Archive for August, 2017

The revolution will be experiential

August 2017

I wrote this for our coop newsletter this spring but am re-upping here as so many wiser heads are wising up to the grim reality that the American Nazis claiming to be trying to take their country back have absolutely no idea of its history. To be fair, even I had never absorbed the notion that the Revolutionary War was not “Americans” against Brits. It was Brits against Brits. If there had been Thanksgiving dinners back then, they would have ended with pewter mugs of rum being flung at drunk uncles. So: 

Our last Amtrak trek from 12 West to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia took just under two hours, about the same amount of time we’d devote one way to a weekend outing for Chinese in Flushing. Which is just one reason I’d recommend an expedition to the new Museum of the American Revolution. Every exhibit in this lively museum makes clear how the country began with #Resistance and needs more of the same to survive.

Whatever you learned in grade school is not what you will come away understanding from this museum, with its inclusion of the roles of native Americans, African-Americans and women in the struggle to establish a republic. The rooms devoted to battles in and around Manhattan are particularly vivid, and the closing multimedia presentation showcasing the tent George Washington operated out of more than 200 years ago is surprisingly moving.

You could Amtrak down and back in a day, but Philadelphia is too great a city not to warrant a sleepover. For away-beds, we like the Hotel Palomar off Rittenhouse Square (pets welcome although we’ve never taken our cat). For diversion, we love the Reading Terminal Market, with its dozens of constantly changing food stalls. For culture, we really love the Museum of Art. For restaurants, we can’t count the choices.  Closest to the museum are High Street on Market, Good King Tavern and the Hungry Pigeon, but there are so many other options to Google: Vernick or 24 or aKitchen or Barbuzzo or Blue Corn or Bing Bing Dim Sum or V Kitchen. There’s also a cafe in the museum, but our first president surely did not work so hard to make eating easy. Walk west or south.