A 12-year-old just opened his own bike shop in Paoli.
You read that right.
Dom Fixes Bikes, aka DFB, is owned and operated by Dom Pecora. The Valley Forge Middle School sixth-grader ditched modeling and acting gigs – he’s walked runways and appeared on national TV – for the greasier charms of bike chains, tubes and lubes.
Calling Dom merely precocious sells him short. This kid’s got an entrepreneur’s moxie, a mechanic’s smarts and a salesman’s gift of gab.
Helps, too, that his mom/manager, Karen Nudy Pecora, is 100 percent on board.
“She is the brain and I am the body,” says Dom. “She gets me the customers and I do the work. We’re a good team.”
His business was born in early COVID when bike shops were closed and it seemed the whole world wanted two wheelers.
Dom had been eyeing a fancy new mountain bike – a $3,000 YT Primus Jeffsy – for his near daily bike rides. He shreds and stunts at bike parks with kids years older.
So he started fixing bikes on a pay-what-you-wish basis in his mom’s Chesterbrook townhouse. Word got out and people began donating old bikes. Overloaded bike shops began bringing him bikes to fix.
“My business went crazy,” says Dom. “I decided to put some cash in an envelope every time I fixed or sold a bike so at Christmas time I could buy a bike for a kid whose family might not be able to get him a dream bike.”
He soon designed “DFB” graphic T-shirts. Thanks to his modeling contacts, his tees will officially launch at Atlantic City Fashion Week in September.
In a year, Dom has fixed some 200 bikes and made more than $6,000. More than enough to buy that Primus Jeffsy and bikes, helmets and warranties for six kids.
Just one problem: his mom and brother were tripping over bikes at their townhome, which doesn’t even have a garage. “The only place not filled with bikes was the bathtub,” says his mom.
So the Pecoras leased this garage near the Paoli Wawa.
Dom spent the first days of May painting the walls and outfitting his new shop. “I don’t think I’ll make much money this year but I think I’ll have a nicer environment,” he says.
A notable bump in the road: the bike crash that sent Dom to CHOP shortly before Easter.
His mom had an uneasy feeling that morning and begged her son not to go to the bike park. “Don’t ride faster than your guardian angel can fly,” Karen Pecora has long advised her son. “On the way out the door, I remember hugging him like a mother would hug her son as he goes off to war.”
Within an hour, she got the call. Dom had crashed “at a crazy speed and ridiculous height.”
He escaped with a bruised face, a broken finger and stitches. When he assured his mom that he’d “figured out his crash pattern and exit strategy” and knew to throw the bike from his body so it wouldn’t crush him, she couldn’t stay angry.
“I don’t think I have ever been so proud .. I cringe when I see the videos and I celebrate his successes when I’m the one taking the video and he lands that scary trick perfectly!”
We asked Dom how he finds time to fix bikes, go to school, practice stunts and just be a 12-year-old?
“School until school ends,” he answers. “After school, I go to the bike shop for an hour or two, fix some bikes, then go home and ride my bike. Be a normal kid and have fun.”
Karen Pecora calls her son “a happy, funny kid who cares about others and takes pride in the way he speaks and carries himself … He’s creative and driven at the same time.”
Besides bicycle mechanics, he’s taught himself breakdancing, Rubik’s Cube and origami.
One day, Dom hopes to sell DFB franchises “to families that have a kid like me who wants to own a business.”
Karen Pecora is grateful for her son’s success and knows his late grandfather, Fred Nudy, the celebrated Berwyn entrepreneur, Purple-Heart recipient and community volunteer, is beaming from on high.
“2020 was a horrible year for most families, but for our family, we were able to meet so many people along the way as Dom fixed hundreds of bikes in the pandemic,” says Dom’s mom. “The love, support and encouragement from our community have been something I will never forget.”
Rallying around catastrophically injured TESD student and his family
The community is coming up big for one of its own – T/E Middle School 8th-grader Austin Beltrante, who’s been fighting for his life after a horrific accident on May 16.
Austin, 13, was on a platform of a local train trestle bridge and holding onto a bar when his foot unknowingly contacted a wire. He was electrocuted, caught on fire and fell some 20 feet to train tracks below.
Airlifted to St. Christopher’s Hospital with mostly third-degree burns over three-quarters of his body, Austin has since endured seven surgeries, including the amputation of both hands and three toes, and battles recurring infections, according to Austin’s unofficial stepmom, Deanna Golden who, along with her three children, lives with John Beltrante, and his sons, Austin and Bryce, in Berwyn.
The outpouring of support has been “just unbelievable,” says Golden, referring to the flood of fundraisers, prayer vigils, kind notes, texts, calls and comments. “They say there’s strength in numbers. The community is genuinely giving John and his family strength.”
Help is coming from all quarters – from the Main Line but also from the Broomall area – because Austin’s father is principal of Marple Newtown High School, where School Superintendent Tina Kane calls him an “extraordinary educator,” a “pillar of the community” and “a principal that kids absolutely adore.”
