Philadelphia by Night (Art Museum, Rittenhouse)

I’ve lived in Philadelphia, Prague, Los Angeles, and now Seattle – I still love going back to Philly and wandering around every time we fly back East to visit family. Philly is a cool place. I grew up about 40 miles North of Philly in rural Pennsylvania. I got my driver’s license the very moment I was able to and started driving friends to Philly only a few weekends after. (The first time was to drive a friend & I to the Trocadero to see a show. We got a little confused and accidentally crossed “a bridge”… which wound up being one of the bridges that goes to New Jersey.) I fled to Philly every chance I could, eventually living there for a short while before turning my eye towards farther places that didn’t just *feel* European to me but actually *were* European!

“The principle of flânerie in Proust: ‘Then, quite apart from all those literary preoccupations, and without definite attachment to anything, suddenly a roof, a gleam of sunlight reflected from a stone, the smell of a road would make me stop still, to enjoy the special pleasure that each of them gave me, and also because they appeared to be concealing, beneath what my eyes could see, something which they invited me to approach and take from them, but which, despite all my efforts, I never managed to discover’. (Du Côte de chez, Swann < [Paris, 1939], vol. 1, p. 256 > — This passage shows very clearly how the old Romantic sentiment for landscape dissolves and a new Romantic conception of landscape emerges – of landscape that seems, rather to be a cityscape, if it is true that the city is the properly sacred ground of flânerie.”

– from The Arcades Project by Walter Benjamin (p 420)



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