After being sweetly coerced by two people living in Pennsylvania to go for the Steelers in the upcoming Super Bowl (It’s a football game, apparently) I was reminded of the time I was in the City of Brotherly Love. (Which, depending on the time of day you arrive, is not The City of Love at all.) I soon realised it wasn’t a euphemism as I had always thought.
Coincidentally, Philadelphia was recently ranked number 3 in the rudest cities in the USA. While I wasn’t abused, stalked, almost kidnapped or killed as I usually am in most other cities, I found Philadelphia to be a lonely city not a rude one. There are far ruder cities than Philadelphia. And I have been to almost every state in this country and can attest that Pennsylvania as a whole is actually one of the nicest. Although once slightly offended an Amish kid didn’t think I was hot, the state is actually quite a nice one which is routinely overlooked by the rest of the country.
I arrived in Philly, completely unorganised (as usual) and unaware of the city’s reputation, alone at 2am on a Saturday morning. It was dark out, I had just arrived via the Amtrak and had to walk three or so blocks down to my hotel at the end of 17th Street. Besides being freezing and 2am, I had my $600 suitcase in tow and Christian Louboutin heels on walking down the ill-lit streets of Philly. As I started to walk along Main Street people were going in and out of nightclubs but there was really no one around. There were a few African American sitting on the sides of the road and for some reason all I could hear were police sirens – constantly.
I felt like I was a moving object in a Snoop Dogg film clip, there were nightclubs blaring Euro Trash remixes, ho’s trying to hook up with bro’s who were trying to hook up with bitches, there were cop cars driving up and down the main street. All that was missing was the huge ass booty shaking, dark tinted D&G sunglasses and plastic nails.
For a good twenty minutes I thought I was having a stroke until I realised the aroma that would not go away was the faint smell of a Philly Cheese Steak that remains in the Philadelphia air no matter what time of day it is. A truly Philadelphian touch.
You could be kidnapped and smuggled in to someone’s dungeon in the eastern suburbs with a balaclava on, handcuffed and in between the tears you’d still think to yourself, what the hell is that smell? It’s the Hoagies, Baby.
The smell of melted cheese and grilled steak and the monuments that established this country. That is Philly. I wonder if Benjamin Franklin would care that the air above his resting place smells like curdled milk and dead cow. Besides the fact to the average homeless person I may have looked like a high class hooker that night, I tried to continue on to my hotel without thinking too much about them. One man asked me if I could spare some change. As guilty as I felt, I never carry cash. I replied, “I’m sorry..I…” and I saw his eyes drop to my 7 inch leopard print heels. He said, “So, must be a slow night?” I rolled my eyes. “These are Louboutins.” I replied. “Clausewitz died from Chloera. Are you a crackhead?” Um. What? That conversation ended abruptly. That homeless man had me thinking all night. Who the hell is Clausewitz?
What I discovered on my first visit to Philly wasn’t what I expected but the second and third trips to The City of Sometime Love were much better. Which is funny, since most Pennsylvanians I speak to don’t actually like Philadelphia themselves. I think Philadelphia is like any temperamental person, you just need to catch her at the right time of the day. She isn’t the Capital, yet she is the state’s biggest city. She has made a name for herself but isn’t given the recognition of her neighbours such as New York. I’d be pissed too.
Have you been to Philadelphia? What was your first impression?