I know for some, this is a controversial day (a Hallmark holiday if you will), but Derrick and I take any excuse to celebrate! (#CelebrateEveryday) So to you- may your days be filled with love, on Valentine’s Day, and every other day! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Feeling refreshed and mostly recovered from being sick, I’m excited to get back out to find out more about Philadelphia. Derrick and I thought of no better way to spend our 1st Valentine’s in Philly then by checking this LOVE Park that we’ve heard so much about. And it’s perfect timing too- 2 days ago, they announced that the park is being closed for a year for some very exciting renovations (read here for more detail: http://bit.ly/1ppyM6Z). For those who aren’t in the know, LOVE Park is actually JFK Plaza, but everyone calls it LOVE Park because of the LOVE sculpture that is the focal point of the park. The Plaza is at the base of the Avenue of Arts, a street that leads up to the Art Museum (i.e.- the Rocky Steps), as well as numerous other museums and art spots.
When we arrive, I gasp a little at the seemingly large line (it looks like everyone had the same idea), but realize quickly that it’s a group of skateboarders enjoying their last few days on this cement paradise before it goes under for construction. There is just one couple in front of us. I look up to the LOVE sculpture, and it’s… cute. It’s got a bunch of tattered stickers splattered across the base, but I definitely understand the sentiment. Initially I felt underwhelmed, and in turn, disappointed. I took a beat, and consciously changed my perspective around to just appreciate the moment. A sculpture that spells out love- what’s not to love!
Now this might sound contradictory, but I was (pleasantly) shocked to see that in front of us were 2 guys kissing under the sculpture. I’ve been hesitant to show affection in the city, as I wasn’t sure- There’s still that fear of the unknown, and I’m looking to the city to show me what is accepted here. I haven’t seen any same sex anything yet in Philly (maybe I need to get out more?). So in this moment, I’m more captivated by this couple, then the LOVE sculpture itself. I feel inspired. I get caught up staring at them (in a happy supportive way), when a guy pokes us.
“Did you want your picture taken?” Straight to business! It’s our turn. I snap out of my daze, hand him our camera, and step up. Those feelings of inspired disappear.
Derrick and I flash our smiles under the sculpture.
“Show each other some love! You’re together aren’t you?” Says our photographer.
Oh, right! A direct clear invitation to kiss each other. We lean in- First on his check, then on my check. I can tell our photographer is wanting more- He’s still holding the camera up. We look at each other, share a quick kiss and- we go for it. All in! Warmth passes through me on this chilly winter’s day as we share our first outdoor Philadelphia kiss in the middle of a skateboard park on Valentine’s. No one even gave it a second thought. I guess that’s part of the charm of LOVE Park: love is love. And a lesson in love- if I want the world to change and be more open, I need to change my own perspective and assumptions. We walk away, loosely holding each other’s hands, and feeling a bit more at home here in Philly.
After LOVE Park we stopped by another famous Philly hot spot- Reading Terminal Market! It’s similar to those who know the St Lawrence Market in Toronto- very busy, very alive, and everything smells so good! We need to go back as we only stopped in for a few minutes/stopped in for a cookie at Famous 4th St Cookie Co. Yum! Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cinnamon. Not sure if they named themselves famous, or if it’s a real designation (I’ve always wondered that), but the cookie was pretty darn good! They’re immediately inside one of the main doors which helps with finding them. We’ll be back for a real Market tour soon!
Happy Valentine’s and Happy Love!
What memories have you had at LOVE Park? (would love to see your photos!) How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Any Reading Market must visits?
Song of the Day: True Colours (as performed by Jenn Blosil on Idol! The last one she did before getting voted out… Devastated! Jumping on board with #TeamDalton)