Favorite Spot: The Schuylkill River Trail
I Am: A graduating Penn senior who is moving back to New York but has fallen in love with Philly
Years in Philly: 4
Current Home: University City
Favorite Spot: Schuylkill River Trail
Neighborhood: Center City
I am: A Central Jersey transplant who is happy to call Philadelphia home. When I’m not out exploring the city, I can usually be found putting things together such as furniture, food, parties, and words. I am healthysapien. I am also ridiculous.
Years in Philly: Part time starting in 2003. Full time since 2007
Current Home: Grays Ferry
Favorite Spot: Woodlands Cemetery
Neighborhood: West Philadelphia
Address: 4000 Woodland Avenue
I am: Philly suburbs-born arts and culture non-profit worker and bilingual blogger. Came to West Philly for school, and love it more every day.
Years in Philly: 9
Current Home: Walnut Hill, West Philadelphia
Neighborhood: Old City-Delaware River-Camden
Address: Bridge is between Race and Vine from N. 5th Street to the river, with pedestrian walkway entrances at New (north) and Florist (south).
My love note:
12 years and about 50 pounds ago, I was a pretty decent runner.
My times were never great — I won a few cross country dual meets, I never got hurt — but I was hardcore. By senior year of high school I savored every minute of every run. I loved running in the woods in Philadelphia and Bucks County, on streets near the Northeast Airport and on tracks all over. Unfortunately, running competitively for 10 or so years killed my spirit. I fell out of it in college. I found new interests. I dropped my favorite hobby for reasons I still don’t understand.
A few years ago I got fired, got dumped and, most importantly, saw an incredibly unflattering photo of myself. I’m pretty vain, so it wasn’t hard to get back into running. But even though I was running every day, I never found that perfect place to run. I don’t own a car (so no Belmont Plateau) and I live east of Broad (so the Schuylkill River trail is a bit far, too). I thought I’d be running big loops around South Philly streets forever.
Then one day I ran the bridge.
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge is gorgeous, but I never realized how great it is until running over it. It opened on July 1, 1926 to rave reviews as the Delaware River Bridge; the chief engineer, Polish-born American bridge maven Ralph Modjeski, was born exactly 122 years before me. The view of the skyline from the middle of the bridge is the best in the city, but the scenery from the bridge is great, too: The backsides of buildings, a baseball stadium and nicer-than-you-think Rutgers-Camden campus in New Jersey.
I’ve been running the bridge almost every day this summer. I dread it a little every day; my shins do even more. I only have to go through Washington Square, past Independence Hall and down Fifth Street to get there, but some days I step onto the walkway and already feel defeated. It’s steep. The first incline on the Philadelphia side goes up forever. Unlike running on streets, though, there’s no opportunity to slack. It’s a straight shot to the top, no stopping. And, yes, the runner’s high from going up and down and up and down is unmatched.
The Ben Franklin Bridge is this city: Beautiful and formidable, underrated and unmatched. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s really nice out today and I’m headed out.
Thank you for the water fountains every two miles, (but not really for that one fountain at mile four that always tastes like rust, but yes, even thank you for that one, because it’s bonded me with plenty of others like me when we exchange knowing looks and shake our heads, grateful at least for the breather), and for your luscious shade on the MLK side