Out & About: Back to basics

Let's say youíve worked at Penn for a while and know the neighborhood pretty well. You know where to find ginger-pomegranate green tea, sea salt face scrub and gourmet chocolates, and you know where to go for an eco-friendly gift or a new suit. But do you know where to go for the basic necessities most of us need on a daily basis?

Do you know where to pick up clear fingernail polish to stop a run in your stocking? Where to fill up your tank before you battle the rush hour traffic home? Where to buy a spontaneous bouquet of flowers for your sweetie?

If not, hereís a quick guide to help you find the basics, or at least some of them, in University City. .

Ready to wear

If you need shirts, coats or anything else laundered, University City and Powelton Village have a healthy number of dry cleaning outlets.

There’s Village Cleaners (215-222-5166) at 3239 Powelton Ave. for those who work on Market Street, and Number 1 Cleaners at 251 S. 41st St. (215-222-2646), tucked between Spruce and Irving—perfect for those who work on the western edge of campus. You’ll find options along 40th Street as well, including Jay’s Cleaners, between Walnut and Sansom streets, and Grand Shoes at 226 S. 40th St (215-222-3856), which recently moved from its location at 37th and Spruce.

The upside of Grand Shoes—as if you couldn’t tell from their name—is they also do shoe repairs. Prices run about $8 to $14 per woman’s shoe. Expect to pay a bit more for men’s shoes.
For sewing kits, you don’t have to go any further than the CVS at 3923 Walnut St. (215-662-0406).

Sweet relief

Of course, CVS has much more than sewing kits.

For those with midday aches and pains, painkillers cost a bit less at CVS than those found behind locked glass at one of the two local Wawa locations (corner of 38th and Spruce and the corner of 36th and Chestnut).

Motrin will set you back $5.99 and Advil runs $6.20 at Wawa. Prices at CVS are not only less, but you’ll also find a greater selection to choose from, including generics.

Dying of thirst

If you’re wondering where to pick up a gallon, half-gallon or quart of milk in time for breakfast tomorrow—or coffee in the office—Wawa is the place to stop. Just expect to pay for the convenience—quarts start at $1.15 and gallons run about $3.39.

If it’s a drink of the over-21 variety you’re after, the closest liquor store to campus can be found at 4049 Market St. (215-823-4709). There’s not much of a selection, but it’ll do if you’re on your way to an after-work dinner party or casual gathering and realize you’re empty-handed.

For beer, try Pizza Rustica (215-895-3490), located next to the Chestnut Street Wawa, which offers six-packs for takeout. You can also try New Deck Tavern at 3408 Sansom St. (215-386-4600) and another pizza place, Allegro (215-312-8158), at the corner of Spruce and 40th.

Odds and ends

Gas: If it’s your car that’s thirsty, you could chance it and try to make it home—or you could take the short drive up to the Sunoco station at 4601 Walnut St. or the BP at 44th and Market.

Stamps: If the 30th Street Post Office or the tiny USPS storefront on 40th Street, between Locust and Walnut, are too much of a hike, you can buy stamps in the lobby of the Franklin Building. You’ll find a postal service machine there that dispenses books of stamps for letters and postcards—beats waiting in line at the tiny 40th Street post office.

Flowers: If it’s your anniversary, someone’s birthday or even if it’s no particular occasion, you can find bouquets of flowers at Fleuradelphia, the kiosk in 30th Street Station, as well as Roses Florist (215-387-4242), on 34th Street between Sansom and Walnut. Simple bouquets can also be found at Fresh Grocer, at the corner of 40th and Walnut.

Originally published on March 31, 2005