Thursday, December 22, 2011


I made several trips to Philadelphia this summer, lots of driving around not too much time for sightseeing. I think Philly has a beautiful skyline. I really like these neo-deco skyscrapers-sort of like "Chrysler & Empire State" like massed buildings rendered in blue sky reflecting glass.

Made a trip to Independence Hall, which was a treat. Growing up in Southern California I made many trips to the replica at Knotts Berry Farm which as it turns out is remarkably accurate. Of course the Knotts version has sunny skies and no skyscrapers honing in on it, and the courtroom is a gift shop in Buena Park. The real one is undergoing a restoration, so they have draped giant Architectural Renderings to simulate the experience of seeing the real Independence Hall. SO I suppose in a way I still have not seen the real one.

I found the "Ghost Executive Mansion" interesting at the site of George Washington's Presidential Residence, sort of an effective semi-archaeological ruin/semi-restoration. After living on the East Coast for nearly 3 years I have found myself succumbing somewhat to the charms of early American architecture. I find the brick, and white trim refreshingly elegant, with a quiet dignity. I remain primarily a modernist so I appreciate the simple clean forms of early federalist architecture. There is an attractive rhythm to the fenestration pattens and there is the use of simple sometimes abstract geometry. The interiors are very lively with what I think is an unexpectedly bold use of color. I'll share more observations on that in future posts.

Got to taste the dueling "Steaks" of Pat's and Geno's in South Philly. I wasn't prepared to try it "Wit Whiz", so I don't think I got the authentic experience. They both were great, I loved the flash and neon of Geno's and then there is the grit and vintage charm of Pat's. After seeing the JFK, & Lincoln stood here plaques at Independence Hall it was funny to see the "Rocky stood here" marker at Pat's. They both served Birch Beer, which I love so that was a plus. When I return I will probably eat at both of them, half a sandwich at each, I enjoyed them both. Pat's was a bit more moist, and I think the meat was chopped a bit more, which I liked. I will have to try them both again but next time "Wit Whiz".