Last week I thought it would be a good idea to take the train into Philadelphia. I live close to the Patco (or speedline for any South Jersey/Philadelphia readers) so going into Philadelphia only takes 15 minutes. Once I paid for my ticket, went through the gates, I overheard that the trains were delayed. Someone was hit by a train at 8th and Market, and trains were delayed. I was then “blessed” with hearing 40-somethings bitch and moan about “these things don’t happen in other cities.” I even heard (this was my favorite) that “we were all pawns in someone else’s big vendetta.”
And for the record, people being hit by trains is a much more common than what people might think. I am constantly hearing about this from my Mother-In-Law who has a very lengthy 3-hour commute (each way) into New York City. There have been some nights she unable to come home because someone jumped in front a train and delayed trains during rush hour. It was a little insulting hearing some passengers compare delays due to rail-wor to delays due to suicide.
But moving on. My train was delayed and I was starving by the time I went into the city. I had plans to stop in the city and grab something from HipCityVeg. There are lots of rave reviews and online hype for the mini-chain. Truthfully, when my friend first told me about it, I remember being frustrated that nothing on the menu clarified what was vegan or vegetarian. It was so hard for me to believe that there would be an all vegan restaurant at the time.
Man things have changed. I remember not believing people that there was an all vegan pizzeria when I was living in Philadelphia. I also didn’t think I could ever get my husband to go to it. Now he told me he is going to have a hard time choosing between Blackbird Pizzeria or HipCityVeg when going into Philadelphia. Little does he know about the many other vegan venues we have yet to go to!
By the time I made it to HipCityVeg (the Center City location) I was so hungry I couldn’t wait for my food. So I grabbed their seasonal shake, Apple Pie flavored. It tasted a little too “appley” in an artificial way, but I was so hungry it tasted awesome anyways. I also grabbed their Udon Noodle Salad. I wasn’t really reading the item so I was surprised by the faux chicken bits on top. I have to say, they were VERY chicken-y. Actually more chicken-like than some of the cheap chicken that is available.
Truthfully my trip in Philly was just an excuse to enjoy the city. I use to live in Center City, and now I live the suburbs which can be nice and horrible at the same time. I love being able to buy all my groceries at once and get them home fast (with a car). I like being able to drive to a CSA and get fresh produce (there’s that car again). In fact most perks involve a car, and nature.
But there are so many things I miss about the city. Walking being one of them. Biking being the other. There is something incredibly rewarding about being able to get yourself places without a car. I know everyone is saying that I can do those two things anyways, and I do try to walk to work everyday. But walking to certain stores isn’t so relaxing and involve crossing busy highways.
Biking is a whole different animal. No one knows how to drive with bikers. I was taught that bikers follow all the same rules as a car. If I need to make a left hand turn, I have to look behind me and merge to the left, I stop at red lights, and so on. In the burbs I have cars stop for me even though they have the right away. Then on the flip side I have cars that drive through stop signs assuming I should stop. And nothing is more insulting than cars driving in the wrong lane to “avoid” me.
Granted I’ve driven with bikers who do it as a sport and less for getting to point A to point B, and they can be obnoxious. The bike very far away from the curb. It is only annoying since the areas that seem to have more bike enthusiasts tend to be narrow country roads, where you do in fact, need to drive on the opposite side of the road to avoid them.
I guess I am a little bummed overall. I wish I went to the museums more often when I lived in Philadelphia. I wish I ate out more, though there wasn’t nearly as many vegan restaurants when I lived there. I wish I went to more festivals, popup shops, and explored outer neighborhoods. There is so much that I miss about daily life, and I wish I could get it back.
But I do know it is expensive to live in a city. I remember thinking Whole Foods had NORMAL prices since there were large markups in city supermarkets. I also would have to face the facts that if I had children they would be out of touch with nature. Sure there are some wildlife that lives in the city, I mean does anyone remember the peregrine hawk episode of Parking Wars? I remember that happening. But not the extent of seeing deer, foxes, various birds, and a huge array of bugs.
I do not miss the drunk out-of-towners. Yeah I love hearing your drunk shouting from my bedroom window at midnight. Or my favorite, when the Phillies won the world series, people were rioting till one in the morning. They ripped out trees from South Street and started bonfires. Oh and the street lamp was knocked over right in front of our apartment. Cool. Real Cool.
Oh and my current apartment has a working oven. I guess I shouldn’t complain.