March 23-25, 2017
Note: click on the thumbnails for a larger image
Every other year or so, my wife attends a music conference which
she can count as professional development (no, it isn't a
vacation, and yes, she does get a lot out of it!). Now that I
more vacation time, I've gotten in the habit of taking time off to
accompany her. While she is at the conference, I take in the rail scene
and other points of interest. This year the conference was in
Philadelphia, PA, a city I've only driven through once but always
interested me because of the historical sights, as well as the many
narrative documents the highlights of my travels around the area. It is
not 100% about trains so it may actually appeal to a broader audience
(though not likely).
For me I had several goals on this trip: a) ride SEPTA, b) ride Amtrak,
c) hear the Wannamaker pipe organ in Macy's, d) see the historic
sights. That was a lot to cram into what basically boiled down to 48
hours in Philadelphia, but with a lot of research and planning I
crafted an itinerary for myself to accomplish everything. Thursday
would be the SEPTA ride, Friday was a trip on Amtrak and hear the pipe
organ and Saturday would be a walking tour of the sights downtown.
Thursday March 23, 2017
The plan was to drop off my wife at the hotel by 12:30 p.m. which
would give me just enough time to drive to 30th Street Station and
purchase a ticket for SEPTA train 735 which departed at 1:10 p.m. and
ran to Trenton, NJ. Things were good until we got close to the hotel
was near Penn Square. Having never driven in downtown Philadelphia
before, I was not aware of the "parking lot" that is called Penn
add to the craziness, the hotel address in the GPS was valid, but it
the address of the pull-in drive way when dropping people off (the
hotel web page cited this fact but I neglected to heed their warning).
doing a couple loops around the downtown streets, I dropped off my wife
around 12:40 p.m. With the train station only a mile away, I figured I
still had plenty of time to make the train.
got out of the
downtown area and followed the signage pointing me to the station which
I found, however there was no signage saying where the parking garage
for the station was located. After mistakenly pulling in the taxi pull
through and taking a trip around the block I finally found the garage
on the west side of the station. Only after you turned down 30th Street
and drove for a distance did a sign appear pointing to the garage. I
quickly parked the car and speed-walked into the station. Fortunately
the SEPTA ticket office was near the entrance
to the parking garage. After waiting in line for a few minutes I
Independence Day pass which, for $12, allowed for unlimited rides on
trains for the day (though I had to pay an extra $5 to go into New
Jersey). My track was near the ticket office so I made my way up the
stairs and arrived on the platform with about four
minutes to spare.
The train arrived on time and I got on the
lead coach. I remembered reading somewhere that the SEPTA coaches had
something called a "railfan seat", and after boarding I understood what
they meant. The first row of seats in the lead coach has a forward
facing window offering a conductor's view of the tracks ahead. I sat in
the row behind to not give away too much my railfan identity, plus I
wanted to monitor our speed with the GPS so my focus would be split. We
departed on time and navigated the maze of tracks outside the station.
The trackage is former Pennsylvania Railroad territory and PRR signals
still govern the movements, though some signals have red and green
bulbs versus the PRR signals which had amber lights in every socket.
Some signals even had LED amber lights which looked a little fake up
close but more "authentic" from a distance.
The sign shows my train, 735, is running
After we got out
of the inner city area we began to pick up speed. We were on Track One
of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) which has four tracks on this stretch
of territory. Between station stops we would quickly gain speed and
topped out at 99 mph at a point somewhere between Eddington, PA and
Trenton, NJ. A couple things really caught my eye. First, the amount of
urban blight and grafitti was incredible and very sad. Rows of
abandoned factories, warehouses, houses, etc. in a state of disrepair
and all covered with grafitti. Some of the "art" was so elaborate it
had to have taken days (weeks?) and cases of spray paint to accomplish.
The other thing was that I was amazed at how many rail served business
were still active along the line. We passed one or two Norfolk Southern
locals which were on industrial spurs switching cars. "Trains Magazine"
over the years has published several articles about freight operations
on the NEC, and having seen it now in person I can better appreciate
the coordination that the dispatchers have to do to keep passenger
trains moving while allowing the local freight trains to get from
customer to customer on the mains.
