Philadelphia Delivered Once Again: Art On Wheels, Part Ten

So, what we have here is a Philadelphia story. It is one of many I’ve penned in which The City Of Brotherly Love has starred or played a supporting role. Were it not for Philly, the contents of Yeah, Another Blogger would be pretty damn scanty.

For employment reasons I moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1970s, taking a liking to the city right from the get-go. I resided within its boundaries for about 30 years. And when my wife Sandy (whom I met in 1990) and I moved away in 2005, we deposited ourselves in a sleepy town not far at all from Philly, because we wanted to be within the city’s magnetic field.

Yeah, I absolutely dig Philadelphia. Even now, deep into my retirement years, I do one thing or another there anywhere from two to six times each month. Concerts, museums, parks, restaurants . . . the city is loaded with them and with other enticements, and I can’t resist.

One of my favorite activities is to wander around Philadelphia on foot, exploring many of its sections, not just the downtown ones. I become invigorated when pounding their sidewalks and other walking paths, no less so these days than I did during my young adulthood and middle age. I might be older than dirt, but my shoes were made for walking!

A recent Philadelphia walking adventure took place on a mid-September summer day. The weather was mild, guaranteeing that I wouldn’t sweat like a frigging pig, and the skies were a friendly shade of blue. I boarded a train in my town at 9:36 AM and found myself, 45 minutes later, inside a station in the heart of Philly. After taking care of business in the station’s men’s room, I headed for the streets. My mission was to keep my eyes open for, and to photograph, enticingly decorated vehicles. Yes, the time had arrived for me to begin creating the tenth installment of a project I’ve become enamored with: Art On Wheels.

Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood, one block from the train station I exited from, is a funky, lively area replete with Asian restaurants, produce vendors, nail salons, Chinese-American attorneys’ offices, and on and on. Within moments I was strolling its streets, positive that a cool truck or two would enter my field of vision in no time. When that didn’t happen, though, I began to get an uneasy feeling that my quest for vehicular beauty was destined not to pan out.

Not to worry! Twenty-five minutes into the walk, as I crossed from Chinatown into the city’s Callowhill section, a winner presented itself to me. Has the combination of orange and white ever looked better than it does on the Harbour Textile Service truck? I think not. Bold and confident, the design proves that simplicity can pack a punch with lasting effects. The Harbour vehicle is one of my two favorites from that day.

All in all I spent three hours, interrupted by a short lunch break, on the streets of Philadelphia, my aged legs covering a total of six miles. Besides Chinatown and Callowhill, the stroll took me into four or five other neighborhoods, including Spring Garden. That’s where I made the acquaintance of La Marqueza, a gorgeous food truck that I like as much as Harbour Textile Service and maybe more. It was parked alongside Community College Of Philadelphia. Man, I gazed upon La Marqueza hungrily, allowing its vibrancy and warmth to raise my spirits. Then, off I went in search of my next victim.

By adventure’s end I’d taken the portraits of about 15 vehicles, later deciding that only five were worthy of immortalization. Ergo, those five decorate this page. The final notable one I saw belongs to Foreign Objects, a craft brewery in Monroe, New York. That truck, far from home, is endowed with delicate and wispy artwork, not at all what you’d expect a beer truck to display. All I can say is, “damn straight, I’ll drink to that!”

In closing, I’ll mention this: The first seven editions of Art On Wheels are set in the suburbs, where I had to drive all over the f*cking place to find worthy specimens. Screw that! I’d rather locate them via foot power in Philly, which is what I’ve done since then. That’s why I’m sure that at some point next year I’ll return to the city I know best for Art On Wheels, Part Eleven. I’m already looking forward to it.

126 thoughts on “Philadelphia Delivered Once Again: Art On Wheels, Part Ten

  1. Audrey Driscoll October 4, 2022 / 12:18 am

    That was quite a walk, Neil! I’d say a tie between La Marqueza and Hesh Seafood, with Harbour Textile a runner-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gabychops October 4, 2022 / 2:43 am

    I am looking forward to your next adventure in your home city!


