag #brewerytownisbooming when you see or are reminded of the many ways our community is growing in a positive direction.

The power to create a community initiative is in our hands, if we should we try and tackle issues as large and perplexing as poverty, growing community gardens, healthy eating, the importance of exercise or the continuing revitalization of our neighborhood, we have the power to do so within us. Brewerytown is booming because we want it to, and we want to see it flourish indefinitely.image

 

 

 

 

The Rise Of Craft and Micro Brews

imageWhat do you know about craft and micro-brews or what do you think you know?  Chances are that your knowledge is limited.  That’s cool though, no judgment here, but allow me to introduce you to a place and a time where that would not exist.  Boring, bland, innocuous flavors produced by the great three manufacturers are not going to be found in this place, and they are not really the desirable choice to be truthful.  Some people will hold on to the same old relics forever until both they and their precious items disintegrate into the ether from which they came.  Your grandfather might not be able to part with his Old Milwaukee but you and I know that beer has come a long way from its water based, bland appeal to something you can actually enjoy in the first sip.  Behold, the rise in the popularity of craft and microbreweries.  With no offense to Old Milwaukee and your pop-pop.

 

RyBrew is a place where beer comes in a variety of styles, flavors, and goes through a process to be delivered to your glass as intricate as a fine chef’s preparation of a great meal.  Their sandwiches are also of a great variety and extremely delicious.

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Supporting your local brewery is a good move because you’re helping your community with the stuff that ties you all together in the first place.  Seriously, beer is proof that god loves us.  Ben Franklin knows it, and i’m sure he wouldn’t steer you wrong, although I can’t claim to know him personally.  Social problems that could be resolved, are commonly discussed over a beer…or two.  Even as far back as the beginning of the colonization of America, our founding fathers met in bars and other, more strange places.  Clinking pints, discussing the future, the issues of the day and the ideas that would deliver the promise of a Nation of Freedom.

 

When we identify with specific products that we like to call our own, we also incorporate that product as a part of our identity.  People no longer want to be associated with what is cheap and common.  And if they do, go ahead and help yourself to some more of that Old Milwaukee.  But the future belongs to the bold, and the ones who dare to stand out among the rest.  Our choice in products from the socks that we don and even to the beer we drink, is a reflection of our individuality and strength of character.

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Do yourself a favor and find out what good beer actually tastes like if you haven’t already.  The staff at RyBrew are so knowledgeable and could suggest one of their hundreds of selections to fit your individual tastes.  IPAs, Lagers, Wheat beers, and Spices line the racks of the refrigerator galore.  As variety is the spice of life and if “Beer is proof that God loves us”, as told by Benjamin Franklin; it stands to reason that RyBrew is an actual little piece of heaven here on earth.

Are You Forged of Steel?

Strength, power, agility, looking good naked, all of these are the things that most of us desire.  We all want to be the best version of ourselves.  Our culture glorifies athletes for their amazing ability and talents.  We fawn over their physiques, and marvel at their accomplishments.  But if we ever dreamed of making their everyday life even a fragment of our reality, we must first muster the gumption to get off the couch and take action.

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You no longer have to dream about finding the right path to physical fitness or athletic ability.  You can work toward your ideals with the right regimen, and the support of encouraging participants and knowledgeable personnel.

SteelWorks Crossfit provides the perfect atmosphere for winning at health and wellness.  During my meeting with Brian Terpak, owner and founder of SteelWorks CrossFit, I was introduced to a bold and comprehensive athletic training philosophy. You’ll have the opportunity to see for yourself when SteelWorks CrossFit moves to Brewerytown in September. Look for them at 2601 Girard Avenue!

Whether you are reconnecting with your fitness goals, just beginning to focus on health and wellness, or an ultra-fit gym pro, SteelWorks CrossFit can help you maximize your potential.CrossFit has the wide appeal providing everyday people the opportunity to get a great workout, and push themselves to the limit in a communal environment.

SteelWorks offers Group fitness Classes, Olympic Weightlifting Instruction,Personal  training, Nutritional Counseling, and Tailored Training programs to accentuate your fitness capabilities.

