Monday, January 17, 2011

the illadelph

Part of my MLK weekend where I had a nice little day trip. If you're looking for a city to kill a day in, Philly is your city. After spending about 24 hours there there is nothing which makes you wish you had a few more hours there.

Nopes.

Philly gives you all that you can handle in one single day. Any more and you start wonder why it feels like a dump if you move more than 10 blocks away in either direction from City Hall.

New York feels like you barely got your feet wet in one day. You're actually doing yourself a disservice by only going for one day.

Boston has too much history to be capture in one day.

DC will always leave you wanting to go to one more museum or memorial.

LA will.... well.... you'll probably spend most of your day in traffic so by definition you need more than a day.

Philly, on the other hand, will leave you wanting for your train ticket, Bolt Bus pass, boarding pass, or car keys after one day.

There are nice restaurants, nice places to spend a few minutes (e.g. Rittenhouse Square), decent shopping blocks, the token college bar hangout spot (Old City), but after that...well... don't hold your breath.

One of the best summaries of Philly comes from Hockey Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden, in his book "The Game." While Ken was referring to Philly's hockey team in his blurb, you can feel his view of the city is captured in the passage as well:
I don't like the feeling I get in Philadelphia. It is a hollowness, deep and disturbed, as if something is about to happen that I don't want to happen but can't stop. Before the day's end I feel threatened and physically afraid. I will hate fiercely (and admire). I will scream and curse, and get angrier than I ever get. In victory, I will gloat. Then slowly the hollowness will return, and I will be left to wonder about feelings I didn't know I had, about the nature of what I do, about things I never wonder about at other times. Only the Flyers do that to me.
And there you have it. Now clearly I went to Philly under my own volition - and it does have its moments. The thing is that all those moments can be quickly digested without the need for wanting much more. Sorta like a 10 piece Chicken McNuggets. Philadelphia, give it a day and you'll be happily along your way. Philadelphia, now less relevant than ever. Philadelphia, where the only thing they're #1 in is artificial cheese sandwiches.

I should work for Philadelphia's tourism board.


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2 comments:

Caroline - Philly Tourism said...

Yikes - I'd love for you to give Philadelphia a second look -- there's much more here than you can do in a day! Did you try the Mural Arts Tour of Steve Powers' murals? Or check out the new President's House site on Independence Mall, honoring the memory of George Washington’s nine slaves?

Lots more ideas here: http://philly360.visitphilly.com/

We hope you come back!

Shakes said...

whoa. thanks caroline...although it's sorta weird that slavery is #2 on your list of reasons to "give Philadelphia a second look"