Another "a ha" moment was
early on during my trip. After we departed the North Philadelphia
station, we picked up speed for a time then slowed to a speed around 50
mph for a curve. There were several tracks around the area with a
number of cars in a small yard. Then I saw a pedestrian bridge and it
dawned on me that we were at Frankford Junction. This was the location
of the deadly Amtrak derailment in 2015 where the train was going over
twice the MAS (maximum authorized speed) and derailed just before the
pedestrian bridge. As we coasted through the area, I thought back to
the events leading up to the derailment, time of day, the
situational awareness" by the engineer (a self-proclaimed railfan
himself), the other factors such as possible rock throwers in the area,
etc. And of course, the people on the train who, unless they were
intimately familiar with the surroundings, had no clue that they were
going way too fast heading into the curve and may not survive the
pending impact. Going through the area really amplified everything that
I had read about the event.
Here are a couple links with information about the incident:
arrived in Trenton, NJ "on the advertised" at 2:02 p.m. In case I had
forgotten I was in New Jersey, the music being piped through the
speakers on the platform was from The Jersey Boys! Ha! I had about
half hour before I took train 746 back south to Philadephia so I walked
around the station and took in the sights (making myself
familiar with the station would help on Friday) and the sounds of the
surroundings (continuing to enjoy the music mix of standards and other
notable pop/rock tunes). The Trenton station is
a busy one with it being served by Amtrak, SEPTA and NJ Transit.
Monitors provided information as to which trains were arriving and on
what track. In addition, both live (i.e. from what I'll call the
Stationmaster) and computerized voice announcements gave ample
notificaiton of all arriving trains. The station itself is interesting
as the waiting area actually sits over the tracks. It's pretty neat to
stand above the tracks and see one of the Acela trains wisk under you
at a high rate of speed! I also found it interesting to just watch the
action in the station. Taking it all in was very cool for this
native from Ohio who has never lived in a city which relied on passenger
headed down to the platform and waited for my train. While there one of
the regional Amtrak trains arrived on Track Four to drop
up passengers. During the train's stop, an Acela train, with almost no
warning, whooshed by on Track Three giving everyone a jolt and a rush!
a couple minutes the Amtrak train departed with a Limited Clear signal
indication and crossed over to Track Three. By this time my train
had arrived on Track Five so I headed into the first
hoping to get the "railfan seat". Unfortunately someone beat me to it
so I sat a few rows back (see photo). We departed on time at 2:31 p.m.
for the journey back to Philadelphia.
The "railfan seat" was occupied on my
trip back to Philadelphia. This rider was taking photos along the way.
the way back I again
tracked our speed with the GPS which for the most part was the same at
all points on the trip northward. I pretended to be a member of the
crew and called out signals in my head "Clear Indication", "Limited
Clear", Advanced Approach", etc. as we passed each of them. As we approached
Frankford Junction I payed close attention to our speed (never going
above 50 mph) and to the surroundings. Again just passing through this
section of track made me reflect on the 2015 derailment again. I think
it's one thing to see the site online or from the ground, but another
to be riding on the same rails and taking things in from the rail
passengers and crew's perspective.
arrived at 30th Street Station one minute late at 3:22 p.m. I had about
a half hour to kill so I walked into the Great Hall which is the
waiting area for the Amtrak trains. The room is simply incredible with
its high ceilings, large fixtures and everything else that gives it a
character all its own. I was fixated on the arrival/departure board
with its flipping numbers and letters. I then walked back to the
parking garage to retrieve the car. The ticket machines in the lobby
tell you to pay in advance so I put the ticket in and it said, "$25.00
due." Ouch! I grumbled to myself and paid the parking fee, justifying
saying to myself, "Big city = big city prices." The railfan boards all
lauded about the view of the tracks from the parking garage, and I
concur it is a great spot to watch the action. But what they don't tell
you is that it costs a lot to get the views! My guess is they all took
the train into the station so they didn't have to pay. I headed back to
the hotel, met back up with my wife and checked-in.