Kane held her first face-to-face group meeting since last March so she could personally break the awful news to staffs at Marple Newtown H.S. and Worrall Elementary in Broomall, John Beltrante’s former post. She also asked staff and students to submit videos, photos and well wishes which have been made into a video. She wanted Austin to see how many folks are pulling for him.
Austin remains in critical condition – he’s off the ventilator and is speaking. But he’s “nowhere near in the clear,” Golden says.
The road ahead – fraught with years of surgeries, skin grafts, prostheses, counseling, physical therapy and a mountain of expenses – is daunting.
Still, Golden and Kane both believe that Austin and his family – close-knit and resilient – are uniquely suited to the fight. A “talker and a happy kid” who plays football and wrestles, Austin relishes a challenge, Golden says. “If you tell him he can’t do something, he’s determined to find a way. He’s the kind of kid who would figure out how to box with his new hands.”
Here are current initiatives to offer financial, emotional and spiritual support to the Beltrante family. Hope you’ll consider helping out:
- The biggest campaign to date: Austin Beltrante’s Battle Fund, a GoFundMe launched by Berwyn-Paoli Area Little League that has raised $116,000 of its $150,000 goal.
- Conestoga Football Gridiron Club is accepting donations for the family via PayPal. Austin’s brother, Bryce, 16, plays football at Stoga. The Gridiron Club held a well-attended prayer service at Wilson Park six days after the accident.
- T/E mom Leslie Gudel is collecting donations for meals for the Beltrantes through her Food It Forward site.
- Marple Newtown High School’s PTO started a Meal Train that’s booked into August. The PTO is also selling “Austin’s Army: No One Fights Alone” t-shirts for $15 and invites donations via Venmo. Search for the account, @mn-support.
- Local businesses are getting involved.
- Salon diModa in Bryn Mawr, whose owner is a friend of Deanna Golden, is raffling off services and products.
- The Original Thunderbird Steakhouse and Catering in Broomall will host a “Pizza for Austin Fundraiser on Monday, June 7 with proceeds from all pizza sales going toward Austin’s care.
- Freddie’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Broomall, will donate all proceeds from Wednesday, June 16 to the Beltrante family.
- A recent spaghetti-and-crabs fundraiser by Anthony’s at Paxon raised $7,000.
- The faithful have started nightly prayer chains. Local Bible studies and religious groups have lifted the Beltrante family in prayer.
“Every little contribution whether it be a few kind words, a meal or a prayer has made a tremendous difference,” said John Beltrante and Deanna Golden, in a joint statement to SAVVY. “We truly believe that the consistent prayer and support of all of you combined with Austin’s tenacity are why he wakes up to fight another day. We want you to know that we are depending on you to stay with us and have no doubt how important you are in his journey to recovery. From the bottom of our hearts: THANK YOU!!!”
Protest by right-wing Catholics and Havertown priest rankles Bryn Mawr neighbors
The culture wars – and evidence of a growing Catholic schism – came to Bryn Mawr this spring. Ultraconservative Catholic activists staged an anti-LGBTQ protest outside Coopertown Elementary School April 28, briefly clashing with neighbors.
About 30 Catholics led by the lay group, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, aka TFP, gathered to protest the appearance of progressive Jesuit priest, Father James Martin, at a virtual conference at the St. Raphaela Center, a retreat house in Haverford run by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic sisterhood.
Rev. Martin, who hails from Montco and graduated from Wharton but has a national profile, has repeatedly urged the Church to better minister to gay Catholics – a stance that has come under fire from conservative Catholics like the former Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput.
Joining the TFP protesters in Bryn Mawr and helping to lead them in prayer was Rev. Sean Loomis, parochial vicar at Annunciation BVM parish in Havertown.
The group held signs that read “Sodomy is Not a Family Value,” “God’s Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman,” “Love God, Hate Sin,” chanted “Reparation!” and recited the rosary, played bagpipes and sang “God Bless America.”
A trickle of neighbors and passersby challenged the group – about 20 in all. One planted a rainbow flag, another used a bullhorn, and at least two brought their “Hate Has No Home Here” lawn signs. A family from Coopertown Elementary reportedly showed up with a local Episcopalian priest to debate Loomis but arrived too late. Also reportedly in attendance: Survivor champion and Harriton ’02 alum Wendell Holland.
Things got so testy that police officers were summoned to keep the peace.
“It made me feel sick,” neighbor Tim Egan tells SAVVY. “I believe in freedom of expression but for a group of strangers to come into our neighborhood and belligerently and aggressively use hateful language about LGBTQ people – my friends, neighbors and fellow humans – was very upsetting.” Egan held a “Hate Has no Home Here Sign” up to passing cars for an hour. “I very much wanted to be an ally … and stand in solidarity with the people who were the targets of this group’s venom.”
Adds counter-protester Brian Milewski, a practicing Catholic from Bryn Mawr: “If you engaged [the protesters] in discussion, they’d talk about conversion therapy and how being gay is a choice.”
