30 hours in Philly: a speed travelogue

After speaking at MX-East Tuesday, in the quaint retreat at Normandy farms, I hopped in a cab for the 30 mile ride to my hotel in downtown Philly, the Windsor Suites by 9pm. I got lucky: it’s in a sweet spot for a tourist, near the train station, a few blocks from museums, full kitchens and on a quiet street for $169 a night.

Looking to maximize my remaining 29 hours, i dropped my bags and headed south from Logan square down to towards Rittenhouse square, seeking a fun place for a late dinner and stumbled onto Alfa, for some sliders (small burgers), crab mac and cheese, and a spinach salad. After a few beers in the high-style digs with a thin yet friendly Tues 10pm crowd, I walked the streets for fun and then got some rest.

reading.jpgwhitefish.jpgWed morning: My train to Villanova U. for a speaking gig left at 2pm, so I had to cram any museums or further food adventures into the morning. Woke up at 10am, further closing the window of fun. I scrambled east over to the Reading Terminal Market, and felt as if I was back home in Queens. The east coast food so impossible to find in the Northwest was here in droves and after my whitefish salad sandwich, spinach knish (5 times better than any knish in Seattle) and Dr. Browns Black cherry soda, I lingered in the halls, soaking up as much of the smells as i could.

We the people…watch movies. With about 2 hours before my train, I had a tough choice: which bit of history to explore? Everyone told me to check the liberty bell, but I know it’s patriotic trash – a poor relic, made famous by accident more than by right (The myths of Innovation explains more about this). Instead, in these difficult times to be an American, I went to the National Constitution Center, the largest museum in the U.S. about the Constitution, seeking much needed USA inspiration.

The unusual museum centers on a special movie theater: a mix of live narration and projected multimedia was surprisingly captivating, but also expectedly patriotic, with no mention of current constitutional issues in the USA. After the 15 minute flick, you exit on the 2nd level and enter a round hall with hi-tech and interactive exhibits about the constitution and the bill of rights.

The great comedy of my visit? They wouldn’t let me take pictures. That’s right – in the main exhibit hall about the freedoms of the constitution, no photographs are allowed. As an expression of resistance to tyrany, here are three photographs from inside:


Next, in part 2, talking at Villanova, plus my first east coast Chinese food experience in years.

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