Thanks to the brilliant street layout created by city founder William Penn, Philadelphia is one of the most walkable in the country. Numbered streets run north/south, except Broad Street which would be 14th Street. The east/west streets are mostly named for trees (Chestnut, Walnut, Locust). City Hall sits right in the center at the intersection of Market Street and Broad Street, surrounded by four parks -- Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square, Franklin Square and Washington Square. Restaurants, museums, historical attractions, hotels and entertainment are all easily walkable in Center City (downtown) Philadelphia.
Masked Monument Walking Tour
These days, there’s one more thing you can spot as you stroll the city’s cobblestone streets. Statues wearing masks. Here are pictures of a few -- all were delightful discoveries, none staged. Some may have since fallen off or blown away but if you keep an eye out, you’re sure to spot more mask-wearing monuments in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.
Ben on the Bench
On Ben On The Bench, a popular life-size statue of Benjamin Franklin at 37th and Locust on the University of Pennsylvania campus. It was made by George Linden in 1987 and given to Penn by the Class of 1962. Benjamin Franklin was the founder and first president of the University of Pennsylvania. And, like everyone else at Penn, he’s a smart cookie. So, he wears a mask. Penn has nearly 50 works of art depicting its founder.
Mister 1801 in the bay window at 1801 Delancey. This small replica of the Borghese Gladiator (with a modesty leaf added) has been gracing the bay window of the John Husband House since 2012. He is often dressed for holidays and sporting events, delighting people who stroll by. The fighting warrior is a replica of the 6-plus-foot Borghese Gladiator statueon display at the Louvre in Paris. Mister1801 has his own Facebook page @Mister1801.
On the Saint Peter statue at St Paul Parish at 923 Christian in the heart of the Italian Market in South Philly. The church refers to itself as “Two beautiful churches. One great parish.”
The Prophet, a marble statue by Jacob Lipkin in Cret Park, on 16th St. and The Ben Franklin parkway, was gifted to the city by a group of businessman. Cret Park is named for Paul Cret (pronounced Cray), a Frenchman who taught architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and helped design the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and also designed the Rodin Museum, the Ben Franklin Bridge, the original Barnes Museum in Lower Merion, and the renovation of Rittenhouse Square more than 100 years ago.
The Rocky Statue
The Rocky statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps a.k.a. the Rocky steps. After more than four decades and seven movies, the Rocky statue and steps have become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Philadelphia. ScreenJunkies.com named it the second most famous movie location in the world.
The Sign Boy
The Sign Boy by Philadelphia Artist Thomas M. Miles on the east side of Juniper near the southeast corner of City Hall. The Sign Boy is one of the most viewed works of Miles, who works in many visual art forms, including sculpture, photography and video.
Other Cool Masked Attractions
- On a lion on an ornamental sconce in front of The Lion’s Main at 1133 Pine in Washington West.
- On a mannequin in the window of NINOBrand, 333 South 20th Street (at Panama) in Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. This 10-year-old boutique is the brainchild of Bela Shehu, who makes multi-functional garments that offers whimsical artistry, technical engineering and are wrinkle free, too.
- On Philbert the 225-pound bronze pig in the seating area at Reading Terminal Market. For good luck, rub his snout and for good will, feed him coins, which will be donated to charity.
- On the carousel horses at Franklin Square, one of the original square designed by William Penn. The masked horses on the carousel are doing a great job staying socially distance from the zebra, lion, eagle, dragon and other animals circling it.
- On the post in front of Talulah’s Garden, a collaboration between Aimee Olexy, an award-winning restaurateur and Stephen Starr, of Starr Restaurants. Talulah’s Garden is currently open and follows stringent health protocols.
When you stroll through Philadelphia, you might see a re-enactor in Colonial garb in the Historic District, you might see (& hear) musicians playing in Rittenhouse Square and you might just spot the city’s statues setting a good example for staying safe. #MaskUpPHL