Civic + Government

Emma Fried-Cassorla, Creator of Philly Love Notes, Reminds Philadelphians How Great the City Really Is

By Peak Johnson |

Love Letter
From Love Note #33: Neal Santos’ Farm 51 in Southwest Philly (Photo by Neal Santos)

Philly Love Notes has been becoming increasingly popular by the week. Created by Emma Fried-Cassorla, its mission is to remind Philadelphians how great their city is through a series of love note styled blog posts.

Fried-Cassorla had been watching friends at Technically Philly make dramatic and amazing impacts in Philadelphia. She was inspired by their passion and wanted to contribute to the city as well.

“We all have days when the city kicks us, or when the local news is only bad, and there needs to be a place to go that solely concentrates on the good in the city,” she said. “After reading about why other people love the city, I’m hoping that perspectives will be shifted and people will be forced to think differently about the place in which they live.”

Good at tracking down uniquely-Philly things to do and see, Fried-Cassorla decided to create a site devoted to those places.

The project started on a whim after a major life change, Fried-Cassorla said. She wanted to do something that would be time consuming, surround her with love, and allow her to meet lots of new people.

“I am by no means a writer, and asking friends, family, and cool Philadelphians what they love about the city was a way for me to amass a collection of goodwill without actually having to write much,” she said. “My fondest hope is that it fulfills its mission — that people who are having a bad day can go to the site and remind themselves of why they chose Philadelphia. Or maybe when they are walking down the street, they’ll see a featured spot and realize how beautiful it is and why it should be loved.”

Fried-Cassorla believes that Philly Love Notes is connecting people to the city in two very important ways. First, it exposes readers to other people’s favorite spots and reasons for loving the city. Second, when asked why they love the city, contributors are forced to really question the spots that they love and the city in general.

She’s had feedback also from those who have participated on the site, saying that just thinking about their love note has made their perspectives about the city shift.

“You begin to look at everything in terms of, “why do I love that building/street/view/restaurant/etc,” Fried-Cassorla said. “On a more technical side, I would like for the site to be more reflective of the diversity in our city across age, race, neighborhood, etc, hopefully through unsolicited contributions written from inspiration.”

Ashley Hahn from Plan Philly was enthusiastic about the project from the beginning, and she cross posts built environment-related love notes on Plan Philly’s Eyes on the Street. Similarly, posts also appear in City Paper’s Critical Mass section.

Fried-Cassorla also has a cross promotional agreement with Young Involved Philly (YIP). They post love notes on their Facebook page and in return, Fried-Cassorla uses their #whyilovephilly campaign.

“There’s also a collaboration in the works with Campus Philly,” she said. “They have a great reach in communities that I am hoping to work with, so we’re putting together a project encouraging college students to reflect on their city.”

In the future, Fried-Cassorla would love to work with teachers, or groups like Mighty Writers, to get perspectives from a younger generation of Philadelphians.

Eventually, once she familiarizes herself more with the tech aspect of Philly Love Notes, Fried Cassorla would like the site to become an easily searchable database to find out about interesting people and places in the city.

“Readers seem to be following the blog and participating, though to be honest, I don’t really do any sort of tracking,” she said.  “That will probably change at some point in the future when and if I have a little more time.”

Fried-Cassorla is thinking about expanding the site to incorporate visual and literary art related to the city. She added that if anyone would like to send photos, cartoons, stories, poems, or artwork about the city, they should feel free to do so.

People who are interested in getting involved with Philly Love Notes can send their love notes to phillylovenotes@gmail.com. What is required when sending the email is the basic info that is on every post — favorite spot, a short description of the person, their history in Philly, and their love note.

“I’m not sure exactly how to measure the demand, but people are certainly responding favorably,” Fried-Cassorla said. “Most people are more than happy to contribute and seem to enjoy the challenge.”

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