Friends Center City Community
Friends Center City  Newsletter
May 2012

Friends Center City is expanding rapidly!  We are still a volunteer-run organization and we need help with many areas of our work. Here are some ideas for those who have the time and skills to help us grow.  
Judy WIcks
The Cosmopolitan Club lunches are a big success; both the Club and FitC want to explore the possibility of also offering some sort of tea event(s). Dane Wells, who is handling the luncheons, is seeking a volunteer who is interested in "things tea," to work on the possibility of developing this idea with the Cos Club.  If you are interested, contact Dane at



Jack Malinowski, the chair of our volunteer committee,  would like some help  identifying and organizing group activities.  One suggestion is to form a group of FitC members who would work with WEPAC, an organization that works to open libraries without staff in West Philadelphia public schools. Other ideas include tutoring, Court Watch, and MANNA.  If you are interested in any of these ideas or have other suggestions, please contact Jack at

Our monthly Community Committee meetings invariably include enthusiastic discussions about new activities and groups just waiting to happen.  Some recent ideas for new FitC activities include a bridge group, a monthly movie night, a boat trip to Bartram's Gardens, and a "cooking for one" series in the Reading Terminal's new demonstration kitchen.  All are good ideas, but each needs a leader to make it happen.  Are you that person?  Would you like to help develop any of these ideas or another idea of your own? If so, please email Pam at  We'd love to add your voice and energy to our team!
Many of our members are already engaged in meaningful volunteer work. We asked members of the Community Committee about their other volunteer activities, and came up with the following list:
* Kimmel center
* prisoner visitation and support
* Peace High School
* Reading buddies
* volunteer driver for American Cancer Society
* gardening
We would like to build on these and other activities to provide meaningful group experiences for FitC members.  Will you tell us what you do that might be of interest to FitC members? Please email Jack, Pam, or Evelyn
We salute the many FCC volunteers who help us in so many ways,  and who enjoy the satisfaction and camaraderie that this work engenders. Please join us!

Mark Mendenhall




In this new feature, the FCC newsletter will profile one of our FitC member volunteers . This month's featured volunteer is Mark Mendenhall. 
Mark also volunteers with the Garden Court Community Association and is a driver for the Philly Patient Ride program of the American Cancer Society.  

In what area of FCC's work do you volunteer?

I've been serving on the FitC community committee, help with some outreach, and led last summer's event at the Mann Music Center.


What motivates you to volunteer for FCC/FitC?

The community association I work with in West Philadelphia has been interested in organizing a program to assist seniors and I've been working with FitC as a liaison to our West Philadelphia efforts.


How did you learn about FCC/FitC?

From an FCC board member who is in my gym class. We got to talking about it one day, and it sounded interesting.


How long have you lived in Philadelphia? Do you consider yourself a Philadelphian?

I've lived in Philadelphia on and off for nearly 40 years, but that's not nearly long enough to be considered a "real" Philadelphian! I'm from outside of Chicago originally, but this my home.


What in your past work/life best prepared you to do this work?

I've always been active in my community; in addition, I used to do some meeting and event planning in several of my former jobs.


What are your ideas about the future of FCC/FitC?

I think we're all hoping the FitC concept will "catch on" and "take off" and involve a much broader and larger community of people, both those who participate and those who help organize. The opportunities are only limited by one's imagination and energy level and the need is there.





The "Urban Pioneers" at FCC Riverfront have forged a unique community dining experience guided by the velvet leadership of resident and nutritionist Brearley Karsch.


Situated in the middle of a "restaurant mecca" that draws thousands of hungry people each evening, FCC residents have created a blend of dining adventures that take advantage of that resource as well as having some meals prepared for them by a personal chef.


The residents decided to get together at least twice each week for common meals. Sometimes they go out to the surrounding restaurants, sometimes they have meals delivered, and sometimes they call upon their personal chef, Miranda Kany.


When asked if they had a favorite restaurant, Wilma Heston commented "This neighborhood's diversity make meals out a tasty adventure. I'm not sure if we have a favorite restaurant, but Farmecia probably works the best for our group. So far, we have not met a restaurant that we haven't enjoyed."


This writer was lucky enough to be invited to one of the meals prepared by chef Miranda Kany and planned in conjunction with Brearley Karsch. The presentation of everything was delightful, especially the artichoke appetizer.




