You many not realize this, but Philadelphia is all about love . Famously, it is the “City of Brotherly Love”, and Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE statue can be found here in “Love Park”.
But there is a deeper undercurrent of “love” that just keeps growing. Examples? Well, in the 1970’s, Gamble’s and Huff’s Sound of Philadelphia released the O’Jays’ hit “Love Train”.
That theme carries through today in a way that is uniquely Philly. Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program (on its own, a reason to love Philly) sponsors a “Love Letter Train Tour” in which an elevated train passes different “love letter” murals by artist Steve Powers; one of his murals, LL-I-love-you, is seen above. SEPTA, which oversees mass-transit, collects (and rewards) its own Love Stories, also offering special rides to see all the love.
The idea of the “Love Letter”, is not isolated. The city has an entire marketing campaign around the concept, called “with Love, Philadelphia XOXO“, begun in 2009. It notably welcomed Cliff Lee back to the Phillies’ fold in early 2010 with a special, billboard love-letter.
More recently, Philadelphian Emma Fried-Cassorla started her own homage to Philly in 2012 with the website, Philly Love Notes. The site welcomes contributions and “reminders” of all that is great and wonderful – and sometimes forgotten – within the city.
Being a “cheerleader” for Philly, myself, I submitted a love note to one of my favorite things about the city: the juxtaposition of old and new and the resulting breath of history and possibility that permeates the air. Specifically, I wrote about this dilapidated building at 18th and Fitzwater: It began thusly:
Dear Streets of Philadelphia,
I love your old bones. I adore your peeling paint, patched stained-glass windows, and bricked-in doors, windows, and archways. I am drawn to the juxtaposition of your historical remnants with renovated and renewed structures in testament to what was, and the potential of what is to be. Read More
I hope to contribute more in the future. Culture, History, Architecture, People, Sports… in Philly, there is just so much to love!
“LOVE” photo: http://press.visitphilly.com/uploads/photos/2308_l.jpg photo credit: B. Krist for GPTMC; “LL-I-love-you photo: http://www.aloveletterforyou.com/?page_id=198; Cliff Lee Billboard photo: http://www.uwishunu.com/2010/12/photo-of-the-day-our-brand-new-welcome-home-cliff-lee-with-love-letter-is-now-a-billboard-on-i-95/ photo credit: M. Edlow for GPTMC