East Falls Local

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Category: Commentary (Page 1 of 5)

Let’s Hear It for the Falls

With Gina Snyder’s resignation, her position as East Falls Development Corporation’s executive director is up for grabs. Our own Jon Kennedy throws his hat in the ring — and shares a love letter to the neighborhood he’d like to serve. 

If you’re familiar with the neighborhood, you know Jon Kennedy — he’s one of the friendliest faces around East Falls. We first met him pulling drafts at Murphy’s (of course we did) but he lives here and hangs here and is a great guy to know in so many ways

His beer column’s a reader favorite, and we don’t know anyone who cares more about these 1.5 square miles we call home. When Jon showed us his application materials for the EFDC gig, we liked his essay so much we’re sharing it here with some of our favorite pics from 2017 so far. (Thanks, Jon!)

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PennDOT Part Deux: Caught on Camera

Ummmm… Why are these people representing us, again?  (Videos have been subtitled for your convenience —  extra footage at links)

I think it’s important to give big thanks to the dozens of East Falls RESIDENTS who came out on a Thursday night to endure some public bullying for our safety. Without them, we could still be stuck in the same stalemate on Henry Avenue.

The kicker is, it’s our own local traffic committee members who were trying to block PennDOT’s plan for safety improvements on this busy roadway. Not all of them — just a minority, really. But a very vocal one with, apparently, all the time in the world to derail important projects around here.

Talk about uncompromising — committee members couldn’t even agree to take a proper vote when they met privately earlier in the week. Instead of a clear yes or no, chair John Gillespie could only offer the group’s “kind of informal group consensus (video)” on Option Five, which sounds kinda dysfunctional…

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Jury Duty: A Slice of Life for Everyone

Finding the funny, gratifying, tragic upside of getting “stuck” on jury duty.

My reflex on getting called to jury duty is still “how can I get out of it,” but I know that’s mostly the reptilian, fight-or-flight part of my brain. Who’s asking, and why are you picking on me?  But these days one of my higher order functions is quicker to declare (just a little more loudly): I hope that I’ll be fit enough to serve.

When put on notice for jury duty, nobody wants their routine to be interrupted, to rub elbows with strangers, or spend days in an airless courtroom for the bus fare plus change you’ll be paid. The first impulse is running the other way. But on the flip side of “No-o-o-o” are some pretty persuasive “yeses.”

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I’m With Cupid

Happy Valentine’s Day, East Falls! Our favorite local writer dishes on Sherman Mill’s wedding chapel, and what a difference being married makes for him and his husband. 

(excerpted from a post originally published 6/29/14 on LarryBenjamin.com)

Yesterday — 25 years after we first met, on our 17th anniversary, on the 45th anniversary of Stonewall, and 38 days after Judge John Jones III’s historic decision, I kept that promise; I married Stanley, the best man I know, the one man my father approved of.

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Fresh New Lens on East Falls Instagram

Why are Caity MacLeod’s local images so sharp and haunting? A recent transplant from the suburbs, she’s in a “honeymoon” stage with our color, geometry and architecture. Fascinating photos, only on EFL’s Instagram


If you follow us on Instagram, you’re no doubt already a fan of Caity MacLeod’s haunting, lyrical lens. Her delightful Castle Ringstetten pics demonstrate a warm, playful eye for capturing people, too.

“It was fun, I really enjoy taking pictures of people at events like this,” she told us, even though she’s in school for commercial photography. A first-year Fallser, Caity is psyched to bring us all along as she explores her new home with the tools of her trade.

Fun facts about EFL’s new Instagrammer in this quick Q&A with Caity MacLeod.

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Food for Thought

That time Dwight Evans took a Fallser to lunch:  the former PA State Rep is pretty much a shoo-in for US Congress, as Democratic candidate for our 2nd Congressional District. As a constituent, Karen Melton was delighted to win a contest for the chance to break bread & get to know him better. 


Karen Melton has lived in East Falls with her husband Jake since 1991 . She’s written for the Fallser and is a member of 350Philadelphia, a local group that fights for climate change solutions.

On a sunny day last month, she took advantage of a “huge opportunity” to speak with Dwight Evans, candidate for congress, at Trolley Car Cafe.  Melton, an activist and ardent follower of local politics, was thrilled to have won a Facebook contest for the lunch with Evans.

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Now Where Were We?

Politics & paranoia on a site for pics & memories? A funny thing happened on I’m From East Falls last month… 


Well that was interesting.

If you witnessed the “I’m From East Falls” meltdown on Facebook, I can only apologize for my long and cringe-worthy exit. Yes, I know I could’ve taken the hint and left on my own but, to me, that’d be giving in. If a few over-zealous Kool-aid drinkers wanted me gone, I wasn’t leaving meekly. I’d come here to learn, and ooh boy did I get schooled.

When confronted, I had but one goal: get as much information as I could before I was bounced. Managed to keep the admin engaged (enraged?) from 10:20 am to 2:51 pm. I’ve selected choice screen shots here, to add to the fun. Ready?

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Manifest Density: Zoning for Our Riverfront

So… are we still getting that big apartment building where the Japanese restaurant used to be? And some kind of thru-street between Kelly and Ridge? Answers, photos & links in our quick zoning recap. 

EastFallsLocal how properties resize

Funny how loving architecture doesn’t necessarily make you good at assessing design plans. I’m talking personally: when Gary Jonas of HOW Properties put up the image of his new apartment building for Kelly Drive, I thought it looked fine. Not the most beautiful structure, sure, but it seemed kinda snazzy with the red brick, the geometry.

But what do I know? Neighborhood feedback has been way lousy.

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AirB ‘n Bullsh%#

Who’s that stranger in your neighbor’s pool? What’s the deal with the new cars in the driveway? Is home-sharing legal, even? Your rights as an Airbnb neighbor, plus links to info you may need — especially with what’s happening on Ainslie… 

EastFallsLocal Airbnb mission statement post 4

Have you heard of AirBnb? Maybe not: in a recent Pew survey of Americans, about half were not aware of the home-sharing service that’s created a whole new travel niche, and is quite possibly changing the world.

Launched in 2008, Airbnb connects hosts who want to share their homes with guests who are looking for a short-term place to stay (like a weekend or vacation). Airbnb lists the property, connects the two parties, and collects a booking fee.  With dozens of rental properties sprinkled throughout our neighborhood, East Falls is finally experiencing some backlash.

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Wheel Cool Future for the Falls

Driverless cars in East Falls? IQL resident (and Masters Candidate in city planning) Brian Donovan suggests new technology headed our way can shape a more lively, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. 

EastFallsLocal kit crop resize text Not Quite but still AWESOME

As the deep summer sets in, there comes a chance for us to break away from the issues of the moment.  To consider the longer range rather than the next item on the agenda.  We might ask ourselves what East Falls will be like 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years from now?

I’d like to talk today about something that I believe will have a profound impact on all cities and their neighborhoods: the development of driverless cars and, specifically, how this transportation revolution will drastically reduce the need for parking in urban areas.

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