Around Town

Permanent home for SE Asian market at FDR

City officials announced the location of a permanent home for the Southeast Asian food and cultural market in FDR Park.

The Southeast Asian market will be located in the southwest corner of FDR Park, between the skatepark and future wetland, which is currently under development. With a confirmed site, the City and its partners will now get to work designing the infrastructure and amenities needed to house a permanent cultural market at FDR Park.

In 2022, the Department of Commerce issued a $100,000 small business development grant to the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia. The goal of this grant is to support the planning and design of the physical market site and its necessary infrastructure at FDR Park. The Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia will use the grant to steward the design process in partnership with the Vendors Association, representing the longtime vendors and cultural traditions of the city’s Southeast Asian immigrant communities.

An economic impact study, completed by Urban Partners and funded by the Knight Foundation, found the FDR Park food and cultural market attracts nearly 200,000 visitors annually and has a direct economic impact of at least $5.75 million. The market creates at least 92 full-time positions, two thirds of which are directly filled by small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Black History Month at the art museum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, will host Black History Month programming.

Kyle Cuffie-Scott of Darnel’s Cakes will present a special menu from Friday, Feb. 3, to Sunday, Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu will feature breakfast sandwiches BLTs, buttermilk biscuits with honey butter, quiche and roasted potatoes.

The museum will celebrate Black History Month with free admission on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be programs and activities highlighting black artists and the work of local community organizations. Offerings include family art creations, interactive storytelling and activity-based tours.

In addition, there will be self-guided tours featuring works by black artists beginning Feb. 16. ••

Visit model railroad club

Chelten Hills Model Railroad Club, 8010 Old York Road in Elkins Park, will be hosting open houses from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5. Admission is free. Donations are appreciated. Visit or Facebook. ••

Bingo Night for Stray Cat Relief

Stray Cat Relief will be holding a Bingo Night on Feb. 11 at the EOM at 144 Moore St. from 7-11 p.m.

Ten games of bingo. Tickets are $40 ($50 at the door) and a table of eight is $280. Light food, soda, water and snacks will be served. Raffle prizes, door prizes and BYO bottles and snacks. Email or Venmo @straycatrelief to purchase tickets.

Special designation for Miraculous Medal Shrine

The Miraculous Medal Shrine, a Marian devotional destination and ministry of the Vincentians of the Eastern Province in Germantown, has been elevated by the Vatican to Minor Basilica status. This designation is shared by only one other church in Philadelphia, the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, and 91 others across the United States. The Shrine, along with the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception that houses it, are now known as The Basilica Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.

The new designation followed an application process of multiple years and culminated in a decree issued by Pope Francis. The Shrine is now promoted as an exemplary site of liturgical and pastoral activity within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Minor Basilicas are given prominence among other churches and shrines, receive certain honorifics and are tasked with special responsibilities.

Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez said, “I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for bestowing this tremendous honor on The Miraculous Medal Shrine. This moment is one of great joy for the entire Church in Philadelphia. The Miraculous Medal Shrine is a great gift drawing souls closer to Christ through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. I congratulate the Vincentians and all those working to sustain the Shrine and its ministry. May their work continue to bear great fruit.” ••

Celebrating 100 years of SMT

St. Martin of Tours Parish invites all school alumni, current and past parishioners and friends to a 100th anniversary Mass in the upper church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., on Sunday, April 30, at noon. The Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop Edward Adams. Afterward, there will be a “Past & Present — Building Our Future” celebration at Cannstatter’s, 9130 Academy Road, from 2-6 p.m. Tickets cost $35 and include food, soft drinks, music and door prizes. The event is for ages 21-plus. Tickets must be purchased in advance in the rectory, after all Masses, through Venmo (@smotphilly) or with check to St. Martin of Tours Church, 5450 Roosevelt Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 19124, Attn: Centennial Celebration. Proceeds will benefit church improvements. ••

PFT backs Gym

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers endorsed Helen Gym in the Democratic mayoral primary. In a poll of members, Gym received more than four times the votes as any other candidate.

“Together, Helen Gym and the PFT have led the charge in fighting against school closures, dismantling a state takeover that wreaked havoc on our schools, fighting to return nurses and counselors to every building, fighting to remove toxins like lead and asbestos from our schools, ensuring access to clean water in schools, ensuring the safe opening of school buildings in the wake of COVID, and helping secure the settlement of a strong contract for all of our members – just to name a few of the things we’ve partnered up on over the years,” said PFT president Jerry Jordan.

Gym is a former city councilwoman and teacher at Lowell Elementary School in Olney. If elected, she vows to declare a state of emergency on her first day in office for school and community safety.

