Fact Checking and Getting Realistic

I was confused by some of the information we were given last night, especially what we were told about hotels and venues and locations. The confusion came from getting information that conflicted with my knowledge of the geography of Philadelphia, knowledge derived from two years of living there in the 1990’s.

We kept being told the convention is at “the Wells Fargo Center”, and that our hotel is “across the street.” This didn’t sound right, as I knew that all the hotels are near the convention center downtown, and that there are no hotels near the basketball arena.

I did some research last night and reported back today to the rest of the group:

Having lived in Philadelphia for two years as a computer/A-V technician, I was intimately familiar with the downtown convention center, major hotels and other venues.

The “Wells Fargo Center” is what we called Spectrum II. It’s the basketball arena on the site once occupied by JFK stadium, part of a sports complex on the southern fringe of the city. A baseball stadium and football stadium occupy the other corners, and they all share what seems like miles of parking lots. There are NO hotels anywhere close to this complex, the closest being near the airport, a few more miles down the freeway. There is a Septa (subway) station there with an easy connection to Center City.

The Wisconsin delegation is assigned to the Home2 Suites by Hilton, which is “across the street” from the downtown convention center. It appears that the breakout meetings and caucuses are happening there (it would be stupid not to use a facility that was BUILT for this kind of thing), then everybody gets on a bus at the end of the afternoon for a half-hour ride to the festivities at the arena.

So the Wells Fargo Center is NOT downtown (the Pennsylvania Convention Center IS).

Our hotel is NOT across the street from the Wells Fargo Center, but it IS across from the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

We will have to commute between the hotel and Wells Fargo, which could take a half-hour or more, especially during afternoon rush hour.

Philadelphia in late July is hot and muggy. The DNC must be a huge coup for the city, as nothing ever happens (trade shows, etc.) in the summer because the weather is so miserable (“Trade show season” is spring and fall). There could also be raucous storms at that time of year.

Center City Philadelphia is one of the most awesome old cities in the country, and it is also one of the most overlooked. Most of the cool stuff in the tourist brochures is within an easy walk from the hotel (I could write a note five times as long as this one describing just the stuff that’s within two blocks), along with much cooler stuff that doesn’t get talked about.

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