Top 5 Philly Events

Let’s hit it Philly! Upcoming events this August include music, concerts, and so much more…

1. BlackStar Film Festival

When:  Starts Thurs., Aug. 1-4 Where: IHP (International House Philadelphia), 3701 Chestnut Street and other locations Price: $5-$12 for individual films

Enjoy this celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context. From emerging independent films that are sweeping across the country to hip-hop exclusives to exciting and in-depth panel discussions on world issues. This will be an enlightening and entertaining event including works from Saul Williams, Spike Lee, King Britt, and so much more. All ages are welcome.

2. Smooth Summer Jazz and Friday Night Lights

When: Fri., Aug. 2, 7:30pm concert, 9:15pm land-side fireworks Where: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing Price: FREE

Every Friday night in August come out for some smooth jazz down by the water. This series will feature some of the country’s best smooth jazz artists and a last chance to chill on summer nights if you haven’t enjoyed the warm weather yet. Stay after the show for a awesome fireworks display!

3. Sweet like Chocolate: Poetry in Motion II

When: Sat., Aug. 3, 7pm Where: Community Education Center Meeting House Theater, 3500 Lancaster Avenue, Philadelphia Price: $12

Expressed through spoken word, music, and dance, this unforgettable experience in passion combines Biblical scriptures with modern day poetry. Don’t miss this chance to delve into original poetry, original lyrics, original music and wonderfully choreographed dance.

4. Summer Wonder: A Day with Ancient Greece

When: Wed., Aug. 7, 11am-12pm Where: Penn Museum, 3260 South Street Price: $10-$15

Travel back in time to a period where the greatest Greek heroes and beautiful goddesses spun their golden tales into history. Participants will swing Hercules’ huge club and search for Atlanta’s golden apples in an interactive presentation filled with surprises and fun. All ages are welcome.

5. Schuylkill Banks Movie Series: Little Shop of Horror (1986)

When: Thu., Aug. 8, 8pm-10pm Where:  Schuylkill Banks by the Walnut Street Bridge Philadelphia Price: FREE

Bring your friends, family, or someone to snuggle with, and a warm blanket to the free movie night screening of Little Shop of Horrors. This classic will have you singing along to this off-collar and grim comedy slash musical. Snacks and beverages will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

You can contact Ariama for more info at Longa@chc.edu

Top 5 Career Postings

Moore College of Art & Design: Part Time Instructional Designer

If you have a degree in a technology or arts related field, check out this part time instructional designer position with Moore College of Art & Design. You’ll be helping to develop demonstrations and training programs for faculty in the use of Moodle as an online teaching tool as well as helping with individual training and support in technology for the staff. You’ll be perfect for this part-time position if you have experience in PowerPoint, QuickTime, Prezi and Second Life; and knowledge of resources including to YouTube, HULU and Films on Demand that support online teaching.

MANNA: Events Internship

If you have an interest in event planning and social media, check out this great internship with the nonprofit MANNA. This fall internship will have you assisting the Events Manager with MANNA’s three signature events– Pie in the Sky, Shut Up & Dance and Nourish Awards & Health Symposium. You’ll also be helping manage website maintenance and social media efforts.

Resources for Human Development: One Step Away Intern

Ever wonder what it takes to run a street newspaper? This internship with Resources for Human Development will have you learning everything about what it takes to run One Step Away. This internship will require at least two days a week, preferably one of them being Thursday. The intern who lands this position will be exposed to all aspects of running a street newspaper, including fundraising, event planning, donor development, grant & foundation research, and vendor & volunteer management.

CoLabination: Blogging Specialist

A passionate writer and fashionista would be perfect for this graduate-level internship with CoLabination. This internship will have you writing engaging blog posts as well proofreading articles and features and collaborating with other writers. Working with this start-up will require you to be a self-motivated, goal oriented problem solver.

Please Touch Museum: Community Learning Intern

If you’re looking for a fall internship and have experience with volunteering or community service, check out the Please Touch Museum‘s fall community learning internship. You’d be perfect for this internship if you’ve got an interest in working with children and teens and have a willingness to lead programs. This internship will have you assisting with delivery of programs at various community sites such as schools, child care centers and social services centers as well as assisting in the development of curricula and preparation of program materials.

Interview with Syreeta Martin of SincerelySyreeta.com

I first met Syreeta Martin almost a year ago when she visited my class, The Entrepreneurial Journalist, at Temple University. Back then she was both running her own website and juggling a full-time job, which is impressive in its own right.

