It’s true that you didn’t have to come from South Philadelphia or be an ethnic Italian to win Sunday’s first-ever Red Gravy Cook-off, sponsored by the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association. But there’s no doubt those qualities helped give contestants an edge.
South Philadelphia Italians were making and enjoying red gravy well before anyone came up with the name “East Passyunk Crossing” for the neighborhood around 10th and Morris. So, even if they do occasionally spike their gravies with a secret ingredient or two, they hold firm to the belief that “red gravy has to taste a certain way,” explained Mark Squilla, the local councilman and South Philadelphia native who served as one of the competition judges.
The cook-off, attended by more than 80 people, brought a wide cross-section of East Passyunk residents to the cafeteria at Neumann Goretti High School to sample seven variations of the traditional gravy. There were newcomers sporting Buffalo plaid and significant facial hair, but also plenty folks who have eaten red gravy every Sunday of their lives.
On Friday, February 27th, six of the eight fabric panels were installed on the building. We are hoping the last two are put into place on Monday, March 2nd. This would complete Phase I of this exciting project.
Phase II would include the final panel being installed on the large window to the right of the main four. (see rendering here)
Phase III is still in the design process but will include other improvements to the building’s facade.
We still need your help!
Funds for the Phase II and III are still being raised. Help us clean up this prominent corner of our neighborhood. Donate here.
Is the candidate involved? For the members of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, Jim Kenney is pretty much the man. Joseph F. Marino, co-chair of the group’s board of directors, said Kenney — a now-former at-large city councilman — attended the group’s first community meeting nine years ago and has had a presence ever since. Marino noted that Kenney often stays in the background and allows the neighbors to make decisions, but Marino recalled that after the association’s first organizing meeting, Kenney approached him and said: “I like your style. You’re like a benevolent dictator.”
What the neighborhood wants from its next mayor: Marino said members of the civic association and neighbors have expressed their biggest concern, and it’s not all that unique: Education.
“I don’t think there’s a Philadelphian who’s not concerned about how our education system is working,” Marino said. “Everything from grade schools and librarians to higher degrees, colleges students, graduates and doctoral degree students.”
He added that neighborhood members are also of course concerned with crime rates, trash, recycling and streets — “the same issues every citizen is concerned about” — but educations falls highest on that list.
Last week EPX happily provided letters of support for two finalists in the Knight Foundation’s “Knight Cities Challenge.” The finalists proposed projects for two significant sites at 9th and Mifflin Streets.
Landscape architecture firm OLIN proposes “The Glass Schoolhouse Project” to reinvent Southwark Elementary School into a “multiuse community center including co-working facilities, makerspaces and recreation.” This project could serve as a model for other city schools. OLIN is currently completing work on a master plan for the transformation of the Southwark schoolyard.
Just across Mifflin Street, Scout Ltd. proposes to transform the vacant space around the former Bok Technical School into a “new community living room that brings community members together, encourages connections and engages people with neighborhood history.”
Winners be announced before April 1st and will share a portion of $5 million. The Knight Foundation “supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.”
Here’s hoping BOTH of these potentially transformative projects receive funding!
Additional information on the Knight Cities Challenge can be found here.