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Tobin October 4, 2022 / 2:53 am

    You are fortunate to be within easy reach of the city and able to avail of the attractions there. I’m not sure I’d chase trucks myself and am glad you have done so for us as the results are very interesting and attractive. There has been a boom in the past year or two here in Ireland in “mobile food units”, converted vans or even large trailers which serve coffee and cakes or fish and chips etc etc. I’m not inclined to use them (wouldn’t dream of doing so!) as I doubt their hygiene practices are the best. Also, we have a kettle, coffee pot, coffee machine, in the house and have no need to walk around with a polystyrene cup of coffee in my hand – like a child with a soother! Now, there’s a photo-project for you: “Those who carry coffee in the street”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cindy Bruchman October 4, 2022 / 5:37 am

    I like it! This is a fun tribute to your city of brotherly love. I’m a Phillies fan, so happy I awoke to the announcement they beat the Astros last might and ended the drought!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 11:27 am

      Hi. Thanks for adding your thoughts. The Phillies, though, have been so erratic for the last 6 or more weeks. For whatever reasons, they were doing better before Bryce Harper returned from his hand injury.


      • Cindy Bruchman October 4, 2022 / 11:53 am

        weird, right? I love Harper. I wish he would connect with the bat more. Being DH can’t be fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. swabby429 October 4, 2022 / 6:20 am

    I’m cheered to read positive words about Philadelphia. There is so much negative misinformation on line about the historical city. It’s good to get a balanced view. Also, I really like the bold orange and white checkerboard patterned truck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 11:30 am

      Right, that truck has what it takes. A minute ago I googled Harbour Textile, and learned that they are based in Delaware.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous October 4, 2022 / 7:54 am

    Love your Art on Wheels!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deb October 4, 2022 / 8:30 am

    I never see vehicles like yours around here. Ours are really boring and simple. I like the creativity Neil.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie Graves October 4, 2022 / 9:08 am

    Those shoes are indeed made for walking. I was smitten by the Harbour vehicle. Such an effective use of color and design. My second favorite is that snappy food truck. Really enjoy this series. Art is everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ally Bean October 4, 2022 / 10:44 am

    I adore these posts. It’s refreshing to look at creativity on wheels. I know that you’ve influenced me to view trucks in a new light. I look forward to any and all future posts on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 1:16 pm

      You know, I should go back some day to the Community College area and order lunch from that food truck. I bet the food is real good.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. JT Twissel October 4, 2022 / 11:45 am

    Art on wheels is such a great idea – inspires me to take the train down to San Fran and see what I can find. I’ve been to Philly and it is a lovely city – for the most part!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 1:19 pm

      Hi, JT. Something that kind of amazes me is that, despite the zillion hours I’ve spent walking around or driving around Philly, there are many, many sections I’ve never been in.


  11. tanjabrittonwriter October 4, 2022 / 12:03 pm

    I’m glad your search paid off, once again. My favorite truck is “La Marqueza.” I would have happily bought my lunch there, if they had been open.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Helen Devries October 4, 2022 / 12:34 pm

    That was some walk. but it bore super fruit. I liked the first one best, so sunny and positive.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. greenpete58 October 4, 2022 / 2:33 pm

    I think I’ll go with some Hesh Seafood, followed by La Marqueza (Tex-Mex?). Yes, Philly has its own vibration. Our daughter had three apartments there after college, and she and her family may return, before our granddaughters get too far in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rosaliene Bacchus October 4, 2022 / 2:58 pm

    Neil, I mentioned your name and photos of decorated vehicles to my son on Sunday evening during an outing to Chinatown Los Angeles for his cousin’s birthday dinner. You’ve got me hooked. I looked around and saw no trucks with stunning artwork. What a disappointment! Nothing like your La Marqueza bus or Hesh Seafood truck, my top favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Paula B October 4, 2022 / 4:34 pm

    I love it when people have a distinct sense of place and a true love for the area in which they live. Your writing is so often refreshing in that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 5:54 pm

      Afternoon, Paula. In the 1970s I moved to Philadelphia for a job. I knew almost nothing about the city before I got here. Luckily for me, it turned out to be the right place.


