Monday, March 14, 2011

Gollum: or the Frank Sinatra mural

A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Location: S Broad Street and Wharton
Artist: Diane Keller (She's to blame for several other murals in the city)
Part of the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia.
Completed: 11/1/99

Thanks to Matchstick Girl for pinning down that this is Gollum.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

King of Prussia Mall - only a bus ride with a junkie hooker away

I've been extremely lax in my blog - and I apologize. But I have a new job starting this Monday and it requires effort to be back in the 9-5 working world. Effort such as buying new clothes. And to buy new clothes I made the sacrifice and went on a pilgrimage to mecca (no disrespect intended it's just that if you prayed to the god of consumerism then this is your temple) - or as others may know it "King of Prussia Mall."

  • King of Prussia Mall is the largest mall on the East Coast.
  • The Mall is divided into two sections: the Plaza and the Court.
  • The Plaza side opened in 1963.
  • There are over 400 stores and restaurants. Most of them upscale ie Betsy Johnson, Stuart Weitzman, chick-fil-a...
  • It is a real pain in the ass to get there from the city.
  • There actually was a King of Prussia. Many of them, I imagine. However, the name originates from an 18th century local tavern called "The King of Prussia Inn" named after Frederick II, King of Prussia.

King of Prussia Mall is located at 160 North Gulf Road. You can take a bus (but DON'T). If you do (DON'T) you can catch the 124 or the 125 from Market Street. There is no train that takes you there directly.

  • Try their iphone app. Because shopping can never be too pretentious.

  • Take the bus. No, really, please - DON'T DO IT.  Ask a friend for a ride because taking the local bus is:
    • a) long 
    • b) not always on time 
    • c) awkward when you are trying to avoid the junkie hooker's eyes.

PS. In an effort to be honest - that bus ride described above was actually taken this summer. Today I drove.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mario Lanza Institue and Museum - or a place so small you've probably missed it


  • Mario Lanza was born in 1921 at 636 Christian Street.
  • His birth name was Alfredo Arnold Cocozza.
  • As a young boy he listened to opera records and trained with a local music teacher, Irene Williams.
  • He was discovered by a famous conductor, drafted into the Army, and then later worked with MGM in Hollywood showcasing his amazing operatic tenor.
  • His film, "The Great Caruso", was the top grossing film in the world in 1951.
  • He left Hollywood to move to Italy and died in Rome in 1959 of a heart attack.
  • The Mario Lanza museum is next to St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church. 

St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi Church


  • Visit the museum at 712 Montrose Street on the first floor of Columbus House.
  • Call before visiting - they might be closed. Their hours are Monday through Wednesday and Friday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Visit their website.

Entrance to  the museum


  • Worry about admission. It's free, though donations are accepted.
  • Know what to expect? The museum houses Mario Lanza memorabilia and has items for sale. 
  • Miss his mural at the corner of Broad and Reed.
  • Worry. I had no idea who he was either.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pennsylvania Hospital - or the oldest hospital in the United States

  • I haven't posted as much recently because I have been interviewing and looking for jobs. 
  • You probably don't care about that.
  • Another unrelated fact? The woman in the apartment next door thinks that we live in a slum and that it's okay for her to leave her trash in the hall.

  • This is the first hospital in the United States and founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond in 1751.
  • The building below is still in use.
  • The hospital was, and still is, a teaching hospital.
  • It held the first Medical Library and in 1847 was designated the largest medical library in the country by the American Medical Association.

  • Wait too long in the spring. The garden blooms for only a few short weeks. 
  • Know where to go? The hospital is located at 800 Spruce Street.