Representin’ Philly on the 28th of June, I’m
representin’ Philly on the 28th of June…
Ahhh, it’s good to be back home. New laptop, so I’m actually posting my first ever blogger with a Mothership Wit in hand; the Roots on the IPod pumping through the surround sound. Dog wanting to play fetch after a costly five days at Doggie Day Camp.
The grim reality I arrived at in this CarFree experiment in Dallas immediately before and after my trip is that while I’ve managed thus far in my normal weekly activities sans Auto, any kind of special trips is quite a pain. While I’ve (gladly) regulated my radius of existence to downtown and uptown, I’ve been able to do just fine on my own getting to NorthPark mall, Best Buy, Golf Galaxy, both airports via taxi, and several other shopping destinations not achievable via internet.
The only trouble until now has been going to friends places, particularly the married ones that have since moved out of the downtown/uptown yuppy-sphere and golfing — although our company golf tourney upcoming might just be possible, to be continued.
In this case, taking the dog to boarding and picking her up. I can’t exactly hop on the train with her (if only b/c the DART doesn’t go to East Lake Veterinary Clinic). So while I’ve been taking the mutt to the Cadillac of vets since day 1, I’m opening up options to a closer place to take her. I’ll take any suggestions anybody might have…
The first stop was Philly to meet up with two fools who will be down here in a month for my 30th bday. This is a pic off the ol’ camera phone (notice the quality) of the street immediately in front of one friend’s place in the New Market area at 2nd and Kenilworth, sort of stuck in the nexus of South Street, the (not really) waterfront, Old City, and Society Hill.
As you’ll see in the picture, there are extremely narrow streets and the historic urban form has essentially been in tact, many of the buildings have been replaced or under on-going maintenance. And sometimes the camera catches a Leprechaun as well…
I think my favorite things about being in Philly are the scale, obviously of some of the older neighborhoods, the diversity of even the nicest neighborhoods, and relatedly, the completeness of the neighborhoods. While mostly being of 2 to 4-story heighths, the area has enough density for small neighborhood restaurants (third places) and service retail (to meet every day needs) on virtually every street corner.
Unfortunately, this area isn’t well served by the Philly rail system, you’ve got everything you need here. My buddy, while in no way committed to a car-free lifestyle to prove any kind of point, self-righteousness, or moral superiority, he’s contemplating a similar move simply for economic and practical reasons. It’s a pain to find parking (always a sign of a place “in demand”) and yes, your car might get broken into, as the hole in his dash suggests.
After the troops were gathered it was off to never sunny State College, PA, home of the Pennsylvania State University and each of our alma maters. State College is so named because Penn State was a Land Grant school and the school was hence established before the town. In fact, the county seat is even in a place called Bellefonte. As you see in the picture below, while the town is only about 25,000 people, the university has grown to over 40,000 undergrad students on the main campus alone, making it a dense little city in the midst of the rolling Appalachians, the nearest city being Harrisburg about 90 miles away.
The picture below shows the intersection of College and Allen Streets standing at the University Gates. College Ave is the seam forming a true “Town & Gown” environment and the hub of activity.
Student section, bored by the 45-14 outcome got a reverse wave going…
But, this is how I remember my experience while in school…when people tell you that the walk to school was uphill both ways through the snow, it’s only true in one place on Earth, State College. The other strange phenomenon? Wind (and thus rain, sleet, and snow) was ALWAYS into your face no matter which direction you attempted to walk.