The view of the station yard from the parking lot is great. Just be prepared to pay the steep parking fare if you drive to it!
was the big day, one I had been looking forward to the most because it was the
day of the trip on Amtrak to New York City. For some of you reading
this, it may seem odd to you for me to get so excited about this trip.
Afterall, it is a relatively short trip and a common one for people who
live on the east coast. In addition, the train speeds are nothing like
anything in Europe or Japan. However, when you live in a city with zero
passenger train service of any kind, a trip like this will make you
feel like you won the lottery.
According to my itinerary, once
I got to New York City I would have about three hours to see the sights. My
plan was to walk by Macy's at Harold Square (since I had seen it so
many times on TV I had to see it in person), walk by Times Square and
make my way over to Grand Central Station which was about a mile away.
Then, depending on my time left, I would see a couple other
and return back to Penn Station. I had a map with everything
highlighted so I would not have to fumble around and look too much like
a tourist (except when taking photos). Since it was a Friday during
Lent, my lunch had to be meatless so I would also be on the lookout for
an authentic New York style bagel with schmear (yum!). I was ready to see The
learned my lesson the previous day about
the outrageous parking rates at the station parking garage, I decided
to walk from the
hotel to the station which was just over a mile away. As I walked down
Market Street westward, it became clear to me that I was underdressed
for the sunny but blustery weather. A hooded sweatshirt or cap to cover
would have been real nice! So I turned my leisurely walk into
somewhat of a power walk to the station. I arrived at 8:20 a.m. for my
8:50 a.m. departure. My train was Amtrak #600, one of the daily Keystone
Service trains from Harrisburg, PA to New York City (Penn Station). The
cool arrival/departure board showed my train as being "On Time" and
departing from Track Six. A line had already started to form for the
track stairs so I got in line.
Again I took in the scene around me.
Scores of people walking through the station, some with rolling
suitcases, others with just a laptop bag or backpack. There were
families, couples and individuals. In my line a few people
me was a family headed to Boston each with a rolling suitcase. To see
this all taking place in a train station instead of an airport was all
so foreign to me.
8:35 a.m. or so, the equivalent
of an airport "gate agent" turned on a wireless microphone and
announced to everyone in the Great Hall that we would start boarding.
At this point it was like boarding a plane, only much less formal and
quicker. They did board "people needing extra time", business class and
priority passengers first, but then the rest of us started filing by
the agent. She checked our ticket to make sure we had the correct train
then we walked down to the platform.
train was already in place so we had our choice of any car except for
business class unless we had paid for it. They also had a quiet car
next to business class where they expected "library-like silence" in
the car. I didn't necessarily need that so I boarded the closest car
and found a window seat. All of the seats in my coach were facing the
opposite direction of travel so it was either find another seat or deal
with rolling backwards to NYC. I opted to stay in my seat and watch the
world breeze by me in reverse. Regarding the seats themselves, for
those of you reading this who have never been on Amtrak, the amount of
space you get is almost comparable to first class on a plane. The seats
recline much farther than in a plane, there is more leg room, more
overhead space and there are 120V outlets in each row. And this is in
the old Amfleet "tube" coaches. I've not been on a Superliner coach,
but I've heard they are even better. Again, once you ride a train and
experience the amount of space available you'll be hooked.
departed on time at 8:50 a.m. with a scheduled arrival at 10:11 a.m.
Again I had the GPS with me to monitor our speed along the route. Our
route out of 30th Street station was a little different out of the
station area itself but eventually we found our way to Track Two and
began to pick up speed. It was immediately apparent that the ride of
the coach was much smoother and cushiony than the SEPTA coaches. Think
of the SEPTA coach as having the feel of a city bus and the Amtrak
coach with a large tour bus feel. After passing the North Philadelphia
station we approached Frankford Junction and again I noted our speed
was pegged at 50 mph on the GPS. After we got out of the curve we
immediately picked up speed and were well over 100 mph in a short
amount of time with our top speed hitting 125 mph. Even at this speed
things were very smooth and comfortable. Only when we rode over
crossovers or other switch tracks did I note any bumpiness.
