Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lock Me Up

Disclaimer - Content/picture heavy post.

It's no secret that I recently went to Philadelphia. There will be another post in the near future with some of the usual touristy photos from Philly because I visited late last October and that's when 

So yes. I finished my rotation a few weeks ago, and hours after giving my decent fantastic presentation (if I do say so myself) on a patient with unknown liver failure origin and induced renal failure, I headed for Philly with my roommate and her sister.

The drive up was far from pleasant. It was Friday. On I-95. At 6pm. In rain torrential downpour/storms that we drove in the entire trip. We did see some stunning rainbows/double rainbows while sitting in traffic.

We finally arrived. Went on a goose chase to find our hotel/reception site (they were at the same location - SO smart if you have a big drinkin' family/family flying in from all over). We found it. Then we were starving. So we dined at the finest establishment open at 12am. Hooters. Personally, I like Hooters' grilled cheese. Just saying.

The next day was absolutely gorgeous. Could not have asked for a better weekend. I'm not a fan of hot weather/humidity. AT.ALL. 

I kept seeing huge magnolia trees everywhere. We have them in Virginia, in fact I have a yittle one in my front yard, but magnolias take years to mature and produce flowers, and you're lucky if you can get a pretty one that hasn't fallen off the tree and begun to wither. Jackpot. I did. 

We were so conflicted about what to do that morning because the wedding was at 2pm and the reception wasn't until 6pm. Strange kinda but I actually ended up liking it honestly. It gave the bride and groom a little reprieve as well as guests. The reception site/hotel was located outside of Philly about 35 minutes or so, and the church where the wedding was at was only about 20 minutes from there in Upper Darby, so going into Philly to do things we had planned wasn't entirely do-able. 

Instead, we decided to embrace our food loves of Philly. We trekked to Pica's on that beautiful Saturday day and made it back just in time to eat gorge ourselves and get dressed for the wedding. If you've never had Pica's, you may not like it. It's like no other pizza honestly. It does however remind me of a cross between Ellio's Pizzas and the box Chef Boyardee Pizza Kits from when I was a kid (except eons better). Please tell me y'all have had both of these? If not, go buy both and make them. Then go to Pica's in Philly and order a cheese pizza extra sauce. You'll thank me. 

So we gorged. Then did the wedding shindig. Then we had time to kill. My roommate's dad insisted on WaWa pretzels (they're freshest in Pennsylvania because WaWa's originated there) and her sister stopped for a Philly hoagie at one of the multiple places to get one in Pennsylvania. If you've never had either of these, put it on ya' list. Not so much the pretzels, just WaWa in general. We have them in Virginny, but they're far more quaint and cute in Pennsylvania and I love them. All of them. 

We got back. We freshened up. We prepared to party. Then. We partied. Hardy. Had an absolute blast at the reception. Probably the most fun that I've ever had at a wedding. Crashed at some point. Woke up on Sunday. Got up pulled myself from the mattress, showered, packed, checked out, and hit the road for Philadelphia. 

The plan was the Philadelphia Museum of Art and then head back to Virginia. Well. That changed. Because this was going on. All roads near the museum were shut down and there were cyclists everywhere! We finally got parking squared away right across from this (about 10 blocks or so from the museum).

We definitely lucked out because we parked in the cutest darn neighborhood which happened to be right next to Eastern State Penitentiary. We had mentioned it before in passing, but hadn't really thought about it otherwise. So we fit this in first! 

Just a little side note, the Fairmount area of Philadelphia is to die for. There are tons of local little restaurants, row style homes similar to those in Richmond, DC, and Baltimore, and the nicest, prettiest, most tattoo-ed folks everywhere. I die. Lock.Me.Up. I'm moving. Watch me. I know, I know. Southerner on Northern soil? I think it could maybe work.

Back to ESP - yes it's on the ghost tour thing, yes it's the one you've seen on tv, yes it's creepy/spooky, yes I loved it and want to do it again in the dark, yes Al Capone stayed here, yes you should put it on ya' list, and yes the rest of this post will be tons of photos of doors, locks, and windows. 

But first, flowers. Duh. Strangely enough, ESP is surrounded with the prettiest little flowers. Their attempt at making it more appealing hardened criminals?

Now back to our regularly scheduled program.

