South Street was our home base while in Philadelphia. A home away from home. Welcome to part one of several about our trip to America.
After South African Airways did everything in its power to prevent us from actually travelling (I’ll go into that in detail another time), we finally arrived in Washington in 36-degree heat. Philadelphia – just 30 minutes away by plane and itself a sweltering oven – felt like Frodo’s own Mount Doom.
There’s a really useful cab service out of the airport that will provide a flat rate to your exact address. In our case, South Street on the edge of Center Town. $30. A safe way to get there, and considering you don’t know where you’re going, the best option with a car full of bags.
South Street Shuffle
I really like South Street. It has a reputation for being an old bohemian and punk haven, and there are still remnants of that identity here and there.
There are rather many shopfronts adorned with… interesting ladies’ accoutrements and outfits, like The Candy Store (variously known as the Kandy or Candy Barrel, etc).
This must have been interesting to explain to our little nieces and nephews who were also on the trip.
Across the street from our home base, the La Fourno Italian restaurant plays lounge versions of pop tunes out front all day. Think ‘Sinatra does Nirvana’. Atomic City Comics depot is good for a long browse, and a $1500 Avengers comic if you can afford it.
There are still enough privately-owned eateries, music stores, pawn shops and drinking holes, though; notably, Jim’s Steaks, a world-renowned Philly Cheese Steak outlet. And my personal point of interest, the Brauhaus Schmitz. A very… German place (Warsteiner for the win!).
Sadly, the street has also sadly started succumbing to the corporates and capitalisms – a huge Nike Store, for example. But that doesn’t (yet) detract from a perfect spot from which to start an exploration of the old Center City, especially if situated between 6th and 8th streets. From there, you could basically walk everywhere.