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Brian preaches the gospel of the old school strength and conditioning program, focusing on the exact combination of exercises to maximize your athletic potential.  He can prepare you for that 10k, or help you compete for the title of World’s Strongest Man; if you are willing to put yourself through such hell.

 

Brian, a former high school teacher, first began teaching CrossFit to kids in his high school cafeteria.  A lifelong athlete, his fascination with physiology and exercise science continues as he constantly learns new methods and techniques to bring the most value to his clients. When Brian starts instructing, you know you are in good hands.  His passion exudes when he expresses himself, and you want to be the student of the passionate teacher.  His certifications are broad and he is constantly learning how to bring the most value to his students.
More than just a gym, Steelworks CrossFit aims to be a supportive center for the community, offering a personal touch that is hard to come by at larger franchise fitness centers.

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Brewerytown Living readers can receive a discounted training package  To learn more, call434.770.6675 or email Brian@steelworkscrossfit.com .

 

Get inspired at 2940 Thompson Street

imageAny artist fully understands the need for space, and the restrictions that come along with not having enough of it.  For instance, without an art studio, it would be kind of hard to reach your dreams of becoming an influential visual artist.  Where are you going to store your paintings, brushes, and all your ambition?  Your parent’s attic may not suffice, the basement is likely too damp, and you’re running out of space in your bedroom.

 

Residents, and even visitors of Brewerytown, know a great deal when they see one.  2940 Thompson Street has the amenities necessary to aid you in your journey, facilitating the creative process without worry and limitations.

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Fear No Ice makes its home on Thompson Street.  Renowned live ice sculpting performance artist, PeterSlavin, has been turning ice into works of art for more than a decade.  Check out some of his work here, at fearnoice.com.   Slavin has garnered national attention, and operates one of several studios out of Brewerytown.  If you’re interested in throwing an amazing party…with ice, contact Fear No Ice for an incredible live display.

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Icy Signs also occupies space on Thompson Street, with a portfolio so large it’s likely you’ve already seen their work.  Erected over large buildings, along the el train stops in West Philadelphia, Icy Signs’ large format artwork is visible for all to see—which is what makes itso hot.  Integral to Brewerytown’s creative hub, Icy Sings is the visual force behind many of the signs you see in Brewerytown, and throughout the city. By giving each design an authentic and unique look and feel, the Icy Signs crew is reviving the lost art form of custom signage that sets great cities apart.

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The Districts are a rock band that you may not have heard of yet, but just give it time and they’ll be the next Black Keys.  What?  You don’t know the Black Keys?  Shame on you!  Well, even if their genre is not your forte, believe me when I say that they are a solid group of young musicians with a bright future ahead.  And Rolling Stone agrees, describing their EP as, “impressive” and “imaginative.”Judge for yourself http://thedistricts.bandcamp.com and read more of Rolling Stone’s review here, F.http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/the-districts-are-set-to-go-national-ep-premiere-20140123

 

As these artists have already figured out, Brewerytown’s Thompson Street is the place to be to chase your creative pursuits.

Can art add to your quality of life?

Can art add to your quality of life?  I suppose it matters the quality of the art, and what it means or how it speaks to you.  What it reminds you of, and where it takes you once you’ve been exposed to it.  Was it made in the spirit of love or joy?  Was it thrown together in haste and despair?  This could be the difference between aggressive graffiti, and the lovely murals and visual arts pieces we enjoy in Brewerytown and throughout Philadelphia.  Good art can improve a community’s quality of life as a whole.  When you are looking to have a community with a high quality of life, there need to be high-quality, low-cost, fun things for people to do.  Events as simple as painting a wall, making a mural, are the types of small things that get people active and involved and unifies us as a community. image

Philly is known for a lot of beautiful and awesome things.  Food? We’ve got tons of food, across cultures, all the steak and cheese, soft pretzels, and Italian ices you could ask for.  Our rich history includes but is not limited to the Liberty Bell, which signifies our city as the birthplace of freedom and the US Constitution.  In fact the the entire city is a place of historical reference and happenings, which most people already know.  What we have that often slips under the radar, but also adds to the quality of life in Brewerytown, and beautifies our atmosphere, are murals and visual art pieces.  The walls in our little part of the city are covered in painted artwork often depicting a story, or message, with an array of colors, and textures that appeal to the eye, stimulate the senses and captivate the mind.  And that’s what art is supposed to do, right?  Brewerytown’s rich culture, and history is found in the many murals painted by  artists who lend their talents to organizations like the Mural Arts Program.

