Day 3: Slowin’ Down in Philadelphia

I was all gung-ho to get some shooting done in Philadelphia today since the sun was out and smiling right away.  The threat of rain in the afternoon had me extra antsy (it didn’t come til evening).  But then stuff got in the way — some good, some bad.  Though not too bad.  I noticed a tire low on air.  Took Sparkle over to a nearby Firestone where we got fixed up (a nail) for free since I cleverly bought “road hazard service” at some point.  But it was a real methodical shop which took nearly an hour to do proper procedures (estimate paperwork, paper on the floor mat & plastic around the seat and steering wheel, closing paperwork, etc).  So I was stuck for another hour in New Jersey.

One last shot before crossing the river — from Mount Ephraim.  Probably not a paint store originally.  Bays next to it make me think it was a car dealership or car-related sort of business.  Note the groovy triangulated front windows as well:


On to Philadelphia — one of several sports statues from the 1970s at Citizens Bank Park:


And then on to today’s main event.  I had an early morning “date” with Len Davidson who lives in Philadelphia.  Neon collector, restorer, artist, historian.  And nice guy.  He’s also the author of “Vintage Neon” — a must have book for anyone that loves neon signs.  Pricey — but photo-rich and worth every penny since you’ll keep it on your shelf the rest of your life:

Len gave me a little tour of some things in his personal collection.  Embossed porcelain letters.  These signs were mass-produced.  Here’s one in Jefferson, TX with the glass and neon intact:

A panel from a Howard Johnson’s restaurant — the Lamplighter sign:

A super neat small “box” sign:


Classic & wonderful:

And then, there he is!  In Sparkle’s passenger seat.  Len took a ride around downtown with us for a bit — pointing out some things that I might have missed.  The dogs were mostly good.  Gremlin saw lots of dogs and motorcycles to bark at — which must have amused and irritated Len a bit.  If so, he never let on.  But, thankfully, it was hot and the dogs were tired and nobody jumped all over the guy.  Even though, technically, he was in THEIR seat.


So that was mighty fun.  And an honor to finally meet the guy I’ve read about for decades.  Even though it set my schedule back — way, way back.  Sometimes, you just have to go with the flow.  And be polite and patient.  And not carry on like the frenzied fiend that you really are — making every day a race against time.


So let’s get back to the Philly photos.  A random and beautiful Art Deco detail:


A cute Dutch boy holding —  a tire?  Maybe a garage:


A pit stop at Shane’s Candies — sorry, I didn’t buy anything!  My will against sugar these days is mighty strong.  And I already had my sweet for this trip (that frozen custard a couple of days back).  But mostly a stop to document the major exterior change.  This photo from 2009:


But a change in ownership in 2010 — and now the facade is blue and the signs are gone.  OK — at least the look is the same — and they left the stained glass alone — and even more of it is visible.  But still, I’m bummed:

The Wedgewood Blue now continues to the inside (also previously green):

It does look pretty nice and tidy and fancy though.  And it smelled strongly of chocolate mint truffles or something when I walked in.  But I resisted.  The gorgeous register:


A random Deco building detail:


And a nice car showroom that I finally got in the sun:


Just one more photo for this post.  The Masonic Temple downtown has an Egyptian Room.  And I have a growing appreciation for the Egyptian Revival style and all.  But you can only see it on the tour.  The tour is about 45 mins and cheap at $8.  But 45 mins. is a lot for me to give up on a sunny day and one already shrunken by socializing.  Here’s what we missed:

So, mental note the next time I’m in Philly on a crappy, rainy day, I’ll have something to look forward to — and shoot for you.  I did shoot this Sphinx, one of a pair, in the lobby:


Tomorrow, some stuff surrounding Philly — and then down to Delaware.  I doubt I’ll get to anything on the Maryland list before I have to skedaddle home.

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