Milewski was particularly upset that Rev. Loomis led the prayers.
“It was very alarming to see a local priest leading and supporting them. I’ve heard from a handful of people that some of his views have driven them or their parents away from Annunciation. We belong to St. John Neumann and would be pretty upset to learn about a priest there supporting this group.”
For his part, Rev. Loomis tells SAVVY it was his first TFP event and he heard about it from “word of mouth … I do not have a connection to TFP and, in all honesty, I don’t know much about them … Many mistakenly attribute the hosting, organizing, and leadership of this event to me because I am a priest, but in reality I merely attended the event to pray with other Catholics for these intentions.”
Loomis claims he came for a quiet, prayerful protest and was bothered by the bagpipes and signs that “leave people feeling judged and turned off” and “had little to do with Father James Martin or the conference held by the Handmaids. (A video of the protest shows Loomis holding TFP’s “God’s Marriage” sign.)
And while he says he objected to the group’s tactics and understands why “community members had the impression we were hosting an aggressive defense of marriage rally outside an elementary school,” Loomis doesn’t “disagree theologically with any of the positions of the TFP.”
According to its website, TPL crusades against “social acceptance of homosexual practice,” transgenderism, gay films and events, pro-gay clubs on Catholic campuses, progressivism, lifting of statutes of limitations on sexual abuse cases, the environmental movement, contraception, euthanasia and more.
DePaul’s Table – a modern Italian steakhouse – re-energizes the old Bercy in Ardmore
With soaring ceilings and architectural flourishes, old banks make splendid steakhouses.
Latest case in point: DePaul’s Table, newly open in the circa 1892 building that housed Haverford Trust, Primavera Pizza Kitchen and, in the last three years, The Bercy Brasserie.
It’s owned by the perfect paisono: Anthony DePaul, a gracious industry veteran who serves as the nightly maître d’.
Smart strategy. Hands-off ownerships is one reason why his French brasserie didn’t make it, admits Bercy co-owner Justin Weathers, who remains a partner in DePaul’s. “In that area, the clientele wants a face to go with a name. They wanted to see me in there working, kissing hands, running drinks, really schmoozing it. I think I dropped the ball on all that.” Other Bercy challenges during COVID, according to Weathers: minimal outdoor dining and a building “too big and clunky to run as a takeout spot.”
It’s DePaul’s first ownership stake after a 20-year career helping bigger names like Stephen Starr and Iron Chef Marc Forgione launch ventures in South Jersey.
DePaul will commute nightly from his Jersey home and tells us he has a very understanding wife. (She better be. The couple has four sons, ages 2 to 14.)
And DePaul isn’t the only one driving an hour each way to work. About 90 percent of his staff – including Executive Chef José Galicia – followed him from Jersey.
“I’m so grateful to them, I can’t even put it in words,” DePaul says. “If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to open.”
On the menu: Wood-fired flatbreads and handhelds ($15 – $21), dry-aged steaks and chops butchered in-house, fish, seafood and pasta (from $28), appetizers/raw bar ($13 – $19), and salads ($9 – $24).
“I wanted to create a place where you can come for a special-occasion, 48-ounce tomahawk ribeye or enjoy a flatbread or salad and wine for $25,” DePaul says. “I wanted it to be approachable.”
The vibe: Dramatic and clubby, on two grand levels. The Bercy’s bar, booths, tabletops and walls were refreshed with warmer tones and modern art, courtesy of Partum Interiors’ Dominika Chanc (formerly of Balongue Design, which created The Bercy.)
DePaul’s Table, 7 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, is open for dinner, Mon. – Sat. 5 to 9:30. Sundays, 5 to 9, Weekday Happy Hour 4:30 – 6:30 with $9 cosmos and martinis, $8 house wines and apps $8 – $10). For private party inquiries, e-mail [email protected] or call 610-589-0500.
A dangerous side effect of modern medicine: doctors disappearing out the door.
The average primary care visit lasts around 17 minutes – enough time to tackle a discrete problem perhaps but nowhere near long enough to accomplish the hard work of health care: keeping folks healthy and chronic disease at bay.
May we suggest a new kind of physician?
One who works on her own, free from patient quotas and the hamster wheel of larger practices.
Someone who’s literally at your beck and call 24/7.
A highly-pedigreed professional who will not only diagnose and prescribe but will also cheer you on and go to the mat for you.
Meet Dr. Janine Darby, an MD board-certified in both Family and Obesity Medicine and left a family practice at Penn Medicine to strike out on her own a few years ago.
Aptly named Lifestyle Changes, Darby’s practice has two prongs: the innovative weight-loss program we told you about in April and concierge-level primary care – wherein patients get the white coat and white glove treatment.
Visits take as long as needed – an hour, even two hours.
No more automated answering services; patients get Dr. Darby’s cell number.
