My Annual Philly Love Note

Emma Fried-Cassorla
Favorite Place: Philadelphia, all of it

I am: The communications manager at the Delaware River Waterfront Corp, blogger, Philly-girl, twin, friend, giver of good gifts, closeted romantic, biker, and a little lost.
Years in Philly: 31 minus 5
Current Home: S. Philly

Valentine's Day 2014 7
My Love Note:

Dear Philadelphia,

I think of my life as having three major iterations so far. I’d characterize the first twenty years of Emma as pre-Montana.  These have all faded together. I was kind of nerdy, quiet, and a homebody. My other defining characteristics were probably that I was a diehard city lover, a girl from Cheltenham who moved to Manhattan to study neuroscience, and a Crohn’s patient. The somewhat crazy decision to spend two summers in Montana at the end of college was based on A River Runs Through It, a movie I spontaneously watched in a college roomate’s dorm.

Moving out west was profound. Emma post-Montana was a hiker, backpacker, rock climber and traveler who would literally cry most mornings at work in Glacier National Park because it was just so overwhelmingly beautiful. I returned to New York City desperate to leave again, and I did. I followed those dreams on months long road trips throughout the Northwest, seasonal farm work in Connecticut, a random move to Flagstaff, Arizona, and climbing trips throughout the country. When I finally settled back in Philadelphia, it was because of my partner at the time and to be close to my family. Emma post-Montana remained through marriage, divorce, home ownership, non-home ownership, a Master’s program, another relationship, and almost seven years of lab work.

Then came this blog, another spontaneous decision born out of a need for change. Emma post-Philly Love Notes became a communications manager, a networker, a social media addict, and an ambitious, confident Philadelphian. Each new love note was an opportunity to meet someone and learn more about the city. Of the 204 notes currently posted on the site, I’ve probably joined upwards of 150 of those writers in their favorite spot. I’ve ridden SEPTA buses and trains back and forth across town, reveled in the view from the roof of the PSFS building, and sat in numerous parks enjoying conversations. Asking strangers to meet in person — outside of online dating — in this digital age is unusual and has more benefits than I could have possibly imagined. I’ve made new friends, fallen in love, and even landed my current job because of these relationships.

For a while, the blog helped me create a little world within the city that was full of excitement and possibility. At some point though I lost it — the momentum that I had to do outreach, to meet people in random places around the city, and to put the necessary work into redesigning the site. Coming to the homepage became sort of painful. I knew I was slacking, but just could not find the motivation. Running the #whyilovephilly parties and Twitter campaigns momentarily inject new life, but I constantly wonder whether there is going to be a fourth iteration soon. A post post-Philly Love Notes.

And yet at the same time I’ve become Philly Love Notes. It’s defined my life over the last two years and is my public-facing persona.  Even though I’ve thought about stopping the blog numerous times over the last six months, I’m not sure that I could give it up. I’m not sure how I could even divorce myself from it at this point. Luckily, the love notes keep coming in, and I meet the writers, they tell me their stories, and I’m given hope that I’ll regain what’s been lost.


This is my second annual Valentine’s Day tradition of reminiscing about the year in love note form. See 2013’s here.

Valentine's Day 2014 6 Valentine's Day 2014 5 Valentine's Day 2014 4Valentine's Day 2014 10Valentine's Day 2014 2 Valentine's Day 2014 1

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Uncategorized 12 Comments

12 Responses to My Annual Philly Love Note

  1. Leigh

    Happy #whyilovephilly day, Emma. Thank you for helping us all love this city a little more. I’m proud to have known all 3 Emma phases in one way or another, and know you’ll continue to be an awesome person and great friend even if there are 30 more.

    • Emma Fried-Cassorla

      Leigh, you know I love you guys. E

  2. Amanda qr

    Thanks for all the Philly love and inspiration!

  3. Chaucee

    This blog is a lot like a gift to the city and to us. Please don’t stop! I love reading new love notes every week, adding places to my list to visit, and getting to virtually know other Philadelphians.

    • Emma Fried-Cassorla

      Thanks Chaucee!

  4. Sarah

    This blog is so positive & life-affirming! If you are done, well, you are done. But I am so glad to have discovered it and look forward to exploring many more of the places mentioned in the Love Notes. What a gift you’ve given to Philadelphia!

    • Emma Fried-Cassorla

      Thanks Sarah. I’m looking forward to chugging along as well.

  5. Hilary

    Sharing FDR with you re-invigorated my love for that place and this city. Whatever comes of this blog and project – thank you.

    • Emma Fried-Cassorla

      Thanks Hilary. That was an awesome love note by the way. Definitely introduced me to FDR park, so thank you for that.

  6. Seth

    Emma. Wow. I just revisited this blog after a long hiatus. It continues to inspire and amaze. I want to have a baby with Philadelphia. Keep doing what you do; this is awesome work.

    • Emma Fried-Cassorla

      I wonder what that baby would look like…

  7. Chris

    Dear Emma.

    I am 62 years old and just returned to my birth city in February of this years. I left Philly in 1978, pretty much against my better judgement, and moved to Southern California. I was miserable and felt like there was something wrong with me because I did not “get” or like California. In 1991, I moved to the San Francisco Bay area to be with someone I was in love with. I still did not like or get California. Due to loss of my partner and the inability to be able to afford the Bay area as a singleton, in late 2014 I decided it was time to come home. I still know no one here in Philly, but moving back has restored my life and my sanity. Discovering your blog has healed my sore, sad soul. I love this city so much that the first few months I was back, tears would slip quietly down my face just from being around people who talked like me. Every time I read someone’s Love Note and see the accompanying pictures, my whole being comes alive with gratitude at being back here after 37 years in another place that never, for a single second, felt like home. I love Philly, I love you and I love all the people who have contributed pictures and love notes to this blog. Please-do not stop-any of you!




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