Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Old City - Philadelphia

A few weeks ago I decided to hop on the train at Thorndale and head to downtown Philadelphia with my camera. My main goal was to walk around the Old City section and capture a few shots of the beautifully restored colonial townhomes in the area. Old City (sometimes spelled “Olde City”) is the area of Philadelphia along the Delaware River where William Penn and the Quakers first settled. The Old City district is loosely defined as the area between Front and Sixth Streets, Vine Street to the north and Walnut Street to the south.

I also wanted to see some of the usual historic sites, other than Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The tower at Independence Hall is undergoing renovations; the scaffolding around the tower is covered with a picture of the tower, so, needless to say, I took no shots of Independence Hall this time. What I did see was the Betsy Ross House, Elfreths Alley, Christ Church, and Franklin Court. All of the sites were teeming with school classes, so I wasn’t able to get any inside shots, just outside.

Franklin Court

Betsy Ross House

Christ Church

Elfreths Alley

The rest of the day I spent strolling around Washington Square and the streets to the west. Washington Square is one of the five original planned squares laid out on the city grid by William Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme. It contains the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier and, as you can imagine, is a popular place to take the kids to play, walk the dog, or just sit and relax.

Many of the streets in the Washington Square West section are throwbacks to the colonial days of the city - Manning, Delancey, Clinton, Panama, Pine, Quince, and Camac, to name a few. Some of the streets are so narrow that I saw a workman in a pickup truck driving down the street with wheels on both curbs.

On my way back to Suburban Station to catch the train home, I also managed the capture a few shots of City Hall and Love Park. The two pictures included here were obviously altered in Photoshop to gain the desired effect.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2011 Philadelphia Flower Show

Every few years we pay a visit to the Philadelphia Flower show.  This past March we made another visit.  The show is the "largest indoor flower show in the world" attracting more than 250,000 people annually. The show features large-scale gardens, which range from elaborate landscaped displays to individual and club entries of a prize horticultural specimen.

Each year there is an official theme, which serves as the inspiration for most exhibits.  This year the theme was “Springtime in Paris”.  Displays included a "Phantom of the Opera" tableau, a wedding at Notre Dame, floral carousel animals, a mini-Arc de Triomphe and Centre Pompidou, and a scene from the Paris cemetery where rocker Jim Morrison and composer Frederic Chopin are buried.  The centerpiece of the exhibit area was a partial replica of the Eiffel Tower that was featured in a music and light show every fifteen minutes.

We always enjoy the spectacular displays from the local landscaping companies and my personal favorite - the display area featuring the extensive array of bonsai trees.  Another popular part of the show floor is the very large Garden Marketplace where you can buy plants and seeds, cut flowers, craft items, and other flower, landscaping and horticulture-related items.  However, there’s one thing that we don’t look forward to, which keeps us from attending every year, and that is fighting the big crowds.  In past years we’ve always tried to get there in the morning, but it has always been very crowded.  This year we thought we would try getting there late afternoon, but the result was the same.