Our Stake in Philly Philadelphia is about to make history again. Only this time you’ll be there. ASHA Convention Coverage
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ASHA Convention Coverage  |   June 01, 2004
Our Stake in Philly
Author Notes
  • Ellen Uffen, is the managing editor, features, of The ASHA Leader.
    Ellen Uffen, is the managing editor, features, of The ASHA Leader.×
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Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA Convention Coverage
ASHA Convention Coverage   |   June 01, 2004
Our Stake in Philly
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 6-13. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.09112004.6
The ASHA Leader, June 2004, Vol. 9, 6-13. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC.09112004.6
The City of Brotherly Love is already preparing itself for the 2004 ASHA Convention Nov. 18-20 with its theme of United in Science and Service, including many sessions highlighting the bond between the research lab and the clinic, between audiology and speech-language pathology. The Convention will be held at the vast (1.3 million square feet) Pennsylvania Convention Center, situated in the neighborhood of Center City, convenient, as its location implies, to just about everything Philadelphia has to offer-great shopping, eating, cultural attractions, and the sheer excitement of experiencing one of America’s greatest cities.
Philadelphia’s history dates from 1681 when the Quaker William Penn received some land near the Delaware River from King Charles II of England. Charles, as a tribute to Penn’s father-who had honorably served the king as an admiral-called the parcel of land “Penn,” and with a nod to the woodsy beauty of the setting, the younger Penn added the suffix that made his new acquisition “Pennsylvania.” Soon after, William Penn chose Philadelphia as the capital of this place that he hoped would be a center of religious and political freedom and tolerance.
William Penn and his fellow English Quakers shared their new home with its native American inhabitants-the Algonquin tribes of the Delaware and Shawnee-and the Dutch and Swedes who had arrived earlier to trade mostly in fur and tobacco. Soon, other nationalities joined the population, and Philadelphia-formally incorporated as a city in 1701-began to gain a reputation as a center of trade and manufacture, which led to its becoming an important pre-revolutionary port. Penn also made sure that his city was physically well planned and organized, and laid it out in a grid system between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers that allowed space for population growth and for public squares and a town square. Penn’s planning design would become a pattern for many other American urban centers. (See the sidebar on p. 13 for additional historical information about Philadelphia.)
The Modern City
The Philadelphia of the 21st century that will greet ASHA members has not lost its original character. It retains its past-not only in the form of important historical buildings, but in the richness of its neighborhoods and diverse ethnic populations. The original settlement that William Penn called Philadelphia and where the first inhabitants dug caves and built huts was only a small portion of the present, modern city. The city grew in settlements, townships, and villages, that in 1854 were all consolidated under a single municipal government.
The result is a complex of neighborhoods that have become what we know as the modern city of Philadelphia. But ask a native to enumerate the neighborhoods and you’ll get wildly varying figures-a dozen? 200? It depends on how you’re counting and whom you’re asking.
There are some neighborhoods, however, that everyone agrees are part of the mix. You’re at the Convention Center, so you’re already in Center City, the part of town that William Penn himself conceived as its heart, although there’s a lot more of it today than he originally envisioned. Center City is now where you’ll find most of Philadelphia’s historic sites. Venture out between ASHA sessions, put on your walking shoes, bring a camera, and start going east, through Chinatown. Maybe stop for lunch-it’s hard to resist the wonderful aromas-and some gifts. Then keep walking.
Visit Independence National Historical Park, home of Independence Hall, with its beautiful Georgian architecture, and the Liberty Bell Pavilion, as well as many other famous sites. Close by is Betsy Ross’s house, Christ Church, and Elfreth’s Alley-America’s oldest residential street. There are houses here dating from 1728. Then stroll south to Society Hill, also part of the Old City of Philadelphia, and wander through the cobblestone streets and admire the beautiful restored homes.
Important as the history of Philadelphia is, don’t forget the rest of this vibrant town. Certainly, colorful South Philly is well worth a visit, at least for a stroll and a meal or two-it’s the Little Italy of Philadelphia with its famous Italian Market (at 9th and Christian). While you’re savoring the sights and smells, give a passing thought to Rocky Balboa and, if you can remember that far back, imagine the dulcet tones of Philly’s own Mario Lanza. There’s a Mario Lanza Institute and Museum here. But also think Philly cheesesteaks. This is the place to find the real ones. If you have time, go to the Mummers Museum that honors the men with the fabulous plumage who take part annually in Philadelphia’s famous New Year’s Mummers Parade.
And Philly offers plenty of other interesting strolls: University City, across the Schuylkill River in West Philadelphia, has been home to the University of Pennsylvania since the 1870s. Drexel University is close by as well. Take a walk through the Penn campus. Admire the architecture. If you have time, experience the charms of Manayunk, which is four miles north of the center of Philly. It’s a 19th-century place that has eased its way with quirky charm and energy into the 21st century. Restaurants, hip boutiques, and galleries line the old canal. It’s worth the trip.
And there are parks all over the city for you to rest your feet-search out the section of Fairmount Park near Boathouse Row for some lively people watching. After you’ve rested, walk around a bit. The huge park is home to the Philadelphia Zoo, historic mansions, sculptures, and is a favorite spot of rollerbladers, runners, and lots of other people like you who are just taking in the sights.
Don’t miss visiting Philadelphia’s museums. For starters, the Philadelphia Museum of Art offers a world-class collection of masterpieces housed in a spectacular neoclassical building; the Rodin Museum contains the largest collection of the sculptor’s creations outside of the other Rodin Museum in Paris; the Franklin Institute Science Museum houses the new Fels Planetarium and the Tuttleman IMAX Theater. For an unusual stop, visit the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. Now a museum of sorts, this is the place that once held such luminaries as Willie Sutton and Al Capone.
In fact, there’s art all over the place in Philadelphia thanks to the 1959 “percent for art” ordinance that mandated a certain percentage of construction costs for municipal projects be set aside for public art. So just stroll the city-you’ll find wonderful surprises around the corner. Literally. You’ll recognize Robert Indiana’s “LOVE” at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Claes Oldenburg’s “Clothespin” at 15th and Market Streets and Martin Puryear’s “Pavilion in the Trees” in West Fairmount Park on the grounds of the Horticultural Center. And there are so many more beautiful things to be seen that the city itself is a veritable museum of unexpected treasures.
And then there’s the music, as ubiquitous in Philly as art. And dance. Go to a performance. The Academy of Music, opened in 1857, is home to the Pennsylvania Ballet and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Orchestra is renowned for its fine artistry-hear them at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts offers programs in classical music, jazz, and international music. And you’ll find entertainment for every taste in Philadelphia’s many clubs.
All of this, of course, is just a sampling. There’s also theater, terrific shopping, and all of the lively diversity you’ll find in a big, great American city.
Philadelphia awaits you. So begin planning and keep a close eye on The ASHA Leader and the ASHA Web site (www.asha.org) for updates of Convention information.
Famous Philly
Famous foods
  • cheesesteaks (cheese, ribeye steak slices, and onions, all fried together and served on a hoagie roll); hoagies (known in other parts of the country as heroes or subs); scrapple (corn meal mush and pig parts); Italian water ice (frozen, flavored, mushy ice); and soft pretzels (just what the name suggests, but bigger than the hard variety).

