Anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News
Without question, nothing topped the Fourth of July Parade in Glenside. My dad managed John Wanamaker in Center City, but my parents lived in Glenside since before I was born, and our friends there were the best of our lives. Their neighbors included the great Johnny Callison of the Phillies. We’d all have a picnic and bring lawn chairs to the hilltop in Glenside — every fire engine for miles around would come to be in the parade, and they’d all blast their horns and sirens if we asked them the right way. It was the best of summer in America.
My favorite things in Philly revolve around food. I’m a Jim’s Steaks guy. Plain, double Whiz. Two of them, and a large Coke. I add ketchup from my perch upstairs, especially if a table by the window overlooking South Street is available. I also love any number of small Italian restaurants in town. I once saw Nicky Scarfo eating dinner while I was a reporter for Channel 10. He raised a glass of red wine from across the room, as if to say, “Here’s looking at you, kid.” That got my attention. I love the pizza at Tacconelli’s in Port Richmond — a classic Philly neighborhood, a brick-oven place run by great people.
I tell people Philly is a big small town. It’s all about loyalty and belonging. It has a social code all its own, and behavior and language all its own. You know that picture of the skyline taken from the blimp during Monday Night Football? That’s just one view of Philly. That’s the part the world sees. The real Philly is all about what happens at street level.
Photography by Scott Gries/Getty Images for Comedy Central