To The River!

If, like me, you’re an oldster fortunate enough to be in halfway decent shape, it behooves you to indulge your interests pretty damn frequently. That’s because time sure as shit ain’t on your side. I mean, I envision myself doing my thing for plenty more years to come. But who the hell knows?

Anyway, doing my thing partly involves taking a healthy number of walks, an activity I’ve enjoyed for decades. Villages, forests, beachy coastlines and cities are among my favorite locales to poke around in. When it comes to the latter, I’ve racked up far more miles within Philadelphia than any other. It’s the city I know best, having lived in or near it for most of my adult life.

My latest Philly trek began on the Ides of March an hour after I boarded a train that transported me from my little town, Willow Grove, to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. From there it was a short walk to my destination, the Schuylkill River, a lovely, narrow waterway that has its origins in Pennsylvania coal territory and flows southeastward for about 100 miles before reaching and, eventually, partially transecting Philadelphia. At the bottom of Philadelphia, the Schuylkill (both SKOOL-kil and SKOO-kil are accepted pronunciations) says goodbye by emptying into the mighty Delaware River.

With the construction in recent years of walking/biking pathways and parklands that border the river in central and southerly Philadelphia sections, most of the Schuylkill’s east bank in the city now is accessible and available for recreational use. Yet I hadn’t walked alongside the Schuylkill in a long while, a big oversight on my part.

The Philadelphia Museum Of Art is near here.
The Schuylkill Expressway can be seen in this photo.
The power plant is on the left.

And so, taking advantage of the Ides’ mild temperatures and blue skies streaked with happy clouds, I stretched my legs nicely while looking here, there and almost everywhere. The views were quiet and charming in some areas, such as those near the Philadelphia Museum Of Art. But most of the time I was very aware of the busy, often gritty city surrounding the river. On one long stretch across the river from where I walked, for instance, cars and trucks whizzed by non-stop on the Schuylkill Expressway. And an imposing power plant a block or two from the river wowed me as I neared the pathway’s current southern terminus (funding hasn’t been arranged yet to create pathways and parklands from the current southern terminus to the bottom of the city).

All in all, I walked about three miles, which is one-quarter or so of the total length of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill riverwalk. And I trod a short distance above the river too, having climbed the stairs that lead to the South Street Bridge’s walkway. (The South Street Bridge is one of many bridges in Philadelphia that span the river.)

Downtown Philadelphia as seen from the South Street Bridge.

Man, the sights were impressive from the bridge, because, duh, it’s way up there. As always, I was amazed by the undeniable fact that downtown Philadelphia is a place where towering modern structures and old buildings imbued with character get along absolutely just fine. And the heavy volume of those skyscrapers caught my attention more than it usually does. There weren’t all that many of them until the 1980s, you know. Since then they’ve sprouted vigorously.

What really made my day, though, was the human component. The pathways and lawn areas were by no means overrun, but substantial numbers of people, all of them on their best behavior, were around. I saw walkers, some of them with dogs, some of them pushing baby carriages, some unencumbered. Plenty of bicyclists too, and two guys fishing. And at least 30 joggers, a majority of whom were cute twenty-something ladies. Did I mention they were cute? Girls, wait for me! I know you’ve been praying for a wrinkled, balding geezer to join you.

After giving the matter a little thought, however, I think I’ll skip jogging. For one thing, I don’t enjoy getting sweaty. Plus, jogging might be dangerous to my health, precipitating a meeting between me and my maker, whoever or whatever it might be. Such an occurrence, needless to say, would suck, suck, suck.

I’m going to stick with walking.

(A note: Riverwalks have been constructed along much of the Schuylkill River, not just in the river’s Philadelphia leg. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.)

128 thoughts on “To The River!

  1. Stuart Danker April 11, 2022 / 6:10 pm

    Wow that’s so cool I get to see what Philly is like. Always love seeing places that are different from my country, and most places are. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 11, 2022 / 11:55 pm

      Hi, Stuart. Philadelphia, like most cities, has its good points and its not-so-good. To me, its strong points are culture, restaurants, architecture, interesting neighborhoods, some wonderful parks. On the bad side is the public education system, and other things. Take care.

      Like

  2. Americaoncoffee April 12, 2022 / 6:42 pm

    A spectacular share Neil! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dave April 13, 2022 / 9:53 am

    Movies like to make their opening scene a skyline (as from your South Street Bridge) and I always enjoy trying to figure out which city they’re showing. I imagine Philadelphia has distinctive skyscrapers which give it away, but to my untrained eye it’s just another skyline. But a fine-looking one, esp. on the Ides of March.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger April 13, 2022 / 2:20 pm

      Hi, Dave. The skyscrapers in Philly are the exception, as most of the structures in the city are two or three levels above ground. And many of those are rowhouses, which are single-family homes that are connected to other houses (i.e. they share walls on one or both sides). Have a good day. See ya!

      Like

  4. stargazer April 21, 2022 / 4:26 pm

    It’s a great luxury to have a river nearby, when you live in a big city. I love river walks, there is always so much to look at and water has a calming effect, I find. The view from South Street Bridge is amazing. At the moment, I take the river bus home from work, which offers some of London’s best sights.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Silver Screenings April 24, 2022 / 5:48 pm

    It looks like a great hike, with lots of really interesting things to see.

    I love, LOVE the photo you took of downtown Philly from the South Street Bridge. It could be a postcard!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jeanleesworld July 15, 2022 / 8:19 pm

    You make me miss walking in downtown Milwaukee! I’ve always loved how buildings built over a century ago hang out alongside the modern skyscrapers–none as tall as Philly’s, I gather, but still. 🙂 A town of my childhood used to have a lovely river walk, but it’s been closed now for over a year for renovation…only no signs of renovation yet. Bugger! xxxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

      • jeanleesworld July 20, 2022 / 10:00 am

        I KNOW! It’s been used by fishermen and everyday folk for years, so to have it cut off for so long is just ridiculous.

        Liked by 1 person

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