The main course was slow-braised lamb shanks with garlic-rosemary cannelloni beans and aromatic spring vegetables accompanied by lemony brown rice and black quinoa pilaf with grilled asparagus and sautéed cremini mushrooms. Topped off with spring strawberry rhubarb macaroons, this meal would have been a destination trip for any "foodie."


Congratulations FCC Riverfront residents for starting what just may be the most creative dining plan of any intentional residential community anywhere!



Nine members of Friends Center City along with an international visitor from Switzerland visited the Jose Garces tapas restaurant, Amada, for our April Ethnic Eating excursion.  We welcomed Beatrice Schnidrig from Switzerland and newcomer Cynthia Claus.  Seven of us chose the Catalan Express of soup and/or salad and sandwich while others explored the tapas menu. 


Some items chosen were: Mixto of cured meats, Baramundi tapas [Aussie sea bass], Sopa de Calabaza, Caldo Gallego, Pernil sandwich, Vegetarian Hummus sandwich and Chicken La Plancha salad. 
Menu is located at: 


L-R: Marcia Paullin, Beatrice Schnidrig, Dane Wells & Joe Fayer 




It's a walking path. It's an architectural tour. It's a flourishing garden overgrown with sculptures, water features and unique viewing stands. It's New York City's remarkable High Line, a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above Manhattan's West Side.


A dozen FCC/FitC members bused to and from NYC on April 24, thrilling to a remarkable jewel in the growing national network of rails-to-trails projects. Even speedy walkers stopped to photograph, or at least appreciate:

  • The sights and smells of the seasonal plantings.
  • Tall fountains, short fountains and flat pools.
  • Sculptures straddling the walking path or hiding among the flowers.
  • Smiling faces gazing from the windows of neighboring buildings, enchanting examples of trompe l'oeil meeting installation art.

A few stories above cars and pedestrians, the High Line offers a unique perspective on the Big Apple. While the railway followed a nearly straight line, the path does no such thing. Vegetation nestles between the rusted rails. A wide variety of seating options, often glassed in for protection from winds, sirens and, perhaps, obnoxious odors. You can read more and see videos at, 

 but nothing beats your own visit, close up and personal.





An Amazing Walk: Grays Ferry Crescent on Schuylkill Banks Trail


Grays Ferry Crescent is the newest segment of the Schuylkill River Trail. On a beautiful Saturday morning in April, twenty-four FitC members and friends listened raptly to John Randolph as he explained how the Crescent and Schuylkill Banks Trail came into being. John should know: In 1992 he founded the Schuylkill River Development Council, which raised the money to make this park, a dream for 40 years, become a reality.


Because the section of trail that will one day link the Crescent with the existing Trail to the north doesn't yet exist, we wended our way through the University of Pennsylvania sports facilities and new Penn Park to reach it. Some of that walk ran next to the Expressway providing an absolutely amazing contrast to the soothing hush and peace of the Crescent. Crossing the beautiful, if neglected, University Avenue Bridge on foot gave us time to admire this impressive structure designed by eminent architect Paul Philippe Cret. Indeed, most of this walk gave us all a new perspective and view of an area through which we usually speed by-encased in a car.  


Below is a picture of John Randolph speaking to the group under the Grays Ferry Bridge where a skateboard park is being built. Across the river are the Woodlands and Bartrams Gardens. Grays Ferry Crescent has already become the neighborhood park for the "Forgotten Bottom" community (another story).




A hundred years ago, the banks of the Schuylkill were crowded with coal yards, slaughter houses, chemical plants and other "dirty" factories. John Randolph's colorful telling of the history the Grays Ferry Crescent makes it clear that we are seeing the very best of post-industrial recreational development.


Janet Kroll summed up the walk: "It was a real treat, so nice of John to give us all the 'inside dope' ... we got to see the future through his eyes."


To learn more about the origins of Schuylkill Banks, you can see a video made by John Randolf at


All FitC members are invited to the official opening of Grays Ferry Crescent on June 11 at 11:00 a.m. Mayor Nutter and a host of dignitaries will be present. It's a wonderful opportunity to let funders know how much our parks mean to us. You might also get some lunch!








