The Centre Square building at 1500 Market Street is frequently referred to by locals as the ‘Clothespin Building,’ a nod to the large clothespin sculpture by Claes Oldenburg that occupies the public space in front of the building. I consider it part of my history, because on October 28, 1980, my husband and I met there for our first date at the Newsstand restaurant. It was a short weeknight date, sort of a ‘let’s have a drink and see if we are compatible’ rendezvous. It went well, and although I had planned to take the train home to Radnor, Tony insisted on driving me home. We walked to 4th street to get his car, and I impressed him with my ability to keep up with his rapid pace as we sprinted down Chestnut St. He impressed me with his well-mannered and gracious offer to drive me home (not so much with his messy car). So our meeting at the Clothespin Building was the beginning of our life-long relationship!
This is almost exactly how I remember that fateful first date. Mary turned me down twice before for a rendezvous and I figured I’d give it one more chance. I got lucky and she said YES. The cloudy white wine was served by The Newsstand in a cocktail glass but I did not mind as I found Mary to be enchanting. I was really impressed by how fast she could walk…but I sure don’t remember taking her home in an unkempt car. Mary invited me in to meet her roommate, but I said I needed to get home fast to watch the Carter-Reagan debate; the only one they held. I think about that first date every time I walk pass the Oldenburg clothespin. I love hanging out in Philly.