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Ringing it up in Philadelphia

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An interesting article from the Boston Globe that poses the question,"Can Philly regain it's status as a top historical and cultural tourist destination?" Whadda you think?

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Ringing it up in Philadelphia

Philly vs. Boston for tourism

By Keith Reed, Globe Staff, 10/21/2003

PHILADELPHIA -- The Liberty Bell was in a different building the last time Mort and Lois Stanley were here. And the gleaming new visitors center where they now sat was a part of the lawn carpeting Independence National Historical Park.

Last week the Flint, Mich., couple, along with hundreds of other tourists, were catching their first glimpse of a new Philadelphia. And they liked what they saw, including the $12.9 million Liberty Bell Center, which opened earlier this month.

"I never thought I'd be buying all this historic stuff in such a nice new building," said Lois Stanley as she fumbled through a bag full of Liberty Bell souvenirs and other historic memorabilia bought for her grandson.

Philadelphia's tourism industry, like Boston's, depends on history's lure to woo visitors and the dollars they spend. The two cities are home to some of the nation's best-known historic attractions such as Independence Hall and the USS Constitution.

But Philadelphia now has something Boston does not: millions of dollars worth of new museums and attractions that just might be giving it the edge in marketing itself as a historic destination.

Since 1997, $314 million in federal, private, state, and municipal funds have been poured into developing attractions in Independence National Historic Park, the epicenter of Philadelphia's historic destinations, according to the National Park Service. The $185 million National Constitution Center opened July 4. In 2001, a $37.7 million visitors center opened across from the site of the Liberty Bell.

On the drawing boards are an educational center to bring history alive for schoolchildren and a $4.5 million replica of the house used by US presidents in the nation's early days. Philadelphia is adding other attractions to its mix: The Philadelphia Eagles National Football League team opened a stadium this year, and Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies will do the same in April. Philadelphia has made a massive investment to catch Boston and other East Coast cities that have long focused on tourism as an economic and jobs engine, and it may be succeeding. In a recent Travel & Leisure Magazine survey, Philadelphia ranked second in the nation with travelers seeking historic sites. Boston placed third. The top city was Washington, D.C.

Philadelphia's tourism marketing budget has grown from $4 million in 2000 to $4.5 million last year,...The rest of the story...

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Philly is a great town to visit. I haven't seen the new liberty bell center, but I've always enjoyed visiting the city of brother love. I love their china town in philly. It's not too big, not too small.

But I've got to give the edge easily to Boston. IMHO there is much more to do in Boston and the area surrounding than Philly. Philly and Boston are both on my annual road trip through the northeast. Every year, I spend a day in Philly, and spend at least 4 in Boston/Cape Cod.

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Philly and Boston share a lot of history. Philly overtook Boston in most categories in the 19th century and held its lead into the 20th century. When manufacturing started to die in the US in the second half of the 20th century, Philly stalled. Boston had its financial center and high tech and it boomed. Much of Boston is a living museum and so is Philly. Boston looks a lot better now in part because its economy has been stronger for quite a long time now, so it is cleaner and more gentrified. Boston's Harbor setting gives it a natural edge too I suppose.

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Boston has just as checkered a past as Philly does I think. The school integration riots, the national attention that the dirty harbour got when Dukakis ran for President, the money hole that is the Big Dig, which NBC loves to feature over and over again on the fleecing of America, Tax-achussetts, Ted Kennedy's problems on Chappaquiddick (not Boston, but outsiders associate Kennedy with Boston)...

I think Philly falls much more in the shadow of NYC than Boston does. In fact I think the NYC shadow isn't really that big of an issue for Boston. The fact that New England is a very distinct region of the country and Boston is it's defacto capital helps Boston immensely. Think how often you hear about New England versus how often you hear about Pennsylvania.

Also throughout the years Boston and Massachusetts have secured their position in history books. Think about learning about American History class, it's all about the Pilgrims, and Plimoth Rock, and The Boston Tea Party, and The Boston Massacre, and the Battle of Bunker Hill, and one if by land... Then they might add in, "Oh yeah, and this Hancock guy from Boston wrote his name really big on some piece of paper, he was in some place called Phila-something, there's a bell but it's cracked, anyway, more about Boston..."

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From publishers to financial companies to stock exchanges to baseball players to ports to dominance in many business areas, Boston has sent its best to NYC for over a century. One of my favorites is the First Boston company (financial services). They built the dark skyscraper with the cubic hat that sits behind the old state house on State St in Boston. For some reason, the TV news often quotes Credite Swiss First Boston in their business news. Even a company named First Boston is based in NYC (with a foreign parent now, there's globalization for you).

I'm sure the same could be said for Philly. To some degree this is true for almost every city in the US. The Chyrsler builing is in NYC even though the company was based in Detroit, just as an example.

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I dont know why most people like boston over philadelphia either. I've been to both cities and philadelphia has a better downtown and more to offer IMO. Plus its lwarmer than boston in the winter

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I prefer Philadelphia because I like the atmosphere a lot better. I have been to both and Philly is just more appealing.

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I live in the burbs of philly and I have to say Ive been to NYC at least as much as I have Philly... NYC's only two hours away, you can do the trip in a day, which is why I think Philly is so often overlooked. There is a lot to do here though, South Street, Manayunk, Penn's Landing, Art Museum, concert halls from punk to classical music, they just dont advertise enough.. And there's a ton of urban sprawl going on here, like 5 million new houses a month, so a lot of the commerce and popoulation is slowly moving out to the suburbs.