imageThere are many different factors which, added together make living in Brewerytown special.  One of which is the budding arts “scene” embraced and cultivated by the young  residents who love B-town so much.  With the influx of creative professionals, and the legacy of residents who have been living in Brewerytown all their lives; the landscape in which we live has become a canvas for self-expression to the benefit of our community.  Brewerytown is no square plain place, with square plain people, ideas, or outlets.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that….or the burbs, but this just isn’t it.)  Brewerytown is a constantly growing, evolving, colorful part of town that is alive, awake and aware of its maturation in to something increasingly beautiful.  We, the residents, and the people who come to visit, are the ones who make it so.   And evidence of our human spirit is in the artwork.image

Murals help to set the scene for parks, gardens, and gatherings.  They go hand in hand with block parties, barbecue’s, and fireworks.  Murals are the background  pieces to the story of our lives;  the grand play in which we all have a role, however substantial or infinitesimal.  Often, murals  are  as beautiful as nature herself and, when we appreciate our surroundings, it sets the stage for creating more of what we already love about this part of town.

imageSince its bginnings, the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program has created, over 3000 murals city-wide and removed unwanted graffiti from over 40,000 walls.  This explosion of artwork captures the essence of beauty, inspires hope, and facilitates change through its existence and its message.  Murals are literally  a sign that a place is vibrant, cool, and on the cusp of something extraordinary.  Yup, that’s b-town.

The Legend In Our Backyard : Coltrane

imageThese are a few of my favorite things; when you realize your sitting on a musical,  cultural, and historical goldmine.  It doesn’t always happen but if you’re into jazz and you live in Philadelphia; if you’re in Brewerytown, or thinking of visiting or moving, then you may relate to the uniqueness of John Coltrane’s house being located just yards away from Fairmount park.  For those who do not know of Coltrane or the legacy he’s left behind in the realm of “Big Jazz” then hopefully you will be happy to get a brief summary on the man, the myth, and the legend.

Coltrane was not born in Philadelphia as much as we’d like to claim him as our own born and bred son, but he came here to learn under the tutelage of Leo Ornstein at  Granoff Studios.  Out of which were some pretty magnificent artist, notably Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Fortune, and of course the one and only John Coltrane.

Coltrane’s house, where he honed his craft in Philadelphia, has been notably in disrepair but that doesn’t mean it’simage past the brink of revitalization. Like the surrounding community that’s experiencing a surge of vibrancy and life all around, so too will the Coltrane’s house likely be restored to it’s glory and perhaps then some.    Jazz was such a cutting edge art form that it was once considered taboo or too sexy to play in the presence of your straight laced parents.  It passes for meditation now-a-days and with the music that plays on the popular radio stations now; jazz is definitely a welcomed alternative to what most parents are introduced to by their children.

Coltrane was one of the great pioneers of the art form and while there are little traces of his existence in Philadelphia where he stayed and learned to become the musical great that he his; among music heads, people who love jazz and even people who just skim the surface of what jazz is about; the name Coltrane serves to invoke some nostalgic reaction to a time where music was much more expressive,  orchestrated and was the culmination and syncopation of numerous artists all at once.  That’s what jazz music is, and it is still alive to this day in certain areas throughout the city.  John Coltrane’s house is more like imagethe mecca where people could pay homage to a legend, and discover the conditions for which something so beautiful could spring out of conditions that were once so harsh.

As times are changing and there is new light being brought to Brewerytown, one could only imagine the possibilities and heights one John Coltrane could’ve attained had he been living in Philadelphia in this day and age.  Perhaps he’s reincarnated in one of our youth who only has to discover the rich history that’s right in his or her own backyard that would launch them into the stratosphere of legendary stardom.  But, I could be considered a bit of a dreamer as well.  It’s up to us, the citizens and the community of Brewery town to facilitate the needs of our artists and perhaps encourage them so that they may one day discover the greatness that lies within.  As we collectively appreciate this historic monument, we also by default encourage and inspire many John Coltranes to come both from, and through our neck of the woods.image

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