Judging for the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee’s (PMBC) Annual Clean Block Contest concluded last week. One of this year’s judges, Ainé Ardron-Doley, is sharing dispatches from the judge's trolley with Eyes on the Street, showing off the incredible work neighbors are doing to care for their small corners of the city. Ainé and her sister Emaleigh are co-block captains of West Rockland Street, which was in the Clean Block Contest last year and won the Neighborhood Transformation Award. This year she received a letter inviting her to be a judge. She accepted. So far Ainé has brought us to beautiful blocks in Yorktown, Point Breeze, Kingsessing, and Pennsport, Juniata Park, Oxford Circle, Cobbs Creek, and East Germantown.
Last week, Ainé and the PMBC caravan crisscrossed the city for two more days of judging, visiting 8 different blocks in 8 different Philly neighborhoods on the hunt for the cleanest, most organized block in the city. On this third day of judging the trolley stopped at North Paxon Street in Dunlap, North 65th Street in Overbrook, Christian Street in Southwest Center City (aka South of South aka Graduate Hospital), and West Winona Street in historic Germantown. Here’s what Ainé saw.
The Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee’s Annual Clean Block Contest:
Day Three: October 3
200 Block, North Paxon Street
Judges and residents walk on 200 N. Paxon Street in Dunlap. The youngest resident is just 4 months old while the oldest is holding court at 98.
Freshly painted wrought iron fences are a hallmark of the Clean Block Contest.
The block is packed with neat two-story row homes with just a few gardens.
The dedicated and mostly senior residents of Paxon Street receive their PMBC Clean Block and Litter Free Zone signs. Very proud.
Cool and creative porch design.
Neighbors. On the right, a resident of Paxon Street for 64 years holds up her block’s new UnLitter Us sign.
A wet paint sign shows that contest prepping goes right up to the deadline.
A vacant house on 200 N. Paxon that could benefit from L&I’s stricter enforcement of the “Doors & Windows” Act.
Block Captain of 200 N. Paxon Street on the left. On the right, judge and Block Captain of 1800 Napa Street in Greys Ferry.
400 Block, North 65th Street
Judges land on the 400 block of North 65th Street in Overbrook. Students from Saint Frances Cabrini hand out the block’s history.
The 400 block of 65th Street sits atop a hill with an amazing view of much of Philadelphia.
There are several different styles of houses on this block. Construction started in 1925 on the site of a rock quarry.
This block is a true melting pot in more ways than one. There are houses, a school, a church and a library. There are also residents from all over the world. Greek, German, Irish, Nigerian, Jamaican, Bohemian, Spanish, Trinidadian and more.
The Junior Block Captain speaks to a PMBC judge about the block. Kid power!
A fig grows on one of the blocks thriving fig trees. Many backyards and front yards are full of homegrown fruit and veggies.
When reading the block history, Block Captain Yvonne Lee said: “It takes a village to nurture a community.”
Imagine a litter-free Philadelphia.
The regal Haddington Library first opened its doors in 1915!
Students that live on 65th Street show off their block’s history. Participation from the school and church is essential for community building on this block.
Saint Donato church, Saint Cabrini Regional Catholic School, and Haddington Library are all a part of the 400 block of N. 65th Street.
Mums are screaming fall all over Philadelphia.
Sign of the times, a sign that this is an organized block.
That dance. The Wobble.
2100 Block, Christian Street
Welcome to the 2100 block of Christian Street in Southwest Center City (aka Graduate Hospital), a block of three-story brick row homes.
Residents and judges walk the tree-lined street.
Miss Soledad Perez, a retired teacher and Principal talks about the neighborhood’s struggle against drugs in their community.
There is so much pride in this speech.
Action News hit the block.
2100 Christian Street has a Laundromat on the corner on one side and across the street, a Deli.
The effects of a vacant house on a city block are much more than rust.
A discussion takes place in front of a vacant house on Christian Street.
A PMBC Judge and long time block advocate, Miss Soledad Perez.
When you see this van on your block, go say hello. This is the official van of the PMBC Initiative.
A Block Captain representing. Block Captains all over the city work hard for the money. Wait, we are volunteers.
The block captain and her twin daughters.
There she blows again.
300 Block, West Winona Street
Follow the red brick road! It’s the tour’s final stop for the day in historic Germantown on the 300 block of W. Winona Street.
Construction of the houses on this quiet cul de sac began in 1885 and finished in 1890 using local stone.
A few of the large old homes have been converted into apartments but most remain single-family homes on yet another diverse Philly block.
Block Captain Marcus Heppinstal beams with pride with 39th District Clean Block Officer Joe Miranda clapping on the right.
Block residents and judges pose for a group photo.
The Canaan Baptist Church sits on the corner of Winona Street.
The original brick street of 300 W. Winona Street in Germantown.
The block worked with the City to get replacement bricks where there had been problems with the street.
Block Captain and appointee to the Germantown Special Services District Marcus Heppinstal and the block’s Co-Captain.
Another look at the three-story twins with the Dutch facades and Flemish style brick patterns.
An old tree grows where it must, giving the sidewalk a lift.
A judge with one of the block’s younger residents
“Love where you live. Live where you love.”
In her final installment later this week, Ainé will bring us to blocks in Logan, Feltonville, Cobbs Creek, Overbrook, and West Passyunk, and she'll share some lessons from her adventures.