Last week, Philadelphia welcomed America, give or take a few people, to the Ben Franklin Parkway. Or so I’ve been told; I was holed up in my house, lying on my couch in my undies watching a Breaking Bad marathon. From what I’ve been told, though, it was a lovely celebration of independence featuring food, fireworks and for some reason Darryl Hall without John Oates. The Parkway was the perfect place for Philadelphia to welcome the rest of America, as the last couple years have revealed a major revitalization of the area. I wonder if America knew about all the wonderful sites around them as they basked in the rockets’ red glare.
Sister Cities Park, right across from the Cathedral, was once a barren landscape of tattered patches of grass and hobo detritus. It’s been turned into a family-friendly park replete with fancy ponds, hills and $10 sandwiches. What you won’t find there are homeless people or anyone who’s allowed to feed them. You’ll have to walk a block north for that, as they’ve been forbidden from Sister Cities Park where they would disrupt our celebration of brotherly love and sisterly affection with other world cities.
Logan Circle, weather permitting, sprays its water unto the heavens as a beacon for all Philadelphians without access to a swimming pool. It’s a de facto public pool, though a very shallow one at that. You’ll never know what you’ll see there, but it’s likely that you’ll find at least one child trying to drown another. Notably, it’s become the second most popular place to accidentally catch a disease in the city after Delilah’s.
The gorgeous Barnes Foundation has finally moved into the city after a staid existence on the Main Line for years. Mr. Barnes stipulated in his last will and testament that his impressive collection of Degas, Picasso and Matisse, among others, should never be moved from its location in Merion. But art activists asked the question, “Can we improve this collection by moving it across the street from a Whole Foods?” So, plans were set in motion to move it to its gorgeous new location. Visit today to see legal controversy in its most impressionist form.
Did you know that The Franklin Institute is America’s number one place to be assaulted by roving bands of preteens on field trips? It’s true. The only way to protect oneself is to be prepared to point and scream “Beiber!” and then run quickly away in the opposite direction.
The Rodin Museum has amassed the largest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of Paris and provides a lovely outdoor area for seating and having impromptu picnics. Mostly, though, the museum is a great place to have your picture taken as you imitate The Thinker. It’s an important, historical reminder that before anyone had practiced planking or Tebowing, there was The Thinker.
The National Rocky Memorial Shrine and Entertainment Complex is the jewel of the parkway, standing tall at its north end with imposing columns and wings that stretch out like the arms of a sphinx. People come from near and far to pose with the Rocky Statue or run up the many flights of stairs to throw their hands up in victory and overlook the skyline, just like Rocky did. One can buy Rocky paraphernalia at the foot of the stairs from vendors. Rumored to be inside of the building is a massive, world-class art collection, but reports are inconclusive.
Now America will be well informed about the treasures on the Parkway when we welcome them (and Jay-Z!) again in September. Bring your swimmies, America!