|My shadow on 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA March 5, 2013|
Yesterday I titled my blog post "The Philadelphia Flower Show" then proceeded to go on a rant about Philadelphia restaurants versus Rehoboth Beach restaurants. Sorry folks for that mislead. It happens every time I visit Philadelphia and experience the stark contrast between beach restaurants and city restaurants. Probably an unfair comparison and I will say no more about it.
|Center City Philadelphia - the building in the center is where I worked for 22 years - Girard Trust Bank - always construction|
Now for the "Philadelphia Flower Show." I don't really care about the flower show. The only reason I go to the flower show annually is the bus ride (I don't drive and will never drive in Philadelphia or any big city) that is provided my the senior citizen program called Adult Plus. For $69 I get a round trip to Philly on a big, comfortable bus and a ticket to the flower show. I use the trip as an excuse to visit Philadelphia where I used to live and work for many years. The annual trip to the flower show also gives me an opportunity to see my longtime friend (and co-worker) Don. I also like to walk around center city Philly, visit my former workplace and home and see the changes for myself in person. I always look forward to this visit every year. As I said before, I could care less about the flower show. It doesn't impress me. I'm happy for the folks who put it together but, for me, going with the lava flow crowd to see a lot of potted plants half wilted does nothing for me.
|Philadelphia Flower Show crowds - where are the plants? This is a vendor show now|
This year, when I got off the bus at 10:30 am I immediately took a self-directed tour of city hall, the plaza, Suburban Station and the Ritz Hotel, which used to be Girard/Mellon Bank where I worked for so many years. I was to meet my friend Don for lunch at 12:00 so I could take my time unencumbered to visit and relive memories.
|Interior of the bank where I used to work - now the Ritz Hotel - the irony - the bank I used to work for is now a hotel and this former banker now works as a front desk clerk at a hotel|
Fortunately the weather cooperated. The skies were clear blue and the air brisk. Perfect for taking pictures.
|The Ritz Hotel Philadelphia, PA - formerly Girard Bank where I worked from 1965 to 1986|
|Philadelphia Suburban Station - much cleaner than I remember it|
One thing I noticed immediately about center city Philly, especially around City Hall. Construction is still going on, even after I left the city in 1994. Scaffolding, entrances blocked, empty lots, etc. Even when I worked in center city Philly I often wondered "Will they ever finish construction?" Apparently not.
|The immaculate Suburban Station ticket windows - spent plenty of moolah here over the years I commuted|
One thing that surprised me though was how spotless Suburban Station was. When I used to commute, Suburban Station was grungy an smelled on urine. That as a result of all the homeless who camped out there. Oh yes, I encountered the homeless again, reminding me of one of the reasons I quit my job and left Philly. Oh yes, THOSE memories. How quickly I forgot.
|Train platform at Suburban Station - oh the many a day I spent waiting for the R-5 train on this platform|
After meeting my friend Don for lunch (a long and leisurely lunch by the way, something that is frowned upon in Rehoboth Beach restaurants where the emphasis is on volume and not patron satisfaction; money's to be made you know - get 'em in and get 'em out), I went back to the Convention Center to meet my friends (former high school classmates) who took the train down for the flower show.
|"Danny's" - I see some things haven't changed since I left the city - this near where I met my friend Don for lunch|
At 2:30 was when I finally entered the flower show and as expected, the crowds were there and the semi-wilted potted plants were there (some semi-wilted people too). It didn't take me too long to hook up with my friends Bill, Janet, Jack and Patty. Patty had a display which won second prize. It was nice but I think just about everyone wins a prize at the flower show. The awards given at the flower show are sort of like the awards the kiddies get in school these days, everyone wins.
|My friends (and former high school classmates) who I met at the flower show. Two of whom lost their spouses to cancer. They offered me support for my upcoming treatment. Much appreciated.|
|My two friends who both lost their spouses last year to cancer - the both advised me to not let cancer affect my life - live your life to it's fullest which you can see this trio of 71 year olds can still have fun!|
One thing I know for sure, this is my last flower show. If I visit Philadelphia again either Bill and I will drive up or I'll take the train from Downingtown.
|On the way home!|