Famous native sons and daughters
  • Marian Anderson, Kevin Bacon, Pearl Bailey, John Barrymore, Wilt Chamberlain, John Coltrane, Bill Cosby, Grace Kelly, Mario Lanza, Will Smith, Benjamin Franklin (he was actually born in Boston, but few in Philadelphia know this).

Famous firsts
  • First public school in the American colonies (1698); first public library (1731); first U.S. flag, made by Betsy Ross (1777); first Congress of the United States (1789); first U.S. law school, at the University of Pennsylvania (1790); first zoo (1847); first World’s Fair held in America (1876).

Famous Ben Franklin aphorisms
  • Haste makes waste. Speak little, do much. You may delay, but time will not. He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas. No gains without pains. He is ill-clothed that is bare of virtue. Honey will catch more flies than vinegar. He that falls in love with himself, will have no rivals. If passion drives, let reason hold the reins.

Philadelphia History

In less than 100 years after it was founded, the fledgling city of Philadelphia grew to international prominence and was truly to take its place in history in its role in the war for independence. Beginning in the 1760s, after the French and Indian War, Britain tightened its economic and political hold over the American colonies by raising taxation and placing stricter regulations on trading. In response, colonists became increasingly supportive of independence.

In a 1774 meeting at Carpenters’ Hall in Philadelphia, the First Continental Congress made its displeasure known by adopting a boycott against British goods. By the time of the Second Continental Congress, which met a year later, the American Revolution had already effectively begun with the outbreak of fighting between British troops and colonists in Massachusetts.

On July 4, 1776, at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Little more than a decade later, in 1787, the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention drafted the Constitution of the new United States of America.

From 1776 to1800, Philadelphia served as the American capital until Washington, DC became the new nation’s seat of government. In 1800, Philadelphia was America’s largest city, followed by New York, Baltimore, Boston, and Charleston. It was to retain this distinction until 1830. Today it’s still the second largest city on the East coast.

Of course, Philadelphia’s history doesn’t stop there. It was also to play a role in the Civil War as the first large city north of the Mason-Dixon Line to become involved in the hostilities and as a vital center of the abolitionist movement. Philadelphia housed several regiments of the Union army and, throughout the conflict, became an important provider of war supplies, including arms and ammunition as well as uniforms. The Philadelphia Naval Yard built warships and fitted out other vessels for combat, and the city military hospitals cared for more than 150,000 troops.

