As the post-snow holiday weekend approaches, let us not forget our number one valentine -- Philadelphia -- has quite a lot to love. Though it may infuriate us at times, though we swear we’re leaving and never coming back, though we fantasize about other cities, it stays by our side like a loyal companion. A historic beauty that never fails to provide us with good things to do, eat, and see.
Instead of giving our city sweetie flowers or cards with glittery pink bears on the front, we’ve asked several Philadelphians to share their "Philly love" -- how it all began, those magical moments that just couldn’t happen with another city, and sweet nothings they’d gladly whisper in Philadelphia’s ear. If cities actually had ears.
Name: Sean Agnew, 32
Occupation: Owner of R5 Productions
Philadelphia resident for: 14 Years
What I love most about Philly: Whether it’s sports, music, food, art – it seems your average Philadelphia doesn’t believe the hype. A skeptical bunch for sure. Everywhere else I go people seem to be really susceptible to PR/hype/spin control etc. I guess some may view it as a negative but I love that you really need to prove yourself in order to get the attention and acclaim of the city. I mean take a look at Donovan McNabb – in what other city would a starting QB of his caliber be hated as much.
Most Unique Philadelphia Experience: Every single year – WING BOWL. There is no other city where 20,000-plus people will pay money to watch 20 disgusting slobs eat wings at 5 am. I am so proud of this but every time I describe it to someone from outside the city they react in disgust and horror.
If I was taking the city on a date. . . We would go to Reading Terminal for lunch -- Basic Four -- and then head to the gallery to try and look at sneakers at Sneaker Villa. After not being able to hear each other and almost having an epileptic seizure with all the flashing strobe lights and air horns we head to Rittenhouse Square Park and order a pizza to be delivered from Lazaros. Not 'cause we are hungry but because it’s funny to that Lazaros will deliver a pizza to you in a park. After that annoying Jesus hackey-sack guy asks for a piece, we go to the Mutter Museum and get grossed out by the giant colon. Things seem to be going well – so we decide to sneak into the DoubleTree and go swimming. We get kicked out after 15 minutes but that’s more than enough time. We take the long walk to the POPE in South Philly where we can drink outside on the sidewalk and watch the Rocktits guys fall over drunk on each other. We are getting tired of all this walking so I borrow a friend’s bicycle and ride Philadelphia on the handlebars to the Pretzel Factory on Washington Ave. There we run into a bunch of friends, one of which has a minivan and is willing to drive to Devil’s Creek/Pool and have amazing midnight pitch-black swimming times. Someone keeps talking about how they “read” that the water is really dirty but no one cares and we keep jumping of the big rock. We finally get back into the city around 4 am and finish the day off with an omelet at Midtown Diner, where I sadly learn that half of my friends have already slept with Philadelphia
Names: Shauna Alterio, 32, and Stephen Loidolt, 32
Occupation: Proprietors of Something's Hiding in Here
Philadelphia residents for: Four years
What we love most about Philly: We'll never forget driving on market street and seeing City Hall for the first time, that building is amazing! There's always something new to discover in a city that has America's first zoo and library, and hosted the first World's Fair.
If I was taking the city on a date. . . We’d go to the Franklin Fountain! We just love everything about this place. It's the sweetest little ice cream shop - peanut butter is our favorite flavor.
A Philadelphia-inspired haiku from Shauna & Stephen’s friend who clearly wishes they had Philadelphia as their Sweetheart:
we would visit you
if we could find parking, but
we can't so we won't.
Name: Ralph Archbold, 68
Occupation: Official Philadelphia Ben Franklin portrayer.
Philadelphia resident for: 29 years
Most Unique Philadelphia Experience: Getting married to my lovely wife, Linda in front of Independence Hall on July 3, 2008 with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops Orchestra playing and several thousand people in the audience.
A Love Poem for The City of Brotherly Love by Ralph Archbold:
O, dear Philly,
City of Brotherly Love,
from the cobblestone streets, to the Comcast building high above -
your skyline is fresh,
your restaurants are the best,
South Street's a hip scene,
the PECO building went green!
The tourists come, and the locals return -
because you have great places to stay, play, and learn.
We love your history, and what you've become -
in our hearts, you'll stay number one!
So next time you’re downing a cheese steak or you smell that sweet SEPTA scent drift from down below, take time to let the city know you care. Blow it a kiss or write it a sonnet. Philly knows you love it- it’s just nice to hear it out loud sometimes.