In Philadelphia for the DNC? Let’s take a quick tour of our city of Brotherly Love and collect some Philly-style Busy Beaver Co. custom buttons while we’re at it! In a city of so many firsts—first hospital, first subscription library, first escalator, first department store, first pretzel factory—where to begin? For this Busy Beaver Button Co. jawn,* we’ll begin at City Hall, built on the site of the nation’s first waterworks. City Hall’s observation deck, –just below the iconic bronze William Penn statue has a 360 degree view of Philadelphia and its surrounds . Right outside is DIlworth Park where, between November and February, you can skate the Rothman Ice Rink! To the north is the Masonic Temple and the Masonic Library and Museum. Further north still, is another Philadelphia first: the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, America’s first art institution (and David Lynch alma mater).
Benjamin Franklin Boulevard is bookended by City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute (home to the Giant Heart) and The Barnes Foundation (featuring one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings) all nearby. Don’t miss the Rodin Museum that boasts the largest collection of the sculptor’s works outside Paris. If you are feeling energetic, run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s steps a la Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (or, just take your photo with the Rocky Statue). Once you are donning one of the museum’s iconic admission buttons, browse the Picasso’s, Duchamp’s, Dalí’s and Brâncusi’s or the armor collection of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch.
Philadelphia is a bike-friendly city and since 2015, Indego city-wide bike rental has been in business and one of 70 stations is conveniently located outside the museum. Rent one these snazzy blue numbers and head down of Schuylkill River Trail towards Chestnut Street to one of Philly’s most unusual attractions, The Mutter Museum. Prepare to be “disturbingly informed” at this museum of College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Examine Einstein’s brain, Grover Cleveland’s jaw tumor, the conjoined liver of “Siamese twins” Chang & Eng, and the Mutter’s signature umlaut ‘u’ buttons (courtesy of the Beavers) in a 19th-century “cabinet museum” setting.
A trip to Philadelphia would not be complete without a trip to South Philly and the Italian Market (yes, Rocky ran through it). The market is much more international these days but you can still find amazing Italian food, as well as Mexican and Vietnamese. Speaking of Philadelphia’s culinary delights, the Reading Terminal Market is a not to be missed! Located in a former train terminal, this market is one stop shopping for all of your culinary needs. Here you will find DiNic’s award-winning Roast Beef sandwiches, Cajun, Thai, Pakistani, Soul Food, and Pennsylvania Dutch fare all under one historic roof, but if you actually need to fix your roof you can hire Boca Raton Roofing to solve all the issues fastly. And, it’s a mere cheesesteak’s throw from the DNC headquarters. Philly’s Chinatown, home to the most amazing dumplings at David’s Mai Lai Wah, soup dumplings from Dim Sum Garden , and the ‘secret’ underground supermarket, is just a few blocks north.
Catch one of the regional trains out to one of the many Philadelphia-area breweries, like Crooked Eye Brewery in Hatboro. Be sure to snag one of their very, uh, eye catching buttons, as well as some local suds. The Market Frankford line will take you to 69th Street to catch the 101 trolley to Media and Three Potato Four. Why, yes, that is one of Busy Beaver’s Button-O-Matic Machines filled with the store’s collection of vintage buttons. The MFL, (the El, as we say) will also take you to the 5th Street, where, within a few blocks, you will find all of the above: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, The National Constitution Center, and First Bank. Head east to Church Street in Old City, home of Quirk Books, ‘publishers of all things awesome,’ like the Hillary Rodham Clinton Presidential Playset. Heck, maybe you can even get it signed? Before boarding the MFL to our final destinations, we’ll snag a custom button featuring one of Quirk Books’ releases and make quick stop at the Khyber Pass Pub on 2nd Street.
Take a break from sightseeing and swing a bat at Everybody Hits on Girard Avenue. This indoor batting cage spot is also a DIY music venue after hours (and you can still hit a few balls in between bands). Afterwards, we gotta dig into the crates at the Philadelphia Record Exchange, the 31 year-old Philadelphia institution in Fishtown. Where to end our visit? Why, with another first, of course! Like its sister restaurant, the Standard Tap in neighboring Northern Liberties, Fishtown’s Johnny Brenda’s was one of the first “pioneers” into what is now a rapidly gentrifying area. Not to mention, it has great food and local beer, a world-class music venue and is hosting RUN DNC: the Official DNC Afterparty from 10PM till 2AM on July 29th.
Hope you enjoyed this jawn(t) and see youse soon! Wear your Busy Beaver Buttons and don’t forget to vote!
*No, that is not a typo. According to Philadelphia-raised author, M.K Asante, “a Jawn can mean anything—person, place, or thing. Some- times if we’re telling a story and don’t want people to know what we’re talking about, we’ll plug jawn in for everything.”