This blurry photo with my old iPhone shows that we're coasting along at 124 mph!
first stop for the train was at Trenton, NJ which is where I got off
SEPTA the day before. We arrived on Track One on time at 9:19 a.m. So
what took SEPTA 52 minutes to do, Amtrak did in 29 minutes, though
Amtrak had no stops in between. Still the time difference illustrated
the speed difference between the two. The doors opened to drop off/pick
Then things got interesting.
in the station for a few minutes, the conductor got on the intercom.
"Ladies and gentlemen can I have your attention please. All traffic
into Penn Station has been affected by a service interruption. We don't
know how long the delay will be. You can either stay onboard and ride
it out with us, or get off here and take NJ Transit to Newark, then
take PATH into the city. We'll give you a few minutes to decide then
we're moving up to Princeton Junction."
I literally had spent
hours preparing for this trip into Penn Station, making
considerations for short delays, weather, safety issues, etc. However
the one thing I did not prepare for was how to get into the city should
Amtrak not be able to get me there! To me, "service interruption" was
railroad customer service speak for "derailment" which was not good.
got off the train and listened to the conductor answer the seemingly
endless questions from the passengers ranging from how long
delay would be, to which train goes from Newark to Penn Station, etc. To
the conductor's credit he did his best to keep his cool and answer as
many questions as he could. An off-duty Amtrak employee who was riding
on the train and also answered questions, though he sounded more like a
real railroader, "I've worked on the railroad for 35 years and these
things happen. I can't tell you if we'll be a little late, a lot late
or if we even be able to get into Penn Station. One of the tubes is
blocked so now they have to run everything in and out of one tube.
There are hundreds of trains a day in and out of the station so it may
take a while. I'm a part of the train so I'm staying on." While we were
there a NJ Transit train pulled up on Track Two (this track is outside
the east platform and not one of the express tracks in the middle).
"There's your train to Newark if you want to take it instead,"
announced the conductor.
On the station platform in Trenton, NJ. My train,
Amtrak #600, is on the left. NJ Transit, my other option to reach NYC,
is on the right. Myself, along with a lot of other riders, had to
quickly figure out what to do.
At this point I had to make a
decision and in short order. Do I a) stay on Amtrak and take a
chance that I don't get to Penn Station by the time my return train
departs (assuming I actually get there and the return train isn't
canceled), b) get off and figure out how to get there via the NJ
Transit/PATH route, or c) get off and take another train back to
Philadelphia? My first thought was that this is the Northeast Corridor,
this is New York City, they are New Yorkers and New Yorkers will figure
out a way to get things moving again. But the cautious side kept coming
back to being stuck on a train for hours, or not being able to get back
to Philadelphia by the time I needed to be back at the hotel (which was
4 p.m.). Figuring out the NJ Transit/PATH option didn't sound
appealing, plus that meant shelling out more money on top of what I had
The conductor at the head end began signaling to
the rest of the crew that they were going to leave. The conductor on
our coach announced that this was our last chance to get back on
otherwise find alternate transportation. While my gut told me I would
probably be OK to stay on, my cautious side won out and I stayed off and watched
the train depart. My plans for the day had just gone out the window (or
left the platform as was the case).
At this point I stayed on
the platform and watched things develop. The NJ Transit train was still
there and people who had gotten off were trying to figure out what to
do. In the meantime, an Acela train arrived on Track Four and stopped
at the station. This afforded me a chance to look a little more closely
at the train's interior. It was neat to see business people dressed in
suits and ties facing each other at a table with their laptops open
getting work done. Immediately I thought to myself, "You can't do that
on a plane!" After a few minutes the train departed. Not long after
that a conductor for the NJ Transit train announced they were going to
leave in a couple minutes. This prompted decisions by a few people to
board the train in hopes of figuring out their route along the way.
