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
Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

January 15, 2019  |  Soapbox

Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance offers a counterpoint to our Lost Buildings of 2018 list with this opinion piece > more

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

January 4, 2019  |  News

Jefferson University brings Modernist architecture to the forefront with their new historic preservation program and center for studies. Michael Bixler has the news > more

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

January 3, 2019  |  Vantage

Stenton, the former plantation house in Logan, prepares to honor Dinah with their new project, Inequality in Bronze. Keshler Thibert has the details > more

Lost Buildings of 2018

Lost Buildings of 2018

December 27, 2018  |  News

Philadelphia's preservation crisis reached a critical high in 2018 with a record-breaking number of demolition permits approved by the City. Here we highlight some of the biggest loses to our built environment in our annual end-of-year list > more

Having A Good One This Holiday Season In Philadelphia

Having A Good One This Holiday Season In Philadelphia

December 21, 2018  |  Last Light

Seasons Greetings from Hidden City! Michael Bixler dives deep into the archives and brings back a bounty of Philly holiday cheer > more

Best Architecture, Urban Design, & Public Art Of 2018

Best Architecture, Urban Design, & Public Art Of 2018

December 20, 2018  |  Vantage

It was a banner year for architecture, art, adaptive reuse, and design. JoAnn Greco shines a light on Philly's best projects of 2018 > more