A friend of mine is a grade school teacher. She had last week off for the mid-Winter break, and she didn’t have much planned. She texted me early last week and suggested a trip to Philadelphia for like a day or two. I hadn’t left the New York area since November 2019 — when I was in Montreal to cover that year’s M for Montreal — and I had been itching to go somewhere.
A few things helped to make the trip possible:
- COVID infection numbers have been on a rapid decline over the past month. If I were asked about hitting the road in January, I would have declined.
- We were only planning to be out of town for about a day or two. (I had to be back in New York because my mom and I had tickets to see Hasan Minhaj at Radio City Music Hall.)
- I know Center City Philly fairly well. I had been to Philly a handful of times over the past decade — mainly for business trips tied into a day job. But I was also in Philly once for The Roots Picnic.
Our first full day in town was very busy: While eating breakfast, my friend asked me what I wanted to do. The first thing I said was that I wanted to see was John Coltrane‘s house in North Philly. After that, we had googled “Instagrammable Philly,” which gave us a lot of interesting ideas for photos — including the Fountain Street Steps in Manayunk, a small town-like neighborhood in
Northeast Northwest Philly. (The best NYC comparison I can think of are neighborhoods like Maspeth and Ridgewood.) (EDITOR’S Note: A reader just told me that I got the side of town wrong. Oops!)
Admittedly, if it it wasn’t for googling “Instagrammable Philly,” I wouldn’t have had an idea that this existed. Without a car, it would have been difficult to get out that way — and Uber/Lyft wouldn’t have been worth the cost. And you’d have to spend time waiting for a return Uber/Lyft back to Center City. So if you’re driving down, this is worth a few minutes checking out.