If you must know, I stayed at the Loews Philadelphia in Center City. Centrally located, in easy walking distance of pretty much everything. Pricey, but worth it. Especially given the size of my bathroom! The service was excellent. I was pleasantly surprised to find that whenever I called Room Service for something, their phone system evidently brought up my name since it was always used in greeting. I did not dine at Bank and Bourbon, their in-house restaurant, but I did have a “rye flight” at their bar. I recommend Rough Rider Bull Moose Three Barrel Rye. I’ll have to track it down here at home.
As a baseball fan, I’ve been planning my vacations around the schedule so I can take in a game while I’m away. This time, I deliberately chose to go to Philadelphia so I could see the Phillies host the Mets. I hadn’t been to Citizens Bank Ballpark yet, so there was an extra reason for going.
All of Philadelphia’s sporting venues are clustered together at the southern end of the city. Mass transit is pretty good; the Broad Street subway line ends nearby. It’s a couple of minutes to walk to the stadium past acres of parking lots; it seems that’s the best they could do with all the new stadia construction coming after the subway was finished.
In case you’re wondering why I don’t post photos from my trips here, the answer is simple. I have a cheap cell phone camera, and you can find much better photos than I could possibly take simply by using your favorite image search device. And why do you need to see photos of my hotel room anyway? (grin)
In Philadelphia, all the historical sites and museums seem to be on the east side of town. The main art and science museums are on the west, clustered around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city’s “grand boulevard”. In this post, let’s take a look at some of those.
There’s a lot of talk lately about removing Confederate monuments and other symbols of that lost cause. Before we all get crazy, let’s have some guidelines as to what is and isn’t acceptable, OK?
STATUES AND MONUMENTS:
Is it in a cemetery? – It stays.
Is it a memorial honoring local people who died in the Civil War? – It stays.
Is it a generic memorial to the Confederate war dead? – If possible, change the inscription so it honors all war dead. If not, replace the entire thing.
Is it a marker indicating the location of a battle or other important incident? – Replace it with one with better wording.
Is it a statue of a person with clear ties (he was born or lived much of his life there) to the area? – Leave it up to the local citizens.
Is it at a battlefield or some other location that is of clear importance in the person’s life? – It can stay. Probably.
Is it in a place with no connection at all to the person? – Take it down.
NOTE: No matter how much you may want to take it down yourself, leave that to the professionals. Vandalism is never to be condoned. If you absolutely cannot leave the statue alone, try something non-damaging. Stick a white “surrender” flag in its hand. Hang a sign saying “I’m a Loser” on it. Be creative! Just don’t damage it.
BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES:
Does the building have a function that is related to the person? Like a fort or military institute? – It can stay, but it would be better to rename it after someone more appropriate.
Is it named after a person with ties to the local area? – It’s probably best to rename it for someone else with local ties, but it’s not urgent.
Is it named after someone with no connection at all to the locale? – Rename it as soon as convenient.
PLACES (Streets and communities):
Was the person born there or very nearby? – It can stay; it’s probably not worth the cost of changing it.
Does the person have no ties at all to the area? – Change it as soon as there’s funds available for all the new signage.
NOTE: A lot of these removals and name changes are going to cost money. If you really want to make the change, offer to pay for it. And come up with the new name.
This year’s vacation had me wanting to save money on travel so I could stay in a nicer hotel and have more to spend on entertainment and activities. But I still wanted to be far enough away from home to feel like I was really on vacation, and not just day-tripping.
Philadelphia fit that bill quite nicely.
Being the place where the United States was born (both times, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the creation and signing of the Constitution), it’s loaded with history. However, I decided to avoid the obvious. I deliberately avoided Independence Hall and the national icon of the Liberty Bell. I’d visited them on a family trip in my childhood. Instead, I went to museums in that neighborhood that hadn’t existed back then.
Way back in the mists of time (well, about 20 years ago, which is ancient history as far as the Internet is concerned), American Heritage magazine had an annual feature they called “Overrated, Underrated”. Historians and other experts contributed short essays on things in their field that they believed needed a reappraisal. They had to pair something that they felt was overrated with one that was underrated (e.g. Aviatrix: Overrated – Amelia Earhart, Underrated: Harriet Quimby). The series gave fascinating historical and cultural insights, and spread a little to other magazines. I recall Sports Illustrated did their own version….
Anyway, the idea is always a good discussion starter. Provided you can pen a short essay explaining your choices. Anyone can say Shakespeare is overrated; not everyone can explain why, as well as offer an example of an underrated English playwright.
Here’s my favorite example:
American Historical Document