Harrah’s in Philly is interesting. There’s no hotel or the glitz and glamour of Vegas or Atlantic City. The casino is next door to a prison and you have to go through the ghetto to get to it. We actually took a limo through the ghetto to get there. But once you get there, it is definitely a casino.
Now I don’t mean to already talk down on Harrah’s Philly. Hear me out throughout the rest of this post. For one thing, I can see if I lived in Philly as a 30-something year old hipster, I’d come to the casino to check it out. Have some drinks. Gamble some cash. I don’t think it would necessarily be as an ironic adventure, but that I think it would be just plain fun –like how I think Disney World is fun. At the same time, I couldn’t tell if the place seemed more sad because it had less of the glitz and glamour of what I think casinos are supposed to be …and just watching people throwing their money away with a push of a button felt weird to me.
I can tell though, they are trying to make strides to make it more fun or family (non-family) orientated. Like, there are events! We were there during their Food and Wine Grand Market, where local and national vendors/businesses were giving away free samples (food and alcohol). Also there were live demos, including from celebrity chef, Lorena Garcia (Taco Bell spokesperson).
We had lunch there at Mien Noodles –an Asian Fusion Restaurant, right in the middle of the casino floor. We had a lot of different stuff. The most interesting was the Philly Cheese-steak Potsticker. It’s exactly what you think it would be. And to be honest, it was pretty good. And the Tempura Fried Ice Cream was great.
Now back to the casino. It definitely is a different crowd than what I’m used to. It reminded me of OTB (Off Track Betting) that used to be all all over New York. Heck, I live off the L train in Williamsburg, Brooklyn –probably the most trendiest hipster neighborhood in the world right now. Also, this wasn’t the type of casino where half of the people are there for a bachelor/bachelorette party like Atlantic City. But as we were about to get ready to head back to our limos, Todd pointed out this couple to me in front of us, who were arguing then had a moment of understanding of each other. He said he thought that was him and his future wife in thirty years. Then it kind of hit me. Yeah, these people are people too. Not that I thought they were any less than me in the first place …but I couldn’t relate until that moment.
So maybe I was the most Asian hipster at Harrah’s casino that day. But I did have that moment of realization that everyone might not wear skinny jeans or have cool hair like me, but everybody is a person too. They all have feelings, emotions, and their own lives they live. Maybe they used to be hipsters a long time ago. Maybe I will be hanging out at this casino in thirty years …or maybe in the prison next door. Only time will tell.
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino & Racetrack – 777 Harrah’s Blvd, Chester, PA 19013