Monday, January 1, 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017: Philadelphia
It is so good we have had no concrete plans for Philadelphia in that we arrived a day later than planned.  Our son Tony is not in town (he is in Asia), giving us time to ourselves for several days. Cal wants me to see several things beside the Mummer’s New Year’s Parade.  Two things for sure are the old Eastern States Penitentiary, and the Barnes Art Museum.  Tony has mentioned another museum that we will visit on January 2, 2018 with him.  
Due to traveling yesterday, we slept-in this morning.  When we awoke it was snowing!  There was a skiff of snow on the roofs of the building below us.  It was a beautiful scene.  We don’t expect there to be much accumulation, but we will want to wear our boots for traction, and warmth. 
We asked the concierge about a good breakfast spot.  He recommended the Marathon, but we stopped at a closer spot - Square 1628.  It is COLD outside.  Really COLD!  The wind cuts through you. However, it is partly cloudy, so the sun is shinning at times, which makes you feel warmer.  

Liberty Center

Morning Snow


Trying to keep Warm

Washington and Franklin - Masons
We decided to take a cab to the Eastern States Penitentiary – it is too cold to walk that far – the wind is from the north and would hit us head-on. Too COLD!
This Penitentiary facility, built in the early 1800’s was the first Penitentiary built in the United States. It closed in 1971, and in the 1990’s opened as a museum.  This old building is in horrible disrepair.  I don’t know their long-range plans, but at this point they want to share this HUGE Historic facility with the public.  It was an interesting place, but would have been a horrible place to live.  They use the technology of audio head phones for the tours.  It was a very good tour.   

Eastern States Penitentiary

Al Capone's Cell

Jewish Synagog

After the tour, we walked to a corner restaurant for a restroom, and while there, bought a sandwich and coffee. By now we were half way to the Barnes Art Museum, so we continued walking.  Actually, the wind was at our back, and the sun was shining, so the walk was not too bad!
The Barnes Museum is the private collection of Albert C. Barnes.  He made his money by a Chemical invention and sold his business for millions before the Great Depression in 1929.  After that he began collecting works of art for educational purposes.  He built a gallery in a Philadelphia suburb, but met an early death in a car accident.  His collection was moved to a new building here in downtown Philadelphia, displayed in the exact same manner as he designed. He hung the works of art in a pattern for the best in art education.  He has the largest collection of painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir – 181 paintings. A French painter – 1841-1919.  
We have always like Renoir’s work, since in college Cal did a term paper on him, for a Fine Arts’ class. You get to the point, when you see a wall of paintings in front of you, there is no problem picking out a work by Renoir.  His style is so different.  It is so soft, and tender. He had a fascination with women or girls wearing beautiful hats. All of his people has such beautiful pleasant faces, often with smiles.  Barnes had works from other of his favorite painters too, but obviously Renoir was his favorite.  We much prefer Renoir’s over anything else.

Van Gogh - Postman


After the Barnes Museum we continued walking toward the Westin Hotel, and hopefully find a taxi somewhere.  Then we saw the door was open at the Cathedral/Basilica of St Peter & Paul off Logan Square. This is the largest Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. We decided to detour that way for both a look, as well as a place to warm-up.  By the time we left, we decided we would continue walking, and forget about the cab - the wind was at our back.  

It has been a busy day.  After relaxing at the hotel for a while, we walked to the Dandelion Restaurant.  While we waited 30 minutes for a table, we walked to the Rittenhouse Square, a block away, to see their Christmas decoration.  After dinner we called it a day!
Rittenhouse Square

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