Thursday, June 14, 2007

City Hall Tours No Longer Free

Get out the erasers, be prepared to update the thousands of tour books out there, after 50 years of free tours, Philadelphia City Hall Tours will cost you some green. Yesterday there was a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the New Philadelphia City Hall Tour Office and Visitor Center. The Mummers, who began parading down Broad Street every New Years Day in 1901, the same year City Hall was opened.Below is William Penn and two men who also have a history of luring new residents and tourist to our fair city. To WP's immediate right is Paul Levy, the Director of the Center City District; he is really the one responsible for turning the City around in the last decade and making it the City very livable and attractive. The other man is Bill Moore, who is in charge of the wonderful, informative and FREE Visitor Center at 5th & Market, and now helping Greta run the new CH Visitor Center and Tour Office. Unveiling the new City Hall Tour Office Banner are some of the people responsible for this new venture. oddly missing is Greta Greenberger, City Hall Tour Director, but all the participants gave her props for making City Hall Tours the success that it is today.Oh wait there's my friend Greta Greenberger, Tour Director of City Hall Tours, and responsible for holding the program together when the City (ie Mayor Street) underfunded it after Gov Rendell left office. She did partake in the ribbon cutting of the door of the newly renovated tour office. I totally screwed up and missed that shot as someone welcomed me back to Philly since moving from New York City.With improvements come changes, and as Paul Levy stated, paraphrasing here, if you don't put a price on it, there is no value. (As crazy as that seems, he's right)The trip up to the Observation Tower of the 106-year-old building, will now be as follows: Visits to the tower are $5 for adults, $4 for those 3 to 18, and $3 for those over 65. The two-hour City Hall building tour will cost $10 for adults, and $8 for those ages 3 to 18 or over 65. The fees collected will be used to cover the costs of operating the visitors center, officials said. Pictured here is the smartly dress volunteers waiting for the over 50,000 visitors that stop by the office. There is no doubt these numbers should increase. Here's Greta assisting a visitor with places to visit while in the City. So please stop by and visit the New Tour Office (Rm 121), and while your there ask about HughE's Philadelphia Note Cards, cards that were carried by the gift shop for 7 years, as I hear I have to audition them again to get them in the new gift shop. Thanks HughE

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