“A lot of patients can’t get in contact with their primary care doctors and doctors don’t have time to listen to their woes or what their problems are,” Darby tells SAVVY. “They might assume the wrong issue because they have to get patients in and out in 15 minutes … Are you able to form that relationship? Can you get enough data to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan? That was one of my frustrations when I was in a health system. I couldn’t spend enough time with my patients to get to the bottom of an issue.”
Unlike concierge practices where teams of physicians care for hundreds of patients, Darby practices solo and keeps her patient load manageably small.
Another plus: Darby uses her network of physician contacts to help patients get appointments with specialists who are often booked out months in advance.
Darby enjoys nothing more than advocating – forcefully when necessary – for her patients.
“I had to force my mom to fire her primary-care doctor because he missed a lot of things. He didn’t spend the time; he wasn’t listening.” She recalls, too, the time she helped a 38-year-old get to the bottom of her debilitating headaches – not taking no for an answer, coordinating her care.
“So many patients don’ t know how to navigate the system,” Darby says. “They are either taken advantage of or aren’t given what they need.”
Lifestyle Changes’ patients see Dr. Darby virtually via secure video chat so they never have to fight traffic.
She also makes house calls as needed. New patients always get a comprehensive health assessment, with blood drawn, in their own homes.
Whether they see her for weight loss or primary care, patients receive highly personalized attention. Like an in-house attorney, Dr. Darby, is, in effect, put on a retainer that’s payable monthly or yearly.
“I’ll be doing preventive care but if you already have a chronic disease, let me manage it for you with medications and a healthy lifestyle,” Darby says. “That’s what I call quality care: having someone in your corner.”
For a complimentary, no-obligation “discovery” appointment, visit Dr. Janine Darby/Lifestyle Changes, call 484-685-0033 or email [email protected] Dr. Darby has degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, American University and Temple University School of Medicine and wrote the bestsellier, Get Your Sexy Back: A Guide to Rebounding After Pregnancy.
Vax to normal? We’re getting there – particularly at local gyms
It’s weird being so close to strangers again.
Now that we’ve got our vaccines (mostly) squared away, it’s those pesky masks that are confounding us.
Where do I still have to wear one?
What will people think if I don’t wear one?
What will they think if I do?
Anyone else out there threading the needle – slipping a mask around one ear or carrying it casually, just in case?
Almost makes you long for the days when you HAD to wear one, no questions asked.
What makes things tricky: Even though both PA and NJ have dropped mask mandates except for healthcare settings, schools, prisons, homeless shelters and such, businesses can make their own decisions and what they say, goes.
Most supermarkets now allow you to go mask-free but old habits die hard. Maybe we actually like the anonymity? The security? The savings on lipstick?
Gym rats were among the first to joyously rip off their masks but the fine print varies.
The Haverford area YMCA has vaccinated members moseying on in maskless, no proof of vaccine required.
AFC in Bala Cynwyd and Upper Main Line Y have asked for masks in hallways and lobbies “to protect those who are not fully vaccinated” but fully vaccinated folks – and they take your word for it – can take them off when they work out or in class.
Life Time Athletic clubs in Tredyffrin and Ardmore, Edge Fitness in Wayne, Purenergy Studio in Paoli, and Club La Maison in Wayne also allow fully vaccinated folks to skip masks, again on an honor system. Attendance everywhere, particularly clubs with older members, is steadily ticking up. “It’s been great to see smiles again!” says Purenergy owner Chris Somers. At Edge Fitness, General Manager Chris Bartas estimates 80 percent of members aren’t wearing masks. “We haven’t had any issues with members complaining about the change … It’s made the gym feel normal again.”
Some smaller gyms with specialized workouts and shared equipment, like Club Pilates in Malvern and F45 Training in Paoli, also allow members to breathe free but you’ll have to show them your vaccine card first, which they keep on file.
No masks are needed for SoulCycle classes in the Suburban Square parking garage but cyclists have been wearing them to enter the studio to use the restrooms or lockers.
Meanwhile, the Sporting Club of the Main Line, now primarily a personal-training facility, has been keeping everyone masked up, at least for now.
Oh, and so much for spontaneity. While you can still just walk on in to use equipment, gyms now require advance registrations for indoor classes to ensure rooms don’t get too crowded. That includes independent holdouts like Mojo Fitness in Wayne, which now asks for RSVPs for its indoor classes, to big boys like Upper Main LIne Y. UMLY started class signups during the pandemic and plans to keep them indefinitely.
Short family videos are all the rage; Family photographer Jessica Hinds elevates them to art
By Rebecca Adler
Wayne photographer Jess Hinds knows how tough it is to pick a photo of your kid. Each variation in their smiles is worth saving, which is why you have hundreds (OK, thousands) of pictures stored on your phone.
It’s also why Jessica Hinds Photography gives clients every image taken at their photoshoots.
That’s right. Each session fee includes the entire, edited digital album. A marked difference from most professional photographers on the Main Line.
