Keeping Pastorius Park in good shape

The trees in Pastorius Park are probably the biggest asset that we have, and thanks to your continued support, we have just finished a large tree pruning operation. A local tree service spent about two weeks clearing dead wood and sprucing up dozens of our beautiful trees. We also treat the hemlocks every year to keep the woolly adelgid at bay, and it has helped dramatically over the years.

We have a few board members who work tirelessly at keeping our pumps maintained (on a daily basis) in the pond. We also treat the pone with an enzyme that is eco-friendly and helps promote fish and healthy plant life while keeping the algae at a minimum. It is harmless to humans and animals alike. We are also working closely with The Department of Parks and Recreation to handle water runoff coming from the corner of Roanoke Street and Hartwell Lane.

We can only achieve our goals with the assistance of generous donations from members of our community. Without these donations we could not do the work we do. Please consider making a gift to the Friends of Pastorius Park before long. We thank you for your continued support.

Peter O’Connor, President 

Friends of Pastorius Park

P.O. Box 27158

Phila., PA 19118


Hill is getting less friendly

This cannot be considered pleasant news for the new year of 2015 that is just about to arrive.  But, it is true: The old, friendly Hill of yesterday has become the new unfriendly Hill of today.

Consider the problem of parking your car on the Hill. Two more businesses on the Hill, a restaurant and  a men’s’ clothing store, have embraced the practice of having reserved parking spots for their customers. And this time there is the admonition  that “others will be towed away”.

Then there is the problem of the user-unfriendly parking meters. They are often malfunctioning but in a way that favors the Parking Authority, not the drivers at the Hill. They accept the quarters but indicate 00.00 time.

There is also the parking lot that has been literally divided in two. The sides are demarked on the basis of which business they are for. A driver informs the parking attendant, which business will be patronized and parks on the respective side. The alternative is to pay I believe five dollars for parking.

And lastly, if one looks carefully at the Avenue, one sees that the Top, the Middle and the Bottom, have increasingly and exceedingly become for some time now a monopolized  entrepreneurial real estate growth machine. For the benefit of one, not for the good of “demos.”

The regressive movement of friendly to unfriendly Hill should not surprise us. The Hill is not an island isolated from the vast ocean called Society. In the past 30 years or so, the latter has changed radically, even though most people are not quite aware of the silent neo-liberal revolution.

More and more aspects of human endeavor,  of human existence have been reduced to the logic of our economic system. Everything, every human practice,  must enter the cash nexus. The consumer, the customer is now the emblematic  singularity of our age. The old concepts of neighbor, friend, citizen, nation, have lost meaning, have lost empirical referents.

Yes, it is unpleasant  but it is true: 2015 will be a further  expansion of the trend towards an unfriendly Hill. For the latter is only a mirror of something much bigger: The unstoppable reduction of human existence to the logic of an unregulated economic system.

Diamantino P. Machado


Hillers need to invest in the Hill

It has been a little over a decade since I had moved into the Chestnut Hill corridor with seemingly little change in respect to our established business community. There were always the obvious featured draws to the Hill such as Kilian’s hardware store, the ever-increasing bevy of banking institutions, and a much welcomed satellite store of the Weavers Way co-op. Unfortunately in passing we have also lost an important intellectual hub – the Borders book and music store.

Naturally we have become somewhat wary of the Philadelphia Parking Authority and the ever-shifting sands surrounding “community” parking lots. We all but ignore the subtle backdrop of the ongoing petty politics – which in the long-run affect our community in a palpably negative way – as obviated with the multitude of vacant stores. I have walked, explored, met with the owners and supported in varying capacities nearly every business on the Avenue which is also to include the Bethlehem Pike quadrant or so of shops. I respect and understand how challenging times have been as of late concerning our “economy.”

We need to be fully cognizant that our business community basically begins at Cresheim Valley Road, and pretty much extends to Rex Avenue – again including the Bethlehem Pike quadrant or so of shops. It is only to be anticipated that we may encounter a business owner or sales clerk, etc., who may be experiencing a less than stellar day – we are all human so show some empathy, introduce yourself, carry a few extra quarters, so if you see an expired parking meter, pay it forward. If you dress for the anticipated weather and get into a routine that works for you and your families, we can shed some of our carbon burden and possibly a few inches from our waists. Nothing should ever be taken for granted   – the geographical center point for our community is the Chestnut Hill Hotel featuring the new market at the Fairway which was formerly the Farmers’ Market. The Fairway’s vendors are worthy of our attention and this hub will only improve.

We also have a great new policing effort with responsive professional policing capabilities, which makes us much safer because for years the ineffective chambers sheltering our ineffective City Councilpersons and their patently empty promises will never match the goodwill of a respectable good beat cop. At the risk of sounding way “too cliché,” any monetary support here in the Chestnut Hill business district will be a good investment – there is far too much at stake.

James Frances Kaishpau Gourneau

Chestnut Hill