O, and Im new to the forums. Ive been a lurker for a while and i think this place is awesome.

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Philly is ok but Boston is probably the best city in the country behind San fransico

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I live in south philly and have traveled to boston a bunch of times. They are really the same city but philly is a bit bigger. I'd give boston the edge. It does have more money and impact. On the otherhand, philly is really turning around fast. Their are several new highrise condominium towers going up ( at my last count 4 have broken ground of 25 stories or more and another 6 are proposed) plus a bunch of midrise buildings. I'd like to revisit this in 5 years and see where we stand then. Oh, I almost forgot cira center and comcast center (philly's tallest) are also under costruction. And it seems as though a new great resturaunt opens up every day here. Maybe we'll actually win the superbowl next too. not.

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I think Philly falls much more in the shadow of NYC than Boston does. In fact I think the NYC shadow isn't really that big of an issue for Boston. The fact that New England is a very distinct region of the country and Boston is it's defacto capital helps Boston immensely.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hmmm, I don't know about that. Both cities seem to have a real NYC complex. If Boston wasn't in the shadow of NYC - they wouldn't be bothered by all the success NYC has (off and on the baseball field). But they seem to be. I've found that when I tell someone in Boston I'm originally from NYC, it changes the tone of the conversation - they immediately assume that I root for the Yankees (I don't). There is defintely an obsession with the Yankees up here (love 'em or hate 'em, it's still an obsession if you can't go one week without mentioning them). I read a book about "the real Boston" that took quite a few potshots at NYC, including calling it "the armpit of the world." (It was a humor book, but still.) They also seem to hate it when someone from Boston leaves to go to NYC. But given how the phrase "Yankees suck!" can come up at a Patriots rally (exactly what do the Yankees have to do with football?) or even at a Purim holiday party, I'd say Boston might be even more in the shadow of NYC than Philly.

But both cities do have a lot in common, more than just a NYC complex. History, a high concentration of college students, major contributions to American cuisine, race relations, poorly planned urban development - the list goes on.

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I'd like to mention that I never meant this to be any kind of "vs" thread. It was an article about Philadelphia putting money into attracting tourists using examples that Boston has been successful with. It seems the title is a little deceiving.

I never meant to claim that Boston or any city is better than any other.

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New York is overrated,overcrowded and dirty in my opinion, Boston is clean cut , dence and perfect the way it is, Boston could be bigger than it is if it chose to be.

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:rofl: ...Yeah right!!!

Boston is FAR from perfect. Big Dig, anyone? More like the Big Leak. Housing and food are overpriced in Boston - yes, overpriced and just two of the reasons why I'm planning to leave once I get my Master's degree. Clean cut? - gimme a break! I lived on Beacon Hill and the sidewalks were constantly infested with garbage and dog droppings. I mean come on, Beacon Hill! One of Boston's most expensive neighborhoods where garbage was supposed to be collected three days a week and would still be there on garbage day. Try having to deal with that in the summer (guess that's a third reason not to stay). Perfect, it ain't!

Anyway, this thread is about what Philadelphia can do to be as successful as Boston has been in attracting tourists. This is NOT a "hey let's bash NY cause we're from Boston" thread (that, too, has something to do with my wanting to leave Boston). So let's get back to the topic, shall we? It looks like Philly is reaching out to Boston directly to attract tourists. Anyone in Boston seen the billboards, taxi ads, and bus ad wraps advertising the Dali exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum? I think that's a smart move on the part of Philly's tourist board.

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Yes I saw Dali buses on Longwood Ave.... and yes this is about tourism not a vs thread.

Soak up the best education the city has to offer and then slam her as rat infested... wow ;) You could have picked alot cheaper place to live.

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Yes I saw Dali buses on Longwood Ave.... and yes this is about tourism not a vs thread.

Soak up the best education the city has to offer and then slam her as rat infested... wow

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For those of you interested in a true intellectual comparison of Philadelphia and Boston, I strongly recommend the book "Puritan Boston & Quaker Philadelphia" by E. Digby Baltzell (the guy who coined the term WASP). The book is fascinating in its study of how each city's development was affected by it prominent religion at the time. Worth a read if you have ties to both places.

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That sounds like an interesting read.

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I would defintely like to ready this. I always thought there were a lot of parallels between Philly and Boston.

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Both are great cities.

Since the article was about tourist

attractions, here is a new attraction that just started in

Philly this summer and it really makes history come alive.

I have been to 6 of the story telling benches and these

actors really get you involved in the history.

It really makes you feel great to be an American.

Check it out when you are in Philly.

Here is the link: Once Upon a Nation

They now have nightly tours of Independence Hall by candle light, really

incredible and then you get to see the Lights of Liberty after the tour:

Lights of Liberty

They are putting a new interactive spin on history and it seems to be working.

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New York is overrated,overcrowded and dirty in my opinion, Boston is clean cut , dence and perfect the way it is, Boston could be bigger than it is if it chose to be.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It is that attitude that can kill a city. All cities must evolve and grow--or die (figuratively). Comparisons with New York are not useful. New York is the mother city and is bigger and better than Boston by nearly every measure. But NY is superlative. It doesn't mean Boston isn't great.

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granted I do not know too much about Philly but there is just so much around Boston (Cape Ann, Cape Cod, Salem, Plymouth, Gloucester, New Bedford, etc) are all extras to the actual city and all, with the exception of New Bedford and Cape Cod are easliy accesible by the Commuter Rail...

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