The South Street Headhouse District is pleased to announce the return of the South Street Hall of Fame Awards after a 14 year absence.
Initiated in 1993 as a means to honor the pioneers of the District, the award is designed to recognize the business people who have been a stalwart part of the South Street neighborhood and have helped strengthen our community. It is because of the dedicated individuals at these businesses that the South Street Headhouse District continues to grow and thrive.
The 2015 class includes a collection of legends, all with over 40 years operating in the neighborhood.
Judy Buchsbaum’s grandparents founded Marmelstein’s on 4th Street before it was known as Fabric Row. After spending the better part of her life working at and tending the family business, Judy retired last month and closed the store after 96 years (not all by her, that would be a record).
Mr. Harold Paul remembers the Marmelsteins. Naturally he remembers
just about everybody, because by most counts, he has been on Fabric Row personally longer than anyone. He started working at his father’s store when he was 10. Now, 76 years later, he is still there. Having seen all the changes, he remains the same, still wearing a suit and tie to work. In a dress down world, he represents a level of business class and respect that Fabric Row may not see again.
Deen Kogan and her husband Jay created the Society Hill Playhouse in 1959. This year marks the final curtain for the Playhouse. With thousands of curtain calls, countless cabarets, and myriads of patrons, the Society Hill Playhouse has been an anchor for arts in Society Hill and South Street. Deen has been a stalwart supporter of the arts and the businesses around her, bringing theater to the people for over 50 years. She is humble, hard working, the unpretentious First Lady of Philadelphia Theater and we are proud that she was a part of the South Street community.
Abner Silver opened Jim’s Steaks on South Street in 1976 with Bill Proetto,
and for 40 years, no one was more at home on South Street than he was. He loved cheesesteaks because of how meaningful they are to Philly and in turn, for four decades, Philly and South Street loved him back. The corner remains one of South Street’s number one attractions and when Abner was there, so was he. He passed away last January and is greatly missed by his family and anyone who spent anytime on South Street.
In addition to the Hall of Fame Honorees, SSHD is initiating a series of new business awards in honor of special members of the community. Starting in 2017, we will present the Abner Silver Award for Best Business in the District, the Bud Plumer Award for Service to the Community, the Julia & Isaiah Zagar Award for Arts in the District and, this year we begin with the Bunky deVecchis Award for the Spirit of South Street.
Bunky & Rita deVecchis came to South Street with the bohemians in the late 60’s and grew with the new arts scene on the street. Bunky loved photography, jazz and South Street. He passed away last spring and in his honor we created the Spirit of South Street Award for a person that embodies the sense of creativity, culture and uniqueness of Philadelphia’s most famous street.
We are proud to announce the inaugural recipient of this honor is Robert Perry of Tattooed Mom. Robert is an astute business man, whose bar is now in its second decade and nearly a landmark status! He does so much more than serve drinks and cheap tacos. Mom’s has become a unique gathering space for artists and musicians (a lot of folks fall somewhere in between) that are as comfortable there as they are in their own living rooms. A blend of old school punk, new wave, indie, and even country (and that’s just the jukebox) stems from the vibe created by his personality. Robert has been a patron of the arts and music, a true stalwart champion of South Street and is as good a neighbor as anyone could ever ask for.