The provision of uniforms to Civil War troops was to have a profound effect on the economic future of the city, cementing, as it did, Philadelphia’s manufacturing power-it already was a leader in the construction of railroads-and leaving behind the agrarian economy on which the city had grown. Consequently, jobs in manufacturing and in associated industries grew, along with population, immigration, and, inevitably, the phenomenon we have since learned to call urban sprawl. William Penn’s neat grid rapidly became a thing of the past.

The industrial growth of the mid-20th century forced a movement to the suburbs and, with it, a serious look at the future of Philadelphia. People were moving out of the city, following the jobs and building new lives, the urban center was aging and decaying, and transportation was becoming more historical than functional. In response, planners began a restoration and revitalization of the inner city that still continues today, replacing old buildings with modern ones, developing open, green spaces, and improving transportation.

Philly on the Web
Cheryl’s Philadelphia Restaurant Picks

by Cheryl Russell

Great food is a Philly specialty. Restaurants range from the high-end Walnut Street’s Le Bec-Fin to South Street’s more eclectic eateries and several Philadelphia-style cheesesteak sandwich restaurants.

  • Pricing Guide

  • -$, 15 and below

  • 15 and below, 15-25, 26-40, 41-55, 55-100

Imperial Inn, 146 N. 10th Street, 215-627-5588, $

Located in Chinatown, the Imperial Inn offers dim sum and other Chinese fare at affordable prices. They made famous the Phoenix roll-lobster, shrimp, crab, chicken, mushrooms, and bean sprouts rolled in batter and fried. Everything is tasty and dependable, and even the non-adventurous diner will love the atmosphere.

Bistro Romano, 120 Lombard Street, 215-925-8800, $

This rustic Italian restaurant offers its famous Caesar salad made tableside, and the unique wine cellar, located under the street and part of the former network of underground tunnels in Society Hill, is the perfect place for a romantic dinner. Bistro Romano offers a Mystery Theater on weekends.

Bourbon Blue, 2 Rector Street, 215-508-3360, $

The good times roll nightly at this stone-and-brick restaurant on the Manayunk Canal with its French Quarter theme. Try the oyster sampler, andouille meatloaf, and bananas Foster. There’s live entertainment (blues, funk) in the downstairs lounge Thursday to Saturday.

Capital Grille, 1338 Chestnut Street, 215-545-9588, $$

This restaurant will take you back to the ’50s when food was guiltless pleasure. This beef palace is pricey but has melt-in-your-mouth meat and an award-winning wine list. Capital Grille dry ages steaks on the premises and is known for its gracious service.

Reading Terminal Market, -$

Directly across the street from the Convention Center is this famous market that provides a selection of 80 specialty food merchants.

Good grazing for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and even a quick dinner. Several places to get Pennsylvania Dutch food, Pearl’s Oyster Bar, Down Home Diner, Bassett’s Ice Cream (a Philadelphia tradition), and Termini’s Bakery. Don’t miss picking up some of those great chocolate covered pretzels.

Jim’s Steaks, 400 South Street, 215-928-1911, -$

At this casual diner, you order directly from the cook who has the stature of a sushi chef. Watch him massaging great mounds of freshly sliced meat onto the grill, then chopping it all up with the long spatula, throwing it on an amoroso roll with Cheez Whiz or provolone, and adding fried onions or any of the other goodies you like on your cheesesteak.

Le Bec-Fin, 1523 Walnut Street, 215-567-1000, $$$$

An evening at Le Bec-Fin is more than simply a dining pleasure-the six-course menu of superlative dishes and the incomparable service are a lingering experience. For each course, silver domes are lifted off in precise unison by refined waiters. Following dinner, the legendary triple-tiered dessert cart overflowing with more than 25 desserts is rolled tableside. Guests are encouraged to select as many dessert varieties as they wish.

Sang Kee Peking Duck House, 238 N. Ninth Street, 215-925-7532, $

This large restaurant is easily one of the city’s most popular Asian eateries, but don’t expect much from the dér or atmosphere. The menu, however, is full of culinary treasures, topped off by the signature dish-Peking duck.

Striped Bass, 1500 Walnut Street, 215-732-4444, $$$$

Flawlessly prepared regional seafood and shellfish draw crowds to this popular restaurant. Only the choicest items from the daily catch of the fishmonger are offered along with great service and a glamorous atmosphere, so if you don’t mind blowing the budget, this is the place to do it.

Cheryl Russell is ASHA’s director of Convention and Meetings. She wishes to thank Bobbi and Les Aungst, Amy Goldman, and Sue Petry for their suggestions and insider information. Contact Cheryl at crussell@asha.org.

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June 2004
Volume 9, Issue 11