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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 09.04.2019

A love letter to Philadelphia


philly-letter
Photo: Sammie Yoon

This summer, my aunt and I went to Bradley Beach in New Jersey. On our way back from the steaming hot beach day, abbreviated by biting green flies and triple–digit heat index, we pulled into the parking lot of a Wawa. After a month and a half working and living in New York City, I wanted nothing more than to pull into the nondescript parking lot and order a grilled cheese on one of the grimy kiosks. 

I often feel that I have to understand my emotional responses via reverse–engineering. I have a reaction to something, understand that I’m experiencing an emotion, and then realize a few days later exactly what it was, often through some combination of writing, space, and reflection. 

What I realized in that Wawa is that I was homesick, so homesick it formed a pit my stomach. I loved New York, the hustle and the excitement and even the smell of garbage on the street. But I missed Philadelphia. Growing up in the suburbs, I took this city for granted. I don’t want to do that anymore. Ever since those few months away, the longest I'd been apart from the Philly area since I was a child, I started to feel defensive. When people insulted Philadelphia, I felt the same bile in my throat as I do when people insult my family, my friends, Street. 

I started to take Philly personally, maybe as a kind of pre–emptive nostalgia, knowing that I might leave at the end of this year. So I present an incomplete list of things I love about Philadelphia.

  1. The snap–and–twist of opening a new bottle of milk at Wawa and the thrill of being the first one to pour it in your coffee
  2. Abyssinia on 45th and Walnut (and the excellent speakeasy–esque bar above it)
  3. Walking to Center City on a Saturday afternoon and meandering until you find yourself in Trader Joe’s with no idea how you got there
  4. Not caring about sports but running to City Hall when the Eagles won the Super Bowl anyway
  5. Looking up at the ceiling in 30th Street Station while you’re waiting for your train (RIP to the flipboard)
  6. The macabre oddities of the Mütter Museum—and the fact that you can host your wedding there, which I desperately want to do if I ever get married 
  7. The convoluted liquor laws that make it far too easy to host a BYO with 30 of your closest friends
  8. Walking back to your apartment after a weekend away and feeling, finally, at home

There’s much more to love about Philly, but these are just what comes to mind on this random Tuesday afternoon. As much as Street is a Penn publication, it’s also a Philly one. We’re lucky enough to spend four years here, and I hope you can find some things to love about Philadelphia too, whether you’re a freshman with the whole city stretched in front of you or a senior frantically crossing things off your bucket list. 


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