ESP was built in the 1820's if I remember correctly and advanced as technology did. It closed in the 1970's, so if you think about it, that wasn't that long ago. We did the audio tour of the place and listened to eerie stories about the construction of the penitentiary, as well as stories about various inmates that they housed. In fact, ol' Thomas Jefferson wanted to visit ESP just because of the architectural design that ESP possessed. ESP was designed with a watch tower in the center with arms that extended off of it termed "cell blocks." Each cell block was built as the inmate population grew. I think all but one of them was built so that you could see from one end to the other. 

The center watch tower.

Cell block one.

The cell blocks that were designed to be long hallways of sorts so that guards could see from one end to the other.

Standing inside one of the cells.

Bet they didn't sleep on memory foam.

Food door (that was later blocked in).

Loo anyone?

The light within ESP entered solely through these skylights.

Doors on the outside of the cells.

Probably why my throat hurt so badly after leaving.

Wouldn't want to drop your soap in there.

I believe this may have been a barber's chair.

Some of the outside ruins.

Cell block 3 where the hospital was located.

Al Capone had his tonsils removed here.

Some of the ornate locks located within ESP.

In the "New York" type cell block within ESP.

Just in case they wanted to clean up a little. HA!

Inside the cell block that housed Al Capone.

Al Capone's cell (yucky picture, little chil'ren running around in front of me, beside me - you get the idea).

Outside the cell blocks within the walls of ESP.


Just in case you wanted to hang around for a few and ponder life's mysteries where inmates once had.

Buttons from the only mechanical type cell block located at ESP. Most of the inmates scheduled for the death penalty were kept here.

Pillows that withstood the test of time.


All of the walls at ESP had paint just peeling off in sheets everywhere. I can probably assume that this paint contained copious amounts of lead, in which case I probably have a small tumor growing inside me now.

My how visitation rooms have changed over the years. Just a thin screen between you and your inmate.

 Leaving ESP.

Our view from lunch.

Speaking of lunch. By the time we were done at ESP we were famished could finally stomach food, so we headed for the closest restaurant we could find. We decided on Jack's Firehouse which happened to be right across the street along with various other cute eateries. It reminded me so much of a hometown favorite, Station2 (get the fried pickles if you visit). We sat outside on their charming little patio and feasted on these first.

Biscuits of course! They also brought a cornbread type muffin and another muffin of sorts. The biscuit wasn't awful, but the butter and homemade cherry stuff was to die for. It wasn't a jam and not really like a compote either, mostly just cherries broken down in a liquid-like glaze. Dee-vine though. For my meal, I had the southern omelet with organic sausage, peppers, and cheddar with a side of killer cheesy grits. Two things I'll admit - I hate when eggs are overdone (I have won an egg cook-off before) and I love me some grits. Well . . . the omelet had cooked too long and the grits were on point. One point was awarded. The roomie had the filet mignon benedict with spicy hollandaise over biscuits, and she didn't seem to have any complaints. 

After lunch we headed for the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We got caught in a small rain shower on the way and stumbled upon the Perelman Building first (there's the main building and this building below that comprise the Philadelphia Museum of Art). We passed on this one and ventured to the main one.

First glimpse.

We made it!

Now this may look familiar to some as being the steps that Rocky Balboa ran. Well you're right. Here's a little flashback for anyone that wants. Naturally, we had to visit his statue.

Next, we followed suit (ya' kinda have to, to get in the museum), and the steps weren't bad at all (maybe if it's snowing and I were running I would feel differently haha).

There's a decent shot of City Hall. In my future post the pictures will be from City Hall and LOVE Park looking towards the Museum of Art.

The ceiling and pillars of the main building.

Some of the beautiful glass pieces inside the museum.

The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins (a native from Philly - a lot of his work was on display). I really wanted to see The Gross Clinic, but it had been taken out temporarily for another exhibit to be displayed.

Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen.

Camille Roulin by Van Gogh.

Brillo Boxes by Andy Warhol.

Four Jackies by Andy Warhol.

Still Life with a Pipe, a Violin, and a Bottle of Bass by Picasso.

Glass of Absinthe by Picasso.

We spent about three hours inside and only covered the first floor! You could definitely spend all day there.

Boy do I love Philadelphia.

Get ya' lists ready and head to Philly!


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