East Coast Redux

Northern Liberties Rooftop, half-built home, near the horse stables (which are guarded by a stable cat and a stable dog, both friendly).  Street explorations.  Good companions.  November nights.  Philadelphia.

Schwartz, faux-verwhelmed by Soho crowds.

Wild Al, @ the Room in Soho..  Amazing service, conversation, vibe, beer, and 90’s heavy soundtrack including Sebadoh and the Lilys.  We’re never really looking for much more than that.

Though rare circa 2009, there are still scattered places in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, that still hold the same flavor and sense of nebulous American magic and longing that informed much of my 2001 novel The Pilot and the Panda. One would think it would take an informed guide and perhaps even a detailed map to find such places any more in the overdeveloped spiritual wreckage of said town, but Mary instinctively snapped the above photo from the window of our speeding rental car, which leads one to believe that all it takes is a big heart and open eyes to see what so many in this country wish we hadn’t.

City Hall, Philadelphia.  Such a visual staple of everyday Philadelphia life, as a resident you would never think to snap a photo of the post-masonic wonder that Walt Whitman described as “silent, weird, beautiful”, but coming home to it again, well, by golly there it is.  Amazing to see after a decade long cleaning effort the grime has already returned, in all manners of speaking.


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