Wednesday, February 27, 2008
At the last second, my boss gave me President's Day off. Yes, I know. It's a National Holiday. But he justified that since he's from another country (Ireland) that he didn't really recognize all of America's holidays.
Anyway, we went to chilly Philly for the day. Note to self- and to others- Philadelphia closes down at 5pm on Sundays, if the shops are even open at all. So if you have a 9:30pm train back to New York, then wander around H&M and the Gap for a couple of hours and then sit in a restaurant for another couple of hours and then it'll be about time to head to the station...
Terminal Market for a hearty breakfast of corned beef sandwiches, latkes with apple sauce, and healthy vegetable and fruit smoothies.
It felt like 8th grade social studies all over again seeing and hearing about the historical significance of the buildings dotted all over Philly. Oh yeah! William Penn! Betsy Ross! The lines around Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell were horrendously long, but we did walk through Carpenter's Hall where the First Continental Congress met in 1774.
We made our way down to the infamous (and tacky) Geno's in South Philly via the incredibly overrated South St. shopping street. In fact, we thought that the around-the-block wait for Geno's was also incredibly overrated for such a small and expensive cheesesteak sandwich. I was so annoyed with their staunch "pro-American" slogans ("This is America. When ordering please speak English."!?!?) that I lost my appetite and could only watch Paul eat his steak.
We were much more intrigued by the little ethnic shops in Little Italy selling all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and animal parts.
Overall, Philadelphia seemed like a pretty clean, walkable city... kind of desolate sometimes, but maybe it was because it was so cold...
There were little historical brick rowhouses and then there were the hideous massive 70s office buildings. There were funky buildings covered with mosaics and crumbling brick warehouses just waiting to be converted into lofts. But we were pleasantly surprised by a vintage turquoise blue Citroen parked in the Old Town shopping neighborhood...