In April, she published a photo story on the Overbrook High School: Bernard Scott Vigil. It was both moving and heartbreaking, and Syreeta did a perfect job of capturing it. It was that story that made me realize that SincerelySyreeta.com was going to be an up and coming media brand in Philadelphia.

These days, she’s fully focused on creating her own brand, Sincerely Syreeta, raising funds through Go Fund Me to transform her website and fully launch into a Media and Lifestyle Brand.

Curious about how she’s done it all, I asked her a few questions* to learn more about how she’s built her own brand:

How did you come up with the idea?

SM: The site originally started as a personal blog and online portfolio. While at Temple, our professors continuously emphasized the need for us to have an online portfolio as future journalists and suggested that a blog would be the best way to do so. I took their advice and began chronicling my work on the site while also using it as a personal diary [of sorts] to share my experience as a single mother, in a city with no family or immediate support system, fighting to get my education while working multiple odd jobs.

What is the main focus of SincerelySyreeta.com?

SM:  Since its conception, the site mainly focuses on three commitments to its audience:  to empathize with their unique journeys;  to empower them as they find themselves and pursue their dreams; to encourage and support them as they evolve in life.

 What types of stories do you usually cover?

SM: I generally do a lot of event coverage and feature interviews. Feature interviews are definitely my favorite because it allows me to tell a person’s story and that’s what made me want to be a journalist in the first place. I also cover hot topics, breaking news and celebrity coverage as well.

What have you done to turn yourself into a “brand”?

SM: I have strategically aligned myself with people who are in fields that I seek to establish the SS brand in or have already done so. I also stepped outside of the box. Yes, I’m a journalist first and foremost, but I also: host and plan events, provide communication and strategic planning services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, do motivational speaking, mentor youth, freelance and engage in community outreach. My branding process has focused greatly on honing into my passions and accessing the corresponding industries to establish the SS presence there.

Where do you see yourself and the website in the future?

SM: I see myself happy. I know that’s very general and cliche but it’s something that I’m not willing to compromise on. I’ve struggled quite a bit in my life—especially as a young mother—but I’m thankful because it taught me the power that comes with one’s ability to sacrifice. I don’t have to have all of the money in the world—I’m not on a mission to become rich. I’m on a mission to do what I love in life.

What advice would you give to people like me looking to do the same type of thing? Start their own brand, run their own media site, and freelance? 

SM: Know who you are. Be honest with yourself about your insecurities and weaknesses, your desires and your fears. The thing about branding, especially when you’re trying to do it as a blogger, is that it has to be authentic and organic. You’ve got to be able to get up every day and know that what you’re trying to give the world through your brand.

Anything else you’d like to add?

SM: After witnessing the success of the blog, reaching the end of my national service as an AmeriCorps member, and departing from corporate America, I’ve now dedicated everything within myself to pursue my SS dream full time. Phase one of the blog to business transition includes a website makeover. I’m currently running a fundraising campaign through GoFundMe.com.  The funds generated from this campaign will cover the cost of the entire revamp of the current website and will help SincerelySyreeta.com evolve into a premiere Media and Lifestyle Brand.

If anyone would like to learn more about my story and the SS brand, they can visit www.GoFundMe.com/SupportSS. There they can also make a donation towards the site revamp—and of course there are rewards for donations! Every donation—no matter what size—makes a difference.

Syreeta has been a role model to me since the first day I met her and I hope I can achieve the same success she has with my own brand. If you’d like to learn more about her, check out her Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

*Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Top 5 Philly Events

Let’s hit it Philly! Upcoming events this July include music, dancing, hot cars, and so much more…

1. YPN Volunteer of the Year

When: Thurs., July 25, 6-8pm Where: Cuba Libre, 10 S 2nd St, Philadelphia Price: $20

Young Professionals Network is having an evening of celebration for a YPN member who exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism. Make new contacts with fellow young professionals in the area while enjoying this exciting party for exceptional leaders in the community.

2. Philly Dance Day 2013

When: Sat., July 27, 10am-11:30pm Where: Locations throughout the city; dance party is at the Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square Price: FREE, dance party $5

Think you can dance? Show off your fancy footwork for a day of fitness, fun, music, and of course, dancing! Philadelphia Dance Day is a nonprofit festival featuring free workshops, live performances from some of the city’s best-known instructors and a huge dance party. All ages, and it’s FREE.

