Thursday, October 07, 2010


I was finally able to escape Eureka and fly to Philadelphia and it was soooo worth the wait. What a spectacular city. My only regret is that I didn’t stay longer. It is difficult to decide what to write about first, so here is an overview.

From an emotional standpoint, the trifecta of Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell, and The National Constitution Center were by far the most moving parts of the trip. I honestly didn’t think that it would have the impact that it did. It was amazing.

Beyond that, the city itself, or at least the parts I saw of it, are over-the-top when it comes to art and architecture. I hope to write about it more over the next week or so, and to show some of the 385 photos I took (Me, go overboard?) First though, let’s look at something like the mundane, everyday chore of going to the store to buy pants in Philadelphia. Below are pictures of the Macey’s that was 1 block from my hotel.

It is in a massive building (2,000,000 sq. ft – not all Macey’s) Built in 1911. It is the 10 story building in the center of the picture, on the corner. Just ignore the sliver of the building on the right for now.

The entry: That is majolica tile on the bottom and a tile mosaic on the top. There is another one just like it on the other side. The floors are marble, of course.

Oh, that’s right, this Macey’s has the largest pipe organ in world. Does your mall have that?

I’ve seen it listed as “the largest pipe organ in the world” and “the largest playable pipe organ in the world”. Either way it is ginormous.

There are pipes stacked on the 3rd, 4th and 5th floors and they also run through out the building. The word "Stunning" does not do it justice. Hell, even without the organ the space is amazing.

And they play it every day at 12:30 and 5:30. Just another day of pants buying in Philadelphia.


Mike said...

Glad you finally made it Greg! Neat to see an outsiders perspective of the city. I've seen old pics where after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, Santa would climb up a fire ladder truck and into an upper floor window of the Macy's building!

Greg said...

I just loved it. I think I'm big city guy stuck in a small town body. I've been to about 20 major cities in 4 different countries. San Francisco, Philadelphia and St. Petersburg, Russia are the only 3 that really stand out.

T.R. said...

Ah, the Philideplhia sounds like it would be a really fun trip. Also, going to be an organ nerd here, but the Macy's organ (Wannamaker Grand Court Organ) is the second largest. The largest is the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ in Orange, New Jersey. However, that instrument is almost entirely unplayable due to various reasons and so the Wannamaker Grand Court organ is the largest playable organ.

Greg said...


Thanks for the clarification. I had a feeling there was another out there.


Karen Anne said...

Why is it that in the current day architects and builders are incapable of producing a building 1/1000 of the beauty of those.

Robert said...

I agree with Mike, it is always interesting to see what someone thinks of a place we who live around here take for granted. I'm embarrased to say that I've lived my whole life less than 20 miles away from Philadelphia but was 19 before I visited Independence Hall.

When you live minutes from the Valley Forge encampment and a church you pass every day on the way to work was occasionally visited by Ben Franklin, you can forget the amazing history that surrounds you.

Glad you finally got here, and further glad that you had such a good time.

BTW, the organ is awesome. So is the Christmas display in the Grand Court, which is still put up even though it dates back to 1956. Most of us here will never refer to it as Macy's, it will always be John Wanamaker's!

Greg said...

Isn't that funny the way it is. All of our treasures around here are things like the giant redwoods, mountains, and coast line. Just about the only time I really go out and enjoy some of the more spectacular aspects of it are when friends or family visit from out of town.