The city of Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth most populous city in the United States. It is conterminous with Philadelphia County, and serves as the county seat. It is colloquially referred to as "the City of Brotherly Love" (from Greek: "brotherly love" from philos "love" and adelphos "brother"). The city is commonly and informally referred to as "Philly".
In 2006 the United States Census Bureau estimated the population of the city proper to be over 1.4 million. Philadelphia is a major commercial, educational, and cultural center for the nation. As of the 2006 population estimate, the Philadelphia metropolitan area was the fifth-largest in the United States with a population of 5.8 million
In the 18th century, the city was the first capital and most populous city of the United States. It was arguably the second largest city, behind London, in the British Empire. Also, at that time, it eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin taking a large role in Philadelphia's early rise to prominence. It was the social and geographical center of the original 13 American colonies. It was in this city that ideas, and subsequent actions, gave birth to the American Revolution and American independence.
Philadelphia has many neighborhoods, each with its own identity. The large Philadelphia sections, North, Northeast, Northwest, West, South and Southwest Philadelphia surround Center City, which falls within the original city limits prior to consolidation in 1854. Numerous smaller neighborhoods within the areas coincide with the boroughs, townships, and other communities that made up Philadelphia County before their absorption by the city. Other neighborhoods formed based on ethnicity, religion, culture, and commercial reasons.
Philadelphia's architectural history dates back to Colonial times and has included a wide range of styles that, in certain areas, are showcased within a range of several blocks. The earliest structures were constructed with logs, but by 1700 brick structures were common. Georgian architecture dominated the cityscape during the 18th century with the most notable Georgian structure being Independence Hall. In the first decades of the 19th century Federal architecture and Greek Revival architecture were popular. In the second half of the 19th century Victorian architecture was common. In 1871 construction began on the Second Empire style, Philadelphia City Hall.> Even with the construction of steel and concrete skyscrapers in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, the 548 ft City Hall remained the tallest building in the city until 1987 when One Liberty Place was constructed. Numerous glass and granite skyscrapers were built from the late 1980s onwards with the largest being the Comcast Center. In 2007 the Comcast Center surpassed One Liberty Place and officially became the tallest building in Philadelphia. There is a variety of row houses throughout the city from Victorian style homes in North Philadelphia to twin row houses in West Philadelphia. While newer homes are scattered throughout the city, much of Philadelphia's housing is from the early 20th century or older. The age of the city's homes has created numerous problems which has led to blight and vacant lots in many parts of the city, while other neighborhoods such as Society Hill, which has the largest concentration of original 18th century architecture in the United States, have been rehabilitated and gentrified.
Philadelphia contains many national historical sites that relate to the founding of the United States. Independence National Historical Park is the center of these historical landmarks. Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed, and the Liberty Bell are the city's most famous attractions. Other historic sites include homes for Edgar Allan Poe and Betsy Ross and early government buildings like the First and Second Banks of the United States.
The city contains many museums such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Rodin Museum, the largest collection of work by Auguste Rodin outside of France. The city’s major art museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is one of the largest art museums in the United States and features the steps made popular by the film Rocky. Philadelphia's major science museums include the Franklin Institute, which contains the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. History museums include the National Constitution Center, the Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia History, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the state of Pennsylvania and Masonic Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia is home to the United States' first zoo and hospital.
Areas such as South Street and Old City have a vibrant night life. The Avenue of the Arts in Center City contains many restaurants and theaters, such as the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Academy of Music, the nation's oldest continually operating venue, home to the Philadelphia Opera.
Philadelphia has a strong retail community reflected by both small scale local selections and large malls. Center City is home to The Gallery at Market East, The Shops at Liberty Place and The Shops at the Bellevue, and upscale boutique malls which orients its offerings towards tourists and visitors. Rittenhouse Row, a section of Walnut Street in Center City, is home to some of the most high end stores and boutiques in the region. Old City and Society Hill, as well, feature upscale boutiques and retailers from local and international merchandisers. Philadelphia also has several neighborhood shopping districts, most notably Manayunk and Chestnut Hill. Also noteworthy is South Street with blocks of inexpensive boutiques.
The Italian Market in South Philadelphia offers a wide assortment of groceries, meats, cheeses and housewares from a diverse array of countries in addition to its Italian flavor. Geno's and Pat's, two famed cheesesteak outlets, are located here. The Reading Terminal Market in Center City includes dozens of restaurants, farm stalls, and shops, many run by Amish farmers from Lancaster County. There are also neighborhood farmers' markets throughout the city.
The Philadelphia metropolitan area also contains a high concentration of malls including the King of Prussia Mall, the second-largest mall in the United States and the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, the first enclosed mall on the East Coast. The region was also the home to the first Ikea in the United States. There are also several large outlet malls in the area, including Franklin Mills in Northeast Philadelphia, which saw over 18 million visitors in 2006, and the Lancaster Outlets of Lancaster County.