“My life’s mission is to make Philly’s families and kids stronger, healthier and more loved – and that means investing in schools. No one will fight harder for what our kids need and deserve,” she said.

Street supporting Rhynhart

Former Mayor John Street has endorsed Democratic mayoral candidate Rebecca Rhynhart.

“I am so honored to have Mayor Street’s endorsement. During his time as mayor, he wasn’t afraid to tackle the issues head-on,” Rhynhart said. “His political career in our city is unmatched. Mayor Street was never afraid to stand up for what was right and push against the status quo. He took action to improve the quality of life for Philadelphians and he showed he truly cared about all of our neighborhoods.”

“I am endorsing Rebecca Rhynhart for mayor because she is the most qualified non-incumbent to ever run for the office and the best candidate in this race to lead our city,” Street said. “Rebecca cares about Philadelphia and I know that she will give all of our neighborhoods and residents the care they deserve. She is a fighter who tirelessly pushes for what is right.“

Feb. book club meeting

The Book Club of Congregations of Shaare Shamayim will be holding its February Zoom session on Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. The book is The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. For further information, or to register for the book club program, call Lynn Ratmansky at 215-677-1600. ••

Sign up for senior softball

The Philadelphia Senior Softball League is looking for experienced players for their 59-and-over and 68-and-over leagues. The seasons start mid-April and will go until the end of September. There will be about 30 games, plus playoffs. No games are played in July. The 59-and-over games are Tuesdays and Thursdays. The 68-and-over games are Mondays and Fridays. All games are played at Crispin Field, Holme and Convent avenues. Games start at 10 a.m. For more information on the 59-and-over league, call John Troy at 215-292-1437. For more information on the 68-and-over league, call Marty King at 215-409-5121. ••

Trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Polish American Cultural Center Museum volunteers are sponsoring a 7-day, 6-night trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan from July 9-15. The trip consists of a ferry ride to Mackinac Island, two nights at the Grand Hotel, a horse-drawn carriage ride and visits to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the Henry Ford Museum and the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. The price includes bus transportation, hotels, six breakfasts, six dinners, a buffet luncheon at the Grand Hotel, admission to all attractions, baggage handling, taxes and gratuities. Call Theresa Romanowski at 215-813-2780 or 215-922-1700.

Exhibitions at Academy of Natural Sciences

An exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, 19th and the Parkway, presents a new perspective on insects and reveals their beauty.

Microsculpture: The Insect Portraits of Levon Biss is a series of portraits that capture the microscopic form of insects in high-resolution detail. It will be on view until April 23.

Each photograph makes visible the many intricate adaptations to the form of insects.

Award-winning British photographer Levon Biss created the exhibition, which showcases the insect collection of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in Oxford, England. Pinned specimens from the Academy’s own entomology collection are added to provide visitors an up-close look at the actual size of insects compared to similar-looking insects in the photographs.

Meanwhile, a new exhibition opening Saturday, Feb. 18, celebrates the diversity of birds, their role in ecosystems and people’s relationships with them. Conversations With Birds spotlights familiar local birds, such as house sparrows and cardinals, and goes beyond to introduce the variety of migrators that pass through on journeys across the globe.

The exhibition features avian photography and video by local birders and wildlife photographers. There will be hands-on activities that explain the body architecture that enables birds to do what they do.

Conversations With Birds is free with general museum admission and on view through Sunday, May 21.


South Phila. HS class of ‘68 reunion

The South Philadelphia High School Class of 1968 will hold its 55th reunion on Saturday, Oct. 21, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Waterfall Room, 2015 S. Water St. Tickets cost $60 and include buffet dinner and open bar. For tickets and more information, call Arleen Liberi [609-922-2419], Maria Leati [856-287-3734] or Stephen Michielli [267-252-2740]. ••

Upcoming cruise

The Bristol Cultural and Historical Foundation is sponsoring a fully escorted Holy Lands & Aegean Majesty cruise that will sail Oct. 6-17, featuring 10 ports-of-call. Rates, including airfare, range from $4,198 to $7,998 per person, double occupancy. Call 215-788-9408 for information and reservations. ••

Cruise the Mediterranean

Norwegian Cruise Line will host a Mediterranean cruise from Rome to Venice on Oct. 10-19. The trip is all inclusive with round-trip airfare, a beverage package, all meals, three specialty dinners, taxes, transfers and all gratuities. The cost for a balcony sea view cabin is $3,511 per person. For more information, contact Fillmore Travel’s Kevin Fries at 215-498-8294 or