Happy Valentine's Day, Philly

JESSICA GRIFFIN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER There's lots to love about Philly, including LOVE Park. Share your Philly love tomorrow through #whyilovephilly.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER There's lots to love about Philly, including LOVE Park. Share your Philly love tomorrow through #whyilovephilly.
Posted: February 14, 2014


Happy Valentine's, boo.

Tomorrow, you're going to get all kinds of love through a #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign.

Last year, so many people tweeted their affection for you that the hashtag trended nationally.

A lot of the love is for some of your more obvious attributes, your sprawling Reading Terminal, your glowing Rittenhouse Square, your palatial 30th Street Station.

But you also get plenty of love for your more subtle traits, cherished discoveries that only people who've spent time with you would even notice. The 5th Street tunnel; the old storefront at 18th and Fitzwater; the Episcopal Church of St. Luke and the Epiphany, a haven during the worst years of the AIDS epidemic in Philadelphia. (Find odes to these and 200 other beloved Philly spots on phillylovenotes.com.)

Even your airport turns some heads. Hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But before you get overwhelmed with all the love, I thought I'd give you my Valentine a day early.

So here goes:

I wasn't sure I was over my last relationship with that smaller city north of here when you came along.

But next thing I knew, you're sweeping me off my feet on the Art Museum steps and taking my breath away on the Wissahickon trails. And even as I filled my rented kayak with plastic soda bottles with mystery liquid and rusty Bud Light beer cans floating along the Schuylkill, I knew I was all in on that moonlight kayak tour. Ah, the good old days.

This is still a relatively new relationship; it's only been about two years. But the honeymoon is definitely over.

I think it happened sometime around the time my wallet was stolen on the eve of a vacation or when you lashed out because I questioned the relevancy of the Mummers Parade or mused about renaming the Italian Market to better reflect its diversity.

How do I put this? You've got some anger issues. We should be able to disagree without you getting all rage-y, and telling me to go back to where I came from. And we both know you don't mean Hartford.

But hey, when emotions run high, sometimes hurtful things are said. I may not love your thin skin, but I do love your passion.

Which is why I want to strangle you when you shrug things off. I know, I know, you have to pick your battles. You've grown so accustomed to how things are that you sometimes forget that they often aren't how they should be. But settling (for everything from dirty streets to dirty politicians) is a major turnoff.

And if there is one thing I think might eventually mean the end of us, it's that. But you already know that - you've lost plenty of other paramours over that dreaded shrug of yours. Even those who've loved you longer and deeper admit that you don't make it easy.

I call it a love/hate relationship. Emma Fried-Cassorla, creator of Philly Love Notes, calls it a push/pull. "That's definitely a theme I see come up sometimes," said Fried-Cassorla, who started the site to remind Philadelphians how great their city is through a series of love notes.

You do keep things interesting. But there's a fine line between being interesting and being infuriating.

Truth time again - I've often thought about breaking it off. I thought about it just yesterday.

But just when I'm about to walk away, when I've had enough, you do something to change my mind. I catch a glimpse of your skyline in the sunset or I'm reminded of your capacity for kindness, for stepping up for your friends and neighbors and even strangers in need - even if just to help them shovel snow.

And we do have some laughs - what was with that sharp-dressed guy in front of me at the Market Street Walgreens today? Dressed in a pricey, trendy suit and paying for his batteries with change he was pulling out of an old sock. Only in Philly.

But mostly you remind me that this relationship is about more than just us. It's about taking chances, about reinvention and transformation. About possibility.

So, I guess in a lot of ways, we're like every couple. We've got our issues. But on most days, the good outweighs the bad. And right now, that's good enough.



P.S. Don't forget to send me flowers. Tulips are my favorite.

This year, the site (whyilovephilly.com) is live, and will serve as the hub for Instagram and Twitter feeds. Tweet your love, using #whyilovephilly (which was created by Alex Hillman and members of Young Involved Philadelphia). Then, retweet the love. Let the world know why you love Philly.

Email: ubinas@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5943

On Twitter: @NotesFromHel

On Facebook: Helen.Ubinas

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