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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why You Should Always Look Up

I took a quick trip to Philly and Bucks County, PA this weekend. The visit was two-fold: to see my friend Jerry Fritz's booth at the Philadelphia Flower Show, and to view the Bruce Springsteen exhibit at the Constitution Center. (This is the same exhibit that had been at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year.) Both goals were achieved, and I got to hang out with some of my oldest friends and their kids, and many, many calories were consumed. There were cheesesteaks and hoagies and soft pretzels and Goldenberg's Peanut Chews, just to name a few PA delicacies I indulged in. We also ate at one of celeb chef Jose Garces's restaurants, and I would happily go back again. I am now home and vow to eat only leafy greens for a week!

I flew into Philly on Thursday, and Jerry's wife, Amy, and I stayed downtown so that we could have dinner with him, and we could do a bit of shopping Friday before we had to head up to her house. On our way to the Anthropologie flagship store*, we were weaving north and west, crossing when we had lights, with no particular path in mind. All of a sudden, Amy pointed up to the facade of 1424 Chestnut, now a CVS, but formerly Jacob Reed's Clothing Store. There is huge arched entry that features Mercer Tile Mosaics from the Moravian Tileworks. These particular vignettes depict a weaver and loom, a spinner and wheel, and a sheep being sheared. Also, the tops of the columns are ram heads. My pics were terrible, but I found some here and here. (Do click--they are so worth it!) My research was quite cursory, but I want to delve deeper into this building's story. I also want to check into the status of its preservation. (One of the links indicates that the ground tiles have been removed.)

* If you've never been to the Rittenhouse Square Anthro, you should go--the building is amazing. The stained glass dome is stunning. I have been shopping there for 20+ years, back when it was the flagship Urban Outfitters. I just love, love, love the space. It its so different from the stores that they create now--this one is organically cool because of the building's architecture. Here is a blog post about the building's history.