After it left I decided to visit the waiting area inside and figure out
For a while I felt like a ship without a rudder and
wandered aimlessly around the station, not knowing what to do next. I
finally sat on one of the benches above the tracks and started
searching on my phone for information about what had happened (at least the music in the station was still good!). A site
reported that an Amtrak train derailed and side-swipped another train
inside the station area. It did not give the magnitude of the
derailment, though I figured if it was in the station itself it had to
be a low speed event and not that bad. While doing searches about the
issue, I found an Amtrak train tracker at
http://www.asm.transitdocs.com/ which showed my train at Princeton
Junction and stopped. It did show several trains ahead of it, some
moving, some not moving. With nothing else to do, I decided to take
advantage of the free WiFi and watch the train's progress. As it turned
out, my gut was correct and my train got into Penn Station a little
over an hour late, though the question of the return train's schedule
had yet to be answered. Still, I was a little upset with myself for
bailing off in Trenton. At least the music being piped into the station
was decent to listen to.
At this point I needed to figure out how
to get back to Philadelphia, so I first went to the Amtrak ticket
counter and discussed
my predicament with the agent. "You can't take another train with that
ticket. I can give you a refund, though." Then I remembered I had
picked the "Saver" fare option which was not transferrable, so
essentially I ended my trip when I got off the train (unless I wanted
to pay for a new ticket). My refund was about half the total cost of
the ticket (even though I had only gone about 25% of the total
distance) however I figured that wasn't too bad. Then went to the
ticket kiosk and purchased a one way ticket on SEPTA back to
Philadelphia for $9.
While waiting for my train I monitored the
progress of the trains on the tracker and noted that everything kept
moving into Penn Station but just at a slower pace. Delays of 30-60
minutes seemed to be the norm overall. Again, they are New Yorkers.
They'll figure out how to get it done!
my return train
arrived and I boarded the first car. At this point I was still a little
upset and disappointed with the whole thing, playing "Monday morning
quarterback" in my mind on what I could have done differently to help
me come up with a more educated decision. Because of my mental state I
didn't try for the
"railfan seat" nor did I get the GPS out. I would just watch the world
go by and try to get back to normal. This train set was noticeably
older than the two SEPTA trains I rode yesterday. This train had
lights (yesterday's had LED lighting) and all of the station stops were
announced by the conductor (yesterday's trains had a prerecorded
message for each station).
I arrived back at 30th Street
1 p.m., now about 90 minutes ahead of my original schedule due
the change of plans. So I consoled myself with an Aunt Annie's salted
pretzel and a soda and sat in the Great Hall to take a load off my legs
and mind. I once again took the opportunity to just simply observe the
happenings and better appreciate the architecture of the room. It
definitely looked like the Pennsylvania Railroad spared no expense
building this structure! Up to this point I had been very bashful about
taking photos due to the security concerns of the railroad police. The
internet message boards all said that if you got your camera out you
likely would get at least a friendly greeting from the railroad police,
but that nothing more should come of it. After I saw a few people
taking photos with their phone of the large statue at one end of the
room, I finally got my camera out and took some photos. No one said
anything to me.
The Great Hall at Philadelphia's 30th
Street Station is a sight to behold.
This statue inside the station honors
Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died in World War II.
decided to head back to the hotel, thus ending the train portion of
this trip. The temperature had warmed up nicely so now I actually felt
a little overdressed. A block away from our hotel was the Reading
Terminal Public Market, something I had read about online as a place to
check out. I still had over an hour to kill so I stopped in.
about 2:30 p.m. and the lunch crowd was just starting to file out but
the place was still mobbed. Inside were rows and rows of vendors
fresh foods, prepared foods, spices, wines, etc. For those in the
Columbus, OH area reading this, take our North Market and multiply it
by 20 and you have what this market is like, only busier. I enjoyed
around and seeing (and smelling) the varieties of vendors in the
market. If you lived
downtown you probably could do a fair amount of your food shopping
here. It definitely seemed to be the place to be and was worth the side
trip to check it out.
The Reading Terminal Public Market is an
old train station converted to a bustling market.
