Monday, November 3, 2008

Parade of Champions, Part Deux

I am currently on a bottle of advil and some other type of flu medicine. I feel I am about to die at any minute. But I need to finish this report.

... Once we got into Suburban Square, the subway started emptying very quickly. The conductor had tried to let people know that this was the best place to get off of over the intercom, but the cars were packed with people chanting, "way to go Phillies, Way to go", and all other sorts of stuff.

The issue became clear as we all started to head for the stairwells up into City Hall. They were all blocked. The stairs lead out to this circular type outdoor vestebule (Sp?), that is higher than street level, so everyone was stopping and climbing up on top of it. Which blocked the stairways.
This is the west side of city hall, so it's exactly where the parade is coming to and heading from there south on broad and towards the stadiums. So it was a good spot to be. Except that it was already about 50 deep.

We grabed up the kids and started making our way through the courtyard of City Hall towards the east side of Market st. From there we figured we would work our way back up towards broad and maybe get a better spot to see the players as they came through. No Dice. It was worse. The kids were taking notice of the 18 helicopters above us. They counted. They also noticed all the people hanging out of the tall buildings throwing toilet paper, and confetti. They were having fun taking it all in.

We made our way down Filbert st, which is a side street but runs North thru South all the way down to about Locust st. We jumped on 13th st from there all the way down to Washington Ave, which is sort of the street that demarkates "South Philly from "Philly". All the way down we would look up towards broad when we reached an intersection. Broad was only 2 blocks west of us. Every street was jammed back toward Filbert. It was almost retarded. We just kept walking south expecting the crowds to fill out at some point. We had to be able to find a spot somewhere along the way.

We headed back up to South st (which I think is 7 blocks south of Market), because everyone kept going south, and once there we headed towards Broad. We made it to about 20 people deep. I figured we could put the kids on our shoulders and at least they would get a nice look at the players coming by. Every lamp post, every tree, every roof top, was cluttered with people. It was really sick. On the way down, the traveling crowds would be singing Phillies chants, and songs. People were hugging each other, high fiving each other. There was a lot of kids, tons of them. Teenagers, young adults, middle aged men and women, and even an old lady in a wheel chair being pushed by her husband who I thought deserved the chair more than she did.

Under normal situations, this is probably something you would never ever deal with. These estimates where coming in at 2 million people showing up for this event. It felt every bit of it. to deal with the crowds, the people, the sounds, the sights... normally it would be "fugghetaboutit".
The parade was coming close to our location and the kids, who could see everything were screaming, and hootin' and hollarin'. I saw Cole Hamels and started the MVP chant. Everyone joined in. The players were up on pretty tall floats so we could see them as well from ground level. They were getting into it, and pointing to the crowd, and throwing pretzels, and tshirts, and other stuff. It was truly an awesome time.

Once the parade passed us, we figured to head up towards the main station and try to get back via train. People were just starting to celebrate. For me, it was over. I was content with heading back home and getting ready for Halloween. But for everyone else, the party was just starting. There were convience stores, and town markets selling beer by the bottle. Ther were bands set up on the street just letting it rip. There were people playing wiffleball, football, even horseshoes in the alley ways.

We saw some folk get taken away on stretchers. 2 young women who obviously had enough to drink. We saw a bunch of guys, and gals peeing in the alley ways, behind cars, etc. But there wasn't anything that went wrong that was over the top or unacceptable.

For an event this large, and the fact that it IS Philadelphia, AND that the Phillies won a championship, you would think that there would be at least some looting, or some murders, or a car set on fire, or something for the city to live up to that brand of the worst sports city in the world.

But alas, all we did was come together and celebrate as hard as anyone has ever celebrated before. There was a guy who was painting faces with Phillies stuff. I asked him how much, and he responded, "free as long as they're Phillies fans!". I paid him $40 for the three of them.
As we made our way back to city hall, we stopped at a market. The kids were thirsty, etc, so we popped in for some drinks and some snacks. There was a line around the whole inside of the store and the two workers were moving as fast as possible. Every so often someone would snap into a "YO! HOW ABOUT THOSE PHILLIES?!?!?!?" shout or something to that affect. The whole store would erupt in kind and everyone would laugh and high five.

The police were spectacular for this event. They were patient, kind, and very very tempered. There was a lot of pushing going on as you can imagine. I applaud the force for the job they did. Everyone who was there knows how bad it could have gotten out of hand. I think the Police Department deserves a huge hand of applause for not letting it get out of control.

This is a map of center city. The parade started at 20th and Market st. It then turned on Broad (which is also 14th st.), and head south. To get a good idea of how many people, take 4 blocks on either side of broad, fill it with wall to wall people, and take it all the way down towards the stadium. Then add the 112,000 people that were acutally sitting in the stadiums, and the other 200,000 people that were in the parking lots tailgating. Prett sick scene. And a memory the kids will never forget. One that I will never forget.

The kids (two of my daughters, and my friends kid)

Walking down Filbert st.

Some band from Oregon who decided the World Series Parade in Philadelphia would be as good as any to get a huge audience. They were pretty good actually.

Fun Times indeed. Septa had shut down inbound service around 1:30pm and I heard that it was a little nutty trying to get home. People were showing up at the train stations around 2pm to go home and waiting until 6pm to actually get on.
My neighbor was in Center City working that day. He does surveillence and was down there very early. He texted me and said he could give us a ride home. We walked towards old city and caught a ride with him back home.
The end of a perfect day! My daughter asked if we would be able to do this again in February. "You know, when the Eagles win?". My brother laughed, and I said, "Only if something magical happens C, only if something magical happens"


1Queens Up1 said...

Wish I coulda been there, asked some buds from home to send me the special section that was included in the Morning Call.

Glad you had a good time man!

Anonymous said...

Sounds amazing. I'm sure your girls will remember that just as foundly as you did when you were a kid.

Tom McMenamin said...

James, never having met your wife, my guess is that she is drop dead gorgeous ! With your mongoloid features and mishaped head coupled with the fact that your kids are adorable (yeah, iknow, a man should never use the word "adorable"..i get it !) one could only come to the conclusion that your kids get their looks from their mother.