Hot Diggity! That’s where we ate a late lunch on Saturday afternoon. It’s a kitschy place with a dynamic atmosphere, and they had pretty much every hot dog you might ever want to eat (plus some that you would probably be better off leaving alone). We stood outside the restaurant and looked at the menu long enough to see that they had vegetarian options for every single hot dog selection, which sold us on it. And, hey, the name was cute too.
Joy was automatically drawn to the Saigon Fusion, a modern name for a hot dog if I’ve ever heard one. It featured cucumbers, shredded vegetables, a chili vinaigrette, hot peppers, carrot shreds, and cilantro, and I ordered the same. When they arrived they were stuffed full to overflowing with so many goodies they made my mouth water. I wish I could have bottled that emotion because after just one bite of the huge hot dog I was ready to pour water down my throat it was so hot. It made my eyes burn, but man was it good!
We sat facing the huge window of the shop that created a good cross view of South Street in its full Saturday afternoon glory, with people going to and fro having a great time, oblivious to us watching them from the other side of the glass. I still maintain that South Street has some of the oddest people you will ever see in the same place at the same time, from the goths in all black, to the Amish leading goats, to the hipsters with skinny jeans, to the tourists who heard so much about the place they had to see it for themselves. With cameras out they capture all the other types of folks until their cameras are stolen in the hustle and bustle.
Then we were off again, once more a part of that moving organism sliding down South Street, but we were headed back to Center City and another festival, this one at Dilworth Park, a revamped area outside of City Hall designed specifically for these types of events. With our feet tired from so much walking we took the subway to City Hall, which loomed large over our heads when we emerged into the sunlight in the late afternoon. As we headed through the center of the building where a large courtyard greeted us we saw a girls’ acapella group singing show tunes and collecting money for their efforts. They were not in tune, but they had a lot of money in their bucket. Go figure.
On the other side of the grand old office building was the revamped fountain area, but instead of one huge fountain there was a huge area pretty much dedicated to a ton of small fountains in rows that you could walk through on small weaving paths if you were so inclined. It is beautiful to behold for the first time, but there were kids dancing through the fountains and parents chasing them when we arrived. I wanted to walk down one of the paths, but I was worried that I wouldn’t dry out fast enough, and the day was relatively cool. I still should have done it.
To our right past the fountains was an enclosed area for alcohol consumption. The people inside of the area sat at high booth-like tables drinking their obviously high-priced concoctions and listening to the DJ spin the tunes at the stage set up immediately in front of them. I couldn’t help but compare those roped off customers to fenced off animals who weren’t allowed to frolic in the meadow. Occasionally one or a group of them would come out and others would take their place in the queue to get drunk. I felt sorry for them.
In front of the DJ’s stage was an area with two guys dancing their hearts out to Usher’s “Love in This Club.” They were dancing but they weren’t dancing with each other. Instead the taller one was weaving in and out of people trying to pass through the area on their way to somewhere else. He kept trying to get them to dance with him, beckoning them with a gesture and an occasional simulated dance “with” them. Most humored him, but one woman in particular decided to take him up on his offer, grinding up against him for a few seconds before continuing on her way. The other guy was dancing directly in front of us, but I honestly think he was hearing a different tune in his head because he wasn’t in time or step with the song we were hearing. He was just as animated as the taller gentleman, though, and attracted a crowd.
We stood there for a little bit taking in the scene and dancing in place to the songs we knew as the DJ spun the tunes. The man behind the turntable reminded me a little bit of Jazzy Jeff, and I told Joy of this resemblance, much to her amusement. I wanted to dance out in the square in front of the stage too, but I didn’t want to be lumped in with the fellows who were already there getting the crowd excited. Joy and I talked about how the mood was so much better down on South Street with the pumpkin festival. We couldn’t help but compare the two experiences and finding the Dilworth Park event lacking in both scope and energy.
But that was before we saw the guys in lederhosen.