9 Reasons Not to Observe April Fools’ Day in Philly

This city plays petty mind tricks on us every day.

Clothespin photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia | Broad-Ridge Spur map via SEPTA | Milton Street photo by Jeff Fusco | Lenfest Plaza photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Clothespin photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia | Broad-Ridge Spur map via SEPTA | Milton Street photo by Jeff Fusco | Lenfest Plaza photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

In some parts of the country, I can see how April Fool’s Day has the potential to be fun. Everyone likes a good prank, and even a lame one deserves some credit on a sleepy Wednesday afternoon.

But in Philly? This city messes with our heads year-round.

I’m not talking about the cute, folksy, “how-weird-is-Philly?!” stuff that populates Buzzfeed lists. If you’ve spent 15 minutes here, the Mummers make perfect sense: glitter, feathers, booze. So does Wing Bowl: meat, boobs, booze. (Was that really so hard? Act like you know and let’s never speak of this again.)

No, I’m talking about the arbitrary, home-grown psychological warfare that Philadelphia wages on a daily basis, seemingly for sport.

Every day is April Fool’s Day around these parts, and after enduring the below petty mind games, we owe it to each other to abstain from the holiday. Or, at the very least, direct all of our efforts toward the PPA.

I-95 Construction

It’s 2 p.m. on a Saturday, so there can’t be much traffic, right? That really depends on how late you’re running, for the I-95 Construction Poltergeist smells your fear and thrives on your desperation. If you have to pee, count on a lengthy detour at the Cottman exit. Is a WHYY pledge drive in progress? One lane closure, coming right up. Yappy dog decides he has a vendetta against every Prius? Settle in for the long haul, lady,

The Roosevelt Boulevard, All of the Time

Personally, I’ve learned to embrace our own little Highway to Hell/The Northeast. But only because Philly feels most like home when it’s actively trying to kill me.

“The Paint Torch”

That giant, swirled pile of poo outside Lenfest Plaza? Not actually poo. It’s not even a prank by some subversive PAFA student. Nope, that would be part of a commissioned sculpture by world-renowned artist Claes Oldenburg. Every day, we’re supposed to walk down Broad and agree that it’s a whimsical dollop of paint because this city is a vampire, too cold and unfeeling to hand over a simple poo joke. It even glows at night. No shit — literally.

This Guy Is Running for Mayor


The Clothespin

Ah yes, Mr. Oldenburg — we meet again. Not only did you poo on our sidewalk, you plopped a three-story clothespin over 15th Street Station. Which must have sounded like an April Fools’ joke back in 1976. Real cute.

Liquor Laws as Usual

I recently found myself trying to explain our fair city’s booze regulations to a Southern transplant. It sounded like this:

“I’ll pick up a bottle of wine on my way over.”

“Oh no, don’t worry about it — it’s Sunday.”


“You can’t buy wine on Sunday. Well, you can sometimes. Before 5. Or 3. It really depends. Is it a full moon? The Year of the Ox?”

“How about beer?”

“Probably not. Unless the bar does take-out. It probably doesn’t.”

“But back home they –”

“Shhh, Grasshopper. Shhh.”

Philly Pretzel Factory

Those guys who stuffed a cheesesteak in a soft pretzel? Way richer than you’ll ever be. Way, way richer. Sit at your desk and think about that for a little while.

The Broad-Ridge Spur

If this rumored subway line actually does exist (it’s supposed to, what, save riders the five-minute walk from Broad Street to Eighth and Race?), I suspect its one and only stop is actually the Beetlejuice waiting room. See you never, Spur.

PPA Signage

For a long time, I was of the mindset that the Parking Authority was just doing its thankless job. Then I moved to South Philly and met the cryptic “Street Cleaning, Tow Away Zone” signs. From what I can tell, I’m supposed to move my car and/or make burning offerings every first Thursday, third Tuesday and Why-The-Hell-Not Wildcard Wednesdays. See you in hell, guys. See you in hell.

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