Philadelphia Obsession

I’m currently doing the kind of intensive research on Philadelphia that I previously did on New York City. I have created a new help collection for my notes on Philadelphia which now contains 12 topics. I have several good reasons for taking an interest in Philly:

  1. It is the closest major city to Williamsport
  2. Any travel I do that requires flying means I’ll be going first to the Philadelphia International Airport
  3. Williamsport steals from Philadelphia. We now have a mural and a gastro pub!
  4. When I take the Amtrak train to NYC, it goes through Philadelphia.
  5. Philadelphians aren’t snobbish towards tourists from other parts of Pennsylvania

My next trip to New York City is only a week away. I will be exploring the Financial District. I plan to visit the Museum of American Finance and take photos of the New York Stock Exchange and the Charging Bull sculpture. It will be exciting to see Wall Street after all I’ve heard about the place over the years. I’ll be there on a Saturday so it should be almost deserted. I’ve heard that neighborhood is kind of dead on the weekends. Once winter sets in I’ll probably stop my monthly visits to New York City because the weather may be bad. I also need to start saving my money for my trip to Berlin in April 2011.

I don’t know when I will start to visit Philadelphia instead of New York City. Unfortunately, I don’t have as many transportation options for this city. There are never any bus trips to Philadelphia from Williamsport. It does not make sense to drive to Harrisburg and take the Amtrak train to Philadelphia because driving directly to Philadelphia is faster and cheaper. So most of my trips will probably be three hour drives one way. My first objective will be to get familiar with SEPTA, their public transportation system, and to find a place to park my car for most the day.

I recently finished reading the Fodor’s Guide to Philadelphia and I’m currently reading the Insight City Guide: Philadelphia which has more photos. Insight Guides are my favorite travel guides because they feature the most inspiring photos. You really want to visit a city after seeing their photos.

I’ve also been watching a few movies that were filmed in Philadelphia. I watched 12 Monkeys again which has a few scenes outside City Hall. Then I bought the DVD of Trading Places. This movie shows you what Philly looked like in the early 1980s. I don’t think the One Liberty Place Building or the Two Liberty Place skyscraper existed back then so the city looked very different. There is an extended scene on an Amtrak train which is completely unrealistic since those trains don’t have private compartments. I also watched M. Night Shyamalan’s film The Sixth Sense again after buying it on DVD. I’ll probably get his other movies later on although they’ve been getting progressively worse. However, the very best movie I’ve seen is The Answer Man starring Jeff Daniels. This film was shot in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood and it really captures how the city looks today. Many of the scenes where shot in an actual bookstore in Philly. Since I like to visit bookstores when I travel that makes this film ideally suited to my tastes.

Tonight I watched the DVD of In Her Shoes, a film based on a novel by Jennifer Weiner, a journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Most of the Philly novelists seem to have worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Their entire newsroom is probably working on a first novel. I’m currently reading Jennifer Weiner’s novel Good In Bed. It is a very funny book but I’m mostly interested in the local flavor. For example, an early chapter has a scene that takes place in the Reading Terminal Market. I have also ordered some trashy novels by the Philly writer Duane Swierczynski who writes crime thrillers. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of reading material available to serve as inspiration.

I recently lost a lot of money getting my car repaired to pass inspection so I am pleased to have found my first business connection with Philadelphia. I now have a new Philly client! Philadelphia seems to be a very technology friendly city with many freelance web developers. I have found a Philly Technology blog to keep me informed about the local scene and they have a coworking space, Indy Hall, which is famous in the online freelance community. I think I first read about them on WebWorkerDaily which appears to have changed recently.

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