The City of Brotherly Love

Home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Philidelphia Phillies, and Rocky Statue. Place where the Declaration of Independence was signed. Also home of the Philly Cheese Steak, that can be had at Geno's or Pat's.

Probably the single most important city in the history of the American Revolution. The de facto revolutionary government governed from Philadelphia until 1788, when the "official" "first" capital of New York City was designated. The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were drafted and signed in Philadelphia, home of Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, the Liberty Bell, and Independence Hall.

Philadelphia is the home of many cool bars, among them the Khyber Pass, the Firenze Cafe, and the Track and Turf; some cool defunct bands called the Electric Love Muffin and the Dead Milkmen; great record stores called 3rd Street Jazz and Rock (now defunct) and The Philly Record Exchange; my favorite used book store, Book Trader at 5th and South Streets, and Reading Terminal Market (which is not "terminal" in the medical sense).

There are numerous other attractions as well, such as 30th Street Station, which is the finest train station I ever set eyes on; it's the train station in the movie Witness (this justifies the movie, not vice versa). West Philly is home to Koch's Deli at 44th and, umm, Locust or something. Koch's is glorious. Try the reuben sandwich.

Philadelphia is a much better place than it gets credit for. In five years there, I got robbed and my head beat in only once. Maybe it was only four years.

"This is the finest city in the Provence of Maryland."

-- Thomas Cresap, Philadelphia, 1736, shortly before being nearly lynched.

Living in the shadow of New York City would give anyone an inferiority complex, and we Philadelphians have developed one the size of an East Village poseur's ego. Philadelphia is one of the most underrated of all the large US cities, and the resentment generated by this fact is evident in every angry sneer seen on the streets of South Philly and every D cell hurled onto the field at a Phils game.

And, by the way, Pat's and Geno's are for the tourists.
Philadelphia is the second largest city on the east coast and the fifth in the nation. The Greater Philadelphia is made up of various counties:Lancaster County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Delaware County, and Chester County. The current mayor of Philadelphia is democrat John F. Street.

Climate: Four distinct seasons with moderately cold winter and hot, humid summer. January average temperature, 33 degrees Fahrenheit; July average temperature, 75 degrees; average yearly rainfall, 41 inches; normal seasonal snowfall, 21 inches.

Philadelphia was founded in 1682 by William Penn who designed the city as a grid. Streets running north to south where numbered from First to Eighth, and streets running east to west where named after trees. In 1776, the representatives of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall sign the Declaration of Independence. In 1987, delegates of the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia to unify the new country’s governmental structure with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800.

Tourist attractions in Philadelphia include:

As of a study in 1997-98 by the United States Department of Education, the Philadelphia region has the second largest number of colleges in the nation (49). These include The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Beaver College, Bryn Mawr College, Chestnut Hill College, Drexel University, Haverford College, La Salle University, Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science, Rosemont College, St. Joseph’s University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, Thomas Jefferson University, University of the Arts, University of Pennsylvania, Valley Forge Military Academy and College, Villanova University, West Chester University and Widener University.

Despite the opinion of some, we are not the worst sports fans, we're some of the best. We did not cheer the fact that Irving got paralyzed, but we did boo Deon Sanders for acting like an ass during that game. At least we don't throw snowballs at opposing teams, or even at our own team for that matter.

That said, Philadelphia is a great sporting town. Despite what the biased media would tell you, we are merely passionate about our teams. Either we love them, or we hate them, and when we hate them, we hate them with a passion.

Aside from the many professional teams we have...

Philadelphia is home to the Penn Relays (a major track-and-field event), as well as the 2001 2002 X-Games.

Philadelphia is also home to the nation's first sports-only radio station, 610 WIP. The radio station hosts Wing Bowl, a wing-eating contest which will enter its 11th edition in 2003. Wing Bowl is traditionally held on Super Bowl Friday, and although was originally created in jest to the Buffallo Bill's 4 straight Super Bowl losses, is now an event so large that it fills up the First Union Center at 6 in the morning. No kidding.

To host so many teams, Philadelphia currently has several "pro" venues. The Wachovia Center is home to the Sixers and Flyers, and both the Center and the Wachovia Spectrum play home to the Kixx, Wings, Soul, Phantoms, and so on depending on what the schedules are. Lincoln Financial Field (affectionately known as The Linc) is now home to the Eagles, and Citizens' Bank Park (cute short name still pending) is the Phillie's new home. Veterans' Stadium was demolished in Spring 2004.

One more thing, the Eagles are pronounced Iggles within Philadelphia city limits. Attempting to do the same without at least living in South Jersey will get you in trouble.

When I was nine, there were two things I liked to do. The first was to sneak this little portable b&w tv up to my bedroom and watch shows my mom wouldn't let me stay up to see. The second was to read. I'd sleep with books under my pillow, reading everything from a Get Along Gang storybook to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. So one night, I stayed up reading the New Testament given to me for my First Communion the year before.

I devoured it in one night, scaring the hell out of myself. Actually, three things scared me. First, this was still the Cold War, and I was convinced that the Russians were going to start a nuclear war. Second, try as I might, I couldn't wrap my mind around the concept of eternity (still can't), and it scared me. Third--Philadelphia was mentioned among the seven churches of Asia Minor.

Now, I had no idea what or where Asia Minor was. I saw Philadelphia and I freaked. I was sitting on ground zero for the Apocalpyse--at least as far as I was concerned.

Now, an apocalypse is a revealing--and that's what this is. I wasn't revealed anything that particular night, except my own predisposition towards paranoia and eschatonic belief. But Philadelphia as a city of revelation has stuck with me.

Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love. That's the saying, and Billy Penn had, at least, a pretty descent idea of creating a "greene country towne" free of disease, fires, and prejudice. I don't know if he was thinking of John's Revelation, Philadelphia being the one city which is described in pretty glowing terms. At any rate, the city's always been a mix of high ideals and low realities. We're a divided city, a city of poverty, racism, extreme political corruption. We're a city with a crappy public transit system which is the most expensive and least efficient. We're the city of Ben Franklin, Rocky, MOVE, Noam Chomsky and Walter Annenberg.

This is not an ideal city. This is not New York or San Francisco. Hell, this isn't even Chicago. This is a city that threw snowballs at a crappy-looking Santa and never lived it down. Our sports teams are a perennial disappointment.

But still I live here. Why?

When I was ten, we moved to a small town in rural Pennsylvania. I hated it, not surprisingly, and spent most of my time thinking of ways to move back into my old neighborhood. Eventually, I did. And now, after nearly two years of being back, I'm ready to move out again. Granted, I'm moving to only another part of the city, leaving Fairmount for Mount Airy, which is more ethnically diverse and certainly cheaper to rent in, but the point is that I'm moving.

Last July, I was attacked. Carjacked, forced to withdrawl money from my checking account, and threatened with rape. It only ended when my boyfriend, who was out looking for me, found us and broke it up. (It's a long story.) Since then, I've been very paranoid, afraid to leave the apartment by myself, afraid to walk around the neighborhood where I grew up.

I spent years trying to get back something I lost in my childhood--a sense of community, a place I loved. Now I realize there's nothing to reclaim. We stop flying eventually, you know; we stop waiting for Peter Pan to fly in.

I'm twenty-five years old. I live in Philadelphia with my boyfriend. I'm trying to break free of my childhood, because it's like arsenic--sip a little and the spots go away, but ultimately it's fatal. I'm trying to break free of this city, or at least my fascination with it. There's nothing to be fascinated by--just people I can't connect with.

But that's OK.

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