What’s a Lightbox Locale? ...It’s anywhere you can have one of “those” perfect Saturdays, exploring places that inspire you, nourish you, and light up you and your besties. We could all do with more of those days, so our Lightbox locals are here to illuminate you on their personal neighborhood “must visit” lists. This month, Samantha Turner Ponns tells us how to spend a girls day in the Queen Village section of Philadelphia.
On a beautifully warm Friday, my best friend Jess took the Amtrak from NYC’s Penn Station and we played hooky in Queen Village. The Philly neighborhood that borders Lombard Street has transformed from a working-class suburb into a thriving, stylish and energetic area of artists, yoga studios and young entrepreneurs. We shop, eat, drink and grin, and we also manage to throw in a dance off. This is how we did it all.
8am We start our day on Fabric Row—the stretch of 4th street between Bainbridge and Catherine Streets—at the restaurant Hungry Pigeon. Exposed brick, vintage bird cages turned into ceiling lamps and a full bar surround us. We order two cortados, fresh grapefruit juice, and share a breakfast bowl of brown rice, avocado, lentils and a poached egg. The breakfast portions are larger than the lunch dishes and you walk out feeling full without having to order a lot. Chef Pat O’Malley makes all the breads in-house and they’re damn good. Probably the best in Philly. We get a monkey bread to go.
10am We split up to get blowouts. Jess heads to Juju Organics and sees Courtney, while I go to Shawna at Hairstory since they specialize in textured and relaxed hair.
12pm It’s time to shop. Moon and Arrow is our first stop and we stock up on beauty and apothecary products by Herbivore, Saiupa, and Fat and the Moon. They also have an awesome selection of colorful woven African baskets—great for toy storage, small trash bins or organizing hats and scarves. Bonus: They’ve just received a new shipment of Pons sandals for summer.
1pm Behind Moon and Arrow there’s an impressive vintage shop called Rareco. The owner, Jeremy Olsen, is undeniably hot and he also offers free in-home design consultation. In fact, he’s so cute that Jess offers him our monkey bread. As she’s giving away our snack, I pick up a vintage school map for my three-year-old’s bedroom and have my eye on a blue velvet Jonathan Adler sofa.
2pm Lunch at Plenty Cafe. We make a slight detour from 4th street to 5th, grab a seat by the window and share the Tel Aviv salad, marinated olives with orange and thyme and gin Bloody Mary’s. Actually two rounds of Bloody Mary’s.
4pm Yowie is this incredibly cool, magical and inspirational lifestyle store that somehow manages to make you feel like your best self. Besides all that, the super warm and sweet owner Shannon Maldonado is excited to chat with us about her new summertime venture: local flowers that last for two weeks! Nearly as important, we talk about how Michael B Jordan is shooting Creed 2 in the city. Side note, Shannon has the most gorgeous hair and also goes to Hairstory.
5pm Art!!! Jess and I have an appointment to check out Drew Leshko’s show at Paradigm Gallery. My husband bought two signs made by the Philadelphia-based artist who’s style reads like a documentary on the city’s growth and evolution- Elm Street and Jesus Saves, that will be delivered once the show ends on May 19th.
5:45pm We head to Brickbat Books and browse rare books on fashion, art, and travel—then fall in love with their children’s selection of books on Sun Ra, Coltrane and African-American folk hero, John Henry.
6:30pm A little exercise never hurt no one. On select Fridays a skylit yoga studio called Three Queens offers a funked up vinyasa practice called Namaslay. We flow and downward dog to the tunes of Rihanna, Teena Marie, Beyoncé and Sza. And after an hour and a half, we’re sweating, smiling and having a Kid ‘n’ Play dance off in the middle of the studio.
8:30pm We end our day with a seat at the bar of Southwark. Old Fashioneds, beef tartare, ricotta ravioli and two slices of chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream arrive as we listen to The Shirelles, The Fugees, and The Intruders and chat with the local shop owners on our day, our summer plans and how awesome our city is.
It’s been real.