“I love every picture of my son!” Hinds says of her 15-month-old, Noah. “I don’t want to have to choose five. If he’s doing a different face in each one, I may want one for the Christmas card and one for my house.”
It’s this attention to detail and commitment to capturing precious moments that inspired Hinds to add beautifully shot, heartwarming mini videos to her product suite, a trend that caught fire after Prince William and Kate Middleton’s anniversary short went viral a few months back.
Edited down to an easy-to-digest one minute, Hinds’ newborn welcome-to-the-world trailers and family films are perfect for social media, long-distance relatives or, you know, a year of quarantine away from friends and family.
Here’s one featuring Cordell Trevor Jackson, whose parents say they’re “still obsessing over it..”
To see more short family videos, visit jessicahindsphotography.com.
“There’s a certain magic when you can capture something on video,” Hinds says. “You’re seeing the [little newborn movements], the big belly laughs. That stuff is so beautiful, you just want to make it tangible.”
A photography enthusiast with a background in sales, Hinds honed her craft on her then-baby nephew, striving to capture all the micro changes that make up the first year. She soon began training with photography pros from around the world, then landed jobs with her sister’s new-mom friends.
Her business, specializing in newborns, families and weddings, officially launched in 2017.
Hinds prides herself on her bold-yet-natural natural aesthetic – from the lighting to her preferred way to pose newborns (swaddled and comfy).
Photo sessions take place on location – at a park or at clients’ homes – a plus for parents who like the ease of changing and feeding babies in their own nurseries. Hinds will also travel to the Shore or the Cape and shoots seasonally in Naples, Florida.
Bookings include styling tips and a list of Hinds’ favorite Main Line shoot locations.
Upgrades are also on the menu – think big canvas prints to hang above your mantle and luxe photo albums – because beautiful photography deserves a life outside your computer.
****Mention SAVVY Main Line and enjoy 10% off Jessica Hinds Photography ****
The Main Line, Philly and Longport, NJ mourn the shocking death of prominent attorney Andy Stern
Was it just a few months ago that we ran this photo with news that longtime Villanova resident Andy Stern, 60, a legal eagle of the first order, had left the high-profile firm, Kline & Specter, to hang out his own shingle with mentee Liz Crawford?
Today, we share incomprehensible news that this talented and driven counselor who’d secured the highest personal injury settlement in PA history but who still managed to put his family first, has passed.
A personal friend to us, a personal champion to scores of clients who’d been injured and wronged, Andy wasn’t out fishing or flying a vintage plane too close to the sun when he left this earth.
No, this avid sportsman succumbed to an undetermined occurrence outside his bayfront Longport home last Friday night and was tossed in the sea. His beloved wife, Gwen, was inside, happily making dinner to kick off the holiday weekend.
Andy’s body was spotted floating north in the bay off Longport’s 33rd Street and retrieved off Monroe Ave. in Margate by the Coast Guard. Efforts to revive him in the wee hours Saturday morning failed.
He leaves behind Gwen, his three adult children, and an ocean of friends, colleagues, clients and contacts still processing how someone so kind and caring, so skilled at his craft and committed to those he loved, so alive could be taken so soon.
Andy Stern’s funeral will be held at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, on Thursday, June 3 with Shiva that Thursday and Friday beginning at 3 p.m. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Andy & Gwen Stern Community of Lawyering Clinic. See full obituary for details.
#ShopSmall #BuyLocal with these feel-good Father’s Day gifts
… For the eco-conscious beachcomber: a handsome ocean-saving beach chair from LowTides
Nothing like garbage washing ashore to spoil those ocean views, right?
Sitting on a Sea Isle beach a few summers ago, a St. Joe’s alum became so bothered by the National Geographic story he was reading about plastics destroying our oceans that he created a company so he could do his part: LowTides Ocean Products.
Each LowTides beach chair is made from three pounds of upcycled ocean-bound plastics. They come in cool designs and two heights and have all the bells and whistles: backpack straps, two cup holders and a smartphone slot.
Since its inaugural sell-out 2020 season, LowTide chairs have removed more than 16,000 pounds of plastics from our oceans. For Summer 2021, founders Brenton Hutchinson and his sister, Elizabeth, are back with new styles and an expanded product line.
Adult chairs (from $109) are sold at Island Beach Gear in Ocean City, Sands Dept. Store in Sea Isle, Farias Surf Shop in Ship Bottom and online at lidesop.com.
… For the man who can hold his whisky … or wants it on his wine-cellar wall: A print from Wayne’s Peter Strid
Self-taught artist Peter Strid was so smitten by the look of liquor bottles – the iconic designs, “the way they ‘eat’ and ‘spit out’ light” – that he started painting them.
And painting them some more.
Buy your guy a Strid limited edition print of a potent potable (from $120) or a piece of pop art – like the Easy Rider below ($450). Or splurge on an original or commissioned piece.
Shop Peter Strid online, in Wayne at the Jane Win showroom and La Vie boutique, and at Villanova-based Vanessa Fox Dresses.
