How do you wrap up sixteen plus years of your life? I am not so sure. I have lived in the 19130 zip code longer than any other in my nearly half a century on this planet but today I leave it for good. By early this afternoon, the boys and I will be driving south in a Prius packed to the gills, headed first toward the Blue Ridge Parkway, then New Orleans, and eventually on to our new home of Houston, Texas.
These last few weeks have been bittersweet, fêting with some of our oldest and dearest friends, all of whom I will miss dearly.
I will also miss the city itself: its grit, grime, and attitude. Yesterday, at the end of a long ride, I decided to take one more loop around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with City Hall at one end and the Art Museum at the other. As I turned on to the wide boulevard, a car swerved, cut me off, yelled an obscenity out the window, and the driver thrust her hand out the window with her middle finger extended.
I laughed–that is my city.
And then I flipped her off right back.
There are many aspects of living here in Philadelphia that I will miss (and some that I won’t), and, after a couple of hours scouring my photos, here many of them are….
The history: we are going to the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall one more time today before we leave. It has been incredible living in a city where so much has happened that has not only shaped this country, but changed the world.
The Fourth of July. This year was a bit of a dud, but we lived just a couple of minutes from the Art Museum which is the center of the Fourth celebration here in Philly.
My quirky wine cellar: our old basement was an unwieldy mélange of bikes and booze. And I loved it.
Dining al fresco in our ‘hood: I know we will find new spots in Houston, but we won’t be able to walk there. Our little Fairmount neighborhood has changed a ton in the last 16 years and now boasts some fantastic restaurants.
The Thanksgiving Day parade: In what had become a tradition, the boys and I would take the five-minute walk down to the Ben Franklin Parkway and watch the parade with hundreds of our best friends from South Jersey.
Christmas in Philly: Another tradition was to spend a day seeing the city and it’s preparations for the season: Love Park, the light show at the Wanamaker, Christmas Village, the Comcast Center.
Coaching basketball at quirky Lloyd Hall.
Yeah, I am even going to miss the Rocky statue. Every day, hundreds of people still run up the steps of the Art Museum (the “Rocky Steps”), celebrating a movie that is now 40 years old.
The first snow storm of the year. We have had a few big snows while here in Philly, and they always make me a little giddy.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s in D.C. The nation’s “new” capital (Philly was the first) is just a few hours down I-95 and we would typically spend a few days down there between Christmas and New Year’s. It is a great time to go–hotels are really cheap, and the lines are really short.
Watching movies on the Art Museum steps.
Watching Rocky on the steps that the movie made so famous.
Helen Mirren. OK, I saw her in New York, which I was able to visit frequently, and is really the center of the wine trade here in the U.S.
A city of statues: Just about everywhere you turn in the Philadelphia, there is a statue. This is right near our old house–why there is a statue of Joan of Arc in Philly is still a mystery to me, though.
Jeroboams of Mailly Champagne: Many years ago, we bought about 100 of these bottles (for $40 each, delivered), and we just drank the last one the other day. It was fabulous.
Stoop Parties: I would regularly hold samples tastings outside my house. I discovered that people like free booze.
Sabering on the roof.
Eastern State Penitentiary: The most influential prison ever. And our neighbor.
My wine dinners at Fare.
Hating the Cowboys: I imagine you can’t do that as openly in Texas.
Penn’s Campus: I got my graduate degree there, and always enjoyed going back.
Vintage Krug on the roof.
The Rodin Museum.
The Palestra: if you are a fan of basketball, you have to see at least one game here.
City Hall: The largest municipal building in the country (bigger than the U.S. Capitol) and the tallest masonry building in the world.
My flower and herb garden.
Sip and Spin.
Penns Woods Winery: I wish I had visited there more often.
Va La: some truly great wine being made in PA.
Need in Deed: I was on the Board of a truly great organization that helped teachers better reach their students. (No, it did not involve an Elvis impersonator–this was at a 5k to support the organization).
Sledding in Fairmount Park.
Pat’s King of Steaks (one more before we go today!).
Our street in Spring.
Van Coln Field.
Fairmount Tae Kwon Do Studio: One of the best kept secrets in the City.
QCW cycling team.
Our (former) corner of the world.