“Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike….they’ve all come to look for America”
What we actually found ourselves doing, when we got on the road again, was counting the lanes on the New Jersey Turnpike – 14!!! So, the sun shone again today to see us off from New York. A very speedy cabbie took us to pick up our hire car at JFK and soon we were loaded up like a couple of pros and off down the road to Philadelphia. This time our car is a very nice Nissan Sentra.
Why Philadelphia? Well, neither of us had been, it’s an historic place and it seemed a good idea at the time. And so it has proved. This is the place where the Declaration of American Independence was signed, it is the home of the Liberty Bell (which symbolised the freedom from slavery) and, if you are not too steeped in cultural history, we have visited the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art where Rocky did some of his training in the film! It is a city of old and new, beautifully preserved, full of magnificent buildings juxtaposed with modern skyscrapers. A very classy city, highly recommended and earmarked for a possible return one day.
We went walking again! Past the Rodin Gallery complete with a bronze cast of ‘The Thinker’, Logan Square with its impressive fountain, past the Franklin Institute, the Free Library, and on to “Rocky’s Steps” before finding a cab to take us right across town to see the Liberty Bell. Fortified by one of the best cups of coffee I have tasted (sorry Costa) at La Colombe, it was time for another good walk. We eventually gave in and found a cab, one with a driver who also liked his music, although I must say he was the first I had come across who treated his passengers to Faust!!
Our journey today was filled with chat (and quite a bit of singing) as we reminisced about movies and music with connections to Philadelphia. Once again we were up for a live music experience and were recommended by the hotel concierge to a jazz bar. Chris’ Jazz Café provided good food, expensive wine but an excellent trio that provided good long sets of modern jazz. I have seen jazz before but never modern jazz played by 3 guys who could each wander off into realms of their own whilst contributing to the total sound and rhythm. A truly excellent musical experience.
Carolyn’s Curios & Musical Notes 🎼🎶🖌
As we set out from New York. as well as driving, I had my mind on the musical notes. As we were heading to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the tracks which came to mind was Glenn Miller’s ‘Pennsylvania Six-Five Thousand’ which, I confess, I thought was about a train. It’s not! It’s the telephone number of the Hotel Pennsylvania in… New York! #coincidence
As well as Canned Heat’s ‘On the road again’ and the very different Willie Nelson song of the same name, ‘Eye of the Tiger’ came through mists of memory illustrating Rocky’s step climb but, again, a little research confirmed that the music played as he mounted the steps was, actually, Bill Conti’s ‘Gonna fly now’. Hmm!
Talking of research, the State of Philadelphia isn’t designated a State – it’s a Commonwealth – as are Kentucky, Massachusetts and Virginia. Hmm!
Other musical note… the fabulous ‘Streets of Philadelphia’ by Bruce Springsteen. It was the award winning theme for the award winning film ‘Philadelphia’ which is the only film to provoke me to tears. Self-referenced, self-pity on my part when difference led to the ostracism of the Tom Hanks’ AIDs affected character. Its 1994 release in the UK coincided with an emotional period of my life. Today, the streets of Philadelphia brought light, warmth and security!
My final musical note is ‘Philadelphia Freedom’. A huge hit for Elton John who had asked his lyricist, Bernie Taupin, to write a compliment to Billie Jean King whose professional tennis team was called ‘Philadelphia Freedoms’.
Moving from music, the link between the Liberty Island and Statue of yesterday and the Liberty Bell today was summed up by a quote on the wall next to the Liberty Bell Exhibition Centre. There were references to slave freedom, the emancipation of women but it may significant that the Liberty Bell is badly ‘cracked’. It’s certainly ironic in present times, I fear.
Philadelphia was named by Penn from the Greek for ‘Brotherly Love’. The city we saw today exemplified that but there is a malaise, not just in the U.S., where the love of our fellow human beings is being questioned and repudiated. #sad #wrong
Tomorrow we head for the site of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech. Much still remains from those heady 1960s to be still merely a dream. The Blues we saw in NYC illustrated it in part – only one black man in the audience whilst none of the performers were Caucasian.