Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Rainy Misadventure - Subterranean Isolation & a Surprise Art Gallery

Yesterday, I took myself on an adventure....

 When you walk along Broad Street, you feel and hear the hum-squeak of the subway

 I used the subway all the time in New York, but here it is not very popular. (Think: almost vacant). Granted, it was mid-morning, but still!!!

View of the platform....strange, right???


Anyway, I can't tell if I am being paranoid because this is the first big city I have ever lived in, or because people keep telling me to "be careful"'s all I get from people I meet. I must have a face that screams: "I'm from out of town!!! Tell me how scary it is here!!!" or something....

I was nervous in the subway though because there were too few people in there for comfort. The hustle and bustle of subway travel is what tells you everything is ok. When it is too empty, it gets frightening and you realize you are in a tunnel underground with 3 weird-looking strangers. One of whom follows you almost up to the surface (I started walking really fast when this happened and I think he gave up).

 The center of influence of my new employer...

The whole purpose of the subway trip was to go the School District of Philadelphia building on North Broad Street and investigate my new employer a bit, and to get my FBI fingerprinting and background check completed. The security guards were very sweet and helpful and I got my fingerprinting done in about 10 minutes....I even got complements on my purse from the tech who did the fingerprinting!!!

Student-made recycled plastic and paper dolphin

The other great thing about the SDP building was the student art show. If you are in Philly and want to see a whole lot of great student art all in one place....hop on over to 404 North Broad Street, show them your driver's license, get a security badge, and go and walk around....Here's a small tour...

4th Grader

7th Grader

My favorite....done by a 12th grade student. Paint on plywood. Fantastic!!!

Every time I see a student art show like this, and this one is very impressive, I often want to call up people like governors and presidents and just ask the dumb question: "Sir, how can you say that arts education is not important?" How can they say that the public schools shouldn't be funded? It is so clear that students now are expressing themselves in such a multitude of ways that we, as adults, are literally stupid to not listen to their voices as expressed in their art.

The Steak & Bagel Train

 Entryway to the Philadelphia Inquirer

After walking through the artwork for about an hour, I left the building and walked back down North Broad toward the subway stop. I must say that Philadelphia is making me really nervous right now: lots of people, lots of noise, lots of people just hanging out on the street at all hours. Lots of ambulances, too few trees and parks. I know it is just my past experiences that are coloring my present: but I do miss my old backyard and my pomegranate, oak and mountain laurel trees....

 Amazing old building on North Broad

I also know that no matter where you go, there you are, and that I have to make the most of this experience. And I know that I will get more attuned to Philly and its musings, its ways of working and strategies to ignore the massive amount of people that surround you every moment of every day....

North Broad and Vine, north side of 676

As I walked, I thought about all these things and was noticing the beautiful old buildings in disrepair contrasted with the beautiful new murals that are everywhere, and I noticed more beauty than decay, to be sure.

North Broad & Vine, on the south side of 676

And I was standing, like the tourist that I am, on the corner snapping this photo, a lady walked up to me and said, "This light takes a long time to change": she was telling me to stop taking photos and walk, because if I didn't, I'd be waiting a long time! And see, that's what I mean: people in Philly are friendly and helpful, if you'll just let them be. 


  1. I'm so glad that you started this blog as I feel like I get to share in your adventures!

  2. me too Martha J!!!! I am glad you are reading

  3. The student art work is fantastic. So right about arts education. Rocky

  4. Student work is my favorite! I stumbled upon a great gallery like this one once in Watts, Los Angeles and spent most of the day talking to the ladies who were curating the work. If we just give them an opportunity, kids do the most amazing things...