Philadelphia's two major daily newspapers are The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News, both of which are owned by Philadelphia Media Holdings L.L.C. The Philadelphia Inquirer, founded in 1829, is the third-oldest surviving daily newspaper in the United States.
The first experimental radio license was issued in Philadelphia in August, 1912 to St. Joseph's College. The first commercial radio stations appeared in 1922. WIP, then owned by Gimbel's department store, became the first on March 17. Also launched that year were WFIL, WOO, WCAU and WDAS. The highest rated stations in Philadelphia today include soft rock WBEB, KYW Newsradio, and urban adult contemporary WDAS-FM.
During the 1930s, the experimental station W3XE, which was owned by Philco Corp, became the first television station in Philadelphia. The station, which would later become KYW-TV (CBS), became NBC's first affiliate in 1939. By the 1970s WCAU-TV, WPVI-TV, WHYY-TV, WPHL-TV, and WTXF-TV were founded. In 1952 WFIL (now WPVI), premiered the television show Bandstand, which later became the nationally broadcast show American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark.
Philadelphia has a competitive rock radio market, especially between WMMR and WYSP, which both specialize in playing modern and classic rock. The two stations enjoy a very intense rivalry with each station's listeners being faithfully loyal to their favorite station in most cases. Since 2005, WMMR now plays more music due to a shift in WYSP's programming from a rock station (which also carried controversial shock jock Howard Stern) to a Free FM station (which now carries the syndicated Opie and Anthony morning show and The Kidd Chris afternoon show). WYSP also carries live radio broadcasts of all Philadelphia Eagles home and road games. WMMR has the top rated morning show in the Philadelphia area, The Preston and Steve Show, which has been at the top of the ratings since leaving former rock station Y100.
Philadelphia's four urban stations (WUSL ("Power 99"), WPHI ("100.3 The Beat"), WDAS and WRNB) are popular choices on the FM dial. WJJZ is the city's smooth jazz station. When WJJZ was discontinued in August 2006, it caused an uproar among listeners, but it was revived three months later, under new ownership (Greater Media) and with a new frequency (97.5). The former WJJZ is now WISX, "Philly's 106.1".
Philadelphia's economy is heavily based upon manufacturing, refining, food, and financial services.
The city is home to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange and many major Fortune 500 companies, including cable television and internet provider Comcast, insurance companies CIGNA and Lincoln Financial Group, energy company Sunoco, food services company Aramark, Crown Holdings Incorporated, chemical makers Rohm and Haas Company and FMC Corporation, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing helicopters division, and automotive parts retailer Pep Boys.
The federal government plays a large role in Philadelphia as well. The city served as the capital city of the United States, before the construction of Washington, D.C. Today, the East Coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well. Philadelphia is also home to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Partly because of the historical presence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the large ridership at 30th Street Station, Amtrak also maintains a significant presence in the city. These jobs include customer service representatives and ticket processing and other behind-the-scenes personnel, in addition to the normal functions of the railroad.
The city is also a national center of law because of the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Law School, Temple University Beasley School of Law, Villanova University School of Law, and Drexel University College of Law. Additionally, the headquarters of the American Law Institute is located in the city.
Philadelphia is also an important center for medicine, a distinction that it has held since the colonial period, when Pennsylvania Hospital was North America's first. The University of Pennsylvania, the city's largest private employer, runs an extensive medical system. There are also major hospitals affiliated with Temple University School of Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, and Thomas Jefferson University. Philadelphia also has three distinguished children's hospitals: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (located adjacent to the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania), St. Christopher's Hospital, and the Shriners' Hospital. In the city's northeast section are Albert Einstein Hospital and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Together, health care is the largest sector of employment in the city. Several medical professional associations are headquartered in Philadelphia.
In part because of Philadelphia's long-running importance as a center for medical research, the region is a major center for the pharmaceutical industry. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Wyeth, Merck, GE Healthcare, Johnson and Johnson and Siemens Medical Solutions are just some of the large pharmaceutical companies with operations in the region.
Education in Philadelphia is provided by many private and public institutions. The School District of Philadelphia runs the city's public schools. The Philadelphia School District is the eighth largest school district in the United States with 210,432 students in 346 public and charter schools.
Philadelphia is one of the largest college towns in the United States and has the second-largest student concentration on the East Coast with over 120,000 college and university students enrolled within the city and nearly 300,000 in the metropolitan area. There are over 80 colleges, universities, trade, and specialty schools in the Philadelphia region. Schools within the city's borders include Drexel University, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, Peirce College, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, The University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Thomas Jefferson University, Moore College of Art and Design, The Art Institute of Philadelphia, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, La Salle University, Philadelphia University, Saint Joseph's University, Chestnut Hill College, Holy Family University, and Community College of Philadelphia. Schools just outside the city's borders include Gwynedd-Mercy College, Arcadia University, Manor College, Villanova University, Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, Cabrini College, Rutgers University, Rowan University, Widener University, West Chester University, Ursinus College, Immaculata University, Delaware Valley College and Neumann College.