About carla

Writer, blogger, photographer, breast cancer survivor. I write about whatever strikes my fancy as I meander through life.

talk to the hand…

ba750bff-f55d-47ba-a69b-ec235686c22a

Sometimes you just need something funky.  I found something funky today.

Talk to the hand.

Sorry, I just crack myself up. But hey, it’s a great funky piece to hang jewelry when you are doing the dishes.  It’s a vintage glass jewelry display basically.  These were/are used for holding or displaying rings, watches, scarves, other jewelry items, and fashion accessories.  And for $10…. I splurged.

I was at Resellers in Frazer when I found the blue hand. I was loving on a couple of pieces of furniture and an oriental rug I have neither need nor room for (but ohhh that chair!):

They have a lot of cool stuff right now. I am glad they are still there considering all the upheaval around the shopping center where they are a tenant (you know like Beam’s Music, Frazer Dental, the Frazer Post Office, etc?) – here is what showed up on the Chester County Sheriff Sale Lists:

frazer shopping

Today I was told this wasn’t happening tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe there was a stay of execution?

And don’t you feel so incredibly sorry for all of the small business owners like Reseller’s there? To be in this not knowing?

I went noodling around and found this:

frazer bklnfsc

 

Sadly, this is almost perfect for development vultures if they have $8 Million lying around, right?

But please NO MORE MIXED USE APARTMENT TOWERS CARRIAGE HOMES PLASTIC TOWN HOUSES.  East Whiteland where this is located is full up. (In my humble opinion.)

There was this thing in Federal Court from March, 2018 – some sort of court order:

Order from judge (CLICK HERE TO READ)

It’s all public record.  According to a sign on the property the agent for Wells Fargo managing now is Metro Commercial.  According to some thing I found in a New York State (as in government) register, this local shopping center is owned by guys in Brooklyn NY.

fraz ny

When you plunk that Brooklyn address into Google what comes up is a little random. So it’s no wonder why not very much attention was ever paid to the shopping center, right? Out of sight, out of mind, cash the rent checks?

Anyway, back to talk to the hand…A fun little treat. Go visit Reseller’s . They are still open.  Just like the other businesses suffering through this along with the post office. It has also been hard on all of  them because the sign to the shopping center has literally been broken for months.  They were working on it today.

Nancy Drew over and out….talk to the hand….

39289275_2050818404931100_4329898269313335296_n

pondering main line revisionist history…in ardmore

IMG_9230

“Lake Ardmore” sent to me today by Ardmore Shutterbug

The other day I wrote about Viking Pastries, one of the last remaining old school old Ardmore businesses closing.  Yesterday, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Vinny Vella reported on it.

As new apartments rise in Ardmore, two nearby businesses fall
Updated: AUGUST 13, 2018 — 4:44 PM EDT

by Vinny Vella, Staff Writer vvella@phillynews.com

Two well-known businesses in Ardmore have shuttered in recent weeks, and their owners cast at least some of the blame on a loss of parking to make way for new housing.

Viking Pastries, a 62-year-old sweet shop, and the Party Place — located around the corner from each other in the borough’s downtown — stood in the shadow of One Ardmore Place, a long-embattled residential project expected to open early next year. Work on another mixed-use complex, the Cricket Flats, is set to begin across the street.

While the owners acknowledged that the construction isn’t the sole reason for the downturn, they say it played a major role. Local commerce groups, however, contend that the majority of businesses in Ardmore have been thriving while the cranes tower overhead….In a twist of irony, Viking Pastries took part in a groundbreaking celebration for One Ardmore Place last June called “the Big Dig,” in which customers decorated cookies shaped like dump trucks…..Compounding the lack of parking was the sale of the building where she leased her storefront. Petrone said that she couldn’t afford the increased rent from her new landlord….

“A lot of times, people think the solution to parking is putting in more lots,” said Philip Green, the Main Street manager for Ardmore Initiative.

“People….expect to walk a few blocks past stores and other businesses that will interest them. Here, we have beautiful architecture and sidewalks. That’s the appeal of a historic downtown….Ardmore Initiative, a pro-development organization, has been working with Lower Merion Township and the borough’s business association to produce parking guides to assist visitors during construction. ….”

5155579903_3d2f746745_o

Taken by me back when Clover Market was starting.  They left Ardmore too, didn’t they?

In Lower Merion this article has caused quite a kerfuffle and chatter on social media forums.  The article is not fair. Why didn’t the article mention other stores, it’s biased. Blah Blah Blah. Oh Yawn. After all these years, they can’t come up with anything more original?

