July 4th - Philadelphia - Day 2
Today we ventured to Philadelphia from Harper’s Ferry to see the Pirates play the Phillies. It was a nice drive except for the $16 in (3) tolls. I had researched the tolls online beforehand and the total was like $4.25 for the whole route, but obviously wrong. If you decide to drive back east, I recommend researching the tolls (better than I did.) *I was able to find the "avoid tolls" option on Google Maps after the fact.
Bob’s new ride drove like a dream. Low noise, springy seats and a new radio with bluetooth made it a comfortable ride. The people of Virginia/Delaware/Pennsylvania generally drive a fair amount slower than we are used to in Arizona. Nice for me, not so much for most every other person on the planet.
We got into Philly in time to walk around a little bit before we had to head off to the game. Bad part of visiting Philly on 4th of July? Everything is closed. Anything that is historic anyway. I had to make do with some street photography and we headed to the game. The pizza place we stopped at (Rex’s Pizza) was open, and pretty good. Upside down triple-cheese pizza was something I highly recommend.
WHY DON'T WE HAVE THIS IN ARIZONA?????
We headed up the Broad St. line on a straight shot to ball park. No switching or junctions, just a few stops on the way. I will say that the Philly subway station is a little dirty, but the cars themselves were very clean. Old, but clean. Plus it was only $2.50 to ride all day! Sweet!!! (or so we thought…)
The Citizens Bank Park is maybe a quarter mile from the station and we passed the Flyers stadium on the way. Plus there is a small memorial (?) for Veterans Stadium, the former home of the Eagles and Phillies for many years. It’s the parking lot next to Citizens now.
After walking around a little while, it was time for something that we had both been anticipating. PHILLY CHEESESTEAK. Bob did a little research and found that basically you eat at one of two places; Geno’s or Tony Luke’s. How convenient to have a Tony Luke’s at CBP. I can honestly say I have never had better. Add a Yuengling and it was heaven. Oh yeah, baseball.
Citizens Bank Park (CBP) is pretty nice. It’s quaint. Not tiny, but I would say that any seat in the outfield would be almost comparable to any lower level seat at Chase Field. The people, like any other park, can be clueless about walking on one side or the other or my favorite, stopping in the middle of the walkway to discuss the finer points of hot dog toppings. But I digress.
Our seats were pretty good. They will definitely be some of the best we will have on this trip. That is because tickets for the Phillies, even on the 4th, are considerably cheaper than say New York or Baltimore. I would say that 15%-20% of the fans were Pittsburg Pirate fans. I didn’t see anybody getting a hard time over it. In fact, all the people at the park, and really Philadelphia in general, were really nice. I talked to multiple people wand came away feeling that people were genuinely nice.
In the middle of the 6th, I went up and got a caricature done. The artist was nice, she did a good job, and it only took about 10 minutes. It is kind of weird having people look at you and then the caricature and then have some type of reaction. Mostly smiling and approval, but some people would sort of giggle and turn away and say something to the group they were with. It's like junior high except you pay money for it. But who cares, it was fun. I requested he camera be put in and I’m happy she included the “NIKON.”
Halfway through the 8th inning, there was a "rain delay." I’m from Arizona so I had to have someone explain what a “rain delay” was. By the way, the rain here is big. It doesn’t mess around. Luckily, it only delayed the game by about 45 minutes. It definitely cooled the park down. It was 87 degrees with high humidity when we started and we were facing the sun. Not exactly comfortable. I would compare it to 100 in AZ. Overall I really liked CBP. I will do an in-depth comparison of all the parks when I return. Maybe with some sort of star rating or something. Or maybe not. I don't know. See me in three weeks.
After the game, it was starting to rain again, but the subway station wasn’t far and we had already bought our day-pass on the way to the game so we didn’t have to wait in line for tickets. WRONG. See if you can follow this; A day pass for the subway is only good for the station you bought it from. I could use that pass all day, but only if I left from the station I bought it from. Why would I buy a day pass to go somewhere where I can’t use the pass??? Stupid. This may be one of the biggest scams I’ve seen perpetrated by a municipality. I will be writing a letter. So $2.50 later, we were on our way.
On the walk home, after the subway, it began to really pour. We saw a pizza joint, Rex's Pizza, and ate and camped out for about 30 minutes. The pizza was pretty good. Upside down triple-cheese pizza is something I highly recommend. Because it rained so much, the Mary J. Blige concert was paused/delayed for about an hour. We watched the concert on TV and waited for it to finish so we could head to that spot to take pictures of the fireworks.
So, seriously, fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) on the Fourth of July in our nation’s first capital??? As a former history teacher and current photography teacher, I was stoked. We headed downtown, which was maybe a five minute walk from our hotel. We planned it that way.
The place was packed with at least 5,000 people lined up and down the street leading to the museum. On a side note, the PMA steps are the ones that Rocky Bolboa so infamously ran up. If you don't understand that reference, stop reading, you're not allowed to participate anymore. Anyway, the place was packed and there was no real good place to set up my tripod and get a clear shot. It was very, very frustrating. I couldn’t ask 30-40 people to move, but it was still hard to accept. It’s difficult to have a picture in your mind and then not be able to take said picture because some lady wants to tape the fireworks on her phone in such a manner that she juxtaposes it directly over the PMA. It’s not her fault. She's just doing the exact same thing I’m doing. Oh well.
Tomorrow, NYC. Yankees' game and Top of the Rock.
Happy Independence Day y’all. (although technically it was the 2nd is when we declared independence)