‘Port Richmond is making a comeback’

As River Ward neigh­bor­hoods like Fishtown and North­ern Liber­ties have be­come home to many new and unique busi­nesses and events, Port Rich­mond is fol­low­ing suit along the Rich­mond Street cor­ridor.

Check out the de­tails on just three of the new spots and hap­pen­ings around the neigh­bor­hood.

Breath­ing Room, 3168 Rich­mond St.

Breath­ing Room yoga stu­dio, owned by 52-year-old neigh­bor­hood res­id­ent Roe Piet­ro­paula, hos­ted its first open house Sat­urday. That day gave neigh­bors just a taste of the new space, which will open of­fi­cially very soon — Hur­ricane Sandy set things back just a bit.

Loc­ated at 3168 Rich­mond St., the stu­dio will of­fer sev­er­al types of yoga classes plus mas­sage, nu­tri­tion in­struc­tion and even art classes.

Piet­ro­paula said she’s been do­ing yoga for about 15 years and was in­spired to bring the prac­tice to the neigh­bor­hood she loves.

As a hos­pice nurse for Care Al­tern­at­ives, Piet­ro­paula works sev­en days on, sev­en days off. With her sev­en days off, she said she found the time to work to­ward open­ing a stu­dio.

“I raised my kids then I said, ‘What am I gonna do with my life now?’” she said. “I went to a town meet­ing like 15 years ago that said, ‘we’re gonna get Rich­mond Street built up,’ but it didn’t hap­pen.”

Be­cause of that, she said, she hopes the stu­dio will breathe life in­to Port Rich­mond.

“I want this to be for people like me, who aren’t ‘yo­gis.’ I want to bring it to every­day people,” she said.

She said the stu­dio would fo­cus not just on the phys­ic­al side of yoga, but the philo­sophy — not a re­li­gion, she said, but the idea of be­ing truth­ful, kind, gentle and thought­ful. She said those ideals are pre­val­ent in Port Rich­mond.

“I think our neigh­bor­hood is really con­nec­ted that way. We have to be, be­cause we’re right on top of each oth­er [in our homes],” she said.

Piet­ro­paula, who will teach private les­sons and ba­sic yoga, will de­term­ine based on neigh­bors’ sug­ges­tions when the 90-minute yoga classes will be dur­ing the day. She said the stu­dio could fit 10 stu­dents com­fort­ably, with a max­im­um of 14.

“When I star­ted do­ing yoga 10 years ago, people thought I was a weirdo,” she said with a laugh. “Yoga doesn’t sound ‘out there’ any­more, it’s sort of nat­ur­al­iz­ing it­self. People know it’s healthy — you don’t have to be thin, or stop eat­ing meat, it’s ad­apt­able.”

A walk-in yoga class at Breath­ing Room will be $10, and a pack­age of five class passes will be $40.

She said she hopes neigh­bors will use the stu­dio as a place to en­rich their own lives.

“If I opened a dance stu­dio [for kids], I’d be rich,” she said. “I know people will spend money on their chil­dren. I want people to spend money on them­selves.”

“I love the kind of people in my neigh­bor­hood,” she con­tin­ued. “I want them to be healthy. I think Port Rich­mond is ready.” •• 

Mumzie’s Boutique, 3112 Rich­mond St.

Marge Weryn­ski, 64, said that Rich­mond Street is mak­ing a comeback.

“Years ago, Rich­mond Street was the place to go, it had every store there was,” she said. Now, she said, the street is on an up­swing again.

“Walk­ing through the neigh­bor­hood, there’s Sweets & Treats, a flower store [AFI Flowers] … It’s what people are in­to now.”

Weryn­ski opened Mumzie’s Boutique Nov. 1. Named for the term of en­dear­ment Weryn­ski’s grand­moth­er gave her, the boutique of­fers men’s and wo­men’s fash­ions and jew­elry and will soon carry an­tiques and oth­er home goods.

Hav­ing worked as an ad­min­is­trat­or for sev­er­al med­ic­al prac­tices her whole life, Weryn­ski said she al­ways had a busi­ness sense. When she saw the space for rent on Rich­mond Street, she de­cided to ap­ply that in­clin­a­tion to a more artist­ic pur­suit.

“I thought it would be really nice to do something for my­self for a change,” she said. “I like clothes, I like see­ing people look good. There’s not a boutique like this around here.”

Asked if she had tapped in­to her pas­sion in open­ing Mumzie’s, Weryn­ski said she ab­so­lutely has.

“Now, I’m happy do­ing it,” she said of her every­day work. ••

O.U.R. Gal­lery, 3146 Rich­mond St.

The O.U.R. Gal­lery, a con­ver­ted row home on Rich­mond Street, has been around since 2011. The gal­lery aims to bring even more cre­ativ­ity to what it calls “the up-and-com­ing Rich­mond Street cor­ridor.”

On Nov. 30, it will host an art show by Port Rich­mond loc­al Ali Thompson, along with her friend, Jen Lightfoot, called The A Word art show. 

The show will dis­play work heav­ily in­flu­enced by pop­u­lar cul­ture, fea­tur­ing com­ic book and graf­fiti in­flu­ences, as well as hor­ror movie im­agery, life size fig­ure draw­ings and pho­to­graphy.

“We have a lot of really tal­en­ted friends, and we wanted to show­case their work,” Thompson said. “I think things are go­ing to move more to­ward this area as val­ues go up in Fishtown and oth­er areas. You’ll see more gal­ler­ies and more things pop­ping up [in Port Rich­mond]. There’s really great artists based here.”

The Nov. 30 show — from 7 to 11 p.m. — and a Dec. 1 show — from 5 to 9 p.m. — will cost $5 for both nights. The Dec. 1 show will also fea­ture mu­sic from acous­tic, met­al and in­die artists.

Pieces will be avail­able for pur­chase at af­ford­able prices. Thompson and Lightfoot also host a cheeky iTunes pod­cast called “Drunk Art Cast,” in which the two drink cock­tails and dis­cuss art.

“It’s a very di­verse group of people. We’re all loc­al, we all really love the area,” Thompson said. “We just want to show our work.” ••

Star Man­aging Ed­it­or Mi­kala Jam­is­on can be reached at 215-354-3113 or at mjam­is­on@bsmphilly.com.

You can reach at mjamison@bsmphilly.com.

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