New Year’s Resolution: 10 Ways to Love Philly in 2012

Forget weight loss. This year, I'm resolving to be good to my city

Each year I make the same New Year’s resolutions as the rest of America: lose weight, exercise more, work less, be more patient, try new things. The results vary by year and frustration level, but if I’m being very honest, I have probably never kept a resolution for more than a few months. This year, though, I’m trying something different. I am resolving—after almost 27 years of living Philadelphia—to see the city through new eyes. I will:

1. Go to the important cultural spots I’ve never visited. First up: Longwood Gardens.

2. Get to know my neighbors. The oldest cliche about Philadelphia is that it’s a city of neighborhoods. If that’s true, how come I don’t know the names of the people living on my street?

3. Stop bitching about SEPTA. Yes, I would prefer if the token sellers were less abrasive and if we had a MetroCard system. But if it weren’t for the buses and trolleys and trains, I would probably be forced to pay a gazillion dollars in car insurance—or worse: ride a bicycle. (This resolution will be retracted if SEPTA goes on strike. Again.)

4. Vote. And know who I am voting for and why. Even in the smallest elections. Even when it’s raining on Election Day.

5. Care about the Sixers. Well, somebody should …

6. Revisit the cultural spots I’ve always loved. Van Gogh at the Art Museum! Springsteen at the Constitution Center!

7. See more live music. We’re a city with at least two music magazines—Jump and Magnet—and tons of venues ranging from big arenas to tiny house shows. It’s time for me to appreciate Philly for its musical mark-making. (Suggestions for cool bands are very welcome, commenters.)

8. Get out of my neighborhood. I adore Fairmount and sometimes it’s hard to see why I should trek to West Philly for Ethiopian food when I can get it at 29th and Poplar or head to South Philly or Center City for cocktails when Lemon Hill just opened down the street. But part of what makes the city great is the different experiences you can have just a mile or two from home.

9. Use the library. Whenever the mayor mentions library cuts, the entire city reacts with scorn. But when was the last time you actually borrowed a book? This year, I’ll save money and support an important Philadelphia institution.

10. Eat scrapple. It’s finally time to figure out what the big deal is.

What will you do to celebrate Philadelphia in 2012?