Favorite Spot: Belmont Plateau
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park, West Philly
Address: Montgomery Drive, Philadelphia, Pa 19131
I am: A drummer from West Philadelphia with a passion for photographing Philadelphia’s architecture and raising awareness of the area’s importance through Instagram (@cbeatz852).
Years in Philly: I’ve spent all my life in Philly. 28 years to be exact.
Current Home: I currently live on the border of West Philly, in Upper Darby.
My Love Note:
Dear Belmont Plateau,
I remember the evening like it was last night. Summer of 2004, my cousin Craig said to me, “You have to see the skyline from the plateau” and I replied, “Let’s check it out.”
Riding up the winding Montgomery Drive, I didn’t know what to expect. Just then, as the road began to level out, I saw the city lights beaming against the summer night’s sky. My cousin pulled over and stepping out of the car felt like stepping into a movie theater, with the Philadelphia Skyline on a huge IMAX screen. I’d never knew there was any view like this in the city. I always wondered about Will Smith’s line from Summertime: “….Out in Philly we be up in the parks/ A place called the Plateau is where everybody go…” At that point, the line finally made sense. “How did I not know about this spot!?!,” I thought to myself. Experiencing you ignited a fire within me for the city.
From that moment, I began to see Philadelphia for all of its beauty, putting aside it’s rising crime rate and deteriorating education system. Besides the obvious physical beauty of the skyline and it’s lights, you offer me the natural silence that only a park can give. It’s all I need to transport my mind, decipher my thoughts, and gather strength. You’ve seen me at my best times and in the midst of a lot of my worst stretches of life.
Thanks for giving me and many others beautiful moments to photograph. You gave me my first photography experience in the city. I didn’t know what I was doing but the picture turned out great because you were the thousands of words it told. You’re the best of both worlds; Fairmount Park’s natural beauty and the city’s shining skyscrapers on display in the distance. I hope more Philadelphians can realize what a gem you are. I hope that city officials give you more attention in the immediate future by keeping the grass cut, staying on top of the pollution, and updating your appearance just a little. You are more than just a picnic spot for a summer barbecue; you are a place of serenity for many. You’re the best stretch of land in the City of Philadelphia.
Thank you for being so great to me.
One Proud Philadelphian
(photos above by Chris Robinson)