Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hello Joisey! Hello Philly!

This past trip back east gave me my first visits to New Jersey and Pennsylvania. So here's some observations:
  1. Jersey isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Well at least this little town called Cranford is kinda cute.
  2. East Coast train transit just kicks butt over California. Just like in Boston, Jersey is set up to take some big trains from the city, then explode them out in many directions. It is very practical to commute by train out there.
  3. At the same time, these people clearly aren't interested in socializing on their train trips. If they can at all avoid sitting next to someone, they will. Check out this pic:

It's a perfect allocation of every three-seat row on the train with not a single person willing to sit in a middle seat. Nicetameetcha. Have a nice day.

New Jersey transit does a pretty good job though. You can get from Grand Central Station to Philadelphia for about seventeen bucks on NJT. That's a pretty good deal. Of course we only realized it after spending a lot more on the Amtrak ride.

Well, of course upon visiting Philly I had to do what every tourist does. Run up the Rocky steps and jump around.

That was goal #1. I also accomplished the other goals of seeing the Liberty Bell, the open market, and having a Philly Cheese Steak. The market was pretty cool (especially seeing the Amish run a pretty smooth operation), but the cheese steaks are nothing special. I prefer Jay's Cheesesteak on Divisidero.

The Liberty Bell is now housed in a full-blown Liberty Bell museum, complete with metal-detector security. It's nice to see the history of the thing, but unimpressive that all it's stature is purely iconic. It was just a city hall bell until it started going on tour and being pumped up to be some great symbol. And then it's got that big crack because it wasn't made right in the first place. And it's only about four feet across.

Still, I'm up for visiting just about any new place. I'd gladly spend more time in Philly.


PeteGunn said...

I went back east last summer and I found that a lot of your observations were the same as mine.

I went into Philly from DE using SEPTA. I never thought about the non-socializing. The trips are cheap, under $5, but much slower(and less expensive) than Amtrak. It took me into downtown Philly. Trains stations are ratty; makes you appreciate BART in the Bay Area or the MTA in LA.

Cheesesteaks were overrated; I went to both Pat's and Geno's. The best cheesesteak I had was one at a DE IHOP.

Never got a chance to see the Rocky statue, because I came to Philly during the Live 8 concert that weekend. So everyone was setting that deal up at the museum; they really should have a statue of Smokin' Joe Frazier up there, though.

Seeing the Liberty Bell was cool, but I didn't like to take off my clothes to do it. I thought I was at the airport. Independence Hall across the street was nice, but the lines were too long for me to go inside.

The Amish run a clean, tight operation. I went to a market with different stores and the Amish meat market was the only store that had anything worth buying.

Took the tour bus around the city; walked through South Philly. Walked through the big Farmers market they have. Could've got some great price buying fruit but didn't bite.

I'd go to Philly, again , in a heartbeat; there's a lot I still want to see.

achiappanza said...

Well we'll just have to go back when we can watch the Giants or Dodgers beat up on some Philly ass.

You know what my host told me about Philly cheese steaks? That some people consider the only authentic way to eat 'em is with Cheeze Whiz as the cheese. Good God people, all the cheese options in the world and you're gonna get high and mighty for Whiz?

PeteG said...

Cheeze Whiz or Velvetta!!!
I absolutely agree, all the different cheeses you can choose and you settle for Cheeze Whiz or Velvetta??? And brag about it?

I had plans on seeing the new Phillies park, but I couldn't get away because of a party I had to attend.

I hope they check that statue of William Penn downtown. That thing is too big and heavy to be so high!

Jerven said...

It's too bad you both missed the best food in Philly. The Jamaican Jerk Hut is the must have meal in Philly. Trust Me!!!

Anonymous said...

When next you have the opportunity to visit Philadelphia, do check out the Barnes Museum. The art is hung from floor to ceiling (at least that was the way it was when I was there). Dr. Barnes invented the gook they put in babies's eyes when they first pop out (the baby, that is, not the eyes. Made a lot of money. He collected Van Goghs and Renoirs before they were known. All from the money from the gook!

Also the Museum of Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum. Very exciting.

I didn't find any restaurants to write home about, but I liked walking around the city, especially around the hotel where we stayed. Took the tram tour and enjoyed that very much.