Holy Night – but Not Silent in Clark Park…

carols 14-1Clark Park lovers joined tonight in one of the oldest park traditions: Christmas caroling by the shed, on top of which a glittering Christmas tree is mounted. As dusk fell, it shone over three score merry carolers of all ages.

Skill was unimportant; just singing together as a community mattered.

A row of bagged candles lit the walk from Chester Ave. to the shed. Everyone got a candle and a songbook when they arrived.

Carolers ran through a hitlist that ran from the Middle Ages to 1950. Most are well known by ear to all who show up.
carols 14-2
To wrap it up, nine brave voices worked their way through Handel’s Alleluia Chorus. Scores were provided but otherwise the volunteers were on their own. The chorus was strong this year.

Then everybody broke for hot cider and catching up. It’s a great, quick, fun way to meet your neighbors.

–Tony West

Sunday Morning Mulching Flash Mob!

attacking the mulch mountainThe Chinese Community Church did a great job spreading the mountain of specialized mulch under the trees besides the Farmers’ Market this morning! This high-grade material will help protect the soil that FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK has just treated with an aeration process, to reduce compacting by severe overuse alongside the Farmers’ Market.

There’s more mulching to be done Sunday morning, though – beside the totlot. It would be wonderful if a few people could volunteer for a couple of hours’ work to help restore and protect this other popular spot. Meet at 9am at the shed, or head over to the totlot.

And don’t forget the annual Christmas caroling at sunset!

Come a-Caroling in Clark Park This Sunday!

herald angelsHark the Herald Angels Sing … in CLARK PARK at the annual Tree Lighting & Carol Sing on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 5 pm at the Community Christmas Tree near 45th & Regent St., atop the shed.

This wonderful, longstanding event draws 75 people each year as a hushed winter night falls. We sing traditional favorites (lyrics provided). At the end, a few venturous souls try to sing the Alleluia Chorus; it’s both charming & funny.

Hot-cider refreshments come thanks to the Friends of Clark Park.

Feed the trees! Help spread mulch this Sunday, 12/14, 9 AM to 1 PM

How to volunteer this Sunday

Meet by the shed in the park where Regent Street meets 45th Street south of Chester at 9 AM this Sunday, 12/14, to spread some mulch. You can come late. We’ll probably be working until about 2 PM. After 9, just come directly to the mulch pile at 43rd and Baltimore.

Contact Doug, douglasnaphas@gmail.com or 814-880-0875, with questions.


The occasion for this mulch spreading is very exciting.

We just got the big tree roots by the farmer’s market aerated! This means that tree-care professionals, Hal Rosner and Shechtman Tree Care, used an air spade to inject air into the ground around the roots. The technique alleviates soil compaction, admits air, water, and nutrients from compost, and stimulates biological activity. Cross Baltimore Tree Tenders, and the various arborists, landscape architects, and other experts who volunteer for the park, identified this work as a priority.

After an aeration is the perfect time to lay down mulch. We are putting down heaps of compost, provided by our hard-working and reliable contacts at the city, and an engineered wood fiber mulch that excels at absorbing impact.

We needed this work because the ground on the west side of the sidewalk along 43rd Street from Baltimore to Chester deals with a lot of foot traffic, due to the popularity of the park and the farmer’s market. While we’re thrilled with the park’s success, we need to do things like air spading to address the wear and tear on the soil.

Friends of Clark Park spent about $1,950, plus a catalyzing grant of $750 from Cross Baltimore Tree Tenders, on the aeration. We dedicated about another $1,600 to buy the special wood fiber mulch. This is a major and carefully considered effort for the Friends, and is exactly the type of stewardship we were organized to undertake!

Some ground will be roped off

While the nutrients from the city-donated compost seep into the aerated roots, we want to protect them from being walked on. We are roping off some of the ground on the opposite side of the sidewalk from the farmer’s market, for most of the winter.

This will not interfere with the farmer’s market. In fact, we had the Foot Trust in mind when we scheduled this project, since through the winter there are fewer vendors, so everyone can fit on the east side of the 43rd Street sidewalk.

You can find the stalwart Food Trust Clark Park farmer’s market every Saturday through the winter, same place as always, 10 AM to 2 PM. And you can look forward to rejuvenated, healthy soil come spring, and strong trees with happy roots for many generations to come!

We might get a bike share station!

