Art of Running, Part XI – Running Philly

The contrast between running in the country and running in the city is as different as drinking in a wine bar and an Irish Pub. The past few years, most of my running has been in Bucks County, PA where I see mostly deer, cows and corn stalks, and an occasional human being. That’s one of the reasons I look forward to my Monday morning runs in downtown Philly, to observe and breath-in a diverse cityscape that is one massive art gallery. In the Art of Running – Part III, I shared murals I see on the city streets during my Monday morning runs, but there is so much more to the downtown gallery. There are sculptures, architecture, bridges, a crashed war plane in an alleyway, a giant paint brush, and LOVE.

The back of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Waterworks

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is the backdrop for the Waterworks along the River Drive loop trail.

LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana in Love Park (officially JFK Plaza) at the foot of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana in Love Park (officially JFK Plaza) at the foot of Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Sculpture of Benjamin Franklin at the printing press by Philadelphia sculpture Joe Brown who played football at Temple University and was a professional boxer for a short time.

Sculpture of Benjamin Franklin at the printing press by Philadelphia sculpture Joe Brown who played football at Temple University and was a professional boxer for a short time.

Cold War era Grumman S2F anti-submarine warfare plane sculpture by Jordan Griska in Lenfest Plaza at 16th and Broad Streets.

Cold War era Grumman S2F anti-submarine warfare plane sculpture by Jordan Griska in Lenfest Plaza at 16th and Broad Streets.

Sculpture of a paint brush rises 51 feet above Lenfest Plaza with a six-foot paint glob on Broad Street below. The sculpture is designed by world-renowned artist Claes Oldenburg.

Sculpture of a paint brush rises 51 feet above Lenfest Plaza with a six-foot paint glob on Broad Street below. The sculpture is designed by world-renowned artist Claes Oldenburg.

Philadelphia favorite Rocky Balboa in front of the Art Museum.

Philadelphia favorite Rocky Balboa in front of the Art Museum. Come run the steps.

Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive, a starting point for a popular 8.4-mile loop.

Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive, a starting point for a popular 8.4-mile loop.

At the other end of Kelly Drive is the neighborhood of Manayunk. The historic Manayunk Bridge is at the foot of Main Street, also the turnaround point for the Philadelphia Marathon.

The Manayunk Bridge (a.k.a. Pencoyd Viaduct,) a concrete open spandrel arch bridge on a reverse curve built in 1918.

The Manayunk Bridge (a.k.a. Pencoyd Viaduct,) built in 1918, is a concrete open spandrel arch bridge on a reverse curve.

Manayunk Bridge rises above the Schuylkill River Trail that connects to Kelly Drive into Center City and out into Montgomery County. Popular with runners and cyclists, the the trial is projected to span 130 miles when complete.
Manayunk Bridge rises above the Schuylkill River Trail that connects to Kelly Drive into Center City and out into Montgomery County. Popular with runners and cyclists, the trial is projected to span 130 miles when complete.

Last summer I posted Run, Cycle or Walk–The Best Way to Discover New Places. The message of the post was to slow down, get out of the car and take in your surroundings. It’s hard to absorb the beauty of the environment when you’re going fifty-miles-per-hour. Walk, peddle or run–you will be surprised what you find, and you’ll be better for it.

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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10 Responses to Art of Running, Part XI – Running Philly

  1. LB says:

    Jim, the photos you’ve included are wonderful!! I particularly like the LOVE photo, and the reflection of the bridge in the Schuylkill. Truly though, they are all great. And yes! We need to stop, explore, look and learn.

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      You would love Philly. And if you ever get up to this neck of the woods, you have to ride River Road in Bucks County north of the city along the Delaware River to the Water Gap. It’s a popular ride for bikers, in the summertime you will see hundreds of the brother and sisterhood.

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  2. Sophie33 says:

    Thank you, Jim for showing us a bit of History!

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  3. drmikebda says:

    Dear Jim,

    I would like to do up the family book for your daughter’s wedding. If I send you what I have for your growing family would you take a look at it and make any additions you wish. I would like to put some photo’s in this addition as well.

    Love, Uncle Mike

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  4. Your photos remind me it has been too long since I’ve visited Philly.

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  5. paigesato says:

    I’ve been meaning to get to Philly to see the Barnes Foundation collection. You’ve inspired me to get my act together!

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      The Barnes collection is incredible. They are all there, Cezanne, van Gogh, Monet, and on and on… and so many Renoir. If you come to Philly, the Rodin Museum, they call Paris on the Parkway, is right next door, and the the Philadelphia Museum of Art is right down the Ben Franklin Parkway, all within walking distance. Treat yourself.

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