William Penn’s Wiener (or: Hello. I am 12 years-old. Again.)

Last night, we stayed in downtown Philadelphia. Our hotel room had a great view of city hall, which is topped by a giant statue of William Penn, holding a proclamation about the city’s commitment to fighting off bears or robots or something.

BUT! When you look at it the right way — like out our hotel window, for instance — it looks like he’s wagging his wiener at New Jersey.

William Penn's Weiner

He was truly a great American.

12 thoughts on “William Penn’s Wiener (or: Hello. I am 12 years-old. Again.)”

  1. There was law on the books in Philly that no building could be taller than the brim of William Penn’s hat. Of course, that got overturned at some point, and several skyscrapers went up.

    During the time that this happened, Philadelphia did not win a championship in any sport – they came close several times, but never won. Locals would claim this was the curse of Penn, for building taller than his hat.

    When Comcast bought a local Sports Team (I believe it was both the 76ers and the Flyers), they had a vested interest in breaking the losing streak / curse. When Comcast completed its new headquarters in the city, which happened to be the tallest building, they put a new statue of William Penn on top.

    The next year, the Phillies won the world series.


  2. Glad you’re enjoying my city so much. (Be sure to check out Reading Terminal Market before you leave…you will thank me. Lunch is on me.)

    There are 2 urban legends about the Billy Penn Statue:
    1) The sculptor was allegedly going to be stiffed on his fee by the city while making the statue, so he made it look like it was taking a leak on the city.

    2) There was a gentleman’s agreement that no building would stand higher than City Hall. When buildings were erected (heh!) higher, the sports teams all began to suck, starting the Curse of Billy Penn. When the Comcast Center was built (that giant building that looks like a USB flash drive), one of the workers bolted a small Billy Penn statue on top, making Billy once again the highest point in the city. The Phillies won the World Series the next year, and the Flyers made their Stanley Cup run.

  3. Ah, one of the landmarks we’re most proud of. Right up there with the Liberty Bell. I believe it’s first notoriety (i.e. that viewing angle) was in the movie Birdy (1984) which I highly recommend.

    Since your staying on the Parkway you should definitely check out some museums if you have time. I recommend the Franklin Institute for a nerd with a lot of time or the Barnes Foundation for an art lover with only a little time. The Barnes has better food, too.

    And if you do make it to Reading Terminal as BriWigs suggests, I recommend a pulled pork sammich from DiNic’s.

  4. So awesome to see you in Philly! If you happen to look at that angle during a nice rain storm the water runs out of the scroll in Big Willy’s hand making the effect even more… special

  5. Yes, you are 12.

    No, I don’t think that’s a bad thing because when shown that angle of the statue that’s what everyone around thinks as well. I hope you feel that places you in good company.

    Very glad you’re appreciating our city, thanks for coming!

  6. Enjoy yourselves. Philly has cool museums, but if you only get a chance at one, make it the Mutter museum – medical oddities. Gross and cool at the same time, and its probably only a few blocks away from you guys at 22nd and Market

  7. So? Don’t we all love those moments where we giggle like teenagers about stuff like that. Being a “grown up” is weird (and boring) enough, right? So let’s treasure those moments as long as we can. If we stop laughing at stuff like that something is seriously going wrong!

  8. even better when it rains and it looks like he’s peeing on olde city. Welcome to Philly! See you tonight at WCL , it’s sold out!!!!

  9. oh wow. my fb id wont work here. o.O
    anyway, wil wheaton you’re a total brat.
    but i’m completely inappropriate myself.
    i can’t attend pta meetings anymore, i giggle too much.
    our last treasurer had the most adorable lisp- loved to say fiscal.
    but then we had a popsicle sale and i excused myself. she was SO cute!

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