Below is another image from my time at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. While taking pictures, I learned a lot about the way prisons were run. How inmates and employees interacted and early influences on the current penal system. I hope to go back in a few months, but for now I’m very happy with the images and knowledge I left with.
Dim Sun, Rain, and Al Capone
Saturday marked our first trip to Philadelphia since leaving New Jersey in 2017. Each week, we come up with two plans for weekend action. Often waiting until Saturday morning to formulate a new plan and forfeit our original choices. I know, it sounds counterproductive, but somehow it works. Within minutes of jumping out of the shower we were out the door. Me, with no knowledge of our destination. Just the insistance to bring my camera and be prepared to take pictures. After a long drive we stopped at Nom Wah, in Philadelphia’s Chinatown for a satisfying dim sum breakfast before ultimately heading over to Eastern State Penitentiary to soak in the dark history of penitentiary life before stopping for dinner at a nearby Waffle House before the long trip home. Below is one of many favorite pictures taken that day. Stay out of trouble. Stay out of jail.
Breakfast at Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal
When we arrived at Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal that morning, I had a little more than feasting on the market’s overwhelming array of delicious food on my mind. In each of the times we’ve visited the food mecca. I’ve taken pictures of the food, the signs and just about everything else with the glaring exception of the people who crowd the area. Knowing full well, that photographing strangers, especially those stuffing their face can be risky. I did my best to be quick and unobtrusive. With the constant movement and foot traffic adding to the bustling energy of the market. I wasn’t given many opportunities to focus or shoot. However, that Amish breakfast was more than enough fuel fo what was a pretty long drive from Jersey City. Reading Terminal is one of my favorite pit stops during any visit to Philadelphia. I highly recommend stopping by, shopping and filling your belly. “Come Hungry. Leave Satisfied!”
A Slice of Philly
When my wife asked me what I was in the mood for. I knew I had to think quick on my feet. Being that we had such a long winter. I’ve been continuously biting at the idea of getting out of my every day, break from the norm and put the pedal to the metal. All cliques aside. I’ve just grown tired of the weekly trips to Costco, Trader Joe’s and other places that magically turn “Getting Milk” a five hour endeavor. Quickly, I blurted out “Philly” “Pizza in Philly”. Knowing it was getting late in the morning and my wive’s strange, yet ritualistic battle cry “Isn’t it a little late to drive that far?” I scrambled for a list of the best pizza in Philly on my phone while demanding action. After stopping at RT. 9’s Wonder Bagels we were south bound and with a little luck and 80 + miles per hour speed, we arrived in the city of brotherly love. Knowing full well that the term is pure bullshit we went hard on our destination and arrived just as lunch was starting to brew. As we sat down at Slice’s
South Street location located near the heart of the famous Italian Market our eyes widened as our mouth watered in anticipation. With our belly’s still satisfied by the egg and cheese bagels we feasted on during the trip.
We decided to each order a slice as opposed to gorging on an entire pie. To say that “SLICE” delivered the best slice I’ve had since my Hell’s Kitchen days (93-2001) would be an understatement. From the first bite to the last I found myself plotting my next trip. Fresh ingredients, delicious sauce and a distinctly crispy crust that would satisfy the most misshapen pizza snob. Add to that, a friendly server who went out of his way to not make us feel like annoying tourists. From there we walked the walk. Enjoying the Italian Market, South Street and Phillly’s Chinatown. While Philadelphia will never be my favorite destination on the map. It’s close, offers a ton of things and even if you don’t manage to grope a cheesesteak. You can still make it home claiming victory and good time had.
Extra’s From This Weekend’s Trip to Philly
In years past each of my trips to the city of Philadelphia involved a number of defined moments and fulfilling ‘must do’ lists. Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks, Pat’s King of Steaks, Gino’s Steaks and The Reading Market. With one particular trip fondly named “The Great Cheesesteak Chase”, where me managed to chow down at each of the three cheesesteak landmarks in one fateful day. All great memories considering the amount of consumption and downright gluttony involved. Becoming a vegetarian some years back served as a change of plans as well as destination.
While I sometimes miss the idea of wrapping my hands around a juicy steak and cheese with flavorful onions. Passing up these long time favorites has allowed me the opportunity to spend that time exploring in order to take home a few worth while images. Not having a belly full of meat to weigh me down has inspired me to walk more and perhaps walk the lesser travelled streets in search of an eye catching image to put on my wall or share on my blog.
I do my best not to block the sidewalk, be intrusive or act like a clueless, self involved tourist. Photographing the things that draw my eye as well as my imagination. Cautiously recalling my last predawn trip to Philly’s Chinatown when, while photographing the alleyways of the area. I was greeted by a naked Chinese man having a smoke in one of the doorways. My goal being to document my travels without turning each one into a documentary. Ultimately, a person can often learn a lot about where he’s going when he can look back where he’s been.