It doesn’t have the same ring to it as the actual lyrics from the 1960s classic “Summer in the City”, “where the back of my neck is getting dirty and gritty,” but it is my new reality.
I bid adieu to center city Philadelphia today, as my office moves to Wayne, Pa. over the weekend. Monday morning I’ll report to the new digs a little sadder for the longer commute and cookie-cutter office park with no character. I’ve been spoiled (and fortunate) to have worked in Old City these past three years, and I know it.
I worked in the burbs for years before I accepted the my current position in 2011, so I know the drill. You need a car to go anywhere, and the view is nothing but tall office buildings that seem to go on forever.
When I accepted my current position, I remember being a little leery about working in the city again, something I hadn’t done since my early 20s. Turns out, I loved it and the surroundings (Independence Hall and The Constitution Center are across the street to the east, with Washington Square to the South, and Jewelers’ Row to the west). These and other landmarks inspired me to create the blog series, “A lunchtime tourist in her own city”, and a novel entitled “Daughters of the Hall”, about the descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. I guarantee you that idea wouldn’t have come to me if I didn’t walk past Independence Hall every day.
I’ll miss the lunchtime walks, running to do a quick errand without a car, the photography opportunities, and the people watching. It doesn’t come any better than sitting on a bench in Washington Square and observing human nature as it walks by you.
I’ll miss all of the historic landmarks and gardens, the cobblestone streets, and the sight of a horse-drawn carriage moseying down Chestnut Street in the middle of rush hour. That always provides for a few colorful remarks from drivers anxious to get home.
I’ll miss the building where I worked on the top floor, and the lovely Tiffany mural that sits in the lobby. The Curtis Building has such a unique history in the city, and is the former home of Curtis Publishing, the company that created and distributed “The Saturday Evening Post”, “Ladies Home Journal”, and various other popular magazines. It also housed The Philadelphia Inquirer in its heyday. The building has a place in the hearts of some of my family members, as well. My mother worked for Curtis Publishing back in the 1950s, and my cousin, one of my dearest friends, and my ex-husband (while we were married) worked in the building at ARA Food Services, which is now known as Aramark. The building was recently sold, and new owners plan to convert the office space from vacating tenants to luxury apartments and restaurants.
Most of all, I’ll miss Laz Parking staff in the Curtis garage who parked my car each morning, and brought it to me at the end of the day with a broad smile. By far, these fellows are the best garage staff in the city. No matter how busy it got, they were always pleasant, friendly, and funny.
It’s been great, Philly, but as of Monday morning, I belong to Montgomery County again. Thanks for the good times.