Another excursion was made into the City of Brotherly Love, this time for the purpose of catching the Springsteen exhibit at the National Constitution Center. Labor Day weekend was the final weekend of the exhibit celebrating one of my favorite classic rockers and a prelude to his Philly tour dates. In between checking out the exhibit and going to see a concert the following night, I figured, why not take in a little bit more of the city’s history as well?
The trip to Philly during the weekend before allowed for more familiarity with the general area of Market Street. Parking again at the Independence Visitor Center, the first two levels were filled up. Winding down into the third level, the spaces became plentiful right up to the elevators.
Besides the Springsteen exhibit, I thought of possibly taking a tour of the city via the Philly Phlash and go for lunch wherever. Maybe at a nearby cafe. I had seen so many interesting cafes just in passing through Philly, some with sidewalk dining. There’s something I just love about the idea of having lunch at a table set up along a stretch of sidewalk by a city cafe.
The National Constitution Center was decked out in the spirit of Election 2012, from banners overhead to cardboard likenesses of President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. Decorating the lobby walls on the ground floor were enlarged photos of Springsteen, one of which showed him posing with a classic Corvette. That photo was the background to the same car with its convertible top down. It was a prelude to the exhibit, which was through a set of doors off to the right.
Beyond the exhibit doors were numerous pieces telling the story of Springsteen and his life in rock in roll. An amazing job was done in putting this exhibit together and the wealth of items on display revealed to me things I didn’t know about The Boss. From recordings with an early band, songwriting notes and scrapbooks to video, awards, his style, a motorcycle and a surfboard, the exhibit relayed a complete background on the classic rocker.
After the exhibit, what to do next was somewhat up in the air. Philly Phlash? Grab lunch? Check out historic sites within walking distance? I opted for the latter and headed down a curved walkway toward a small old building on the corner across the street from the National Constitution Center. Instead of crossing to that building, I crossed N. 5th Street and then Arch Street to check out Christ Church Burial Ground where Ben Franklin was buried.
Old cemeteries and those worn-down stones that can no longer be read tend to intrigue me. There is a lot of history associated with the people of long ago and as their graves become so worn, something in their stories become lost. Someone along the lines who kept records of old graves may have the names and DOB / DOD. However, for the average visitor to a landmark historic cemetery, the old, eroded grave stones are a mystery.
It was a fairly hot day in Philly, although record-breaking and it felt great entering cool atmosphere once back inside the Independence Visitor Center. While having lunch, I decided to come back into the city for a ride on the Philly Phlash when autumn weather arrived. Before leaving Philly for the day, I grabbed a bunch of brochures and made my way to the visitor center’s gift shop. A group of Declaration of Independence replicas reminded me of 2004’s “National Treasure,” when Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) buys a souvenir copy to fool his treasure-seeking competition. I ended up buying a book on Philly’s haunted side and a necklace with an antique key-shaped pendant featuring a color-changing mood indicator. With my souvenirs and enough brochures for a year’s worth of Philly trip-planning, it was time to head back home until the following night.
On the way home, I rode down S. Columbus Boulevard and got a brief close-up view of the S.S. United States. If you go down that road, heading away from Philly (to around E. Oregon Ave.) and then turn to head back toward the city, you suddenly have this view of an enormous old ship just a short distance ahead. Before the road curves off to the left, the ship seems to across your entire view. It took me by surprise to see it that way, to see such a view of an ocean liner in my path. The close-up view of its bow revealed even more to me just how much preservation the ship needs. I love maritime history and the least I can do is to spread word about the S.S. United States. I wasn’t driving, so I was able to get these photos before heading toward I-95 south.
The sunday evening skies overhead were dark with the look of an impending storm; luckily, there were only a few spits of rain at most. As Springsteen rocked the stadium at Citizens Bank Park, it reminded me of fireworks displays and feeling the vibrations in my chest. There were a few shout-outs from fans seated somewhere behind me, yelling, “THUNDER ROAD!” One fan’s request of the classic song title seemed to thunder over a quieted crowd as The Boss told a story. A little boy was brought up on stage to sing a few lines of “Waitin’ On a Sunny Day” and later, there was “Dancing In the Dark.” Who doesn’t love when The Boss performs that song and someone in the audience gets to join him on stage? When the concert drew near an end, a tribute to legendary saxophone player Clarence Clemons was shown on the big screens. I’ve been to a few concerts of classic rockers and Springsteen is one of my favorite performers.
So that wraps up another weekend of visits to Philly, but more great events are on the way that call for spending for time there. Check out uwishunu’s list of festivals to take you into fall. In the past year, I feel as though I’ve been introduced more than ever to city travel and I love all that there is to do in Philly.
It’s just like my recent visits to New York City; I’ve come to learn about more of the city’s activities to enjoy. Whether in Philly or NYC, there are so many new things I’ve become aware of that I’d love to check out. I’ll definitely be going back to Philly a great deal in the future, just as I hope to visit NYC more often.