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   July 10, 2008 Issue                                       

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Local Life

What a stretch: romantic problems lead to yoga studio

Some of Bridget’s students at the Amma Center have made dramatic improvement not only in their physical condition but also in their mental and emotional outlook.

Three years ago massage therapist Bridget Yanni, now 42, was having serious problems in her relationship with Tom Dennery, 52, her male companion for the last 11 years. Yanni was discussing those problems with Marcie Berman, a psychologist from Jenkintown who was also a massage client and personal friend.

“Shortly after that,” said Bridget, “Marie, who had always been telling me I should do yoga, gave me a gift of a getaway to the Kripalu Institute in Massachusetts, which is a yoga center. The four days I spent there literally changed my life.”

Bridget, who grew up in Mt. Airy, was a gymnast in grade school and a member of the Liberty Belles gymnastics squad in Chestnut Hill; as a child, she competed statewide and won numerous ribbons and trophies. (Bridget attended Cecelian Academy but left to attend the Parkway School in center city. She dropped out of school at 16 when she got pregnant and later worked as a waitress at both Fiesta Pizza and Campbell’s Place in Chestnut Hill.)


When new people move in next door, dough the right thing

Mike and his wife almost left this basket of baked goodies for the new next-door neighbors … Almost … Is it their fault that the neighbors did not answer their door quickly enough? (Photo by Len Lear)

I’m not sure at what point I need to get insulted by the fistfuls of lawn service flyers that get stuffed into our mailbox daily, but I think we’re starting to reach that point. My grandmom used to say, “Be all ears and no tongue,” but I’m sure she did not insulted every day by guys in green trucks. (She also used to say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, even though the general contractor promised it would be.)

Those guys in the pickup trucks with the stenciled lettering on their doors are clearly trying to give us some sort of hint. They must idle through the neighborhood, panning slowly back and forth, trolling for lawns that look like chemical spill sites.

“Got one! These people couldn’t keep a plastic geranium alive. Quick, stuff a flyer in there,” they must say.

The worst part, though, is that they’re aiding and abetting my wife Kara as she attempts to convince me that a telephone and a credit card are landscaping tools. 


Cash-only 109-year-old classic pays big food dividends

Dante & Luigi’s, 109 years young, is the oldest Italian restaurant in the city and is still one of the best.

Owners of new restaurants often say it takes a while ‘to iron out the kinks” — to get the kitchen and the waitstaff in sync so the entire operation runs as smoothly as the various sections of a symphony orchestra.

Well, I think it’s fair to say that after 109 years in business, Dante & Luigi’s, the city’s oldest Italian restaurant (and, I believe, the oldest continuously operating restaurant of any kind in the city) definitely has the kinks worked out. While hundreds, if not thousands, of Italian restaurants in center city and South Philadelphia have come and gone since 1899, Dante & Luigi’s has not become complacent.