On Monday night I was staying overnight in Philadelphia for work. Despite the fact that it was named after me, I don’t actually live there. It became too much trouble fighting off the adoring Phil Factor fans (known as Philistines) every time I left the house. No privacy, couldn’t eat at restaurants without interruption, yadda yadda, you know how that is, right?
I stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn Philadelphia Center City, which, unbeknownst to me, was in the heart of Philadelphia’s “Chinatown.” (Let’s be honest, you were already assuming that there’s lot’s of things unbeknownst to me) If you’d like to read my review of the Hilton Garden Inn on Philliver’s Travels, just click HERE.
At my hotel, the hotel restaurant/bar was closed due to the pandemic. So I did a little Googling and found a sports bar within a block of my hotel. Walking down the street I passed many Chinese shops and restaurants. One thing I didn’t expect to see was an Amish buggy. Here I was in a big city, in Chinatown, and there’s a broken down Amish buggy!
Now we all know that the state of Pennsylvania is well known for it’s Amish population, and the U.S. Amish capital is Lancaster, Pennsylvania, just 90 minutes away. But the abandoned Amish buggy had me curious. Why would any Amish folks be smack dab in the middle of one of the largest cities in the country? And what did they do when their buggy broke down? So here’s my theory of what happened…
I think a couple Amish kids, let’s say Jebediah and Samuel were on Rumspringa. Jebediah & Samuel took pops buggy for a joy ride into the big city. When it broke down they couldn’t find their AAA card, (Amish Assistance Alliance) and they were shift out of pluck.
They had a few shekels in their pocket and strolled down the street to the Chinese sports bar. (Yes, there actually is a Chinese sports bar in Philadelphia and if you want to see my full review of it, head on over to Philliver’s Travels.) Upon entering the bar they sat down and ordered an extravagant dinner and several drinks. Not knowing the shekel to dollar conversion, they didn’t have enough to pay for their feast.
The waiter understood their predicament and with a sly wink, offered a solution. They could work off the extra they owed by washing dishes, or they could take the money they had and gamble it in hopes of getting what they owed. In the spirit of Rumspringa, they agreed to gamble. The waiter led them down the hall and past the restrooms to a stairway that descended into a darkness beneath the restaurant. They quickly glanced nervously to each other before shrugging their shoulders and following the waiter into what they assumed was Hell. They passed through a doorway that was opened only after the waiter had given the secret knock.
Once inside they were overcome by the noise, activity and a thick fog of cigar smoke. It was a casino, likely illegal and populated by a crowd that probably belonged behind bars, and not the kind of bar they had left upstairs.
They were led to a table where within minutes they had gambled away what little money they had. They feared the worst as two Chinese waiters led them away from the table. They were escorted back up the stairs where they were put in the kitchen to wash dishes until they had paid off their debt. Jebediah and Samual weren’t just any Amish though. They had gotten a taste of the big city and they liked it.
The two plucky Amish lads decided to stay on as dishwashers at the Chinese sports bar (click here for my review of that Chinese sports bar). Fast forward to the year 2025 after they had washed many dishes eventually worked their way up the Chinese sports bar hierarchy to running the illegal casino downstairs and several others throughout the city. As they gained a significant amount of dark influence in Philly, they bring cohorts from their Amish community and by 2025, Philadelphia’s Chinatown will be known as Amishtown. So that’s what happened when an Amish buggy broke down in Chinatown.
Have a great weekend! ~Phil