HomeNews‘Port Richmond is making a comeback’

‘Port Richmond is making a comeback’

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.

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