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A Night on the Town

Jonathan Clements

AS I’VE GROWN OLDER, I have become more willing to open my wallet and splurge. But I still get a thrill from what feels like a bargain. One example: I’ve long been a fan of restaurant happy hours, when you can often get a glass of wine and some appetizers at a cut-rate price.

But I have a new favorite low-cost indulgence. Elaine and I will grab a bottle of vino out of the basement—screw top preferred, so we don’t have to bring a corkscrew—and a couple of plastic cups, and then head to Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia’s iconic park.

On our way to Rittenhouse, we’ll pick up a couple of takeout salads or sandwiches. Then we’ll find a bench, pour a glass of wine, eat our dinner and watch the world go by. No matter the season, the park is almost always bustling. Street performers often provide musical accompaniment to our dinner, while the people-watching is unsurpassed.

Meanwhile, there’s no dinner to make or dishes to clean. The price tag? Maybe $35, including vino. There is, of course, some modest risk we’ll be fined for public drinking, which apparently is illegal in Pennsylvania. But judging by the odor of weed that frequently wafts across the park, I suspect we count as model citizens.

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