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Philadelphia Steps Into the Spotlight

October 28, 2009 06:00 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
A World Series showdown with the Yankees is just one of many factors drawing attention to Philadelphia, a fascinating city that many former New Yorkers now call home.

Anticipating an Exciting Series

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For the second time ever, and the first time since 1950, the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies will square off in the World Series. The matchup has baseball fans drooling: The Yankees haven’t made it to the World Series since 2003, and the Phillies are defending champions. But the series has also called attention to the city of Philadelphia and its relationship and rivalry with New York.

Although World Series matchups always generate excitement among fans and even some nonfans, this year’s series could be an unusually “fascinating confrontation,” William C. Rhoden writes for The New York Times. Philadelphians are fully prepared to host “a glamour franchise” like the Yankees, which should make for an electric atmosphere, Rhoden suggests. The fact that “New Yorkers and Philadelphians regularly commute to, and hang out, in each other’s backyard” and that “[b]oth cities have tough, intense fan bases” should also add excitement to the scene.

In a column for ESPN, Howard Bryant calls the upcoming showdown between the Yankees and Phillies “[t]he World Series we’ve been waiting for.” Bryant describes why he feels the two ball clubs “are the best teams not just in their respective leagues but also in all of baseball,” and why their battle on the diamond could prove to be heated. While the Phillies are defending their championship title, New York is “attempting to regain what is considers its hereditary title.”

The Nonsporting Life in Philadelphia

Part of Philadelphia’s appeal is its underdog reputation. Attention given to Philly pales in comparison to the amount bestowed on New York and even Boston, which makes the city’s charms even more surprising and appealing to some visitors.

Writing for World Hum, Tom Swick shares a rainy jaunt to Philadelphia and gets under the skin of the city. He talks to a recent transplant that left behind Austin’s informality in favor of Philadelphia’s sophistication and “bars with dark wood.” Philadelphia’s enviable array of bookstores, like The Book Trader in Olde City, entice Swick, and an event featuring Polish intellectual Adam Michnik rounds out the trip. The combination of stormy weather, voracious cultural appetite and discussions over drinks in dark pubs call Dublin to mind.

New Yorkers Flock to Philly

The array of museums in Philadelphia, including options for kids and fine art enthusiasts, plus the city’s role in the abolitionist movement and famous monuments like the Liberty Bell, are all major tourist draws. But the city’s combination of historic Americana and progressive, artistic ideals also seems to have attracted New Yorkers looking for a new home, leading some to dub it “The New New York.”

Philadelphia’s affordable real estate prices also have something to do with the fact that “[a]t least 1,000 New Yorkers annually have settled in Philadelphia since 2002,” according to Tom Acitelli for The New York Observer. And “urban living came into vogue nationally” around the time that New York housing costs skyrocketed, leading many to consider a move. “Philadelphia’s geography—it’s the closest major city to New York, a couple hours away as the crow flies—placed it in a unique position to capitalize on the convergence,” Acitelli writes.

Background: Philly’s 2008 World Series victory

Philadelphia’s World Series win in 2008 broke a 25-year drought for the city’s four major sports teams. The Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in Game 5 of the series, after waiting two days to complete the game because of rain delays. At that point, the last Philadelphia championship had been in 1983, when the 76ers swept the Los Angeles Lakers to capture Philadelphia’s fourth NBA championship.
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