3. East Passyunk 8th Annual Car Show and Street Fest

When: Sun., July 28 Where:East Passyunk Avenue between Broad and Dickinson Streets Price: FREE

There’s nothing cooler than a tricked out Cadillac car or is there? More than 140 cars, motorcycles and trucks will compete for Best of Show this Sunday. Not a car buff, the festival will feature live music, circus performances, street vendors, rack sales, and kids’ activities for everyone.

4. Women Supporting Women July Networking Event

When: Sun., July 28th 4-7pm  Where: 836 N 3rd St., Philadelphia Price: Free

If you’re looking to network with other women from the Philadelphia area, check out OMART Women’s Connection “Women Supporting Women” Networking Event in Northern Liberties.  This free event will include a guided networking activity (great to get your feet wet if you have never networked before!) as well as open networking and a quick panel discussion featuring 5 successful women on how they got to where they are today. Attending this networking event will help you get a jump start into the business world and help you meet the right people.

5. Glow-sticks and Fireflies with Let’s Go Outdoors

When: Mon., July 29, 7:30-8:30pm Where: Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Rd., Philadelphia Price: $5

Discover the wonders of fireflies as they light up the night sky, and join in with your own glow-sticks. This magical experience is sure to thrill kids as well as adults, so don’t miss a chance to reconnect with nature’s glowing stars.

 

You can contact Ariama for more info at Longa@chc.edu

How to Ace a Phone
Interview for a Job

Phone interviews can be tough. There are no visual cues, so you have to work harder to convey why you’re the best person for the job using only your voice. However, doing phone interviews are unavoidable: many companies use them as first round interviews to identify good candidates or if you’re located far away from the job location.

“We do phone interviews because we understand in this age of being virtual that not everyone is able to be present,” says a recruiter from a Big Four firm. She also added that while they prefer virtual interviews (like Skype–see below), sometimes they do phone interviews.

Another reason a company might do phone interviews is to access whether candidates are truly qualified and interested in the job.

“I do phone interviews because first of all, you can’t always tell if someone is truly qualified based on their resume,” says Lisa Conrad, a technical recruiter for Bentley Systems. She also uses phone interviews to assess whether someone is truly interested in a position.

Using first round phone interviews can be beneficial to the candidate as well: they give the candidate a point of contact throughout the entire interviewing process.

“[Using first round phone interviews] allows the candidate to have a point of contact throughout the interview process that can offer a sense of support when moving through the different interview and on-boarding stages,” says  says Sarah Shoemaker, a Vanguard recruiter. “We truly believe at Vanguard that recruiting is about forming lasting relationships with our candidates and crew members.”

Here are some things to keep in mind about preparing to ace a phone interview:

Prepare Well

Barbara Hewitt, senior associate director of Career Services at University of Pennsylvania, suggests you prepare just as well as you would for any other interview.

“[The questions we ask] really depends on the role, but we would ask the same questions we would ask in person,” says the Big Four recruiter.  She says regardless of whether an interview is virtual or a good candidate’s skills and expertise will come through, you should prepare with doing the same research you would for any other interview.

Conrad will also ask what the interviewee knows about the company. “Are they prepared for the phone interview, do they have questions?” she she asks herself when interviewing a candidate. If the person doesn’t know anything about the company or hasn’t even visited the company’s website, she knows they’re not truly interested in the job.

Hewitt adds that having a quiet space to do your interview is important, especially for students who live in a dorm. Make sure you have good cell phone service and you won’t be interrupted.

Also, make sure you know who is calling who, to avoid possible confusion. For phone interviews that may be across time zones, make sure you have the correct time of the phone call figured out ahead of time.

Be Enthusiastic and Speak Clearly

Since the interviewer can’t see you, you need to make sure you come across as enthusiastic: Hewitt suggests smiling or even standing up during your interview.

“During the interviews I focused on using proper diction, never saying ‘yeah,'” says Temple University freshman Lora Strum, whose landed jobs after phone interviews. She also focuses on “responding in an organized manner, using the other person’s name when applicable and remembering that they can’t see my facial expressions so I must be as clear as possible.”

A phone interview can also give recruiters and HR representatives a good sense of what skills you possess and how interested you are in the job, so asking enthusiastic questions is important as well.

“A Recruiter is able to evaluate how engaged a candidate is by the type of questions they ask as well,” says  Shoemaker. “When candidates take the opportunity to ask well thought out questions that demonstrate their interest and excitement for the role it’s evident and they are often more successful throughout the interview process.”

