Graffiti on Race Street....
In the vein of discovering all things about this new city of mine, I convince three friends (and very experienced Philadelphians) to walk around Old City with me and explore the event know here as First Friday. First Friday is a great opportunity for walking around and seeing some mostly good art, drink some free booze, listen to some good music, and mostly, see what is happening in this area of the city that is infrequently traveled by me and others of my ilk.
Old City is located a bit above and below Market Street, generally thought to include 2nd and 3rd streets. Most of these streets are populated by art galleries and strange, old shops that sell light bulbs, antique lamps, and restaurant supplies. During First Friday, there are tables set out in front of the galleries and shops, displaying the wares one might discover within, or sometimes the tables are set with items to emphasize the mood of the gallery's collections. Also you will find many, many, street vendors selling paintings, vegan cupcakes, t-shirts, totebags, pillows, etc.
The wonderful National Restaurant Supply store...now derelict and about to be made into...you guessed it! Condos!!!
We strolled around for about an hour and saw lots of great stuff at galleries whose names I did not write down (bad blogger!)...but suffice it to say, I think First Friday is probably worth doing about once per season just to see what's out there in our fair city, and how art is changing, and possibly to meet some interesting people. The people watching was great: there is alot of artful strangeness going on here, lots of folks in interesting outfits, laughing, talking, and having a good time.
2nd street....the dark path to someone's backyard
After the galleries, we went into AKA Music and shopped around in their *amazing* used section (why don't these guys have a website???). I wasn't in the mood to buy CD's, but definitely will go back....it is sad to see, however, how rather bedraggled record shops seem to be in these times of downloading and I-Tunes....
676 at sunset....walking north on 2nd street
676 is held up by an amazing steel bridge
Once satisfied with perusing AKA's selection, off we went on quite a walk up 2nd street all the way into the neighborhood known as Northern Liberties. Everything in Philly is quite close together, but Northern Liberties does seem to be a bit separated from the downtown...you have to walk along 2nd street for about 2 miles (maybe?), cross under 676 and the Ben Franklin Bridge, see a really great mural, walk along some commercial sites, and BOOM! You cross Spring Garden and are in a totally different Philly neighborhood.
Mr Franklin jammin' under the Ben Franklin Bridge
History of Immigration Mural on North 2nd street
The colours are really beautiful, but I think it's a shame that it is under an overpass...
I thought it was interesting that, due to construction, this mural, and all the famous people depicted within, are now held behind a fence topped with barbed wire.
We walked to The Foodery to get some beer as the restaurant we were going to is a BYO, and strolled down 2nd street until we got to the most amazing restaurant I have been to in a while....go there now if you can, by all means, it is so amazing and affordable!
Seriously.....you should go.
Dmitris is on the corner of North 2nd and Laurel Streets and has really nice waitresses who bring you ice buckets to keep your beers cold. That and the menu here is amazing, and works really well for sharing! We got: the mediterranean plate, pan-fried scallops, shrimp pil-pil, and grilled octopus and seriously, y'all, this was one of the best meals I have had in as long as I can remember....perfect for four people, less than $60?!?!?! So amazing....
A stroll after dinner took us to the much-lauded Piazza, which reminded me of a walking mall in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.....it seems super commercial but maybe it's nice if you live there? Anyway....this was my first jaunt into Northern Liberties, and I hope to explore the neighborhood further....my new school is very close by and it may be a good neighborhood to use as a route home....
My Philly malaise seems to be lifting and I think it is a direct result of being almost finished unpacking and, most importantly, getting out and exploring. Tomorrow I go to Terrain, the Anthropologie-created nursery and dreamland....