In Ardmore, in Lower Merion Township, the faces of the cheerleaders may sometimes change but the cheerleaders in a sense remain exactly the same. Also amusing and sort of related was a Facebook group thread where comments were shut down that were felt to be negative about this project and parking (or lack thereof) and did that have anything to do with the fact that one of the group administrators sits on the board of the Ardmore Initiative? And another possible topic for another day while we are talking Ardmore is all of the nonsense keeping people up at night in North Ardmore, but I digress…and that is North Ardmore Civic‘s tale to tell.

3659214369_e83839fd43_o

This is one of my most favorite photos I took myself.  Ardmore Initiative has gotten years and years of use out of it. They are welcome. Ironically once Godzilla is finished, you will never have this scene again.  Godzilla will be behind it.

The Inquirer article is neither biased or not comprehensive, as some in these Facebook forum comments are not so subtly suggesting . The reporter had ONE story to write about businesses which were closing. I wonder if any of these article critics actually know how reporting works? It wasn’t supposed to be yet another fluffy piece on Ardmore placed by publicists. There have been so many of those, after all….

Further and to the point, I was around and active long before most of them were on the scene, sadly.

Suffice it to say, the faces change,  yet the blind faith township cheerleaders down there  remain the same. Some throw that “we” word around rather liberally but sadly I do not remember them when Ardmore was fighting eminent domain? Or truly community volunteering? And then there are the ones who will tell you how much they did to champion Ardmore and how wrong you are, how bad you are not to share their opinion. (Mind you these are the types who never do or say anything unless they benefit somehow, but I digress.)   Maybe they fancy themselves local authorities and love to play the deflect blame game but let’s all not fall victim to revisionist history since there were way too many of us around who remember how it actually rolled. And went down.

Did Viking have money problems? Start with how many small businesses DO NOT have money problems from time to time? Especially when they have jacked up rents they have to meet monthly along with everything else?

30165407098_9cfc50b7d4_o

Ardmore Shutterbug photo. Is this really what “progress”  looks like? Are they sure it’s not really the Temple of Kermit the Frog? Sorry not sorry, but how is that in keeping with the size and scale of Ardmore? Why does suburbia have to look so urban?

Mark my words, more businesses will fail before this apartment Godzilla on the old movie theater lot is finished. So many of the cheerleaders think all this hideous infill development will pave the roads with gold bricks, but sadly, will it? I do not think so. And I never have.

Ardmore’s largest impediment will always be the fact that Lower Merion Township’s township seat and building are there. And some who are new will say things “How can you say things like that?” or “Never heard that before, why are you saying this?”

I say it because if you lived in Lower Merion Township long enough, you know it is the sad truth. Politics, deals, more politics, backroom boardroom dancing, and so much more go into being a First Class Township doesn’t it? Why do people think back in the day we flipped half of the board out of office? Because they were so resident-minded?

People also don’t like it when I take the Ardmore Initiative to task. If they were actually truly independent from the township, I probably wouldn’t. But at the end of the day, in my opinion, they are just another appendage of Lower Merion Township. I find what that Philip Green said  basically idiotic. He has obviously been in Ardmore about five minutes and is young, because he doesn’t get that small town centers without sufficient parking long term are small town centers which will continue to fail. Maybe not all in one week, one month, one year but the more urban it becomes in suburbia, will ultimately not be positive. And THAT is what we are seeing with Party Land and Viking Pastries closing now, and those who went before them.

Suburbia is not Manayunk and Passyunk Avenue. Whether they drive a Prius or a Range Rover, they want to drive their cars. They want convenient parking.  They don’t want hellacious  city- traffic. And what happens when they get any of the above? They shop and go elsewhere. Just ask the residents in Lower Merion who now avoid Ardmore like the plague. It’s not rocket science.

Building lots and lots of overpriced teeny boxy apartments is not going to bring people in droves. Look at all the housing stock up and down the Main Line, King of Prussia, Conshohocken, and out to Chester County where the same old mixed use fairy tale is unfolding as well.  Is everything filled to capacity? Are there NO empty store fronts?

Were the ratables worth it?

Take East Side Flats in Malvern Borough for example:

$60,000: East King Revitalization’s Impact on the Borough
The new apartments and businesses won’t be a windfall for the borough.
By Pete Kennedy, Patch Staff | Jun 27, 2012 8:34 pm ET | Updated Jun 29, 2012 3:38 am ET

During a discussion of the police services and budgeting at the of Malvern Borough Council, resident Joan Yeager asked a related question:

“Once the King Street project is completed, how much additional money is going to come into the borough? In taxes and all,” she said.