Use and Take Notes

One advantage of doing an interview over the phone is that you can have notes readily available, placed in front of you. Also make sure you have a calendar and/or a planner available as well so you can take notes and check dates. However, Hewitt recommends you don’t rely too heavily on these notes or you might sound too rehearsed.

Professors have recommended to me to even bring notes to an in person interview by keeping them in a planner or in a small notebook that you intend to take notes in during the interview.

Dealing with Cold Call Interviews

I’ve struggled through phone interviews when a recruiter calls me and wants to talk with me immediately about the job and my qualifications and I’m not prepared. Hewitt also struggled with a phone interview like this as well.

“My suggestion is if you are not ready, come up with a reason to reschedule,” she said. “Most employers will not see it as a negative as long as you don’t push it off for too long.” You can suggest that you’re currently busy working on something at the moment or heading out the door as potential options.

Skype Interviews

Doing interviews over the computer via Skype is also becoming more popular. There are a few extra steps you can take to make sure that a Skype interview goes well. Make sure to dress professionally and find a quiet, clean area, preferably without a bed in the background. Hewitt says she once had someone who had a cat randomly jump onto them during an interview, and while it didn’t affect her opinion of  the candidate, it’s something you probably want to avoid.

If you’re not familiar with Skype, “practice with somebody just so you know what you’re doing.” says Hewitt.

Another thing I’d recommend is having a professional username. If you need to, create a new account just for the interview.

Take Advantage of Career Services

Temple Career Center Penn Career Services, and Drexel Career Services have a wide variety of resources available on interviews and more. Don’t be afraid to schedule an appointment or stop by your career office as well! They’re a great resource and many of them are even open to alumni.

If you have something you’d like to specifically see in the career section on Campus Philly, give us a shout out in the comments or connect with us via Facebook or Twitter.

You can contact Kristen at kristenmgillette@gmail.com

Summer Jammin’ With YIP

T

he central concrete on The Oval soared to record heat on Saturday, reminding us all of the true power of summer sun. Thankfully, in the shady recesses of the hulking trees that skirt the newly opened hot spot, there was a plethora of good music, food, and drinks to sink back and relax with. Under those giant branches ringing with calming wind chimes, Young Involved Philadelphia’s (YIP) Summer Jam 3.0 invited us to enjoy the block party atmosphere at their annual event.

YIP at The Oval [which opened last week] features something for everyone with live music or a DJ on deck for hours of easy listening. Food trucks are parked right on the space, such as Delicias that was serving delicious arepas (grilled corn flour with stuffing), empanadas (fried meat turnover), and choripans (small sausage sandwich) to the YIP attendees. And, of course the view of tourists reliving Rocky’s glory run up the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art across the street. One could forget that it’s an island of festivities in the middle of the city. “It’s definitely a great low cost way to transform the city,” said one of the YIP board members.

“Engage. Connect. Represent.” Their slogan, joyously sung by a gathering of some of the members attending the event, embodies many aspects of what young Philly needs including employment and education. However, their organization’s focus on fun, fitness, and a chance to network in a no pressure environment is just as important to them. “The whole thing is volunteer-based. These are all professionals taking time out to work for a non-profit, so it makes it a great place to network and meet people,” commented one YIP volunteer.

The non-profit also works with the city, aligning their goals to create a place that encourages kids, young adults, established professionals and graduates to come together for a positive cause. Driving the youth to political action, or just to get active, relies on interesting avenues that open communication lines between kids and the futures they see for themselves. YIP provides that.

“We’re inter-generational here,” laughs Sophia Hwang, Vice-chair of Outreach, as she describes the organization. “(But) advocacy can get very spicy,” she said, when asked about what it’s like to interact with Philadelphia politics. From the wide range of members and volunteers for YIP as well as some of their upcoming programs that focus on connecting generations of career professionals, they’re closer to their goal of building a young community that’s more aware and informed.

The newbies with the established, if you will, get to mingle and learn from each other at program committee member Reggie’s FreshWisdom event on “How to Start Something That Matters” [to be announced in August]. Or, the collaboration with the Mural Arts program on the Center City walking tour and a talk with muralist Ernel Martinez on July 30, from 6-8pm, at Fergie’s Pub.

Also, the recent launch of the Running Club for members, volunteers, and any runners excited to come together in an interactive and creative way one Tuesday of the month at the Philadelphia Runner to a different location every time.

Summer Jam was hot and cool, but I’m sure there is way more in store from YIP. So check them out, or better yet, volunteer whenever you get the chance!