We might get a BIKE SHARE STATION by Clark Park. The city is launching a bike share program in 2015. www.phila.gov/bikeshare has background.

Comment on the Friends of Clark Park Facebook page, or e-mail Doug, with feedback about locations for the station. We are told, “Good bike share sites have good solar access (6+ hours per day), are highly visible, have a hard surface, and can accommodate stations which are around 60′ long and 6′ wide.”

Holiday Shopping for Clark Park Swag

612-04-5383If you’re planning gifts for family members, friends or neighbors, the FRIENDS OF CLARK PARK Membership Table at the Saturday Farmers’ Market is ready to help make people happy — and help the park at the same time!

Our popular t-shirts come in 9 different sizes and 3 different designs. They’re a nice buy at $12 standard ($10 junior). We also have women’s fitted scoopneck tees and tanktops at $18

If you know a young person who is not yet big enough for a t-shirt — then our onesies, which come in 6mo, 12mo, 18mo and 24mo sizes, are gifts that will be used. At $13.

Winter weather is upon us and Clark Park is a 4-season park. Outdoor lovers will appreciate our toasty zippered hoodies with full back design at $2 (medium and large sizes available). Our snug knit caps fit all heads and come in 3 vibrant colors.

knit capsKnow any little dogs (up to 16 pounds)? They too get cold on winter walks and will enjoy a Clark Park doggie tee.

Clark Park natural canvas totebags at $12 are great for market shoppers — and make a great way to “wrap” other presents! If you’re looking for stocking-stuffers and chachkes, our Little Nell mugs ($5) are great for hot cocoa; frisbees are only $2 and keychains $1.

And a precious gift — to yourself as well as to others — is a Friends of Clark Park membership. Give the park itself this holiday season! It will be enjoyed year-round. Families $25/yr, Individuals $20, Students & Seniors $10.

Our park volunteers will be staffing the table tomorrow from 10 am to 2 pm, and every Saturday for the first 3 Saturdays of December. See you in the park!

23rd Annual Bark in the Park!

by Fran Byers

On Sunday, October 12, Clark “B” Park was the site of more than 25 canine contests. After being postponed from Saturday for rainy weather, Sunday’s weather was gorgeous. Several activities were going on simultaneously in the park, so contestants arrived at the bowl gradually. However, the rivalries became spirited as more competitors appeared. Many thanks to D.L. Wormley Casson and judges Cindy Roberts, Christine Nelson, Janet Lewis and Andy Cole. Dr. David Littlejohn of O’Neal Animal Hospital was unable to be present on Sunday.

Each contest winner was given a dog toy and a bag of Iams kibble, as usual, in addition to a sample package of extraordinary dog treats donated by Neil Sprafkin called “MyDoggy” all-natural soft-baked cookies (www.mydoggy.com, 315-753-0520). A large package of MyDoggy treats was one of two dog-related raffle prizes that ended the event. A fine time was had by all!

2014 Results:

Category Winner Owner
Youngest dog Cocoa – 15 weeks Gabriel DiFelice
Oldest dog Esteban – 15 years Stephanie Seifert
Tallest dog Jake Eva Jacobs
Shortest dog Mango – 12 inches Stephanie Seifert
Longest legs – tie Austen Janet Lewis and Andy Cole
Jake Eva Jacobs
Shiniest coat Atticus Ella Serpell
Longest ears Jake Eva Jacobs
Smallest ears Esteban – 2.5 inches Stephanie Seifert
Shortest tail Levi Eva Jacobs
Longest tail – tie Atticus Ella Serpell
Jake Eva Jacobs
Most spots Skyler Alessandra and Sylvia Brown
Most stripes no winner
Curliest tail Atticus Ella Serpell
Longest fur Molly Carol Coccagna
Shortest nose Levi Eva Jacobs
Longest nose – tie Lola Vivian Zauhar
Nell Janet Lewis and Andy Cole
Highest-pitched bark no winner – dogs barked later, but not during competition
Lowest-pitch bark no winner
Fastest runner Cassidy Adam Comigliaro
Highest jumper Cassidy Adam Comigliaro
Best catcher of Frisbee no winner
Best catcher of ball Jake Eva Jacobs
Best catcher of stick Nell Janet Lewis and Andy Cole
Best trick Austen – fetch and other commands Janet Lewis and Andy Cole
Silliest trick Levi – dancing dog Eva Jacobs
Owner and dog look-alike Lola Vivian Zauhar
Two dog look-alike in same family Austen and Nell Janet Lewis and Andy Cole
Two dog look-alike not in same family Dino and Lola Igor Burstyn and Vivian Zauhar
Best costume Esteban-Captain Kirk Stephanie Seifert
Raffle of “MyDoggy” Pumpkin Carob dog treats Nell and Austen Andy Cole
Raffle of basket of doggie goodies Ishtar Jen Locke

