Saturday, 17 March 2012


Philadelphia is more than an Academy Award winning classic film of the nighties starring greats Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. The city of brotherly love is also one of the greatest places in the United States of America. Iconic, legendary American singer/songwriters Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young sang about it. This place birthed John Coltrane and Tammi Terrell and West Philadelphia was where the Fresh Prince Will Smith was born and raised...and on the playground is where he spent most of his days. If that isn't enough then wait until you try a Philly Cheese Steak, sandwiches synonymous with a city don't get more hallmark or tasty than this. As American as apple pie this is the place to be. Let's take a bite.

Speaking of which, from the City Tavern to the Tabu Lounge and other sensational sports bars, Phila has plenty of places to chomp it out while you chop it up over a game or just your day. Still for the real taste of Philadelphia you have to get your greasy mitts on a tasty cheese steak snack, preferably at the classic corner of 'Pat's Steak's'. It really is part of the experience just like the hard to miss 'Soft Pretzel'. This classic cuisine really opens your eyes and mouth to this classy city. Plus from downtown to the beautiful, hallmark Reading Terminal Market there are plenty more great places to eat, drink and shop on offer. So whether its caffeine or bargains that are your drug of choice, this big, beautiful city that has a small town, feel and charm truly has it all.

Spending some more time in sports bars for a second, if that type of recreation is your thing then Philly really is a hot bed for sports. Literally the South Philadelphia Sports Complex is home to three terrific stadiums. All four major sports are catered for with the Eagles of the NFL, the Flyers of the NHL, the Philadelphia Phillies of the MLB Baseball league and the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. The Sixers are a legendary Basketball team who have hosted iconic stars such as Wilt Chamberlain (who once scored 100 points in a single game), Julius (Dr. J) Erving, Moses Malone, Charles Barkley and culture changer Allen Iverson and lately with guys like Andre Igudola, Elton Brand, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams they have a new team to be reckoned with.

Back to sports bar's...because you know it's right. Under 10 blocks away 'Chickie's and Pete's' is THE place to eat and watch all sports all day. It's trademark and tradition to this city. Still this are offer a lot of other cool cake shops and places to grub on, including the perfectly nice Pizza place, 'Celebres' down the road. All these stadiums provide a great place to host gigs and concerts so you know stars will flock here too, but one of the most glittering parts of this area is the incredible view of Downtown Philly and it's skyline. From day to night you won't be able to take your eyes off it, regardless of who's playing.

Tourists make sure you ascend the 'Rocky' steps and check out the Sylvester Stallone statue from the iconic series of boxing cinema. Yes...don't worry about doing the jog and jump either...because everyone does it, you just can't resist one of the best photo opportunities. Before you head there two whatever your nationality you are greeted by a beautiful long walk featuring flags of different countries and their cities. Plus the steps lead to the picture perfect Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is as stunning inside as it is on the Greek looking outer. Also there's an incredible Van Gogh exhibition on at the moment that you really have to lend your ears and eyes too.

More magnificent museums and supreme statues decorate this city of the state of Pennsylvania's landscape and timetable and they are all worth a timetable and a slot. Nothing however stands taller than the sublime but subtle skyline headed by 'One Liberty Place'. Except that is for the monument that is City Hall in itself (which in itself is rivalled in brilliance and beauty by the iconic Independence Hall). The real sight to behold though is the moving and magical Liberty Bell. A cracking site that means so much to the itinerary. Like the statue of Benjamin Franklin which is far from a bust to your trip.

Take a break here and stop in anywhere from the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia to the Hi International Hostel, because whatever your budget there's so much more to do. Sure you could do Philly in a day, at a push and a rush, but to really see this place you've got to take a few days, you could really relax in this friendly small town feeling city. Plus from the fountain of beauty of Fairmount Park to the artistic integrity of the Italian Market in South Philly there's so much more than what meets the downtown tourists eyes. A T.V. show says 'It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia' a trip here whatever the weather or season shows you that this place truly shines. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 16 March 2012


'Serendipity' means a 'happy accident or 'pleasant surprise' and is reportedly one of the world populations favourite words...somewhere next to 'love' and 'happiness' I'm sure. It's also the name of a classic, hit romantic comedy starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale where a man an a woman meet thanks to a pleasant accident.

In this film they go for a drink and sundae in New York Cities Little Italy and more importantly 'Serendipity 3', which could be argued as the true muse of this movie. The beautiful, quaint restaurant has been a part of NYC since 1954 and is hallmark to the Big Apple like the carriages in Central Park or the lights in Times Square.

You have to make a stop or two here. From the beautiful, vintage decor to the souvenir satisfying gift-shop this place more than looks the part. The friendly, welcoming staff are always on hand with plenty of water (you'll need it for the sundaes-one waiter told me "better keep you hydrated for this adventure") and stories and advice (you may need that too).

This is a great place to eat a meal or share a drink, but desserts is where this two-floored heaven makes its bread and butter. From the legendary 'Frozen Hot Chocolate' to the 'Forbidden Broadway Sundae' there are so many devilish treats here...and so many more gorgeous sundaes and incredible desserts to get your teeth and fillings into.

So why not take a chance on this place and be pleasantly surprised? Because this will make for one of your favourite New York memories, like ice skating in Central Park or shopping in Bloomingdale's. This is no accident however, when it comes to 'Serendipity 3', you where meant to come here. TIM DAVID HARVEY.