–Later Philly

Top 5 Career Postings

Urban Outfitters, Inc.: College Recruiter

Love Urban Outfitters? Then check out this full-time position helping Urban to expand their campus-based activities at school worldwide. In order to land this job, you must have previous experience with collegiate recruiting including event planning, candidate screening, and interviewing and offer negotiation. You’ll be perfect for this job if you’re a strategic thinker with expertise in marketing through social media and excellent communications skills.

Philadelphia Magazine: Graphic Design Internship

Get a jumpstart on your dream graphic design career with this great internship with Philadelphia Magazine. If you have experience with Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator and if you are creative and possess a great attention to detail, then you’ll be perfect for this internship. You’ll be developing graphic design materials for clients and company projects if you get this great graphic design job with Philly Mag.

Philadelphia Zoo: Events Intern

If you’re a junior with skills in event planning, PR, marketing or customer service, check out this internship available in the fall with the Philadelphia Zoo. This internship requires a minimum of 10 weeks with 8-16 hours per week. You’ll be perfect for this internship if you have strong organizational skills and the ability to juggle multiple responsibilities at once. Candidates should also not have any allergies that would interfere with their work.

City of Philadelphia, Office for Policy Planning: Policy Intern

This fall internship with The Mayor’s Office of Policy Planning and Coordination requires 12-15 hours a week starting in September. This unpaid position is great for those looking to learn more about government, policy or lobbying. Interns will spend the semester looking closely at the operations of government, and improving their policy development skills. Previous interns in this position have coordinated efforts to improve educational outcomes using digital technology, researched the state of summer youth programs in Philadelphia, and identified best practices for combating issues of hunger.

Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles: Business Relations Developer

This part-time, paid internship will have you working with the The African People’s Education and Defense Fund to help build Uhuru Furniture and Collectibles in Philadelphia. This internship requires a year commitment, with the possibility of being extended or becoming a permanent position. This graduate level internship requires you to either have professional experience in PR or marketing or be enrolled (or recently graduated) in a graduate marketing program. Land this job and you’ll be the part of a great team that makes lasting changes that impact health, education, human rights and the future of the African community.

Top 5 Philly Events

Let’s hit it Philly! Upcoming events this July include dance, sports, music, shopping, poetry, and so much more…

1. University City Dining Days

When: Thurs., July 18-Aug 1 Where: Varies in University City District  Price: $15-$35

OMG! Don’t miss this delicious opportunity to tour and taste Philly’s best for less. For one week over twenty restaurants and cafes, all different cuisines and calibers, are offering three courses for the price of one. Want to try that amazing place but could never afford it, check to see if it’s on the UC list and go nuts. Or grab a date and impress him or her without breaking the bank!   

2. Fruitvale Station Premier @ Ritz Five

When: Fri., July 19 Where: 214 Walnut St., Philadelphia Price: $7.25-$10

Sundance Film Festival winner and heartbreakingly honest, Fruitvale Station, follows the true story of Oscar Grant a 22-year-old Bay Area resident throughout the last day of his life. Racist officers shoot him in cold blood at the Fruitvale subway stop on New Year’s Day. Oscar’s life and tragic death shake the Bay Area, and the entire nation, to its very core as another pleading example of social injustice in America.

3. Lancaster Ave Jazz and Arts Festival

When:  Sat., July 20, 12-7pm Where: Sanders Park, 39th & Powelton Ave., Philadelphia Price: FREE

Get in the Groove! Come out and be part of this amazing event. Enjoy live entertainment, dancers, food, youth activities, and art gallery, and studio tours. Not to mention the wide range on jazz artists featured at the festival. There’s nothing like it.

4.YIP Summer Jam 3.0

When: Sat., July 20, 12-4pm Where:  The Oval, 26th Street & Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia Price: $25

It’s time for the annual Young Involved Philadelphia’s Summer Jam, going down at the brand new party on the Parkway location. There will be great food, an open bar, and the chance to score free Bon Jovi tickets, so don’t miss this!

5. 5th Annual Philadelphia Zoo Summer Ale Fest

When: Sat., July 20, 6:30-10pm Where: The Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia Price: $65

Beer and bears: definitely not your conventional tasting event, but don’t let the exotic animals deter you from this summer’s yummiest craft beer and food! Tickets for this popular event will be sold online in advance only at www.PhiladelphiaZoo.org. This event is 21+

 

You can contact Ariama for more info at Longa@chc.edu

Top 5 Career Postings

Urban Outfitters, Inc.: College Recruiter

Love Urban Outfitters? Then check out this full-time position helping Urban to expand their campus-based activities at school worldwide. In order to land this job, you must have previous experience with collegiate recruiting including event planning, candidate screening, and interviewing and offer negotiation. You’ll be perfect for this job if you’re a strategic thinker with expertise in marketing through social media and excellent communications skills.