A view down one of the aisles inside the
Reading Terminal Public Market.
still had some time to myself so I walked a couple blocks over to
Macy's in the Wannamaker Building. This would be our destination this
evening as we planned on listening to the 7 p.m. playing of the
Wannamaker organ. I took a few minutes to walk around the store and get
my bearings on where the organ, console and other information about the
organ was located (a few photos are posted here). First, this is a very
large store with three full floors of merchandise. It reminded me a
little of what the old F&R Lazarus store looked like in
Columbus (only with fewer floors than Lazarus). The Grand Court sits in
the center of the store and is the location of the pipe organ and a
large statue of an eagle. The Grand Court itself is a sight to behold
rising six or so stories high. Add to that the organ which has an
golden facade and it makes for quite a site. I was looking forward to
The Wannamaker pipe organ at Macys in
downtown Philadelphia takes up most of one side of the center area.
Note the eagle on the floor.
Here's the view from the 2nd floor. The
pipes in the facades are decorative only and do not speak.
The organ console sits on the 2nd floor
in the women's apparel department.
After a tasty dinner, my wife and I
headed to Macy's for the 7 p.m. concert. We got there about 20 minutes
early so while my wife did some window shopping, I went up to the 2nd
floor which is where the organ console is located. There were several
people on the organ platform who were asking the organist questions
about the instrument. The console is huge and is taller than the
organist's head when seated on the bench. I took a few photos of the
occupied console then went back downstairs and waited for the concert
to start. By this time a crowd of about 50 people had assembled on the
floor waiting for the event.
The organist for tonight answered
questions prior to the 7 p.m. performance. There is a lot to explain
with this instrument!
A nice group of about 50 people, an
eagle and a couple mannequins gathered
on all three levels to listen to the 7 p.m. performance.
This photo hanges at the entrance to the
Men's Department. The conical pipes in the photo are likely an English
Horn organ pipe.
This plaque can be found in the Grand
Court area. The organ was originally built in 1904 for the St. Louis
at 7 p.m. the organist
began to play a series of songs of varying types and styles. Each song
seemed to be chosen so as to highlight a different part of the
instrument. While the organist played, people continued to shop and the
employees continued to do their jobs (I wondered if the employees were
told during their interview of the "unique working conditions" they
would have to endure should they land a job!). Overall I found the
instrument's sound to be very nice and pleasing to the
ear. I won't bore the non-organists reading this with a review (but
should you want more information, check out The
Columbus American Guild of Organists May 2017 newsletter
which has my write up
of the concert and organ), but I will suggest that if you are in the
downtown Philadelphia area to check out this unique setting to hear a
pipe organ. After the 35 minute concert we departed and got ourselves
some ice cream.
Saturday March 25, 2017
I would explore the rest of downtown Philadelphia, this time going east
from our hotel to the historic district. I had about four hours to burn
so I figured it would give me enough time to at least walk to
everything but probably not enough time to take any tours. After a
quick breakfast with my wife I headed east on Market Street
led me to the visitor's center. I got there before their 8:30 a.m. open time, so I made it a point to come back. The
Liberty Bell Center, one point of interest which does not cost anything
nor do you need a ticket (because, of course, liberty is free) is
directly across the street but it didn't open until 9 a.m. So I walked
by Franklin's Grave, Betsy Ross' house and the U.S. Mint (unfortunately
they weren't giving away any free samples).
Betsy Ross' house is just a few blocks
away from Independence Hall.
Here is the courtyard for the Betsy Ross
The bust of Ben Franklin sits atop the
wall of the cemetary where he is buried.
The U.S. Mint builing in Philadelphia
probably cost a mint to build.
At the National
Constitution Center, I got to see a group of scouts learn how to raise
the American flag. Seeing the steps to properly raise the flag is
a neat thing to watch. I then walked to Franklin Square and then
the visitor's center.
A person from the National Constitution
Center taught the scouts how to raise the flag.
A critical moment - making sure the flag
does not hit the ground or wrap around the pole.
