Saturday, August 13, 2005

philadelphia...the 6th borough?

Well fuck you too NY Times.

The NY Times has an interesting story on Philadelphia today that kind of pissed me off. They seem to portray Philadelphia as New York's fat, cultureless, retarded little brother that is only now starting to flourish as New York hipsters are priced out of Brooklyn (after being priced out of Manhattan) and flocking to Philly in droves, bringing with them the style, culture and sophistication to make the City of Brotherly Love worth while.

Now I'm not exactly from Philadelphia. It's not like I even know Philadelphia all that well. I grew up in West Chester which is in Chester County, about 30 miles south west of Center City. But it is certainly part of the core of the Delaware Valley, a region rich with history, culture and style. Anyway, I certainly identify with Philadelphia and the greater Delaware valley as a region in general. Growing up we watched Philly news, rooted for the Eagles (Iggles), Phillies, Sixers and Flyers (in that order), traveled to the city for the restaurants, museums, history (I'm related to Betsy Ross, really) theatre etc. But we also enjoyed the Delaware Valley on a whole making frequent visits to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, restaurant festivals in West Chester, Long Wood Gardens, Valley Forge and other sundry Revolutionary War sites etc.

Anyway, I felt like the article really gave Philly short shrift. Namely in this passage:

"Fifteen or 20 years ago, the idea of Philadelphia as a place to go for quality life would have been laughable to many people, even to Philadelphians. Sandwiched between New York and Washington, Philadelphia was a flyover city - trainover really - a place where a mayor had ordered the bombing of a neighborhood and where Eagles fans reveled in booing their own team, its chief popular exports cheese steaks and "Rocky." While Philadelphia's rich cultural history, like its art museum, its symphony orchestra and its Colonial architecture, gave the city establishment credentials, it did not produce much of an avant-garde."

Yeah. Fifteen or twenty years ago tourists were scared shitless of walking New York streets in broad daylight let alone riding the subway. They were going to get mugged or raped or flashed or maybe fall onto a HIV laced needle. Oh, and yeah, the Giants are awesome. Or the Jets. Ooooooh, they are really great football teams with a rich tradition...that play in fucking New Jersey! New York may have us in the baseball department. I'll give them that. But hockey and basketball I really think Philly has them. Also, how alone have you ever felt in New York? I have felt absolutely worthless in that city. Just another member of the worst invasive species to ever crawl the surface of the earth. Nobody looks at you let alone talks to you. You ride the train with your head down and don't dare make eye contact with the person whose armpit your shoulder is wedged under. In Philadelphia the city feels organic, you feel like you're placed in a human context. People talk to you if it is only to remind you that you are indeed, an asshole.

Anyway, what's this about the music scene in Philly? They sort of offer some praise which I think is true, "'Philly's decidedly anti-scene, and that appeals to a lot of musicians that move there,' he said. 'They can actually do their own thing.'"

But there list of important Philly musicians is lacking: "diverse acts like the indie rockers Dr. Dog and Man Man, Beanie Sigel's State Property crew, and D.J.'s Diplo and Dave Pianka." What about the Roots? Doo Wop? The 'Philly Sound'? American Bandstand? Philadelphia Orchestra? The new Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts? Not to mention the fact that "The Heath Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Jimmy Oliver, Clifford Brown, Benny Golson and the incomparable Philly Joe Jones were all either born, raised or professionally proven in Philly or its environs. Also part of this club are Lee Morgan, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Scott, Trudy Pitts, Jimmy Smith and Lady Day � the great Billie Holiday." Check out this website for more on Philly music.

Now of course New York is New York and there might not be any city in the world with a more vibrant arts culture, but come on, it's not like Philly is just a 'fly over' city.

One place where the New York metro area definately cannot compete with the Delaware Valley is in beer. The Delaware Valley is definately one of the nation's best beer regions with more first class breweries and brewpubs anywhere outside of the Pacific Northwest. Not to mention a rich brewing tradition that started with the first English settlers, really hit its stride with the German influx in the mid 1800s and is finally coming back around now. Did I mention Yuengling, the nations oldest brewery, is just around the corner? How many great beer bars are there in Manhattan? Maybe two or three. One great one in Brooklyn. How many great beer bars are there in Philly alone? A city less than 1/6th the size of New York At least 4 or 5 and in the Delaware Valley, many many more, not to mention the world class breweries that dot the landscape as you head west from the city.

Anyway, I think the article was really a bunch of crap. Get off your high horse New York and realize that Philadelphia isn't exactly the new kid on the block. Sure, Philly conjours up images of cheesteaks, Twinkies and Rocky, but that just makes it all the better in my opinion.

Fuck you New York.

Next time, I defend Indianapolis. Seriously.

With all the good will and respect I can muster for the lonliest city in the world: New York, you're an asshole.

best
Matthew Daniel Balboa Dunn, Esq.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Matt Dunn,

It's six in the morning in New York. I have spent the night out eating transcendent southeast asian food and drinking beer at a bar which you have yet had the privledge of visiting. New York's pretentions are inarguable and well documented, yet it is a city of depth, history, and ethnic identity that is unparalleled in the states. The cuisine reflects that, as do the citizens. Philadelphia has it's merits; but it is not New York. It's merits as a beer city are admittedly questionable but beer is the wine minor leagues anyway. It is the preeminate wine city in this country but the way to appreciate is not from the perspective of a twice a year vistor from the midwest, It is as a citizen. Jerk.

Ryan

Matthew D Dunn said...

Ouch. I think a bit of the New York pretention has affected even you
Ryan. Of course after growing up in Maine, living in Sandy Eggo and Jackson Hole, clearly the only place for someone of your vast life experience to move was the Big Apple.

And beer is the minor leagues of wine? You knew that would piss me off to no end. And it has thusly. You keep these sorts of comments up and there will be a well publicized 'natural history display' of my own here on blog.

And as far as New York's history being unparalleled in the states, that's just not true. As far 'old' goes, there's Santa Fe and St Augustine, not to mention Philadelphia, Boston etc.

And ethnic identity? I don't even know what that is. If by 'identity' you mean 'diversity', then yes, New York is probably unparalleled. And I suppose that's nice if you want to be able to get fried chicken feet at any hour or live above a latino fish market in Harlem.

And is New York really the preeminate wine city in the states? It seems like it would be out in the wine growing regions somewhere, say California?

And 'transcendent' food? Are you serious? You really have picked up some New York pretense. Jerk.

Let's start a blog where all we do is debate the relative merits of different regions of the US.

Mattdunn

Anonymous said...

I am on board for the debates of cities merits. I really enjoy just posting comments to incite arguments. Internet arguments are a little like masturbation as well. Plus I was really drunk when I posted that comment, on beer nonetheless. I would like to keep this blog a family affair as well, the world doesn't need to see that vest.

Brian said...

Matt, does this mean you aren't moving to the Village with me?

Anonymous said...

Ryan, I don't anyone's worried about seeing the vest. Michelle said she sent you the double's of those pictures with your flask, did you ever get that?

Chris