Pathways PA: Americorp Vista

Pathways PA has not one job opportunity but six in their Americorp Vista program. Whether your expertise/interests are in Veterans/Underserved Financial Education, Marketing, Adult Literacy/Financial Education, Volunteer Management or Healthcare, check out this awesome company and help them make a difference in Philadelphia.

TerraCycle: Material Sourcing Associate

As a Material Sourcing Associate at TerraCycle, you’d be  responsible for sourcing, managing, and driving the sales process of post-industrial waste from TerraCycle’s partners, working with R&D to develop waste applications, and providing support to the Materials Department. TerraCycle works with over sixty major brands to collect their hard to recycle post-industrial and post-consumer waste (mostly from packaging). They then turn that waste into recycled plastics and “upcycled” products. You’d be a perfect fit for this green company if you’ve got excellent communication and presentation skills and comfortable in conversation about green business.

Philly.com: Online Health Producer

This internship will have you working alongside Philly.com‘s Health staff, creating content as well as working to extend Philly.com’s brand into social media or aggregation platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and more. You’d be an excellent candidate for this job if you’ve got both writing experience as well as exposure to Photoshop and social media experience.

Philadelphia SOUL: Corporate Partnership Intern

If you’re passionate about sports, then this internship with Philadelphia SOUL may be just the position for you this fall. You’d be assisting with fulfilling contractual elements of team sponsors and develop and maintain plans of action per sponsorship and more, as well assisting on site during game day and off-site events.

Didn’t find a match? Search for more internships and job on Campus Philly’s Career Site and check back next week for another top 5!

Philly Love Note: Reading Terminal

Favorite Spot: The Reading Terminal Market

Neighborhood: Center City

I am: A student, writer, and chef at heart with an unbounded love for good food markets

Years in Philly: 4 years

Current Home: Chestnut Hill

 My Love Note: 

Food feeds more than our bodies, it fuels our souls.

In a world of fast being relatively slow, eating habits have definitely suffered. Reading Terminal Market has been in this city since the 1800’s; it’s a hub, a time capsule, from a time when a grower prided himself on presenting his produce because in essence he was sharing a part of himself with customers. A dying tradition that restaurateurs, artisans, and small farmers still try to keep alive, which is why I love food markets. I mean, not only do you get the best quality, but you can have a chance to be transported back in time. Think about it: walking into the terminal now is like being ambushed by a century’s worth of tradition, heritage, and good food.

I was wandering around downtown trying to follow my nose to something yummy when I first came across the bright neon sign beckoning into the terminal. Considering it looked suspiciously dark and vacant from the outside, I’m surprised I went in at all. But it was a whole other world jammed from wall to wall and ceiling with more than I had ever expected. I must have aimlessly walked around like an alien, staring in wonderment at the people. The store signs, and peculiar stands that sold everything from shoes to candied pickles to fresh Galas, as if the Amish had traded selling secrets with the 21st century. How could a place exist that was so under the radar and right in the middle of a city? I didn’t know at the time that the actual market had been around for forever and a half.

A little intimidated by the constant flow of regulars that came and went, I opted to sit down at the benches and just observe before I decided what I should try first. Wrapped in anticipation I wondered out loud, should it be soul food? Indian? Mm, pastries always good? Chocolate? Wait, no. This is Philly. Philly…cheesesteaks! Carmen’s Famous Cheesesteaks had a line down and practically around the corner with a huge pool of hungry looking patrons yelling into the high counters, but I figured that was a good sign.

My first cheesesteak was lip-licking, shut-it-down-and-call-mom, yum, yum good. Breathtakingly unhealthy, but good.

I finally settled on a chicken cheesesteak with mayo and cheese that was presented to me in a plain brown bag, already heavy with grease spots. It was like something off of the “Fresh Prince” show. But the bread, instead of being soggy, sopped up the juice beautifully, leaving the meat to meld into the perfect blend of succulent chicken and cheese. Now I’m not an expert on Philly cuisine or cheesesteaks, that argument is best left for a native, but I do know exceptional food when I taste it.  

Since then I always make a point to at least walk through the massive maze of eateries whenever I’m in Center City, just to remind myself of the simpler side of Philadelphia. And, how one well made sandwich helped me reevaluate my take on an entire city.