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Northwood Food Truck Festival 2019

The Northwood Food Truck Festival of 2019 was a brilliant success. I did not sample all the foods as there were too many.

The music was rather jazzy and not obtrusive. It was well received and attended by neighbors, but I thought it could have used more people.  Although it was not crowded, there was a steady flow of people who did stop to eat.

There was a police presence, but you really had to look, as the officers blended in with the crowd.

The photographs speak for themselves.

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Northwood Park was formed in or about 1888. It eventually had picnic tables and covered pavilions for concerts and park-goers. (I remember when most of all the City Parks had them and I am angry they have not ever been replaced).

Living in Deed Restricted Northwood for 20 years and the little things become big things.

The quality of life in Northwood is diminishing due to large amounts of trash — in the form of glass bottles, plastic bottles, plastic bags candy wrappers and other junk (used needles) thrown out of automobiles and parked cars. This “little” problem is ignored by the City and it is piling up into a bigger problem. 

The streets cannot be cleaned of the debris because of cars & trucks being “stored” at the corner intersection and the sewers have become clogged. The City will not clean any of this and it causes Castor Avenue to flood every time it rains.

The lack of enforcement by the police (ignored complaints),  allows unregistered automobiles & trucks to be illegally stored on the streets throughout — Trucks are parked for weeks right in front of a sign which says “no truck parking” — and these vehicles cause an unsafe situation in many ways.

One cannot see oncoming traffic when trying to enter Castor Avenue because their view is obstructed by a truck. When this truck is gone, it will almost immediately be replaced by another truck. This is a chronic & ongoing situation.

I want it noted that this will eventually lead to an accident or a death and both the City & truck-owner will be held accountable.

All being said – I am a critic of Mayor Jim Kenney, Maria Quiñones-Sanchez and the whole of City Council. You do not want to hear my opinion. It is an [expletive] indictment and a chronology of ineptitude painted (by them) to look like some huge accomplishment.

If the City wants to improve the quality of life, then City Council should not tax sugar, but should tax plastic and glass.  They should propose a two cent deposit (city tax) on all bottles – both glass and plastic.

That will stop throwing them all over the streets.

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Frankford Northwood Y Proposal

Story and picture by: Chaplain Patrick, Frankford Community Ambassador
On Monday, April 15th Ms. Angenique Howard of Unique Dreams Inc. met with the Northwood community at Simpson Recreation Center to present her proposal to open a Family Therapeutic,  Recreational,  and Educational Center in the former Frankford-Northwood Y located at 4700 Leiper Street.
She stated that the 33,000 square foot facility will include wrap around mental health and wellness programs, along with recreation gym memberships.  She also said that the indoor pool would reopen for swim leagues from the local schools.
A group of area residents asked questions, some of which went unanswered, as her business plan and financials are still in the works.
The community is in a wait & see mode as there is no lease agreement with the building owner or other paperwork present.
Future meetings will be announced in time.
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Castor Avenue Speedway

I have been watching the efforts of the people in Northwood to take on  the speed problem on Castor Avenue between Foulkrod and Pratt for a couple of years now.  They had some success in that the Streets department studied the Speedway and concluded that yes traffic was running too fast.  They made promises to do some fixing and they did some fixing but not as much as the promised, at least to date.  What they did was lay some strips across the lanes that are about as thick as cardboard which are intended to remind people to slow up.  Cardboard might have worked better.  The accidents are still happening and speed still speedy.

Northwood was promised by Councilwoman Sanchez that she would arrange a sit down with the Streets Department to resolve the issue.    So far, no meeting.  There are solutions to this problem but they are not being implemented.

Saturday morning, April 29th,  Mari Carrasquillo, who lives about a block away from Castor and Foulkrod, posted on Facebook the first news about the accident.  The car was traveling South on Castor and as it approached the intersection of Foulkrod, came into contact with the utility pole on the West side of the street.  The car and pole were heavily damaged. The power lines shorted out creating some fireworks that took some time to be extinguished.  No further information about the accident investigation by the police was available as of today.


Thanks to Joe and Mary Menkevich and Mari Carrasquillo for the video and pictures.



