Things are looking up! Paint the Cresheim Bridge! Open Call for Artists


Cresheim railroad bridge mural arts philadelphia

Before a couple dozen community members at the newly renovated Lovett Library this past Monday evening, Cathy Harris of Philadelphia Mural Arts issues a call for artists to design a mural for the rusted abandoned railway trestle over Germantown Avenue below Cresheim Valley Drive. First envisioned fifteen years ago, the project is being relaunched now that the City of Philadelphia is acquiring the former Pennsylvania Railroad trestle from PECO. Brad Maule of Mt Airy USA, a project partner, provided historical information on the structure and Mural Arts founder Jane Golden encouraged attendees to "spread the word" to artists to answer the "Call for Submissions." The Deadline for submissions is April 13, 2018. Your correspondent has posted a PDF of the "Cresheim Trail Mural Project Call for Submissions" here until it becomes available online from the collaborative which also includes the Trolley Car Diner, Friends of the Cresheim Trail (FoCT), Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Chestnut Hill Rotary, the Mount Airy Learning Tree and ChestnutHIllPa. The abandoned railroad is being converted to a trail linking Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill with Springfield Township. See reporter Sue Ann Rybak's coverage in the January 18, 2018 Chestnut Hill Local The mural’s completion is intended to coincide with the opening of the extension to the existing trail which begins at Allens Lane and Lincoln Drive. In June the public is welcomed to vote "in several community locations" to choose a winner from among a handful of proposals narrowed down by Mural Arts. After the meeting, I approached Sam Hanna who had been intently taking notes during the presentations. As a business account manager for the Center for Employment Opportunities, Hanna planned to relay what he had learned to a client. While in prison for twenty years, that client began to do art. And after getting out last year at the time of the Monday evening meeting, was at a job he had just started. Things are looking up.

(In the photo left to right -standing:  Brad Maule of Mt Airy USA, Jane Golden and Cathy Harris of Mural Arts Philadelphia, seated 2nd from left- Sam Hanna of CEO and Judy Weinstein of MALT)

Video of public meeting by  Mural Arts collaborative in call for artists to submit design for old rusty railroad bridge in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia.

Octegenarian trash picks large mattress, enlists help

Trash picking elder artist
81 year old ​Fiametta Rubin had been sleeping scrunched on a "horrible little mattress” when, on a recent morning walk along Evergreen Avenue, she came across a large plastic-wrapped mattress leaning up against a meter left out for trash pickup. As she tells it, a tall athletic looking man was getting out of a car and after quickly sizing him up she decided to ask him if he could help her move the mattress to her apartment down the street. He looked at her, paused, then told her to stand guard over the mattress while he went for help. Meanwhile she stood in the cold wondering if she was crazy or he was crazy or they both were. The accompanying video reveals why she was sleeping on a horrible little mattress, why the big mattress was put in the trash, how it is now serving as a bulletin board in her apartment, why she's not going to keep it, and what else she just trash-picked. Watch video of trash picking senior here.

Vet with PTSD dog carries flag on solo walk for fallen comrades

Vet walks for fallen comrades

Watch video interview of Iraq war vet on long solo Memorial Day walk with PTSD dog. On Memorial Day, Iraq war vet Bobby Caroselli, gears up and takes a trek to commemorate his 28 fallen battalion comrades until he can walk no further. One arm and shoulder cradle the pole upon which a large American flag is hoisted while the other hand firmly holds the harness of his PTSD German Shepherd, "Corporal." He is outfitted in a camouflage flak vest, as is his dog, and his backpack bears the names of his fallen mates. He served in the army infantry during the 2007 surge and, only 19 at the time, he says he grew up fast. When asked about his combat experience he relates only that he had "seen enough." He remembers his buddies fondly and, recalling their humor and imaginative pranks, a smile comes over his face. Your correspondent struck up a conversation with Caroselli after he had paused near the war memorial atop the Water Tower Recreation Center fields. He and Corporal then resumed their solitary Memorial day march under gray, drizzly skies, the red and white striped flag flapping and snapping smartly behind.

She wrangles millipedes and beetles

A thousand little legs locomote along the slender hands of an Academy of Natural Sciences educator.  Her painted fingernails are brown and shiny just like the six-inch-long and pinky-wide African chocolate millipede snaking around her fingers.  She has seen even larger ones crawling up mango trees in Puerto Rico. She trades off the millipede for two black darkling beetles, a striped and a stripeless, native to arid regions of the southwest United States. These grew up at the Academy, she explains, as she fondly strokes their backs. Watch video here.

