Sunday, October 26, 2008

Skyline and homecoming

Twice this past week, I've been in Center City with people who don't get there too often. Me, I used to live there, six blocks over from City Hall, and varying distances south.

I grew up in a city without skyscrapers, and I used to get absolutely tickled that I could look up and see those immense glass sculptures, vistas changing as I moved around town. It changed my sense of scale, and of homecoming. The moment when I rounded the curve of the highway and saw the glittering spires and felt myself settle back into my skin became the payoff moment of the drive home from my parents' house. Now that I'm often coming home from points north, and home is in the northwestern reaches of the city, I miss that moment.

(For the record, the best way to approach Philadelphia is from the south, on I95 or I76, or, as Jane Dark reminded me, the R1 from the airport. I have opinions on other cities, too: DC is best approached from the south on I295, and Boston from Route 2, coming in from Concord, preferably after a long day spent at Walden Pond.)


(un)relaxeddad said...

For me when I was little, approaching home always meant a big glow of orange light as a whole tangle of motorways converged. Then when I worked out of NY for a while, commuting between there and London, it was the sight of those skyscrapers on the way in from JFK. Just as breathtaking as in the movies!

S. said...

Yes! When you come to New York from the air or the water, you really get the full impact that Manhattan is an *island.*

Magpie said...

Yes - heading towards Manhattan from the East (JFK, the Long Island Expressway) is the best approach.