Friday, November 26, 2010

Turn Market Street East Into Philly's Times Square?

That seems like a bad idea, for a number of reasons -- not least of which is that Philly is Philly and any attempt to "New Yorkize" the part of Market between Seventh and 13th streets seems doomed to fail by dint of drawing side-by-side comparisons, highlighting Philly's inferiority complex with regard to the Big Apple. It even sounds bad when promoters try to make it sound good:
"It's a way to enliven Market Street East and give it a more exciting sense of vitality," said Carl Primavera, an attorney who represents billboard companies.

"Now [conventioneers], get on a bus and go to King of Prussia," Primavera said. "But what if they could go one block to Market Street to do some shopping and then walk over to see the Liberty Bell?"
Now, I think lining up the crassest versions of commercialism alongside America's most treasured historical relics is, well, a perfectly American thing to do. But it also ought to be resisted. The area under discussion is certainly not the finest foot forward to the city's visitors, but it would be nice if there were some other viable option between "urban ennui" and "trying way too hard."

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