Dear Citizens of the World Who Happen to Land in Philadelphia by Bus
2 min readNov 29, 2023

We are sorry. We don’t mean to torture you by making you stand in the elements unsheltered and with none of the amenities presumed to be the barest minimum of a travel stop in a civilized society… no bathrooms, no benches, no food, no roof, no nothin’. We are just good at it, and we can’t do anything about it.

Poor public management is so thoroughly insinuated into the civic fabric that makes our city what it is, that to merely say it can’t be helped misses the point. It is who we are. It is what we do… yes, our DNA.

We raise municipal incompetence to an artform. Our full-time, highly compensated city leaders have written the book on every form of malfeasance… physical, monetary, spiritual, you name it. Other cities have bombings, but ours come from friendly fire. You others are amateurs. Our mere incompetence is no less artful. Whether it’s Hitchbot being dismembered or a sports fan emptying his stomach on a policeman and his daughter, we teach the world how to write negative publicity campaigns that have staying power. The world record holder is still “throwing snowballs at Santa Claus.” Other cities have tried to match our prowess with copycat throwing of batteries, but none can match Santa; it is pulled out by a national broadcaster whenever they need to remind the viewing audience what it means to be in the City of Brotherly Love. I suspect that Mother Teresa never visited for fear not that she would be molested, but that her life’s work would be overshadowed by a Philly meme.

Is this anti-marketing campaign deliberate, to keep the world out… to keep our real estate perpetually undervalued and our unbelievable restaurants accessible? No. We’re not that organized, by a long measure. But it doesn’t hurt. So anyway, please accept our apology. And I hear that Baltimore is very nice.