“God is in the (Philadelphia) Details.”
The great German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said about buildings that “God is in the Details”. If that is so, then Philadelphia has shown me that its essence as a city takes flight in the timeless beauty of its decorative elements.
I have been in Philadelphia for two weeks for an extremely intense period of study with Robert Durso, with whom I studied this summer in Princeton and with whom I shared a concert here in Philadelphia in March. Because of long daily walks to lessons from where I am staying on Walnut Street in Center City all the way north of Fairmount in the Museum District, I have had a chance each day to take pictures along the way. This was a very time-consuming project, but the beauty of the city made it worth my time, and gave me all the photos you see below. All the photos are my own.
Eastern State Penitentiary: Tyrannical Solitude
Eastern State Penitentiary was a Quaker prison, and America’s first penitentiary (the idea of reformation in total isolation). Prisoners never saw each other or were made aware of the others’ presence. It was in a wagon-wheel spokes design and ran from 1829 to 1971. Al Capone was briefly here, and the location is one of the most luminous and haunting I can imagine.