On May 10, 1985, my elementary school class took a field trip to Philadelphia. I lived on Long Island, and Philadelphia might as well have been India or China as far as I was concerned. I was beyond excited to visit the exotic land of Pennsylvania, and I borrowed one of my mom's cameras to take with me. Nothing fancy, just a simple automatic film camera. I had (and have) always been a little obsessed with taking pictures of things, capturing events in my life, and doing whatever I could to ensure I left some kind of future evidence to prove I was once alive.
I made sure to only photograph (what I thought was) the important stuff – these were the days of film, when you were very limited in what you could capture. There was no room for messing around. Looking back, I wish I had taken more wide shots of streets and people – I guess I didn't think they were "important" enough. Sorry, streets and people.
A few years ago, I decided to visit Philadelphia on the trip's 30th anniversary – May 10, 2015 – and retake all the photos. That date just happened to fall on Mother's Day, so like a jerk I took a train from NYC to Philadelphia by myself that day instead of visiting with my mom. I think she understood.
The Historic District hasn't changed much (I guess they want to preserve it or something). Some exceptions seen here: the Liberty Bell had been moved slightly, the Betsy Ross House sign is no longer there, and the glass partition in Betsy Ross's old bedroom is gone. Also, as you can see from one of the Liberty Bell pics, people's cameras have changed.
I did my best to recreate the original photos. I realized I'm a lot taller now, so I did some crouching to line things up. I didn't do a perfect job, but I did it (trying to make that my life motto). Then I ate some lunch, took a train back to NYC, and visited my sister who had just given birth the day before. She was 5 when I took the first set of pictures.
So here they are. Left is May 10, 1985. Right is May 10, 2015.
(click on the first set to view it as a slideshow)