Now that I’m 25-years-old, most of my friends (and I) are starting to find their way. Finally, those closest to me are escaping from the one-traffic-light town that we grew up in and are heading to New York City, across state lines, to small cities throughout New Jersey, and, of course, to Philadelphia.
Whenever another one of my friends packed up for Philadelphia, I cringed a little inside. It’s an uncomfortable hour-and-45-minute drive from my house and, possibly since I’ve mostly only been there under the cover of night, I’m used to odd happenings on shady streets and staying in dirty apartments. It’s a big, hipster change from my existence in ritzy, clean Morristown.
However, with not much else going on during a boring Sunday and having spent way too much time without seeing my best friend, Aaron, I buckled down in the car for the long journey to visit him for the day.
We started out our afternoon by heading to Honey’s Sit N’ Eat, a cozy breakfast and lunch spot in Center City that had a long – but worthwhile – wait, where I got peaches and corn cakes for $13, enough to keep me full and happy until dinner.
Then, with no real destination in mind, Aaron and I headed down South Street to check out some shops. In typical Philly fashion, there was no ‘ordinary’ store on the street. Instead, we passed a colorful shop filled with creepy eclectic goods, quite a few shops outfitted for stripper fashion, a store entirely dedicated to condoms and tons of pretty tempting restaurants and bars.
Soon enough, we reached Penn’s Landing, a scenic spot overlooking the Delaware River and Camden on the other side. From past trips to Philadelphia, I recognized Moshulu, an American restaurant rested atop a ship on the river and known for its brunch, as well as the Blue Cross RiverRink, a perfect spot for ice skating in the wintertime.
At the park next to the Independence Seaport Museum, tons of people were mulling around (playing Pokemon Go), eating at the food trucks (and playing Pokemon Go) and shopping at some of the vendor stands (while playing Pokemon Go).
Then, we walked into Old City, where the streets were cobblestone and we passed what I’m sure were million-dollar-homes, tucked inside quaint side streets and restored to modern perfection with historic charm.
We eventually made it to the Franklin Fountain, an old-time-themed ice cream shop equipped with ice cream sodas, a vintage cash register and candy cigarettes – and a literal hour-long line. It was well worth it, especially for two schlubs wandering the city on a Sunday.
Finally, our friend Jarrett picked us up during his off-hour from work and we had planned to go to Same Same, a popular Vietnamese restaurant with modern twists, however, it’s currently closed for restaurants, so we drove to Chinatown and walked about until we found one that looked good.
Turns out, in the bright of day, without crowded bars and shady people, Philadelphia was actually pretty cool. Maybe it isn’t so bad that my crew now calls the city of brotherly love home.