Illadelphonic (Tax Holiday) 04.15.03
Impressive how other American cities don't look very much like New York City at all-- or at least, the image of New York City. Missing: the Manhattan skyscrapers, the Manhattan people, the Manhattan commerce, and these aren't explained away simply by issues of scale. Philadelphia is less than 100 miles away and it's straight-up different.
The buildings lining Roosevelt Blvd/ Rte. 1 were of St. Louis or Cleveland style-- two story buildings in red brick, falling into dilapidation. Space, grass, distance between a set of homes and the empty lots. Flamed-out windows, brownfields. But old, and you could see how they were gorgeous once, lining the street with brick and promise. The road was four lane, with a four-lane wide grassy island between the Penn Turnpike direction and the city direction.
Sidewalks cracked. Amercian flags in shaggy front lawns. "We support our troops" scrawled in white on the front of used cars and slapped up on billboards. Lawn chairs already set out to take advantage of the warm weather. Groups of four boys at a time, wasting time and smoking cigarettes. Women with two-toned hair walking in nursing outfits.
Brotherly love was mad friendly, though-- as evidenced by the obvious street interactions, in conversations, in stores. Three guys yelled at us to back out of a driveway once traffic was out of our blind spot. People freely offering aid to Riz as she looked for napkins after a cheesesteak bite. A pair of women discussed the merits of Velveeta on macaroni. Older men held in their laughter as we proved ourselves to be cheesesteak tourists.
Arroz drove us about. The three of us may have felt a touch heftier. Especially after the soft serve at the ice cream stand. But then we saw lots of tight pants stretched by fat asses. Philadelphia is supposedly the fattest city in the U.S.of A., after all; our eyeballing didn't disappoint.
For the mullet lovers, there were mullets to be seen, plus an old picture of Darren (the Last Mullet Standing) Daulton in D'Alessandro's. The same guy with the hanging belly seemed to be on every corner, wiping his brow, waiting for the bus.
We did see a lone runner on the street. And the whole city is not a roly-poly waddle fest. There was a jacked guy, in fact, at a gas station. Unfortunately, he was blasting the Big Tymers' Hood Rich in his car as he sauntered in for… whatever. Bad because he left his little boy in the car, windows down, and the kid looked very scared as the car shook with sub-woofing vengeance.
We returned through the wilds of New Jersey, and over the Goethals Bridge, into Shaolin traffic, soundtracked by the soft sounds of Riz' snoring.
Gurnifer, I couldn't bring you back a cheesesteak-- it wouldn't be right. And my bag would be greased through and too delicious for the neighborhood pets.