… For the history buff or proud homeowner … a bird’s eye view
Personalize his man cave with a cooler-by-a-mile map of his fave local or Shore town.
“Almost everyone along the Main Line lives where a large estate was originally built or in an area rich with local history,” says Philadelphia Print Shop/Avalon Maps owner David Mackey, who just opened a showroom & store in downtown Wayne and sells local property maps from original atlases for $100 to $450.
Maps make great housewarming, birthday and wedding gifts, too.
… For the college football nut: The History of College Nicknames, Mascots and School Colors
King of Prussia’s Gary Hudson, who spent the last 16 years managing the Chester County Airport, also spent years researching the legacy – some might say lunacy – of Division 1A football allegiances.
The result – a uniquely fascinating mini-history lesson of 120+ schools, from the University of Arizona Sun Devils to the Western Michigan Broncos.
You breeze through Jennifer Weiner’s latest while your “We Are … Penn State” man pages through this paperback.
Meet up in Malvern for your Devon Horse Show fix
Mourning the loss of Ladies Day at the Devon Horse Show this year?
But we’re counting on Malvern’s Derby Days (June 3 -5) to tide us over.
The fun kicks off this Thursday, June 4 with Grand Prix Night (which would have been Devon’s biggest night – sniff, sniff). Grab your gal pals at 5 p.m. in front of Campli Photography Studio and strut your stuff in the Hat & Style Contest. Judges include SAVVY Main Line’s Caroline O’Halloran, Jennaphr Frederick of Fox 29 and celebrity stylist George Brescia, who now hangs his dapper hat in Malvern..
Or skip the hat show and try a QR code town scavenger hunt.
Prizes for both include fabulous gift cards and products from Malvern businesses.
Restaurants will run specials. Wear a hat or show a receipt from a participating merchant and you’ll get a drink or dessert on the house.
The festivities pick up again Saturday, June 5, with Family Fun Day along King Street: yummy food trucks and fun stuff for the kids like balloon and caricature artists, handpainting (no faces during COVID), live music, trunk shows and special sales.
The Triple-Crowning touch: many businesses have pledged to donate 10 percent of Derby Days’ sales to Devon Horse Show’s usual beneficiary, Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Snazzy new Suburban Square popup: ShopSixtyFive
A regular fashion contributor on Fox’s Good Day Philadelphia and ABC’s FYI Philly, is back on the Main Line.
Linda LaRosa just opened ShopSixtyFive, a popup boutique around the corner from Lola’s Garden in Suburban Square. LaRosa previously had an outpost in Gladwyne and still maintains her flagship in Doylestown.
ShopSixtyFive carries eclectic designer brands for women of all ages, all curated by LaRosa, including Lauren Moshi, Alexis, RTa, Madeworn, Norma Kamali, Cotton Citizen and Raquel Allegra. Lucky Magazine once named ShopSixtyFive “a best boutique” in the U.S.
“I saw a need for edgy yet flirty, classy and sexy clothes and that’s just what ShopSixtyFive offers,” says LaRosa, who expanded to Ardmore to be closer to her Main Line and Center City customers.
ShopSixtyFive, 47 St. Georges Rd., Suburban Square, Ardmore, 484-412-8474.
Too Good to Go expands to the Main Line
Two relentlessly charity-minded merchants – DiBruno Bros. and La Colombe in Bryn Mawr – have signed on with Too Good To Go, a cool new app that fights food waste as it helps restaurant owners.
Download the app to peruse that day’s “surprise bags” from participating eateries. Choose the place that strikes your fancy, pay about a third of the usual price, and pick up your mystery bag that night.
Our $5 bag from DiBruno’s Bros. in Wayne (above) included a tasty pasta and stuffed olives and a sweet treat.
We also scored a $5 surprise bag of “Congo” coffee beans at La Colombe’s Bryn Mawr café. A steal.
Philadelphia Flower Show debuts new habitat
It’s time – at long last – for “HABITAT: Nature’s Masterpiece,” the first outdoor Philadelphia Flower Show in its vaunted 193-year history.
With all that extra space at FDR Park in South Philly, the Show will feature the most designers and displays ever.
The park will be divided into three distinct districts: plant, garden and design, each with its own displays, interactive exhibits, shopping, food and drink.
Among the don’t-miss Flower Show first-timers staging major exhibits:
- Four Seasons Hotel Artistic Director Jeff Leatham whose dramatic “Habitat” will be sculpted around the iconic columns of the Olmsted Pavilion at the Show’s entrance.
- An urban landscape from the celebrated creator of NYC’s High Line Park, Patrick Cullina.
- East African horticulturalist Wambui Ippolito, whose “Etherea” was inspired by her childhood in the Great Rift Valley.
The food looks way more fun, too.
You can picnic under a tree with a Picnic Tote from Brulée Catering, find a table in the Beer Garden grove (Look for the cool Stella Artois airstream), try the stalls at the Food Bazaar, Blume Village and Design District, or enjoy a meal by the lake at the circa-1917 boathouse, which will host the Show’s only sit-down restaurant.
