Philadelphia


Once the Capital of the US, post independence, and at the heart of the Colonies before that.  The original capital, laid out in a block system in the C18th stretching between the Delaware, and Schulkill rivers could be there in tact as a monument to an historic past.  But it is there, in bits, with a lot of dereliction and neglect.  Fabulous houses were pulled down to build car parks in the historic centre, and hideous buildings were allowed to be built next to unique heritage sites. The paladian first US BAnk below is directly opposite the monstrous red brick tower for example.  It is like that episode of American history is too embarrassing and maybe too complex to deal with and instead it is easier to compress all that meaning into the Liberty Bell which, with its own musuem, is fetishised. It has its own logic and significance but in a way, a complete C18th  town centre would be a greater monument to liberty and what this country has achieved!  The final picture is of Penn’s landing:  ie where William Penn first stepped ashore to found Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.  This is now a car park, separated from the city by a 16 lane motorway.  The entire shore frontage has been demolished and only the name remains.

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