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Over 60...and Getting Younger: November 26, 2010

The Philadelphia Story

Do you remember the deprecating put-down by W.C. Fields of the city of Brotherly Love? “Last week I traveled to Philadelphia, but it was closed.” Not very nice!

Last week Lorraine (my beautiful wife) and I traveled to Philly and it was definitely alive. Lorraine was going to a speech and hearing convention, and I tagged along for the fun.

We took a train out of Penn Station, New York and in an hour and a half we were at Penn Station, Philadelphia- a much more elegant building. A short taxi ride left us at the Sheraton Center City Hotel, which was our home for the next three days.

We went to the huge convention center, which would house 18,000 eager speech therapists. Amidst all the turmoil, we had lunch at a food market that featured more kiosks and restaurants than we had ever seen under one roof. We finally chose a Chinese food stand run by a quibbling Korean woman, but the soup and fried rice were outstanding.

On the next morning, while Lorraine went conventioneering, I swam in the lush, warm waters of the hotel pool. Afterwards, I dried myself and took a taxi to the Liberty Bell. Yes folks, it is still cracked and silent, but it is a symbol of liberty “for workers, women, the disenfranchised and powerless.” The inscription on the bell reads “Proclaim Liberty throughout the land onto all the inhabitants thereof.” A patriotic twinge went up my spine.

Not far is Independence Hall. This is the place where the Second Continental Congress met on May 10, 1775, after the gunfire at Lexington and Concord. George Washington was appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Forces, and the Declaration of Independence was signed in this building in 1776, to sever ties with Britain. On July 4, 1776 the Liberty Bell rang 13 times, one for each new state in the union. It was called “The Miracle of Philadelphia.” Another patriotic twinge.

After all this glorious American history, I jumped in a cab and sped off to the Rocky Museum, otherwise known as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. To the right of the museum is a statue of Rocky with his arms in a position of victory, donated by Sylvester Stallone. As I walked up the 99 steps (I counted them), I remembered what a fine art collection was housed here. I wandered through an exhibition by Michelangelo Pistoletto, an Italian artist who placed tissue paper on stainless steel, so that when you viewed the art, you were part of the artwork.

Soon the convention was over and we hopped the Amtrak train back to NYC, and then the LIRR back to the Hicksville station. Good to be home after a glorious trip to historic Philadelphia.