Philadelphia

Bart Blatstein “The Piazza” at Schmidt’s Opening Night Party in Northern Liberties – Happy Birthday Bart!!

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An article titled in 10/13/04 Philadelphia Weekly’s

The Second Coming of Bart Blatstein: The legacy of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent and controversial developers will ultimately be determined by what happens in Northern Liberties.”Is upon us today, Friday in fact, when the vision of Bart Blatstein’s Piazza came to fruition. Bart Blatstein, best known for his development of Delaware Avenue in South Philadelphia, where he lured major tenants like Home Depot, Walmart, and a United Artists Theater to former industrial sites, was inspired by his many trips to Italy to building a “5 minute community” as he coined. A place where you can, work, play and shop all within 5 minutes of where you live. Or as I like to call it, living on Main Street USA.The Piazza at Schmidt’s is a massive complex which houses more than 500 residential apartments, four restaurants, 35 artists studios and boutique shops along with an 80,000-square-foot open-air plaza and performance space. The four new restaurants include: Darling’s Diner, a funky 1950’s style diner, Vino, an Italian wine bar with pizza and pasta, The Swift Half, a gastro-pub by the owners of Philly’s hotspot The Good Dog, and P.Y.T. bar and lounge run by popular party promoter Tommy Up. The Piazza is a destination not only for residents of No Libs, but for the City.Northern Liberties is sandwiched between Old City and Kensington and has become something of a center for local artists, musicians and hipsters. I went over on Sunday to take another look, and was still blown away by what he created out of the old Schmidt’s site, on an abandoned piece of property full of buildings that had looked like a bomb had hit them.

Large improvement and revitalization projects have occurred in the No Libs section of Philadelphia, long considered the next hot neighborhood, but slow to the starting line. Bart Blatstein’s first project Liberty Walk which runs perpendicular to The Piazza and incorporates the charcoal, industrial, brick element theme compliments The Piazza by it’s proximity.When I was invited to cover this event last week I jumped at the chance. With my head in the sand I had no idea it was even nearing completion until I started seeing all the amazing press last week, it seemed that the whole City was waiting in anticipation for the unveiling. Thanks to ProfilePr for keeping me in the loop, I would have been disappointed to miss such an amazing night…

The first folks I ran into at the party were Senator Bob Rovner and his wife, Sherri Savett (occassionally I have worked at her firm Berger & Montague on legal projects. I have many friends there and I appreciate their reading of PCC) Sherri & Bob are excellent dancers and I enjoy their performance every year at the B&M holiday party.
Could this be another It girl for me, Jill Rizen (sans Andrew tonight) with Michael Smith (MS) and Kerri Smith. Nice looking trio.
First Philebrity of the night – Lynn Abraham. I don’t think she supports Seth Williams for DA. I have narrowed it down to a Dan, and I’d better make up my mind by Primary Day TOMORROW. Tuesday is Elections Day! Philadelphia registered Democrats: Push button #34 for Judge Dan Anders! (I know Dan, he’s a really nice guy, he’s currently on the bench and has the experience, so that’s a no brainer for me)
Interior Designer Karen Daroff (Glasses) and Architect James Rappoport. You’ll recall that it was at their Holiday Party in December where I met Bart Blatstein. We chatted about this project, and he mentioned that he was almost finished.

Resident looking down on the Piazza at all the going on. The window frames remind me of an illustration by Roy Lichtenstein. Bart Blatstein greets his guests – Happy Birthday Bart Blatstein, what a gift to see you vision materialize. Then he introduces his daughters’ Jenna Leigh Autumn/Winter 2009 lingerie collection fashion show.
The Jenna Leigh website describes the lingerie as “satisfying both daily indulgence and special occasion looks for the girl who doesn’t want to keep her lingerie under wraps.”
Jenna infuses her collection with the perfect balance of retro and current fashion, capturing that timeless, enviable glamour that only “it girls” possess.
Inspired by the beautiful people and places captured by photographer Slim Aarons, cutting-edge runway trends, and the metropolitan allure of her New York/Philadelphia/Miami lifestyle,
Jenna’s designs flaunt ultra-chic style and stunning technical details fused with the contemporary need for comfort and practicality.
Jaslene Gonzalez winner from America’s Next Top Model closes out the show.
Great bar set up by Cescaphe Ballroom with the black shelves holding the supplies, the area was neat and it was impressive to see how they easily handled serving a mass crowd of thirsty guest. Cescaphe Ballroom also prepared the food which was delicious and included pasta with shrimp, couscous with lobster, and other choices which I didn’t take note of.
Lauren Tosti Independence Visitor Center Dir., Marketing & Communications, Where Magazine Publisher Laura Burkhardt and recruiter Jessica Matthews
The artist corner with Jennifer Bruce, Charles Burns (He is internationally renowned for his meticulous, high-contrast and creepy artwork and stories. In 2007 Burns contributed material for the French made animated horror anthology Peur(s) Du Noir. In addition to his work being used by Iggy Pop, Coca-Cola and has been exhibited at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts), another internationally known artist Hester Stinnett with painter Susan Moore (Married to Charles).
Sabrina Tamburino, Carol Tamburino and friends. A marching band interrupted us before I could get every one’s name.
Hadas Kuznits enjoys her night, and looks fabulous.
Brad Maule (of PhillySkyline.com fame; he has an awesome write up of the Piazza 3rd post down), with wife Rachel Breeden
These two lovely people are Bart’s in laws, Dr. Bernard Simmons and Lenore Simmons.
Andrew Pletcher, James Dugan, Matthew Ray and Thom Cardwell
Josh Spitz, Alexandra Wittman, Sherri & Alan Wittman and Mitchell Cramer
A few self made women Kelly Boyd, KB Consultants, Political writer, now movie producer Mary Patel and news anchor Monica Malpass make the scene. (Did you see my photo in Sunday’s Inquirer of Monica rocking a dress at a fashion show that benefited Project Home? (2nd pix, 1st pix mine too)
Philadelphia City Planner (I love saying that), and my friend Alan Greenberger, wife Greta and daughter Julia.
Andi Pesacov and Anthony Casey (Soulmates, but not heartmates)
Sara Rose, Lucy Burns, Sherri Jurgens, Jess Matthews, Marlo Polonsky
What a great place to throw a party, to live, to shop and hang out. http://www.atthepiazza.com/events.html