Notes from Philadelphia

 

We arrived in Philadelphia yesterday, after an hour and 20 minute train ride. Have never gone from one city to another with so little hassle—including going to Los Angeles from home.

We did manage to get to the MOMA on Sunday. We’ve gone before, but looking at some of their great works never grows old. Whether it’s Warhol’s soup cans or Monet’s waterlilies I always seem to see something new every time I see them. Although, after seeing Monet’s waterlilies at the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris, where his waterlilies are arranged so that you are surrounded by them, as Monet intended, I was a little bit let down by the flat murals at MOMA. We walked back to our hotel, stopping for dinner at an Italian restaurant.

On Monday, Roger’s cold was at its worst, but after a breakfast of two cans of chicken noodle soup (from cans that haven’t really changed their design much since Warhol painted them,) he felt better, so we went to the 9/11 memorial and took a tour. The place was mobbed, as we expected it would be, but it was still a very moving experience. The waterfall footprints of the two towers are beautiful. After our tour, we decided to eat an early dinner in a historical tavern in the financial district. As we were walking to where we thought it was (we actually took a wrong turn after emerging from the subway,) we found ourselves looking at the original Delmonico’s on William Street. Roger observed that we could eat there. I observed that we were hardly dressed for such an establishment—jeans, polo shirts, and sneakers. He observed we could find out, and walked in. Evidently our attire was not a barrier, possibly because it was 4:30 pm.  We had salad, steak, and Delmonico potatoes. The steaks were fabulous, and the potatoes—an amazing confluence of potatoes, cheese, and bacon, were amazing. This restaurant has been there 1837, and brags that Abraham Lincoln liked the Delmonico potatoes.

We spent Tuesday at the Met. We’ve been several times before, but have always concentrated on ancient art—with Roger, Egyptian art especially. This time we spent time viewing 19th and early 20th century art. After lunch at the Museum’s restaurant I walked through Central Park, back to the hotel, to do laundry. Roger spent the afternoon enjoying more art especially their five Vermeer’s.

In Philadelphia, we are staying at a “boutique” hotel near Rittenhouse Square. It is an area of many excellent restaurants, and yesterday we ate lunch at one before going to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Art to view their wonderful collection of American art, including some wonderful Peale portraits of George Washington. Last night we ate at another excellent local restaurant.

Today we spent the day “doing” the Philadelphia Art Museum. They have an impressive collection of impressionists that I particularly enjoyed. Tonight, we went City Tavern for dinner, which has been around longer than Delmonico’s, 1773. Fabulous food, reasonable prices, and the waiters dress in 18th century costumes.

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