At last, a reprise of the highly popular Millennium Philadelphia in a deluxe paperback edition ($29.95, October 15, 2007), with the striking black-and-white photographs of city life and history that made it a “family album of the Philadelphia century.” Picking up where the original left off, a chapter update, “The New Millennium,” features a full-color pictorial of the city’s continued change into the twenty-first century.
To outsiders, Philadelphia is defined by its celebrities: the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Grace Kelly, Bill Cosby, Rocky, Ben Franklin, cheesesteaks. But Philadelphians know it as a city of neighborhoods, of rowhouses spilling out people on summer evenings. It is a city of strong ethnic flavors, though the ethnic origins keep changing.
Many dramatic changes have shaped the city in the last 100 years or so: in its skyline, its waterfront, its people, and its industries. But it retains its essential character in scenes so familiar they transcend time and date, maintaining a reassuring continuity between past and present.
Though the city’s power of reinvention may be part of its genius, Philadelphia manages to renew itself while holding firmly on to tradition: the Mummers strut on, and cars continue to be parked in the middle of South Broad Street. In Philadelphia, nobody wants too much change.