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The Day the Blob Attacked Frankford

The  gang  of   7  to  12  year  old  urchins   we  used  to  hang  around  with  in  the  early   1960s   in  the  Northwood   section  of  Frankford,  between   Castor  Avenue,  Wakeling  Street,  Oakland  Street,   and  Harrison  Street,   were  definitely  all  “scientists.”   We  formed  a  science  club   which  met  in  the  basement  of  Nicky  Macko’s  house  once   a  week.  Nicky  was  the  President  —  it  was  his  family’s    house,  after  all.    Each  of  us  would  go  to   Frankford  library  at  Frankford  Avenue  and  Overington  Streets  whenever  we  could  and  borrow  as  many  books  as  we  could  on   how  to  do  interesting    science  experiments  at  home.  We’d   study  the  books  with  rapt  attention.     Mostly  we’d  look  for  ways  to   turn  junk  into  science  experiments  —  much  cheaper!

Electronics  was  the  most  fascinating  science.    Those   were  the  glory  days  of  vacuum  tube  technology.   I  was  fascinated   to  discover  that   magnets,  held  close  to  the  vacuum  tubes  filled  with  ionized  gas  emitting  blue  light,    attracted   the  ionized  gas  to   the  magnet.      I  brought   my  AM  radio,  cover  removed,    to  the  next  meeting   of  The  Science  Club,   after  I  discovered  that  the  ionized  cloud  in  vacuum  tubes  was  attracted  to  magnets,  and  plugged  it  in,  and   everyone  “oooooooooooo’d”    and  “aaaaaaaaaaah’d”    as  they  moved  their  magnets  close  to  the  vacuum  tubes  and  saw  the  ion  clouds  in  them  move  toward  the  magnet.

We  discovered   static  electricity.    If   it  was  Fall  or  Winter,  so  that  the  air  was  very  dry,    we  would   recover  the  fluorescent   tube-type  bulb  from  someone’s  trash   (being  careful  not  to  break  it  —  they  explode),  put  on  our  best  shoes,  turn  off  all  of  the  lights  in  the  house,  and  walk  across  the  room,    shoes  sliding  on  the  rug,    while  we   carried  the   fluorescent   bulb  in  our  hands.  Lo  and  behold,  the  bulb   would  flash,    all  of  the  way  across  the  room!

Then  one  of  the  guys  —  I  forget  who  —   discovered  “exothermic  reactions.”   If  you  go  into  a  closet  with  a  roll  of  garden  variety  masking  tape and  close  the  door  behind  you,  after  your  eyes  get  used  to  the  darkness  if  you  pull  a  piece  of  tape  off  the  roll  you  will  see  light  coming  off  the  roll   at  the  point  where  the  tape  separates  from  the  roll  as  you  pull  it  off.

In  you  similarly  take  Wintergreen  Life  Savers  into  a  dark  closet,   and  snap  one  of  them  in  half  with  pliers,   you  will  see   the  Life  Saver  give  off a  tiny  flash  of  light.

The  really  annoying  productions  of  The  Science  Club,  from  our  parents’  perspective,   were   the  ones  requiring  that   strings  or  wires  be  strung   between  houses  or  trees  outside.

We  built   “foxhole  radios,”   a  kind  of  AM  radio  anyone  can  make  out  of  junk.   It  uses   a  piece  of  wood,  thumb  tacks,  insulated  copper  wire,  a  #2  lead

Foxhole Radio

pencil,    a  safety  pin  of  the  type  used  for  a  baby’s  diaper,   a  rusty  razor  blade,   and  the  cardboard   tube   from  the  inside  of  a  roll  of  toilet  paper.    The  only  non-junk  item  needed  was  a  pair   of   headphones.

We  would  construct  the  radio,    hang  a  50  foot  copper   wire  antenna  between  trees  or  homes   (so  that  the  ends  of  the  antenna   did  not  actually  touch   the  trees  or  homes,  but  instead  were   held  by  string   connected  to   trees  or   homes),    run  a  lead  from  the  antenna  to  the  “radio,”  run  a  separate  wire  from  the  “radio”  to  a  pipe  in  the  house,    and  hear  1210   AM    in  the   headphones.    No  battery  was  needed  —   the  antenna  itself  generated  enough  voltage  for  us  to  hear  the  radio  program   in  the  headphones.

We  also  connected  houses  with  the  tin  can  walkie-talkie  sets  —   just  ordinary  tin  cans  in  each  house,    with  taut  strings  running  from   tin  can  to  tin  can,  set  up  so  that  the  strings  touched  nothing   but  the  cans,  and  we   would  shout  massages  to  each  other  through  string.   The  vibrations  of  the  sounds  of  our  voices  were  conveyed  through  the  string  from  one  house  to  another.

