What a weekend in Philadelphia. Pope Francis visits the city of brotherly love in the third and final stop of his American tour. Many fled, many complained, and many of us stayed and enjoyed ourselves. I seriously had a blast. Some observations…
– Re: the Pope himself, his biggest critics on the right are putting their politics over their faith (see Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, George Will), and in a party where faith apparently guides politics. That’s absurd.
– Mayor Nutter, STFU. You made your bed.
– Apropos of the Ben Franklin Parkway and its many flags, there were so many flags of pilgrims, visitors, tourists, hustlers: Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, New Mexico, Uganda, and of course The Vatican.
– I didn’t make it down to see the Jade Buddha, alas. And the Dalai Lama has canceled his visit. A speedy recovery to His Holiness. (Er, that His Holiness.)
– So many restaurants and bars sounded off like whiny bitches. Dawg you had six months to plan. Either close down for two days and cut your losses, or throw down block party style like Village Whiskey did. They got it right.
– I’ve never seen so many different types of cops — Philadelphia police, PA state troopers, MontCo cops, HSI (Homeland Security Investigations), TSA, FBI, National Guard, National Park Service, Allied Barton (seriously), many others. Most of them were friendly.
– Meg Saligman’s “knotted grotto” installation at the Basilica was beautiful and full of heartfelt sentiments: “Peace in the Philadelphia community,” “please help my family get out of debt,” “please bless Eddie’s cat,” “Pope Francis I believe you are the second coming of Christ.”
– Protesters of the pope came from both sides of the aisle, but the ones at Franklin Square took the cake: I believe there is some Westboro Baptist Church affiliation, and these folks, who called Pope Francis the antichrist, claimed responsibility for the distribution of the Great Controversy books this summer. They had more here, and left them all around town, including at the Convention Center.
– It was wild to see Philadelphia’s staggering backdrop of cranes — Comcast Innovation & Technology Center, FMC Tower, East Market, 1919 Market, CHOP, that ugly ass building next to the Ben Franklin Bridge — for such a world event.
– So many pope billboards: Wawa, Dranoff Properties, Michael’s Way, Visit Philly, St Joseph’s University (who referenced Francis’ Jesuit education)
– I’m glad I got to walk across the Ben Franklin Bridge since I missed the 75th anniversary party in 2001. I wanted to ride my bike across, but the National Guard was making people walk their bikes, although cops could still ride, of course. John Pettit called BFB “Philly’s hottest new popup park.”
– It took me one hour and 42 minutes to get from the beginning of security to my ticketed seat for the Festival of Families on Saturday night. It was worth it.
– The Bob Brady pope glass theft was absolutely hilarious.
– But not as hilarious as The Onion’s coverage of Francis’ visit.
– I am sorry, but I still think scrapple is disgusting. Reading Terminal Market had a tray of it in bricks for visiting journalists, and hardly anyone tried it.
– Jim Kenney, I know you loved these open streets, let’s keep that momentum going.
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All told, a fun and positive weekend in Philadelphia. I made a photo essay with about 100 photos on one long, scrolling, easy to use page. If you’d like to view that, you may do it…