My trip to Philly was only a short one, a couple of days over a long summer weekend in 2006, but it was memorable for a variety of reasons: the unique urban cuisine that’s become representative of American culture, the integrated presence of history into the city landscape, and the charm of a modern city that still feels like a neighborhood. I loved how walkable the city was (compared to Chicago where I was living at the time), how easy it was to see all the sites in one day without having to sit through 45 minutes of constant traffic! I didn’t get to visit all the places I wanted to but I was okay with that, because I liked it so much I know I’m going to go back one day.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia. Our bus tour took us around the complex, but we didn’t go inside. This one’s on my list for the next trip to Philadelphia. What I love about this photo is that it captures how much history is part of our everyday landscape.
Riding around on the top of a bus through downtown Philadelphia was great. Looking up at the skyscrapers we got to see the city in its modern moment.
The Philadelphia skyline from a disadvantaged angle.
The composition of this photo appeals to me: its got elements of the city’s artistic character, its functional side, its architectural beauty. For me, everything comes together in this photo, compositionally.
I loved the bridges. There were so many it seemed like, and with the summer sun glinting off the water they looked magnificent.
Most people – including myself usually – don’t like the chunky oblongness of skyscrapers from the 70s and 80s. But I think they work well here; they look almost like building blocks, a child’s toys in a great modern game of Urban City Development. The square windows within square frames, within squat, square buildings. They’re modern but they hint that there’s a post-modern future waiting to bust out of the meta-aesthetic holding them together.
Alfreth’s Alley is listed as the oldest residential (and still residential) street in America. Of course, definitions are flexible; what is a “street”? Must it be paved? Anyway, it was lovely to take a walk down this lane and know that there are still folks living in these houses, caring for them as part of American Living History.
These are heritage houses so they can’t be messed with architecturally or structurally, except I suppose for safety.
I love bus tours! I think they are one of the best and easiest ways to get a first look at a city. I use it as a way to jot down places I want to explore in more depth on my own later.
Around the time I went to Philadelphia there was a lot of hubbub over immigration reform and this notion of “speaking English” in America (and no other language). The owner of one of the famous Philly Cheesesteak places, Geno’s Steaks, had issued these stickers and said his store would turn away anyone who didn’t order in English. Check out the news article on this: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2057207
I don’t support Right-Wing immigration policies, having been an immigrant myself, but I wanted to hear their point of view and I wanted a famous cheesesteak sandwich so I went over there and snapped this photo.
Breakfast meats are a thing of mine. I love SPAM (Yes, the Spam Museum is on my bucket list) so I had to try scrapple when it was described to me at a local diner. It was delicious but I know it probably wasn’t good for me. It was a combination of sausage and processed meat, with a crusty fried exterior. What can I say in my defense? I was on vacation!