Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Philadelphia at Dawn

I’ve visited Philadelphia numerous times over the years. In the early 1970’s, we would make the occasional pilgrimage to the Spectrum, a favorite concert venue. And throughout the mid-1980’s, I would journey there on various Business Errands for the Great Corporate Salt Mine. But these visits were transitory - quick in-and-out events. Wham, bam, etc.

It was in 1980 - fully half my lifetime ago - that She Who Must Be Obeyed and I spent a long weekend in the City of Brotherly Love, accompanied by Elder (then Only) Daughter. We did all of the obligatory Touristy Shit: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’s house, Elfreth’s Alley, the Mint. We ate cheesesteaks; we ate hot soft pretzels with mustard; we ate at Bookie’s.

But last weekend, I saw Philadelphia at its Philliest. Independence Day!

I was there for a convention, arriving Wednesday noon and departing Sunday morning, during which time SWMBO elected to stay in Washington with Elder Daughter. Most of the time, the heavy schedule of convention activities kept me indoors at the Loew’s Hotel, but I had a few opportunities to wander off when there was a break in the action.

And you never know who you might stumble into in the heart of Philadelphia. Look:

Mr. Fish and MacMac and Elisson at Capogiro

It’s Mac, of pesky’apostrophe, with Mr. Fish and me!

Mac and I have been online acquaintances for a ridiculously long time, even unto guest posting on each other’s sites, but until last Thursday we had never encountered each other in Meatworld. It’s an omission we were both happy to correct.

We couldn’t conclude our (thoroughly enjoyable) visit without a stop at Mac’s favorite gelato place, Capogiro, conveniently located at 13th and Sansome - just a couple of blocks from my hotel.

Timing is everything. Capogiro’s 13th Street location had only just reopened after having been closed due to a fire... but open they were, and the daily offerings were spectacularly tasty. Alas, Single Malt Scotch gelato was not on the menu that day (it was, however, four days later) - but the Cioccolato Scuro (dark, dark, bittersweet chocolate), Pistaccio Siciliano (Sicilian pistachio), and Turkish Coffee flavors were ass-kicking, rollicking bombshells of flavor.

Gelato at Capogiro
Assorted gelato flavors at Capogiro.

[I made two return trips to Capogiro, the last of which was at midnight Saturday, accompanied by a small army of fellow conventioneers. A fine nightcap after a spectacular fireworks show!]

We had a chance to wander around a bit on Saturday afternoon. The streets were filled with people getting ready to enjoy a free Sheryl Crow concert, with fireworks to follow above the Art Museum. Later, we would enjoy those fireworks from the vantage point of the 33rd floor of the Loews Hotel.

A few blocks on the other side of City Hall, I noticed the looming hulk of the Sheraton Hotel. In my mind’s eye, I saw a picture of a little girl, barely more than a toddler, standing in the elevator lobby. I would be seeing that little girl again in less than 24 hours. Well, not quite so little: She’s now thirty years old and living in the nation’s capital 125 miles to the south. And the independent spirit she has today might just be the result of that early childhood visit to the Cradle of Independence... Philadelphia!

More pics below the fold.

City Hall 2
City Hall, from the inside of the courtyard.

City Hall 1
City Hall, from the outside. That’s William Penn at the top.

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