Thursday, September 09, 2010

Date Night: the Urban Couple Version

This post about my night out with Amy last weekend is not for kiss-and-tell (although I will boast that I kissed a pretty woman on my front porch at the beginning and end of the date - go me!), but rather for describing the nuances of date night in the city. First item to note is that our University City residence affords us babysitters from among the nearby student and employee population, so that's a plus. That night's babysitter bikes over and is five minutes early, which gives us plenty of time to brief her on the intricacies of our kids' routines.

Soon enough we are out the door and, instead of heading for the nearest subway or bus stop, decide to stroll five blocks east to the edge of the Penn campus to do a little people-watching, seeing that all the students are streaming back in for the start of the school year. Sure enough, this diversion yields the usual assortment of students shopping, playing football, chatting excitedly, and otherwise looking young and pretty.

We head north on 40th and are impressed with the buzz, not only of Penn students but neighborhood folks, everyone out and about and made all the happier by the pleasant weather. We grab the subway at 40th and are soon downtown. Our restaurant reservations are a good 45 minutes away, so to kill time we make our way slowly through a Macy's. There, there's a nice buzz as well, of shoppers and browsers, with live organ music blasting its way through the store.

We end up taking a good hard look at shoes and purses but buy nothing. Our restaurant is merely blocks away so we head there next and enjoy a pleasant dinner on the second floor of the place, in a section with about three or four other tables. Most of the other patrons in this area are younger than us, including a gaggle of teens celebrating someone's Sweet Sixteen.

From there, we meander towards City Hall, down South Broad, and west on Walnut, passing by the world-famous Le Bec Fin restaurant as we stroll. Lots of people out on a nice Saturday evening; this bodes well for Philadelphia and for the local economy. We are torn between hoofing it all the way home, stopping by a bar for a drink, or catching a bus to a familiar haunt back in University City, deciding after walking for about a mile to just take a bus all the way home. (We're tired old farts like that.)

The bus drops us off in front of a mosque, just a block from our house. That block is a little dead, but when we get to our corner, it livens up a bit: that's what having two bars and a coffee shop on the other three corners will do for you. Soon enough, we're home, the babysitter pedals off into the night, and we are recharged from having had some alone time without the kids. That was real nice; now why is it we don't do that more often?
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