04 February 2005


It's been a long week and we've not had much time to get out of the house lately and do anything together as a family, in part due to weather and in part due to being busy with various obligations.

So tonight, since it's the beginning of the month, we thought we'd go down to Old City to enjoy the First Friday gallery openings. We've taken Claire before and she really seems to have enjoyed looking at the art, along with the crowds of people, sights, and sounds.

When we had finished up supper tonite we headed downtown only to find that blocks of street parking in Old City have been converted into pricey valet parking spots.

In the past, we usually were able to circle around a bit and find a spot to street park within 15 minutes or so, thereby avoiding the high-priced downtown parking lots. Tonight we circled for nearly an hour, passing space after space of empty spots reserved for valet-parking.

Eventually we gave up, thoroughly frustrated, and drove back near home to Manayunk, so we could at least get out and walk around a bit, enjoy the fresh air, and stretch our legs.

By the time we parked, however, it was nearly 8pm when a number of shops begin to close. We ended up getting kicked out of Pottery Barn, which was trying to shut down for the night, though Claire was very much enjoying exploring the napkin rings.

After a bit more wandering and a brief visit to a music shop, we headed home to put the overly-tired toddler to bed, an hour later than we had anticipated.

It seems that Old City used to be more friendly towards all sorts of people, but now has effectively tried to place itself out of the price-range and convenience of families with kids, instead catering to a younger, hipper crowd of single people with disposable income, as well as the generally more affluent. And that's a disappointing development.