Philadelphia (useful notes)

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A statue of William Penn overlooks the city.


"We're goin' hoppin'
Where things are poppin
The Philadelphia way
Were gonna drop in
On all the music they play

On the bandstand"

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and fifth largest in the United States. Literally translated from the Greek its name means "The City of Brotherly Love," which is naturally its nickname. This is known as either irony considering the city's high murder rate, or Truth in Television; brothers fight, they say mean things about each other, but you'll have to search long and hard to find another city that is so beloved by its inhabitants. No matter what we say about it. Oh, and there are lots of gay people. In fact the entire Downtown area around 13th Street is known as the Gayborhood.

The city was founded on October 27, 1682 by William Penn. A statue of him sits on top of City Hall, now eclipsed by the Bell Atlantic Building, Liberty Place, and Comcast Center in height. Because sports fans are a superstitious bunch, this eclipsing was used to explain why the entire city went into a championship drought of considerable length. It should be noted that another statuette of Penn sits atop the new tallest building in the city, the Comcast Center, and that within a few months of the building's completion with Penn atop it, the Phillies won the World Series. Take that as you will. It was the city where the Continental Congress met, and the Liberty Bell is kept there. Until Washington DC was built, it was the US capital.

Philadelphia is notable for being the largest city in the country with a non-white majority (number five overall), and having a healthy black middle-class. From the poshness of Rittenhouse Square, to the melting pot of awesomeness that is South Philly, to the bohemian artists of Northern Liberties, to the wastelands of North Philly and parts of the Southwest, to the suburban sprawl of the "Great Northeast," to the unparalleled richness of history that is Old City, Philadelphia has everything one could ask for in its many neighborhoods. It has been a very large city for a long, long time. In the years before The American Revolution, it was the second largest English-speaking City in the world, after London.

The city is famous for its cheesesteak sandwiches (known outside the city as "Philly cheesesteaks"). It's probably best if you just call them "cheesesteaks" - anything else will get you laughed at by a native.[1] It is also famous for being the birthplace of things like the Declaration of Independence, modern democracy, and the computer. Nothing major, though.

Philadelphia is also a very culturally rich city, with its world-class orchestra and the oldest still-operating opera house and theater in America all along, or right off of, the Avenue of the Arts (a.k.a. South Broad Street); and many world-class museums dotting the beautiful vista of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The city is also home to a number of theatres; as well as the weirdly wonderful, sequin-and-feather-filled Mummers Parade every New Years Day [2] And don't forget it has the first zoo, the first free library system, and the first Catholic school system in the country. The city is also known for its neoclassical architecture and its huge number of public murals, for which even the city's graffiti artists hold a healthy respect and generally will not tag (the few taggers who deface the murals lose the respect of other taggers).

The residents, when it comes to sports, are infamous for being extremely vocal about their beloved teams. There have been a couple of incidents involving famous ad campaign figures in the past that have turned into the city's own Never Live It Down moment. It doesn't help that some in the city and particularly the city's media like reliving those particular moments. While criticism about the tendency to react vocally (booing in crowds, sarcasm and snide comments individually) certainly has been well earned, the city itself has not had any more incidents than any other city. This even extends to pseudo-sports, as ECW was and Ring of Honor is based in Philadelphia, and both attract a rowdy, loud, and obnoxious crowd.

On a less negative note, there was Harry Kalas. His death hit the entire city hard, showing that even if Philly fans show it in negative ways, they really do love their sports teams and the people who keep them connected. Even a lot of those residents who don't really like sports will admit this much.

Special note should be made in regards to Benjamin Franklin, sometimes called Philly's Favorite Son - which is odd, 'cause he was born in Boston. However, Franklin lived here for most of his long life (insanely long, by the standards of the time, too), and he left an indelible mark on Philadelphia's history: considered to have established the first modern newspaper here, America's first library here, the first fire company in Pennsylvania (which was also the most modern at the time), discovered electricity here, and invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, the odometer, and the glass armonica here. According to The Other Wiki, "A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat." Oh, and he was one of the Founding Fathers; in fact, The American Revolution was arguably won because he was on our side. Among the large number of contributions he made to the Colonial effort, it was Franklin's convincing the French to become involved in the war which ensured the Victory at Yorktown, and ultimately proved to England it wasn't wroth it to continue fighting the colonies. Finally, he was a well known ladies' man, even after he got rolly-polly. Philadelphia was already a large, rich, port city before him, but Franklin is largely credited - true or not - with making Philadelphia the most powerful city in the Colonies, economically, socially, and politically. In summation, our boy Ben was nothing short of the biggest Badass God Mode Sue in American history.


Philadelphia in Fiction:[edit | hide | hide all]

Music[edit | hide]

Famous Phillies[edit | hide]

  • Matthew and Joey Lawrence
  • Joey Bishop
  • David Boreanaz
    • His father is Dave Roberts, a well-known face on WPVI (6ABC) in Philadelphia. The elder Dave changed his last name because he started out when "ethnic" names were not great to have in broadcasting. Dave still hosts 6ABC's broadcast of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, and David generally has a video message for his dad during the broadcast.
  • The Barrymore family, the most famous of whose many actor children was John Barrymore, is based in Philly.
  • Seth Green
  • Will Smith
  • Montana-born David Lynch moved to Philly at the age of 20 to attend the Academy of Fine Arts. His experiences with the city provided the fuel for his debut film Eraserhead.
  • Tina Fey
  • Jamie Kennedy
  • Kevin Bacon
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Kevin Hart
  • Grace Kelly, as well as her playwright and director uncle George Kelly
  • Bill Cosby, who lectures every September at his alma mater Temple University, and has spoken at his high school alma mater, Central.
  • Adam Carolla
  • Dick Clark
  • Nancy Spungen, girlfriend (and possible murder victim) of Sid Vicious
  • Margaret Mead
  • Noam Chomsky
  • Gloria Allred
  • The late Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez, of TLC
  • Teller, of "Penn And..."
  • Robert Crumb
  • RJD2
  • Ugly Betty cast members Becki Newton, Ana Ortiz, and Mark Indelicato.
    • Ana Ortiz's father is Philadelphia City Councilman Angel Ortiz.
  • Bill Guarnere and Edward "Babe" Heffron from Band of Brothers
    • Although portrayed by Marc Warren with more of a southern accent, Albert Blithe was from Philadelphia.
    • And Robert Leckie from The Pacific, although he grew up in Rutherford, NJ.
  • Joan Jett (Wynnewood counts!)
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Benjamin Franklin (originally from Boston, but he ran away as a boy to seek his fortune in Philadelphia and lived there most of his life. The Ben Franklin Parkway and Franklin Institute Science Museum, among many other things, are named for him. The Franklin Institute has a ginormous statue of Ben.)
  • Eve
  • The Roots
  • The late supermodel Gia Carangi. Here's an old video of her speaking in a Philly accent before she refined her speech.
  • Daryl Hall & John Oates.
  • Terry Gross of NPR's Fresh Air, although she's originally from Brooklyn.
  • Legendary contralto Marian Anderson
  • Chubby Checker (born in South Carolina but raised in South Philly).
  • Stooges Larry Fine and Joe De Rita
  • Jack Klugman
  • Erik Petersen and his band, Mischief Brew
  1. This being Philadelphia, of course, just about anything can get you laughed at by a native, but whatever
  2. and Philly's not giving that up. Budget constraints have led to more private funding for the parade, but it's not going anywhere. There'd be a general outcry.