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Weddings and Soul

natschall's picture

Philadelphia is a very authentic city, from what I’ve seen of it so far. It has the “soul” keeping it alive that Zukin speaks of. When I’m there, I can feel how many people have been there and have loved it. It gives me hope that one day, I’ll be one of them, living in the city and loving it along with all the ghosts of its past. Zukin says that it is these, the ghosts, that make a city a true city. If that is in fact the case, Philadelphia is one of the truest cities I’ve ever run across.

We explored what felt like every inch of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and even a bit beyond. For the amount we saw, we came out at the end of the day feeling like we had spent the whole weekend in the city. My favorite site (or sight?) was the Reading Terminal Market. It was full of people, talking loudly to each other, clearly enjoying themselves as they did their shopping in this bustling indoor market. It was almost overwhelming because of how many people were in there, and how full it was. But when I took a minute to breathe (while moving, I didn’t want to stop in the middle of the traffic!) and look around, I got my bearings. And I loved it.

In my last essay, I mentioned that I had built up the city of Boston too much, and that when I actually got there, it was unable to live up to my fantasies. I’ve never really thought too much about living in Philadelphia, though. I think that this made it easier for me to immediately like it, compared to my experience with Boston. With no expectations to measure it against, the city was a blank slate, ready for me to impose all my new experiences onto.

While wandering, we saw three couples who getting married or just married. What makes them so happy in the city? They love it so much that they want to spend one of the most important days of their life there. I believe that it must the atmosphere. The same atmosphere that so immediately attracted me to Philly seems to be apparent to everyone else, too. There’s a happiness and contentment just to be there that fills the air in the city. It’s also much much calmer than most cities, which I can’t come up with an explanation for.

The spirit of Philadelphia has affected me, and I am under its spell.