MAY, 2012

Jen Childs

 Thursday, May 17 
Lunch and Discussion with Jen Childs at the Cosmopolitan Club of Philadelphia 
Noon to 1:30 
1616 Latimer Street 
Philadelphia, PA 19103 
Join Friends in the City on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Noon for a stimulating discussion led by an expert on the selected topic while enjoying a delicious lunch at the Cosmopolitan Club of Philadelphia


The guest for May is Jen (Jennifer) Childs, the co-founder and artistic director of Philadelphia's all-comedy 1812 Productions troupe. According to Dan Rottenberg, Editor of the Broad Street Review, Jen is blessed with many virtues . . . like the ability to relate to an audience, a refusal to take herself too seriously, the good sense to keep each number short, and an ability to "cultivate an air of removed cluelessness." Childs is much more talented than she lets on here. Like P.D.Q. Bach or Spike, you have to be mighty good- and really know your subject- in order to seem bad enough to amuse an audience.
Krista Apple, actor, writer, teacher, writes: All Jennifer Childs wanted as a kid was to be like Vivien Leigh. A Great Actress. Dramatic. Serious. "But then...I also wanted to be in a Bugs Bunny cartoon," the comedienne confesses. These days, Childs is letting her funny flag fly. Part Looney and part Leigh, she's got an indefatigable combination of soul and spunk that has transformed a doe-eyed ingénue into Philadelphia's comic queen. "When we founded 1812," Jen recalls, "there was a statistic floating around that the average person laughs only once or twice a day. Clearly, the world needs more comedy."


We expect that this event will sell out quickly.  Register now!  
Cost: $25 for FitC members. $35 non-members.
For more information contact Dane Wells - 

Registration URL



May 10, 2012 
Noon to 1:30 
Friends Center City Riverfront 
 22 South Front Street 


Soup is good food. A bowl of well-prepared homemade soup makes a warm, wonderful way to consume your veggies, important vitamins. Chef Seamus teaches participants the fundamentlals of soup and stock preparation, how to shop for ingredients and how to prepare a flavorful vegetable soup. Enjoy a nourishing lunch of the soup prepared in this class. 


To register, phone Friends Life Care at 215-628-8964 


Friends Life Care Member $45.
FCC/FitC Member $55.
Non-member $65.

Friday, May 11, 2012 
Noon to 1:30  
Mixto Restaurant
1141-43 Pine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Each month former chef Seamus Kearney leads an adventurous group of FCC/FitC members to an ethnic restaurant for lunch. In May we will have Cuban cuisine.  Special traditional dishes are Cuban paella, Argentinian Churrasco and Pernil Rostisado.



Contact is Seamus Kearney:  

* * * 



Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:00 a.m.

Meet promptlyat the Schuylkill Trail at the end of Locust Street and across the tracks near the river. The walk to the Waterworks Gazebo overlooking the dam and back is just under three miles and takes about 50 minutes. If a train is blocking the tracks, we meet at the base of the Walnut Street Bridge stairs to the trail. We usually check by email before the walk.



Lee Junker:

Pamela Freyd:





May 7, 2012

Philadelphia Free Library City Institute Branch

1905 Locust Street

Noon to 1:30 


"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" by Isabel Wilkerson



Seamus Kearney:

Pamela Freyd:





May 21, 2012

 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Location: Private home

Play: This is the final meeting of the year. The group will have a pot-luck dinner and read a very short play.



Peggy Curchack:

Pamela Freyd:


* * *


May 19, 2012
A Walk in the Park
Manayunk Canal
10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
A two-hour, four to five mile walk along the historic Manayunk Canal. This is a level gravel path, mostly shaded. Lunch on Main Street after the walk is optional. 


The Schuylkill Navigation System, of which the Manayunk Canal is a part, was a commercial waterway opened in 1825. Mules walked along the towpath pulling barges of coal to Philadelphia. It declined with the rise of railroads and restoration work is ongoing. The towpath trail is now a part of the Schuylkill Trail. 


We will meet at the parking lot next to the canal that is across Main Street from Sweat Fitness and the New Umbria Church. 

There is ample public transportation to Manayunk. See:

For more information about the canal see:

If you have questions contact: Pamela Freyd -

Registration URL


June 16 Walk in the Park - Wissachickon Valley
July 14 Walk in the Park - Cobbs Creek Park Trail 

* * *  





is brought to you by 

Friends Center City (FCC), and FCC subsidiaries, Friends in the City (FitC) and Friends Center City Riverfront (Riverfront).  

If you are not yet a member of 

FitC, please join us so that you

 can be part of the exciting  

 informative events, groups, and  

other activities we offer. 


