Starting Tomorrow, We’re Making Our Point

 

Map of Hidden City Festival sites | Googlemaps

Map of Hidden City Festival sites | Googlemaps

For reasons of time and sanity, as last weekend wore on through baseball games (little league and professional), street fairs, theater, and our Hidden City Festival opening reception, I ditched SEPTA and started taking taxis. Beyond the disheartening cost of a taxi ride (on Sunday, by the time my driver had circled west around 30th Street Station only to head east, the meter had hit $5), taxi rides force me to confront that old, but painfully enduring vision of Philadelphia as rinky dink town. This is all the fault of the map that’s affixed to the back of the front seats, facing the passenger (and next to the useless television screen) that shows only the most diminutive idea of Philadelphia barely beyond William Penn’s original grid–only about 1.5 percent of the actual Philadelphia.

Whatever the reason the PPA has chosen this laughably shrunken cartoon vision of the city that leaves out just about everything that is wonderful and interesting and practical, it’s based on faulty assumption and error: that most cab riders are skittish tourists afraid to cross the simplified borders of Center City and that the Philadelphia residents from all corners of the city who are most of the riders wouldn’t benefit by a real map that helps them navigate their very large and sometimes confusing city.

I can’t think of another large, complicated, sprawling city that seeks to infantilize itself in this way. We appear afraid of our own shadow.

And this is a central point of the Hidden City Festival: to broaden our concept of the city and expand the way we experience it; to draw us out of our own neighborhoods and onto someone else’s streets; to remind us just how large and complex a place this really is. This is something we try to do every day in our coverage on the Hidden City Daily, but reading about different places isn’t enough: we must get out there and immerse ourselves in the endless city. But only go by taxi if you have to.

For complete information on the nine Hidden City Festival sites and art projects, hours, and ticketing, click HERE.

About the author

Nathaniel Popkin is co-founder of the Hidden City Daily and author of three books of non-fiction, including Philadelphia: Finding the Hidden City (with Peter Woodall and Joseph E.B. Elliott) and two novels, Everything is Borrowed and Lion and Leopard. He is co-editor of Who Will Speak for America, an anthology forthcoming in June 2018, and the senior writer of the film documentary "Philadelphia: The Great Experiment."



Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Final Plans To Transfer Philadelphia History Museum Collection To Drexel University Unveiled

Final Plans To Transfer Philadelphia History Museum Collection To Drexel University Unveiled

September 12, 2019  |  City Life, History

The Philadelphia History Museum is officially dead. The large collection of beloved city artifacts will be transferred to Drexel University. Kimberly Haas has the news > more

Hidden City Daily Celebrates Eight Years Of Publishing

Hidden City Daily Celebrates Eight Years Of Publishing

September 11, 2019  |  City Life

September marks Hidden City Daily's 8th year of publishing. To toast the occasion we look back at the past 12 months with a curated list of our top 15 stories. > more

Settlement Houses: Doing Good In The Neighborhood

Settlement Houses: Doing Good In The Neighborhood

September 9, 2019  |  History

Stacia Friedman takes a look at Philadelphia's long tradition of providing social welfare and education through settlement houses, some of which still serve communities today > more

Until Death Do Us Part: An Ode To Philadelphia Book Collecting

Until Death Do Us Part: An Ode To Philadelphia Book Collecting

September 6, 2019  |  History

In celebration of National Read A Book Day, Mickey Herr dives deep into the stacks at some of Philadelphia's most historic and obscure libraries > more

Bootleggers & Back Alley Bars: Philadelphia During Prohibition A City

Bootleggers & Back Alley Bars: Philadelphia During Prohibition A City “Soaked In Alcohol”

September 4, 2019  |  History

Speakeasies are all the rage these days. The revival finds its roots in secret cocktail lounges that opened after the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1920. Pennsylvania got a head start and outlawed alcohol in 1919. Amy Cohen takes a look back at Philadelphia during Prohibition on the 100-year anniversary of the ban > more

From Flophouse To Fairfield Inn: Memories & The Makeover Of A Troubled Hotel

From Flophouse To Fairfield Inn: Memories & The Makeover Of A Troubled Hotel

August 30, 2019  |  City Life

Like a chain-smoking phoenix rising from the ashes, the infamous Parker Hotel at 13th and Spruce reopened in 2018 after major renovations and decades of decline. Hidden City contributor Stacia Friedman takes a look back at the former transient hotel with memories of her grandparents' pharmacy next door > more