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Old 09-06-2013, 11:28 PM
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 7,737,032 times
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Originally Posted by james777 View Post
There are many beautiful, architecturally distinctive buildings in Philadelphia that would fit right into London; one would never know that they come from another city. They include the Franklin Institute (as noted by a poster above), the Free Library of Philadelphia at 1901 Vine Street, the courts building next to the library on Vine Street,.....
Actually the library and family court are pretty accurate reproductions of the French Naval Ministry and the Hotel de Crillion which anchor the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Sometimes it is disconcerting to see these two “imposters” where they shouldn’t be.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:34 AM
2,394 posts, read 3,051,439 times
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Originally Posted by bryson662001 View Post
. . . London doesn’t really have a “downtown” as we know it in the US.
Neither does Philly, really.

The original financial district, called “the City” dates from the 19th century and is filled with Beaux arts buildings that look like the Franklin Institute but packed close together.
Old City was mostly the same (different architecture, maybe) but was largely demo'd to make way for Independence Park

The new financial district, the former docklands in the east end is increasingly filling up with glass skyscrapers, not unlike Market West I guess. The neighborhood looks like La Défense in Paris or Frankfurt. in Germany.
As you said, not unlike Market West.

Otherwise London is a sprawling, lo-rise city with isolated tall buildings scattered across the landscape.
I wouldn't say that Philly is "just like London" (or Bristol or Dublin) because obviously the architecture is mostly different and London is an important global capital and much larger than Philly but Philadelphia has have some basic similarities with English and some Irish cities - much more so than any other places in Europe.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:24 AM
Location: Center City
7,084 posts, read 8,213,104 times
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"I been told from friends in the UK that have been to Philly say it resembles downtown London..."

Why would you doubt your friends? I used to travel to London frequently on business and would agree - to a point. I have to assume your friends have traveled extensively through the US to make such a statement. I say this because if Philly is the only US city they've visited, it is definitely American and would not be confused with London on a macro scale. Compared with other US cities, however, Philly resembles London more than most (I actually think Boston is a better match - more on that later). If your friends spent time in other places (say Chicago, SF, LA, the sunbelt cities or even busy and hectic NYC) I could see them saying "Now Philly feels more like London than other US cities we've visited." It is tightly packed, has lots of 18th and 19th century architecture in its core, and has beautiful squares here and there where workers sit and enjoy their lunch. Perhaps they even see some similarities between the Parkway and The Mall, with the Art museum subbing for Buckingham Palace? Perhaps Chestnut Hill feels like Hampstead to them? In terms of size, scale and overall vibrancy, however, London dwarfs Philly.

In terms of "feel" I think Boston is the closest match to London among the large US cities. There are a couple of reasons. The first is that Boson, like London, are not gridded in their core. Both cities have "twisty and turny" streets resulting in a sense of surprise around the corner. Adding to this, Boston, like London, have done a great job of making their rivers part of the city, rather than turning their backs on them, as we've done with the Delaware.
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