On June 1, the FitC membership fee structure will change. These changes are being made so that FitC can move toward financial independence, and so that we may think about hiring a part-time coordinator. The new annual fee will be $60. People who have not previously been members of FitC can join for a six month trial membership at $30. At the conclusion of the trial period, members can renew for 12 months at $60. 


Until June 1, 2012 
a one-year FitC membership is $50.  After June 1, annual membership will be $60.


JOIN NOW!  Send a check for $50 for a 

one-year membership to 

Friends Center City

c/o Ted Reed

The Reed Group

2 Penn Center #711

Philadelphia, PA 19102


Go to the FCC website:

and click JOIN




If you are a member of FitC, 

please bring your friends to the next activity you attend.  We depend on word of mouth to expand our community, and experiencing us is the best advertisement we can imagine! 




New pricing incentives are being offered on select 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units. These incentives are being offered for a short period of time and relfect a 14% - 28% reduction in price on certain units in both the Entrance Fee Option and Ownership Option.




We welcome you and your friends at any of the Riverfront open houses. It's a great way to learn about this innovative community at 22 South Front St. See the available apartments, hear about the program, and enjoy the neighborhood


Saturday, May 5 at 11 AM

Thursday, May 17 at 2 PM

Saturday June 2 at 11 AM

Tuesday, June 19 at 2 PM


To register, call 267-639-5257 or register online at our website, Click on the FCC Riverfront tab.


May 1, 6-8PM
The Battle Over Science in America
Talk begins at 6:30PM
Restaurant Bella Cena
1508 Spruce Street


Speaker: Jonathan D. Moreno, PhD
Professor of Medical ethics and Health Policy and of
History and Sociology of Science
University of Pennsylvania


We have now entered the "biological century". A new biopolitics has emerged to address implications for America's value system, well being, and future.  this new force in our political landscape fuels today's culture wars and is a new way for politicians to organize their platforms.  Professor Moreno will address this phenomenon as well as some contentious issues such as cloning and stem cell research, in an exploration of the intersection between science and democracy in American life. 
May 19, 1:30PM
A Rainbow of Music
22nd and Spruce Streets


This concert is followed by an ice cream social with the performers. A great grandparent-grandchild experience!


$10/senior, $5/child 



  FitC Members are invited to join 
Friends Life Care Walks


Friday May 11 at 2 p.m. Meet us at Winnie's Le Bus Manayunk to walk the Manayunk Canal. 
Address; 4266 Main St,  
Philadelphia, PA  19127
Rain Date: May 16th at 2 p.m.


Friday May 18th at 2 p.m. Meet us outside the Lambertville House Hotel to walk along the Delaware River.
Address: 32 Bridge St, Lambertville, NJ  08530


To sign up or if you have questions, please call Brian at Friends Life Care at 215-628-8964 


Friends Life Care Garden Day


Join Frankford Friends School for their Garden Day in May! 
Come out and garden with the students of Frankford Friends. All you need to do is wear comfortable clothes, and be prepared to meet your fellow gardeners.
Date: Monday May 21 at 9:30 a.m.
Location: Frankford Friends School
1500 Orthodox Street, Philadelphia, PA  19124
Parking is located at St. Mary's Church on Orthodox Street between Leiper and Penn Street.
There is no charge for any of these programs.


To sign up or if you have questions, please call Brian at Friends Life Care at 215-628-8964






The last Dinner and Curtis Student Recital event for this season took place on April 25. After a dinner with animated conversations, the twelve music lovers walked through Rittenhouse Square to Curtis for a special program: Curtis On Tour in Europe Preview. Students and faculty played together.

The first performance was the world premiere of Daniel Kellogg's ('99) Plainsong for clarinet (Stanislav Chernyshev), violin (Zoe Martin-Doike) and cello (Gabriel Cabezas).  This was followed by a set of songs sung by tenor Joshua Stewart ('09) and accompanied by Mikael Eliasen, the Hirsig Family Head-of-Department Chair in Vocal Studies and artistic director of the Curtis Opera Theatre. The program concluded with the Mozart Quintet in A major for clarinet (Stanislav Chernyshev), violin Zoe Martin-Doike), violin (Pamela Frank, faculty), viola Roberto Diaz (Curtis President),  and cello (Gabriel Cabezas).  

The evening was delightful.