Main Line oases like Stoneleigh, Jenkins Arboretum and Chanticleer get their days in the city sun, too. Meet reps from each, spot them on an 8-ft. map, and snag a free visitor’s Passport at the America’s Garden Capital booth.
The 2021 PHS Philadelphia Flower Show runs June 5-13 at FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Ave. and S. Broad Street. Must reserve tickets in advance for morning or afternoon sessions. $45 for adults; $30 for Young Friends 18 – 29, $20 for kids 5 to 17.
Say it isn’t so: Marty, G.O.A.T. Crossing Guard, has put his silly hats in mothballs
Marty Cunningham, the near-legendary crossing guard stationed near Hillside Elementary, has retired and we’re not sure who misses him more: the kids he kept safe or their parents.
Marty wore a different silly hat every day, waving to every passing car, giving every kid a fist bump or thumbs up. Sure, his antics sparked smiles but they had a serious aim, too: to keep drivers eyes on the road instead of their phones.
Over the years, Marty’s been, among other characters, a Viking, the Mad Hatter, Court Jester and of course, Santa. On his last day, kids wore their own funny hats in tribute.
“He made every child and adult feel like they have a connection,” wrote mom-fan Kate Miller on Instagram.
This and that
The Upper Main Line YMCA is getting in the elementary education business – officially. It’s starting a full-day, academic Kindergarten Academy in the fall. The program will focus on STEAM and use the Y’s 54-acre Berwyn campus, including the STEM lab, Nature Center, Cassatt Preserve and Performing Arts Center. What’s more, UMLY staff will safely transport kids from the classroom to on-site extra-curriculars like swim lessons, theater classes, farm care and sports. Enrollment is currently open.
DiBruno Bros. in Wayne has officially opened its 20-ft circular Bar Alimentari for weekend brunch, light lunches, happy hour bites and potent potables. Stop in for cocktails, wine and craft beer, small plates of cheese and charcuterie, antipasto, soups, salads and pizza. Additional outdoor seats coming soon.
Sure looks like Devon Horse Show is staying put. The Show just spent a bundle to upgrade its digs. Some 500 stalls have been reconstructed with fresh screening to create better footing for horses, most barn exterior walls have been refurbished, stable doors have been replaced, and iconic Devon cupolas have been rebuilt with up lighting to set them off. Some have been whispering that the horse show plans to skip town, leaving just the country fair in Devon.
There won’t be any horsin’ around in the Dixon Oval but you can still visit Devon Horse Show at 11 a.m. this Friday, June 4. Just register online at Main Line School Night for a workshop and personal walking tour led by the man at the top: Horse Show Chairman and CEO Wayne Grafton. Limited space available. Your next chance to stroll the show grounds is about a month away for Brandywine Horse Shows. Other big ones to look forward to: The Devon Fall Classic Sept. 15-19 and Dressage at Devon Sept. 28–Oct. 3.
Budding mountain bikers are gonna love this one. A bicycle pump track is coming to Malvern’s Randolph Woods Nature Preserve. Chester County Commissioners have awarded Malvern Borough nearly $92,000 to build a 5,000 sq.ft. earthen track for older kids and an easier 1,100 sq. ft. track for littler tykes, complete with picnic tables, benches and shade trees.
Federal Donuts – the crazy popular donut-and-chicken chain operated by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook – just opened at the Wynnewood Whole Foods. No twice-fried chicken – or lines – yet. But give ’em time.
The bubble has apparently burst on the movement to reinstate the Raider nickname at Radnor High School. After nearly 300 folks lodged comments for 15 hours over three nights, the RTSD School Board voted 6 to 3 against a motion to reinstate the old mascot, “Raiders,” as an option in the rebranding process. The decision reaffirms the board’s 8-to-1 vote last September to remove the nickname and a separate 9-to-0 vote to remove all Native American imagery related to the mascot.
So you’re the best player in Malvern Prep history. Do you play two sports at Penn State or take the pro money – possibly in the millions – and run. That’s the choice facing Malvern senior Lonnie White Jr., who’s projected the 52nd best prospect in the Major League Baseball draft, putting him in line for a signing bonus of $2 million or more. Decisions, decisions.
Seven years and what seems like a marijuana lifetime ago, officials put a Haverford physician Paul Ezell in jail and stripped him of his medical license. His crime? Growing pot to ease the suffering of his terminally ill wife and wean her off opioid painkillers. Last week, Governor Wolf signed his pardon. Ezell, 65, was thrilled but mostly because it bodes well for his daughter, a nurse who also lost her license to practice and whose pardon hearing is set for this month.
Plans to launch a charter school at Valley Forge Military Academy were sunk by Radnor officials a few weeks ago. The Radnor Township School board denied the Academy’s proposal on grounds it was merely a ploy to use public funds to subsidize the financially strapped Academy. A VFMA trustee begged to differ, claiming the charter would operate independently despite paying rent to VFMA. It’s unclear if the school might re-apply or appeal.
