Favourite Places, 10: Philadelphia


I love open spaces. Even more if deliberately so. Particularly if decorated. Like the Benjamin Franklin Freeway decorated on either side by flags. Better still if I can associate with something familiar, like the SG flag. Ya, we hunted it down. 🙂

Bulit around the 1920s, the design of the Freeway ending at the Art Museum was emulated after the Champs-Elysees’ ending at the Arc de Triomphe, bringing “a slice of Paris into Philadelphia”. I’ve always found it amusing to see the fascination people have with Europe in the past because it reminds me so much of the present, and I wonder if this phenomena will continue in the future. If there was a need to prove that art transcends time and place, this could be one.

At the other end of the Freeway is the Philadelphia City Hall. The bronze statue of Philly’s founder William Penn stands at the top of its City Hall (white building at the end), and I suppose the city has him to thank for short buildings because, in his honour, none could be built taller than where the statue stood. This held true till about 1987.

We visited the Independence Hall, of course. As the stories unfolded, I felt my goosebumps rise and tingle – their patriotism was expressed and love for their country so clearly emoted that even as a non-citizen, I felt a swell of pride, a renewed respect for their forefathers. This patriotism and love, also, transcended time.

The moral, it seemed: Having wisdom and the perseverance will lead you to the ship, a genuine heart will give wind to your sail.

Being a good orator surely helped.