Philadelphia skyline seen from the South Street Bridge (Photo: marianovksy/Flickr)
The City of Brotherly Love is known for many things — cheesesteaks, ornery football fans, “Rocky,” and, of course, Boyz II Men.
While R & B trio Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman, and Wanya Morris will soon be performing at the Mirage in Las Vegas, they haven’t forgotten their roots. Why would they? It’s is indeed so hard … to say goodbye … to yesterday.
We recently caught up with them at the Wendy’s karaoke booth in Times Square, where they spilled their favorite spots, sights to see, and things to do when they head home.
Here are their recommendations for a little East Coast swag whether you’re cooling on South Street or gorging on all the cheesesteaks you can eat.
1. Lunch: Ishkabibble’s, 337 South St.
Customers wait for their orders in front of the takeout windows of Ishkabibble’s in Philadelphia. (Photo: CJD/Flickr)
Forget Pat’s and Geno’s (too touristy). Ish has some of the best cheesesteaks (with heaps of cheese, fried onions, and peppers), accompanied by salty fries and their signature drink: the Gremlin (grape juice and lemonade). “It’s so sweet, your teeth hurt,” says Shawn. “You don’t go there to eat diet food. If you eat healthy, don’t go there!”
Related: Thursday Night: Philadelphia
2. Exercise: The “Rocky Steps” (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway)
A tourist imitates the character Rocky Balboa from the 1976 movie “Rocky,” on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
Run up the stairs, and throw your hands in the air just like Sly Stallone (Maybe wait until that cheesesteak has had time to settle.). “Just don’t get a heart attack on the way to the top,” says Nathan. “Some people can’t get all the way up there!” Wise words.
3. Music: Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St.
Rock band Halestorm performs on stage at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia. (Photo: Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)
The Boyz highly recommend seeing a live show here. “It’s like an institution, musically” says Shawn. “Everybody has performed there: rock, hip-hop, R & B.” Recent concerts have included The Black Crowes, Ingrid Michaelson, and Ellie Goulding.
4. Outdoor Date: Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing (Delaware River Waterfront, 121 N. Columbus Blvd.)
Sisters Shaidaysha, right, and Rondayah Robinson take in the sights during a rain shower at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
Do you want her to make love to you? Like you want her to? In the summer, screenings under the stars are hosted alongside a pop-up summertime village with a beer garden. “It has great restaurants right off the water — an incredible view,” says Shawn. “It’s a nice, remote, quaint spot to take your loved one.”
5. History: The Liberty Bell Center, 526 Market St.
Visitors to Independence National Park take photos of the Liberty Bell through a window from outside. (Photo: Tom Gralish/AP/The Philadelphia Inquirer)
You’ll want to Instagram this bad boy. You can’t actually ring the bell (though the Boyz desperately want to), but photos are permitted — even selfies.
6. Museum: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch St.
A schoolgirl with a paper cutout of George Washington in her hair walks in view of Independence Hall at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
The interactive gallery features live performances and featured exhibitions. It’s also right near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
7. Dinner and Drinks: R2L, 50 S.16th St.
Desserts at R2L, the home of Pastry Chef Peter Scarola. (Photo: Steelite International/Flickr)
“You have an amazing view of the city,” says Shawn of the impressive sight from 500 feet on the 27th floor. “Great bar in the middle of the place. You get amazing food.”
8. Groceries: 9th Street Italian Market, 919 S. Ninth St.
A woman walks in front of 9th Street Italian Market in Philadelphia. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
You can get the very best baked goods, chocolates, and cheeses – but that’s not all. “The Italian Market is one of the places where they actually have fresh foods every day,” says Wanya. “My mother used to get crab and all types of seafood,” adds Shawn.
9. Dessert: Tastykake Treats (Local Grocers)
Quality control is carried out at the Tastykake factory in Philadelphia. (Photo: Jacqueline Larma/AP)
Philly boys love things made in Philly. Tastykakes are a hometown favorite, and they pretty much taste better here than they do anywhere. Shawn prefers their chocolate varieties, but Wanya recommends the Butterscotch Krimpets. “[With those], you will never, ever, ever, ever [want to] leave Philadelphia.”
10. Practice Patriotism: Valley Forge,1400 North Outer Line Dr., King of Prussia, Pa.
People gather for a Veterans Day commemoration ceremony at the National Memorial Arch at the Valley Forge National Historical Park. (Photo: Matt Rourke/AP)
When you get to the end of the road, head out of Center City proper to get in touch with both nature and history in Valley Forge. Here, at the site of the 1777-78 winter encampment of the Continental Army, you can chat with Continental Soldiers (or the dudes dressed as them) about what life was like during the American Revolution. “They used to have some of the original cabins out there,” notes Nathan.
Why not listen to your favorite Boyz II Men songs while touring the City of Brotherly Love?