Day 110: In West Philadelphia, born and raised…

July 31, 2009


DAY 110: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Miles traveled: 15,045
States visited: 38
Weather: 94, hot with periodic downpours

I spent two days in West Philly and couldn’t get the Fresh Prince song out of my head.

West Philadelphia is such a fun neighborhood. It used to be the ghetto and a lot of the old-time residents still live there, but the artists and punks are moving in and now it’s the textbook example of gentrification. There are tons of coffee shops and ethnic cuisine. Many of the houses are kind of Victorian mansion-esque and trees line all the streets. It’s a really beautiful place.


In Philly, Robin and I checked out the whole historic area near the original capital of the U.S. and where all of Benjamin Franklin’s old buildings are. They seem to have preserved everything from the 1700s – banks, post offices, plain old houses. You can tour the Betsy Ross house if you want. We got to see the Liberty Bell, though you can only look from the street because tours don’t go up there.


In a different part of town there’s an Edgar Allan Poe house, where the Poes used to reside. It’s right next to a housing project, which has a giant mural of Poe on its wall. Creepy!


We checked out South Street and bought philly cheese steaks (overpriced, and kind of bland in my opinion.) We went to Clark Park to watch this performance troupe do a Shakespeare in the Park thing, but it rained so it was canceled. I was bummed about that because I was really looking forward to photographing actors in the park while they performed.

We checked out the world’s tiniest bar, which is apparently called Fiume. It’s above an Ethiopian restaurant in West Philly. It has seating for maybe 15 patrons, and it’s become a popular hipster bar, so even on a Wednesday night we had to stand.

Philadelphia was fun, and now it’s off to New Jersey!