“Something in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year,” council president Woody Van Sciver said…”That’s it?” Yeager replied, expecting a bigger payoff from the several new businesses and hundreds of new residents that will be moving to the east end of the borough.

Some folks like to say the beginning of this part of Ardmore where Viking Pastries building sits was caused when Gillaine’s closed. Actually, it’s when that behemoth of a Godzilla apartment building was approved and is now rising behind where the former movie theater/public parking lot is now rising that has done this. That is my personal opinion, and many share that even if they won’t verbalize it. After all, during the days of eminent domain we learned the price of activism and doing the right thing, didn’t we?

Those of us who were the ORIGINAL Save Ardmore Coalition (we did all the heavy lifting for years before the last folks who assumed the mantle made the group look silly with litigation a decade too late IMHO) predicted things like this years ago. No parking, lots of construction issues, no real support of businesses from the township and this downtown is simply not sustainable.

After all for how many years did a very small band of volunteers led by Sherry Tillman put on First Friday Main Line? And that was done without any real help of the township every single month. All they tried to do was put up impediments and it was amazing free publicity of a positive kind that they literally couldn’t pay for that we provided.

And while they would provide some kind of insurance (I don’t remember which kind) under some umbrella with the township and all sorts of help for those Bryn Mawr twilight concerts, First Friday Main Line had to pay for everything on their own. I was just looking through photos of First Friday Main Line the other day looking for more photos of Viking Pastries.  First Friday Main Line inspired lots of other events on and off the Main Line.  It was amazing. And the events were not dependent on alcohol, either. People came for the art, music, and sense of community.

Why Ardmore has the issues it does can be laid right at the steps of the township building.

And people like to forget the days of eminent domain. And abuse we received at the hands of the township and their cheerleaders an even paid publicists.

When Lower Merion Township first started that eminent domain debacle it was the whole block from Pennywise down to the corner of Station Rd where Radio Shack was. They wanted EVERYTHING.

Then with the help of folks like the Institute for Justice we defeated that. But it was exhausting, debilitating, time consuming, and took years. However, that was worth it. Eminent domain for private gain is disgusting.

And does anyone remember from where Ardmore went off the rails to eminent domain in the first place? Some commissioners wanted a new train station.  Then other suggested improvement upon the idea of a train station and it morphed into a bloated ridiculous eminent domain-laden plan.

After eminent domain there was no rest for the weary, Lower Merion Township put Ardmore and township residents through the whole insanity of RFPs for development around the train station post-eminent domain (which included a new train station to this day no one has ever seen.) We sat through meeting after meeting for a couple of years and some of us (myself included) got roped into this phony blaoney “Ad Hoc Ardmore Committee”. I resigned from all of it in 2011 when I got my breast cancer diagnosis and I am so glad. Dealing with Lower Merion Township and trying to actually SAVE Ardmore from greed and stupidity was exhausting. And in retrospect, ultimately futile.

In the end there is NO new train station just that hideous Godzilla apartment tower and other bad infill development on the old movie theater side of Lancaster Ave. You see they also allowed poorly executed zoning overlays which in my opinion were essentially developed to give the developers more leeway at the expense of residents and businesses. In Ardmore it was called MUST or Mixed Use Special Transit. At the time we changed the acronym to mean More Unfair Special Treatment.

So again, if you want to talk about the beginning of the end, the beginning starts with Lower Merion Township and their elected and appointed officials.

I am glad I don’t live in Lower Merion any longer. It’s futile – IMHO they are screwing up the entire township not just poor Ardmore. This is also why I hate going to any township or borough meetings anywhere.

Enjoy the photos that are part of my memories of the Ardmore I loved so much once upon a time.  Thanks for the memories, Ardmore.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

flooding. everywhere.

39099083_10216471930053471_1476057384915828736_o

A friend of mine took this photo less than five minutes ago in Tredyffrin. Lancaster Avenue and that is Old Covered Wagon Inn to your right I believe.

