For close to three years, I've been trying to find a weekend with the following qualities:
1. Not working
2. Available spending money
3. Mets playing in Philadelphia
I wanted to find this weekend so I could travel (#1
) to Philadelphia on a bus (#2
) and see the Mets play in the Phillies new stadium (#3
This past weekend, not only did all these three things finally align but I really did make the trip to the land of cream cheese, freedom and invisible battleships. Wow! So how was the game? Beats me, I forgot to go to it. Whoops!
In truth, the visit was just a coincidence, having learned that Sherry and Eddie had been thinking of going down there to sightsee only, but during a weekend the Mets just happened to be there too. Like them, I'd never been, and so accepted their offer to go with.
It's hard to see a city as big as Philadelphia in one day. I tried this 12 years ago with Chicago, and ended up mostly along Lake Michigan, and ended up seeing a movie at the end of the day. It's tiring! Philly was no different. We had the advantage of bringing a car, which allowed us to get from the Art Museum (which is awesome; I can only barely imagine what it would have been like if I'd ever seen Rocky) down past South Street to stand in a monstrous cheesesteak line, and then back up to Arch Street without expending any energy on it. After we re-parked, then it was time to walk as far east as we could go and then back through Society Hill (which is suspiciously NOT a hill).
The quick review is that Philadelphia completely blew me away. The parts we saw anyhow, which was approximately 4% of the metro area. Sherry and Eddie had done some planning for the trip, so they knew where they wanted to go and how to get there, but it was all a surprise to me. I've been to many parts of old New England and old New York and I sort of expected Philly to be a sort of mash-up between the two. This is because I was unaware before yesterday that the city has the largest district of original buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries in America. That alone would have piqued my interest, but what made my mind explode was that the area wasn't some sort of cordoned-off, shrink-wrapped, historic district nor was it endlessly luxurized until it was either barely recognizable and/or only accessible to the mega-rich. The houses are expensive, I'm sure, but the people who lived there seemed pretty normal and if well-off, then more in the upper-middle class way. And yet they live in a neighborhood that looks like it could only be recorded by wood engraving or scrimshaw, instead of digital camera. These houses went on for miles of square miles. It was truly hypnotic, and I had always assumed living in Boston for nine years would have inured me against something like that.
As we walked through this post-colonial wonderland, the fantasy of living in such a place kept getting introduced. It isn't hard to imagine oneself impulsively moving somewhere when you're only visiting it for a day. Sherry and Eddie are off-and-on house-hunting anyway, and aren't necessarily beholden to the New York area. It was decided that a cursory search of Philadelphia real estate would begin this week.
I was in agreement that Philly is almost impossibly adorable, but I don't think I could seriously entertain thoughts of living there. I am demented, you see. The city seems great for all the reasons a city could be great. But if I'm going to abandon both of my teams, it won't be for a city with such deep professional sporting baggage. It would overwhelm and consume me, I'm sure. Same goes for Washington DC. If I'm going to humor hypothetical moves to new cities, I need one that's either more celebrated OR more moribund. Demented is the only word for that, right?