From the Editor: Jim Antonacci, President of the NFB of Pennsylvania, has traveled for years around the City of Brotherly Love. In the following short article he tells you what you need to know to get to the Marriott when you arrive in Philadelphia and then how to find what you want in the heart of the city. If you take the time to read what he says carefully and memorize a few street names and their order, you will be in great shape to enjoy the area the first week in July. If you have not yet made your reservation, look back at the information at the beginning of this issue and reserve your room immediately:
Now that you have read in recent Monitors about some of the things that Philadelphia has to offer you during the 2001 convention of the National Federation of the Blind, you will want to know how to get around the city.
First let's explain some of the geography of the center-city area. You will be happy to learn that almost all of the streets in the downtown area run north and south or east and west. The Delaware River is the eastern border of the city, separating Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The north-south street nearest the river, therefore, is aptly named Delaware Avenue. The next street to the west is First Street, followed by Second, etc., up to Sixty-Ninth Street. However, Fourteenth Street is known as Broad Street. Market Street is the divider between North and South Philadelphia and runs east and west through the entire city. As you proceed north from Market Street, the first street is Filbert Street (one-half block north), followed by Arch and then Race Streets. As you proceed south from Market, the streets are named Chestnut, Sansom, Walnut, Locust, Spruce, Pine, Lombard, and South Street. The Marriott Hotel is between Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets (east to west) and Market and Filbert (south to north). The streets were laid out so that each full block is one-tenth of a mile long. For example, if you began at Twelfth and Market Streets and walked seven blocks east to Fifth Street, then one block south to Chestnut, you would arrive at the corner where Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell are located, after having walked only eight-tenths of a mile.
Philadelphia has an excellent system of busses, trolleys, subways, and commuter rail services, which funnel through the central business district of the city. You might say that, if all roads in Italy lead to Rome, in Philadelphia all public transportation leads to the Marriott Hotel.
If you are flying into the city, you have your choice of transportation methods to get to the Marriott. If you choose to take a cab, be advised that a flat-rate charge of $20 each way is in effect. You can also make your way to the ground transportation area of the airport (near baggage claim) and call one of the available shuttle services on a free phone. The cost for these is about $8 per person for a one‑way trip. During regular business hours these run every half hour, but, if you plan to take a flight arriving in the wee hours of the morning or you have an excessive amount of baggage, you may need to make special arrangements with the services. Lady Liberty Transportation can be reached at (215) 724‑8888. USA Limo Shuttle Services is at (215) 546‑4044.
You can also take the regional rail service, running every thirty minutes, which stops at each airline concourse and brings you to within a block of the hotel. This is a regular commuter rail service with conductors on each car, who will help you with luggage and will collect your fare of $5 so that you won't have to find any hidden ticket offices. If you take the train, you will travel east, right under the hotel, disembark at the Market East station, and proceed up an escalator facing west from the platform level to the concourse level. After walking a half-block west on this level, you will find an elevator off to your right whose doors face east. Take this elevator up one more level to the street. After getting off the elevator (still facing east), glass doors opening onto Filbert Street will be on your left. Turn left to locate Twelfth Street about thirty yards away. After crossing this street, you will find yourself at the end of a horseshoe driveway, which you can follow into the north-facing entrance to the Marriott.
For those interested in taking Amtrak to Philadelphia, the regional rail system has an agreement which allows you to travel free from Amtrak's Thirtieth Street Station, east to the Market East Station. You need only get directions up a ramp to an escalator, which brings you to the regional rail platform of tracks One and Two. You will not leave the building until you actually reach the platform. Take any train stopping on this platform two stops to the Market East Station. Then follow the directions above for reaching the hotel from that station. You can also easily catch a taxi outside the Thirtieth Street Station, which will drop you off at the Marriott. This one-way taxi ride should cost about $6.
For those coming in by bus, the Greyhound terminal is between Tenth and Eleventh Streets on the north side of Filbert Street. Exit the station on its south side and turn right. Cross Eleventh and Twelfth Streets, noting the Reading Market between them. Both these intersections are traffic-light controlled. Cross Filbert, and you are at the northeast corner of the hotel as described earlier.
Of course those who live close enough can drive to the hotel, but be warned that parking in Philadelphia is costly. In fact the Marriott charges $24 a night for anyone parking for a full day. So keep this in mind when choosing your method of transportation to the convention this summer.
No matter what conveyance you pick to get to our city, we promise to show you warm hospitality; a fascinating mix of Philadelphia past, present, and future; and a liberal dose of that unique Federation spirit that makes our conventions second to none. See you in July!