Saturday, April 28, 2012

In The City of Brotherly Love

We took I-81 S to I-476 E, bound for The City of Brotherly Love. “We” consisted of me, my charmers and my sister who had a surgery appointment at the Wills Eye Institute, one of the top hospitals in the area for that specialty. I was glad to lend a helping hand to my sister, and I was also excited to be in Philly again after all these years. Excited, but apprehensive. Last time I was there, about ten years ago, I had to fight my way out hanging onto a runaway semi truck ... but that made-up tale is for another time.

We arrived the day before the surgery, and had booked rooms at the Holiday Inn Express on Walnut Street. As I steered the car into the parking garage, I hear, “STOP!” An older black gentleman was running after me. I’ve learned to obey when someone yells at me, so I braked. He looked a little upset and I don’t blame him. Turns out I tried to go the wrong way on the ramp, but he also needed to know how long we’d be staying so he could tell me to park on Level 5.

I thanked him, and we went on our way.

We checked in and carried our bags to the 17th floor of the 20 story building. Ava was fascinated by altitude and the cityscape surrounding us—the buildings towering above us, the surrounding neighbors and birds at eye level, and the cars and people shuffling below like tiny bugs.

Little d reminded me how much she enjoys cities, and I agree. To a point. Nice to get anything you want whenever, etc. But I’m more of a slower pace of life kinda guy.

Tired as we were, we managed to publish the latest Pulp of the Week at BEAT to a PULP while my daughter kept busy pulling out every tissue from the dispenser in the sink vanity then “organizing” them on the floor.

For the two days we were there, we walked the four blocks between the hotel and the eye center. It was a small slice of Philly but we enjoyed the few sights we saw and also interacting with the people. Motorcycle Lady in the elevator, Cashier Girl at Five Guys who suggested Ava should be in baby magazines, Best Bedside Manner Doctor and Nurse Nice at the hospital, Hotel Front Desk Clerk, etc.

If I had based my view of this majestic city on the first visit I would have ranked it rather low but—and here I go with my infamous analogies—Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don't like that man. I must get to know him better.” Switch man for city and him for it and those are my thoughts on Philly. I got to know the city a little better and I’m a fan.

Have you been to Philadelphia? Your thoughts? Or what city would you recommend?

20 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

I am from Philly and had an eye operation in Wills Eye Hospital as a child. My mother had her corneas replaced there in the nineties.
We were there in Nov. 2010 for Noircon most recently.
I love Philly although I now know no one who lives there and that makes me sad.
It shares some of the problems of Detroit but it still has a viable downtown.

David Cranmer said...

The docs and nurses at Wills are nothing short of incredible, Patti. And the shops, restaurants, etc along Walnut will see my business again when I can return for a vacation. So much to take in and I know I only caught a sliver of what the city has to offer.

bucko said...

Philly is a gritty place but it has astonishing art, better all the more so because, well, you don't expect it. I steel myself to get to the city but then appreciate it all the more once I walk its streets. Glad you could write while helping your sister and keeping your daughter amused!

Ron Scheer said...

Thanks for the glimpse into your lives...I'm a Pittsburgh guy, having lived there for a year in the 1980s. Often sorry I left it. It's on the cusp of East/MidWest; I think of it as a town that believes it's a city...Your Lincoln quote reminds me of the line from the song "Streets of Bakersfield"--"You don't know me, but you don't like me."

Naomi Johnson said...

Ava is so cute, and getting so big! Now that she's organizing the tissue, she'll be about ready to move on to diapering her dolls/stuffed animals.

David Cranmer said...

It’s a balancing act, Bucko. That’s why next time I think I will appreciate the city even more. Our #1 mission was my sister and sight-seeing was secondary. Next time around we will be more prepared. Btw thanks for stopping by.

Ron, Kind of a weird quote placed there but it seemed to fit. At least to my way of thinking.

Naomi, And then she can take over formatting the BTAP stories, right? :)

alyssa goodnight said...

I've never been to Philadelphia, although National Treasure perked my interest. Sounds as if it was a lovely mini-vacation.

I'll look out for Ava in the baby Gap ads... :)

Naomi Johnson said...

It could happen!

Dave King said...

Lovely post, full of good things. I appreciated the organising ability oy your little'un - and the Lincoln quote.

David Cranmer said...

Alyssa, She is going to earn the big money in this family. :)

And I'll be ready by then, Naomi!

Thanks, Dave!

Nancy of Utah said...

Thanks for sharing your visit to Philly. I've not been there, but you made it sound very interesting. What an exciting place for your young daughter to experience. Love the pictures.

John DuMond said...

Never been there, but I'd really like to go. I've always wanted to visit the various historical attractions, like Independence Hall. I'd also like to take the tour of Eastern State Penitentiary. Now I just need to find a way to talk the wife into it.

Mates said...

Thanks so much to my caregivers. The excellent driving skill of my brother even though I knocked the car into neutral without his knowledge and to my lovely sister-in-law for her expert eye dropping technique. And most of all my beautiful Ava for her never ending entertainment. The most fun anyone could have while enduring surgery!!!

Leah J. Utas said...

Great attitude. Glad you opened your mind and enjoyed the experience.

Richard Prosch said...

Been there twice, once in 1979 where we visited all the tourist spots, once in '93 after IMAGE comics burst on to the scene. At the Philadelphia Comic Con I watched the now silly-seeming spectacle of writer Peter David "debate" artist Todd (Spawn) McFarlane about upping the mentality of comics. In spite of that, I liked Philly a lot!

David Cranmer said...

Nancy, I hope we can introduce her to many more adventures. Some of my richest memories as a kid were our family vacations/trips.

John, Independence Hall would be in my top ten places to visit next time around. The city is a playground for a history buff like myself.

Mates, We were glad to help and will again at a moment's notice. I'm very thankful that the surgery seems to be a success. And I almost forgot the car in neutral episode. That should have made this blog post. :)

That I did, Leah.

Rich, You have so many interesting stories to tell, sir. And I'm looking forward to hearing them all.

Reb said...

Your a good brother to take your sis for surgery. Glad you enjoyed the city this time and I like the photo of you and Ava looking at the city.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm more a fan of wild woods than cities, but I did enjoy Boston when I was there. Every city has some wonderful offerings, museums, bookstores, food, what have you.

David Cranmer said...

And I have a very special sister, Reb. Actually I'm blessed with three. And I like that pic as well.

Charles, I will always take woods over pavement but enjoy the occasional trip.

Todd Mason said...

I'll choose to assume that Patti is being very legalistic when she mentions not knowing anyone who lives in Phil...as someone who was a resident from 1996-2008 and now resides about 2.5 miles outside the city limits, which I traverse every working day, at least.

So, a NoirCon is unlikely in your future? Sorry I've missed this post till now, and all is well with your sister?

My favorite city from personal experience would still tend to be Portland, OR, but that's from a daytrip, mostly...ask Richard Robinson how residence, with or w/o PORTLANDIA, feels...