  16. adguru101 October 4, 2022 / 5:43 pm

    Great choices — Marqueza has my vote. You found a treasure trove in “only” 6 miles; bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Robert Parker October 4, 2022 / 7:39 pm

    Excellent quest! You’re probably the expert on Philly truck art, people will start quoting you as a recognized authority, “Neil on Wheels”. This was a really successful outing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 9:52 pm

      Evening, Robert. Yeah, I had a good time walking around in Philly, and was lucky that some good-looking vehicles presented themselves to me. It’s a fun game!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. sniderjerry October 4, 2022 / 7:48 pm

    Great essay. Have you considered running for mayor. You have my vote. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 4, 2022 / 9:46 pm

      Hey Jerry. I’m too old to be mayor. But here’s something interesting: there’s a former Philadelphia Eagle named Connor Barwin. He’s a very civic-oriented guy. There might be a real chance that he’ll decide to run for mayor at some point in the future.


  19. Cindy October 4, 2022 / 10:43 pm

    Love your truck shots, Neil. Your five choices are kinda symbolic of Philadelphia itself—four-fifths fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Basia Korzeniowska October 5, 2022 / 2:53 am

    Looking forward to it too. After all your posts about decorated trucks I look out for them in london. Always unsuccessful. It’s obviously not a thing here. But I’ll keep looking

    Liked by 1 person

  21. fauquetmichel October 5, 2022 / 5:45 am

    After wall art here comes art on wheels. That’s quite heartening, Neil.
    Do you know that during the war the Germans stationed in France painted on their vehicles drawings with different colors (and also on certain walls of castles where the officers resided. These paintings were made to escape to the sight of the alliee planes but had an artistic quality.
    In friendship

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Joe October 5, 2022 / 9:49 am

    Happy to see another installment of “Art on Wheels”, Neil. I’m glad you are getting out on the streets on a regular basis, and finding inspiration during your walks. The Harbour Textile truck reminds me of the football end zone color scheme at the University of Tennessee. Trekking last week in Nepal, I met another hiker who hailed from the City of Brotherly Love. It is one of America’s great cities and one of my favorites too. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. talebender October 5, 2022 / 11:08 am

    The world needs more folks like you who deliberately go out looking for beauty and humour. May you live long and wander.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. selizabryangmailcom October 5, 2022 / 2:16 pm

    I must not have my radar directed toward these trucks, ’cause I don’t recall seeing ANYTHING that colorful here in LA… but they must be here. I’ve got to do an experiment for sure. Wow. Out of sight, out of mind. And out of mnd, out of sight, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. tylerus October 5, 2022 / 4:27 pm

    I love the pics of the trucks . . . and your “heartfelt” tributes to the [your] city of brotherly love (and I say that with love). I have Philly on my list of cities to visit . . . here’s hoping that’s soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 5, 2022 / 5:45 pm

      Hi. There’s lots to see and do in Philadelphia. And there are many historic sites of interest. It’s a good city!


  26. johnlmalone October 5, 2022 / 6:16 pm

    you’re having the time of your life on this journalistic jaunt, Neil and keeping us entertained with your banter and pics; keep on jaunting 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  27. shoreacres October 5, 2022 / 7:49 pm

    We have plenty of well-decorated food trucks, but you’re terrific at finding other kinds of trucks that are real eye-catchers. I’m so fond of these posts of yours; I always find myself more attentive to what’s around me on the road after reading one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 5, 2022 / 10:10 pm

      Hi. I’ve done three installments of Art On Wheels in Philadelphia. Luckily, the city hasn’t let me down.


  28. Alyson October 6, 2022 / 8:15 am

    It’s the La Marqueza truck for me this time – a bright and vibrant addition to the streets of Philadelphia!

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Dave October 6, 2022 / 9:59 am

    Wouldn’t it be something to watch a group of art students walking into a studio to find a fleet of parked white trucks, literally blank canvases awaiting the talents of their brushes. Their jaws would drop, their grins from ear to ear. The teacher clicks a stopwatch and yells, “START!” I’d love to see their creations.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. snakesinthegrass2014 October 6, 2022 / 1:03 pm

    Your pictures wouldn’t be nearly as fun if you were behind the wheel. Great captures while on foot. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 6, 2022 / 3:01 pm

      In the burbs I would drive to strip malls, parking lots, etc. When I spotted well-decorated vehicles, I would get out of my car and photograph them.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. thelongview October 6, 2022 / 9:35 pm

    This is such a great series! Enjoyed this episode and look forward to the next. Though I’m not so excited by urban spaces myself, the rest of my family is. And I’ve learnt to appreciate all the life of and colour of the city. Philadelphia looks like a fun place! My favourite this time is the Foreign Objects truck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 6, 2022 / 11:03 pm

      Hi. The design on that truck is most unusual. Kind of ethereal. I like it a lot too.