And  I  guess  the  most  annoying  thing  of  all   to  our  parents  was  our  discovery  of  the  home  made   telegraph.    We’d  run  telegraph  lines  between  houses,  and  telegraph  Morse  code  to  one  another  at  night,  and  then  run  to  the  telephone  to  confirm  the  meaning  of  the  message.

As  we  entered  our  pre-teen  years,    much  to  our  parents’  dismay  we  became  more  skilled  got  at  collecting  junk   for  science.

Once  I  brought  home  a  TV  from  someone’s  trash.

My  father  sternly   warned,  “Don’t  you  DARE  plug  in  that  TV  —    it’s  dangerous.”

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The Mad Motorist of Frankford Stadium

In  1956,  when  I  was  3  years  of  age,    my  parents  moved  their  growing  family  from   Germantown   to  a  house  on  Wakeling  Street,  across  the  street  from  Frankford  Stadium  in  the  Northwood  section  of  Frankford.

Because of that move,   the Stadium always figured significantly   in our lives.     We  used  to  love  Frankford  High  School  football   game  days  in  the  Fall,  because  then  we  would  get  to  hear  the  band   parading  down  Wakeling  Street   back  to  the  high  school  after  victories.    Then  we  would  watch    the  track  and  field  events  at  the  Stadium  in  the  Spring.

But,  the  Stadium   was  also  a  place   where  we  got  into  trouble.    In  1960,  I   was  a  meek  kid  at  7  years  of   age,  and  at  that  time  the  youngest  in  our  crowd.   One  day,  while  grounds  keepers  worked  at  the  far  end  of  the  Stadium,  near  the  Dyre  Street  gates,     the  older  kids   decided   that  we  should  try  to  sneak  around   the   inside  the  Stadium,  to  see  if  we  could   do  so  undetected.     I was reluctant,   but   went along.  There  were  several  ways  into  the  Stadium  when  it  was  locked.    On  that  day   we  used  the  most  dangerous  —  over  the  top  of  the  front  gates,  with  its  pointed  iron  pikes.

We  crept  behind  the  walls  at  the  front  of  the  bleachers  in  the  direction  of  the  grounds  keepers,    and    into  the  giant   hedges  behind  the  Dyre  Street  side gates.  I  felt  very  guilty   about  sneaking  around  behind  adults  backs  like  that.   One of our little group whispered, “Here come the men!  Duck down!”    But I was frozen with fear.   The grounds keepers saw us.  The one in charge said, “CALL POLICE!”   I burst out crying.    When  they  heard  that  reaction  they  relented,  opened  the  gates,  and  told  us  to   never  do  that  again.     The  other  kids  were   glad  that  my  crying  had  “tugged  on  their  heartstrings”    and  moved  the  grounds  keepers  to  let  us  go.

A  few  years  later,   as   little  boys  sometimes  do,  I  discovered  fire,    and  I  became  “the  kid  who  played  with  matches.”  Mrs.  Hughes,  in  the  stone  building  on  the  northwest  corner  of  Wakeling  and  Rutland,    would  see  me  hiding  in  the  nook  between  the  pine  tree  and  bushes  and  the  Stadium  building  on  the  corner,  building  little  fires  there,    and  warned  me  to  stop  or  I  might  accidentally  set  the  tree  on  fire.   A  few  weeks  later,    one  of   my  fires   went  out  of  control,    and  first  the  bushes,  and  then  the   tree,  caught  fire.     I was horrified.     I  ran  home  and  saw   police   and  fire  trucks   arrive  and  put  out  the  fire.      I watched Mrs.  Hughes   talking  to  police,     and  I   became  sick  with  fear,    and  waited  upstairs  in  our  bedroom  with  a  terrible  bellyache  for  the  knock  at  the  door,  which  never  came.     Mrs.  Hughes,  bless  her  heart,  lied  to  police,    blaming   the  fire  on   “a  white  kid”  she  had  “never  seen  before.”  She said, “Peter, I lied for you.    You have one more chance.   Never do it again.”       I  promised,  and,  shocked  at  the  consequences  of  my  own   bad  behavior,  I  kept  my  promise.

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