South Philly

Hidden bowling alley in South Philly

Pop quiz: You want to go bowling in South Philly. And South Bowl is feeling a little pricey for your Thursday night budget. Where do you go?

Saint Monica Lanes at 16th & Shunk, of course!

We've literally been meaning to write about this place for years. We first found our way here several years ago when we attended a fundraiser for youth programs at the Marian Anderson Rec Center, where $20 got us beer, bowling, and live music. And it helped the kids! And then for a few years we forgot where the place was located. And then we remembered, and we've meant to write about it ever since.

View at 16th & Shunk
Tiny sign for the bowling alley

The bowling alley, which has been around for decades, has twelve lanes and the type of automated system you'd expect. They also have party rooms and a game room. For as little as a hundred bucks, you can rent two lanes and have yourself a party. If you're more popular than us, you can rent out the whole place for up to four hours for $650. You might not imagine from from the sign, but the place is in pretty good shape.

Plans have been there for years

Over the weekend, we changed things up a bit and eschewed the Melrose in favor of the Penrose Diner. On our way there, we noticed some construction fencing across the street that had previously escaped our attention.

Looking under the Schuylkill Expressway, we noticed a fence
Fenced-in area next to the Ramada

At 2001 Penrose Ave., next door to the hilariously named Ramada Philadelphia City Center, there's a vacant lot with a sign advertising a not-yet-built shopping center.

Some neighbors would prefer it doesn't

We're on so many mailing lists. And perhaps because we get so many emails that are only of marginal interest, we end up ignoring most of them. Yesterday though, we got an email that caught our eye so we figured we'd share. It came from the 5th Square, a political action committee that advocates for good governance, better land-use, improved public transportation, and other stuff that makes and would make our city a better place. The topic of the email was the Guerin Recreation Center at 16th & Jackson, and more specifically it related to a proposed green space on its southern end.

V2 Properties doing their part in the neighborhood

Back in the summer of 2014, we told you about some new homes under construction on the 400 block of Mercy Street, half a block north of Snyder Avenue. This was a notable development because we don't typically see construction in Whitman, though it's not so far from Pennsport. Maybe a week ago, we found ourselves in that area once again, and came upon some additional development, this time on the 600 and 700 blocks.

Three new homes on the 600 block

Again, it's V2 Properties doing the construction. The three homes on the 600 block, 617, 621, and 629 Mercy St., each have about 1,900 sqft of living space, 3 bedrooms, and 2.5 bathrooms. All are currently listed for $280K. 

Corner of 7th & Mercy

At 7th & Mercy, different developers are building a pair of multi-unit buildings. Permits aren't clear about whether it's two or three units per building, but we'd guess two per building based on the square footage of the land. We'd also bet on rentals here.

Dramatic improvement over the past

A couple blocks away from the five home project coming soon to Hoffman Street, we stumbled upon what looked to us like a brand new mural on the side of a large warehouse at 7th & Moore. This building has been home to Woodcraft Industry for many years, supplying builders with cabinets and plumbing supplies. It's certainly not a glamorous business, and the building suggested as much.

In the past

Recently, artist Shira Walinsky completed a new mural on this wall which has been titled "Language Labs." This work is part of a larger Mural Arts project called Southeast By Southeast, a mental health and community-based arts program created in partnership with Lutheran Children and Family Services. The mural, you can see, is an enormous improvement over what we saw previously.