In case you haven’t heard, Travel + Leisure magazine recently released its list of “America’s Favorite Cities.” Guess where Philly ranked? If you said, “I love this city, we probably came in right near the top,” you would be in the same boat as me. Regretfully, that boat is named “Wrong.”
The survey polled travelers and residents about different aspects of life in 25 U.S. cities. A grand fuss was made about the fact that Philadelphia ranked dead last in the attractiveness category. Along with being the fug-a-bugs of the nation, Philly also ranked near the bottom in stylish people, athletic people, safety and worldly people, among others.
Now, I won’t comment on the attractiveness of the folks in our city, for I only see inner beauty. However, I can say that the people surveyed got at least one category horribly wrong.
Philadelphia is ranked 20th out of 25 cities in worldly people. I’m not quite sure I can accurately express my outrage about this.
How could they say we’re not worldly? In fact, I would say Philadelphians are some of the worldliest worldians in the whole world.
Don’t believe me? Let me convince you. Look at a map of Philadelphia. Go ahead, dig one out, I’ll give you time. Scan it over and I bet you’ll find places like Germantown, the Italian Market and Chinatown. Last time I checked, that’s three countries already. Three whole nations in one city – sounds pretty worldly to me, and this is just a start.
If three countries aren’t enough for you, just take a stroll down the good old Ben Franklin Parkway. Ignore other pedestrians and keep your eyes up as you walk. See those flags? I got news for you: they’re not flags from here.
You can tell they’re from other countries because they have goofy things on them like animals and squiggles. Tell me something, how would a resident of an unworldly city know how to match up all those flags with the country that they’re from? Somebody from here had to do it – those people from other places don’t even speak English.
Speaking of language, did you know that ‘Philadelphia’ isn’t even an American word? Yeah, I know, totally crazy right? Philadelphia is actually a Greek word meaning “cream cheese.” Delicious.
Above all this, I think there is something that Travel + Leisure survey respondents have forgotten. I seem to recall Philadelphia giving the world a nice little present. A present known as freedom. That’s right, four score and 151 years ago, our fathers brought forth to this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Without this city, Travel + Leisure wouldn’t even have the freedom to write a magazine without censorship from the Germans.
So the next time surveyors come knocking on your door to ask you what you think of the people and places in different cities, remember these few things. One, squiggles on flags look silly. Two, cream cheese. Three, freedom. And four, Travel “plus” Leisure “equals” sorely mistaken.
Aaron Hertzog can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.