Success! The scouts then recited the
Pledge of Allegiance.
By this time the visitor's center was open
so I made a quick visit inside. Here you can buy tickets for
events inside the center, as well as for the area attractions. The only
thing I purchased was a bottle of water as I was quickly working up a
thirst with all of my walking!
The visitor's center had a number of
small exhibits about the area's highlights, as well as a theater. This
is a good place to start your visit to the historical part of the city.
Yo Adrian! This figure of Rocky was also
in the visitor's center!
I then walked back to the Liberty Bell
Center and stood in line to get in. After about a five minute wait to
get through security (similar to airport security only no body
scanners), I walked through the exhibit and then saw the famous Liberty
The Liberty Bell Center has several displays within the building documenting the history of the flag and other related items.
Here is another view of one of the exhibits. Since it doesn't cost anything to enter, get there early to avoid long lines.
The famed Liberty Bell in all its glory. It actually is smaller than I though it would be.
Another view of the Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background.
A close up of the crack and some of the text. Even back then abbrevations were common.
From here I started a much larger loop first walking by
Independence Hall, Indepencence Square and then over to Washington
Square to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from Washington's Army.
Independence Hall from the courtyard behind the building. The front had scaffolding which made for a less appealing photo.
This is a memorial tomb for unknown soldiers in Washington's Army.
In front of the statue is this tomb to commemorate those who fell in battle.
Around this area there are several interesting displays with
The National Museum of American Jewish History had a couple neat banners.
This is the other banner on the National Museum of American Jewish History.
With Independence Hall in the background, words we need to be reminded of!
Then I walked straight
down Walnut Street and by the Independence Seaport Museum to
check out the scene along the Delaware River. I'm not into ships, but
it still was neat to see the variety of vessels in the water.
These ships are replicas (I think) of those from an earlier time period.
Contrast the modern freighter above to the mast ships on the left.
Still yet, compare the modern military warship to the old mast ships. We have progressed!
The large bridge over the Delaware River makes for a pretty scene at the shore.
At this point I
had about two hours left and I wanted to see if I could get over to
Logan Square and the Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. I could have taken the subway but decided to walk instead. By this time
there was a lot more foot traffic so I felt more comfortable in some of
the areas which were maybe not the prettiest, but still had some
Purely by chance I found one of the official gateways to Chinatown.
Apparently there was a martial arts competition in town, and this kid won a huge trophy!
Inside the very beautiful Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Here's another view of the main aisle inside the basilica.
Many cathedrals have this type of construction. This is Philadelphia, but it could be somewhere in Europe as well!
The large pipe organ in the rear has over 4,600 pipes! Unfortunately it was not played while I was in the building.
I eventually accomplished my goals, and
after taking a load off my feet for a few minutes in the Basilica, I
walked around Logan Square and then began my walk back toward the
hotel. I know by doing this whirlwind tour of downtown I was missing
several points of interest along the way, but I figured that this time
I simply wanted to familiarize myself with the area, and that at some
point I would be back to take in more of the sights.
This sculpture is a monument to those who perished in the Holocaust.
This plaque explains the background behind the sculpture.
The PRR lives! Not only are the old PRR signals still alive, so is the old station building.
The art deco motif of this building cannot be denied in these photos.
Not far from our hotel were giant board game pieces.
Want to play chess, checkers, or maybe even Sorry?
When I play Monopoly, I almost always pick the wheelbarrow as my game piece.
Near the game pieces is this statue of Ben Franklin.
This sculpture is The Irish Memorial remembering
those who lost their lives in the mid 1800s, as well as the immigrants
who made it to America.
There is a lot going on with this sculpture, with
people doing many different things or in different situations. It is
back to the hotel with about 30 minutes to spare. I didn't have one of
those step meters on me, but doing a rough entry of my walking on an
online web page revealed that I walked almost six miles in a little
over three hours! My feet were
feeling it a little so I was glad to get back to the hotel. At this
point I gathered our belongings, checked out of our room, and waited
for my wife to complete her convention sessions for the day so that we
could begin our trip back home.
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