215-627-2493 | center@oldpine.org


Consumers Corner # 22

How Philly Activists killed
the Crosstown Expressway

By Jim Murphy

If you didn’t live here in the late ’60s and early ’70s, you may not realize how close the area near Old Pine Community Center came to being completely destroyed by a controversial highway.

City officials, led by famed planner Ed Bacon, wanted to demolish the South Street neighborhood and build an 8-lane depressed highway from the Delaware to the Schuylkill rivers.

This Crosstown Expressway would have destroyed more than 20 blocks of Lombard, South and Bainbridge streets and devastated numerous neighborhoods on both sides of Broad Street.

Fortunately, a diverse group of neighborhood activists protested the plan, stopped the expressway in its tracks and helped keep the many communities affected intact.

Free program is Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

Learn how they did it at the Sanctuary, Gloria Dei Church, Thursday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m. Gloria Dei is located at Columbus Blvd. and Christian Street.

The program is co-sponsored by Queen Village Neighbors Association and the Historic Gloria Dei Preservation Corporation (HGDPC).

The panel includes these veterans
of the Crosstown Expressway fight:

  • Paul Levy, founding CEO of the extremely successful Center City District and author of “Queen Village: The Eclipse of a Community.”
  • Marge Schernecke, a community organizer and leader in Queen Village whose family has lived in the area for five generations.
  • David Auspitz, former owner of Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen and former chairman of the Philadelphia Zoning Board.
  • Rick Snyderman, Co-owner of The Works Gallery and a key member of the “South Street Renaissance.”
  • John Coates, former housing development leader and Executive Director for SCPAC, a coalition of river-to-river community groups.
  • Conrad Weiler, former national activist preventing displacement in gentrifying neighborhoods and Temple University political science faculty member since 1968.
  • Joel Spivak, architect, artist, former owner of Rocketships & Accessories and originator of Philadelphia’s National Hot Dog Month Celebration.

This program is living proof that you can fight city hall … and win!

Attendees should come early. The last meeting of this type attracted an overflow crowd. To preserve a record of the event, the program will be videotaped for YouTube.

For information, call 215-339-0975 or email: info@qvna.org


Catto historical marker hit
by pet-food delivery truck

The blue-and-gold Octavius V. Catto Pennsylvania historical marker at 812 South Street looks as if vandals broke it in half.

But the damage was really caused by an errant truck.

The Inquirer reports that a pet-food delivery truck accidentally hit the marker in late September. A new one, paid for by the delivery company, is expected to be in place by mid-to-late November.

Catto, a multi-talented educator, baseball player and civil rights activist was honored Sept. 26 with a statue on City Hall’s apron. The Inquirer says, “It the first public memorial honoring an African American in the city’s history.”



Do you know what to do
in a medical emergency?

The shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 people and wounded over 520 made one thing very clear: you never know when you will be called upon to provide first aid.

So plan now to learn how to stop bleeding, open airways and save the lives of friends, loved ones and even complete strangers.

A former director of emergency medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine once gave me these valuable life-saving tips:

Prepare now to handle common emergencies. Ask yourself what you would do in each case and develop a plan.

Note: If you don’t know how to handle common emergencies, sign up now for a first-aid course with American Red Cross, your local hospital, fire station or night school. Even better, bring a friend or companion with you so you both learn.

Once you know what to do, run through the proper steps in your mind regularly. That’s what emergency personnel do … so in an emergency, they just automatically plug into their pre-existing plan.

Control yourself and your emotions. It’s crucial. Stay calm and you will perform better. The injured person will stay calmer, too.

Stay cool when you call for assistance, too. Make sure you give your exact location, especially if you are calling from a cell phone. Don’t hang up until the person on the other end has all required information.

Regarding bleeding: A human body can bleed out in five minutes. So the first one on the scene needs to help control blood loss and try to keep the person alive.

The New York Times lists some sites that offer Stop the Bleed classes. But I found none listed for Philadelphia.

The paper does say this: “The American Red Cross also addresses ways to stop bleeding in its first aid and CPR classes, and has a first aid app that includes information about controlling bleeding.”

My suggestion: Check for first aid classes in your neighborhood.

Bonus: Here is an online site with a “Stop the Bleed” booklet you can print out. But you’re far better off taking a first aid class.

Go to:




The 37-foot-high-statue of William Penn atop Philadelphia’s City Hall is thought to be the largest statue atop any building in the world. It weighs 27 tons.


Photo Credit

Temple University Libraries, George D. McDowell Philadelphia Evening Bulletin collection.


Jim Murphy is a direct marketing copywriter who has run his own consulting business since 2004. For nine years, he wrote and edited “Choices,” an award-winning credit union magazine with a circulation of 80,000. Jim is also a certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guide and writes historical articles for the Queen Village Neighbors Association magazine.

Any comments made are Jim’s opinion, and not necessarily those of the Old Pine Community Center.





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