I walked at least eight miles on Thursday.
My wife went down to the parkway around 7 a.m. and my dad and I got on the EL at Girard Avenue around 8:15 a.m., headed to City Hall.
We had some trouble, ironically, crossing Broad Street, so we had to get back on the Market-Frankford line and walk down from 30th Street Station.
Not totally ideal.
For some reason, the subway concourse was blocked when we tried to get through, though other people, like Russ, had no issues moving underground to the other side of City Hall. And sections of Broad that were opened earlier (like Locust Street) were completely blocked off by 9 a.m., so whatever.
Anyhow, because of that “roundabout” trip throughout Philly, I feel like I got a good, long look at what I thought was an incredibly diverse turnout.
If I had to guess, I’d say 50% of the crowd was white, 40% was black, and the other 10% was anybody and everybody who lives in Philly. I saw a decent number of Hispanic and Latino families, and some Asian families, too. Women were well-represented (40% maybe?) and I saw lot of children, too, who seemed to be doing okay in the large crowds. The area I walked was Locust up to 17th and the Parkway, on both sides of the route.
After the motorcade passed by CB headquarters at the Ritz, I saw a black guy taking pictures with his group and a makeshift Lombardi trophy. A random white guy walked by to look at the faux trophy and the first guy, Lamar, grabbed him and told him to get into this photo:
I walked over to Lamar and asked if he’d share some thoughts on the parade experience.
“It was Shangri-La,” he said. “It was a utopia of Eagles green everywhere. We waited all these years, my whole life. I’m 34. It was beautiful, everybody getting along, everybody in unison. There’s nothing bad I can say about it.”
Lamar described the crowd as cool, and wild, but in a “fun way.”
“They were behaving themselves. It was all fun stuff, like a ‘fun’ wild, not a ‘destructive’ wild, because there were kids around. It wasn’t any of the negativity that the national media wants to give us. It was just Philly. We’ve got another level of fun. You have to be from Philly to understand it.”
A pair of guys across the street, Andrew and Sean, flew in Thursday morning from Tampa.
“We were born up here but we moved when we were younger and we’re still diehard fans,” said Andrew, who grew up in Cherry Hill. “We flew up at 6 a.m., got in at 10:35, and came right over to the parade. It was an awesome experience. I’m 28 years old right now and my dad is 62, so he was four years old for the 1960 championship and has never seen a Super Bowl. And we haven’t obviously, so it’s the only championship I’ve seen outside of the Phillies in 2008.”
Andrew says he and Sean bumped into some other people from Jersey that they didn’t know and spent part of the parade hanging out with total strangers.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as some of the things you see,” he added. “Mostly it was family fun. Most of it. I mean, there are those guys who are on top of statues, and it’s fun to see because it’s part of the experience, but everybody was pretty well behaved overall. I didn’t see any fights or anything like that. I think everybody was unified by the win.”
Torrey Smith seemed to share that opinion:
People keep asking me what was the best part about the parade…to me it was looking around and seeing people from different races, social class, and their families together…United for one reason…To celebrate the success of their football team!
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 9, 2018
So when I look at that crowd I want people to experience that type of unity all the time. So when you question if athletes should just stick to sports you are dead wrong…we can help be and create the change we want to see because the people are connected to us and we are them!
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 9, 2018
There was, of course, some dumb stuff that happened.
Here’s an idiot damaging city property and wasting taxpayer dollars on the future repair:
Shoutout to the guy at the parade who fell off the light pole pic.twitter.com/4Mqt6iXL6w
— Austin Vitelli (@AustinVitelli) February 8, 2018
I don’t have any context for this, but it looks like drunk dorks going after each other:
Classic City of Brotherly Love pic.twitter.com/PpS4pYeb7a
— Barstool Heartland (@barstoolhrtland) February 8, 2018
And Glen spotted a couple of morons being morons:
First trouble of the day. Two idiots start fighting for space in front of the Palm. One takes a swing at a cop. Someone will see the end of this parade from jail. pic.twitter.com/kbJs6eBcyc
— Glen Macnow (@RealGlenMacnow) February 8, 2018
And if more idiot lawbreakers were in action, they’ll hopefully be identified and tracked down, like the suburban kid who was arrested post-Super Bowl for flipping the car. His father, ironically, is named “Whitey,” which is perfect.
Otherwise, I didn’t see a ton of misbehavior. Pissing in public was probably the worst, though I only saw four port-o-jawns on the south side of City Hall. I’m not sure how it looked on the parkway. A lot of businesses closed their doors and others were just swamped with people, so the bathroom situation was highly questionable and logistically impossible to nail down. Market Street near 13th was a clusterf#@! of people trying to stay warm while waiting in line for the EL, post-parade.
And the pot smoke is expected, so whatever, should be legal by now anyway. If you’re bothered by a whiff of that in the air, might be time to recalibrate your moral compass, though I do empathize with parents who have to explain the smell to their kids.
The thing that really bothered me isn’t even specific to this parade, or white people, or black people. It’s actually a Philly problem in general, but people just throw their trash on the ground with total disregard for decency. I understand that this is a massive parade with thousands of people walking around, and the trash can situation is less than ideal, but show some pride in your city. I see garbage and dog shit and cigarette butts laying around EVERYWHERE in Philly on a normal day, so we really have to do a better job here, as Andy Reid would say.
Also, it was just people being lame in general by overdoing things. For instance, the “Fuck Tom Brady” chant was funny the first time, but not the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 27th time, so that got old quickly. Same with the “Nick the Dick” cheer. Some of y’all need new material.
And when people are trying to get from one place to another, don’t just shove them in the back from behind; take a look ahead to see why they’re standing still. Maybe they’re stuck also. I had to wait 15 minutes to leave the Ritz because people simply could not organize themselves in a two-way fashion. Employees had to come down to the lobby and literally tell people when to leave and when to enter, sort of like that road construction where one lane is shut down and you wait for the PennDOT dude to flip the sign to tell you when to go.
Another thing I spotted was this crew, the same jabronies who showed up at the NFL Draft with their fake Christian message:
I followed these guys for a bit and didn’t see a ton of folks harassing them. I think people were just sort of rolling their eyes instead of wasting their time engaging in the pointless back and forth. That’s different from what I saw in April, when the “Jesus or hellfire” peeps had a larger group and garnered more attention from the crowd:
This guy says you don't need the Eagles when you have Jesus Christ pic.twitter.com/fsvrjCxeGQ
— Kevin Kinkead (@Kevin_Kinkead) April 27, 2017
“The Eagles are masturbators!”
“No, not that!”
That’s about it, as far as my experience, which was five or six hours in a relatively small portion of the parade route near City Hall.
I didn’t see it all, but neither did Ernest:
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) February 8, 2018
Better to be a “plebe” than casting judgement from the ivory tower.
Just my opinion.