Adam and I moved to Philly from New York two years ago so that I could attend graduate school at Penn. At the time, I had been working as an assistant buyer for a very luxe boutique (think Proenza Schouler, Rodarte, Lanvin, etc.) that was sucking the life out of me. Frankly, the low pay and crazy work situations, coupled with the complexities of city life (i.e., transporting groceries on the subway, anyone?), were too much to handle. We needed to get out.
Philly seemed like a reasonable next step, and it didn't hurt that Penn is an excellent school. So, we moved. Why do I share all of this back story? So you understand what I was looking for in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia is a city with a storied history. I mean, folks, I live only four blocks from where the Declaration of Independence was signed. I'll pause for a moment to let that sink in. The flippin' Declaration of Independence! But Philly's glory did not die with the Founding Fathers. In fact, Philly's not dying at all, despite what some may suggest.
Unlike New York and the comparison borough of Brooklyn, Philadelphia draws tens of thousands of people just like me every year on the basis of its
b) great food...unparalleled, really
c) unique neighborhoods
d) immense sports-team pride (seriously, it's crazy here)
e) complete lack of ego
and these idiots...We've got Chase Utley, Reading Terminal Market, the Piazza, Jose Garces, the Mural Arts Program, a history of religious tolerance, Capogiro gelato, crazy South Philly parking...I could go on.
Sure, the public school system in the city is dreck (I am working to change that, thank you very much), the city is plagued by crime, drug use, poverty, and blight, but I think Philly holds its own. No need to call this city anyone's ugly stepchild or, even worse, a sixth borough. Lest this post become a pissing contest, it's important to remember that both cities have a wonderful, ever-expanding history and cultural significance, but they are really just different.*
*Editor's Note: This diatribe is coming from someone who still loves to visit New York and regularly dreams of living there, on her own terms (and hopefully, with the significantly larger income necessary to sustain oneself in such a place).