  32. Denise Denton Thiery October 7, 2022 / 12:26 pm

    Love the pictures. I’ve never been there, but it’s not too far from me. I’ll check it out and bring my camera.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 7, 2022 / 3:07 pm

      Something that always blows my mind in Philadelphia when I see it is a plaque attached to the graveyard where Benjamin Franklin is buried. The plaque lists his accomplishments. The list is a mile long. He was a totally amazing person.


  33. George October 7, 2022 / 2:07 pm

    Great pics prefaced by a lovely tribute to Philadelphia. Love the La Marqueza truck—fantastic.

    Many years ago, my wife (also named Sandy) was involved in a project called Art on Trucks, where a number of artists were commissioned to produce designs that then graced a host of normal working trucks through the summer of 1996. You’d have loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Michele Anderson October 7, 2022 / 6:36 pm

    I love all the art work, Neil, but I’ll have to choose the beer truck for obvious reasons: “I love beer.” Wonder what that beer tastes like….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 7, 2022 / 9:11 pm

      Hi. You know, I’m not sure if I ever had any of that brewery’s beers. I don’t think it’s widely distributed in my area, and yet the truck was in Philly, which is 130 miles from where the brewery is located.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Jeff the Chef October 9, 2022 / 11:49 am

    Philly is a great city. I’m not at all surprised that it’s been such a source of pleasure for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 9, 2022 / 2:57 pm

      Howdy. I moved to Philly in the 1970s to take a job. I knew almost nothing about the city. Fortunately, it and I were/are a good match.


  36. andrewcferguson October 9, 2022 / 12:30 pm

    I’ve had to think about branding and marketing recently, for professional reasons, and for that reason, I’m not sure the La Marqueza truck is such a great advert for its product. But it certainly is eye-catching! Good job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 9, 2022 / 3:00 pm

      One thing about La Marqueza is that it’s not super-easy to find its name on the truck. The same is true for the beer truck, whose design uses a hard-to-read flowery font.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. October 9, 2022 / 2:12 pm

    Congrats on Part 10! I think I’ve only seen two so far since we crossed paths here in the blogosphere. I’m with you on the walking versus driving to find artwork. There’s a personal touch to the post when you can relive the experience by remembering what you saw there as you walked by the objects of art. I really like the first photo – orange/white against the blue is such a beautiful combination. Take care and thanks for sharing your walk with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. ckennedy October 9, 2022 / 6:59 pm

    My dad is from Philadelphia, and several years ago, I got a chance to visit–it was a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  39. eden baylee October 10, 2022 / 11:00 pm

    Sorry I’m late to comment as usual. The La Marqueza food truck wins my vote for most visually appealing truck. Love all the happy, playful colours and pictures. You make a terrific ambassador for your city. You ever consider being a guide?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 11, 2022 / 7:21 am

      Hi. Being a guide probably would be fun. But I’d have to do all kinds of research and studying to become knowledgeable enough , and I’m not up for that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • eden baylee October 11, 2022 / 9:37 am

        I think you’d be surprised at how much you bring to the experience as someone who lives in the city, and your blogs show you see Philadelphia through a unique lens. I’m connected to Airbnb and love their experiences. When I’ve travelled in the past, I always line up tours (experiences) through Airbnb Experiences. They are provided by people (like you) who may be part of the tourist industry, but more often not. It’s not a huge money making scheme, but imagine if you did a 90 minute walking tour for say, 10 people max at 50 dollars. So many people book accommodations via Airbnb and it’s a natural progression to book experiences through them too. Just a thought. If I come to Philly, I want YOU to show me around. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  40. Pam Lazos October 11, 2022 / 5:45 pm

    Neil, I live vicariously through your excursions because when I’m in Philly I’m working so I do t het to make these treks so much anymore but I do make note of the particularly fabulous things you point out and try to get there like with the Cirra center roof deck. Keep those blog posts coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 11, 2022 / 10:30 pm

      Hey, Pam. Thanks for reminding me about the roof deck. Something I’d like to do is go up there at night, after darkness has set in. The nighttime views must be great.

      Liked by 1 person

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