Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.

FIGHT THE STIGMA!

FIGHT THE STIGMA!
Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Jun 27, 2011

An Often Unnoticed Sculpture at Philly’s 30th Street Station

by Rosemary Reeves

Every day on my way to work, I come to Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to catch the R6 Regional Rail line.  As I like to be early for everything, I often have time to spare before the train arrives.  I prefer to sit at the farthest corner, in the quietest part of the station, where it is dimly lit and few people go.  The benches tend to be unoccupied because most commuters wait at the center of the station or have a bite to eat at the food court.  It is an oasis of serenity in the midst of hustle and bustle. 
In this quiet spot, a magnificent sculpture often goes unnoticed by the throngs of people passing right by it.  The sculpture is called The Spirit of Transportation.  The artistic genius who created it back in 1895 was Karl Bitter, a man with far better breeding than I who attended fancy art schools in Europe.  It is a spectacular sight.  I love to gaze at its every detail, from the exquisite horses pulling a carriage in a procession of women and men following a child, all displaying or using a different means of transportation, to the period clothing they wear.  The sculpture reveals a fantastic rendering of what is for most of us a dull subject.  Gazing at it inspires an unexpected feeling of reverence for the intelligence and ingenuity of humankind.  For those who notice it, time stops.  Suddenly, the rush hour doesn’t exist.  Your job, your boss, the train all fade away into insignificance, as if the sculpture is itself a time machine, with the power to transport us somewhere wonderful, serene and majestic.    
When I sit on the bench, everyone seems to pass it by, preoccupied with their daily routine or their travel plans.  But each time I stand and gaze at it, someone else comes along and gazes at it, too.  It is a natural reaction among humans that if they see another person staring at something, they are curious to know what it is. 
Once in a while I do it on purpose, as an experiment.  It never fails.  Sometimes others need help to see what was there all along.  Perhaps the little boy leading the procession in the sculpture was showing me how to lead by example.

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