Dear Mr. Content:That's a, that's a good question, and timely, too, what with Silk City saying sayonara this very weekend.
Yo! Do youse ever miss Philly?
Standard answer: I (sometimes) miss being single and/or childless in Philadelphia. But I'm glad we moved the nuclear family here in the shadow of Three Mile Island.
But, yes, I lived, loved (sic), drank, danced, ROCKED! (dude!), learned, worked, played, etc. (but mostly slacked) in the City of Brotherly Love for 17 years, which is now LESS than half of my life (sob).
It is an irony worthy of the pen of Euripides that the inner ring of the city, extending out concentrically from Center City, has flourished under John Street, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative mayor, since we've left, while the actual, much-vaunted neighborhoods (including the one from which the mayor and his brother sprang, and where I spent 7 non-consecutive years chasing academic degrees) have continued their long, slow descent toward hell. But, hey, we lived in NoLibs when the hipsters at Johnny Brenda's were still in diapers, and sold our house in
As you might have gathered from the above, I still read the Daily News, Philadelphia Weekly (it'll always be the Welcomat to me, dammit!), City Paper (with grain of salt nearby), and, yes, even the Inquirer, on a fairly regular basis. Still can't abide Philadelphia (sic) magazine, though. But, those are just Internet-enabled stand-ins for the real thing -- mentally, I've been, as Harry Kalas would say, outtahere for a long time.
Today, Philadelphia is meaningful to me primarily as the birthplace of my daughters, and the home of the Eagles.
I was having a martini (hey, it's Friday), and cooking some pasta with a red tomato gravy sauce, and listening to Sinatra on the iPod in the dining room, and...
I realized that I miss Sid Mark.
I miss hearing about this week's specials at Zinman Furs (tell 'em Sid sent you). I miss hearing about the family tradition packed in Cento Fine Foods. I miss hearing about Mamma Maria Ristorante Italiano. I miss the stories about Sid hanging in AC with Frank and Frank Jr.
In South Philly, even the medegon part we lived in, you could walk down the street on a Friday and not miss un minuto of Sid's show. At home, I would have it on in the background while Sid played Frank's records, but turn it up and listen intently between songs when Sid would do his Sid thing: "Francis Albert with Nelson Riddle, from 1953, and friends, this weekend, why not stop by and say hello to the fine folks at Gary Barbera Dodgeland and Gary Barbera Chryslerland/Jeepland, where you can test-drive the *all-new* Chrysler LeBaron, tops in its class for luxury with that famous Chrysler styling, and *thir-ty-two* miles per gallon in the city? Back to the music now with Frank and Billy May..." Pure sugar.