Philly's Odds & End
There has always been something unique and interesting about Philadelphia. It certainly has its share of unique places and food which many people tie to the city itself. Here's a few of the unique things that make it a great place to visit on Saturday, July 12, 2014 for the first inaugural FreeWalkers' Philadelphia Freedom Walk.
The Rocky Steps and Statue
One of Philadelphia’s most famous pieces of public art is a bigger-than-life boxer... literally. Originally created for Rocky III, the sculpture is now a real-life monument to a celluloid hero. The fictional Rocky Balboa of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky movies was immortalized in bronze in 1980. After filming for the movie completed, Stallone donated the statue to the City of Philadelphia.
The statue is located at the bottom of the stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, so be sure to get a photo with Rocky Balboa himself.
Officially named JFK Plaza, this is space is located in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The park is nicknamed Love Park for Robert Indiana's Love sculpture which overlooks the plaza.
It was first placed in the plaza in 1976 as part of the United States'Bicentennial celebration. It was removed in 1978, but the sculpture was missed and the chairman of Philadelphia Art Commission, F. Eugene Dixon, Jr., bought the sculpture and permanently placed it in the plaza, in 1978. The Love Park fountain is often dyed colors throughout the year to commemorate or celebrate events.
In its history, it has not always been a place to show brotherly love. The large space, granite ledges, and stairs made the plaza attractive to skateboarding and in the late 80s early 90s it became a popular location known nationally for daring skateboarders. Eventually, the park changed as skateboarding became too disruptive and skateboarders were given a different space at the new Paine's Park along the Skuykill River. A place that welcomes the love between skateboarders and the public.
The Philly Cheesesteak
A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz, but American and provolone are also common choices.
The cheesesteak made its official debut in 1930. Pat Olivieri was a South Philadelphia hot dog vendor who one day decided to put some beef from the butcher on his grill. The rest is history.
Today, Pat’s King of Steaks, at 9th Street & Passyunk Avenue, competes with Geno’s, the rival shop across the street. For 40 years, the two shops have waged a friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town, with Geno’s founder, Joe Vento, claiming it was he, not Olivieri, who first added cheese to the cheesesteak. There are other competitors that fight for the title too. You be the judge.
The origin of the pretzel, as we know it, has its roots in Pennsylvania, but Philadelphia has a particular style of pretzel that is soft, delicious, chewy, salty, and manufactured and sold all over the city at stands and stores. Philly’s soft-pretzels have a distinctive shape and taste that seem to be available only in Philly and the surrounding areas. Soft pretzels are so desirable in this city that some report Philadelphia consumes up to twelve times the national average in pretzels each year. Don't just buy one, bring a few back with you. They freeze well so you can relive the taste of Philly anytime you want.