Leaving the ”Keys to Community” in the capable hands, or should I say bust, of Mr. Franklin we followed Arch Street towards 2nd Street, finding some quaint little shops along the way.
To Betsy Ross’ House. Ms Ross was a seamstress, credited with sewing the first American flag – to Mr. Francis Hopkinson’s design, as we learned from his epitaph earlier. While no proof exists of Ms. Ross’ accomplishment, the fact remains that she is a beloved figure and her legend lives strong. And, right across her house, a giant flag. Can you get more patriotic than that?
Yes, you can – by way of preserving your city’s history for generations to come. Like Elfreth’s Alley. Connecting N 2nd Street with N Front Street, it has been there since the 1700s – the oldest residential street in the United States, only because of the efforts of its very residents. Built by merchants and tradesmen to house their families, later welcoming working class immigrants, today impeccably preserved by its community of artists, artisans, educators and entrepreneurs. A street with its own history, its own architecture and website, a little world of its own.
Back in Philadelphia, on to more agreeable sights, starting with Benjamin Franklin’s resting place, in Christ Church Burial Ground. The great man sleeps close to other patriots and prominent figures like Francis Hopkinson, designer of the first official American flag:
And Gerald Connely, a Seaman, Soldier, Safecracker. Wait… Safecracker?!? Was Gerald Connely Philadelphia’s most prominent crook? A quick research showed that actually, Connelly was a world-class locksmith who was cooperating with the FBI whenever his expertise was needed. He was also a very funny guy who knew, when we was writing his parting words, that he would get people looking twice.
Finally, Mr. Franklin. He was just 22 when he wrote his epitaph. I wonder what made a man think about writing an epitaph at such a young age:
On the way out, a fire engine, descendant of the service that Franklin helped create in 1736, the Union Fire Company, one of the first volunteer firefighting companies in America:
Here is Mr. Franklin again, his bust sculpted by James Peniston, covered with casts of 1.000 keys collected from local schoolchildren. ”Keys To Community” also contains several brass nameplates representing Philadelphia firefighters fallen in the line of duty since 1736: Philadelphia
February 24th, 2017
Turning to leave from the area, toward our way back to the train station, the feature we’d been looking for. Hidden among buildings and utility poles, once Atlantic City’s tallest structure, no longer a beacon for mariners. Lonely, lean and silently dignified.
You wouldn’t know it the way its wavy shaped windows shine in the sun. Yet, this enormous structure, built on a once-residential area at a cost of billion, remains closed since September 2014. All the 6,8 million sq.ft., 1.898 hotel rooms, 14 restaurants, spa, concert venues, nightclubs, shops and 130.000 sq.ft. gambling space of it. 2,5 years of operation, then bankruptcy. Now a still, eerie emptiness.
A lot has been said about what is, what could have been, what should be done. This city, once thriving on speculation, is now suffering from the effects of an overdose.
A few houses left standing in the vicinity, two in the shadow of the sleeping giant. We have to move on. It may be the emptiness but this area feels unsafe.
But if your curiosity gets the better of you, as it did of us, and you decide to leave the beach, behold the nightmarish setting of the Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk!
Heavily edited and filtered, it still feels like a cheap set of a b-movie in the seventies. I wonder who was responsible for these monstrosities; and what could they possibly be thinking? Atlantic City
February 23rd, 2017
On the train to Philadelphia, we had discovered the quiet car completely by accident. A great feature, one that trains in Europe would greatly benefit from. Why this has not been implemented on the other side of the Atlantic, is a mystery to me. We now ask the train attendant for the quiet car, every time we’re about to board a train.
Half an hour later and… what a difference 60 miles make!
A brilliant sunshine, a light breeze, unseasonably warm, an enormous beach, no crowds.
“Enjoy God’s gift to humanity!” an excited fellow walker exclaimed…
“Enjoy!” we echoed, smiling back… “as long as you remain under the boardwalk”, we added silently.
If time allows, a trip to Philadelphia may either be combined with a visit to the Amish Country, to the west or a walk on (better yet, under) the famous Boardwalk of the Atlantic City, to the southeast. We chose the second. Around 90′ by train, the Ocean was beckoning.
Meanwhile, Philly was showing us her cloudy face.
Philadelphia, views from the Schuylkill River Trail.
February 23rd, 2017
Vast in size, rich in collections with major works from European, American and Asian artists, from paintings and prints to decorative items and furniture, it will require at least three hours for a ”quick” overview – and that includes the main building only. For the museum manages several annexes such as the Rodin Museum and the Perelman Building across the street, which is why your ticket will be valid for two consecutive days – in case you have the stamina to visit them all (which we didn’t).
The images below show a very brief part of what you can expect to see in the museum; I skipped most of the paintings in favour of objects and furniture that got my attention.
I hope you enjoyed this very brief and – admittedly- subjective tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Coming up next, two angry faces.
How many times I heard the tune, I couldn’t possibly tell – I lost count halfway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It had been in my head all along and seemingly everyone – myself included – got in synch as soon as The Steps appeared on the far end of the long stretch between Logan Square and The Oval.
Everyone, except Washington that is, seeing how he faces away, his back turned to the steps.
The rest of the world goes the Rocky wayLike this Donut Man
Or this Reenactor Or the Man himself
This is a lifestyle and informational blog for those writers who feel they are caught between being in the midst of struggle, making some progress and feeling stuck in the meantime. This blog will be interrupted with interviews from authors that have already been there and impart their own advice and info. Think of it as deciding to live a bare minimum lifestyle to reach your maximum creative potential. Let's take this journey together.