Collapse attorney's tire collapsed by pothole

Driving my daughter from Chestnut Hill to her job in Roxborough Saturday morning, we passed a man making his way on foot down the steep and treacherously narrow, icy shoulder of Bells Mill Road. When I again passed him on my return trip twenty minutes later, now on his ascent from Forbidden Drive, I had to offer him a lift. Robert Mongeluzzi’s car tire had been flattened by a pothole the day before and, after spending the night in Chestnut Hill, he was hoping to somehow connect with a bus and make it to his home in Merion Station. He offered to top off my gas tank as thanks but I settled for the story of his work as a trial attorney representing victims and families of the Market Street Salvation Army building collapse and other, similarly notorious and catastrophic incidents.

Watch video interview here.

"Royal" pets get to romp in Wissahickon Park

cu dog walking

The dogs being served by Queenies Pets service ("Treating Your Pets Like Royalty") love romping around the Wissahickon Park (offleash) and swimming in the creek, reports Tim Abrams whom I encountered dropping off home a neighbor’s dog and ushering two others into his car after their outing. Abrams has a full schedule and just yesterday had five compatible dogs on an outing at one time. In addition to excursions in the park, Abrams manages doggie play dates in clients’ back yards.

Watch video interview here.

Read article by Queenies Pets owner Adina Silberstein

Laying concrete sidewalk

Sawcutting  the sidewal

Watch video interview here.

In Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, where many sidewalks become buckled or broken because of large tree roots , Bill Hackett of Husky Masonry, Perkiomenville, PA sawcuts a seam in old sidewalk blocks that he is preparing to replace with "3/4 inch two bit" concrete aggregate. This modern blend is preferable to mixtures with round stones or cinders used in earlier times because they tended to break up more easily. To give the newly laid concrete an aged look so it blends in with the older adjoining sidewalk blocks, he sprinkles powdered dirt, which he has taken the extra measure of sifting more finely, onto the newly poured concrete. The biggest challenge of the work, Hackett jokes, is not getting hit by cars.

Can do wheelies on his wheelchair


Jim Leonard combats the debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis with the assist of an advanced mobility vehicle. No glorified “seat with wheels” Leonard’s device can zip through a mall at 6 miles per hour, recline him horizontally to relieve pressure or elevate him so he can reach the microwave in his kitchen or stir a pot. While waiting to be seated for breakfast at Mainely Meat in Bar Harbor, Maine, Leonard stopped short of demonstrating the 360 degree wheelies he can do with his sophisticated chair. Watch video here.

Affectionate macaw talks

Macaw kisses

Yertle's almost eight and a half. She's a green winged macaw. She's been with us since she's been 3 months old. And she is able to say, "I love you", "banana", "How are you?", "Take me out", "Help me!" WHAT DOES SHE UNDERSTAND? Everything. She does not like her harness. She puts up a fight to get in her harness but we have to because she'll fly away. So she fights until we get it on and then she's happy to come out. Right, Yertle? DOES SHE GET A CHANCE TO FLY EVER? Oh, she flies around the room in the house. She's pretty good at it. Normally most people keep the wings clipped. We let her fly in the room because it's good exercise for them. And she gives good kisses. C'mon, give me a kiss. WHERE IS SHE NATIVE TO? Florida. You can't bring birds in from Costa Rica or any other place anymore. SHE WAS BORN AND BRED IN FLORIDA? Yes, she came up as a kind of a blob to a bird store in New Jersey and when we saw her she was three months old. Her feet weren't strong enough to hold on to a perch yet so she slept laying down on the bottom of the cage. She was so cute sleeping on the bottom of the cage, that's why Sari (Sari's her real owner) fell in love with her. Say hello to the nice man. Yurtle: "Hello." Well that was a good start. She also says "Hi" And when the phone rings she says, "Hello! Hello!" In Mount Airy, Ruth Hoxsie with Yertle Ann Yentele, a green winged macaw, who earned the name "Yentele" because she'll repeat anything she hears. Watch video here.

House hunting on the Hill

Prudential, Fox and Roach realtor Pam Thistle shows houses to prospective buyers Dabravka and Moritz Ritter who are attracted to the Hill's Avenue, shops, trains and not "too suburban" feel.



Moritz Ritter: We live in center city and we are looking for 3, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, quiet street…

Dabravka Ritter:..close to the transportation.

Pam Thistle:  … because they have no car, nice walkable location


MR: Oh, we like it up here! We’re looking for something that doesn’t have too suburban a feel [laughter]DR: Germantown Avenue’s a plus, the shops and the trains


MR: Yes some things we’ll think about.PT: Just starting out, getting a feel for the neighborhood. DR: First trip.

Dabravaka and Moritz Ritter with Prudential, Fox and Roach realtor Pam Thistle.

Watch video here.