A major MeToo brewhaha at Ardmore’s previously untouchable Tired Hands Brewing Co. New management says it will change the alleged “dude-bro” sexist and racist culture exposed on Instagram by Brienne Allan, a brewer in Salem, Mass. First course correction: Tired Hands owner Jean Broullet IV has stepped aside from daily operations.
Transit-oriented towns, however charming – lookin’ at you Narberth, Haverford and Swarthmore – didn’t fare as well during the pandemic as more walkable and diversified towns with mixed-use buildings and permanent (not college) residents, e.g. Phoenixville. That’s according to a new study by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
They’re calling it the township’s first Battle of the Badges. Who can recruit more community blood donors: Radnor’s police or its firefighters? Donors who roll up their sleeves Monday, June 7 at the Radnor Township Activity Center, 125 S. Wayne Ave., will also vote their allegiance to either fire or police. The winning force gets bragging rights and a plaque. And everybody gets free Dunkin Donuts. To give your blood in battle, visit RedCrossblood.org, enter sponsor code RADNOR or call 1-800-REDCROSS.
Kudos to Wayne Senior Center, just awarded a $35K Impact Grant for its emergency food program from the Foundation for Delaware County, to help it expand to historically underserved Radnor Township Civic Association neighborhood. Demand for WSC’s nutrition program shot up 250 percent during the pandemic.
Chlorine tablets are the new toilet paper. Need ’em to operate; can’t find ’em anywhere. Leslie Pool Supplies started rationing its limited supply. Officials blame new pandemic pools for the shortage and urge folks not to panic buy.
After another reported student suicide at Conestoga this spring, the school district is asking the community to be alert to signs of trouble among students. TESD urges students and adults to anonymously report tips about students who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others via the statewide system Safe2Say Something.
Damn the pandemic, full speed ahead on the R-5. SEPTA ended capacity limits on all trains June 1 but will still clean daily. And yes, last we checked you still have to wear a mask.
Merion and Aronimink made Golf Digest’s 2021 list of America’s Greatest Golf Courses. Well, duh. For the record, Merion East kept its position as No. 6. Aronimink slid nine spots to No. 94.
How’s this for an end-of-the-school-year treat? Take the kiddos to DINO Stroll at the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks June 5-6. Saunter through time with 70 life-size (and by that we mean 25 ft. tall and 60 ft. long) animatronic T-Rexes, velociraptors and the like. Then explore skeletons, fossils and dinosaur eggs. Visit www.dinostroll.com for timed tickets to limited-capacity sessions.
Well, whadayaknow. Nick Filet is going national. The filet-mignon sandwich chain started by Great Valley grad Nick Kline and his dad, Keith, has inked deals for 11 new franchises in Orlando and Dallas. Nick Filets in our area are in Paoli, Wayne and Cape May with another corporate-owned spot coming to West Chester in late summer.
As Radnor’s Willows Park and Mansion round into form, the multi-year project is starting to fulfill its mission: hosting community events. On tap this summer so far: Concerts in the Courtyard with Emily Drinker on June 6 and Adriana Smargia and Robert Presteron on July 11 and in between: a Main Line Maps and Mapmakers event on June 29.
Rising fast in Villanova: A third middle school for all those kids in Lower Merion School District. Construction at 1860 Montgomery Ave. is being “topped off” this Thursday. When it opens in September 2022, the new school will allow fifth graders to move to middle school, easing overcrowding at elementary schools. In case you hadn’t heard, LMSD is one of the fastest growing school districts in PA.
Bryn + Dane’s is a whole new animal. Scratch that. It’s not animal at all. It’s now known as all-vegan FUDI Fast Food. The chain left Bryn Mawr and Malvern after growing pains forced it to declare bankruptcy in 2020. But there’s still a piece of the company in these parts. Founder Bryn Davis’ younger brother, Dane, is a Villanova student. FUDI has three outposts: in Plymouth Meeting, Horsham and Entebbe, Uganda.
Go Bald or get a crewcut for free at Philly Bloke in Wayne on June 19 when you donate to childhood cancer research by St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Philly Bloke owner Eric DeBella is hosting the fundraiser in memory of his father who passed from kidney cancer and whose head he shaved. “It was an emotional bonding time with my Dad that I will cherish forever,” DeBella says.
And finally, proof that life as we knew it – festive and FUN – is back. Cheers to (an almost) normal summer!
After taking last year off, Steve and Nora Yocum’s annual Derby Day party roared back in early May. The Yocums – Steve’s a neurosurgeon, Nora’s a nurse – hosted a smashing affair at their 252-year old Gladwyne mansion, complete with wagering window, a red carpet step-and-repeat screen, a shuttle to transport guests, a sumptuous southern spread and mint juleps served from a converted horse trailer. (Monica Desanctis covered the party for us. Thank you, Monica!)