Friends and other readers are alerting me to flooding photos, so here is a slideshow. From Lower Merion where stormwater management in the township needs a makeover to flooded out Little Chicago in North Wayne, to out around West Vincent and beyond the flooding is crazy. Highways are closed like parts  the Schuylkill Expressway, turnpike, etc.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

But of course, global warming is an urban legend…and all of the development never, ever causes any storm water runoff problems, right?

radnor street at willow

Willow Avenue at Radnor Street Road in “Little Chicago” in North Wayne, PA. (Radnor Township) Neighborhood was built at turn of 20th century over the Wayne Natatorium…which at the time was largest outside pool thanks to Gulph Creek and all those springs and water sources underground.  These people are flooded horribly today.  Feel sorry for them. Photo from Twitter this morning.

file under “progress” kills tradition in ardmore, pa or something else? is viking pastries closed for good?

38902812_10156632596589375_9126009741049331712_n

My friend Michelle found this sign waiting for her today when she stopped in Ardmore to #shoplocal at Viking Pastries

So has progress in Lower Merion Township’s downtown Ardmore put yet another tradition, another long-standing business out of business? Or is it something else? Or something related? Or just simple economics?

Viking Pastries appears to be done as in dead as per this hand lettered sign.

62 years…*POOF* ??

How many of us who grew up on the Main Line had memories of Viking Pastries and Walter’s Swiss Pastry which was located in Bryn Mawr and closed years and years ago? (Can’t remember exactly when.)

Those were the bakeries of many of our childhoods – Viking Pastries and Walter’s Swiss Pastries.  My mother always bought our annual Christmas Bûche de Noël complete with it’s chocolate bark and meringue “mushrooms” from Walter’s.  She also bought  things from Viking too.

Both bakeries had fierce loyal and devoted followings once upon a time.  Now they are but memories of a Main Line that used to be.

In 2013 Viking Pastries was part of a bakery makeover show called Save My Bakery. Save My Bakery was a show in the Nancy Glass Glass Productions Stable and appeared on Food Network and/or DIY Network.  (Click here and see some of the original makeover.)

This was covered extensively at the time by local media.  It was wonderful.

But maybe this wasn’t enough to save Viking long term? Don’t forget the bakery’s family has seen horrible tragedy in the form of the still unsolved disappearance of Richard Petrone.  Richard Petrone and Danielle Imbo vanished without a trace leaving a Philadelphia bar in 2005.

This family and bakery were always part of local events.  When I was on the Main Line, if there was a local fundraiser or get together, you could always count on the generosity of Viking Pastries.  I worked on many events where they donated boxes and boxes of their delicious cookies.

When Viking got their fancy T.V. makeover, we all had high hopes. But still there were kerfuffles. Like the August 2017 temporary Department of Health closure as reported by Main Line Times. Here is an excerpt:

“It was a plumbing issue caused by the construction across the street,” said Viking Pastries owner Marge Petrone of One Ardmore Place being built on the former Cricket Avenue Parking lot. “That [project] has been a nightmare.”

According to Petrone, water from the construction site flowed into a hole left in front of the store and straight into the bakery’s basement. “We had an inch or two of mud there. There was low water pressure – we couldn’t flush the toilet.”

Petrone paid for a Port-a-Potty to be placed outside the back of the shop, but ultimately, she aid, “if you can’t use the bathroom, the county is a stickler about that” and will shut you down.

Except my opinion, personally? I also have to wonder about the Ardmore Tartification Effect on old school businesses like this?  As Lower Merion Township has strived for decades at this point to make Ardmore what they envision, the old time businesses have fallen off one by one, haven’t they? Some say, when the movie theater closed and they didn’t get a new theater chain in that THAT was the beginning?

Ardmore has had peaks and valleys.  I had high hopes when parts of the Main Street business community were saved from eminent domain for private gain, but now? Sadly, today, I barely visit a place I used to be in practically every other day for years and years.  I live just far enough away that getting there is a hassle with regard to never much parking and crazy traffic.  That and the site of towering apartments rising up on Cricket Avenue behind what was the movie theater to overshadow everything and everyone like Godzilla.

Who owns Viking’s building?

mont1

Who is 35-39 Cricket LLC?

35-39 CRICKET LLC

Who has owned the building over the years and years?

who owns what

These are all public records off Montgomery County and PA’s corporation database. County court dockets sadly show open items so is this closure in part financial? Sadly I did  also find  landlord tenant and other things going back  a few years, so is the economy as much to blame?  Also as the property changed hands did the rent just keep going up?

Whatever has happened, it’s a crying shame.  It represents the death of another small business with a long history in a Main Line Community.

RIP Viking Pastries. Thank you for all the wonderful years you gave your customers.

(the photo array is assembled from a couple of my photos and ones I found on Google)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.