There aren’t that many things I like about Philly (besides The Roots, Pretzels, Tasty Cakes and the occasional Chicken Cheese Steak), I love how the city is planned. That William Penn fellow sure knew how to plan a city. And yes, I’m a planning nerd so maybe I think a grid pattern kinda rocks. And, yes I like the notion of a central square that divides the different parts of the city. Maybe I’m old school or just a traditionalist, but there is something to about a well planned city that I just like. I love the grid pattern of New York and Boston…until you get to the areas were landfill expanded each city year after year. Next time you are in either city, if you see a bunch of streets at weird angles that don’t really make sense and you are relatively close to the water….well surprise! that’s all landfill. Battery Park City in NYC is all landfill created when they excavated soil and rock to build the World Trade Center.
It’s not just the the grid pattern I like about Philly, it’s also the great city planners and architects that left their mark on the city. Like Louis Kahn regarded as one of the great master builders of the 20th century or Ed Bacon, famed city planner largely responsible for shaping how the city looks today…..and also father to Kevin Bacon. Yup…that Kevin Bacon. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon…Kevin Bacon. By default I like all Kevin Bacon movies because his dad was an incredible city planner and I met him when I lived in Philly in the 90s. (A great moment in city planning history for me!).
So, when you get the chance, give Philly a shot. Not for the “brotherly love”, but for the grid and boulevards, and parks and river…and…for that bell with the funny crack in it.