Cindy_Roberts_and_Andy_Cole_measure_Nell_in_the_Longest_Nose_contest Dino_and_Lola_-_Look-Alikes_NOT_in_the_same_family Esteban_won_Best_Costume_contest_as_Captain_Kirk Some_of_the_contestants_preparing_for_the_competitions Sylvia_and_Alessandrea_Brown_with_new_puppy_Skyler A_family_portrait_-_Andy_Cole,_Nell,_Austen,_Janet_Lewis


21st Annual Veterans Day Ceremony in Clark Park

by Fran Byers

The sun shone brightly in Clark Park on Saturday, November 8, as neighbors gathered at the Gettysburg Stone in Clark Park to pay tribute to all those in the Armed Forces who have sacrificed, past and present, to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in America.

After a greeting by Doug Naphas, President of the Friends of Clark Park, Frank Innes told how his father built “Bailey” bridges in France during World War II, and that the large flag traditionally used at this ceremony was presented to his family at his funeral.  Guitarist Doug Hall accompanied everyone in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Bill Hunter introduced four HMS students:  Brett Marsh, Emily, Sam Karp and Diana Rich, who described the history of Veterans Day and Satterlee Hospital with their computerized communications devices, activated by their eye gaze.  They also led the audience in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Boy Scouts John Cherry, Jorge DeSilva, Daniel Ruley, Jacob Stills and Tymir Griffin of Troop 152, St. Francis de Sales, participated under the direction Troop Leader Michael Horsey.  Two of them held the Innes flag aloft in front of the Gettysburg Stone while John Cherry read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Veterans in the audience were introduced by Sgt. Major Wallace Presley and Colonel Cynthia Wilson, director of the Philadelphia Veterans House.  They represented the various armed services in nearly all of the wars from World War II forward.  They were Staff Sergeant Robert Iannucci, First Sgt. John Jamison, Tim Szerlick, Tom Sheridan, Javan Tilghman, Henry Thompson, Joseph Mixson, Doug Hall and Lauren Leatherbarrow’s father, Dr. Jim Watkins, a Navy Lt. Commander in World War II.

The Philadelphia Veterans House works on a slim budget, and donations of food and money to help it extend its scope of service would be much appreciated.  Contact the House:  4108 Baltimore Ave., Philadelphia PA 19104, 267-292-2052, www.phillyvetshouse.org.

All present joined in singing “God Bless America” while two Boy Scouts folded the American flag in military fashion.  First Sgt. John Jamison solemnly laid flowers at the base of the Gettysburg Stone to conclude the ceremony.  As we go about our daily activities, let us remember to give thanks to veterans that we meet for their service and to pray for them and their families who have sacrificed so much.

Note:  In continuing a long-standing tradition, students from the HMS School and Boy Scouts participated in the placement of the Gettysburg Stone in Clark Park in 1916 by grateful neighbors in thanks for the fine work performed by the medical staff at Satterlee U.S. Army Hospital.  Satterlee was the nation’s largest Army hospital during the Civil War.  The hospital was situated northwest from Baltimore Ave. to approximately 46th and Pine St. and treated at least 60,000 sick and wounded soldiers until its close in 1865.

Dr._Jim_Watkins_and_daughter_Lauren_Leatherbarrow Boy_Scouts_perform_the_ceremonial_folding_of_the_flag John_Cherry_reads_the_Gettysburg_Address HMS_students_Sam_Karp_and_Emily_use_communication_devices_to_lead_thePledge_of_Allegiance Veterans_honored_for_their_service Doug_Hall_and_Frank_Innes_sing_before_the_ceremony

Love Your Park Day this Saturday

We are having a work day this Saturday, 11/15, for city-wide Love Your Park day. We’ll work in the garden, rake leaves, spread mulch (hopefully), and pick up trash. Meet by the shed on the west side of the bowl where Regent Street meets 45th Street at 9 AM. We’ll work until probably around noon.